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God of War: Chains of Olympus | TBA | Summary | Screens
What we saw of this prequel to the original God of War was short, sweet and uncannily like its PS2 cousins. Created by the same studio responsible for the excellent Daxter, Chains of Olympus chronicles the 10 years between Kratos' fateful murder of his family and his decision to rebel against the gods. In the opening level we saw, Kratos unleashed the Blades of Chaos on a bunch of hapless Persians who'd had the nerve to invade Attica, something the Greek gods didn't much approve of. Kratos was sent in as a shock troop to rout the invaders and destroy their ultimate weapon, which turned out to be a giant, dragon-like creature. Before that showdown, though, the level was filled with button-mashing "quicktime" sequences, a quick duel with a Cyclopes and a Persian warship getting torn apart by a ballista courtesy of Kratos. While we haven't yet played it, and therefore can't comment on whether the all-important "flow" of the combat matches that of earlier titles, this already looks to be a worthy chapter in the God of War series.
Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow | TBA | Summary| Screens
The sequel to last year's stellar Dark Mirror, Logan's Shadow once again focuses on gadget-centric shooting action as secret agent Gabe Logan. This time, Logan spends the game trying to track down his mysteriously missing partner, Lian Xing (who's "shadowed" Logan throughout all his adventures), by delving into her past. While the basic action hasn't changed much since Dark Mirror, this is more than just a new story; expect an all-new underwater combat system, new weapons and the ability to grab your enemies for use as human shields. Judging by what we've played, Logan's Shadow should be another strong hit of awesome for PSP tactical-espionage fans.
SOCOM: Tactical Strike | TBA | Summary | Screens
The other SOCOM to be created by new developer Slant Six, Tactical Strike is a dramatic departure from the tactical-shooting action of Fireteam Bravo. Sort of a real-time Full Spectrum Warrior, Tactical Strike is a strategy game that puts players in charge of a full fireteam at once, enabling you to move and attack as a single unit, or act through the eyes of one man at a time. You're not limited to playing as Americans, either, and you'll be able to play as Special Forces teams including the SEALs, the British SAS, the Spanish UOE and six others. Regardless of whom you pick, you'll be able to customize your characters' equipment and abilities, and take them into four-player team-vs-team matches. It also looks fantastic by PSP standards, and was easily one of the most impressive titles shown for the handheld at the event.
Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice | TBA | Summary | Preview | Screens
As the original Pursuit Force illustrated, jacking cars that aren't moving is for wimps; real men do it at high speed on the freeway, leaping from car to car like some doomed extra from a Mad Max movie. Extreme Justice continues the tradition of insane high-speed law enforcement, only now, your anti-gang officer will have even more going on to worry about. One boss encounter with a massive tank, for example, forced us to get close a few times, so that our new partner could leap out and plant explosives on it. After that, we had to walk around on top of the thing as it barreled toward its destination, blowing up gun emplacements and taking potshots at the tank's commander as we went. The first game was a lot of fun, so while this sequel isn't a dramatic departure, we're looking forward to seeing more.
PQ2 | June 12 | Summary | Screens
The original PQ: Practical Intelligence Quotient made us feel a stupid in the best way possible. PQ2 looks to have that same humbling effect, assigning you a score as you complete even more levels full of brain-busting, pick-up-and-play puzzles. You can also create your own levels and upload them using Infrastructure mode for other players to enjoy. Or loathe. Extra points go to PQ2 for ad-hoc game sharing.
Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars | July | Summary | Preview | Screens
It’s hard to complain about a game like Crazy Taxi. It’s tried and true madcap style has faltered very little throughout the years despite little innovation as far as gameplay goes. As long we can drive like out mothers told us not to, the game could load up with the Sega Dreamcast logo and we’d still be happy to play the hell out of it on our PSP.
Crush | May 29 | Summary | Preview | Screens
Who knew that getting to point A to point B could be so disorienting? Alternating between 2-D and 3-D, Crush is an inspired little puzzler that demands you consider every possible dimension. The ability to change your perspective on the fly, a la Super Paper Mario, means Crush is not a game to be overlooked.
PaRappa the Rapper | July | Summary | Screens
We're the last to get cocky, because we're all to aware that things can get rocky. If that line brought a smile to your face, then you'll be delighted to know that the first PaRappa returns on PSP with remixed songs and new levels to lure back old fans. What's more, the PSP PaRappa will feature head-to-head rap battles, four-player game sharing and the ability to download new songs to your PSP via a WiFi connection. You gotta believe!
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes | August 28 | Summary | Screens
The kickass fighting action of the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series is going portable this summer, and from what little we've seen so far, it looks to be every bit as spectacular as its predecessors. Featuring 20 characters, Game Sharing and two-player ad-hoc matches, Heroes enables players to bring together teams of up to three ninjas-in-training for blistering fights in eight interactive stages. With dramatic super attacks and characters you can power up however you want, this is almost guaranteed to be a monster hit among fans of the show (and there are a lot of you out there, we know).
Castlevania: The DraculaX Chronicles | Winter | Summary | Preview
Tired of getting kicked around, the PSP is getting an exclusive worth bragging about, with a doozy of a Castlevania debut. More than just mere repackaging, we’ve been blessed with a 3-D reimagining of the classic Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, the much-ballayhooed TurboGrafx CD game previously unseen on American shores, as well as the 2D version for all you purists out there. Oh, and it also comes with the full version of one the greatest games ever made,Castlevania : Symphony of the Night, so…yeah. The time-honored act of wielding whips, axes and daggers comes to a new generation, and we’re promised plenty of additional extras to boot.
Silent Hill Origins |Fall | Summary | Preview
After a little more time in the oven, this portable prequel has been rejiggered into something more resembling its hyper-atmospheric source material.SilentHill Origins has reemerged in all its moody glory, dripping with puzzles andand a fighting system that’s a little deeper than anything in the series' past. You’ll guide 18-wheeled warrior Travis O’Grady through this ultra eerie frightfest as he reacquaints the undead denizens of Silent Hill with a myriad of inanimate like toasters to sledgehammers. After a little more time in development, Origins finally looks ready to do right by the series.
Monster Hunter Freedom 2 | September | Summary | Preview
Who knew that throwing a little brains into the revered tradition of carving up mutant hellbeasts could be the perfect recipe for success? Well, wekinda did, but Monster Hunter Freedom 2 is returning to the PSP with everything that made the series such a rewarding exercise in brutality. With an arsenal of violent and bizarre weaponry at your disposal, MHF 2 throws a ton of depth into the hack-and-slash genre. Think Pokémon, with a horrifying mean streak; instead of making monsters fight for you, you'll butcher them and use their carcasses as raw materials to make new gear.
SWAT: Target Liberty | Winter | Summary | Preview
The PC’s hit tactical series is rapelling into our hands this Winter, with a top-down, shooter spin-off. In a startling act of diplomacy, SWAT: Target Liberty actually gives you the option of using less-lethal means by which to take down your enemy, using a variety of weapons and context-sensitive squad commands. It’s also got a script fromThe Shield scribe Scott Rosenbaum (the show, not the game) and you should expect some ad-hoc multiplayer missions as well.
Hot Brain | June 18 | Summary | Preview
Hot Brain: puzzle-based cerebral exercise or a British culinary delicacy? Fortunately it’s the former, and it proves that you don't need a stylus to train your brain. Test your MENSA might with tasks involving memory, logic and math. And instead of a bizarre polygonal Japanese professor, Hot Brain ’s resident egghead is voiced by Best in Show's Fred Willard.
Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron | September | Summary
This year, your lucky PSP will be home to the only new entry in theWookie-tastic,Ewok-blasting free-for-all series Star Wars Battlefront. Created specifically for thePSP's weird limitations,RenegadeSquadron will enable up to players to rip it up in eight-player ad-hoc matches and 16-player online matches set during iconic Star Wars battles. Expect roughly the same level of awesome that was delivered by Star Wars Battlefront II (only pared down for PSP, obviously), with battles ranging from full-on space dogfights to on-foot free-for-alls. There's even a story, revolving around a Rebel band of scoundrels assembled by Han Solo himself. With controls that seemed to work well during our very brief time with the game, this has the potential to become a must-have for PSP owners.
Final Fantasy Anniversary Edition | June 26 | Summary
Nearly 20 years since its initial release on the NES, this role-playing love song is going portable, again. Most who've played it won’t mind reliving it, especially given the resolution has been upgraded, another camera angle is added, new character art has taken the place of archaic pixels and the graphics have been given an overhaul that make the game look decades ahead of the original - which, to be fair, it is.
Dungeons & Dragons Tactics | June 19 | Summary | Preview
The title doesn’t lie - and D&D fans should get exactly what they're looking for, with the tabletop game faithfully converted into turn-based strategy battles. Light on wandering and heavy on puzzles and combat, D&D Tactics offers up an epic quest that will enable you to create your own party of adventurers and storm through villages, open battlefields and, yes, dark dungeons in search of treasure and glory. Add a few ad-hoc multiplayer modes, and fantasy fans should have plenty to be happy about.
Jeanne d'Arc | August 7 | Summary | Preview
Tactical gamers, PSP loves you the mostest. Yet another entry into the PSP’s crowded field of turn-based strategy games. What distinguishes Jeanne d’Arc is its story, loosely inspired by a certain French heroine of similar namesake, and its crisp anime presentation. Get ready to command up to nine warriors at a time through tactical, grid-based fantasy battles later this summer.
Dead Head Fred | August 21 | Summary | Screens
It's been about a year since we last saw the headless private detective trying to solve his own murder, and he's gone through a few changes since then. However, the basics are the same; Dead Head Fred is still an adventure/brawler hybrid that revolves around the creative use of stolen heads to gain powers and solve puzzles, and it's still one of the PSP's more promising titles. But now, Fred's whole appearance changes when he tries on a new noggin; the giant stone head above, for example, gives him a bodybuilder's physique, while trying on an undead skeleton's stolen skull will hunch him over and give him razor-sharp claws. There's also a grinning mannequin head, which gives him a slow, vaguely affected walk and reduces his actions to waving and talking to people - unsurprisingly, it's the only head Fred can wear if he wants to talk to the normal citizens wandering the streets. The rest of his heads are just too freakish. Regrettably, we didn't get to see much puzzle-solving during our hands-on time with the game. But we did get to try out a lot of zombie-smashing combat, complete with head-ripping fatalities, and that felt great. The camera - normally a serious problem with 3D PSP games - seemed responsive, and did a decent job of automatically sticking behind Fred like it was supposed to. Expect to read more as we draw closer to the game's August release.
Above: Feed me!