Massively explains Warhammer Online to the dedicated WoW player

Andrew Yoon
New York, NY -

After a fairly lengthy stint as a Community Manager, maintaining websites for Konami, Square, Namco, and others, I became absorbed by the Joystiq crew, and work blog full-time. As the lead PlayStation writer, you'll see my work prominently on PSP and PS3 Fanboy, although I contribute to all the other Joystiq sites as well. As a big anime fan, you'll notice that I'm also the managing video game critic at Anime News Network.

  • Noteworthy games: Ikaruga (DC), Pokemon (GB), Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64), Half-Life 2 (PC), Metal Gear Solid (PS), God of War II (PS2), Resident Evil 4 (GC), Mario Kart: Super Circuit (GBA), Otogi (XB), Chrono Trigger (SNES), Gitaroo-Man Lives! (PSP), Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! (DS), Gears of War (360), Metroid Prime 3: Corruption (Wii), Super Stardust HD (PS3)
  • Currently playing/reviewing:
    Hot Shots Golf 5 (PS3), Persona 3 (PS2), Jeanne d'Arc (PSP), Metroid Prime 3 (Wii), Bioshock (360)
EMAIL: andrew @ joystiq .com

TGS 08: LocoRoco 2 grabs us with cuteness and depth

"Sorry it took so long," LocoRoco designer Tsutomu Kouno told me. In spite of the original's high-profile and well-received launch on the PSP, it's been over two years since we saw these lovable blubbers hit Sony's handheld. The silence around the long-rumored sequel is a bit baffling, as getting our hands on with the upcoming PSP title revealed a disarming amount of new content for the sequel.

It's undeniable that the original LocoRoco charmed hardcore gamers, thanks to its lovable style and rather unique design. However, it couldn't keep the attention of these gamers, as it was perhaps a bit too simplistic. While children and casual gamers were enchanted, hardcore gamers needed substance beyond tilting left and right.

So perhaps LocoRoco 2 is Kouno's attempt at bridging the gap between hardcore and casual audiences. The upcoming PSP-exclusive sequel maintains all the saccharin sweetness of the original, but adds new gameplay features that add a tremendous amount of depth to the experience. The sheer amount of content found in this UMD/downloadable game is staggering.

Gallery: LocoRoco 2

Continue reading TGS 08: LocoRoco 2 grabs us with cuteness and depth

TGS 08: Undead Knights will do you right

It may seem like Sony's PSP is dying, but Tecmo suggests that is actually undying. They recently unveiled Undead Knights -- and now, there's a trailer. The game will mix action, strategy and ... zombies. Starring as an anti-hero, you'll have to add a legion of zombies under your control. With the stinking stench of the undead at your disposal, you'll be able to conquer your enemies.

Four player ad-hoc multiplayer (including co-op) is planned. But, don't expect this too soon -- this one is definitely a late 2009 release.

TGS 08: Firmware 5.00 and PlayStation Store launch next week

The PLAYSTATION Network is coming to the PSP next week -- at least in Japan. Firmware 5.00 will be available on October 15th and will add the built-in PlayStation Store under the new XMB category.

Japan will then get a regular release of downloadable titles through the rest of the holiday season. Games include:
  • Yuusha no Kuze ni Namaikida or2 (10/16)
  • Bleach Soul Carnival (10/23)
  • Secret Agent Clank (11/20)
  • Patapon 2 (11/27)
  • LocoRoco 2 (12/4)
  • Resistance Retribution
Notice how every SCE first-party title is downloadable, including Resistance Retribution? It looks like Sony is finally ready to give up on UMD ... or at least give consumers a viable alternative.

echochrome gets $5 PSP expansion today

Although PS3 owners have been enjoying dozens of free levels in the perspective-bending echochrome, PSP owners are not as fortunate. They'll have to shell out $5 on the PLAYSTATION Store today to get an expansion pack which adds 40 new levels to the game -- that's (according to the 71% more content.

The blog entry also reveals a few interesting facts about the PSP version of echochrome, notably that the simple-looking title is surprisingly stressful on the hardware. It may surprise you to hear this, but the game takes up all 333MHz of processing power the PSP can take advantage of.

DJ Max Fever: the much-better-box-art

Some of us were worried about DJ Max Fever, the upcoming English release of the popular PSP music game. Why? The mock-up box art used by PM Studios was a little ... iffy. Thankfully, that's all changed, as they've revealed their brand new much sexier box art (above).

Check out the full box art (back and front) here.

Gallery: DJ Max Fever

It's not your tran, it's Mytran Wars for PSP

Perhaps they should reconsider that title ...

Mytran Wars is a PSP-exclusive cel-shaded strategy game from Budapest-based developer Stormregion. It's classic strategy fare set in the 23rd century, with humans and aliens at war over resources. It actually looks very good, and should (shock!) actually make it's way to the US.

Gallery: Mytran Wars

Prinny: Is it okay to star in some video footage?

For those of you without Japanese PLAYSTATION Network accounts, it'll be pretty much impossible to play the current Prinny demo. Thankfully, our friends at PSP GadgetZ have recorded footage of the demo in action. Enjoy the energetic, upbeat music and classic 2D platforming action ... after the break.

Continue reading Prinny: Is it okay to star in some video footage?

Three unannounced PSP games to be shown at TGS

While Sony will be showing off nine unannounced PS3 titles at this year's Tokyo Game Show, they'll be showing off three new games for the PSP. All of the games will be published by SCEI, meaning they'll either be new IPs, or extensions of currently popular Sony franchises.

Some of the known titles to be showcase at TGS this year include Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Patapon 2, Bleach: Soul Carnival, and Loco Roco 2. For the complete list (in English), visit PSP-Hyper.

Sony Online Entertainment thinks about MMO integration on PSP

Sony Online Entertainment has a lot of development planned for PS3. But what about its little sibling, the PSP? SOE president John Smedley told MTV Multiplayer that "PSP is something that we're definitely looking at." With so many online-ready systems in the hands of gamers worldwide, it's an opportunity they don't want to miss on. "We're really starting to see a big push for PSP. We think it's a world-class device ... In the future, we see full MMOs that are designed for the PSP."

But before diving straight into full online games on the PSP, Smedley believes online integration into existing games will come first. Imagine, a mini-game that can be played on PSP that will add to an existing game, like Free Realms. "You're sitting there leveling up your character, you log in at home when you're on wi-fi, and all of sudden your character has leveled up. We think those kinds of experiences are very possible."

Deal of the Day: SOCOM Tactical Strike for $20

We feel sorry for the oft-misunderstood SOCOM: Tactical Strike. Fans who bought the game were surprised to see it wasn't a shooter -- instead, it was a methodically paced strategy game which required patience, intelligence and nerves of steel. PSP Fanboy reader Jason commented earlier: "I guess if you bought it without checking out any previews and thought it was an action shooter, then yeah, it could be a let down. If you play the first mission with the tutorial it shows you everything you need to know and it does it in a real game situation."

For those of you ready to take the plunge into the full game, check out this week's Best Buy circulars. You'll see that Tactical Strike is on sale this week for a measly $20. Go to your local Best Buy, or simply buy online. You can also check out the downloadable demo here.

[Via CAG]

Valhalla Knights 2: versus mode video

Valhalla Knights 2 comes out in stores this week -- meaning this video is one of the last things you'll see before making your choice. To buy or not to buy? You can judge for yourself. Take a peek at this multiplayer video and see if the gameplay and graphics are up to your demanding standards.

Gallery: Valhalla Knights 2

Sony's Koller ignores holiday 2008, promises better 2009

"I think going into next year we're going to see significant growth. We're counseling retail to be ready for it. We have a number of very strong franchise games on the docket that will be launching next year," John Koller responded to Edge's troubling report on the decline of PSP software. "We haven't gone public with those, and many third-parties have not yet either because they're concentrating on holiday, but we have a number of very strong titles coming."

While we understand that many of these unannounced titles may be far off from now, we're a bit saddened to see Sony (and their third party partners) remain so secretive about the upcoming 2009 lineup. Right now, it appears Sony is abandoning holiday 2008 altogether. How will they drum up support for the handheld this Christmas season, when they've shown no guarantees of what will be available in the coming months? Sony -- it's time to stop playing the same ol' game of secrecy. Now, when your customers are losing faith in your system, is when you should bypass the typical product marketing schedule -- and you give us something to get excited about.

The decline of PSP software, in graph form

Edge has created a chart which illustrates something we all know: PSP has lost software support.

Well, thanks a lot jerks. When you put it in graph form like this, obviously it's going to hurt. (sobs)

But in all seriousness, the piece does an excellent job in articulating the finer details of PSP's slow loss of support. In spite of the smaller games library this year, the percentage of exclusives is also steadily dropping. While this piece could be yet another mantra against piracy and the likes, we want to direct you to an excellent piece by PSP World, which offers an alternative: it's all Xbox's fault. Kris Erickson postulates that a number of excellent XBLA games would be perfect for play on PSP. We'd agree. Developers may be moving resources to XBLA, away from PSP, when thinking up short, accessible games that would play well on handhelds. An interesting theory, yes. However, we're confident that upcoming PSN ports of Super Stardust and Everyday Shooter are just the beginning of a slew of downloadable PSP games.

Wait, there's more! Level-5 also announces Cardboard Senki

What? Two PSP game announcements on the same day? From the same developer? Yes, Level-5 loves PSP. Ushiro was revealed earlier -- now, hold your applause for Cardboard Senki. As usual, this is another JRPG from the talented team, and features a rather unique graphics presentation, where everything is made of cardboard. You'll control a customizable robot which will most likely fight some forces of evil. Check out Gamekyo for the scans.

Level-5 announces new horror RPG, Ushiro

Level-5, developers of Jeanne d'arc on PSP, have just announced a new horror-themed RPG called Ushiro. Players will take on the role of a death god (shinigami) to help people fulfill their wishes, and fight monsters along the way. It's scheduled for a release next year. Check out a scan at Gamekyo.

[Thanks, Jon C.!]

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