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PSP Fanboy review: Patapon

If there is one genre that has really flourished on the PSP, it would be rhythm games. Titles like Lumines, beats, Parappa the Rapper, and Gitaroo Man have made Sony's handheld a must-have for any fans of the rhythm genre. And while all those games were fantastic titles, Pyramid's most recent PSP title, Patapon, manages to blows them all away with some of the most unique rhythm-based gameplay you'll ever experience.

Combining gameplay from a wide swath of genres, developers Pyramid managed to create a game that is part rhythm-based, part RPG, and part RTS. It's not always easy for developers to successfully combine genres to create a greater whole, but Pyramid absolutely nailed it with Patapon. The resulting gameplay makes Patapon one of the most unique titles to come along in years, on any system -- not just the PSP.

You play the roll of a long missing deity to a tribe of big-eyed warriors, called Patapons, who have been banished from their land and have lost the will to fight. In order to help the Patapons regain their former glory and achieve their final hope of seeing the mysterious 'it' at the end of the world, they need you and your mighty war drums to whip them into shape and get them motivated for some serious combat.

Gallery: Patapon

Continue reading PSP Fanboy review: Patapon

Patapon price point confirmed at $19.99

The price point for Patapon has just been announced over at the PlayStation.Blog and the news is darn good. The upcoming Sony-developed rhythm/RTS title is getting released at the ridiculously low price of $19.99 when it hits the stores next month. While this is normally the price of one of their Greatest Hits titles, Sony was worried that the unique and odd-ball nature of Patapon may result in it getting lost amongst the other big upcoming PSP titles.

If our hands-on report hasn't gotten you excited about Patapon yet, hopefully this new development will pique your curiosity. It is seriously one of the most bizarre and entertaining experiences on the PSP yet, and definitely should not be missed. Pon Pon Pata Pon!

[Thanks Hasbrown_hunter!]

PSP Fanboy review: Manhunt 2

Manhunt 2 has had an interesting development cycle. It's hard to think of another game that has been so steeped in controversy, politics and debate. But while the politicians and TV talking heads can go on and on about violence, corporate responsibility and protecting the children, the people who the game is actually made for (you know, gamers) are much more curious about how Manhunt 2 actually plays.

The game starts off with a massive lightning storm temporarily causing a blackout at a rundown and dingy insane asylum, which rather inconveniently causes all the cell doors to pop open, spewing forth a small army of violent crazy people. Your character, Daniel Lamb, suddenly snaps into consciousness while strangling an old female doctor as your cell door opens. Shocked at what you're doing, you drop her body and stumble out into the hallway in what segues into a mini-tutorial on how to sneak and kill. It also nicely showcases some of the ... questionable aspects of the game, since in the first five minutes you are peed on, spit on, and throw up twice.

Of course, the most controversial part of Manhunt 2 is not the urination -- it's the wide variety of grotesque ways you can kill people. While it is possible to engage enemies in normal hand-to-hand combat, this will almost always mean your death. The way you're 'suppose' to kill someone is by sneaking up behind them with a weapon and performing an execution. If done correctly, you will be treated with a short cutscene of you horribly eviscerating your opponent. Well, at least you'll assume you just eviscerated the perp, since Rockstar edited the cutscenes to appease the ESRB and ended up making them an unintelligible mess of quick cuts, bad camera angles, and blurred effects. Unless you're extremely squeamish, you're not going to be disturbed by the violence of the executions, but the cutscenes may give you epilepsy.

Gallery: Manhunt 2

Continue reading PSP Fanboy review: Manhunt 2

Star Wars Battlefront week: Colin's impressions

All this week, the writers of PS Fanboy will share their impressions of Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron. Make sure you come back every day, as we'll be giving away five limited edition Darth Vader PSP-2000 systems.

Like Andrew, when I first heard that the next Star Wars Battlefront title would be an exclusive PSP title, I was pretty surprised. While the PSP is a great system, the smaller userbase and the pure scope of Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron made focusing 100% on a handheld version a controversial decision. It seemed like an odd gamble for such a successful franchise, but at the time was considered a nice win for the PSP which had (and has) been lacking in solid original content -- especially from third parties. Fortunately, it looks like developers at Rebellion have come through in most regards, as our hands-on with the review code has proven (largely) positive.

At first blush, Renegade Squadron can be a daunting experience to jump into. There's a variety of different game modes, the customization options are vast and not really explained, and the gameplay itself has so many facets that it was almost overwhelming at first. Luckily there are training videos, as Andrew mentioned, and I'd strongly recommend checking them out -- especially if you didn't play the first Battlefront on the PSP.

When you first get into the game, the controls are a little obtuse. Eventually, I got used to them but I definitely had to run through a couple battles before I felt comfortable. It's not a horrible learning curve, but compared to Warhawk, getting used to the controls was a bit of a chore at first. Once I got a grasp of the different commands I felt a lot more comfortable and was able to run around blasting stormtroopers and flying around with a jetpack with no problems. Unfortunately, ground vehicles such as the tank suffer from pretty bad control and in cramped areas can frequently cause the death of you. As such, I tended to avoid driving the land based vehicles.

Continue reading Star Wars Battlefront week: Colin's impressions

New Crisis Core video makes us very very jealous

GameVideos has a new clip of one of the gorgeously rendered cutscenes from the just-released Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core. In it, Zach stands outside a small village and argues with a way-too-pretty man who then busts out a Sepiroth-like single wing from his back and flies away into the sky. And then the village blows up. Yeah, we don't get it either but we neeeeds it.

With no solid American release date for Crisis Core yet, videos like this just make the wait all the more painful. Has anybody out there imported it? If so, how gaijin friendly is it?

Limited Edition FF VII PSP Slim causes huge lines in Japan

Wired's Chris Kohler is reporting that the just released Final Fantasy VII PSP Slim pack is causing long lines in Japan and he's got the photos to prove it. While initially it didn't appear that the lines were that long, when he picked up his ticket he found out he was 551 in line. After waiting around with a bunch of homeless guys, he was finally able to drop the 25,000 yen to pick up one of the coveted PSPs.

The limited edition package comes with Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, a special numbered PSP with artwork on the back by Tetsuya Nomura, Final Fantasy earbuds, and a Buster Sword cell phone strap. While he wasn't overly impressed with the package, it still seems like a pretty damn cool purchase to us. It will be interesting to see what the release of the limited edition PSP and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core will do to the weekly sales in Japan. It seems like it could pretty easily double the normal sales rate of the handheld there. Final Fantasy is magic like that.

[Via N4G]

Hot Shots Golf Portable 2 hits Japan this December

According to the guys at NeoGaf, Famitsu has announced that PSP gamers in Japan will be getting the first true sequel to Minna no Golf Portable (Hot Shots Golf) this December. The first game, released during the launch of the PSP in 2004 became one of the top sellers for the handheld and fans have been eagerly awaiting word of a sequel.

Minna no Golf Portable 2 sounds like it's adding a ton to the series, including 16 player (!) infrastructure support, 20 characters, 12 courses and a massive host of customization options for your avatar. While it's unlikely that this title will propel the PSP to the top of the weekly hardware sales chart, Japan loves themselves some Hot Shots Golf so it will most certainly sell a crap load of PSPs. No word on an American release yet, but you can pretty safely assume a spring 2008 release over here.

[Thanks Joe!]

German Castlevania trailer features boobies / human sacrifice

Gametrailers has a new German/Japanese trailer for Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles and it features some gratituous cleavage as well as a bit of the ol' virginal human sacrifice. The trailer appears to be the opening CG scene from the game and it looks appropriately gorgeous. It's only a couple more months until the game is released and vids like this don't make the wait any easier.

Valhalla Knights 2 coming to Japan in 2008

According to Famitsu, Marvelous Entertainment are developing Valhalla Knights 2, a sequel to the critically panned dungeon crawler that got released in America earlier this year. Though the game was known for its sharp graphics and good overall technical presentation, it got ripped for repetitive and punishing combat and a lack of any kind of real story.

Hopefully, Marvelous will address some of the complaints in the sequel, though it already sounds like they're going in the right direction. The game will have over 350 different pieces of armor and weapons for your characters, as well as 60 scenario quests and outdoor levels (which will hopefully break up the nonstop dungeon crawling). The title is scheduled to come out in Japan in 2008 with no American release mentioned.

[Update: First images of the game have surfaced at Jeux-France.]

PSP Slim Daxter Entertainment pack available immediately

In a surprise move, Sony has announced that the PSP Slim Daxter bundle is available right now. The package includes the silver PSP Slim, the greatest hits version of Daxter and the Family Guy Freakin' Sweet Collection UMD, a well as a 1 GB memory stick for $199.

The accessories such as additional AC adapters, the sexy video out cables, or the new headphone adapter will be released in the following weeks. Also the black PSP Slim solo PSP package will be released 'during September' with the white Star Wars Battlefront PSP Slim package coming in October. Big news, so who out there is gonna be the first person to pick up a new PSP and report back here?

[Update] According to commentors, the pack is available sporadically across the country. In the meantime, you can order it from Gamestop online right here. It is in stock and will ship today (or maybe tomorrow depending on their cut off time).

Press release after the jump.

Continue reading PSP Slim Daxter Entertainment pack available immediately

Dead Head Fred launch trailer shows-off zombie decapitations

The zombie action title Dead Head Fred was released last week and GameTrailers has a new trailer made just for the launch of the game. It starts off with a brief CG clip narrated by John McGinley and then breaks into an extended gameplay clip showing Fred what he does best -- ripping off other people's heads. The clip is a bit gory (what do you expect) -- but is a great primer for the game. Keep an eye out for a hands-on impression of the title as well as a full review in the next week or two.

Rezel Cross JPN trailer shows off Sony's latest action RPG

Sony is releasing a new PSP RPG in Japan next week titled Rezel Cross and GameTrailers has a trailer up for our perusal. It's billed as an Action RPG on the site, though it appears to have a standard turn-based combat system combined with some action elements tossed in to spice things up. Overall, the game looks pretty solid, but with no word on an American release date Rezel Cross looks like it will only be for the most hardcore of importers needing their RPG fix.

New Medal of Honor Heroes 2 screens looking fine

Gamespot UK has a new batch of Medal of Honor Heroes 2 screenshots showing off the standard WWII action the series is known for. The screens look pretty darn good for a PSP game, though the resolution they were released at is a little suspicious. Whenever a company releases screenshots at a much higher resolution than the system is capable of, its hard to tell if they're legitimate images or just another example of a 'bullshot'.

GoW: Chains of Olympus delayed until Q1 2008 [Update]

Fresh from Leipzig, Sony has announced a delay for their highly anticipated title, God of War: Chains of Olympus. Originally expected to ship before Christmas as part of the holiday rush, the title has been pushed back until early 2008. Annoyingly, this comes less than three weeks after Ready at Dawn confirmed that God of War was on track for a holiday release.

No reason was given for the delay, but if they need more time to polish up Kratos' newest adventure -- it's worth waiting a couple more months. Plus we get a demo in September to keep us happy anyway, so it won't be an entirely Spartan-free Christmas.

[Update: Ready at Dawn responds: "I'm not really sure where this is coming from since we have not announced a date for God of War: Chains of Olympus for the North American marketplace yet. So I would say this falls into the rumor and speculation category."]

Logan's Shadow author attending PAX -- get your swag signed

According to Sony's PlayStation.Blog, Greg Rucka, the author behind Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow will be attending the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) in Seattle, WA this weekend and will be signing specially designed Logan's Shadow comic book covers for fans.

Greg is a long time comic book and novel writer, so there's high hopes for the story in Logan's Shadow. If you're going to be up in Seattle this weekend visiting PAX, make sure to stop by booth #516 between the hours of 11:00am-12:30pm and 2:00pm-3:00pm and say hi. If you butter him up (or bribe him), just maybe he'll tell you some cool secrets about the game's story.

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