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E3 Round-up: Best of show

E3 is officially over, and PSP Fanboy is now resuming regular coverage of the top PSP news every day. Before we say adieu to the Media & Business Summit, we wanted to wrap up all our coverage of E3 in one handy place. Check it out:

Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles
God of War: Chains of Olympus
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Heroes
Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice
Silent Hill Origins
Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow
Wipeout Pulse

Added RAM makes PSP games load faster
Destroy All Humans gets a Big Willy on PSP
Hands-on with the new PSP
NCsoft plans "online experiences" for PSP
Original PSP to be phased out
PSP firmware 3.60 reveals hidden USB Charge feature
PSP redesign revealed: Lighter, slimmer, lasts longer
PSP Slim Lite boxart revealed
The truth about PSP Lite's battery life

SOCOM: Tactical Strike

SWAT: Target Liberty

It's pretty clear that PSP had a fantastic showing at E3. Beyond the redesigned system, there were a handful of truly excellent games. In fact, almost every PSP game we played at the show was excellent. But ... which game do we deem "Game of the Show"? Well, you'll have to read on for that ...

Continue reading E3 Round-up: Best of show

New SOCOM: Tactical Strike screens may be too beautiful

Unfortunately, there were a couple of games to slip past us at E3 this year, and SOCOM: Tactical Strike was one of them. Looking at these new screenshots, we have to admit that we regret that mistake. These are stunning screenshots, and this one in particular gets us quite moved. Hopefully, we'll atone our sins soon ... and get hands-on impressions the second we get a preview build of the game.

Gallery: SOCOM Tactical Strike

Hands-on: Wipeout Pulse

Franchises rarely improve this much over time. Wipeout Pulse, the newest addition to the long revered Wipeout series, somehow manages to improve upon the already-sublime PSP launch title, Wipeout Pure. It isn't a revolutionary change from previous iterations -- but significant tweaks can be immediately noticed within a few seconds of play.

Of most importance must be the game's altered controls. Ships handle tighter than ever before, something that casual gamers will certainly appreciate. Using the analog nub feels even more precise than before (although we still prefer driving with the D-Pad). Ships still can't do hairpin turns like in F-Zero GX, but the Wipeout series always did have a different flavor than Nintendo's racing classic.

The updated HUD looks sleek -- we love seeing it shake every time we scratch the car. Weapons feel even better in Pulse: they feel more damaging, and look especially good. The ability to absorb power-ups returns, which adds a welcome layer of strategy to each of the races.

Pulse adds custom soundtracks, Infrastructure gameplay, and an in-game photo capture tool to make this one of PSP's most features-packed games yet. Pure still looks incredible on PSP ... and somehow Pulse looks even better. Futuristic racing fans will find almost nothing to complain about: Pulse is easily on its way to becoming the definitive Wipeout experience.

Gallery: Wipeout Pulse

Hands-on: Syphon Filter Logan's Shadow

Has there ever been a better time to be a portable gamer? Nintendo DS owners are blessed with an incredible lineup of unique software, and PSP owners are finally getting games that are delivering on the system's promise of bringing console-quality gaming on the go. Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow expands upon the excellent Dark Mirror with a plethora of gameplay improvements that make it one of the most exciting games for Sony's handheld. It's rare to see a handheld game dare to do so much ... and succeed.

Logan's Shadow has a lot to showcase, and does a fantastic job presenting all it has to offer. The game begins with a fully voice cinematic that already reeks of international politics and betrayal. We loved the writing, and were even more impressed by the incredible voice acting. Afterwards, Logan can be found, manning a minigun in a helicopter. This on-rails segment adds a nice cinematic touch to the game, while having players adjust to the PSP's analog nub. Once on the ground, players will have to take out enemies by brute force.

We were surprised to see the incredible variety of moves that Logan has at his disposal. We were easily able to duck for cover, and start blind-firing at enemies. Much to our joy, we saw enemies also taking cover, trying to intelligently move. Of course, this being a video game, there were conveniently located explosive barrels that helped our fight considerably. Eventually, we were able to get close to an enemy, disarm him, and use him as a body shield. The button commands were easy, and made Logan feel like an appropriately lethal killer. Scattered throughout the levels were quick time events, which have the player pressing on-screen commands, a la God of War. These sequences simply break up the action, and help the game's pacing.

Logan's Shadow is an impressive game that features great graphics, and great gameplay. (Although, this game makes us long for a second analog stick!) Regardless, Logan's Shadow offers a truly compelling gaming experience for portable gamers that will make console owners jealous.

Gallery: Syphon Filter: Logan's Shadow

Hands-on: Pursuit Force Extreme Justice

Did we really need another Pursuit Force? The PSP original took a novel approach with action movie-styled gaming. As a member of the Pursuit Force, players had to jump from vehicle to vehicle, apprehending gang members along the way. It was an interesting experience, but the gameplay eventually ran thin.

Extreme Justice marks the return of the Pursuit Force series, and it plays almost identically to its predecessors. In fact, it's a little too familiar for our tastes. The game begins with a CG intro, where a wedding gets crashed by a couple of rowdy gang thugs. The chief, and the newly expanded Pursuit Force team, get ready to jump into action.

The gameplay is still reduced to madly holding down the R trigger to shoot at your opponents. Although there are new vehicles to commandeer, the differences are simply cosmetic. We were also surprised by the graphics. Although the game looks sharper overall, we were surprised to see tearing and other graphical glitches plague the early build we played -- the overall effect is a game that looks sloppier than the first.

Pursuit Force Extreme Justice should be, at the very least, an entertaining excursion for those that missed the first game. However, we've seen very little new in Extreme Justice to justify a return visit for series vets.

Gallery: Pursuit Force Extreme Justice

Hands-on: Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes

Any anime fan that's played CyberConnect's Ultimate Ninja series on PlayStation 2 will find themselves instantly familiar with the upcoming PSP Ultimate Ninja Heroes. This PSP-exclusive Naruto game transplants the fighting engine of its PS2 cousin in a game that's not quite a sequel, yet not quite a remake.

For a PSP game, it certainly impresses. The cel-shaded graphics look quite remarkable on the PSP's smaller screen. Since the PS2 original didn't use the analog sticks for fighting, the controls have translated quite well on the portable. We were really surprised by the game's quick load times, which lasted for only a few seconds. In fact, we'd surmise that the game loads much faster than its PS2 counterpart.

Although the fighting engine in the Ultimate Ninja series has never been celebrated for its depth, it does faithfully recreate the battles found throughout the Naruto series. Quick dodging, counters, and special moves are key to victory, and the PSP version is no different. We don't know if we were doing something wrong, but we found that the Chakra-based special attacks were limited in the PSP edition. While in the PS2 versions, each character could have up to 4 different attacks, we only saw one. Also, the "tag team" element of the game doesn't involve active switching of characters. Rather, each team of three sends out a single fighter, and when a character gets KO'ed, the next character in the roster jumps in. To be honest, we were hoping for more team-based gameplay.

Overall, we were impressed by Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes. It offers a solid fighting engine that's faithful to the anime, and its quick load times, large character roster, and use of Game Sharing, make it potentially the best anime licensed fighter on the system.

Gallery: Naruto Ultimate Ninja Heroes

LocoRoco fans may fall in love with Patapon

Patapon looks very early from the above video, but what's already there is certainly smile worthy. The visuals look like an animation that you'd see at an indie festival. It's obvious that music will play a big role in the title as well, even though it has yet to be scored. From the video it's very unclear how the game plays, but even with the little we do know about Patapon, we already want to play it.

[Thanks Krelian!]

Hands-on: God of War: Chains of Olympus

September can't come soon enough. That's when the public will be able to get their hands on the incredible God of War: Chains of Olympus demo that we got to play at E3. The game is everything a God of War fan could possible want: beautiful, gory, and utterly exhilarating.

The controls are incredible intuitive, and it was within mere seconds that we were able to start pulling off combos and dodges with relative ease. Kratos' basic moves return unchanged, but there are a few new special attacks, exclusive for the PSP edition. We were surprised to see the dodge return, in spite of the second analog stick. In order to jump out of an enemy's way, pressing down on both shoulder buttons whilst using the analog nub will allow Kratos to jump away. It's surprisingly intuitive and easy to use.

It should go without saying that the game is beautiful, taking advantage of all 333MHz the system has to offer. It is everything a PS2 God of War game should be ... but on a handheld. And knowing Ready at Dawn, we knew they'd be able to pull it off.

Gallery: God of War: Chains of Olympus

Saturday PSP background explosion E3 edition

Every week, PSP Fanboy brings you new backgrounds to beautify your PSP. Remember, you can save these images directly to your PSP by accessing the site wireless at This week we have an E3 themed background explosion. So if you're still coming off an E3 buzz, these should help keep you company. If you already requested a background and it hasn't appeared, check the archive. It may have been previously created. Keep reading to see this week's background collection.

Backgrounds after the jump ...

New for PSP: Get selected wallpapers delivered automatically to your PSP via our new RSS feed.

Continue reading Saturday PSP background explosion E3 edition

Original PSP to be phased out

Much like Sony is phasing out the 60 Gig PS3, so too will go the original PSP. Sony PR, Patrick Seybold had this to say: "The newly designed PSP wil replace the original PSP design starting in September with the $169.99 PSP Core Pack and the $199.99 Daxter PSP Entertainment Pack." So if for some reason you like your handhelds with more bulk and less capabilities, quickly go out, and buy the original PSP while supplies last.

[Via IGN]

Hands-on Silent Hill Origins

Silent Hill Origins is supernaturally beautiful. Simply analyze the picture above and note its fantastic lighting and shadows. Note the reflection in the mirror, and then be awed that this happening in real-time ... on the PSP. Silent Hill Origins is shaping up to be the best looking PSP title to date, with its great character designs, atmospheric special effects, and (as noted) the impeccable lighting.

Although the Silent Hill franchise has never really strayed far from the consoles, this handheld version is shaping up to be just as good as any other iteration of the series. Travis must navigate some beautifully creepy worlds, and fight some truly terrifying creatures. He can pick up weapons and items in the environment and use them against the ghastly denizens of Silent Hill. Controls in the game were intuitive and solid. Travis moved easily through the environment, although we found ourselves having a bit of trouble exploring the level as thoroughly as possible, trying to find all the clues.

Battle is a relatively simple affair, as Travis can easily target enemies with R. His attacks, and most importantly, finishing moves, vary greatly, depending on the weapon he's holding. Players must be resilient, though: if enemies get too close, Travis will have to do a series of button presses to escape close quarters combat. Also, Travis will want to keep a close eye on his weapons, as they degrade (quite quickly) over time. All weapons will break eventually, and Travis will want to make sure th

Gallery: Silent Hill Origins

Continue reading Hands-on Silent Hill Origins

Brand new Hellboy screens from E3

We'll be honest. We weren't impressed by Hellboy. Although Konami promises the PSP version will feature enhancements over the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, we can't say the uninspired gameplay will convert any new fans. At least it doesn't look too bad:

Gallery: Hellboy

PSP firmware 3.60 reveals hidden USB Charge feature

We got our hands on a fully functional redesigned PSP, and we immediately grabbed pictures of the firmware that was installed on the system. Currently unreleased, version 3.60 was installed on the system. All of the features that are available in 3.60 will not work on the old PSP system, and it's unclear whether or not an older PSP system will even display the features found in this update.

Check after the cut to see the screens.

Continue reading PSP firmware 3.60 reveals hidden USB Charge feature

Added RAM makes PSP games load faster

The redesigned PSP makes games load faster. But, how? In a private demonstration with Joystiq, John Koller explained that the new PSP includes more than just good looks. The redesigned system also includes more RAM, which is used to increase the load speed of upcoming PSP titles. In addition, the system has much more efficient battery life. Koller promised between 8 to 10 hours of battery life in the new system, a seeming impossibility when remembering the original design.

See also:
Joystiq hands-on with the new PSP

Hands-on with the new PSP

We spent some alone time with the newly announced PSP redesign. At first glance, the system appears to be identical to the original system, but getting our hands on the system revealed that this is, in fact, a significant upgrade to the original. The most immediate thing we noticed was how light the system is: the original was in no ways heavy, but the new handheld is certainly much lighter, without making it too feathery.

The glossy new finish of the redesigned PSP is very attractive, although we're afraid that it might attract fingerprints much more easily than the already susceptible original. Regardless, the shiny new sheen makes the system makes the original look dull in comparison.

Continue reading Hands-on with the new PSP

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