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PSP Fanboy hands-on: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

The Kingdom Hearts series was first born on the PlayStation 2; however, it has gone and spread its wings into other realms since then and now it carries a new bundle of joy in the form of portable PSP title Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. While the title radically takes the story aspect of the game farther away from the original setting with Sora and friends, this new game will focus on the three (slightly) new faces pictured above (from left: Aqua, Ventus and Tera).

Birth by Sleep was indeed playable on the show floor at TGS and we sunk in some time with the title. The playable build that was available let us try out both Ventus and Tera in battle. We decided to just go with trying out Tera's abilities and then go straight into the action. Tera's level starts off in a forest area which gets you into a fight right away. Kingdom Hearts vets will notice that the controls are incredibly familiar; they're nearly identical to the original console games from the past, though with slight differences due to the change in input interface (ie, shoulder buttons once again control the camera since there are no dual analog nubs).

Gallery: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Continue reading PSP Fanboy hands-on: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

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.

PSP Fanboy hands-on: Dissidia: Final Fantasy

Dissidia: Final Fantasy has been a title we've been keeping an eye on a lot lately, and hence, it's one of the first games we decided to see out on the Tokyo Game Show floor. We moseyed on over to Sony's booth to get in a quick session before going at it again and taking in another short round over at Square Enix proper. Five characters were available to play: Firionel, Tidus, Squall, Warrior of Light, and Zidane. We decided to try out different characters for each play session and tested out the skills of Squall and Tidus.

The overall battle system is rather easy to pick up; attacking with the square button deals the amount of damage currently in your "Brave" gauge while attacking with the circle button drains your enemy's Brave, replenishing your own and then eventually putting enemies into a "Break" state as you can see here in these videos. Now while the general concept of the game's battle system is easy to grasp, mastering the play style of the individual characters is another story. After having played as both Squall and Tidus for a solid amount of time, we noticed that neither character played like the other. Even though their special moves use the same button inputs, they move and attack completely different.

Gallery: Final Fantasy Dissidia

Continue reading PSP Fanboy hands-on: Dissidia: Final Fantasy

TGS 08: Custom robots attack in Level-5 RPG

Danbol Senki (aka Cardboard War Machine) is a PSP RPG that allows kids to build custom robots and battle them in a virtual arena. The art looks strangely reminiscent of another PSP game ... Jeanne d'Arc. The kids will probably want to look out for this one.

TGS08: Level-5's Ushiro is amazing

Level-5's Tokyo Game Show booth featured a Closed Theater presentation (much like their competitor, Square Enix). However, unlike the other JRPG overlord, Level-5 encouraged us to actually let you watch these trailers as well by endowing us with a DVD (courtesy of booth girl). Our favorite trailer of the three new games unveiled at TGS this year is for PSP: Ushiro, a horror-themed RPG that has you playing a ghost haunting his darling (in a not-so-Patrick Swazey way).

TGS 08: Terra and Cloud confirmed for Dissidia, roster now complete

After having watched a Dissidia: Final Fantasy trailer in Square Enix's Closed Mega Theater, the final two characters (heroes for Final Fantasies VI and VII) are confirmed to be Terra and Cloud. Gameplay footage was seen for both characters dueling against their respective arch nemesis. Cloud retains his classic look, while Terra dons a more child-like face and better resembles her original Amano design (blonde hair).

With Bartz and Ex-Death confirmed recently, that makes the entire 20 heroes and villains roster complete. Check back with us later, we'll have some more on Dissidia including full hands-on here at PSP Fanboy and full Square Enix Closed Theater impressions over on Joystiq. So keep an eye on both.

TGS 08: PSP Plus adds DualShock 3 controller functionality

The upcoming PSP game will utilize a newly developed technology called "PSP Plus." The feature will allow players of Resistance Retribution to connect their systems to the PS3 to enable use of PS3 wireless controllers. Using the DualShock will enable dual-analog control in the game. In addition, rumble will be supported. This potential use of connectivity was hinted at in a patent filed over a year ago.

Other games may be able to potentially utilize PSP Plus -- however, it is currently a Retribution-only tech. Stay tuned as we reveal the exciting additions connecting PS3's Resistance 2 and PSP's Resistance Retribution will bring.

Welcome to Tokyo Game Show!

Hey PS Fanboy readers! Long time no see! I'm taking a rare opportunity here to talk to you in first-person. I've been off on an Asian excursion -- here, you'll see I visited the Kyoto offices of Q-Games, the team behind the PixelJunk series.

While we can't say what we saw (not yet!), we wanted to give you a heads-up to our Tokyo Game Show coverage ... which starts in just a few hours! Here's just a slight preview of our coverage plans (all times in Japan time):

Wednesday (10/8)
  • SCEA/SCEE cocktail
    Last year's cocktail had a few surprise games. What will we find this year?
Thursday (10/9)
  • Preview: Capcom
  • Hands-on/Interview: Patapon 2
  • Hands-on/Interview: LocoRoco 2
  • Preview: inFamous
  • 12PM - Platinum Games presentation
  • Preview: Tecmo
  • Preview: Ryu ga Gotoku 3
  • 2PM - Koei press conference
  • Hands-on: Resistance Retribution
  • Interviews: Tecmo
  • Interview: Sonic Unleashed, Sega
  • 3:30PM - XSEED/Marvelous press conference

Continue reading Welcome to Tokyo Game Show!

Namco's TGS line-up includes six PSP titles

If you regularly read this blog, then the following Namco line-up shouldn't be all that new. Namco is bringing six titles to show; these are namely: Idolmaster SP Perfect Sun, Idolmaster SP Wandering Star, Idolmaster SP Missing Moon, Macross Ace Frontier, Mobile Suit Gundam vs. Gundam and last but not least Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2.

See what we mean? You've probably heard about all these before in the past few months. There doesn't seem to be any new announcements on the table -- which, we must say, is just fine. Though, it would've been way more exciting if there was some mysterious project being worked on ... something like this morning's unannounced Sony games.

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.

What's playable, and what's not, at Square Enix's TGS booth

2008 looks to be yet another excellent year for Tokyo Game Show. There's a lot of excitement over the potential surprises at the show. Square Enix has posted its lineup for this year's show, and we're a little saddened to see Final Fantasy XIII (PS3) still not playable. At the very least, we'll be getting some one-on-one time with Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PSP). Check out the full PlayStation list here:

We're expecting many of these trailers will be shown behind closed doors. Fear not, though. We'll provide detailed impressions of the trailers live from Tokyo next month.

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