Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (PSP) – Review

cover Following on the success of the immensely popular Final Fantasy 7 and the various spin-offs and media from that work, Square Enix has turned to a portable spin-off for the PSP in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 that explores the character of Zack some years before the events in the main FF7 game.  While the game does try to standalone from knowledge of FF7, it is best appreciated with full awareness of the previous title.  The game itself is very well done and works perfectly as a PSP title, but some odd, though not game-breaking, design choices lead to the game being a lot easier than I believe the creators envisioned.

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LocoRoco 2 (PSP) – Review

cover LocoRoco 2 is the sequel to the popular LocoRoco game, does exactly what a sequel should do – it provides the same fun, if somewhat simple, gameplay with a few added twists which don’t detract from the game’s core entertainment value, keeping the strong presentation in graphics and music that also made the game what it is.  Studio Japan’s put out another great game that works perfectly on the PSP and should be a part of any PSP owner’s collection.

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Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology (PSP) – Initial Impressions

Played this for about 2 hours cumulative so far, and it’s pretty decent. It’s part of Namco’s Tales series, and actually is almost their take on Kingdom Hearts, in that the game involves all the characters from the past Tales games; I’ve certainly recognized those from Phantasia, Symphonia, Legendia, and the Abyss (with the last 3 retaining the same VAs from their games), and I’m sure there’s others I’ve not come across.

You play as a completely new character based on your specifications as to appearance, which allows you to develop him or her as you see fit. All the usual Tales mechanics are there: Artes and the Linear Battle System (though on a 3D map, so more like Symphonia and the Abyss), there’s cooking and other crafting skills, and the like. The game is structured by doing one quest at a time, with some quests necessary to progress the overall story. When you do a quest, you go to a field which you explore in a third-person, non-fixed camera view, fight and collect goodies. Some quests will have you work with another Tales characters or more, and while I’ve not gotten to that point, you can also hire characters for your party.

The PSP controls have yet to get in the way of the game – it plays perfectly fine.

So far, it’s a good addition to the series, and the incorporation of all the Tales games has yet to feel too out of place.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (PSP, PS2) – Review

Vice City Stories - CoverGrand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (VCS), developed by Rockstar North and Leeds, and distributed by Rockstar Games, is a prequel to the events in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, but adds several new features to the game to make it feel much less like an expansion pack that Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories did compared to Grand Theft Auto 3. The new features, in addition to a new soundtrack, returning voice actors, and Phil Collins (!), really help to make this game shine as a worth sequel to Vice City, and is highly recommended for anyone that is looking for some GTA action to tide them over prior to the release of Grand Theft Auto IV.

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Crush (PSP) – Review

Crush - CoverCrush, developed by Zoë Mode and distributed by Sega, is a platform puzzler for the Playstation Portable, and may be one of the most unique, challenging, and playable games for the system in a long time.   The game features the ability to “crush” a 3D level down into a 2D platformer, along the lines of Super Paper Mario but with many different elements and tactics that can be used.  It is not easy, but nor is it difficult nor unforgiving, and really makes for a great puzzle game for the PSP.

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Lumines II (PSP) – Review

Lumines II - CoverWith the success of Lumines as a launch title for the PSP last year, it was no surpise to see a follow up to the game, though surprisingly with the game out for XBox Live and soon for the PS3, it may seem a bit much Lumines overkill. Particularly with the fact that the core gameplay hasn’t changed, the only direction that Lumines can be taken is to add more “skins” and visual improves to the game. For the most part, that’s what Lumines II, developed by Q? Entertainment and distributed by Buena Vista Games, for the PSP offers; old skins have been included and redone, but the game features a lot more skins as well as licensed music from a variety of modern artists. Unfortunately, while the core game is still good, it doesn’t have the freshness that the first game had, and the inclusion of sort artists, over others, feels more like a way to push the music as opposed to selecting the best music for the game.

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Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PS2, PSP) – Review

Liberty City Stories Cover (PS2 version)Adapting the Grand Theft Auto games to the PSP seems like a no-brainer particularly to help boost the lagging sales of the portable console, just as Grand Theft Auto 3 was successful in boosting sales of the PS2. Certainly, one can expect certain concessions to be made to work within the limited PSP scheme, but with Liberty City Stories, developed by Rockstar’s Leeds and North divisions, and published by Rockstar games, there may have been too much made in the graphics department and too little in the controls. Furthermore, the game adds little new to what GTA3 provided, making the game feel like a rehash rather than a sequel.

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