The Sony PSP Launch Guide (Part 3)

NBA Street Showdown

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Sports
Release: 04/25/05

If you haven’t gotten enough of NBA Street after playing Volume 3, get ready for NBA Street Showdown for the PSP! EA Promises to deliver the same arcade-style action games have grown accustomed to on console versions, with a few extras to keep fans satisfied.

The NBA Street series has always been best enjoyed in multi-player mode, and EA has made sure that this trend continues on the PSP as well. The game features the Wireless head-to-head play we’d expect a top-notch game for the PSP to have; in addition, the game has two “party modes” (Shot Blocker and Arcade Shootout) which can be played by up to four players on only one PSP.

Screenshots of the game showcase a closer-than-ever perspective of the action which takes advantage of the PSP’s widescreen capabilities. With the extra game modes and enhanced sightlines, NBA Street Showdown is sure to be a hit once it’s released in late April.

– Bryan Berg

Need for Speed Underground Rivals

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Racing
Release: Launch Title

Kids who bring along their PSP’s for car rides with Mom and Dad will actually be able to do a little driving of their own thanks to Need For Speed Underground Rivals, which will be available at launch time. This version of the popular series features a total of twenty cars and ten tracks, ensuring a good deal of replay value for those playing alone.

Gamers who have friends will appreciate EA’s efforts to integrate multi-player mode into Rivals. The game has a two-player mode through wireless connectivity, and a Party mode featuring eight different mini-games that can be played by multiple players on one PSP. The one-player mode is no slouch either, with color-coded turns, a Pocket Garage mode that allows gamers to fine-tune their cars in great detail, and tons more.

Need For Speed Underground Rivals packs quite a punch for a portable game. The game will be available when the PSP is available, so rev your engines up and get ready for some speed!

– Bryan Berg

NFL Street 2 Unleashed

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Sports
Release: Launch Title

After Electronic Arts released two versions of NFL Street in 2004, it would be understandable if the series was put on the shelf for a while. However, EA has other ideas, releasing NFL Street 2 Unleashed for the PSP’s launch. And if you’re looking to get your portable football on, this one’s going to be the game to get.

Why? Because EA decided to put out Unleashed to launch the PSP instead of a version of Madden. This not only saves the Madden cash cow for later, but highlights the arcade style of NFL Street in a time of year where the only football available is of the Arena variety. Those who like high scoring will fall for Unleashed in a big way.

While the game mode in Unleashed is similar to the NFL Street games for the home consoles, the portable version has an emphasis on mini-games tailored specifically for those on the go. If you don’t have time to play a full game, you can go with the Two-Minute Drill. Play four-on-four if you just want to score a whole lot of points without paying any mind to defense. Or if you’re feeling really crazy, go for the Style Stand-Off, an end zone dancing contest. With the mini-games available, NFL Street 2 Unleashed will certainly appeal to those short in either attention span or gaming time.

And football fans haven’t totally been forgotten about (well, fans of defensive football have been), as the PSP’s widescreen monitor allows for a better view of the line of scrimmage. This means the odds of your QB getting blindsided are significantly decreased. You’ll get better field vision for your outside runs, and you’ll be able to score even more! How’s that for excitement?

While some might say that EA’s trying a bit hard to drive the NFL Street engine down the throats of gamers, the company is showing a lot of faith in the franchise by allowing it to be the launch football game of the PSP. It’ll be available at launch, and its mini-games will intrigue those who are familiar with previous version of the franchise and newcomers alike.

– Bryan Berg

Rengoku: Tower of Purgatory

Publisher: Konami
Genre: Action
Release: 04/14/05

Rengoku looks to be Konami’s effort to dominate the arch-competitive world of games with androids that pop weapons out of their heads like erections. This genre maybe cutthroat, but that doesn’t stop Konami from dominating. Rengoku is a 3-D action game with RPG elements that looks to be a bastard love child between SEGA’s awesome and underrated GunGrave games and Konami’s own Castlevania. Plot wise, all I can deduce from the opening sequence is that phallic weapon sprouting from their head robots hate wearing clothing and love to shoot at one another. Surely the protagonist is either in the not what he seems and has unique parentage granting him awesome powers or the quietly deadly Chester Elegante type. Either way, if you want the only game with a robot sporting some serious forehead chainsaw wood, then check out Rengoku.

– Chuck Platt

Ridge Racer

Publisher: Namco
Genre: Racing
Release: Launch Title

A new Sony game system can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. One thing you can count on to happen without fail is a Ridge Racer game being released either along side the system or very soon after.

This game looks pretty. It sounds pretty. When you open the box I’m guessing it’s going to smell pretty. In my opinion it’s a perfect release game for the PSP.

Fans of the series aren’t going to be surprised by many things. The gameplay is essentially the same as the last Ridge Racer game. You get yourself a car and you get yourself a place to race. You can save after every race which is nice touch. (Though an essential one for a handheld) Every series that you complete will unlock new cars and new tracks. The difference in the handling of the different cars is next to nil however. Later cars are much faster than their predecessors but that’s about it. The majority of the “new” tracks aren’t all that new either. The game opens and closes different areas of their tracks so half the new track will be the same patch of road as the last track.

The biggest draw to this game aside from the graphics and gameplay however is the multiplayer mode. Up to four players can race at the same time. Multiplayer is something that PSP has been really pushing and might actually make a difference in the upcoming PSP/DS war that we’re going to see.

Fans and noobs alike are going to be very impressed with this game. Nothing new or innovative here but when you already have a great game, who needs to make changes?

– Philippe

Spider-Man 2

Publisher: Activision
Genre: Action
Release: Launch Title

Spider-Man 2 on the consoles was a huge leap forward for superhero games, giving you control of a hero in his element, in this case Spidey as he patrolled the faithfully recreated island of Manhattan. For the PSP game though, the developers have decided to go back to what worked so well in the first Spider-man movie game, which was a more structured game. You can expect to see some familiar faces from Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, including Mysterio, Rhino, Shocker and new for the PSP version, Vulture. Of course Doc Ock will be in the game as well, since the game is based on the second movie. And to fight those dastardly villains you will have a mixture of combos involving fists feet and webs.

While the developers have removed the free roaming element of Spider-Man 2, there will be times when you are outside and have to web-swing from one place to another, and while in the air you’ll have many of the moves that were added to the second game, like the aerial double jump. For voice work Tobey Maguire is back, no Kirsten Dunst though.

Looks like Spider-Man 2 for the PSP could be the game that it would have been on the PS2 and X-Box had the developers not played Grand Theft Auto and wondered what if.

– Michael O’Reilly



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