The Sony PSP Launch Guide (Part 4)

Tiger Woods PGA TOUR

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Sports
Release: Launch Title

For those of you who feel the need to have a Tiger in your pocket have I got news for you! EA Sports is supporting the launch of Sony’s PSP in a big way, bringing many of it’s biggest guns to the party. One such gun is Tiger Woods PGA Tour. The game will consist of twelve courses, eight licensed and four made up. To play on those courses you will see twenty golfers from the past three Tiger games return, and this will include a few that were left out of the last game.

Game play modes will include Legends Tour, Legends Challenge (where you find yourself in difficult spots and work your way out of them), Party Play Mode where more than one person can play a round using the same PSP, and the hopefully soon to be renamed Bingo Bango Bongo mode, which is something of a target shooting mode that’s been sped up considerably. The game is going to be playable over Wi-Fi against another player, and stats will be kept. The more you play a certain player the more stats will appear.

Consider this one for those days when you’re earning tuition by carrying your dad’s golf bag and waiting for him to finish lining up his shot.

– Michael O’Reilly

Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 Remix

Publisher: Activision
Genre: Alternative Sports
Release: Launch Title

The Tony Hawk series is probably the best fit for a portable console, as the franchise has always been about killing some time trying to get a particular level done. In recent years the developers at Activision have tried many different ways to keep the gameplay fresh, and have succeeded. Now they face their biggest challenge, to transfer Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 in it’s entirety to the PSP. Have they succeeded? Here’s what you’ll find when you pick it up to find out:

The game is going to have the entire soundtrack from the PS2 version of the game. It’s also going to have wireless multiplayer using the PSPs Wi-Fi abilities. The graphics in game are going to look almost on par with those found on the Playstation 2, making THUG2 Remix one of the first games to show off the PSP’s true power. Remix will have 4 totally new city levels, including Santa Cruz, Atlanta, Kyoto and Las Vegas.

Two single player modes will be available, world tour and classic mode. World tour mode will be the story mode of the game, giving you the choice of competing for Tony Hawk or Bam Margera in a series of events all over the world. Classic mode takes players back to the days of 2 minute skate runs to complete objectives like collecting the letters S,K,A,T,E which really helped to make the series such a fantastic time waster.

Look for this one to be keeping a lot of injured skaters busy in hospital rooms nationwide shortly after the release.

– Michael O’Reilly

Twisted Metal: Head On

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Genre: Driving
Release: Launch Title

Single player mode will possess three submodes, story mode, challenge mode and endurance mode. Multiplayer mode will make use of Wi-Fi for local competition against up to 7 other players, as well as across the nation with the help of Wi-Fi Internet hot spots. There are 18 announced stages, but with this series there has always been secret areas for extra carnage so be on the look out for more.

As for whom you’ll be blowing up, the 10 initially selectable characters include Sweet Tooth, Roadkill, Shadow, Mr. Grimm, Thumper, Spectre, Twister, Outlaw, Grasshopper, and Warthog. Other reports indicate another 4 characters which haven’t been revealed at this time, so its possible these are the boss characters, and as Head On is in many ways a direct sequel to Twisted Metal 2 and all of it’s story lines, you may find yourself coming face to face with Minion once again …and maybe even Dark Tooth.

This one will probably work best on that school trip to the box factory, or on the long drive home with your probation officer.

– Michael O’Reilly

Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade

Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Genre: Action-RPG
Release: Launch Title

UL is the first Baldur’s Gate style hack and slash top- down view action RPG to hit the PSP. What seems to be the selling point of the whole endeavor is the way in which everyone’s path through the game is completely different. There are only four classes, but the character creation scheme seems to be loaded with enough special features to keep the average gamer happy. After creating you character you can go through randomly generated dungeons and hack and slash to you twisted little heart’s content. Of course, you could use UL’s wireless four player multiplayer and have insane monster killing fun time, but that is purely up to you and the (theoretical) three friends with PSPs you have. Best of all, there are no phallic chainsaw out of their forehead androids, thus making Untold Legends seven million times better than Rengoku.

– Chuck Platt

Wipeout Pure

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Genre: Racing
Release: Launch Title

The Wipeout series hasn’t seen an upgrade in over two years since its last entry on the PS2. But for the PSP launch, the franchise looks to be coming back in a big way with Wipeout: Pure.

For those who’ve never played it, the Wipeout series is a futuristic racing game where hovercrafts engage in weapons-based combat on roller coaster-like tracks, all at breakneck speeds. (Think F-Zero with weapons.) For the PSP’s first outing, the game looks to be no slouch in any of its features.

To begin with, the game looks friggin’ incredible. If the screenshots are any indication, the vehicles and environments will be extremely detailed and vibrant on the PSP screen. And from the looks of things, every track will contain different visual features, such as day, night, rain, snow, and others. The game will also contain a hefty sound track of over 20 songs. You’ll even be able to customize the play list to your liking (not by adding your own music, though).

An interesting gameplay item lies in the difficulty. By changing the difficulty setting (there are five total), you’ll be able to control the maximum speed. If you’re new to the game, you can take it slow with the easy settings, but as you get better, set it higher and blaze through the tracks! There should be many tracks to fly through, as the main gameplay has you going through several four-race tournaments in various circuits. There are also at least eight different vehicle types to choose from, each with different stats and the like.

Still though, things might get a little stale a few weeks after the launch if you’ve played this thing to death, right? Wrong. There are reports that there will be brand new downloadable content available at a later date, ranging from new tracks and vehicles to new menu skins. (There are several menu skins to choose between already.) But even if we have to wait awhile for extra downloads, this looks to be an awesome racer out of the gate.

– Alex Williams

World Tour Soccer

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Genre: Sports
Release: Launch Title

Taking a different approach to The Beautiful Game is London Studio’s PSP footy effort, World Soccer Tour. Lacking the brand-name reputation of FIFA, what does this upstart have to offer?

Plenty, it would seem. For starters, this is the first football game to have a mode which actively rewards you according to how stylishly you play. Grinding out boring 1-0 wins might do you well in the league, but you need smooth, flowing plays, lots of skillful technique, and a nice clean disciplinary record if you’re going to get enough points to unlock the good stuff. Yes, that’s right. It’s a football game based around unlocking new teams and suchlike. And, by all reports, it’s a refreshing change of pace. You take your initial team, do well, win medals to unlock things, then go off into Challenge Mode (not to be confused with FIFA’s Challenge mode, it would appear), were you’ll find the aforementioned scoring system. Get big point totals, win more medals, unlock even more things, all based off your sheer playing technique. Perhaps not for everyone, but it’s a rare thing to see ANY form of innovation in sports games these days, so it has to be welcomed. And whilst some might complain about the lock-outs, others will appreciate the challenge of having something to aim for.

Of course, WTS is lacking the Official Licenses that EA’s game has. However, that never stopped Konami from bringing out footballing majesty with each new installment of its Perfect Eleven (aka International Superstar Soccer, Pro Evolution Soccer, et al) franchise. And any game which features a “deliberate dive” button that allows your player to try and win free kicks by way of classic Premiership theatricals *has* to be worthy of deep consideration.

– Misha



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