Staff Reminisces on PlayStation Memories

PlayStation 4 Announcement Logo

We are only hours away from Sony’s highly anticipated conference, as they most certainly prep up the reveal of the PlayStation 4. If you’ve been on Twitter at all today, you may have noticed that “PlayStationMemory” is trending, as well as “PS4”. In preparation of this event, the staff at Gamers Xtreme have decided to share a few of their PlayStation Memories.

Glacier928:

  • Playing the snow level of Jet Moto and being blown away with it back in the day on PS1.
  • Playing through Dino Crisis 2 and Driver 2 with my cousin on the PS1.
  • Experiencing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 and really getting into the extreme sports genre. Countless hours were spent playing that game with friends.
  • Experiencing a whole new level immersion with Metal Gear Solid. Checking the back of the game case to find Meryl’s codec and switching controller ports against Psycho Mantis was absolutely unique.
  • Getting into the Resident Evil franchise upon playing RE3: Nemesis
  • Borrowing my friend’s PS1 to play Tomb Raider II.
  • Rushing home from high school to play Shinobi on PS2…hard as hell game but loved it!
  • Playing a demo of the original Devil May Cry and thinking how I needed a PS2 ASAP.
  • Playing Resident Evil: Code Veronica X on the PS2 with my brother until 2am.
  • Playing SSX 3 for over 6 months straight until I got 100% completion with every character.
  • Rushing home from class to fire up God of War II and be beyond impressed at the scale of the game.
  • Buying a PSP just to get Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters.
  • Getting my 60GB PS3 when it dropped to $499 with Resistance: Fall of Man and Ninja Gaiden Sigma.
  • Playing Uncharted 2 and thinking no game would compete with the perfection it is.

MJA42X:

  • Buying a PS2 after playing and being impressed by Spyhunter.
  • Playing SSX Tricky for months in order to beat all of its challenges.
  • Experiencing GTA3 for the very first time, and loving the idea of sandbox gameplay.
  • Playing top notch exclusives such as God of War, Ratchet, Jak, and Sly Cooper.
  • Purchasing a PS3 and being blown away by the graphics and gameplay of resistance and motorstorm. It was the perfect use of my stereo surround.
  • The addition of downloadable titles on PSN, which brought back inventive and original 2d platforming games.
  • Playing Sports Champions during parties and people commenting on the colored lights from the Move controllers.
  • The controller port change in MGS. One of the craftiest ways to defeat a boss ever made.

R17:

  • Racing to KB Toys to purchase a PS One and getting mortal Kombat Trilogy as my very first PlayStation game.
  • Playing the entire Syphon Filter franchise (1-3) on one system was a thrill.
  • Experiencing Resident Evil 2 for the first time changed my view on gaming forever.
  • Using my PlayStation to listen to music CDs through my TV Speakers was fascinating to me!
  • Playing Driver with a Mad Katz steering wheel and pedals accessory on the PS One was a thrill.
  • Spending hours trying to beat Sweet Tooth in Twisted Metal 2.
  • Ripping open the package of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on Christmas Morning ’99 and starting it up on my PlayStation.
  • Seeing Silent Hill for the first time was an unforgettable and horrifying experience, in a good way.
  • Searching the entire Tristate area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut for the Playstation 2.
  • Playing The Bouncer as my first PS2 game.
  • First hearing about, then finally playing, Grand Theft Auto 3 and Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
  • The excitement and rush of seeing the very first teaser trailer on the internet for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
  • Playing a Metal Gear Solid game for the very first time, MGS3: Snake Eater.
  • The amazement of being able to watch DVD’s through my PS2!
  • The best start up a SONY console ever had, the Playstation 2 opening sounds and video.

Argus9:

  • Waiting at the mailroom for my PS3 to arrive, and getting a grin across my face after receiving it.
  • Being absolutely blown away by the quality of gameplay and presentation of Uncharted 3, my first PS3 game ever. Never before have I had the experience of “playing a movie” before U3.
  • Buying a PSP and being impressed with having a full multimedia experience in my pocket. Before I had a smartphone, I had my PSP.
  • Playing Final Fantasy Tactics on my PSP into the wee hours of the night – and using it as an ice breaker when meeting my girlfriend of 3 years for the first time. (That’s right boys – video games CAN help you meet girls!)
  • “Fight Night” with my college buddies in my hall – loading up fighting games and facing off round – robin style on our PS3s.
  • Waiting anxiously every Tuesday night for the Playstation store to update so I can see what’s on offer for Plus members each week.

Any memories you’d like to share? Sound off your PlayStation Memories in the comments below!

Rumor: PlayStation Plus Receiving Multiple Tier Subscriptions?

Sony has recently been having surveys filled out toward their optional subscription based service, PlayStation Plus. The survey has people filling out sections pertaining to three different service tiers. The more money invested in the service, the more free games you’ll get, the higher quality titles you’ll receive and possibly even a free subscription to Call of Duty Elite. Depending on the tier level you subscribe to may affect how frequent you’ll receive extra content.

When contacted, this was Sony response:

“We have nothing specific to announce at this time, but PlayStation Plus continues to delight gamers with free games, huge discounts and exclusive gaming features that can’t be found on other platforms.”

Chances are we’ll hear about this multiple tier subscription model at Sony’s E3 Press Conference on June 4th. They announced PlayStation Plus back at 2010’s E3 Conference so it’s not a stretch to imagine the same will happen here.

What do you guys think? Is it a good idea to implement multiple tiers or are you worried that it might affect our current subscription model? Sound off in the comments below!

[Source – IGN]

The Legend of Dragoon Finally Coming to PSN in North America

The original PlayStation was notorious for their numerous and classic RPG titles. While Final Fantasy is the most common franchise of the genre, there was one particular RPG that garnered a cult following, The Legend of Dragoon. For years, fans have been demanding that the game be brought to the PSN as a PS1 classic. While Japan received the PSN version of the game back on December 22nd, 2010, the US never got a digital version of it. Well, thanks to Shu Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios, making a post on the PlayStation Blog, he confirmed that we will indeed be getting the game via PSN. Now for fans of the game who have been dying for this to be released on PSN, I’m sure you’re wondering how much longer you have to wait now that it is confirmed. Well, have your PSN wallet ready because it will release on May 1st.

To be honest, I was never much of an RPG fan, especially those with turn-based battles. However, The Legend of Dragoon was one of the few rare RPGs that I was able to get into and have been clamoring myself for a PSN version of it. Looks like we only have to wait less than a month until we can get our hands on it. Can’t wait to hear that battle music start playing again (the one I posted in my Top 10 PS One Soundtracks article).

Did you ever play The Legend of Dragoon? Sound off in the comments below!

PSN Gamers’ Choice Awards 2012 Nominees: Cast Your Votes Tomorrow

Sony introduced the PSN Gamers’ Choice Awards last year and proved to be quite successful. This year, they’re at it again and the votes will commence once the PSN updates tomorrow afternoon/evening. When voting for your favorite titles, you will be granted a free XMB theme toward that title. There are ten categories to vote from and they, along with the nominees, will be listed below.

The winners will be announced a week from tomorrow, March 6th, and the winners will receive a 30% discounted price for regular PSN members and 50% off for PS+ members. Check out the nominees below and don’t forget to vote! Also, sound off what titles you think should win.

Best PSN Exclusive:

  • inFAMOUS Festival of Blood (PS3)
  • PixelJunk Shooter 2 (PS3)
  • TETRIS (PS3)

Best PSN Game:

  • inFAMOUS Festival of Blood (PS3)
  • Plants vs. Zombies (PS3)
  • Resident Evil 4 (PS3)

Best PSN Game Playable Online:

  • Hard Corps: Uprising (PS3)
  • Street Fighter III: Third Strike Online Edition (PS3)
  • TETRIS (PS3)

Best PS3 Full Game:

  • Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (PS3)
  • Assassin’s Creed II: Deluxe Edition (PS3)
  • Midnight Club LA Complete Edition (PS3)

Best PlayStation Move Game:

  • 4Elements HD (PS3)
  • Dungeon Defenders (PS3)
  • Dungeon Hunter: Alliance (PS3)

Best 3D Game:

  • Dungeon Defenders (PS3)
  • God of War: Origins Collection (PS3)
  • The Sly Collection (PS3)

Best PSone Classic:

  • Chrono Trigger (PS3/PSP)
  • Parasite Eve (PS3/PSP)
  • Xenogears (PS3/PSP)

Best Mini Game:

  • Angry Birds (PS3/PSP)
  • The Impossible Game (PS3/PSP)
  • PAC-MAN Championship Edition (PS3/PSP)

Best PSP Game:

  • DISSIDIA 012 [duodecim] FINAL FANTASY (PSP)
  • DISSIDIA 012 Prologus FINAL FANTASY (PSP)
  • TACTICS OGRE: Let Us Cling Together (PSP)

PlayStation Community Award – Best Indie:

  • Dungeon Defenders (PS3)
  • LIMBO (PS3)
  • PixelJunk Shooter 2 (PS3)

List of Compatible PSP Games for PS Vita

The PS Vita is releasing very soon in North America and one of it’s anticipated features is the ability to play your PSP games with upscaled visuals and second-analog support. However, your UMDs are not transferable for the PSN versions (at least not at the moment) but titles you’ve purchased via PSN will be transferable to your Vita. While not 100% of the titles available on PSN were listed for compatibility, here’s what is at the moment:

PlayStation Portable Compatible Titles

101-in-1 Megamix
300: March To Glory
The 3rd Birthday
Ace Combat: Joint Assault
Adventures To Go!
Alpha Mission II
Archer Maclean’s Mercury
Armored Core 3 Portable
Armored Core: Last Raven Portable
Armored Core: Silent Line Portable
Art of Fighting
Assassin’s Creed: Bloodlines
Baseball Stars Professional
Blade Dancer Lineage of Light
BlazBlue Portable: Calamity Trigger
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II
Blazing Souls Accelate
Bomberman
Bomberman ’94
Bomberman Land
Bomberman Legacy
Chameleon
ClaDun x2
Cladun: This is an RPG!
Class of Heroes
Corpse Party
Creature Defense
Crimson Gem Saga
Darkstalkers Chronicle: The Chaos Tower
Daxter
Dead or Alive Paradise
Dirt 2
Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days
Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness
Disgaea: Infinite
Dissidia 012 [Duodecim] Prologus: Final Fantasy
Dissidia 012 [Duodecim]: Final Fantasy
Dissidia: Final Fantasy
DJ Max Portable 3
Dragon’s Lair
Dragoneer’s Aria
Dungeon Explorer
Dungeon Explorer: Warriors of Ancient Arts
Dungeon Maker Hunting Ground
Dynasty Warriors
Dynasty Warriors Vol. 2
Dynasty Warriors: Strike Force
Eye of Judgment Legends
Fading Shadows
Fatal Fury
Fate/Extra
Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection
Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions
Gladiator Begins
God of War: Chains of Olympus
God of War: Ghost of Sparta
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus
Half-Minute Hero
Harvest Moon: Boy and Girl
Harvest Moon: Hero of Leaf Valley
Hoard
Hot Brain
IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey
Innocent Life: A Futuristic Harvest Moon
Jikandia: The Timeless Land
Justice League Heroes
Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble
The King of Fighters ’94
The King of Fighters ’95
Knights in the Nightmare
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend
League Bowling
Legend of Heroes, The: Trails in the Sky
LEGO Batman: The Videogame
LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean
Lord of Arcana
Lord of the Rings, The: Aragorn’s Quest
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony
Magician Lord
Major League Baseball 2K11
Mana Khemia: Student Alliance
Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X
Metal Slug
Metal Slug 2
Metal Slug Anthology
Metal Slug XX
Military History: Commander: Europe at War
Mimana Iyar Chronicle
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
MX vs. ATV: Reflex
NBA 2K10
NBA 2K11
NBA 2K12
NeoGeo Heroes: Ultimate Shooting
Neutopia
New Adventure Island
No Heroes Allowed!
Patapon 2
Petz Dogz Family
Petz Hamsterz Bunch
Petz Saddle Club
Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle
Pool Hall Pro
Power Stone Collection
Prince of Persia: Revelations
Prince of Persia: Rival Swords
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!
Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?
Puzzle Guzzle
Ridge Racer
Riviera: The Promised Land
Samurai Shodown
Samurai Shodown Anthology
Samurai Warriors: State of War
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2: Innocent Sin
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
Shock Troopers
SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1
SOCOM U.S. Navy SEALs: Tactical Strike
Soldier Blade
Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny
Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max
Super Sidekicks
Super Star Soldier
Syphon Filter: Logan’s Shadow
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
Tekken 6
TNT Racers
Tokobot
Tom Clancy’s Endwar
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Predator
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Essentials
Tron: Evolution: The Video Game
UFC Undisputed 2010
Ultimate Board Game Collection
Ultimate Ghosts ‘n Goblins
Valhalla Knights
Vertigo
Victory Run
Warriors of the Lost Empire
Warriors Orochi
Warriors Orochi 2
What Did I do to Deserve This My Lord?
What Did I do to Deserve This My Lord? 2
Wild Arms XF
World Heroes
World Sports Competition
Worms: Battle Islands
WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2011
Yggdra Union
Ys Seven
Ys: The Oath in Felghana
Z. H. P.: Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman

PlayStation Minis Compatible Titles

3, 2, 1…SuperCrash!
4×4 Jam
5 in 1 Arcade Hits
Ace Armstrong Vs. The Alien Scumbags!
Actual Crimes: Jack The Ripper
Aero Racer
Age of Hammer Wars
Age of Zombies
Alien Havoc
Alien Zombie Death
Alpha Mission
Ancient Game Treasures: Mill
Apache Overkill
Aquattack!
Arcade Darts
Arcade Essentials
Arcade Essentials Evolution
Archibald’s Adventures
Arctic Adventures
Athena
Babel: The King of the Blocks
Bashi Blocks
Beam ‘Em Up
Blast Off
Blimp: The Flying Adventures
Block Cascade Fusion
Boom Beats
BreakQuest
Brick Breaker
Bubble Trubble
Bunny Dodge
Burnin’ Rubber
Busy Sweets Factory
Car Jack Streets
Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter
Caterpillar
Charge! Tank Squad!
Circles
Coconut Dodge
Cubixx
D-Cube Planet
Deflector
Digi-Tiles
Doodle Fit
Dr. MiniGames
Dynogems
Earthshield
Echoes
Express Raider
Flick Fishing
Flying Hamster
Fort Commander II: Counterattack
Fort Commander: King’s Gambit
Fortix
Freekscape: Escape From Hell
Funky Punch
Gold Fever
Hello Flowerz
Heracles Chariot Racing
HISTORY: Egypt Engineering an Empire
HISTORY: Ice Road Truckers
Hot Shots Shorties: Blue Pack
Hot Shots Shorties: Green Pack
Hot Shots Shorties: Red Pack
Hot Shots Shorties: Yellow Pack
Hysteria Project
I Must Run!
Influence
Jane’s Hotel
JellyCar 2
Jewel Keepers: Easter Islands
Kahoots
Legend of Kunoichi
Let’s Golf
Lock ‘n’ Chase
Love Cupid
Mahjong Solitaire
Me Monster: Hear Me Roar!
Mighty Flip Champs! DX
MiniSquadron
Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess
N.O.V.A.
Normal Tanks
One Two Boat Racing
Pallurikio
Panda Craze
Pinball Dreams
Pinball Fantasies
Quiz Animania
Ramen Heaven
Reef Aquarium
Retro Cave Flyer
Robin Hood: The Return of Richard
Rocks N’ Rockets
Route 66
Shapo
Sheep Defense
Shogi
Smash Break
Space Shooter for 2 Bucks!, A
Spaceball: Revolution
Spot the Differences!
Stellar Attack
Sweet Reversi
Tehra: Dark Warrior
Telegraph Crosswords
Telegraph Sudoku & Kakuro
Urbanix
Vempire
Vibes
VT Tennis
Who’s That Flying?!
Widget’s Odyssey 2
Widgets Odyssey
Young Thor
Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam
Zenonia
Zombie Tycoon

It should be noted that while some of your favorites may not be listed here, the list will grow over time. What do you guys think? Sound off in the comments below!

PlayStation Vita Memory Cards Get Priced

Prepare to open your wallets! With the PlayStation Vita just 3 months away from launching, the long awaited prices for the PS Vita memory cards have been released.  The PS Vita memory cards will be retaining the prices similar to the memory stick pro duos for the PSP. Unfortunately, in this terrible economic time, market strategists have chosen to look the other way in this scenario.

Starting at $29.99 is the base end 4GB card, which is the cheapest memory card you can obtain so far and will probably fill up fairly quickly. The high end 32GB card will stampede the consumer with a whopping $119.99 price tag!  Obviously this card will be for the true handheld gamer at heart, as well as multimedia enthusiast. Also, it should be stated that the PS Vita memory cards are a brand new format created by Sony. Sandisk and Lexar were known for creating solid third-party memory cards for the PSP at a cheaper price and they will probably do the same here once they have the format in their hands.

4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB

What do you guys think? Are you interested in the PS Vita? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below!

The Impossible Game Becomes Possible for PS3/PSP

The big indie XBLA/Mobile hit, The Impossible Game, is coming to Sony’s consoles this September as a PS Mini.  Pricing has yet to be announced but we can’t see it being more than $3.99.  Whatever the price is, for those who never played it, it’s one of the most addictive games that’s great for pick up and play sessions…no matter how “impossible” the name insinuates the game to be.  This version will also contain an exclusive level not seen in other versions of the game.  Check out the trailer below and comment!

The 3rd Birthday Review (PSP)

The 3rd Birthday is a third person, tactical-action RPG title developed by HexaDrive and published by Square Enix.  It is the third installment in the Parasite Eve franchise, which were previously released on the PS1 (PE1 was released in 1998, PE2 in 2000).  Eleven years later and fans can rejoice that a new title is finally available for the PSP platform.

 

Story: 4/5

The 3rd Birthday’s storyline starts off with a very impressive opening cinematic showing New York City on Christmas Eve in 2012, being overrun by the “twisted”, life-forms that attack and consume humans.  As the “twisted” are overrunning the streets, plant-like roots are risen from the ground and form the “babel” within the heart of NYC.  The “babel” is essentially the heart of the “twisted’s” life span as it controls them.  Within the time of the attack, a Counter Twisted Investigation (CTI) unit is formed, led by Dr. Hyde Bohr.  Bohr finds Aya Brea, blood-soaked in her wedding dress outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral prior to the “twisted’s” attacks and at a severe loss of memory.  Upon bringing her in, the CTI soon discovered Aya’s ability to dive into other bodies and take control of them.  This was dubbed as “Overdive”.  The CTI created a machine that allowed Aya to utilize her “Overdive” ability into the past to try and rectify the events occurring with the “twisted”.  Throughout the story, Aya will piece together memories little by little until she fully remembers her past while trying to rewrite time.  Fans will remember that Aya Brea was a tough character in prior installments of the franchise, but in this one, she’s very fragile and vulnerable where she’ll whimper more than speak.  By the end though, there’s surprisingly a good explanation for that.  While the story is a bit convoluted and has you questioning “what’s going on exactly” (if you don’t read all the files you unlock as you progress), it does come together pretty well by the end, thus making it worthwhile to reach the finale to see how everything ties up.  There’s quite a few plots twists throughout the course of the story, especially by the end, and fans of the Parasite Eve series will appreciate the continuity that some of the characters return.

Gameplay: 4/5

The first thing to point out is that every installment in the Parasite Eve franchise has played entirely different.  The first Parasite Eve played more like an RPG, while the second entry played more like Resident Evil.  This time around, the game plays like a tactical, over-the-shoulder shooter similar to Resident Evil 4 & 5, Dead Space and Mass Effect.  You’ll be able to also command your squad to link up and do a “crossfire” attack where they’ll all focus their fire on a specific targeted enemy, which is extremely helpful throughout the game.  With Aya’s ability to “Overdive” into soldiers on the battlefield and control them, you now have to utilize your surroundings to take out the enemies.  The “Overdive” system is definitely the main mechanic you will be relying on throughout the whole game.  While holding down the triangle button, you’ll be able to look around for another soldier and quickly jump into their body.  While scanning for someone to jump in to, the game will display the soldier’s health and special weapon they have equipped as you’re looking around.  This becomes essential to master as you progress throughout the game because if you die using a soldier and aren’t quick enough to “dive” into another body, it’s game over.  Aya also has access to her “liberation” ability again in this title but works differently than before.  In this installment, she’ll start glowing and pull out double handguns.  At this point, she’s able to speed dash around the environment and rapidly fire her guns at the locked-on enemies, which also leads to being able to pull off an “Overdive kill” in the process.  While it’s not exactly as effective as her original “liberation” move from the first Parasite Eve, it’s still helpful in tight situations.

The 3rd Birthday is without a doubt, a deep and rich experience for the PSP and that’s partly due to it’s upgrading system.  The upgrade system consists of two different section, the “Over Energy DNA Board” and the “Weapon Bank”.  The “Over Energy DNA Board” is used to upgrade Aya’s abilities on the battlefield.  Whether you’re increasing her stats to heal faster, pull off critical shot more frequently or make crossfires more powerful (just to name a few), it’s essentially your way to equip “perks”.  There are nine slots available to place “DNA” across the 3×3 board.  You’ll earn the DNA by pulling off “Overdive kills” against the “twisted” occasionally, but not every time depending on your “perks” equipped.  When you do have DNA in your inventory and try equipping them on your board, it’s a bit of a puzzle as you’ll have to analyze the best way to lay it out on the board.  The reason you’ll have to play around with it is because when you acquire new DNA, you want to try to make sure your new upgrades match up with what you already have on your filled DNA board.  If you overwrite the previous with new DNA, you’ll lose the perk that was there before, so you’ll have to think carefully what you want equipped.  As you progress, you’ll earn more DNA boards so that you can have multiple layouts to your liking.  When you need to upgrade your weapons, you’ll access your “Weapon Bank”.  In here, you’ll be able to choose your weapon loadout and customize the abilities of your weapons.  You’ll always have your standard pistol equipped on you at all times with infinite ammo so you can’t take that out of your loadout.  However, you’ll still have two extra slots to equip your extra weapons, which range from handguns, assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, grenade launchers and special weapons.  There’s a large variety of guns to unlock and choose from, and you’ll do so as you upgrade your weapon rank.  Each weapon category rank increases the more you use those specific weapon types.  The higher your rank, the better the upgraded equipment you can buy for those weapons.  When customizing guns, you’ll be able to upgrade their power, impact, capacity and accuracy.  However, as you’re upgrading, you’ll have to keep an eye on the actual upgrade meters at the top of the screen to see if each category is tailored to what you’re looking for.  Each weapon is based on weapon power, bullet power, bullet impact, handling and range.  As you can see, the upgrade system is complex, yet deep.  The only problem is that it takes some time to really get the feel of it.

The game takes place over the course of six episodes (seven, if you include the tutorial), lasting about roughly 8-10 hours.  Unlike the first Parasite Eve title, The 3rd Birthday is based on a more linear structure as opposed to having to choose a destination on the NYC map.  Gameplay wise, it is truly an intense game, keeping you at the edge of your seat as you’re shooting, dodging and diving your way through the story.  To even change up the pace a bit, there’s a few sections where you’ll man a turret on vehicles or fly a helicopter blowing up every “twisted” in sight.  It’s cool that the developers included these extra mechanics as it adds variety to the overall gameplay.  The biggest highlight for this game are the boss battles, which are epic in every possible way: challenging, massive and very clever.  Each boss battle is fought with a different strategy and as you’re fighting the horrific creatures, you’ll be astounded at what it is you’re doing in the middle of the fight.  Upon completion of the game, you’ll be allowed to start a second playthrough with everything you earned throughout your first time around, a feature that should be in almost every game.  Doing so adds the incentive of wanting to replay the game.  Furthermore, you’ll unlock cheats for completing the game such as faster health regeneration and faster crossfire “linkage” time, which is a nice bonus.  If you look at the cheats menu, you’ll see there is a ton of different cheats that can be unlocked by fulfilling the specified requirements.  You’ll even unlock multiple costumes throughout your playthroughs, which just adds even more incentive to go back and replay the game.  Bottom line, The 3rd Birthday is just oozing with replay value.

The only thing is that while the controls work very well for the PSP, the camera might be a slight pain to adjust in the middle of heavy action scenes, seeing that it’s assigned to the d-pad.  Try running around a massive “twisted” creature with the analog nub and turning the camera with the d-pad at the same time…unnecessary finger cramping.  However, to be fair, this was only during one of the boss fights that I dealt with this, but it’s a very minor issue that otherwise never plagued me throughout the game.  This is not a new occurrence as most PSP titles seem to have the “camera” issue due to the lack of a second analog nub, but it’s worth noting.  The director of the game stated that throughout the production process of the game, they realized they would’ve been better suited in developing the title for a home console.  His statement is exactly what ran through my mind as I played through the game.  Granted they showed their mastery of the PSP with this title, but it definitely would’ve been better suited for a home console.  All things considered though, this is one of the most ambitious titles ever for the PSP.

Graphics: 5/5

Visually, developer HexaDrive knew how to push the PSP beyond it’s limits.  The CG cutscenes are beautiful and the in-game graphics engine is very impressive.  The game runs perfectly, never dropping below 30 FPS, no matter how intense the game gets (which is often).  Animations were top-notch as well, whether it was seeing all of Aya’s movements in action or noticing every “twisted” creature’s creepy motions.  Another great detail is the fact that Aya has a real-time damage system that is very noticeable.  The more damage she takes, the more her clothes rip off (think Mortal Kombat’s damage system).  The game’s draw distance is spectacular (especially given the fact it’s on a handheld device) where you’ll be able to see every little detail through the distance with no “fog” effect.  There was a point where I forgot I was playing a PSP game and thought to myself how this easily could’ve been a console title.  Kudos HexaDrive!

Sound: 4/5

Yoko Shimomura returns again from her previous work on the first Parasite Eve title to help score the soundtrack.  The soundtrack is among one of the best soundtracks for any game this year, from the opening intro, to the intense battle themes, to the remixed songs from “Parasite Eve” (which was very cool to hear for nostalgia purposes), this is one soundtrack to plug your headphones into and crank up your volume to the max.  The sound effects are great and weapons sound effective to the point where you know they’re doing damage.  However, the only thing preventing the sound from being perfect is the voice acting.  Yvonne Strahovski, known for her role as Sarah in the TV show “Chuck” and Miranda in “Mass Effect 2”, voices Aya Brea and does a pretty good job playing the role…that is when she’s not constantly whimpering since a chunk of her script is literally doing that.  Jensen Ackles, known for his role as Dean Winchester in the TV show “Supernatural”, also provides voice over work that’s well done.  The other characters that are voice acted however are a mixed bag as they range from “decent” to “poor”.

 

Overall Score: 17/20 = 8.5/10

The 3rd Birthday is an excellent example that demonstrates how a developer can push the PSP past it’s limits.  The visuals are remarkable, the soundtrack is an experience in itself and the gameplay is intensely fast-paced.  The story could’ve used a bit more work but it’s more than serviceable.  It may have taken 11 years, but the latest entry in the Parasite Eve saga has finally arrived and while it’s not officially “Parasite Eve 3”, here’s hoping this is the start to getting that released in the near future.

 

PROs:

+Breathtaking Visuals

+Outstanding Soundtrack

+Intense, Fast-Paced Gameplay

+Lots of replay value

 

CONs:

-Story is a bit convoluted without reading all the in-between mission files

-Camera control can be slightly jarring in mid-battle

-“Over Energy” DNA Upgrade system is a bit confusing to grasp

Why the PSP-GO is Better than the PSP-3000

1) Sleeker Design

The PSP has always had a nice design, but the PSP GO is by far the more stylish of the two. Its aerodynamic shape makes the portable device much sleeker in comparison to the 3000. While the 3000 can feel bulky at times, the GO is a more compact unit, which helps make it feel like a “portable” handheld. The GO also has a nice sliding screen mechanism that makes the unit smaller and more accessible to store, especially when on the “go.” Similar to a phone and unlike the 3000, it could be placed in your pocket easily. The button configurations are also placed nicely around the unit leading to comfortable playtime, and the screen resolution is slightly crisper and brighter than its earlier model.

2) More Memory

Hands down, this is the smarter option of the two. The PSP 3000 comes with optional memory stick pro duo cards that can be purchased separately, which can get expensive. 8 GB cards can run $30-$40 depending as to where you go. Considering the 3000 model is now selling for $170, adding the cost of an SD card can get pricey. The PSP GO already gives you 16 GB of built-in memory for just $200, plus the option to upgrade with micro memory stick pro duo cards if needed. I have more than 20 games stored on my device, as well as photos and music, and I still have about 30% of my internal memory left.

3) No UMD

Many people cried fowl when they heard that the GO had no UMD support, but I say, who needs it? Most of the UMD games aren’t very good, and some have already been transferred digitally to the Playstation Store. Besides, when the PSP GO came out, that was when we started seeing Minis, which are a collection of mini games similar to apps. The purpose of a portable handheld is to have quick game play interactions when you are away from your console. Minis provide a great way to experience fun, interactive gaming for a fraction of the cost. Also, while UMD discs suffer from lengthy load times, downloadable games do not, and are simple to add to your GO. Simply connect the device to your PS3 using the provided USB cable, and copy the game to your GO. The great thing about the GO is that you don’t need to lug your collection of UMD’s every time you go out, because all of your games are stored on one device, making it a superior portable unit