PSP’s exclusive 2007 holiday line-up

"Free your mind, and your fun will expand. The kingdom of greatness is within your PSP!"

Many people would argue that the PlayStation Portable is nothing more than another outlet for Sony to profit in the gaming market; a sentiment shared by many observers given the company’s abundant desire to port existing PlayStation 2 games over to the console for an extra buck on the income statement. Indeed, since its inception in 2004, the handheld has struggled to gain the same attention as the PS2 or to some extent even the PlayStation 3 in terms of consumer preference.

However, all of that is set to change, as by the end of 2007, the PSP will have over six major exclusive titles on the market. It doesn’t stop there either; with the new Slim & Lite PSP (featuring a more compact design, along with added video output functionality among other features) shortly arriving in stores later this month to facilitate you’re portable gaming experience. As such, we believe that by the end of 2007, the PSP will be an even more serious contender not only in the portable market, but the gaming market as a whole.

Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron:

In 2004 LucasArts released what would be their highest selling Star Wars title, Star Wars: Battlefront. In 2005, the company capitalized on the success of the original and released Battlefront 2, which featured larger-than-life space battles as well as intense lightsaber action. Battlefront 2 also made the series first appearance on the PSP, which was highly enjoyed by Star Wars fans and PSP fans alike. This October Battlefront will make its exclusive debut on the PSP that is promised to be one of the AAA titles for the handheld this holiday season.

Expect tense battles in Renegade Squadron

Taking on a unique storyline and concept, Battlefront: Renegade Squadron will feature new game modes along with ability to create your own character, which is new to the Battlefront series. To add to the Star Wars experience, gamers will also be able to play in a galaxy "far, far away " with their own limited edition white Star Wars themed PSP Slim, which can be bought in a bundle that comes with Renegade Squadron. Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron is scheduled to ship on October 9, 2007 only for the PSP.

Silent Hill Origins:

Being part of the PlayStation brand since the original PlayStation console in the late 1990s, Silent Hill has grown into a marketable franchise spanning content on four games as well as a full-length movie that debuted at number one on the US box office in April 2006. The 5th installment in the series, Silent Hill 5, will be released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in early 2008. Come November, however, Silent Hill enthusiast will finally be able to experience the foundation of which the original story was shaped upon in the PSP exclusive prequel, Silent Hill Origins.

The trademark fog makes an appearance in Origins to give you that secluded feel.

In Origins, you’ll take the role of Travis Grady, a truck driver with a mysterious past. As clichéd as it may sound, Origins is said to have one of the most intricate storylines in the series to date, also introducing a number of serious gameplay refinements such as combat, camera angles, and new enemies. Silent Hill Origins is scheduled for release on November 6, 2007.

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops+:

It is no surprise that one of the potential candidates running for Game of the Year 2008 will be Metal Gear Solid 4 for the PlayStation 3. Given obvious consumer anticipation combined with the appropriate marketing, MGS 4 could easily slip away with the nod on the strengths of its development pedigree alone – after all, the project is being helmed by Konami veteran and series mastermind himself, Hideo Kojima. To preface all of that, in 2006, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops was released onto the PSP platform and received raved reviews. Given the fact that it marked the first time a full length MGS game appeared on a handheld device, the Portable Ops experience matched its PlayStation/PlayStation 2 counterparts with great success.

On November 13, 2007 fans of the original Portable Ops will now be able to take their experience further with the Portable Ops+ expansion. Portable Ops+ focuses solely on the online multiplayer portion of the original game, meaning that you’ll need the original to play it. The expansion will feature new characters, stages as well as a new single player mission titled, Infinity Mission. Additional details are still vague at this time, but stay tuned to PSU as we’ll reveal more information as it becomes available. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops+ looks to be one of the PSP’s biggest holiday titles and a fitting precursor to MGS4’s debut in early 2008.

SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Tactical Strike:

For years now the SOCOM franchise has came onto it’s own for Sony, with each game flawlessly eclipsing that of its predecessor. On the PSP, the franchise has a solid track record of two successful titles, SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 1 & 2, both developed by Zipper Interactive. This time around developer Slant Six Games is taking the helm to create a spin-off title, Tactical Strike, which will give SOCOM fans a different perspective of the series. Previous SOCOM games were 3rd person action shooters with great emphasis on action.

Tactical Strike aims to become a stellar gift this holiday season.

In Tactical Strike, the gameplay is centered on planning, strategizing and tactics just as the title appropriately hints at. The game is expected to have a steep learning curve as the developer formulates an idea to take the series into a whole new direction. Expect a full review of this game once it hits store shelves on November 6, 2007.

Aliens vs Predator:

This Christmas, Aliens vs Predator: Requiem hits the big screen and will definitely quench the thirst of fans of both movie franchises. Before AvP: Requiem comes to the Box Office; gamers will be able to take position in what could possibly be the sleeper hit for the holiday season – Aliens vs Predator for the PSP.

Don’t you just love it when Predators and Aliens plays hide and seek?

In AvP, players will take the role of a single Predator out on a hunt (don’t these guys ever get tired of that?). Details of the story are still unclear at present, but it is worth noting that all of the familiar Predator arsenal will be available for use in the game such as cannons, spears, and the renowned wrist blade. Even other gadgets and techniques such as thermal vision and cloaking will all be included. To add more neon glow-green blood to the mixture, AvP will feature a robust co-op multiplayer feature that allows up to 3 of your friends to compete against you. Aliens vs Predator will hit the PSP November 20, 2007.

Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions :

It would be a shame if the year caped off without at least one stellar Square Enix title correct? Well that is not the case for the PSP in 2007 because on October 9th, Final Fantasy devotees will be taken back with the release of Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions. Anyone over the age of 20 could remember when Final Fantasy Tactics was first released onto the PS1 in 1997 that presented legendary gameplay mechanics.

Gamers will be taken back seven years with War of the Lions

With War of the Lions, it is the exact same game but with new quest, CG sequences, and head to head multiplayer as well as a revamped storyline. While War of the Lions will not be a whole new experience for fans of the original, it will create a nice nostalgic sensation with a bit of new excitement.

"It’s the most wonderful time, of the year…"

For PSP owners, the culmination of 2007 will see the arrival of a succession of exclusive titles from a number of top franchises, rich in both quantity and quality. As such, this should hopefully do well to quell the seemingly endless onslaught of criticism the system has faced with over the years, and turn heads of even the most obstinate of gamers around the globe.

Regardless of how it is perceived by mainstream audiences, the PSP was and still is a fine piece of hardware; however it will be the holiday 2007 lineup when the system will finally have a chance to prove its quality among the hardcore crowd. Furthermore, this success should also be mirrored in 2008, with titles such as God of War: Chains of Olympius and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII due for release on the handheld in the first quarter of next year.

Stay tuned to PSU, as we will have complete reviews of all the great games mentioned in this editorial as they are released later this year, along with a hardware review for the all-new PSP Slim.