In a surprising twist, we saw the PSP finally become a viable gaming platform thanks to a considerable compliment of entertaining exclusives, including Sony Computer Entertainment Studios Japan's RPG, Brave Story
. A traditional role-playing excursion to be sure, Brave Story
nonetheless proved to be one of the few titles for the handheld that we would see ourselves play through for multiple PSP charges before moving on to something else. It may lack many of the bells and whistles found in similar titles, but what it lacks in polish, Brave Story
more than makes up for in charm.
As a Tactics-style RPG, Jeanne D'Arc
deviates little from conventions, instead offering players familiar turn-based gameplay wrapped up in a compelling tale of heroes, villains, demonic forces, and anthropomorphic beasts. Drawing inspiration from history books, as well as such iconic titles as Final Fantasy Tactics
and Ogre Battle
, Jeanne D'Arc
serves as a kind of window into the genre both past and present. It's not the only strategy RPG for the PSP, but Jeanne D'Arc
is the best you'll find in the library. Even more so, it is one of the most satisfying RPGs to come along this year, PSP or otherwise.
We can always count on the fine folks at NIS America to deliver the absolute latest fashion in games just left of normal, and this year was no different, with one of two titles from developer Vanillaware that brought real-time strategy to the home console in way wholly removed from anything resembling PC-centric design. It's not so surprising that GrimGrimorie
is one of the most unique games released this year, but rather that it is also one of the best.
Odin Sphere (PS2)
The second offering from Vanillaware, this time from Atlus, kept with the developer's unique sense of style with a game seemingly lifted from an older age of gaming married with vibrant visuals that are simply unparalleled in the PS2's library. Odin Sphere is tough as nails, but is simply too cool not to give a second look.
New Year's Resolutions:
I promise to make it through my backlog and finish every game I start in 2008. What? Resolutions are meant to be broken.