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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2006, 05:15 AM Thread Starter
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Playstation Downloads start 11/22

PlayStation Downloads Start on 11/22
Get that PS3 ready, PSP owners.
by Anoop Gantayat

showUSloc=(checkLocale('uk')||checkLocale('au'));d ocument.writeln(showUSloc ? 'US, ' : '');November 21, 2006 - The Japanese version of Sony's PlayStation Store went quiet following the PS3's 11/11 launch. But things are going to get much more interesting in just a few hours.

Sony has announced final details on the first set of games to be made available for download via the Game Archives section of the store. On 11/22, PS3 owners will be able to download the first batch of PSP-compatible PlayStation titles from the store. Each game is priced at a tax-inclusive price of 525 yen.

Here's what will be available on day one:

Resident Evil Director's Cut (Capcom)
Konami Antiques MSX Collection Vol.1 (Konami)
Konami Antiques MSX Collection Vol.2 (Konami)
Bishi Bashi Special (Konami)
Arc the Lad (SCEJ)
Jumping Flash! (SCEJ)
Hot Shots Golf 2 (SCEJ)
Silent Bomber (Bandai Namco Games)
Tekken 2 (Bandai Namco Games)

Once downloaded to your PS3, you'll then be able to transfer these games to your PSP for play on the go. A PS3 update next year will allow you to play the games on the PS3 as well.

You'll have to make sure your PSP has been updated with version 3.00 firmware. Upgrading to version 3.00 also alows you to take advantage of another PS3 feature: remote play. If you have the 60 Gigabyte PS3 unit, you'll be able to use the PS3 as a local area media player, viewing and listening to all the content on your PS3's hard drive through the portable system. The PS3 will be upgraded next year to allow for worldwide remote play.

These download details concern the Japanese PlayStation Store, which can only be accessed via Japanese PlayStation Network accounts (that is, a PSN account that has a Japanese address). Details on the international Game Archives should follow shortly.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2006, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Wii: Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess Review

November 17, 2006 - Ocarina, your time is up. It took Nintendo almost a decade to do it, but the publisher has finally created a new Zelda game that is so well-designed and so epic that it deserves to be crowned the best in its class. Twilight Princess spent four years in development by one of the most talented teams in the world. The game, helmed by Eiji Aonuma (Majora's Mask, Wind Waker) is every bit the culmination of the franchise and also a true spiritual sequel to the Big N's 1998 N64 classic. This is much larger, darker and more difficult adventure than GameCube's Wind Waker, which is sure to please purists. It is also a title that is best on Wii thanks to exclusive gesture-based controls and some added display functionality. But is it perfect? Keep reading to find out.

We could easily write a 10-page review of Twilight Princess, exploring every nook and cranny, detailing every character, every boss, and every last temple, but we don't want to spoil the adventure that awaits you. We realize that the last thing our viewers want with this review is to stumble upon major spoilers, so we've done our best to keep significant story developments and weapon and item upgrades from our critique. That being true, we will be referencing some common themes, characters, previously shown items, temples and more as examples to back up our opinions. When the game opens to a sweeping view of Link as he rides Epona across a vast landscape, you can't help conjuring memories of Ocarina's epic beginnings. And at least for the first half of the adventure, Twilight Princess does indeed feel very much like Ocarina of Time for a new generation of players. Not only does Link start his quest from a small village on the outskirts of Hyrule proper, but he eventually makes his way to cities and temples that have all been seen before - in less detail, of course - almost a decade ago. Were these familiarities representative of the adventure as a whole, the title might find itself with an identity problem. A good identity problem, mind you - even a full-blown remake of Ocarina would be destined for greatness - but an identity problem nevertheless. Thankfully, though, the game also sharply divides the old from the new by way of an engrossing storyline that travels Nintendo's beloved hero into an alternate realm known simply as the Twilight. It is from this beautiful bloom-filled, particle-drowned Hyrulian wasteland that some very different changes are introduced to the old gameplay formula.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2006, 05:17 AM Thread Starter
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Nintendo's newfound attention to spinning a good yarn seems to clash with its reluctance to join the new millennium and populate its breathtaking worlds with characters whose words are voiced and not bubbled. This, of course, remains a point of heated debate amongst die-hards and we're willing to wager that fans will be copy-and-pasting this very critique to message boards before the virtual ink has dried, but we're not backing down in our assertion that it's time for real, true voice-acting. We understand that Link is a heroic mute and that's fine by us, but the remaining populace has something to say and we don't want to read it. Although the bustling city of Castle Town is the centerpiece of Hyrule, there is an air of claustrophobia surrounding it because the characters never really speak.
On the other hand, we have nothing but praise for the title's new Wii controls, which enhance the experience - not detract from it. The general gameplay mechanics are similar to Wind Waker. Link is able to run through immense environments, target enemies, strafe around them, swipe and slash them with his blade and also use a variety of weapons in battle or to advance through a location. These polished fundamentals have been passed forward from Ocarina of Time to Majora's Mask and then to Wind Waker, and they are again serving as the backbone for Twilight Princess.
The big difference, of course, is that on Wii you use both Nintendo's nunchuk attachment and its innovative new remote to manipulate Link and his weapons/items respectively. Gesturing with the Wii remote, you can easily and effortlessly swing the hero's sword. The gestures don't effect one-to-one movement, as so many had hoped - and yes, it would've been nice if the Big N could have pulled it off. However, they perfectly replace the need for button taps - a requirement in the GameCube version -- and after only a few minutes of familiarization become the preferable way to play. You don't need to flail your arms around like a monkey on fire in order to accurately control Link's blade - you can choose to make minimal movements and you will never run into a single issue. You can, alternatively, exact long, arching gestures and they will work, too. You won't get tired. Our arms weren't aching after more than 50 hours of play time. We weren't out of breath. In contrast, we found ourselves much more immersed in the experience of combat, as simulating a sword swipe is simply more engaging and therein more satisfying than pressing a button.
Furthermore, the advantages of the Wii remote become blindingly clear when Link uses projectile weapons. Whether the hero is armed with the Gale Boomerang, the Slingshot, the Hookshot or a great new staff whose power we won't spoil, targeting with the pointer is so far and away better than using an analog stick that the latter feels archaic and broken by comparison. The Wii remote opens up a level of speed and accuracy never before experienced in a Zelda title and you will within a matter of hours be able to ride Epona through Hyrule Field while delivering fatal bow-and-arrow headshots to ground-based and airborne foes. To the point: this new method of control obliterates the former one and there is no going back.
Early on in the game, Link becomes trapped in the Twilight and - in wolf form - must fight to break free, at which point he returns to his human shape. Later in the adventure, he can switch between the forms at his whim and this mechanic is integrated into level designs and puzzles. Controlling the wolf is similar to maneuvering Link, but the beast form offers you greater speed, the ability to jump at will, a spectacular energy field that encapsulates and destroys the Twilight's enemies (known as Shadow Beings) and sensory equipment. The wolf can, for example, use the sense of smell to find hidden items, see the trapped spirits of Hyrule's inhabitants, and even follow a character's scent. All of these animal powers are not only integral to progressing, but quite a lot of fun in practice, too. Perhaps most importantly, though, is that Midna herself becomes accessible in wolf form and she is able to guide the beast to areas unattainable by Link. As you can imagine, some clever puzzles are based around all the above functionality. By mid-game, Link can also call upon Midna to warp all over the map, cutting down on what could be tedious travel, especially if you need to go back and forth between provinces, as you often must. Twilight Princess is a gargantuan adventure filled with a dazzling variety of places to see, people and creatures to meet and things to do. The scope of the game is epic and you can play it however you please. For the purposes of this review, we tore through the main adventure and oftentimes overlooked the meaty selection of side quests. We later came back to them and were amazed by their depth. In one corner of the map there is a beautiful, lifelike pond whose primary purpose is to house fish. You could conceivably spend hours upon hours at this location doing nothing but casting your lure. A robust fishing mechanic has been enhanced through the use of the Wii remote and nunchuk and as a result the process of catching a big one is all the more engrossing. In contrast, though, you could speed through the game and never so much as bother with the fishing options. There are an impressive number of other side quests and mini games that follow this same, impressive structure.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2006, 05:18 AM Thread Starter
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When Link isn't riding Epona, transforming into wolves, speeding down streams or snowboarding on an ice shard 1080-style over a powdery peak, he's usually in a temple - there are almost 10 of them. Some of these dungeons will seem familiar to Ocarina of Time fans. You will travel to the obligatory lava-filled Goron Temple and you will see the Forest Temple, too. That being noted, these locations are completely changed from their predecessor's counterparts; they're packed with new and clever puzzles, infested with fresh enemies, and just as you will use recognizable items and weapons to traverse them, so will you gain access to brand new ones - a few of them exceptionally awesome. We don't want to go into too many details, of course, so let's just say that Link actually rides one of these new items.
The complaint could be made that Twilight Princess is too similar to Ocarina of Time because the basic play style is familiar and because some faces and places return. However, we think such criticisms are unfounded because they seem to suggest that Zelda's masterful control mechanics should be changed simply for the sake of being different. These criticisms also ignore everything about the game that is completely new - there's a lot of it. Consider the Twilight Realm, Link's new wolf mechanics, some of the incredible new weapons and items he amasses, and a few of the several original locations and temples, which are fascinating. The Temple of Time is hidden somewhere in this enormous new game, but so is a dungeon in the sky. This is definitely the Zelda universe and yet it is in many ways a compelling re-imagining of that universe.
The game will test you. When we first played it at length with a group of journalists, we saw a lot of game over screens. We bit the dust a couple times ourselves. Some of the environmental puzzles in the temples are brain teasers, to be sure, as evidenced by the fact that we still have bruises on our foreheads from banging them against a nearby wall. Even so, all said and done we found ourselves hoping for just a little more where challenge is concerned, particularly for boss battles. Although the design and size of these grotesque, awe-inspiring creatures are practically immeasurable, they can usually be bested without ever endangering Link's life force, which is unfortunate. To be fair, some enemies do inflict more damage on Link than others and it is harder to amass hearts than in previous games.
Twilight Princess is a GameCube port and therefore not wholly indicative of what we can expect visually from truly ground-up Wii titles. It also happens to be a very pretty GCN effort that is made all the prettier on Wii because in addition to supporting a progressive-scan mode it also outputs an exclusive 16:9 widescreen display. The game world is vast and beautifully designed. Nintendo's artists have worked overtime to model the characters and locations that make up Hyrule and it shows. Link features more detail than ever before and many of the enemies that looked quasi-silly in previous Zelda titles are now genuinely spooky. Take, for instance, the Poes -- ghosts which now feature designs that resemble the grim reaper.
There are definitely visual standouts. The shimmering, realistic water in the game is gorgeous and looking at it we can't believe this was originally a GameCube effort. The Twilight Realm's bloomy art style is equally impressive. And the particle and lighting effects that highlight everything from flowing lava to fights with enemies are second to none. The whole game runs smoothly at 30 frames despite the fact that it spits out the biggest world in Zelda history and by a large margin.
Then again, this was originally a GCN title and that truth is visible, too. Some of the textures, particularly those skinning the admittedly immense Hyrule Field, are blurry and even ugly. Nintendo also has an unfortunate tendency to frame cinematics with blurry structures and other objects in the background, which detracts from the presentation. Beyond the low-resolution make-up of some characters and locations, though, we honestly don't have too many complaints, which is quite the feat given that we're self-proclaimed graphics junkies. Nintendo missed a big opportunity where music is concerned, though. The developer consistently creates some of the most memorable and beloved musical compositions in the business and in no franchise are there more memorable and catchy songs than Zelda. Twilight Princess features these wonderful tracks, but the majority of them are MIDI-based and not orchestrated. The MIDI tunes are passable, but they lack the punch and crispness of their orchestrated counterparts. We honestly can't understand Nintendo's decision not to invest more time and resources into the music because Wii discs do not share the storage limitations of GCN ones.

Closing Comments
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is, in my opinion, the greatest Zelda game ever created and one of the best launch titles in the history of launch titles – second only, perhaps, to the at-the-time ground-breaking Super Mario 64. It is also one of the finest games I have ever played. The experience is made better and not worse on Wii. The Wii remote and nunchuk add accuracy and speed to exploration and combat for a heightened sense of immersion. While the game has just about everything going for it, including improved controls, a long and engrossing quest, brain-teasing dungeons and some beautiful graphics, it's not perfect. The difficulty has been upped over Wind Waker, but I wish it were harder still – the boss fights are oftentimes too easy, for example. Additionally, while the visuals are generally impressive, some textures remain blurry to the point they are noticeable. And finally, I still question why Nintendo refuses to add either voice work to the side characters (especially since Twilight Princess features such an improved, dark storyline) or orchestrated music to the soundtrack. Nintendo's new console ships with Wii Sports, which effectively demonstrates a new breed of games only possible on Wii. The Zelda franchise is equally exclusive to the machine and Twilight Princess is must-see, must-play and must-own entry into the series that proves over and over again why Nintendo is the best developer in the world
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 11-21-2006, 05:18 AM Thread Starter
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A truly epic new Zelda complete with a compelling, darker storyline, enhanced controls, and brand new gameplay mechanics. Lack of voice acting and orchestrated music are unfortunate.
An absolutely gorgeous GameCube game. An enormous, detailed world brought to life via beautiful art. But Wii is still capable of much more, as the adventure's sometimes-blurry textures prove.
8.0Sound Again, where's the orchestrated music? Come on, Nintendo. Everything else is great, from the moody sound effects to the atmospheric MIDI compositions.
Superb. The tried-and-true Zelda gameplay mechanics are taken to new heights with the Wii remote and nunchuk. Overworld and temple designs are stellar. Classic Zelda reborn for a new generation.
9.5Lasting Appeal
It'll keep you busy for at least 50 hours and you could spend double that in Nintendo's new Hyrule. So much to do and see that you'll be busy for weeks, if not months.
9.5 IncredibleOVERALL
(out of 10 / not an average)
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