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EA Games Tees Up Titles for the PSP

15 Mar, 2005 By: John Gaudiosi

Electronic Arts' Tiger Woods PGA

Sony will launch its new PSP (Portable PlayStation) with an unprecedented 24 titles.

Only 1 million hardware units will be ready for the March 24 North American launch. Retailers are already creating custom bundles beyond the official $249 bundle that Sony announced. Retailers such as EBGames.com are selling only PSP with $400 to $550 bundles that allow gamers to choose from any three launch titles and one launch accessory.

At about $40 to $50, PSP games are the highest-priced portable games ever to hit the market. Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance SP games topped out at $35. Thus, the rental channel may be influential.

Electronic Arts (EA) has set up its own Team Fusion to focus solely on PSP game development, and that makes all six of its titles must-haves for launch.

NBA Street Showdown, EA, $50
Although purists will opt for Sony's NBA simulation, this three-on-three arcade take on basketball fits perfectly on the handheld. There are 22 NBA Legends packed into this game, as well as all the NBA teams, NBA All-Star Teams and Street Teams (EA's fantasy player teams). The game has been designed for short basketball fixes or long-haul action through the “King of the Courts” campaign mode, which can take 30 hours. Party Play adds two new arcade twitch games to the mix for short but addictive fixes. EA has tweaked the controls to suit the PSP, which has less buttons than the PS2. All the tricks from the console version are packed into this portable, plus a few extras. In addition, all of the moves are customizable so you can assign the buttons as you like.

This game is exactly the type of quick portable experience gamers will be craving on PSP. Just about every mode in the game is available for two-player wireless, which also makes it a great multiplayer experience.

MVP Baseball, EA, $50
There are two baseball sims at launch, but EA beats out Sony's MLB in the pennant race. It packs all the depth of the console baseball game, including full-season mode with stat tracking and its Pure Swing System, into the portable. The game allows you to make trades during the season and also allows you to accept or reject trade proposals from other teams. All of the farm teams are in this game. Other additions to the PSP game include color-coded ball trails that will help with fielding. Different color ball trails will alert players to the strength of the hit. With so much emphasis on the sim side of the game, EA still found time for quick portable game modes like Pitcher's Showdown and Home Run Derby. Both of these Party Play modes are available for up to four players sharing a single PSP, as well as head-to-head wireless. This is a must-have for any baseball fan who wants to enjoy the spirit of the game while on the road. And the wireless head-to-head exhibition mode makes it great for the long haul.

FIFA Soccer, EA, $50
Once again, EA scores in the soccer match, edging out Sony's World Cup Soccer for first place on PSP. Soccer fans will be able to jump into the 2004-2005 season with updated international standings (as of Christmas 2004) or play a full season. This game packs a lot of players and includes 350 official team and league licenses. New default camera angles take advantage of the 16:9 PSP widescreen view, allowing you to zoom in to see how accurately each player represents his real-life counterpart. FIFA Challenges offers 20 historical routs and 20 historical comebacks, and tosses you into one of the two game scenarios, giving you a set timer to achieve the impossible. For those who want to start from scratch, a full-season mode is also included, which will track stats throughout. You can also customize your own tournament and play through. Wireless online gameplay is available in any game mode.

NFL Street 2: Unleashed, EA, $50
EA provides the only NFL game for PSP. The arcade action and street settings offer a contrast to the Madden franchise and work well on the portable. This game features bone-jarring tackles and the ability to perform super moves, including running up walls, to score. Seven-on-seven action opens up the field and tilts the action to offense. Fourteen fields allow for creative scoring opportunities. All of the offensive and defensive plays from the console version, as well as all the NFL teams and NFL players, are packed into this game. There are also three new mini-games to offer something new to the experience. Street Challenges, such as Street Slalom, 2-Minute Challenge and Jump Ball, allow up to four players to pass around the PSP and fight for the high score. Two players can go mano-a-mano with wireless play.

Tiger Woods PGA, EA, $50
The only launch golf game, Tiger Woods PGA packs the depth of the console franchise and lets you take it portable. The game includes 20 golfers, including 10 current PGA pros, such as Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh; five legends, such as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player; and five fantasy players such as Pops, Tsunami and Mulligan. There are 12 courses, including the Sherwood Country Club, Pebble Beach, Harbor Town and Paradise Cove. The detail is all there, including the putting grid, the flag that shows you which direction the wind is blowing and, of course, the lush greens and blue waters of these famous courses.

There's even a Pocket Caddie to offer advice on every hole, which was inspired by the GPS systems you find on high-end golf courses. This portable comes with an assortment of game modes, including a robust career mode that allows you to create a golfer and compete against the pros from past and present in match play events, tournaments and challenge modes. Wireless head-to-head gameplay is available in five game modes. Up to four players can compete in Party Play modes like short skins matches and long drive shootouts.

Need for Speed Underground Rivals, EA, $50
The racing field is crowded at launch, including Sony's ATV Offroad Fury, Blazin' Trails and Namco's Ridge Racer, but EA's night street racer should take the checkered flag. This game was designed from the ground up for the PSP with 10 original tracks and 25 licensed cars. New to the best-selling franchise are 10 muscle cars and four boss vehicles. This game is all about customizing and building the ultimate racer and then taking it into the underground world of street racing. The game includes eight different racing modes, including drift attack, nitrous run, rally relay, street cross and drag races. There are also circuit races (novice, pro and master) that challenge racers with events like knockout, tournament, rally relay and time trial. All of the game modes are available for wireless head-to-head play. Rivals also includes five Party Play modes for up to four players to compete for the best time in games like circuit and drag races.

More PSP titles will be profiled next week.

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