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About Judy

As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008 Shipping Announcements

by Judy on March 26, 2008 @ 10:30 a.m. PDT

Another day, another batch of games shipped to stores. Instead of giving them all their own posts, we grouped them, and so far there are announcements for:

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (PSP)

Seven years prior to the events of Final Fantasy VII:

The Shinra Company is rapidly increasing its influence through its monopoly on mako energy and military might. With the burgeoning city of Midgar as its base and symbol of prosperity, Shinra is on the verge of establishing absolute dominance over the world. Soldier is a group of skilled combat operatives within Shinra. The elite within the group — those strong enough to be deemed Soldier 1st Class — are respected and idolized by the citizenry.

Zack is a young Soldier 2nd Class who aspires to become a 1st. He spends his days carrying out assignments under the guidance of his 1st Class mentor, Angeal. During an operation in Wutai, a large number of Soldier members, led by 1st Class operative Genesis, go missing. The severity of the situation prompts Shinra executives to deploy even more Soldier operatives in hopes of bringing an end to the war with Wutai — and conducting an investigation into the mass desertion. The ones assigned to the mission are Zack, Angeal, and the 1st Class hero who is known the world over as Sephiroth...

What truths lie behind Genesis's disappearance? What secrets bind the three Soldier 1st Class operatives? For Zack, a cruel and fateful struggle awaits...

Key Features:

  • Complete the Final Fantasy VII experience and reunite with the most recognized RPG characters created by world-renowned character designer Tetsuya Nomura
  • Witness stunning graphics and gorgeous CG cutscenes coupled with top-notch voice acting in a 16:9 widescreen presentation, made possible by the PSP system
  • Innovative DMW (Digital Mind Wave) system enhances the action-packed real-time battle system, allowing players to unleash special attacks or call upon iconic Final Fantasy summons
  • Take on challenges with the all-new "Hard Mode" developed exclusively for the North American audiences
  • Acquire unique accessories made available through 300 side missions to further enrich the gameplay experience

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB and will be available at North American retailers for the suggested retail price of $39.99.

Opoona (Wii)

While on an interplanetary family vacation, the young boy Opoona crash lands on Planet Landroll after his family's spaceship is involved in a mysterious accident. Separated from his family, Opoona is forced to live alone. On the planet, Opoona must find a job, search for his siblings, and defend himself and the people of Landroll against creatures known as the Dark Rogues. Luckily for Opoona, he is the descendant of a long line of warriors known as the Cosmo Guards. Thus, Opoona's adventure begins as he struggles to establish a new life and reunite his family.

The game's action-oriented battle system lets players use powerful "Energy Bonbons" against their enemies. Using just the Nunchuk, players can manipulate an Energy Bonbon's trajectory in a number of different ways. All of Opoona's commands are also controlled by the Nunchuk, to allow a complete "single-hand control" of the game.

The gameplay in Opoona is not just about battling; it is a "Lifestyle RPG." As Opoona, players must adapt to a new environment, meet new people, and contribute to society through work, all while becoming aware of the precious world and people around him. As the game progresses, Opoona will develop relationships and uncover a broader range of activities including new jobs and clues to new adventures.

The unique characters and a modern fantasy world created by Art Director, Shintaro Majima, are sure to fascinate gamers. From futuristic buildings to ancient ruins and strange rock formations in the wild, the world of Opoona is a remarkable fusion of both contemporary design and whimsical fantasy.

Opoona is a single player game and is rated "E10+" by the ESRB.

Universe at War: Earth Assault (X360)

Universe at War: Earth Assault is set in the near-future, when Earth has become a battleground for three different alien factions: the ravenous Hierarchy and their massive war machines called "Walkers;" the futuristic Novus with their swarms of robots and nanotechnology; and the mysterious Masari, ancient astronauts who awaken from centuries of slumber below the world's oceans to turn the conflict into a three-way war.

The control scheme in Universe at War: Earth Assault for Xbox 360 has been designed to streamline every possible function in an RTS for use with a console controller. The game features a quick "snap-to" function that allows players to access adjacent units and points of conflict very quickly with the D-pad. Another innovative control feature is the "paint brush" function, which allows easy selection of multiple different units. This function also allows players to quickly and easily assign control groups.

Universe at War: Earth Assault also employs a unique balance system called "Tactical Dynamics." This groundbreaking feature allows players to retrain and customize units in the midst of battle to better cope with enemy forces and challenging tactical situations. Weaponry and defenses can even be modified in real-time, allowing players to take advantage of constantly shifting battlefield conditions. Fully customizable tech trees allow players to control the development of technologies that they deem key to victory. With deadly super-weapons and alien powers, players can destroy large-scale cities and whole territories in one devastating move.

Universe at War: Earth Assault supports Microsoft's Games for Windows – LIVE initiative and allows cross-platform play between Windows-based PC and Xbox 360. In an effort to even the playing field, cross-platform play will be made available via free download in early April 2008.

Universe at War: Earth Assault for Xbox 360 is rated "T" by the Entertainment Software Rating Board and will retail for $59.95.

Warriors Orochi (PSP/PC)

Without warning, the venomous Serpent King Orochi descended from the heavens. Using his unworldly powers to shatter time and space, Orochi kidnapped the strongest, wisest and most courageous warriors from Ancient China and Feudal Japan in a scheme to test his might against the heroes of these ages.

In Warriors Orochi, the characters from both the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors franchises must team-up to wage war against this new, yet powerful force. The game boasts an amazing roster of 79 playable characters, while four action-packed "crossover" storylines feature amazing team-ups and some long-awaited confrontations between characters from both series.

The game's new "Team Battle System" and "Weapon Fusion" push Tactical Action to a whole new level. For the first time in KOEI's Tactical Action games, players can create their own three-person tag team. At any given time, one warrior will be engaged in battle, while the other two are recuperating; restoring their Life Meters and Musou Gauges. Every character is categorized according to offensive ability, and with new fighting techniques, it's up to the player to find the most lethal combination of warriors. "Weapon Fusion" lets players combine the attributes from different weapons for more devastating results.

Warriors Orochi for PSP boasts the massive seamless battlefields of the console versions, while previous games in the series for handheld platforms had combat taking place on battlefields divided into smaller "cells." The handheld release includes all 79 playable characters, and features 2-player co-op play via wireless (ad-hoc). Warriors Orochi for Windows-based PC features enhanced graphics. Players can adjust the anti-aliasing, textures, dynamic shadows and lighting, and even set the character count. More enemies means more KOs!

This game is rated "T" (Teen- Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Violence) by the ESRB.

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