Thursday, May 15, 2008

The PSP Needs a Better Fighting Library

Bleach: Heat the Soul 5 for PSP was released today in Japan. It's a shallow 3D fighting game, similar in many ways to Bleach: Heat the Soul 4. And Bleach: Heat the Soul 3.

Why the hell are there so few quality one-on-one fighting titles for the PSP? Ports of Guilty Gear and Tekken have been welcome gestures so far, but the handheld has been out for two and a half years already. Where are the other franchises? I can name about a hundred fighting games I'd like to play on the PSP, but can't because they don't exist.

Marvel vs Capcom 2. Kinnikuman Muscle Gran Prix. Melty Blood. Arcana Heart. The Rumble Fish. Soul Calibur. Rival Schools. Street Fighter III. Any King of Fighters game after 1999.

Whether it's because of legal impossibility or just a misguided assumption that there's no demand for such ports, Sony leaves its fighting fanbase in the dark with idle thumbs and a whole lot of wishing for something good. Instead, we get title after title of ultra-simplified fighting games based on the same manga series.

I started playing the Bleach fighting series, not because I like the manga (in fact, I don't), but because the PSP's library of fighting games is so sparse, I'm increasingly willing to play any old fighting title they throw at me (and because Naruto suffers from a tragic lack of sexy females, a cornerstone of the genre).

Bleach: Heat the Soul 5 came with a free sports towel, but that isn't going to be enough to make me feel good about buying this title unless the gameplay gets better in a hurry.

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