I was looking for a place to download the ET: Quake Wars demo today, when I found some interesting listings on FileShack. There are, apparently, quite a few full versions of Ubisoft games that are available for download. They are being released for free, and apparently will be supported with ads. The games listed so far are Ghost Recon, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Rayman Raving Rabids, and FarCry.
While this isn't a terribly large number of games, they're not nearly old enough to become abandonware, and if memory serves, fairly decent games. So, wtf Ubisoft? You're a few small steps away from becoming that girl in high school that had way too many male friends and really low self-esteem. I'm worried about you Ubi.
I know most of the people who were actually interested in LOTRO probably picked it up when it came out, or were involved in the beta and quickly lost interest, but FileShack is offering a 7 day free trial. While I didn't think that the game was that spectacular when I played the beta, it wasn't terrible, and I likely would've enjoyed it more were I not a victim of the WoWz addiction.
If you've yet to play the game, or simply want to see if anything has changed since the beta, you can pick up the client here, provided you live in North America, Australia, or New Zealand. Otherwise, you'll just somehow have to cope with being left out.
They're calling it Pandora's Battery, and it's a set of utilities they've created that are designed to unbrick PSPs, or restore them to a subset of the v1.50 firmware. The instructions that come with it aren't terribly complicated, and the materials requirement isn't that extensive either; consisting of only an extra battery and a Memory Stick Pro Duo, which most PSP owners likely already have.
There's a complete list of instructions included in the file, and Dark_AleX gives a brief run through in the forum post where he talks about it's release here.
Ever since its release, Sony's PSP has suffered a multitude of problems, the most notable of which is the lack of any good games. There aren't that many games that exist for it; its library mostly consisting of ports, or re-hashes of IPs that didn't really need re-hashing.
However, looking forward to 2007, there are quite a few games that may actually make the PSP worth the $170.
Parappa the Rapper
Originally a first-gen Playstation title, Parappa was the first rhythm game that I ever played, and hopelessly addicted me to the genre. Featuring paper cut-out characters and cartoony graphics, the entire game is imbued with a quirky style that is really unlike any other title I've ever played. The nonsensical lyrics only make it better.
Final Fantasy Tactics: The Lion War
Basically a sprucing up of the original Playstation title, but evidently feature some minor changes, such as the inclusion of Baltheir from FFXII. I think that the PSP's wide screen will be quite a treat to see FFT on, as well as maybe enabling me to finally finish the fucking game!
Final Fantasy I & II
Yes, more RPGs! While most people have bought the first few games in the Final Fantasy series at least 40 times, I still have yet to purchase any of the remakes. These two guarantee to occupy plenty of my time, to the point that my girlfriend is probably going to end up destroying my PSP in a vast fit of rage.
Dungeons and Dragons Tactics
Though I haven't seen much on this one, it looks like it could be interesting. A turn-based RPG using the DnD 3.5 rules with some apparently quite deep character customization, it could be chock full of win.
Silent Hill: Origins
The first real Silent Hill game for the PSP, this one looks to share much stylistically with its console brethren. It will, of course, retain the "static" filter that the others have had, as well as the puzzles that have become staples of the series. However, it does add in a few new features, such as weapon durability and finishing moves for when one of your enemies go down.
Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars
It's Crazy Taxi. That's not really much more I can say about that, other than I want it. Badly.
Yes, another tactical RPG, but I'm obsessed with the damn things, and you're the one that chose to read this, so deal with it. This one takes the story of Joan of Arc (hence the name) and translates it into a game. The cel-shaded looking graphics are beautiful, and the twists that Level-5 have put into the mechanics of the game are interesting.
Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles
The prequel to SOTN, which never really made its way to America is getting a full 3D facelift while retaining the 2D gameplay that Castlevania fans have come to expect. (We're just going to pretend that N64 thing never happened, okay? I think that's best for all of us.) As if that wasn't enough, SOTN itself is going to be included on the UMD.
Okay, so most of them are still remakes or ports, but they're good games now dammit. I know this list is kind of RPG heavy, but hopefully that will excite some of you out there. Now, there are only two questions that beg to be answered:
1) Can the PSP be saved by this sudden influx of titles?