Brandish: PSP fans get a new game this week

You might not have heard about Brandish: The Dark Revenant, but if you’re a fan of portable gaming, you probably should. It’s an action-RPG due for digital-only release this week – exclusively for PSP.

Sony itself has pretty much announced the PSP is a dead platform, ending shipments of the hardware early last year, but the development team at Nihon Falcom believes there’s still a market for the handheld.

That said, Brandish: The Dark Revenant isn’t exactly a new game. It originally hit PSPs in Japan in 2009, a complete remake of the 1991 release Brandish. For some reason, it took translators nearly six years to finish the English version, due out this week.

Players take on the role of swordsman Ares Toraernos as he climbs his way through over 40 sprawling floors of monsters, traps and puzzles in an attempt to escape a long-forgotten underground labyrinth. Along the way he repeatedly encounters his arch-rival, the voluptuous sorceress Dela Delon, who’s just as interested in claiming the bounty on his head as she is in escaping the maze herself. With each floor boasting unrelenting enemies fought in real time, elaborate booby traps, ancient treasures and thousand-year-old mysteries to solve, Brandish promises to keep players fighting for survival till the bitter end.

The new version of the game features “smoother gameplay, revamped boss battles, enhanced graphics and newly arranged music” combined with the traditional cunning puzzles, sinister traps and ominous maps.

If the dungeons all get too much for you, there are a few casinos hidden around in Brandish: The Dark Revenant – find one, and you can play slots, or challenge an NPC to a game of cards.

Completing the adventure as Ares unlocks the expert-level “Dela Mode,” in which players take on the role of sorceress Dela Delon and challenge over 10 never-before-seen additional floors. Harder enemies, crueler traps and even more maddening mazes must be conquered as players experience a new perspective on the story and a new magic-centric approach to combat.

The PSP decision – while unusual – isn’t completely ridiculous. While the PSP has been thoroughly superceded by the Vita, the older handheld is still compatible with PlayStation TV systems, which makes the game very playable on a bigger screen. Plus, there are always the purists who prefer the older hardware. If you’re one, Brandish: The Dark Revenant should be in the PlayStation Network store some time in the next few days.

(Thanks to Sam Burton for the heads-up!)

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