Brave Story: New Traveler (PSP) Rating: NNNN
Brave Story: New Traveler was released just over a week ago, (July 31), which owes its genesis to the Japanese Brave Story, that is a novel, a manga adaptation, and more recently, an animated film.
While I was a little wary of it at first, (oh noes, another RPG!), I really got into the game. Solid story line, great graphics and character designs, and more importantly, an engaging battle system. My gripes are minimal - the menu interface can be awkward at times, and I wish you could speed up some of the animations. Sometimes, you just don't want to sit through it all, you know?
The story line is well incorporated with real character development instead of 2-D token insertions of RPG archetypes. After playing through Final Fantasy I recently, it's interesting to get booted back into current-day style of RPG.
So after a somewhat slow start to introduce you to the world, take off the training wheels and dive deep into the nuances of the battles and how best to deploy your character and their moves. With a revolving cast of characters intertwined into the story, they come and go in your party, mixing things up on a regular basis so you don't get too dependent on a core group. Group moves, called Unity moves in-game, are developed as members are partied more often. There's even a token crafting system, as well as network bird-battles.
In short, it's worth the time and money to play. Engaging enough for a casual player without having them get bogged down in technical details, but lots of great tactics-style battle moments for the more hard-core.