It's handheld day for CB's look ahead at 2007. Today we've got an all new Dragon Quest game and the latest in the Zelda series on DS as well as Ratchet and Clank's first foray into the realm of handhelds on the PSP.

Dragon Quest IX: The Dragon Quest series is one of the best selling series of games in history with over 41 millions copies sold world wide. That’s why it came as such a surprise to learn that Sony would allow DQ exclusivity to slip from their grasp. The next installment of the series will arrive on the Nintendo DS. Aesthetically the game will be very similar to DQVIII with cell shaded graphics and trademark wonky art style. Other than that most everything is different. The battles will occur in real time on the field. What does this mean? It means the turn based battles that have been a crux of the series for years will not be making a return. The most exciting element being added to gameplay, is the addition of a 4 player cooperative mode. Players will connect via the DS’s wifi capabilities and duke it out with magical monsters Crystal Chronicles style. The new features combined with a new platform should help DQIX to find an all new audience while being faithful to its hard-core fan base.
Release Date: Unknown 2007
Platform: Nintendo DS
MSRP: $39.99

The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hour Glass: Just as the sequel to Dragon Quest VIII made its way to the DS, so will the “sequel” to 2003’s masterpiece The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Phantom Hourglass will draw a number of inspirations from its predecessor such as cell shaded graphics and a very tropical sunny art style. I won’t bother going into many of the details because, well…It’s Zelda, if you know how one plays odds are you’ve got a pretty good idea what to expect from the others. The new elements of the gameplay include the obligatory touch screen support, oddly enough the control is more akin to a Diablo-esque dungeon crawl than previous Zelda titles. Link moves wherever the stylus is and a quick tap causes a sword strike, while circle-motion around your enemy denotes a spin attack. The most useful addition will be the ability to write notes on your dungeon maps with the stylus. Remember all those times screaming, “God D*****! I know I saw a key somewhere!” Well this should help to alleviate that somewhat. All indications are that it’s coming along nicely and should continue to uphold the quality the series is known for.
Release Date: June 2007
Platform: Nintendo DS
MSRP: $39.99

Ratchet And Clank: Size Matters If you own a PSP you probably already know what to expect from this game. Sony’s portable has seen a number of series come over from the PS2 with nearly the same results all around. Tekken, Jack and Daxter, Syphon Filter, Socom, and Metal Gear Solid have all seen offshoots for the system that push the limits of what we thought a handheld could do. All the things the series is known for will make a return, with more of the same platforming action we loved on the PS2. And of course what would a Ratchet and Clank game be without all those kooky weapons. This time we’re treated to a gaggle of all new weapons including the Bee Mine and the Acid Bomb. The story this time around sees Ratchet and Clank on a vacation from saving the world. Unfortunately they get wrapped up in a kdnapping scheme, which evolves into a much larger conspiracy.
Release Date: February 6th, 2007
Platform: PSP
MSRP: $39.99

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