Tagged "PS Vita"

Sony E3 2014
Jun 10
By Adam Philbin In Blog No Comments

With last year’s E3 conferences all about the new consoles, this year the games were the centrepiece. Sony were keen on showing us quite a lot of them.

If E3 was a fight – and it sort of is, let’s face it – Sony once again stepped it up. Microsoft’s Xbox conference was an improvement on last year’s disaster, but with few particularly stand out titles. Sony’s show on the other hand, was more or less a non-stop stream of games to make the audience go “I want that!”. Although in both cases, new IP was a little lacking.

Sony’s core message was “look, games!”, with a strong focus on “Jesus, that’s very good looking”. Where to start…

Oh yes, Grim Fandango!

grim-fandango

Yes, that’s right. Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions are pulling LucasArts’ classic into the modern age as Grim Fandango Remastered, initially for PlayStation 4 and PS Vita. That will probably go down as the most unexpected announcement of E3.

In terms of brilliant but non-exclusive titles, Activision’s Destiny, Ubisoft’s Far Cry 4 and Deep Silver’s Dead Island 2 all looked kind of brilliant, with Far Cry 4 in particular looking really stunning. The gameplay sequence on show highlighted the freeform gameplay, wrapped up in brilliant little cinematic moments.

Remastering seems to be a theme at this year’s E3. Grim Fandango aside (and Microsoft’s Halo), Sony also presented The Last Of Us Remastered, now due for an August 1st 2014 release, and GTA V for PS4 (as well as Xbox One and PC) due this autumn. Oh, let us not forget Ratchet & Clank Remastered – don’t all rush out and buy it at once!

The big new IP unveiling came in the form of Bloodborne, from Dark Souls developer From Software. It looked pretty gruesome. The trailer seemed to involve a dark character lurking in the shadows, slicing apart zombie-like corpses and hounds. Probably not exactly the type of game that’s lacking in the world, but the developers have a good track record and Sony seemed excited so we won’t be too harsh.

Another original, PlayStation exclusive game on show was The Order: 1886, again. Last year we saw the trailer, this year some gameplay of a moustached man walking in the shadows. It’s due for release in February 2015.

In a rather casual manner, Media Molecule came on stage to show off LittleBigPlanet 3. Needless to say, that can only be a good thing. Whilst it looks very similar to previous games in the series, new characters have been introduced with a bunch of special abilities. You won’t have to wait too long to play it, as it’ll be coming to both PS3 and PS4 in November.

BROFORCE  PS4Once again, indie titles were a big part of Sony’s offering. There are frankly too many to mention, but we’re glad to see BROFORCE (a retro-style side-scrolling shooter where you play as 80s action heroes smashing through destructable terrain – there’s a prototype online that’s worth a play) and Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number coming to PS4 and PS Vita.

Journey developers Giant Squid are also working on something new – the mildly pretentious sounding Abzû. We’re not sure what the game involves (although it’s mostly set underwater), but it looks very pretty. Expect hipster gaming sites to fawn over that one for awhile.

Guildford-based four man development studio Hello Games (of Joe Danger fame) properly unveiled No Man’s Sky. Whilst shown as part of the indie gaming section, that might be doing it a disservice – it’s genuinely one of the highlights of the show, and one of the most interesting games we’ve seen in a long time. Getting over the fact that this Triple A worthy title is being made by just four men, the concept itself – exploring an online infinite universe full of randomly generated planets, packed with alien life and space battles – is just amazing. Look, here’s the gameplay trailer below. Look at it. Look at it! Does that not have the potential to be the best thing ever?

Landing back on Earth, Sony announced that the PlayStation TV (released in Japan last November) would be coming to the US and Europe soon, for £99. It’s essentially a PS Vita chipset that you plug into your TV and control with a Dualshock pad. It plays PS Vita games natively, and also allows for remote play of PS4 and PS3 titles, as well as eventually playing streamed PS Now titles, once the PS Now game streaming service comes to Europe (it’s coming to the US and Canada this summer, but no mention about a release over here yet).

uncharted4

Sony closed the show with a sneak peak at Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. The footage, whilst running on a PS4, didn’t tell us too much, other than the fact that it looks very pretty. It’s Naughty Dog though, so we’re confident it will be amazing, when we finally get to play it next year.
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NewPSVita2
Sep 09
By Matt Gander In Blog 3 Comments

Whereas Nintendo’s recently announced 2DS has seen the system undergo a radical redesign, Sony’s newly unveiled thinner PlayStation Vita retains all the curves of the original.

NewPSVita

The new model – out in Japan 10th October – is 20 per cent slimmer and 15 per cent lighter than the existing model.

The battery has seen a boost also and is now said to offer an extra hour of play, taking to total up to the 6 hour mark, while the 1GB onboard memory is a pleasing new addition. Those PS Vita memory cards aren’t cheap, after all.

Speaking of which, a 64GB memory card will be available on the same day in Japan.

Sony will also be releasing the new PS Vita – catchily named PCH-2000 – in an array of colours: yellow, pink, white, gray, lime green and light blue.

PSVitaColours

So it’s all good news, then? Not quite. Presumably to save on manufacturing costs, the original’s OLED screen is being replaced with a LED screen. Sony claims that it’s more than suitable for the job, however:

“Thanks to the rapid progress of LCD technology in recent years, the new display provides users with the highest-level image quality, perfect for deep and immersive gaming experience that is at the core of PS Vita,”

During Sony’s conference from earlier today they also announced the PlayStation 4’s Japanese release date (22nd February) alongside the PlayStation Vita TV – a small box allowing PlayStation Vita games to be played on a TV. The 9480 yen (£60-ish) device launches in Japan on 14th November.

Expect European launch details of Sony’s new slimline baby soon.

psvita_oneyearold_top
Feb 24
By Adam Philbin In Features 13 Comments

We almost didn’t notice, but it turns out the PS Vita is one year old this weekend. Being the modest little handheld that it is, we thought we’d bake it a cake and surprise it with the birthday bumps!

When the PS Vita was first announced in January 2011 we were reasonably impressed with it, silly name aside. Sony’s decision to use commodity smartphone components was a wise move, one that they’ve recently repeated with the x86-based PlayStation 4. The launch games – particularly Uncharted: Golden Abyss – were suitably impressive, and once we got the device in our hands we were really satisfied with the high build quality of the device. Viva la Vita, we thought.

“we wait for a genuinely system selling game”

At the same time, everyone has been a little skeptical about Sony’s handheld. The original PSP suffered from a slightly generic and malnourished games catalogue, with the Nintendo DS ultimately beating it up and stealing its lunch money. This time around, whilst the Nintendo 3DS poses a threat to the PS Vita, ultimately the biggest threat to both devices (and arguably console gaming in general) has come from iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. £35 PS Vita games will always struggle against 69p or even free mobile games.

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Dec 20
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

According to online retailers the next release due out at retail is Sega’s Anarchy Reigns on 11th January. Those hankering for a new game shouldn’t despair though – there are plenty of new releases to download this week.

A double whammy of Oddworld titles leads the way – Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD on PS Vita for £9.99 and Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee HD on PS3 for £7.99.

Stranger’s Wrath has taken ten months of hard work to make it onto Vita. That’s nearly twice as long as Black Ops: Declassified’s development cycle. There’s new touch-screen controls and the visuals have been spruced up. We really enjoyed Stranger’s Wrath when it was first released on Xbox many years ago. It was something of a shame that back then EA chose not to promote it at all.

Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee HD on the other hand features new audio, art assets and unlockable concept art. This started out as a multi-format game until Microsoft snagged it to become the Xbox’s premier platformer.

Karateka, Zombie Driver HD, Knytt Underground and Labyrinth Legends should also be on PSN by the time you read this. Prince of Persia predecessor Karateka and top-down shooter Zombie Driver HD were released on Xbox 360 a few months back to mixed reviews. Knytt Underground meanwhile is a 2D plaforming series that started out as homebrew before becoming a fully-fledged release. They have managed to gain something of a cult following over the years.

There’s not a great deal going on over on Xbox Live Arcade apart from Double Fine’s Kinect Party being released for free on Tuesday. If you’re planning to download it then make sure you grab the Star Glazer add-on too as that’s also free currently. Microsoft has however started their big Christmas sale on Xbox Live, so if Kinect Party isn’t your cup of sugar-filled soft drink then there might be something in the sale to tempt. Jet Set Radio HD for 400 MSP is something of a bargain.

A couple of Wii U eShop games have been cut this month, even though they aren’t even a month old yet. Little Inferno is down to £8.39 while Chasing Aurora will now set you back £5.39. We think we’d rather have Dr. Mario on 3DS Virtual Console, which is £1.19 until 27th December.

Then’s there are two new 3DS releases to consider – escapeVektor from Australian developer Nnooo, available for £8.99, and ‘old skool’ platformer Gunman Clive for £1.79. The WiiWare version of escapeVektor was very well received, gaining a 9 from IGN.

Next week: Charades, Monopoly, find granny’s glasses and hunt the receipt.

Nov 01
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games 2 Comments

Earlier this year it was announced that Criterion are now behind the steering wheel of the Need for Speed franchise. This more than likely means no more Burnout, but as NFS: Hot Pursuit proved Criterion are able to bring the best bits of Burnout to Need for Speed and make them better experiences for it.

The first review of Need for Speed: Most Wanted – which shares its name with 2005’s Need for Speed – was a 9/10 from EDGE which generated a lot of excitement. This was then followed up by an 8/10 from Eurogamer. “This isn’t quite paradise, but it comes very close,” they said.

Criterion have focused a lot of attention into the PS Vita version and their promise of a decent conversion seems to have paid off – the first review in is an 8/10 from Pocket Gamer. They note that the graphics aren’t quite as hot as the console versions and there’s a distinct lack of traffic but still called it an impressive effort.

We’re pretty sure that a long time ago Ubisoft said that they didn’t want the Assassin’s Creed franchise to become a yearly thing. If that was the case then it hasn’t happened, and the strength of the brand is likely to blame, but there has in fact been three years of development time put into Assassin’s Creed III which makes it Ubisoft’s most ambitious release yet. Reviews suggest though that maybe it has been a little too ambitious.

The Official PlayStation Magazine’s 7/10 review is surprisingly critical and well worth a read. Here’s a choice paragraph:

“It [also] badly underwhelms in the looks department, at least on PS3. Foliage textures are PS2-level in places – little more than flat, intersecting 2D blobs of green – and the pop-in is ceaseless. Shadows on faces in cut-scenes look like they’ve been added using the spray can in MS Paint, and shadows on objects draw in and out as you get closer or further away. It must also be said that while Ubisoft has picked an interesting time historically for the game, architecturally it’s as inspiring as a multi-storey car park. Both Boston and New York are bland, blocky and have a depressingly muted colour palette. It’s a world away from the sun-dappled, burnished beauty of Revelations’ Constantinople.”

Other review scores, such as EDGE’s 8/10 and Eurogamer’s 9/10, are a lot more positive as a whole but most reviewers do seem to agree that you have to put up with a lot of glitches that really shouldn’t be present. Eurogamer also noted earlier in the week that the multi-player mode has some cheeky micro-transactions in place.

The PS Vita-exclusive Assassin’s Creed: Liberation has also been subject to criticism. “Liberation feels like an unimportant side story in a far more ambitious tale, one that you don’t really need to hear. If you’ve never played an Assassin’s Creed game before, then this is a terrible place to start,” said Venture Beat in their review, where they awarded it a mediocre 55/100. CVG on the other hand thought it was worth an 8.0 but pointed out that “the score is relative to the platform”.

The PS Vita also receives Silent Hill: Book of Memories this week but we wouldn’t get too excited if the verdict by The Metro’s GameCentral is anything to go by. They gave it a resounding 3/10: “A bad idea, poorly realised. Not only does this sully the already tarnished name of Silent Hill but it’s a tediously poor dungeon crawler in its own right.” Destructoid’s review echoed this but they were a bit more generous with the score – a 6.5.

There aren’t many other new games out. Dragon Ball Z: Budokai – HD Collection features Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 1 and Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3, but not Budokai 2 for some reason, Nike+ Kinect Training looks like a pretty exhaustive package, and Batman: Arkham City – Game Of The Year Edition is the definitive way to experience the best superhero game of recent times. Zavvi are offering it in a bundle with Arkham Asylum: Game of the Year Edition for £29.95, which is a pretty good deal seeing as they’re selling Arkham City: GoTY Edition for the same price on its own.

Then we’ve got Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2013 which comes with an intriguing peripheral – a gun that measures your heart rate and then uses this data to adjust the accuracy. It’s also available without the gun if you feel you have enough clutter around the house. It sounds like Activision have put more money into it than previous Cabela games – the storyline has been penned by the writer of The Fringe. Given the series’ reputation though, it would be wise to wait for a few reviews to surface.

Next week: Halo 4 (360), Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force (PS3), LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3), Kinect: Marvel’s Avengers – Battle For Earth (Kinect), Saints Row: The Third – The Full Package (PS3, 360, PC), Kinect: Zumba Fitness – Core (PS3, 360, Wii), Mass Effect Trilogy (360, PC), Tropico 4: Gold Edition (360, PC), Andrew Lloyd Webber Musicals: Sing And Dance (Wii), Rabbids Rumble (3DS) and Spy Hunter (3DS).

Oct 01
By Matt Gander In UK Charts No Comments

Well, we can’t imagine many children being conceived over the past weekend – FIFA 13 has sold over a million copies since being launched on Friday, becoming the fourth game in the UK to do so within launch week. Those other three games are all Call of Duty titles if you’re wondering.

FIFA 13 accounted for 71% of all UK game sales from last week, in fact.

As well as taking the top spot of the all format chart, it’s also #1 in the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP and Wii charts. However, and rather surprisingly, it only enters at #2 in the PS Vita chart with LittleBigPlanet PS Vita remaining at #1. We guess Vita owners didn’t fancy shelling out for it just eight months after the launch title FIFA Football. 3DS owners haven’t rushed out and bought it either – it only makes #4 in the 3DS chart.

There are five other new entries in the top 40. World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria enters at #4, Rocksmith at #7, Dead or Alive 5 at #11, Angry Birds Trilogy at #16 and Gran Turismo 5 Academy Edition at #17.

Inazuma Eleven Strikers slides in at #17 in the Wii chart. The online retailers can’t seem to make their minds up about this one – it’s not available on either Play or Amazon and TheHut has it down for a November release. It’s definitely out though, as it wouldn’t be in the chart otherwise.

Aug 28
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

Sony has released a list of the PSone Classic games that’ll be playable on PS Vita following today’s v1.80 firmware update.

You can view it on the PlayStation Blog here.

It’s an impressive list. There are plenty of classics – including Crash Bandicoot, WipEout, Abe’s Exoddus, Final Fantasy VII, Resident Evil 2 – and also a handful of more obscure titles like Bishi Bashi Special, Galaxy Fight, Sheep, Sorcerer’s Maze and Cho Aniki.

If have already purchased these titles, you will be able to re-download them directly from your PS Store account or transfer them to your PS Vita directly from your PS3.

American PS Vita users have found that their list wasn’t quite 100 percent accurate, so don’t be surprised if some of the games on European list aren’t available either.

Mar 08
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games No Comments

I don’t think we’ll ever understand publishers. Capcom’s ‘interactive anime’ Asura’s Wrath was pushed back from last month to this month, but what a day to choose to finally release it. Not only is it going up Mass Effect 3 but also Capcom’s own Street Fighter X Tekken.

There’s Twisted Metal on PlayStation 3 and Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D on 3DS too. I suppose it does stand a very good chance of outselling Calvin Tucker’s Farm Animal Racing Tournament on Wii though. “Get Yerr Redneck On” indeed.

Asura’s Wrath has all the hallmarks of a future cult classic, much like killer7 before it. If you fancy trying before buying there’s a demo available which features two boss battles from much later in the game, both of which are suitably epic in scale. Don’t expect to find a copy in GAME however as they aren’t stocking it.

GAME aren’t selling Street Fighter X Tekken either, even though they were offering a special edition with a neat looking arcade machine money box. “This is not a playable arcade cabinet,” reads the disclaimer. Scores include Eurogamer’s 9/10.

Mass Effect 3, then. Review scores including a 9.5 from IGN and 93% from Play suggest that it doesn’t disappoint… unless you’re hoping to copy save files over from Cloud Storage on Xbox 360, which apparently isn’t possible. The day one DLC has caused a little bit of a fuss as two achievements are linked to it as well, but this is no reason not to buy it. The combat has finally been brought up to a decent standard to match the rest of the experience, while Shepherd and his cohorts have never looked better.

Twisted Metal is one of those franchises that has always been met with rapturous reviews in the US but only mildly positive reviews in the UK. It’s the flipside for WipEout in the US – a series that they don’t quite share the same love for as us Europeans do. “Even with a transforming ice cream truck in its roster, Twisted Metal deserves some respect,” said IGN, before giving it 9.0. Destructoid gave it a 7.0 and suggested that: “Hardcore destruction fans would do well to pick it up.”

Over on the handhelds there’s Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and Unit 13. Snake Eater 3D has been a long time coming but the wait has paid off – it’s an essential purchase for 3DS owners. Or at least those who didn’t buy Metal Gear Solid HD Collection earlier this year. Nintendo Gamer said it’s the best version of the game and awarded it 93%.

Unit 13 on PS Vita also sounds like a safe purchase with an 8/10 from Eurogamer Sweden. “Unit 13 has great controls, lots of variety and content that may outlast many other shooters on the market – no matter what platform you’re playing on. Not bad for a game that is released during the Vita launch window.” The Guardian didn’t quite like it as much though, giving it a good but not quite as impressive 6/10.

Next week: FIFA Street (PS3, 360), Inazuma Eleven 2 (DS), Saint Seiya Sanctuary Battle (PS3), Yakuza: Dead Souls (PS3), Ben 10 Galactic Racing (3DS), BIT.TRIP Complete (Wii), BIT.TRIP Saga (3DS), Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2012 (PS3, 360, Wii), Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle (PS3, Wii, DS), Hello Kitty: Big City Dreams (DS).

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