Tagged "ps3"

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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Sep 19
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

The PlayStation 3 “super slim” has been one of the internet’s worst kept secrets of recent times. It’s now official, and it’s just a week away from release.

Sony claims that it’s 25 per cent smaller and 20 per cent lighter than the current model. There’s a sliding disk cover on the top, which appears to be a design choice to save on manufacturing costs.

The 500GB model arrives in the UK on 28th September. It’ll be bunded with FIFA 13 for €299.99. The 12GB flash memory model will then become available 12th October for €229.99.

Japanese gamers have a choice of two colours – black and white. Their models are due out 4th October and 22nd November. The white model is only available with 250GB storage if the press release is to go by.

Sony are releasing a purse-pleasing PS3 Essentials range in time for the European launch. These appeared to pre-order online around a week ago – TheHut has most of them for £12.95 including God of War III, Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet and, oddly, Ubisoft’s Avatar movie tie-in.

Jun 05
By Adam Philbin In Blog 2 Comments

Sony E3 conference

Sony’s E3 2012 press conference came and went, much as expected, and a little light on dramatic unveilings. Whilst the big hitters such as The Last of Us and God of War: Ascension oozed quality, the biggest surprise of the night was arguably Wonderbook, an augmented reality… book. In its favour, the first Wonderbook title, The Book of Spells, is a creation of Harry Potter’s J. K. Rowling.

Wonderbook

Sony’s show was also heavy of the Ellen Page. In addition to The Last of Us featuring Ellen’s doppleganger, Quantic Dream’s new title Beyond actually stars Ellen Page, with the actress providing the voice and motion capture for the game’s main character. It’s a game about telekinesis and the after life, so hopefully it should be as good as Quantic Dream’s last game, Heavy Rain.

Beyond

PS Vita titles were a little thin on the ground – the main news being an exclusive version of Assassin’s Creed III for the Vita and the ability to use the Vita as an additional super control pad in various games, such as Little Big Planet and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale. Speaking of the All-Stars… Super Smash Bros wants its game concept back.

The Last of UsFittingly, the show was played out with The Last of Us, which reinforces Naughty Dog’s position as possibly the best developers around right now and easily producing the most impressive titles on Sony’s system since the first Uncharted.

As always, an E3 without a new system unveiling can be a little quiet, and Sony didn’t really throw out any big surprises to set the world alight, but there was nothing particularly wrong and they’ve shown that there’s some life left in the old dog.

Should you want to sit through the whole conference yourself, Sony livestreamed the event online, and you can catch it on Youtube below.

You might want to skip to the 30 minute mark.

Jun 07
By Adam Philbin In Blog 1 Comment

Sony E3 Show 2011 with Mr Kaz

“Hey, Sony are doing their E3 show tonight, can you cover it?” were Matt’s last ill-fated words to me. So, following on from our Microsoft E3 conference wordage, are these words.

Much like Microsoft’s show, which had a heavy Kinect theme – because we all know standing up and waving your arms around is a vastly superior control method than ten fingers and a joypad – Sony’s E3 extravaganza had two clear themes, 3D and PSVita.

Incase you’re wondering, PSVita is the official name of Sony’s new portable system, formerly known as the NGP or PSP2, now known as a portable gaming low-fat spread.

The important news for PSVita fans (how wrong does that sound?) is that the nice little handheld will be retailing for €249, or €299 for the 3G version, with a Christmas launch date, this year obviously. If you’re Stateside, the price is $249 and $299 respectively, because clearly $1=€1 in Sony’s world. Either Sony knows something we don’t (Greece is going to default and devalue the Euro?!) or they’re greedy arseholes, but that’s nothing new. On the bright side, it’s the same price as the Nintendo 3DS, when most people (idiots mainly) were expecting it to be much more expensive.

Other than that, the PSVita is much like it was when it was announced in January. It still has a 5-inch 960×544 pixel OLED screen, and quad-core CPUs and GPUs which are the same type the iPad 2 uses (although the iPad 2 uses dual-core versions). You can read more about the specs here.

Sony demoed a whole bunch of PSVita games, most of which we’ve seen before admittedly. Uncharted: Golden Abyss looks nice, as did LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers with its neat track editor.

A Diablo-style RPG game called Ruin made an appearance, which boasts the ability to seamlessly play the game on both the PSVita and the PS3, swapping sessions between each system.

Street Fighter x Tekken PSVitaCapcom showed off Street Fighter x Tekken, which is presumably a fighting game featuring characters from said franchises.

So yeh, the PSVita looks like it will have lots of nice little games, and could improve commutes for literally millions of people, unless those people find playing iPhone games less shameful in public.

On the PlayStation 3 side, Sony’s unsurprising theme was 3D for the PS3, with a little bit of Move on the side as motion-control has become mandatory for all games companies. Sony’s big focus on 3D is presumably due to all the 3D Sony Bravia TVs they hope to sell, so it’s kind of understandable.

Sony are so into their 3D, that in addition to making blurry, half-resolution 3D versions of all their new games, they’re also releasing a PlayStation 3D TV, which is a 24 inch 3D TV that comes with a pair of 3D glasses and a copy of Resistance 3, all for $499. A kind of cheap entry point to 3D, so possibly a reasonably good idea. It also features a magical technology that lets two players play split-screen games each using the whole screen (only seeing odd or even lines of pixels, with the glasses blocking out one image).

Fans of stealthy raccoons should be overjoyed to hear about Sly Cooper 4, which follows in the footsteps of 1, 2 and 3.

Nostalgics should be pleased with the Team ICO collection, which is a remastered re-release of ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, in HD and 3D (presumable half HD if viewed in the 3D mode).

Uncharted 3Of course, the big thing for PS3 is Uncharted 3, which is Sony’s own Frank Lampard endorsed Tomb Raider. It still looks great, it’s still due for release this October and should be brilliant.

An interesting PlayStation exclusive is Dust 514, the EVE Online sister-game – a first person shooter that exists in the EVE universe, sharing the same servers. It will be playable on both the PS3 and PSVita, and won’t be coming to the 360, which is probably a big deal for Sony.

Aside from that, Sony showed quite a few other games, mainly existing IPs, which now feature 3D modes or Move functionality. One new title is Star Trek, based on the new films, which lets you control Kirk or Spock with the Move controller. Apparently it comes with a special phaser-shaped holder to stick your Move controller into. Hmm.

Yep, that was pretty much it. At the start Sony’s US boss Jack Tretton apologised to everyone for fucking up the PlayStation Network and allowing everyone’s accounts to be hacked. Sony are offering free downloadable games to everyone as a way to say sorry, which you can claim either by logging in to your PSN account or emailing Sony’s Nigerian office.

Next up at E3: Nintendo unveil new games featuring Mario, demo a host of 3DS titles, and possibly unveil their next console which hopefully won’t be as rubbish as the Wii.

Jan 27
By Adam Philbin In Blog 14 Comments

Jeremy Clarkson and the Sony NGP aka the PSP2

The rumour mill has been churning for the last few weeks, with talk of the PSP2 being as powerful as a PlayStation 3 and launching with a Virtual Jeremy Clarkson game. Now the day and hour has come – 3PM January 27th 2011, Japanese time – and Sony are unveiling the next portable PlayStation to the world. They don’t call it the PSP2 – they now call it the Next Generation Portable or NGP.

Sony Next Generation Portable - NGP

Whilst the NGP looks much like the original PSP, it now has two analogue sticks and a high resolution 960×544 pixel 5-inch OLED screen. Aside from the looks though, it packs a bunch of new features – a touch sensitive backside, 3G data connectivity (and WiFi obviously), GPS, motion sensors, front and rear cameras, a quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU (for comparison, the iPad packs a single-core Cortex-A8) and a quad-core PowerVR SGX543 GPU (it’s speculated that the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 will sport a dual-core version of the same SGX543 GPU).

NGP gameplayGone are the PSP’s UMD discs, replaced with flash cards that seem a lot like SD cards. Online connectivity is one of the big selling points – with downloadable games on the PlayStation Store, rankings, achievements, location-based services, and all that jazz. Among the first games shown were Killzone, Uncharted, Little Big Planet, Wipeout, Metal Gear Solid 4, Call of Duty, and a whole bunch of titles which look to be roughly PS3 quality (the system doesn’t have to be as powerful as a PS3 to output similar graphics on to a lower resolution screen).

Sony NGP - the PSP2

Uncharted NGP

Sony say it will release this holiday season, so Christmas 2011 then. It all looks very nice so far, and very much in the same style as the original PSP and a lot of the predictions. We’re still awaiting the pricing.

Dec 22
By Adam Philbin In Reviews 1 Comment

Gran Turismo 5

“I like driving in my car, it’s not quite a jaguar… beep beep!”. Unfortunately that’s not how Gran Turismo 5 introduces itself. Instead, after more than five years of development and numerous delays, GT5 opens with a torturously long CGI sequence of a car being made and eventually driven, set to somber tones. This is clearly serious business!

The Real Driving Simulator, as some people call it, needs no introduction or explanation. Making this whole article/review a bit pointless – but anyway, it’s a racing game where you drive cars, so even a complete pleb should be able to understand the concept. The question is, was the long wait worth it? Or more precisely, is £49.99 worth it (assuming you paid retail price and didn’t opt for the Collector’s Edition)?

Gran Turismo 5 cockpit racingThe good news is, when it can be bothered, GT5 is the prettiest, most realistic racing game around. As sexiness and realism are the main criteria for judging racing games, this means Gran Turismo 5 is very good. When it can be bothered.

You see, despite being in development for almost an eternity, there’s a whiff of a rush job about the whole thing. You might say the developers couldn’t be bothered, but Polyphony Digital are so anal about cars that’s probably not the case – it seems like Sony needed to get this out of the door before 2011 or someone was getting shot in the face. You can’t really say they didn’t have enough time to get ready though – it was originally supposed to be released last year, or the year before, or maybe some time before that.

What’s unfinished? Well, the game features about 1,000 cars. This being a game for car nuts, the attention to detail is paramount. 200 of the cars are ‘premium’ models, which basically means they’re new 3D models designed specifically for the game, featuring interior views and more polygons than are really necessary. What about the other 800 cars? They’re ‘standard’ models, or more specifically, models imported from previous versions of GT, and a bit smelly. The standard models lack interiors (a bummer if you like the cockpit view), and some look downright clunky – you can see the harsh polygonal angles. So… it does feel a bit lazy.

The same random quality control applies to the tracks – some are stunning, near photorealistic recreations of real tracks (London, Monaco and Eiger Nordwand in particular look lovely). Others are clearly ripped from earlier games in the series, looking pretty dodgy.

The important thing is that GT5 plays really well. The cars all handle in a way that feels realistic – often painful to drive at first, but a delight once mastered. If you want to play with a steering wheel and pedals hooked up to your console, aside from looking like a bit of a tit, it should all feel quite realistic – even down to the Toyota Yaris being shit.

Gran Turismo 5Fans of the series will be instantly familiar with everything here. Nothing’s really changed – you still start off with a limited budget, buying a stodgy first car and entering The Sunday Cup to earn money (and now, experience points too) to put towards nicer cars. The license tests are still there, although they’re not required anymore – you progress through races by earning experience points.

The game design’s still stuck fairly firmly in 1997 (although the new menu system’s more convoluted), and it really shows in the online multiplayer. Which is basically just about functional. Clearly the developers have been too busy looking at cars to pay any attention to the internet or online gaming, which is a bit of a shame. Less than a month into the game’s release though, a patch has been published, and the developers have stated their intent to release more patches to apologise for their shoddiness. Well, they didn’t apologise, but with so much hype, you almost feel that they should.

Corner cutting or poor design decisions aside, it’s still really good. The little areas that lack polish are obvious, as the rest of the package is so impressive. Initially you think “oh, the cars are still indestructible!”, but actually as you progress through the game the cars become more and more prone to damage. As you prove your worth, the game shows new depths – a rally mode with randomly generated tracks and dynamic weather conditions, amusing Top Gear test track races, and B-Spec mode where you let computer controlled drivers race your cars for you, if you can’t be bothered with the whole driving thing. There really is a lot to do.

Understandably, people will nitpick a game with as much expectations as Gran Turismo 5. You could write quite a long list. As a driving game though, it pretty much sets the standard for all other games to follow. Note the use of the word driving rather than racing. It isn’t all edge of your seat excitement, skidding around corners at 200 miles per hour. It’s the realistic simulation that Gran Turismo fans know and love. Even if that means driving a second hand Honda Civic up a muddy hill.

Apr 12
By Adam Philbin In Most Played 2 Comments

I suppose this could be a new feature, “games I spent too much time slowly playing through and should have reviewed but kind of forgot to, so thought I’d better write something about them just for the sake of it”. So here isn’t a review of Final Fantasy XIII – but rather some unordered words (you’re lucky you missed my whole diatribe about Mass Effect 2, which is probably one of the best RPGs ever by the way, in the unlikely event you haven’t raped it silly yourself).

So, Final Fantasy XIII then! Final Fagtasy more like! Nah, not really. But when did Final Fantasy games become this monotonous? I remember Final Fantasy VII and VIII being well paced storytelling epics – and no, it’s not just nostalgia, as I replayed Final Fantasy VII on the PSP last year. So, at what point did Final Fantasy games turn into a series of utterly mundane battles interspersed with occasional soppy bullshit plot? I’m guessing it was around FFX. That seems to be the point at which things got tampon-happy. Final Fantasy XII seemed to be an enjoyable break from the norm, taking some points from the MMORPG book in combat at least, but Final Fantasy XIII seems back on track to make me hate Square Enix.

This may sound like a barking, incoherent rant (and it is really, so don’t confuse it for a critique of the entire game), but it comes from frustration. Because everyone keeps telling me how great Final Fantasy XIII is “after the first 15 or so hours”. I hear comments like “the last 10 hours are great!”. Oh really? It’s taken me a month to get 10 hours in so far. Partly because I’ve got better things to do, but largely because the experience so far has been so bloody painfully boring. Usually I can push through the boredom in the knowledge of some kind of plot and nice FMV, but the introduction plot and character dialogue here makes me want to stab all the big-haired freaks.

Next month I might make it 20 hours in, and I might really start enjoying it. Seriously though, what kind of game design is that? 15+ hours of shite plot, completely linear “adventuring” (literally down a straight bloody path) and semi-automated battles. Who designs something like that? A cunt, that’s who.

I might be exaggerating, but playing Final Fantasy XIII just a month after Mass Effect 2 really does show it up for… whatever it is. You want to play one of the best, most detailed, cinematic role playing games ever made? Go play Mass Effect 2.

Mar 11
By Adam Philbin In Blog 1 Comment

Engadget have a mildly interesting piece on their hands-on with the PlayStation Move, Sony’s first foray into the world of dildonics. Or their version of a wiimote – which looks and acts almost exactly like a wiimote + nunchuk, albeit with a stupid ping pong ball on the top.

Rather than fancy magic, the PlayStation Move tracks the controller position using the PlayStation Eye camera – that ping pong ball serves a purpose then. The first PlayStation Move pack will sell for $100 including a game, which sounds sort of acceptable. From their hands on, Engadget found the controller surprisingly light (not in a negative way), although they noted the demos on hand felt a bit laggy, but such is the nature of demos.

It does look a bit silly though.

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