Tagged "PSVita"

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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Jun 11
By Adam Philbin In Blog No Comments

There are high expectations for this year’s E3 conferences. Microsoft filled in the blanks surrounding the Xbox One, and now it’s Sony’s turn to elaborate on the PlayStation 4. Specifically, what will it actually look like, and how excited should we really be?

You can watch the video stream of Sony’s E3 conference below, which goes live at 2AM GMT. Below that may be some words if we stay interested and awake enough to liveblog it all.

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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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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.

Feb 17
By Matt Gander In Blog 4 Comments

It’s no wonder that the PSP’s release list has been slimmer than a Peperami over the past year – Sony have been working their socks off to provide the PS Vita with no less than ten titles. Uncharted: Golden Abyss and WipEout 2048 are the two main system sellers but there are some other titles worthy of attention too. Before we get to dissecting the line-up though, there’s some other stuff to talk about.

We haven’t spent a great deal of time with the system, but that little time has been well spent. It’s a little larger than you may expect, with a glorious screen, and the touch panel opens up new ways to play. Or at least, new ways to those who didn’t experience the DS. In the upcoming Mortal Kombat fatalities are pulled off by swiping the screen while in another game enemies’ throats have to be slashed by proficient swiping. We forget the game name, but it probably isn’t Rayman Origins.

Two models exist – a WiFi model and a more expensive 3G model. Not sure what to get? Ask yourself this – are you happy to do all your downloading and online gaming while at home, or do you want to do these things on the move? Vodafone are supplying the 3G network and have a deal planned. £279 gets you a 3G PS Vita, 4GB memory card and a 3G sim card. If you then top up the sim card with £5 they’ll hand you a shiny new copy of WipEout 2048 too.

Amazon, ShopTo and GameStop are the three retailers who have seemingly been in competition with one another to lure in those looking to pre-order.

Amazon are offering the WiFi model plus a selected third party game and an 8GB memory card for £225 or the 3G model for £275. This deal doesn’t appear to include Sony’s own pre-order incentive starter pack though which includes headphones, avatar items and a £5 discount voucher.

ShopTo’s offers do however have the starter pack. Prices start at £218.86 for a WiFi system and a selected game. They’re also rather cheekily selling the starter pack on its own for £24.99.

GameStop meanwhile seem to be the best place for the 3G model – £319 for the system, Uncharted and a 16GB memory card.

Over the high street, Asda kicked off the supermarket price war with a £196.98 price tag for the WiFi model.

The line-up is a mixture of familiar franchises, conversions of older games and a handful of new IPs. Uncharted: Golden Abyss and WipEout 2048 are the ones getting the most press attention. EDGE gave Uncharted a 7 while Eurogamer gave it an 8. It was a case of the opposite for WipEout where EDGE awarded it an 8 while Eurogamer thought it was only worth a 7.

Everybody’s Golf – one of Sony’s staples for their system launches – was also given a 7 by EDGE while fellow magazine gamesTM scored it an 8. Incidentally, gamesTM gave WipEout a 9 making it their highest scoring PS Vita game. We’ve also heard good things about FIFA Football – loading times are short and it plays brilliantly due to the system having two analogue sticks. MCV even reported that it could be a killer app. IGN were the first place to review it, where they dribbled out an 8. The only other sports game in the line-up is Virtua Tennis 4 from Sega, which has optional touch-screen controls. Our worry with that one is that your fingers could end up obscuring the view.

The first batch of reviews for mini-game package Little Deviants doesn’t make for pleasant reading. EDGE gave it a 5 claiming that there’s not a whole lot of game on offer and little incentive to return once you’ve seen everything. No wonder it’s one of the cheaper launch games – Amazon are selling it for £17.99. Modnation Racers: Road Trip has been getting mixed scores, including a 7.0 from IGN and 4 from gamesTM. That’s the same score gamesTM also gave Square-Enix’s action game Army Corps of Hell, which is a shame. That said, IGN gave it a 7.0 although they did point out it could have been done on the original PSP.

Then we’ve got Ubisoft’s conversions. If Dungeon Hunter Alliance rings a bell it’s because it was first released on PSN last year… at a third of the cost. We aren’t sure why it isn’t £19.99 like most of Ubisoft’s Vita games, such as Asphalt Ignition and Michael Jackson: The Experience. IGN gave the former 6.0 and the latter 6.5. That has to be an all-time high for the Asphalt series. Not all their efforts are mediocre though – Rayman Origins has been getting 9/10s, such as this one from GamesRadar. Ubisoft are also publishing Lumines: Electronic Symphony which has been described as amazing.

We were expecting Reality Fighters to be little more than a tech demo but it’s pleasingly more than that with a fighting system influenced by Capcom’s brawlers. EDGE gave it a 6, making it worth consideration if Capcom’s own Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 – which scored an 8 on Eurogamer – doesn’t take your fancy. There’s BlazBlue: Continuum Shift too, which we could never imagine to be terrible. And it isn’t.

Seeing as Japan was the only country to take the PSP to their hearts, Eastern support is typically strong. There’s Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, Dynasty Warriors Next, Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen and Touch My Katamari. Touch My Katamari doesn’t sound like a very appealing package – it’s another one of the Vita’s cheaper games but you can apparently see everything in a day. IGN also had some wise words about Ninja Gaiden: “If you weren’t crazy about Ninja Gaiden the last three times, this is the same game, so keep walking. Likewise if you already played either Black or Sigma, you’re probably ok to hold off, too.” It doesn’t sound like it’s a bad conversion though – they gave it an 8.0.

There’s always a Ridge Racer wheeled out with any Sony system launch. The Vita’s Ridge Racer caused a controversy before it was even released. It’s only £14.95 to pre-order on places like TheHut but most of the tracks have to be downloaded at an additional cost. With scores including a 5 from gamesTM it may be best to stick to WipEout or Codemasters’ only Vita offering – Formula One 2011.

Sony’s Unit 13 hasn’t been reviewed yet but we’re guessing that’s because it’s missing launch day in favour of a 9th March release. It’s by Zipper Interactive – the SOCOM guys – and as such looks rather similar. One of the more interesting features is that new missions are sent to the Vita every day.

This leaves us with the downloadable games. Sony’s pricing of these has been given a thumbs up – superlative twin-stick shooter Super Stardust Delta is set to cost £6.49 while MotorStorm RC costs just £4.79 and allows for play on both PS Vita and PlayStation 3. It you already have Hustle Kings and Top Darts on PS3 then you can then download the Vita versions for free, which is another thing we approve of. Good work there, Sony.

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.

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