Friday, April 24, 2015

More moving and grooving with Persona 4 Dancing All Night

I thought Atlus had done with these clips, after last week's ensemble piece, but no. Here's Naoto Shirogane strutting her stuff and dishing the dirt with the rest of the cast. Just release the game already, I'm pretty much teased out on this now, but only two months to go until it hits Japan, then the inevitable wait for a western release.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Atlus makes minor (nipple?) tweaks to Dungeon Travelers 2

AquaPlus' Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal is a typically (im)mature Japanese RPG. The game put up some localization issues for the Atlus folk, but they've limited changes to four adjustments to some particularly graphic graphics.

They say, "to comply with restrictions set forth by rating boards, ATLUS made concessions on just four in-game images. On these images, some minor edits were made (and approved by the developer) to adjust the overt graphics to within acceptable ranges for the game's M-rating."

WipEout unofficial sequel gets a Vita stretch goal

Some of the folks from Studio Liverpool (aka the WipEout team) became R8 Studios, and they've finally got their Kickstarter campaign going for the futuristic racer, Formula Fusion. A Vita version is way down the list of stretch goals at £400,000, but at least its there and if the new game can tap into the many WipEout loyalists, then its in with a shout. Then again, with X1 and PS4 versions at £350K, the Vita isn't that far off.

While they, naturally enough, claim it is very different to WipEout, we still have anti-grav racing in a set of cool city tracks with a lusty techno soundtrack and visuals from Designer's Republic. There's also plenty of pledge levels and cool trinkets to make it worth investing. Check out the page here. If it does get funded, this could easily be the biggest Vita game of 2016! It would just have been a hell of a lot easier if Sony hadn't broken up a proven successful studio!

The addition of eSports mode might be a bit much for the Vita version, but since I still happily play WipEout multiplayer, as long as there's something for us to enjoy, that'd be cool.

Gaijinworks bringing Summon Night 5 and CoH 3 to PSP/Vita

Having done a little bit of teasing, Gaijinworks and Monkey Paw have announced their next PSP and Vita titles to head west. Both Japanese RPG series have their fans and with translation tasks well underway, it hopefully won't be too long before we're enjoying them.

Banpresto did pretty well out of the Summon Night games in Japan, while Class of Heroes seems a bit more niche. Anyone thrilled for these?

Minecraft still selling in Japan as hardware sales fall

The slump continues in Japan after last week's quiet patch, with not much action ahead of a busier launch period next week. Vita sales dropped to under 16,000, but it was almost level with the top selling PS4 and ahead of the new 3DS LL. The Media Create games chart saw few new entries, but Minecraft on Vita managed to stick to the No. 4 sport with impressive sales, actually up on last week. Things should get busier next week and Golden Week is just around the corner.

01./00. [3DS] Style Savvy 3: Kira Kira Code (Nintendo) - 55.179 / NEW
02./00. [PS4] Dying Light (Warner Entertainment Japan) - 25.530 / NEW
03./00. [3DS] Future Card Buddy Fight: Yuujou no Jounetsu Fight! (FuRyu) - 16.630 / NEW
04./04. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Mojang AB) - 12.175 / 97.117
06./02. [PSV] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku-Hen (Bandai Namco Games) - 6.542 / 143.154

11./07. [PSV] Sword Art Online: Lost Song (Bandai Namco Games) - 5.532 / 177.145

18./13. [PSV] One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 (Bandai Namco Games) - 4.543 / 80.779

Why can't the Vita share screenshots automatically?

Sony has had a bit of a hit with the PS4's Share button, which makes me wonder why, if the Vita can take screenshots of games in action, why there isn't an auto-share option to post them to Twitter or other social media.

After all, if the Vita needs promoting, then what better way to do it then sending cool shots of games in action to millions of people, for free. It can't be too hard to add an option in Settings to autoshare screenshots, and the Vita has a Twitter app anyway, so getting the details, or adding them to the account can't be too hard.

You have to wonder, since Sony was clearly working on the PS4 during the Vita's inception, why they didn't think about screenshot sharing as a key feature, rather than the crappy Near and goods trading experiences that few have ever used.

Is it too late in the Vita's life to add this feature? It probably won't make any difference, but I know I see lots of PS4 shots and go "cool", so why not do the same for the Vita? I'm guessing video sharing is a bit beyond the hardware, but I'd be delighted to use a screen sharing feature.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Japan's summer line up in blipvert form

Because they have some new games, Japan gets to wave them at people in this slick new trailer from Sony. Even then, there's very little first party stuff coming from the company, so us westerners can't rely on them for a steady supply of Vita games. I guess the biggest question is will there be anything for autumn?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How fast will the PS Vita die off?

That's not really the loaded question it sounds, the Vita will continue to soldier on as long as people buy games for it. Given new games for the Dreamcast are still appearing, that could be a very long time. But, I was more wondering when the Vita will vanish from the front pages of gaming sites and so on.

This chart shows how the Vita has always struggled in headline terms against the 3DS, but it is starting to tail off badly over the last year. Looking past the peaks and troughs, it is definitely on the way to the bottom. Give it a couple more years and its unlikely to be picking up any headlines, and you could easily see Sony discard it from its roster to focus on the PS4. Note the huge preference for PS4 articles on the PSN blogs this year.

Certainly, the few Vita exclusive games aren't getting reviewed by larger sites these days (Flame Over being the latest example) and any news that does make headlines tends to be negative. Still, I love my Vita and hope the community gets to enjoy it for years to come.

Interestingly, the Vita almost exactly tracks the interest in Apple's "hobby" TV product, but with an Apple TV fourth-generation model to be launched next month, probably offering games support, expect that to take off massively. That only highlights what a poor job Sony has done with PlayStation TV, and the basic failure of the Vita project outside of Japan.

Operation Babel/Abyss launch trailer hits Japan

Operation Babel, as its known in Japan, subtitled New Tokyo Legacy will hit the western market soon, but its up first in its home country, out next week. The game from 5pb just picked up a decent score from Famitsu, giving it a decent 31/40.

Here's the opening theme trailer ahead of the game's release, as the publisher hopes it'll pick up the same kind of following that Demon Gaze managed.

Sayonara UmiharaKawase+ hits US PSN today

Agatsuma Entertainment's rubbery platformer hits the US PSN today, with its unique ‘Rubbering Action’ physics-based puzzle platform blasting out of Japan. You play as a 20-year old backpacking Japanese sushi chef armed with a fishing rod, a rubber fishing line and a fishing hook.

You have to avoid fish-like enemies, conveyer belts, spikes, watery pits, time travel and more, with a range of more challenging puzzles and solutions, and the greater the time pressure becomes as you venture further in. Along the way, look out for shortcuts and secret exits and unlock bonus levels.

 As a special bonus for fans, the first ever title in this gaming franchise ‘UmiharaKawase’ has also been included. UmiharaKawase was originally released way back in 1994 for console. It is the elasticity of Umihara’s rubber fishing line that has always set this franchise apart from all other rope games, giving unprecedented levels of mobility and discovery. Tightening the line or giving lots of slack can be the difference between success and failure.

The game runs at a slick 60 frames per second and is down as $19.99, there's an EU release in the works too, currently listed as "soon".

No YouTube app? It was Google wot dunnit!

While Vita owners have been beating chests and getting all angry over the loss of the YouTube app, which officially dies this week, it turns out a whole lot of other devices are losing it too. That includes older Apple TV units, some smart TVs, iOS devices running an older OS and so on. Quite a few of those people are probably angry too, but it is Google updating the YouTube data API that is the root cause.

If Sony had bothered to mention this at the time, I'm sure much of fuss would have been defused, or at least more diffuse. Since we can still use the Vita's browser to get YouTube video, we're in a better position than Apple TV 2 users who are totally bereft. So, it could be worse!

Overall, I guess this is the peril of living in an evolving digital world, where nothing lasts forever (where max value of forever is generally 2/3 years). It also highlights Sony's inability to communicate clearly with customers - something that's pretty shocking in the digital age.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Famitsu's most wanted leaves the Vita way behind

A quiet week for the Vita in Famitsu with only two games up for review. First is Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy (now called Operation Babel in Japan, a sequel of sorts to the huge selling Demon Gaze, which is also confirmed for a western release) grabbing a score of 8/8/8/7.

The rather non-gripping sounding Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend – Blessing Flowers manages (video) a 8/7/7/7 while the highly dodgy-sounding White Robe Love Addiction manages 8/8/7/6.

Famitsu's latest most wanted list shows the predicament the Vita is in, new model on the way or not. With no big-name games (spin-offs aside) coming, it is now struggling to create much interest among Japanese gamers, even though the Vita has a decent number of games coming out for it.

What the platform needs is one of the Japanese staple big-hitters, and no one seems to be ready to bite for a console that's approaching 4 million sales in the country. Only one of those games, and you know who I mean by that, will kick Vita sales up the arse.

1. [PS4] Final Fantasy XV – 1,029 votes
2. [3DS] Bravely Second – 841 votes
3. [PS3] Persona 5 – 586 votes
9. [PSV] Tokyo Xanadu – 405 votes
10. [PSV] Kan Colle Kai – 399 votes
16. [PSV] Persona 4: Dancing All Night – 245 votes
19. [PSV] SaGa 2015 – 170 votes
28. [PSP] Ushiro – 105 votes
29. [PSV] Bokosuka Girls: Tatsunoko Gakuen Climax – 101 votes
30. [PSV] The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky FC Evolution – 92 votes

PS Vita 3000 model spotted in Japan

I was looking at the 2000-model launch timing over the weekend, with all the action coming during September/October 2013, but Sony were obviously hard at work many months in advance. So it comes as little surprise that a Japanese trademark watcher has seen mention of a new Vita  model, with a brief sketch. That may only be indicative, so I wouldn't read too much into it, but hey, we're Vita owners, desperate for the slightest bit of good news from Sony, so crack on!.

ps vita 3000, pch-3000

There's no obvious differences in the design, which looks very like a Vita 1000, so it could just be placeholder with the 2000's round buttons and the placings all seem more or less the same. Is it a simple refresh made slightly lighter with new colours to boost sales among rabid Japanese gamers. There does appear to be a new port or cover on the side, so maybe there is a new feature to get excited about.

ps vita 2000
The Vita 2000 range, I always wanted the Lime one!

Hopefully a better quality LED screen will be part of the package, but if Sony is aiming for really cheap, it could add something really nasty (in comparison terms) in there just to keep the cost down, while still selling the 2000 as a 'premium' model.

It still has a front camera, for no good reason, and could they be second triggers that you'd press with the outside of your little fingers at the bottom, or are they just the existing indents and case mounts? I guess my wait for the PlayStation 4 Portable remote play device goes on. Any chance of a new port on the top, perhaps a TV-out connection to make it more the PlayStation (Vita) TV which has died on its arse even in Japan, now selling only 500 a week?

Anyone taking bets that the internals might get an upgrade a la the new 3DS LL model? The Vita is seriously old in tech terms compared to smartphones, and even a modest bump could give Japanese developers some more interest, along with the recent freeing up of some extra memory.

Guess they could make the damn thing out of gold and give it away with Happy Meals, and it would still see no interest in the west. At least there's no sign of them trying the PSP-Go design again, now they presumably have the thermal issues under control. That's if they even try to sell a new model outside Asia!

Old Mortal Kombat gets some Vita sales in UK chart

The UK charts have been updated, with not much action in Vita land. With no sign of a Vita version of Mortal Kombat X (the new all-format No. 1) from NetherRealm, it looks like fans have snapped up a few copies of the fun original Vita version as that makes a reentry in at No. 13. Lego Ninjago sticks around at No. 3 while Toukiden Kiwami is already down to No. 15 and falling fast (so probably less than 100 copies sold).

The game is pretty cheap on Amazon and has loads of modes and extras to keep playing, plus the joy of fatalities. I never wrote a review first time around, so I guess I should crack it open and have another shot. Any other MK fans out there? If not, what's your favourite fighting game on the Vita?

Dancing All Night goes official on the PlayStation site

Sony Japan has put up some new pics for the Persona 4 Dancing All Night on its own site, to go along with the endless stream of character videos we've seen from Atlus. The game expands on the through-the-TV concept with the team being sucked into a mysterious game show with the threat of never being able to escape unless they can master the dance moves set for them.

Until Persona 5 Portable gets announced, will this keep you enjoying the series, or will you run back to Persona 3 or try rolling through Persona 4 Golden again?