Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Phantasy Star Nova trailer adds gameplay snippets

Yep, its that same damn beast that's been in every remix of the sole trailer that Sega has been flogging for months now. However, there's a few seconds worth of single and multiplayer action, and a couple of other biggies to take a peek at.

The pre-TGS trailer shows a nice tentacled beast roaming around the world that your ship crash lands on. The Tri-Ace developed title still shows no sign of a western release, which would be a big shame since most of the Vita's other monster hunting titles have made it our way.

Sony has no games to show, hides the fact with more Remote Play

With a total lack of new big games to show off, Sony keeps on banging the Remote Play drum in this new advert for the PS4 and Vita remote play pairing. I'd like to see one piece of evidence from Sony that this strategy is working, given that a finite number of PlayStation fans would own both anyway.

But, is anyone else really rushing to embrace the concept? When the PS4 price cut kicks in I might bite. Until then, the idea of spending $$$ on one box only to spend $$$ on another for a niche function seems pretty mad, especially since most Vita indies (its sole remaining strong point) are now also appearing on PS4.

A souped-up super-Vita could change that dynamic of course, but then its down to developers to reinvest on a format that has let them down already.

Ar No Surge Plus trailer lights up the skies

Hot on the heels of Sony's big event, Gust's next opus, Ar No Surge Plus has a new trailer rumbling around Japan with lots and lots of pretty lights, a hint of combat and other delights. The Vita game is published by Tecmo, who recently merged with Gust, and is a rapid update on the recently released PS3 edition.

The PlayStation 3 versions have a western release date (later this month as it happens), but the revamped Vita edition is Japan only for now, arriving early October. Hopefully we'll get an early 2015 date.

Legend of Heroes II gets a TGS trailer

Wow, Falcom are out the gates early with its Tokyo Games Show material. Here's a very smart looking Legend of Heroes clip showing those very same heroes getting around by horse and motorbike as they attempt to cement their legendary status.

I have a distinct feeling we've seen some of those clips before, but the combat sequences and the arrival of some shiny mech-like knights can only add to the overall. Will it come west? Who knows, odd that we get the Ys titles, but not these, at least since Trails in the Sky on PSP. The game is out in Japan in just a few weeks.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Will Nintendo's new 3DS upgrade spark a Sony response?

Last week, Nintendo announced new model 3DS handhelds for Japan with an extra control nub, extra trigger buttons and a more powerful processor that some future games will require to run. The extra power will also enable it to view HTML 5 web pages, download games faster and other tweaks.

The Japanese buy the 3DS by the billion, so another upgrade will probably see sales rocket as future big-name games demand that model.

There doesn't have to be a massive speed upgrade inside, as Nintendo doesn't really focus on raw power. However, the boost in chip power could leave Sony Japan wondering what it can do (aside from a pink Vita design) to respond. Sony has already lost the generation war due to Nintendo's endless line up of million sellers, but the Vita is far outstripping console sales in Japan, so it can use the Vita as a stepping stone to PS4. To do that it would need Vita versions of PS4 hits, which the Vita struggles with.

So, could Sony follow this news with an iPhone or Android-like generational upgrade in processor speed at Tokyo Games Show? That extra zip could let developers squeeze more PS2/PS3 ports over with less hassle. It would allow developers extra freedom to create, and would certainly kick up the frame rate of existing titles.

Could it, perhaps, allow Sony to move the Vita to a 720p HD screen or higher? And how about splitting the Vita's triggers in two to allow greater big-game compatibility? There's plenty that could be done but Sony will need a convincing reason to do it, and with Vita doing just fine in Japan, it might not feel that need.

However, if you had a suspicious mind, you might wonder why western Vita development has all but dried up. To which one answer could be, they are waiting for a new, more powerful model to arrive. Just a thought, especially as the Vita is now three-year-old tech.

Betty Boop Bop a Vita-lita-ding-dong

Well, after that brief morning of hope from Japan, back to the grim reality of western Vita ownership, with the news that Betty Boop Bop, a game heading to iOS and Android will also hit the Vita this year. The celuloid songstress, originally sketched by Max Fleischer, and heart breaker is a million miles from Hatsune Miku, but likely a progenitor for many a singing starlet.

The actual game will offer rhythm touch action with some 21 songs to boop along to long. Audio examples here with Betty artwork cards to collect as prizes for doing well. There's no in-app purchases, so if the gameplay is solid, perhaps there's more to Betty than meets the boop!

Disgaea 4 tops the UK Vita chart

Straight outta the Netherworld, and packing in new content and features, Disgaea 4 is the new remix of the original PS3 game A Promise Unforgotten. The Vita title brings more madness and Prinnies to the tactical combat and adventure world, storming to the top of the staid Vita UK retail chart.

Interestingly Disgaea 5 was shown off at Sony Japan's event earlier today for PS4, give it a year or so and expect another Vita edition.


Over on Amazon, Minecraft pre-orders still lead the way, while Freedom Wars is now picking up steam, see the Live Chart for the latest changes.

1 Minecraft
3 Danganronpa 2
4 Freedom Wars
5 Disgaea 4

Chaos Rings III gets a trailer

With all the Sony Japan event fun over, back to business and the latest trailer from Square for its Chaos Rings III RPG. It looks pretty lo-fi, a bit angular, and makes we wonder all the more why there isn't a Dissidia redux version for the Vita doing the rounds.

Note the virtual controls from the iOS version in the trailer. I know Square prices its mobile games pretty high, but I wonder if the Vita version will be priced above them, thereby denting sales somewhat?

Sony lists 44 games at pre-TGS event, new pink Vita and firmware update

Sony's press conference from Japan has just wrapped, the company showed off 44 games across PS Vita and PS4 in quick succession in a kind of mega-show-reel (shame they seem to have lost that counter along the way). From big hitters like Demon's Souls and Metal Gear on PS4, to known entities like Phantasy Star Nova on Vita and Freedom Wars, I'm still picking up the details.

Among the men-in-suits chatter was news that the Vita 2000 has seen portable sales rise by 160% over the original with software seeing a similar rise. Most of that came around launch and a couple of big games, otherwise Vita sales track a little ahead of previous years' sales. Wonder if a new, upgraded, Vita would create a similar boost.

Danganronpa Another Episode was the first "new" game shown, which will come with a Limited Edition laser-etched Vita bundle. Also from Spike was Way of the Samurai, an all-new project for Vita.

More Samurai battling followed with Samurai Warriors from Tecmo in their latest update and then a peek at the new Gundam Breaker and the PSP/Vita metal music game, Bakumatsu Rock. Luminous Arc Infinity sounds new, coming from Marvelous it could be a remake of the original 2 (or 3?) games.

What is certainly new in the light pink model PS Vita available in November, one for the romance novel players perhaps? It looks like Vita firmware 3.30 coming in October adding Themes for games, they showed off a great looking Freedom Wars example. The Vita is also getting a Live from PlayStation app similar to the PS4's, in Japan at any rate. If it lands here, then finally we can watch future Sony events on our Vitas!

Then there's a full on clip reel for the Vita showing off a bunch of known entities. So, this was hopefully Sony clearing the decks for some new games at TGS, fun but now much in the way of oomph! Will update any bits I missed in the melee.

Guessing any new games are coming at the end but its getting a bit silly now.

Further into the PS4 segment, Sega noted Yakuza 0 Cross Play with the Vita (just the once though!).  Not sure what's happening  with God Eater 2 Rage Burst (PS4/PS Vita) but I saw a man introduce a man to introduce a man to introduce a man wearing plastic horny armour. Oh, that was for One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 announced for Vita/PS4/PS3 - no gameplay.

A new Ys RPG for 2015 from Falcom for PS4/Vita, trying to find the trailer for that now! Some pics are doing the rounds, looks pretty impressive.

UMD Passport conversion for PSP to Vita is integrating into PS+ in Japan, could be bringing lots more UMD titles to the digital store, sigh! UPDATE: Turns out the whole bunch has gone free-to-play for PS+ subscribers, until the end of the year - nice tempter!

Overall, Sony claims 100 games coming to Vita for the rest of the financial year, a list would be nice!

The question now is is Sony clearing the decks ahead of some all-new TGS titles, or is that it for the year? Either way it managed a good half an hour of Vita content, plus extra snippets. Remember this was for a Japanese audience, so don't get your hopes up of any of this heading our way, unless the current versions that are available in the west sell pretty well.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sony sponsoring indie corner at Tokyo Games Show

Some 68 developers from 17 countries have been invited to this year's Indie Corner at Tokyo Games Show, highlighting the inevitable rise of the smaller game, even in a country where the 3DS and Vita continue to dominate console sales. The area will be sponsored by Sony and is the second time TGS has hosted a major indie presence.

Eastasiasoft and Witch Beam are among the list of attendees, and expect plenty of new indies from Japan's nascent scene. One new name to me is French developer Swing Swing Submarine whose latest project, Seasons After Fall is a graceful platform adventure, they say Vita is a possible platform target for the Unity-developed game, so keep an eye out!

I'll have a more thorough dig later and see if there's anything else that could be headed our way. Elsewhere, we expect some serious Vita good news now the console if a firm second favourite with Japanese gamers. You can find the English Guide here (PDF).

Unfinished Swan paddling to the Vita

Yesterday saw a host of new indies announced for the Vita, but it has taken Sony Japan to reveal a PSN trailer for the art house PS3 game Unfinished Swan from Giant Sparrow, aided by Santa Monica studio. Now it is coming to PS Vita and PS4, we too can join in the ink splatting fun as you navigate your way around a mysteriously blank set of pages.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hyperdimension Neptunia Rebirth2 heads to western Vitas

Good lord, the first game has only been out a matter of days, and now the sequel is already confirmed for western Vita owners to enjoy thanks to Idea Factory.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 was developed based on Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 for the PS3. Now, it offers a new story, a newly revamped battle system, newly voiced characters, and new playable characters.

If Salt and Sanctuary is another roguelike, I'm going to punch someone

Is there some Rougelike template kit out there that I haven't heard about. I could be wrong having only seen the trailer, but this new indie being pimped by Sony looks rather like yet another Metroidvania, Roguelike or whatever the hell you want to call these games.

Okay, I can breathe a little easier having read the game is billed as a stylistic, brutal, action RPG platformer, or is that no different? Still, its yet another game for the Vita, so excuse me while I rush off and update the release list.

Explore Alone With You on the Vita

Having been rather saddened that Station didn't get Kickstarted, there's hope for would be space adventurers yet with the arrival of Alone With You. Looking a little bit like one of the Space Quest adventures, we have another retro-feel game on the roster, but that's no bad thing given the general lack of good old adventures. Listed for a 2015 release expect to hear more about Alone With You, which also features a touch of romance soon.

Dengeki puts up a digital Chain Chronicle V magazine

I used to like importing the odd Japanese magazine, back when PSP demo discs were a thing. Now though there's not much point. But I do like what Dengeki is doing with this Chain Chronicle guide, a free digital edition you can browse by clicking here.

No more wonky mag scans or low-res screens. Naturally, I haven't got a clue what the text is about but you can look at all the pretty characters and get the gist of the game's battle modes from the screenshots. Give it a peek!