Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Black Rock Shooter Aims High in Japanese Charts

The PSP has 10 out of the top 20 games in the Japanese Charts with Black Rock Shooter only held off the top spot by a PSP game tarted up in HD!. The top five are all new entries with the 3DS hardware numbers dwindling back down after the price cut, the PSP should be back as the top format in a few weeks, at this rate.

[PS3] 1. Monster Hunter Portable 3rd HD Ver. (Capcom): 287,829 NEW!
[PSP] 2. Black Rock Shooter The Game (Imageepoch): 105,277 NEW!
[PSP] 3. Mobile Suit Gundam New Gihren's Ambition (Namco Bandai): 75,611 NEW!
[PS3] 4. Samurai Warriors 3 Empires (Tecmo Koei): 70,254 NEW!
[PSP] 5. Dynasty Warriors 7 Special (Tecmo Koei): 25,308 NEW!

1. 3DS: 60,781 (105,639)
3. PS3: 33,141 (29,666)
2. PSP: 31,310 (40,888)

PSN Store Update (with videos)

Just a couple of minis this week with the usual mix of bears and zombies to go along with the massive PSP games sale (still enjoying Sid Meier's Pirates! that I picked up last week) Is Snowy really £7.99, that'd better be one damn fine mini.

  •     Left to Die in Zombhai (£2.49/€2.99) Rating: PEGI 16
  •     Snowy: The Bear’s Adventures (£7.99/€8.99) Rating: PEGI 3

New Frontier Gate Movie Shows Off Party Play

A new movie for Tri-Ace's Frontier Gate shows off some party chat, a Hoth Ice Monster-clone and little else to be honest... still it all looks very smooth and highly detailed.

Persona 4 to Personalise the Vita in 2012

As pretty much expected, a new version of Persona 4 is being crafted for the PS Vita and will launch in early 2012. Subtitled "The Golden", the developers have gone the Vita route as they felt they were losing too much content when cramming games into the PSP editions.

UPDATE: New pics out.

With the previous editions appear in PSOne form on the PSN Store, and Persona 3 being made available in digital download form soon, hopefully the whole family will be reunited on Vita.

UPDATE: Somesone has photographed the magazine spread and put it up as a YouTube video, worth a quick peek:

Features in the game will include:

  • 3G and Wi-Fi support
  • New event scenes
  • Added Personas
  • Added character outfits
  • New character Marie, voiced by Kana Hanazawa. She's a "mysterious girl" who appears before the main characters.
  • Additional anime movie scenes, with new voices
  • More vocal content
  • New song for the opening movie

PSP Getting a new Yakuza Title

Just to confirm the enduring popularity and success of the original PSP in Japan, Yakuza Studio has just announced another title for the venerable handheld. Following on from the Black Panther Yakuza title released earlier in the year, it will be out in Japan in 2012, but don't expect a western release.

UPDATE: Some screen shots are now available (more here):

If I recall correctly, there is supposed to be a Vita version in the works for the PS Vita, they showed off a prototype demo at the Sony's PS Meeting, but no announcement of that - yet. Sega is doing its pre-TGS announcement later on.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Urban Trials MotoX Game Bunny-Hops to PS Vita

Trials HD has been near the top of the Xbox 360 arcade download charts since I got the machine. The PS Vita will have an impressive-looking rival in the form of Urban Trials from Tate Interactive, check out the site which went live last week for a collection of decent pics.

The game features three different types doing mad stunts across 20 tracks with three different game modes:

  • Stunt mode Take on and beat several stunt challenges placed on each track to beat the record. Download friend stunt’s records and beat them carving your own name in the game world thanks to unique in-game leader boards.
  • Time Attack Race against the time or your online friend’s ghost and be the first on leader boards.
  • Challenge mode A set of short and unique challenges of abstract nature, unique level conditions or event necessity to crash.

Game features include:

  •     Advanced physics model
  •     Race against a ghost of your friend’s performance
  •     Share pictures of your best moments
  •     5 unique city districts featuring stunning graphics that pushes PSVita system to its limits

Monday, August 29, 2011

New Monster Hunter Lined Up For Tokyo Games Show, PS Vita A Cert?

In a staggering move, some Japanese analyst has guessed that Capcom will unveil a new Monster Hunter title at Tokyo Games Show. This would be the same show where Sony will announce the launch dates of the PS Vita. How does he come up with such staggering leaps of logic?

Add to this the likely news of new God Eater, BlazBlue, Valkyria and Persona titles being announced and the Japanese will think all their Cherry Blossom festivals will have come at once. TGS is on from the 15-18th September and will provide pretty much the final rivets in the PS Vita's launch boat.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

God Eater PS Vita on the way?

Oh hello, a bunch of Japanese tweets are suggesting God Eater Vita (catchy title) is on the way. Can't see any firm news yet, but it sounds like a plausible move for the Monster Hunter alike.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Download the Final Fantasy Type 0 Demo Now

Didn't think of this earlier in the month, but you can grab the Japanese demo for Final Fantasy Type-0 from PSP Demo Center and give it a spin. Sure its all foreign and shouty but still worth a peek, just to see if its as great as it appears. Downloading it now (330MB) and will let report back to see if its worth the effort.

Check out the recent pics and video if you're not convinced its worth the effort. Still waiting to hear of a western launch date, but the dual-UMD game has to make it over here at some point. Note also, that Square has just announced its new graphics engine for the main and future consoles (including Vita) so wondering if there might up an uprated version in the works.

Square' New Luminous Engine to Power Vita Titles

Square Enix has unveiled it's next-gen games engine called Luminous that will power the company's future titles including those developed for the PS Vita. The DirectX 11-based engine offers programmable shaders. Will Square games finally start looking like the rendered intros?

Friday, August 26, 2011

PS Vita Getting a BlazBlue Brawler Too

BlazBlue has been everywhere recently, and in another pre-TGS announcement, here's a trailer for the next-gen portable version that comes with network play and new stories.

Namco Confirms Shinobido 2 as European PS Vita Launch Title, Doesn't Say When

Developed by Acquire, Shinobido 2 was one of the first PSV games we saw in action, and its clearly pretty near done as Namco Europe has confirmed the game will be ready for the euro launch, whenever that may be.

From the press release (since its late on a Friday and the pub beckons):

The sequel to the widely acclaimed Shinobido: Way of the Ninja,  Shinobido 2: Tales of the Ninja raises the bar with even more stylish ninja action, new gameplay features, intuitive touch controls and a thrilling dynamic storyline.  Players will scale sheer walls, leap across roof tops, sneak up silently on their prey, and expertly dispatch enemy after enemy with their razor-sharp blade.
Set six months after the events of the previous game, Shinobido 2: Tales of the Ninja sees the once peaceful region of Utakata in the grip of a vicious civil war. Players will step into the shoes of Zen, betrayed by his companions and left fatally wounded. Narrowly escaping death, Zen chooses to live the life of a ninja and sets out to find those who wronged him, stopping at nothing to unleash the full fury of his silent yet deadly revenge.
New gameplay features include Assassination, which lets players make silent and satisfying kills more easily. Throughout the game, players will hone their skills to execute numerous different attacks and finish their enemies in elegant style, while the game controls will make full and intuitive use of the touch screen capabilities of PlayStation®Vita.

More Valkyria Chronicles/Persona Beckons for PSP or PS Vita

Two sites for big Japanese franchises have recently offered hints that something new and small comes this way. A new site from Atlus hints at more Persona while a blog post on the Valkyria Chronicles site also hints at some news.

All of which points to some good news to come out of Tokyo Games Show and as both series have a pretty big following in the west, I'd like to think we get to share in the fun. Persona 3 Portable did well on its UK launch and its PSOne prequels are also pretty popular.

Frontier Gates Shows its Full CG Opening Movie

Wow! Absolutely not Monster Hunter, no way man! But damn, it could be great fun and hope Konami brings it our way.

Grand Knights History: Launch Nears, Big Final Video Out

After all the little clips recently, here's a slightly more meaty effort showing off the world, some decent battle sequences and team management, the game is out next week in Japan and since we've heard that Black Rock Shooter is heading west, remain hopefully that this too will come our way.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Platypus, a Side-Shooter, Headed to PS Vita

Mentioned side-shooter there, just in case you were after a game about those not-quite-mammal-creatures from Australia. Anyway, Platypus is a cute looking clay-mation type shooter that's coming from the PC over to the PS Vita. According to the site:

The vast continent-spanning city of Collosatropolis has finally reached the limits of its expansion. The Collosotropolan leaders have decided the simplest solution is to invade the neighbouring country of Mungola. They don't anticipate much of a struggle - Mungolans are simple, earthy types without much love for industry. In fact, Mungola's entire defence force consists of a single squadron of fighter planes - the venerable F-27 "Platypus".

Looks good fun and all systems need a bit of old-school shooter action (personally I think Raiden should be the launch game on every format ever). More info is due at Tokyo Games Show.

ChunSoft Bringing Night of the 11th Visitor to PS3/PS Vita

A herd of rather exciteable Japanese tweets led me to this site, which reveals a new game, Night of the 11th Visitor for the PS Vita. A scary-looking ghostly murder mystery game if the trailer is anything to go by.

Europe Getting Trails in the Sky Collector's Edition

Ooh, pretty! And hot off the Ghostlight blog, comes news that the company is offering a special edition of the Legend of Heroes RPG. It comes with a soundtrack CD and art cards, plus a poster if you order it from Ghostlight.

Its not on the store yet, but will let you know, with a big "yippee" when I order mine!

Yet More Final Fantasy Type 0 Images, Still Awesome!

AndriaSang has a host of new pics from Square's magnum opus and PSP swansong title, FF Type-0. They show off the latest characters, some new nasties and summoning creatures. Looks like a hell of a game, whenever it finally arrives in the west.

UPDATE: And now some videos too! Check out Shiva giggling her way to victory.

Konami's Tokyo Games Show PSP/PS Vita Line-Up Unveiled

Konami has a heck of a lot going on at TGS this year with four Vita titles to be shown plus a boatload of PSP games:

The Vita titles are:
AR Combat Digi Q
Asphalt Injection (The Gameloft series?)
Mahjong Fight Club
New Little King's Story

AR Combat puts tanks in your living room or wherever and looks like a great use of AR.

While the Little King's Story game will be covered in Famitsu, a few screens have emerged:

On the PSP side, there's also a boat load of games still to come:

Frontier Gate (PSP, Playable)
Terror of the Stratus (PSP, Playable)
Pop'n Music Portable 2 (PSP, Playable)

Partner titles:

Uta Princess-sama Music (PSP, Trailer)
Uta Princess-sama Debut (PSP, Trailer)
Legend of Heroes Ao no Kiseki (PSP, Playable)
The Detective Club (PSP, Playable)
Bullet Butlers (PSP, Playable)
Ryu-koku (PSP, Trailer)
Hana to Otome ni Shukufuku wo (PSP, Trailer)
Shirogane no Karu to Soukuu no Jouou (PSP, Trailer)
Shirokinushou Renai Shoukougun (PSP, Trailer)
Tsugi no Giseisha wo Oshiraseshimasu Daiikkan (PSP, Trailer)

Mutant Blobs Attack Announced for PS Vita

All those pundits who keep batting on about PS Vita games being too expensive should really look at all the news from smaller developers that's coming out. The latest news comes from Canadian devs Drinkbox Studios whose Mutant Blobs Attack title is unlikely to be retailing for $80.

Its a sequel to About A Blob, a PSN title from last year and is yet another of the fun-looking titles that will help fill in the time between the big hitters that will garner most of the attention on the Vita. More news on this game to follow. Like this trailer for instance:

Nippon Ichi Brings Black Rock Shooter to the West

About time too, NIS has said it will bring the hot-looking action game to the US and Europe. Check out some of the videos showing off the sheer awesomeness of it and the great characterization.

No sign of a release date but its out in Japan in September and I do hope we get the limited edition version with the action figure. More to follow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hustle Kings on Vita Looks Awesome

Missed this video from GamesCom, but Hustle Kings from VooFoo will certainly do the business for pool fans with awesome visuals, multiplayer and a few neat features like table cloth design and more. Sure its been around on the PS3 for a while, but hopefully the Vita vesion will see some fun tweaks and new Trophies.

Take a Tour Around Town in Frontier Gate

AndriaSang is showing off a brief new video clip that shows some of the impressive architecture and places you can visit in the cities of Frontier Gate. Certainly look impressive enough. There's a slightly more impressive action sequence here.

Latest Japanese Charts, PS3 Goes Mad, Growlanser and Neptune 2 Hit PSP

This week its the PS3 that gets a 50% sales boost from its price cut while the PSP gamely plugs away selling another 40,000. The 3DS drops almost 50% of its sales but still sells over 100,000, wonder how long it'll keep that up for.

3DS: 105,639 (Previous week: 196,077)
PSP: 40,888 (40,389)
PlayStation 3: 29,666 (20,239)
Wii: 18,256 (19,607)
DSi XL: 4,329 (4,213)
DSi: 3,585 (3,531)
PlayStation 2: 1,789 (1,513)
Xbox 360: 1,427 (1,576)
DS Lite: 117 (90)
PSP go: 13 (20)

On the games from there are five PSP games in the top 10 with Growlanser IV and Neptune 2 the only new entries. .

Rhythm Heaven Wii (Nintendo, Wii): 48,190 (Life to date: 374,489)
Monster Hunter Diary Poka Poka Felyne Village G (Capcom, PSP): 40,997 (139,265)
Kirby Mass Attack (Nintendo, DS): 35,235 (162,323)
Super Dimensional Game Neptune mk2 (Compile Heart, PSP): 32,751 NEW!
Super Pokémon Rumble (Nintendo, 3DS): 32,144 (118,437)
Growlanser IV Over Reloaded (Atlus, PSP): 21,896 NEW!
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (Nintendo, 3DS): 21,465 (335,540)
Wii Sports Resort (Wii Remote Plus Pack) (Nintendo, Wii): 20,969 (502,326)
Let's Make a J.League Pro Soccer Club! 7 Euro Plus (Sega, PSP): 17,727 (149,040)
Toriko Gourmet Survival! (Namco Bandai, PSP): 17,521 (108,550)

PSN Store Updates for PSP (BIG SALE TIME)

Hmmm, another quiet week for new content in the inevitable demise of the PSP on the store front, you would at least think Sony would drag out some more PSOne titles to goose the lineup a bit.

On the plus side there is a decent sale just announced for PSP with a bunch of games going cheap in the EU. Sid Meier's Pirates at only £3.99 is a particular bargain with a host of Capcom titles also at that price. The sale is running in two halves, so keep an eye out.

On the US store, there's:
Parasite Eve II - PSOne ($5.99)

Fighting Fantasy: Talisman Of Death – Minis ($4.99)
Hysteria Project 2 – Minis ($2.49)
3D Circuits PSP Theme ($1.49)

In the EU store, we just get a couple of minis to play with:
Revoltin’ Youth (£1.74/€1.99)

Doodle Fit (£1.74/€1.99)

PSP Sale

GRANDIA (was £6.29/€7.99 – now £4.79/€5.99)

Fate/Unlimited Codes (was £23.99/€29.99 – now £3.99/€ 4.99)
Blazeblue: Calamity Trigger Portable (was £23.99/€29.99 - now £9.99/€12.99)
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony (was £11.49/€14.99 – now £9.99/€12.99)
TNT Racers (was £6.29/€7.99 – now £3.19/€3.99)
Sid Meier’s Pirates! (was £11.49/€14.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
NBA 2K11 (was £23.99/€ 29.99 – now £11.99/€14.99)
Half Minute Hero (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £8.99/€11.25)
Harvest Moon Innocent Life (was £9.99/€12.99 – now £7.99/€9.99)
Valhalla Knights 1 (was £9.99/€12.99 – now £7.99/€9.99)
International Athletics (was £6.29/€7.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Skate Park City (was £ 6.29/€7.99 – now £4.79/€5.99)
WWII Battle Over the Pacific (was £6.29/€7.99 – now £4.79/€5.99)
World of Pool (was £6.29/€7.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Spectral Vs. Generation (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
GTA Vice City Stories (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)
GTA Chinatown Wars (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)
GTA Liberty City Stories (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)
Midnight Club 3 (was £9.99/€12.99 – now £5.19/€6.59)
Midnight Club LA (was £9.99/€12.99 – now £5.19/€6.59)
Manhunt 2 (was £9.99/€12.99 – now £5.19/€6.59)
Beaterator (was £9.99/€12.99 – now £5.19/€6.59)
Z.H.P. (was £23.99/€29.99 – now £15.99/€19.99)
Disgaea Infinite (was £15.99/€19.99 – now £7.99/€9.99)
God Eater Burst (was £23.99/€29.99 – now £11.99/€14.99)
Me and My Katamari (was £15.99/€19.99 – now £7.99/€9.99)
Tekken 6 (was £15.99/€19.99 – now £7.99/€9.99)
Asphalt: Urban GT 2 (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)
Brothers in Arms D-Day (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)
Driver 76 (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Predator (was £23.99/€29.99 – now £11.99/€14.99)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)
Prince of Persia – Rival Sword (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)
Prince of Persia – Revelation (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)
Prince of Persia – The Forgotten Sanes (was £23.99/€29.99 – now £11.99/€14.99)
Splinter Cell Essentials (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)
James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game (was £23.99/€29.99 – now £7.99/€9.99)
Street Riders (was £15.99/€19.99 – now £7.99/€9.99)
Michael Jackson: The Experience (was £23.99/€29.99 – now £11.99/€14.99)
Assassin’s Creed : Bloodlines (was £23.99/€29.99 – now £7.99/€9.99)
Cover Girl (was £23.99/€29.99 – now £11.99/€14.99)
Breath of Fire 3 (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Dark Stalkers’ Chronicles (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Megaman Maverick Hunter X (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Power Stone Collection (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Capcom Classic Reloaded (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Capcom Classic Remixed (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Capcom Puzzle World (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Iron Man (was £11.99/€14.99 – now £6.29/€7.99)

Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter (was £2.49/€2.99 – now £1.24/€1.49)
Who’s That Flying?! (was £3.99/€ 4.99 – now £1.74/€1.99)
Denki Blocks! (was £3.49/€3.99 – now £0.99/€1.19)
Coconut Dodge (was £2.49/€2.99 – now £0.99/€1.19)

Fighting Fantasy: Talisman of Death (PSN) Review

As a child, Fighting Fantasy offered some interesting lessons in decision making; the less inviting road could bear greater fruit, running was better than fighting and, sometimes, just hit them! And now, in the rather unexpected form of a PSP mini, its back.

The game uses some simple stats, Skill Stamina and Luck to create a role playing environment, some games of chance to add interactivity and it encourages players to read closely through the text, rather than just skipping through chat and scene-setting, as is common in many RPGs. It's not a highly visual game as you'd expect (some pics here) but its graphics are neat and effective.

There's a handy zoom button, if you have trouble with the small text size, with the text doing a decent job of scene setting and explaining your choices, without going beyond brevity. At the bottom of each page are your options, normally one, two or three choices, with battles or tests of your luck helping to decide where you go. You can fight enemies, who can attack singularly or in groups (which complicates things slightly) either using dice, or a game of chance.

Throughout the book are potions, weapons and other artefacts that can boost your stats, the Log Book is used to keep tabs on your possessions, progress and overall stats. The game actively encourages players to draw a map and take notes, bringing back a little of that D&D magic to modern gaming, its good that it doesn't do it for you.

The adventure itself is a progressive affair, even if every time you die its back to the start or a rare checkpoint. You can try a different route, feel smart when you remember what not to do and there are more than enough routes that the game doesn't feel stale. It won't take a great deal of time to finish the game, but the challenge of filling the log book is enough to encourage you to have a few runs through it.

It is odd that this feels like a new way of playing games, despite the 1982 origin of the books. Hopefully this mini is one that grow into a bigger series, perhaps with enough room for a voice reading (perhaps Brian Blessed) of the story to add to the atmosphere. If you're bored of staring across the endless plains of infinity in some other RPG, give this a try and read your away across them in one easy choice!

Available on PSN for £3.49 [Laughing Jackal]
9/10 A different way to adventure for younger games and 

More PSP Minis Burst Into Life, Ghosts and Racing

A Twitter trawl reveals the following games heading to the PSN service sometime soon:

Run Ghost Run, StormBasic

Crash Cars Mini Mayhem, GameStudio Vault

The developer barely has a site, but French games site VG Pockett has some screens and news that game has been in development for a couple of years. It looks rather Jaguar-era but could still be a fun mix of MicroMachines and Mario.

PS Vita Silent Hill Video Shows Art, Early Gameplay

Doesn't look much like Silent Hill to me, but I'm prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt. This video came from GamesCom and shows off some multiplayer action...

Those New PS Vita Games Start to Leak

As mentioned, some brand new Vita titles are being unveiled in Famitsu over the next few weeks. The first of those is a sequel to cute Wii RPG/management combo, Little King's Story, which was released in both Europe and Japan, so we might get this one.

The new game is titled, for Japan, The King, The Demon King and the Seven Princesses: New King Story. Wikipedia describes the game as: "The player character is a timid boy who has found a mysterious crown which gives him the power to charm people and make them follow orders. As king of the village his goal is to expand the village and make his subjects happy. The design of the game combines various simulation elements as well as real time and adventure elements. Yasuhiro"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rayman Origins Portable Plays Fancy Tricks on PS Vita

Some screenshots have emerged for the portable version of Ubisoft's classic Rayman revamp and the game looks mighty fine, if a little less shiny than I remember. However, one of the images, shows how you can use the good old multitouch zoom feature to leap in and out of the action.

Not sure if there will be extra gameplay elements that take advantage of this, or if it'll be good for making extra-precise leaps, but anything that adds a little extra to the game has to be good. 

Oh, and really starting to hate game pictures pasted into their handhelds, just a waste of screen space and if publishers are going to do that, then please take real photos so we can see the lovely OLED screen in action.

The Impossible Game Coming to PSP minis

Minimalist platformer that harks back to the eight-bit days of exacting jumps, but played at a modern era pace, The Impossible Game is a popular phone title that's coming to minis and the PSP. With its rave soundtrack and new levels, it looks like a big challenge for the little machine.

Sony to Announce New Vita Game in Famitsu This Week

If I read this new translated Japanese Sony Vita Blog correctly, Sony will unveil a new game this week (the 25th) in an issue of Famitsu, with more new titles being announced in the run up to Tokyo Games Show, over the next four weeks.

"And PlayStation Vita. As promised last time, the information in PS Vita will continue to gradually release this week. The issue of Weekly Famitsu notice released at the end of last week, "the latest scoop PS Vita" featured the following line in Famitsu's efforts this week and you probably have noticed that I can come is written as Waremasu. "Special features exclusive PlayStation Vita consecutive No. 4" August 25, will be announced titles for the PS Vita. This week is the first of this particular project.
You can read the post yourself using Google Chrome's browser or by babelfishing the page in other browsers. Wonder what the game will be, what Sony titles are missing from the main list?

Malicious moves from PS3 to PS Vita in Japan

Alvion is a Japanese developer and Malicious is the company's PS3 download-only game that hasn't made it to the west, so its unlikley that the recently listed Vita version will make it over either. But, for completeness' sake, here's a look at the PS3 version.

It's an action/adventure/fighting game with a nice line in over-sized enemies, but from the video its hard to see anything that grabs as amazingly different.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Ragnarok Videos Show Turn-Based Battles of Infinite Cuteness

RPGFan has links to a bunch of new Ragnarok videos that show off the Japanese role-playing/strategy/combat game at its cutest. If the game ever ships to the west I hope the healer in one of the videos (battle08) gets a voice change, its one of the most annoying sounds in gaming history.

The isometric worlds look pretty decent with some effort in the background visuals while the gameplay (from these brief clips) looks forlornly cookie cutter, will there be anything to distinguish it from War of the Lions or other big hitters?

Is This What Monster Hunter Vita Could Look Like?

Capcom has released some new screens from Monster Hunter Remastered in HD for the PS3, which should give us a fair indication of what the PS Vita version will look like. While not announced yet, its pretty much a banker for the Tokyo Games Show.

Obviously any new update will have superior poly counts and refined textures for better looking monsters (click on this pic to enlarge), hopefully a refined maps/levels system but given the hardcore nature of its Japanese fan base I doubt too much will be tweaked, you can see some more shots over at AndriaSang.

Another New Grand Knights History Video for PSP

Marvelous is really getting up to speed now with its Grand Knights History video releases. A couple more have appeared on the site showing off this unique looking combat/RPG game. The latest snippet shows off the crew about to take on a big dragoney thing. There does look like a hell of a text to translate should we ever get a western version!

PSP E1000 Specs Announced

The new PSP model really has hacked out some features to make it as cheap as possible, we knew that Wi-Fi had gone, but so has one speaker and all the bottom row buttons have been replaced with a single sensor strip.

Read my thoughts on the present-friendly toy here, and see the first video of it in action. 

The full specs have been listed:

  •     LCD screen: 4.3 inches / 10.9 cm (16:9) full-transparent type, TFT drive. Approximately 16,770,000 colours displayed.
  •     Sound: Monaural speaker.
  •     Internal disc drive: Read-only Universal Media Disc drive.
  •     Interface: DC IN 5V connector. Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0 compliant). DC OUT connector. Headset connector. Memory Stick PRO DuoTM slot.
  •     Power source: AC Adaptor: DC 5.0 V. Lithium-Ion rechargeable Battery Pack.
  •     Maximum power consumption: Approx. 6 W (when charging).
  •     External dimensions: Approx. 172.4 × 73.4 × 21.6 mm (width × height × depth) (excludes largest projection).
  •     Weight: Approx. 223 g (including Battery Pack).
  •     Operating environment: temperature 5C – 35C.
  •     Universal Media Disc laser
  •     Wave length: 655 – 665 nm.
  •     Power: Max. 0.28 mW.
  •     Type: Semiconductor, continuous.
  •     AC Adaptor
  •     Input: AC 100-240 V, 50/60 Hz.
  •     Output: DC 5 V, Max. 1500 mA.
  •     External dimensions: Approx. 61 × 23 × 84 mm (width × height × depth) (excludes largest projection).
  •     Weight: Approx. 62 g

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Hands On With the Sony PSP E1000

Kotaku have got their lucky mitts on one of the first new PSP E1000 models in the wild and taken some nice photos. As stated, this looks like the kiddie version and Kotaku says it is lighter, a little larger and smudge free. Something ideal for little fingers.

As you can see, the whole back lifts off to reveal the UMD drive and without WiFi, updating will be through discs or the USB link (not that we can expect many more PSP updates I think). I don't think one single new PSP game (or a Japanese PSP game coming to the west has been announced at GamesCom) so this is really the full stop at the end of the PSP story.

See Uncharted Played Through on PS Vita

CVG has a high quality play through video of Uncharted: Golden Abyss on its site which does a better job of showing off the game than Sony managed at its press event. There's a HD version here, which looks even better. I'm actually starting to prefer looking at these off-screen videos as they show off just how good the Vita's screen is.

The game does look awesome, although some of the touch commands seem a little arbitrary and clunky. Still, you'd have to hope they are all polished to perfection before release.

WipEout 2048 Developers Discuss PS Vita

The guys from Sony Liverpool (which I guess used to be Psygnosis many, many years ago) who have brought WipEout 2048 to the PS Vita have been discussing their work with the PlayStation Blog. Tune in for their thoughts on all things anti-grav and Vita

Screenshot Splurge for Disgaea 3 on PS Vita

Wow, now that's a cart full of pics. Andriasang has 177 of the little blighters and some art showing of the remake for the PS Vita. Sure its not the most visually striking game that will hit the Vita, but it does have a big fan bas. Here's a couple of my favorites, but check out the gallery on AS.

Nippon Ichi says it will sell for 6,090yen (£48, €55, $80) in stores or 5,000yen (£39, €45, $65) as a download. Which is rather scary pricing, but could well change by launch.

PS Vita Tech Specs Laid Out

The magic numbers are:

Platform Name: PlayStation Vita
Model number: PCH-1000 series
CPU: ARM(R) Cortex(TM)-A9 core (4 core)
External Dimensions: Approx. 182.0 x 18.6 x 83.5mm (width x height x depth) (tentative, excludes largest projection)
Screen: 5 inches (16:9), 960 x 544, Approx. 16 million colors, OLED (Touch screen) Multi touch screen (capacitive type)
Main memory: 512MB
Rear touch pad: Multi touch pad (capacitive type)
– Front camera, Rear camera
– Frame rate: 120fps@320×240(QVGA), 60fps@640×480(VGA)
– Resolution: Up to 640×480(VGA)
Sound: Built-in stereo speakers, Built-in microphone
Sensors: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis electronic, compass
Location: Built-in GPS (3G/Wi-Fi model only), Wi-Fi location service support

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thoughts on the Sony E1000 PSP

While about 95% of me is looking to the PS Vita future, a small chunk of me is happy to see the good old PSP soldiering on into another year's service. For a start, my original Jap model is now starting to show its age (but still no dead pixels and the battery life is fine). So, a UMD equipped cheap replacement can't be a bad thing.
However, this device isn't really aimed at me, core gamers or the like. Instead I think this is aimed firmly at the kids for Christmas as an almost Fisher Price like gadget that they can play a few cheap games from the massive existing catalogue.

It can't really be a core machine, as there are only a handful of new PSP games coming out, so there is zero incentive to buy one. Kids however, who most parent's wouldn't entrust with a smartphone or iPad might see this as a safer alternative.

Depending on the build quality, screen and buttons, I might pick one up to ensure my UMDs remain playable forever, but on the whole, expect to see this thrust firmly into the kid's pages of Argos catalogues (or whatever store you frequent).

I know 99 euros (£85) is a lot for a toy, but some Lego sets are more than that and with the promise of hordes of cheap games, it must be tempting for parents whose kids are chasing for anything gadgety. Look forward to giving one a run sometime soon.

Japanese Getting TV Service on Their PS Vitas

While Sony announced the likes of Twitter and Facebook for the PS Vita at GamesCom, Sony Japan is likely to have far cooler things like the Nico Nico TV service among others. According to Andriasang, Dwango is advertising for service engineers to help bring the project to Vita.

The Japanese not only get Vita first, but get it with added crazy shit!

It would be good to see similar services from cable or satellite providers, IPTV services and other sources providing apps for the Vita so it becomes a more rounded device. In one word, iPlayer please! Since its available for the Wii, that shouldn't be too much of a stretch!

PSP Monster Hunter Spin-Off Tops Japanese Charts

Those cute Felynes have managed to top the Japanese charts without the help of their bigger monster hunting masters with almost 100,000 sales. The PSP bags four of the top 10 spots in Japan with J=League Soccer dropping from No. 1 last week. Read the full charts on Andriasang.

Unsurprisingly, the 3DS dominates the hardware chart after its price cut with what has to be a percentage record increase, while the PSP adds an extra 5,000 sales to move to over 40,000 for the week.

[PSP] 1. Monster Hunter Diary Poka Poka Felyne Village G (Capcom, 08.10.11): 98,269 NEW!
[N3DS] 2. Super Pokemon Rumble (Pokemon, 08.11.11): 86,294 NEW!
[WII] 3. Everyone's Rhythm Heaven (Nintendo, 07.21.11): 63,590 (326,300)
[NDS] 4. Atsumete! Kirby (Nintendo, 08.04.11): 52,173 (127,088)
[PSP] 5. Uta no Prince Sama Repeat (Broccoli, 08.11.11): 32,180 NEW!
[N3DS] 6. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time 3D (Nintendo, 06.16.11): 31,772 (314,075)
[PSP] 7. Let's Make a J.League Pro Soccer Club! 7 Euro Plus (Sega, 08.04.11): 30,291 (131,313)
[PSP] 8. Toriko Gourmet Survival! (Namco Bandai, 08.04.11): 28,147 (91,030)
[WII] 9. Wii Sports Resort (Wii Remote Plus Pack) (Nintendo, 11.11.10): 20,524 (481,357)
[WII] 10. Disney Epic Mickey: Mickey Mouse and the Magic Brush (Nintendo, 08.04.11): 15,536 (42,793)

Hardware Charts

1. 3DS: 196,077 (4,132)
2. PSP: 40,389 (35,619)
3. PS3: 20,239 (18,338)
4. Wii: 19,607 (17,004)
5. DSi LL: 4,213 (4,176)

Sony Shows Off PS Vita's Web Browser and Media Player

Sony's Vita web browser looks a shed load more usable than the hacking wreck that was the PSP's. There's a couple of screens of it on the Sony Site. The music player also looks a little more modern, as long as it doesn't tie you into Sony's own services.

There's also a video player, linked to the PSN and a photo player for all those shots you can take with the Vita's own cameras. All in all it looks like a decent bundle of apps. As long as they put more consistent development into them than Sony ever bothered with on the PSP.  

What with the social apps already announced, looks like the Vita can do everything a smartphone can bar the network calling.Those quirky little apps should also help give it a bit of street cred, but are largely just filler until the third-party apps from the phone makers can stream on over.

PS Vita Encouraging Virtual Graffiti

Okay, among the Vita's many powers is the ability to do virtual tagging on the streets.and play some fun social mini games.

t@g lets you do just that only without the expensive paints and the ensuing ASBO. while Frobisher Says (great name) lets a bunch of people play pass-the-Vita and take part in a bunch of odd mini games.

There's a rather uninformative slideshow on a Sony page but surely this is something that a bunch of rocking videos is needed to introduce

New Uncharted Golden Abyss PS Vita Video: Meet A Lady Friend

The US Sony PlayStation  blog has up a new  video for Naughty Dog's Uncharted on the PS Vita, with Marisa Chase taking centre stage. With some hot action scenes, it gives a great idea of just how will the Vita can perform.

Take a (Ropey) Tour of the PS Vita's Menus

This video shows off a tour of the PS Vita's menus and interface. It doesn't look much to write home about at the moment, or could be down to a novice user, but is still a decent guide to what to expect.

Super Stardust Delta Gets a GamesCon Trailer

Not sure if this one is new either, but here you go a look at Super Stardust Delta, which should be a bit more playable with the twin sticks. Looks like one to play in the dark, to bask in all those glows and lighting effects.

See all the other PS Vita GamesCom news here.

PSN Store Update 17 August, Zombies and Fighting Fantasy

Almost forgot this is the midst of the GamesCom melee. Once again its the minis keeping the PSP afloat with a decent range of new games to enjoy. Top of the pack has to be the Fighting Fantasy release, closely followed by OMG Zombies. Click on the links for videos or pics.

Carnivores: Ice Age (£2.49/€2.99)
Fighting Fantasy: Talisman Of Death (£3.49/€3.99)
Omgz! (£2.49/€2.99)

Otherwise all we have is some cheaper Disney PSOne stuff:

A Bug’s life and Monster’s Inc. (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Atlantis and Hercules (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)
Little Mermaid 2 & Winnie the Pooh (was £6.29/€7.99 – now £3.19/€3.99)
Toy Story Racer & Toy Story 2 (was £7.99/€9.99 – now £3.99/€4.99)

Strange Things Afoot for Silent Hill on PS Vita

And I don't mean the usual demons and nightmares. It looks like Konami is taking a whole new approach to this iteration of the series. It's taking a top down 3D view on proceedings and apparently will have a major multiplayer element.

As long as it maintains the series' sense of foreboding and doom, I reckon it should still do pretty well, as long as there's a full on Silent Hill experience to enjoy!

More Grand Knight's History PSP Videos To Lust Over

Grand Knight's History looks to be one of the most stylistic of the last PSP titles and the developers have been showing off various facets of the game in a series of videos. Three more have sneaked out since I last took a look and just continue to highlight the great deal of love that went into this highly original looking game.

Tne videos are on this link and may take a while to load, depending on your location and show off the party-based combat and blistering effects. Still praying for a western release on this one form Marvelous.

Everybody's Golf Takes a Swing at the PS Vita

This trailer looks suspiciously old hat to me, but I'll add it for completeness' sake. Showing off one the sequel to one of the most fun titles ever to grace the PSP.

StarDrone Just Won't Shut Up About Being on PS Vita

On the moderate list of third-party PS Vita Games shown at GamesCom yesterday was a logo for StarDrone, along with the likes of Call of Duty and BioShock. Its a odd looking title which has hints of spacey, puzzly and a little bit pinbally about it. Perhaps you'll get more from this PS3 video than I did.

New Virtua Tennis PS Vita Shots Look Ace

Sega's Vita launch title Virtua Tennis is looking pretty spanking thanks to some new screenshots from GamesCom. Check out all the other news here. With awesome levels of detail, great shadows it seems to have everything that its bigger brothers.

First look at Rayman and Asphalt on PS Vita

Ubisoft confirmed Assassin's Creed, Rayman and others for the Vita yesterday, now the screenshots are starting to break out. 
Make of it what you will but here's a shot of the limbless hero who has been entertaining gamers since way back on the original PlayStation. Still playing that game on the PSP from time to time!

Asphalt has been a big hit on the iOS devices and will now cross to the Vita as a bigger, better looking game. It costs £3 to £5 on the Apple store and hopefully won't be much more on the PSN when it hits, a good example of the range of pricing we can expect.

Alien Spidy Creeping on to PS Vita, Video and Pics

Enigma Productions is a Spanish outfit with a great looking PS Vita game under development, Alien Spidy has all the trappings of a classic platformer. The team also did the excellent Patton: Legends of War on PSP, so this should be well worth keeping a beady eye on.

There are some excellently detailed shots on the game page, showing off the gloomy atmosphere, and fine detail. The company could do with updating its news page, but the game is also listed as a PSP title, which can't be bad!

Sony's GamesCom Catch Up: New PSP, New Vita Games, PS3 Price Cut

Here's all the news that came out of GamesCom today and from Sony's press event yesterday:

Here's the live report from yesterday's big show and below are all the images, video and game details.

LATEST: Sony Vita's apps, web browser and other functions unveiled. It now has Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and other social apps, presumably built-in from launch.

Top video of the day has to be Uncharted Golden Abyss which sees your new companions unveiled and some great action scenes in staggering details.

Additional videos/screens:

Super Stardust Delta gets an explosive trailer
Silent Hill takes a strange twist
New screens for the awesome Virtua Tennis
First look at Rayman and Asphalt from Ubisoft
Video and pics from the decidedly creepy Alien Spidy
Pics and art for Resistance Burning Skies
New WipEout 2048 video
New game, Escape Plan, unveiled
Skype, Facebook and Twitter support confirmed for Vita
FIFA confirmed for PS Vita
New budget PSP model E1000 unveiled

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New WipEout 2048 Video from GamesCom

Um, I think its new, don't recognise the intro bit, anyway its WipEout which is always worth a look.

Escape Plan Screenshots Sneak Out of GamesCom

EuroGamer has just put up a bunch of screens from the grayscale game that was the only real new Vita announcement at the GamesCom press event. Meet Escape Plan where two heroic blobs, one fat, one thin must puzzle their way to freedom.

Mad Blocker HD Goes Nuts on Vita

Mad Blocker is another of the games, like Asphalt from Ubisoft, that shows the Vita will offer a full price range of games from various sources. This PSP mini is getting a HD upgrade for PS3 Move and the Vita and infect more machines with its faux-angry stylings.

Sony Shows Off Some Resistance Burning Skies Art and Screens

Just a couple of arty pics and some neat looking screens (love the explosion shockwave on shot 4 c/o EuroGamer which has hi-res versions), but good scene setters for the PS Vita's first big shooter that was shown off at GamesCom earlier Check out the (not great quality video here)

And the art:

Resistance Burning Skies Video from GamesCom

Check out the new hero and his big axe in the latest Resistance title, shown for the first time at GamesCom earlier today. I'll keep an eye out for a HD version of this video, which really doesn't do the Vita's screen justice.

UPDATE - replaced the video with a HD version, a bit better!

Sony PSP E1000 New Model in Pictures

So, here's your first look at the bargain basement new PSP with its touch-button bottom row, matte styling, non-clear shoulder buttons and what might be a non-shiny screen
There's a UMD slot on the back and the standard nub. Without WiFi, users will be limited to downloading games via their PC and transferring them via USB, which seems somehow quaint. But at this price, it could see another minor resurgence in PSP sales and the consequent games.

However, none of this can avoid the fact that there are no new games to be announced for PSP, apart from perhaps a few Japanese titles heading west.

Skype Confirms PS Vita Support

Skype has just confirmed what Sony mentioned on its GamesCom press event, that the voice-over-IP service will appear on the PS Vita. Users will be able to connect with a wide range of friends and family while on-the-go, using the next generation portable entertainment system's built-in network connectivity.

The interface looks pretty slick and is a useful addition in this supposed battle against the smartphones. This along with dedicated Twitter and Facebook apps will add about 75% of the stuff I use my iPhone for into the Vita, making all that its not a smartphone crap rather redundant.

Sony's GamesCom Press Event Report

Check out the video feed live from Sony's Blog, it starts at 6:00PM UK and had better be more impressive than EA's cookie cutter E3 show.

All the news as it happens....

Currently applying lots of lubricant! If Sony's news sucks then at least I can slide off into alcoblivion!

First the bad (but by now old) news, Sony is sending out emails confirming a Feb/March release in Europe for the Vita.

Sony's Video Stream has gone live, its all rather dark...

Another early leak is a new price cut for the PS3, 25% OFF. Get those discounts now at Amazon.

6:00 And we are due to launch....

Having announced nothing Vita-ish at its own show, EA's boss is front and centre for this one... surely some proper Vita news from John Riccitelo

A 10 minute delay is announced from what sounded like a very posh lady indeed.

6:20 And we're good to go, again!

And we have video, there be Aliens, Batman, soldiers dancing, shooting, a PSP playing with a butt ugly camera mounted on the top, the Vita showing off lots of games we won't get to play for months.

6:22 Andrew House is talking about "delivering entertainment experiences" - whatever happened to games?

6:25 There's more fun to be had watching Twitter take the piss out of Andrew House's bland tones rather than listening to the garbage he's spouting. Bring on the new guy... Its Jim Ryan, he looks a bit more rugged and sounds a little less refined.

6:27 Its VITA time:

We have the hardware spiel, dual sticks, touchpads, high-quality screen, six axis, multiple cameras. How much memory is there in it? He declines to say.

Now he's talking about the social features. Near, and so on. Facebook, Twitter and Skype are all there via Social Essentials. Trophy support works across both PS3 and Vita. There is also group messaging for quick interaction with your clans/gangs.

6:30 Cue a horrible social lifestyle video - after the PSP riot bashing incident in London, would you take your Vita out on the streets?

6:33 Bring on the GAMES. Michael Denny takes the stage to show off the real stars of the show.

This week consumers get their hands on. Resistance Burning Skies from Nihilistic is first up. A world first showing of the game. It starts on Ellis Island in 1951. It looks gorgeous on the screen and using the front touch screen you can lock onto targets, or use left shoulder for iron sighting. Also, just tap the screen to lob a grenade.

Chimera Chain Gun is one of the new weapons. With intense looking battles, there is loads going on and the games looks smooth as silk (note these screen caps aren't really doing it justice)

Next up is LittleBigPlanet... a great hit on the PSP and one of the best games to get anyone involved in user-created content. The video shows a few snippets of some lovely touchscreen creation, and the ability to take a photo and import what you shoot into the game.

6:45 Time for Reality Fighters form Novarama who brought Invizimals to the PSP. This game lets you play as anyone, anywhere. Presenter getting a little Saturday lunchtime wrestling over-excited announcing the fighters.

There were some good combos and power moves but its a little hard to get excited about two nerds beating each other up. Fighting games need big OTT characters... hopefully they will add some for the full release.

6:50 Now we have Escape Plan, a new game with a distinctly odd look to it, slightly LittleBigPlanet done monochrome. Otherwise looking rather like an indie platformer.

Partner news now:

Ubisoft are bringing SIX titles to the Vita including Assassin's Creed, Lumines, Rayman and iOS titles Asphalt and Dungeon Hunter. EA are bringing FIFA 12 and there are a huge range of other third-party games. On a quick list of games I did see Dust 514 mentioned, the MMO shooter looks to be going portable. All a bit brief that segment!

On to PSP, now sold 71 million units and powered by the PSP Essentials budget range. Bing! A new model of PSP is on the way, without WiFi and a rather cheaper non-glossy styling, it will be priced at 99euros.

6:55 Right, that's it for the PSP and Vita, not really bothered about the PS3, although if a price cut is announced I might be able to shoehorn one into the console rack. A pretty good look at a couple of games there and the cheap PSP will certainly keep that market going. Not bad but I suspect Tokyo Games Show will be the real kicker.