Friday, September 30, 2011

Ghostlight offering Persona double packs for PSP

Prepare to be twice as excited about the Persona games, if you haven't got round to buying them yet. UK Publisher Ghostlight has several double packs on offer, mixing Persona 3 Portable, Persona 2: Innocent Sin and Trails in the Sky. They go onsale at the same time as both Persona 2 and Trails, 4 November. Persona 3 is already out on PSN and in-stores, although the limited edition has to be the one to go for.

The bundles will be released on the 4th November, making them ideal Christmas presents, and they save you around a tenner on the individual prices. If companies like Ghostlight are going to continue bringing over quality titles from Japan, they need buyers, so get in there with your pre-orders now!

Sony PSP E1000 New Model Out 14th October, £89.99

Amazon has put up its page for the new model PSP E1000, the cheap and cheerful kid-Christmas present-friendly model will ship on the 14th of October from Amazon and retail for £89.99 which doesn't make it a bad move given the hundreds of very cheap games available for it. It will be by far the cheapest console on sale this winter, and might even make a handy backup for any gamers whose PSPs are starting to go a bit wobbly.

Not bad for the kids given the huge number of dirt cheap games now out there, or us JRPG and Japanese game fans given the decent work done by Ghostlight, Rising Star and Aksys to bring the likes of the Persona games, Grand Knights History and others our way.

Chrono Trigger coming to PSN next week

Gaming classic Chrono Trigger is already out as WiiWare (the SNES original) but the PS One edition will hit the US PSN store next week, hopefully with a European release to follow very soon. Developed by Square's dream team of developers, it is one of the best regard role-playing games.

However, given the long intros and loading times (which I hope the PSP will cut out) I suspect this might be one of the few games where gettting the SNES version might be the better option. However you get it, definitely worth trying out though.

Xperia Play getting free EA games in October

To goose its gaming smartphone, Sony Ericsson is offering four EA games for free over October, starting with Need for Speed: Shift. Sure, the game is only a couple of quid on the Android store, but hey - free is free and the Xperia Play is hardly seeing a torrent of games recently.

Still it is getting Lara Croft soon and, if the price cuts are kicking in could be building a nice little niche for itself, dunno what the other titles in the offer are, but will update when I find out. Plus, the Xperia Play will be getting the Gingerbread OS update in October, making it an even better device.

BlazBlue Continuum Shift Launches November 4 in Europe

A quick tweet from the BlazBlue Europe account let us know that the PSP game will ship on the 4th of November - just in time for some real fireworks. The game offers all the previous DLC content as standard, including new characters, Makoto, Valkenhayn and Platinum, plus:
  • Two additional story modes for Sector Seven and NOL Academy adding to the substantial wealth of single player content.
  • Brand new ‘Abyss Mode’ exclusive to BBCS2 letting you level up your character against increasingly difficult foes as you descend into the Abyss.
  • Enhanced with ‘Stylish Mode’ for a more comfortable handheld fighting experience – perfect for BlazBlue beginners and more advanced players.

Here's the Japanese trailer as the European one is all 3DSified:

God Eater 2 site opens for business

God Eater 2 looks pretty awesome (launch pics and art) and it now gets a very slickly-made official site which is live. It features the trailer and some information on the boost hammer and charge spear weapons plus some other details (doesn't translate due to Flash unfortunately). Still its great to navigate and check out, well worth a look.

Just found, a post here has a collection of new artwork and screens!

Square Dishes the Stats on PS Vita Pricing and Sizes

Square Enix has shown off its box art for Army Corps of Hell, its launch PS Vita title (more on the game here)and very pretty it is too. There was also some confusion, as one version showed it needed a memory card, while a second put up no such barrier. The truth as dug up by Andriasang is that this title stores your save games on its own card.

The game is priced at ¥4,980 (£41, $65) for the boxed version and ¥3,990 (£33, $52) for the download.

Talking of downloads, Sony has mentioned that PSV downloads over 3G networks will be limited to 20Mb, so most PSN activity will have to be done over your WiFi.

In Japan the 3G option speeds are 128K down, 64K upload on the basic package with three hours of 14Mbits upload and 5.7Mbits download (signal dependent) on the 100 hour package. Who knows what AT&T in the States and is European partners will make of that.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Speedball 2 Smacking up your PSP

Classic sports-brawler SpeedBall 2 from the legendary Bitmap Brothers is making another comeback on the PSP, out on October 4/5 depending on your PSN. The Evolution version of the game has been about on the iPhone but really needs proper controls to enjoy properly.

This does beg the question when do we get Xenon 2: Megablast and some Super Nashuan Power back? And with Syndicate also rearing its head again, looks like a good time for the true classics of gaming.

It will feature:

- 9 Game Modes (Quick Match, Customizable Challenges, Champions League and Career Mode)
- 28 Speedball Teams (16 Classic Teams and 12 Intergalactic Teams)
- Full Player Transfer Market (with 336 individual, upgradable Players)
- 6 Speedball Arenas on 4 different planets
- Tons of Power-ups, Pick-ups and Achievements

Syndicate Trailer, nothing the PS Vita can't do?

Given the power of the Vita to track the level of game that the PS3, I'm wondering why games like this aren't appearing on the Vita's roster?

Is it more of a political decision to only release certain types of major game on the big-screen consoles only? Certainly there's been no rush to move Fallout, Fable, Dead Space or similar 'cinematic' or expansive games to the mini-screen.

Sure, I can understand the memory limits in some of the bigger games (but just how many BD-only  or multi-DVD dual-layer games are there?), but there seems to be no other technical limitation.

Raw graphics can be scaled down for storage, if it isn't already squeezed down - so what's stopping developers adding another line of sale to their games. I'll check and see which Sony-only titles aren't breaking out of the PS3 way - but when I get my Vita I'll start being rather cross if there's still a strong streak of PS3-only games as there is basically no real need for it, other than politics and marketing.

Anyone else wondering why some games aren't headed to the smaller screen? Or have insight as to which games Sony would rather keep off one format and on another?

Square Enix Brings Lara Croft and others to Xperia Play

A sign of life on the Xperia Play? And they don't come more lively than good old Lara as Guardian of Light moves onto mobile in the form of an exclusive version that will definitely make use of the XP's extra controls. In fact I'd rather fear any Lara game that was touchscreen only.

This deal with Square should bring other games over to the phone, with plenty to choose from with Final Fantasy, Batman and many others across its portfolio. Guardian of Light will be released in November. Remember the Xperia Play can now be had for under £200. Not bad for a mid-to-top-range smartphone and games machine.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Japanese Charts, Yu-gi-oh and Battle Masters Hit for PSP (with video)

The Japanese charts are an odd mix this week with Dark Souls way out in front, Gears of War 3 doing well on Xbox and several classics charting high. On the PSP front, two new Konami games waded into the top 10. A new Yu-Gi-Oh game made the top three, Yu-gi-oh 5D's Tag Force 6 sold 65,000 copies while Busou Shinki Battle Masters Mk.2 sold 32,000.

Elsewhere in the charts, the budget edition of Monster Hunter Portable 3 is also new, but only sold around 15,000 copies, presumably as the whole of Japan already owns it. The PSP itself managed to shift another 28,000 units, not bad for a machine that will be phased out in less than three months.

FIFA 12 Lands on PSN for PSP (with video)

Another otherwise lean week is bolstered by the arrival of FIFA 12 on the PSP, which launches of Friday, otherwise there's a couple of minis and PSone releases. Good to see FIFA looking pretty sleek on the PSP, haven't played it in ages, so might give it a go:

Full Games
FIFA 12 (£31.99/€39.99)

Galcon Labs (£1.99/€2.49)

The Treasures Of Montezuma (£1.74/€1.99)
(Video from the PS Vita version - which is a first)

Gubble (£2.99/€3.59)
Snowboard Racer (£3.99/€4.99)

Falcom Games Detailed/Rumored for PS Vita

Having had a good few days rest after Tokyo Games Show, Japanese developers are getting up to speed again ahead of the Vita's launch. Andriasang has a couple of stories up, the first of which suggests that the PSP Legend of Heroes title, Zero no Kiseki, will move over to Vita with a full voice track - I vaguely remember reading somewhere that the PSP version had to lose a lot of the voices.

Second bit of news is that Ys Celceta will use the Vita's touch controls for team commands, camera controls and for solving those pesky puzzles. The game engine seems to have had a hefty amount of work done on it in comparison to the last PSP title, with high fidelity graphics and sound.

Vita Launch Date Was Delayed To Build Stock

Sony has revealed that the original launch date for the Vita in Japan was the 3rd of December or (12/3 in US date format).. but held off a couple of weeks to build up supplies of stock. That makes it pretty clear that there was never any hope of a western launch in 2011 as the last thing Sony would want is a paltry number of consoles spread around a number of territories.

Instead, Sony looks to able to keep the rapid horde of Japanese gamers supplied, plus all the high-hopers who want an export unit. No doubt that'll attract some of the gangster types who plagued the iPhone and iPad launches (getting tramps to buy units, if memory recalls) so they could sell them at inflated prices.

It still looks like March is the best bet for a western release, although the way our economies are flailing around, who'll be able to afford one?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sony Frustrating Smaller Developers with Vita Restrictions

This was going to start out a jolly little story, about a plucky developer still supporting Sony with new games. Icon Games has a pair of new games in development for the PSP minis range, Marble Boy and Golf are both underway, with the similar titles causing some confusion, cleared up in a company blog post. Marble Boy is a neat puzzler based on the tilting toys found in Christmas crackers, that would go down really well on the Vita.

However, Icon Games is having trouble getting a pair of Vita games (Build’n Race Extreme and Pub Games) approved, and if you read this blog post, it stinks of the two-faced (possibly three-faced, since Sony has many departments) nature of the industry. All those stories of Sony supporting smaller devs with free or cheap developer kit goes out the window when it starts dictating to developers about how to create their games.

This isn't the fixed-console age any more Sony, Vita' success depends on quick and nimble games from smart coders. Let them do what they like and if it does well, then great. If a game does suck, it will vanish to the bottom of the pile under a hundred better games.

At least as you get to the end of that post, Sony seem to be acting a little more sensibly, but its this kind of crap that did the PSP no favours at all. UPDATE, recent tweets from Icon indicate good progress on its PS Vita titles, but really, Sony is not doing itself any favours with that attitude. Sounds like the company is more than likely to turn down The Beatles, or next big indie gaming equivalent thereof.

Any other developers had less than happy experiences with Sony's approvals process that does seem stuck in a very different model of gaming to today's reality.

Sony's Vita Design Team Interviewed

The Sony Blog (Japan) has been updated with interviews with some of the team responsible for designing and building the PS Vita and its software. They talk about the oval design, the placement of the analog sticks, the screen - its easier to translate the page in Chrome to read it and get the gist, but a couple of the more translatable snippets include:

"There were many ideas about the logo, I decided to use the same font for the PS3 and get a sense of family."

"The screen also has a very wide viewing angle to it, and I think the best combinations of gyro and acceleration sensors. It does not have residual delays and there is no problem (with movement) as I can play while moving the body."

Ninja Gaiden Sigma for PS Vita Outed in Mag

A Japanese blog has put up the scans of a multi-page magazine article showing off lots of nice pics of Ninja Gaiden Sigma from Tecmo.

Looks impressive, but will it be much changed from the well-rated PS3 version? Looks like touch controls have been added, but we'll have to wait and see for clearer details.

Japan's Jump Festa Coincides With Vita Launch

Japan's massive manga expo is on December 17-18 this year, coinciding with the launch of the PS Vita. The Jump Festa show is often good for the odd announcement, and this year has Sega, Square, Capcom, Bandai, Namco, Konami and Sony booths. All of which will be giving the new console some hefty exposure and perhaps making some manga-ish related announcements.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

WipEout 2048 Shown Off at EuroGamer

There's a decent video from EuroGamer's Expo with the developers explaining some of the game's unique features, ethos and the spirit behind it, 'future-retro' anyone?

The key points:

WipEout uses an experience system to get new ships of which there are 20.
Plays head-to-head against PS3 - eight players on any systems
Take your own photo to taunt other players when you're winning

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ruin on PS3 and PS Vita Offers Social Dungeoneering

A new post up on the PlayStation blog shows off how far the developers of Ruin, Idol Minds, are thinking in terms of social and core gaming meeting head-on. Ruin is pretty much Diablo, but with big dragon-sized knobs on. For a start, each player has a lair, which acts as their home base plus a run through just a few of the many rare artefacts that can be used to boost powers, give new skills and so on.

With co-op and competition modes, the fun will come with the game matching you against players at the right level, who have the missing items that you need to fill your lair... its a good read and great to see developers thinking beyond the game in a box.

UPDATE: Ruin vanished off the radar around launch and is now known as Warrior's Lair, with the game moved back into Sony's San Diego Studios for completion. Perhaps Idol Minds bit off more than it could chew in the interplay stakes or the PS3/Vita interface is more complicated than expected.

New PS Vita Augmented Reality Tricks Shown Off

We've seen some great tech demos of the PS Vita's augment reality capabilities shown off since the machine was first announced. Now we're reaching the near launch, some proper games and detail is starting to come out.

There are three levels of AR, cardless - which is good for stuff out and about, one card which is fine for table top gaming, and what the original Inzimials on PSP uses, and multi-card which can stretch your gaming around a whole room.

Generally, the whole level of interactivity and what the Vita can do with the real-world by converting parts of scenes into interactive graphics is both amazing and great fun. Look forward to playing with this stuff with the children next year.

PS VIta's Home Screen (in English)

Most of the PS Vita shots around have been with Japanese menus. Due to the cheery icons, things haven't been that hard to decipher, but now Sony has put up some westernized images of the front end... not much to go wow over but here it is:

Near and Party have been discussed elsewhere, Trophies will let you keep an eye on both you and your friend's PSV and PS3 achievements while Welcome Park was shown off at TGS and the others are pretty self explanatory.

Grand Knights History is Heading West

All hail to Rising Star Games (many, many thanks guys!), the publisher has picked up the No. 1 Japanese smash and the most original looking PSP game since LocoRoco for western audiences. The Vanillaware game will be released in the US and Europe in early 2012.

It was always hard to get context and detail on the game from the Japanese sites, but the many videos do a pretty good job. However, some detail always helps, so take this from the press release for now:
Presented with a gorgeous palette of rich colours and a distinctive hand-painted art style, Grand Knights History takes place in the land of Listia, a medieval continent plagued by conflict as the struggle for land and power sees three competing nations in stalemate. For years, the lands of Union, Avalon and Logres have battled one another for supremacy, with the resulting bloodshed reaching epic proportions. With no nation able to gain an advantage the war rages on unabated.
While these three nations vie for continental domination, one captain must choose a nation with which to align himself, then recruit teams of able-bodied soldiers, train them into battle-ready knights and send them to the ever-changing persistent online war campaign.  It is up to players to choose an allegiance with one of the three factions, then progress through offline questing and intense 30-hour online skirmishes, all making use of deep, strategic RPG combat and expansive customization. Race, sex, appearance, job class, sub-class and weapon type are all freely alterable for every team member, so no two knights are ever the same; and online functionality allows players to test their knights against others from all corners of the globe without even requiring a constant internet connection.
“Muramasa: The Demon Blade was a huge success story and a pleasure for us to work on,” said Martin Defries, managing director, Rising Star Games. “Vanillaware represents everything good about Japanese games development and I am delighted that Rising Star Games is once again associated with such an esteemed team. We are extremely excited to combine our expertise with such talent on another release in Europe.”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ridge Racer Confirmed for Vita Launch, New Car, Pics

"Developed in pursuit of exhilaration" is how the Japanese translation of a Dengeki story suggests what Namco and Sony were looking for in Ridge Racer Vita, with the title now confirmed for the Japanese launch.

There's a whole bunch of 'holistic' stuff about the new car, but we'll just concentrate on the pretty pictures of it and the scenery you'll be whizzing by. See the first pics and non-gameplay trailer here and some gameplay videos here.

Xperia Play Now Even Cheaper

After a rash of price reductions a few months ago, Sony Ericcson's Experia Play has had another haircut and is now looking rather a bargain, at just £199 SIM Free. Thanks to PocketGamer for the spot. Given that the market is about to go up a notch with iPhone 5 launch, this could give the phone a further nudge, but given Sony's lack of direction with the phone, its weak line-up of PS One games and dragging PlayStation Suite, it really needs to get a move or be consigned to history in this fast moving market.

Which will be a shame as I enjoyed my brief time with one, but think it is being strangled by poor support in the areas that it was supposed to be unique in. Still, as long as there's life in it, and SE has the budget to keep going with it, then there's hope, but I reckon the XPII will be the way forward. Its out of stock at the moment, with new supplies due in next Friday if you want to grab one.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

PSN Store Update for PSP with video

A modest collection of titles this week, and with the sale expired, slim pickings really, but the synthesiser mini Kaleidoscope looks interesting.

Full Games
Cladun X2 (£15.99/€19.99)


Jelly Pops (£1.99/€2.49)

 Kaleidoscope (£3.99/€4.99)

Fighting Force (£3.99/€4.99)

So, what was missing on Vita at Tokyo Games Show?

Some key titles were missing from the gamut of events and public displays at Tokyo Games Show last week, and its got me wondering where they were?

The likes of Lost Planet and Monster Hunter from Capcom were shown off at the original PlayStation Meeting event that introduced Vita, then NGP, to the world. Those along with Call of Duty, Yakuza, Metal Gear and others were largely labelled as tech demos, so perhaps there won't be here for some time, if ever.

First Party Problems

Sony's other first party titles were missed out from the press events, kept low-key or absent from TGS. In Resistance: Burning Skies' case, possibly because the game won't make it for the Japanese launch, or Sony believes that Uncharted will do a better job of selling the system and didn't want to water down its impact.

Then there was Gran Turismo, or rather, there wasn't. This could be one of those lessons that Sony learnt from the PSP, when it announced GT at launch and the game didn't appear for some four years. Polyphony Digital will take as long as needed in coming up with a Vita version and we probably won't hear anything until they are good and ready.

Killzone is in development, perhaps too early to show, but questions could also be asked about the future of Ratchet & Clank and Jax & Daxter. Both pairs made appearances on the PSP, are ideal for handheld gaming, but no sign of news on them either. The Daxter developers, Naughty Dog, have said they'd love to revisit the series.

Third Parties not at the Party

Sega's Yakuza was shown at PlayStation Meeting in tech demo form - but since there's another PSP version of the game to come out, perhaps the developers would rather Sony didn't focus on any Vita edition, yet.

EA has voiced its support for Vita, touting it above the 3DS, but there has been very little news (apart from mention of a FIFA game) across any of EA's divisions. Both the company press and public site fail to mention the Vita at all. The same can be said for THQ, even its Japanese site fails to acknowledge the existence of the Vita, athough WWE '12 is listed on the ever reliable Wikipedia as in development.

There are bound to be lots more games, series and developers, is there anything you can think of that should be on the missing in action list that you'd like to see on PSV?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Every TGS Trailer, PS Vita, PS3, X360, Wii, 3DS

I feel quite feeble with my patchy PSV video finding, here's a link to every trailer in a single playlist on YouTube with links to all the companies (scroll to the bottom), news clips and other stuff that made it out of the show. Still think the off-screen Vita footage looks better.

How to Build Levels in Sound Shapes on PS Vita

This video found lurking on YouTube shows how levels are creating on the Vita's unique Sound Shapes, while it looks a little odd at first, laying down sounds and then placing them as triggers(?), the playing part seems simple enough. Wonder if this will capture the awe that Lumines inspired on launch?

Japanese PS Vita Game Sites Open Up

With TGS now out of the way, Sony Japan is ramping up for the launch of the PS Vita, with a host of game sites now open for business, a few are just placeholders, but there's some nice art, logos, music (Gravity Daze should be good for sending children to sleep) and screenage to enjoy - most of them have English text or options:

The sites listed at the top have more content.

Gravity Daze
Everybody's Golf
Uncharted Starstrike Delta (Super StarDust Delta to us)
Escape Plan
Reality Fighters
LittleBigPlanet Vita
Sound Shapes

On a related note, Square Enix has opened its Lord of Apocalypse and Army Corps of Hell sites with some trailers and Twitter icons.

Ridge Racer Vita Gameplay Videos

Okay, the first one is being played by the worst player ever (who are these appalling hosts/hostesses that front Japanese gaming videos - surely being able to play would be a requirement?) Anyway, here's a couple of TGS videos of Ridge Racer Vita in action.

The tracks look rather reminiscent of the PSP version, but the track visuals and car details are leaps ahead. The non-gameplay trailer and some screenshots can be found here.

Insanely Huge Uncharted PS Vita Shot

Sony has just posted some stupidly huge resolution (3840x2176) screenshots on its press site, (most likely for magazines to use), way above the Vita's natural resolution. I'll post the one, although Blogger will probably scale it down, just to demonstrate but its a rather pointless exercise uploading the other 12MB+ files.

Undoubtedly the prettiest looking PS Vita launch title, the shots do a great example of showing off the level of detail in the game.

PS Vita and PSP Can CrossPlay Together Too

Most of the world has been so keen on the PSV and PS3 playing together, that no one really noticed that the good old PSP and PSV can do it too. We know the PSV can play PSP games, but players with digital copies of Monster Hunter or other ad hoc titles, can join in quests with their PSP owning friends.

Silicon Era has the full story

Monday, September 19, 2011

OMG:Z (PSN) Review

Having been tied up with work, TGS and a few other things, I haven't downloaded a new game in a couple of weeks. But, this from Laughing Jackal made me sit up and take notice:

One of the guys here at Laughing Jackal noticed that not only is OMG-Z the highest rated PlayStation Mini of all time it is also in the top 5 highest rated PSP games on Metacritic. We're all pretty chuffed to say the least. That a game created by 4 people is up there with all those huge, excellent games is really cool. 

So, without pause for thought I rushed off the PSN and picked it up, and its easy to see why it is being so well rated. Basically you're the last police officer in a zombie infested town, down to his last three bullets and have to wipe out enough of the zombies to open up the next level.

The art if shooting the right zombie at the right place or time is the key to success. Some zombies explode, others melt into acid puddles, others (zombie soldiers and cops) fire off some rounds, all of which can trigger off a set of chain reactions of further zombie death.

Our hero is always parked out of harms way, on a roof, a car or helicopter, so you can take your time and judge the best shot. Or, you can just blast of three rounds at the best targets (each has an un-life bar, stronger zombies take more than one valuable shot) and see what happens. Each level can take just a couple of seconds, or you can plan for that master stroke that will earn you most credit.

Credits can be used between levels to increase the effectiveness of the zombie death moves. They can explode over a wider radius, fire more shots and so on. Getting to grips with the game is on a par with FieldRunners, Angry Birds and other time-suck titles.

The mono graphics splattered with gore are suitably 8-bit (very ZX Spectrum actually) and while there's minimal other interaction beyond the Out-Run style fanning level selection, the joy at getting a good ripple effect of gore is right up there with the feeling of success and achievement in those games just mentioned.

There's a list of stats rather than achievements, which would have been nice, and some cartoon intros to set the scene, but really its just about getting out there and lining up those shots, with some flaming trash cans to add to the fun. Really, give this a go and encourage those developers to do something really, really cunning next time

Available on PSN for £2.49 [Laughing Jackal]
8/10 Purist gaming that couldn't be any more so if it'd dripped through the Evian source.
[more reviews here

New Street Fighter x Tekken, Gravity Daze Trailers Sneak out of TGS

Its possible I just missed these last week, but others are touting them as new. See here for previous PS Vita vids and pics. Here's some SFxT action with unCharted's Cole making his bow:

And here's some more of Gravity Daze, the PSV's leading original title, judging by all the interest its generating:

PS Vita Memory Cards Priced Up

Now TGS is winding down, Sony has revealed the pricing of its memory cards for the PS Vita:

  • 4GB 2,200yen (£18, $29)
  • 8GB 3,200yen (£26, $42)
  • 6GB 5,500yen (£45, $72)
  • 32GB 9,500yen (£78, $124)

Yep, they're expensive but here's a quick history lesson. If you want to play technology first, you pay a premium price. Personally, this has been true since the Sinclair ZX81 and its 16K RAM pack, and likely even before then, it will be true after we’re all dead and until the cosmos dies.

Over time, prices become cheaper,  more people can buy things and fairly soon, third parties like SanDisk and Lexar will have cheaper versions on the market. Also, they are nowhere near as expensive as PSP memory when it first came out, (128MB cost me £29) So, there is no need to panic and no need to feel ripped off IF YOU CHOOSE to buy something.

Let’s do the maths for those who are somehow confused by this:

PS Vita = sexy and expensive technology being sold AT A LOSS
Peripherals = cheap technology being sold AT A PROFIT

Sony needs PROFIT to exist as a company; no Sony = no consoles, no games to play, gamers cry…

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I had a dream... About the iPhone 5 launch, and Star Wars

Having basked in the Vita's OLED glow these past few days, I read about Apple's iPhone 5 launch last night, and, combined with the recent Star Wars Blu-ray launch, managed a corking dream combining the two. Maybe it's been a busy week at work, or I have a new psychic link to Apple's marketing team.

Now that Tim Cook is in charge, I suppose Apple might be open to a more dramatic launch style of event. So, the whole iOS5 launch was done on a Star Wars Cloud City set with Artoo guarding the iPhone 5 from Imperial agents with it's secret plans [iCloud-stored copies of the HD Star Wars trilogies]. AT-STs patrolled the stage, C3-P0 clattered around with an iPad and was a whole more interesting than Apple's usual one man and his keynote stuff. There were chase scenes, shoot-outs and only a few stats slides.

I don't know if I should lay off the Cheddar before sleeping but quite a lot of this makes sense (to me), it's not that far off when The Beatles came to iTunes, and neatly sells the iPhone, iCloud and iTunes to billions of Star Wars fans. Sure, there's the Artoo Xbox coming out, but how neat would a rebel iPhone be?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

PS Vita will enjoy (or suffer) from social games too!

While everyone rates the iPhone for games, but for every Angry Birds, 99% of them are stupid dross, and it looks like the connected Vita won't escape either. I don't even know what these titles are called, if they come for free with the Vita or are just some of the fodder lined up by the mobile game devs.

One involves the touchscreens to punch people popping out of windows, whack-a-mole style and the other is an AR shooting game.

I suspect Dozens of these type of titles will emerge, but hope that most of them stay in Japan, and we only get the good, stuff. But I'm probably being a bit deluded on this point.

Behold, the White PS Vita

Way, way down this blog somewhere is a shot of all the techno-colour PS Vita models that probably won't hit the stores. However, the white one is more likely, I think that was the first alternative PSP colour model, before all the blues and red ones turned up.

UPDATE: The for-real white PS Vita is finally being released in Japan, check here for details. And in the west, it will come bundled with the Vita's Assassin's Creed III game at the end of October 2012.

Anyway, someone took a decent pic of it and posted it on Twitter, and it looks pretty neat. Personally I prefer black for my gadgets, but white just adds a slight futuristic touch. However, with the trend for those PS Vita screen protector skins/desktop backgrounds, the basic colour could soon be an afterthought.

Saturday on the Vita at TGS, Persona 4 Golden Shows Off

Saturday has seen a few new snippets drop for the Vita, including these new shots of Persona 4: Golden, which is getting lots of people excited. Check here for Friday's and Thursday's news-breaking, blog-visitor record breaking fun and here for a load of off-screen video.

Sony has dropped a walkthrough guide for the first part of Uncharted which shows off the game really well (HD available)

While lots of people are up in arms about the idea of the Vita's external battery. If it helps me play games longer, I'll carry a full solar panel on my back if I have to, so I really don't care.

PS Vita confirmed as region free

In a burst of tweets in the last 10 minutes, Sony has confirmed the fact that the PSV is region free, something that had long been hinted at.

UPDATE: The President of Sony's worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida has recommended that people do not import PS Vita's from Japan. He says "There are people who are interested in importing the Japanese version of PS Vita from outside Japan, but I personally do not recommend that." in a tweet.

As originally posted below, I'm pretty sure this has to do with the 3G issue and local services, but there may be deeper problems, anyway you have been warned. I'll wait until the UK launch for this one.


Don't get too excited though, the PSP was region free but my Jap original wouldn't recognise the UK comic store and the PSN news went straight to Tokyo.

Also, not sure how the 3G system works, that might not be globally compatible across CDMA and GSM networks. UPDATE - Checked this out, the Japanese model will be HSDPA/HSUPA *specification for Japanese region* - so won't work on UK networks. So, if you're going to import - get the WiFi version.

Finally, If there's just a few months to wait until a western launch, that's not as bad as the nine month delay on the PSP launch. Also, I will be happily raiding Amazon Japan, PlayAsia or anyone who will ship them, for some of the better games that won't make it out over here and there's bound to be a heap of them!

Finally, finally if this things sells as well as suspected in Japan, imports will be rare and super expensive.

Have a good weekend.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Myth Busters: There are no original games for the PS Vita

Several comments and many tweets are saying there are no original games for the PS Vita. Obviously, that's not true but just so you can correct these people and show them the error of their ways, here's a list of the PS Vita's all-original titles [no sequels (Namco), reused IP (Little King's Story), dragging out ancient games (True Night of the Kamaitachi) or suchlike].

Lord of Apocalypse - unique for Vita
  • Gravity Daze
  • Army Corps of Hell
  • Reality Fighters
  • Sumioni
  • Lord of Apocalypse
  • Ragnarok Odyssey
  • AR Combat
  • Little Deviants
  • Dragon's Crown
  • Ruin

Sure, out of the 80-odd announced games, its not a huge number and a couple are being co-developed for the PS3. Also, some of them probably won't head west, but if some spotty oik insists there's no new games coming out for it. First show him this list, then punch him!

Malicious Brings a New Look to PS Vita Games

With the exception of Gravity Daze, most of the PS Vita games have looked pretty much as expected. Malicious from Alvion (listening to the site is very soothing) is another game that is trying to do something a little different. Based on a Japan-only PS3 title, it offers huge variations in scale, effects all over the place and crazed combat, it may be borrowing from a range of recent games but seems to put a whole new perspective on what the Vita can do.


Game stores to have PS Vita kiosks in December

Game and GameStation retail stores in the UK will have PS Vita game kiosks from some point in December. This poses a nasty dilemma, is it right for a large adult male to fling small children and teenagers out of the way to enjoy the delights on offer.

Also, has anyone got an old Cortina (these things have to be done proper!) that I can go ram raiding in to procure one... I'll leave the cash for it - promise!

Talking of cash, back in Japan, just noticed one tweet that says the base version doesn't have a memory card, so expect to pay more than you were expecting to for a decent bundle... I suppose that was always going to happen anyway.

Twin Tales from Namco for PSP/Vita

Here's the first time we get to see a pretty direct comparison between the PSP and the Vita of new games. Namco Bandai has Tales of Heroes: Twin Braves for PSP and Tales of Innocence R for the Vita. Both are pretty similar styles of games and you can see the difference in visual fidelity pretty easily.

Gone are the jaggy edges (mostly) and there's a whole new range of colour finesse across the characters, and it goes without saying the effects have been cracked up several notches.

UPDATE: Trailers are now appearing for the games, here's the first for Twin Braves

Tokyo Games Show Opens to Public, Vita Star of the Show

Wow, love the clarity of the PS Vita screen and games in motion, rather than the previous direct feed videos I've been posting (clips at the bottom)

Within minutes of the TGS show opening to the public, the lines to go and play the PS Vita were so long that Sony had to ask people to stop queuing, so people could get to the other attractions. Clearly the lack of a Monster Hunter title (so far) isn't stopping the Japanese PSP horde from getting ready to move on.

Here's a pic Tweeted by James Woods:

The no-doubt well-ordered chaos was demonstrated by some tweets:
Sony's Vita hands-on plan was a tragic clusterfuck of a miserable failure. I did get to play Army Corps From Hell at Square Enix's suite tho - Wired's Chris Kohler

With 80 demo machines for people to play with, it shouldn't be too long before the queue starts building again, but its going to be a long time before keen fans get to have a go on the new system. With all the major game announcements done, it looks like Vita will be the star of the show be some distance.

And, those that did get in got to play some of the cracking titles on show, note try them in 720 if possible, fullscreen - awesome:

Just found a Japanese site that has bunch more off-screen videos, easier than me coping them all here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Vita CAN Play PS3 Games

Not really a surprise, but MCV reports that Sony's Vita can now play PS3 games. That is, the game is launched on the PS3, is streamed to the PSV where the player controls the action on the small screen with the rear touch panel working as the missing shoulder buttons from the PS3.

It works rather like the Wii U, or the cloud gaming services like GaiKai and can run over WiFi or an Internet connection. The tech is still under development so should be as smooth as anything when finally ready for prime time, when we can play two player games without split-screen nastiness.

And here's the video to prove it:

First PS Vita Apps Shown Off, Groovy Baby!

Aside from the likes of Facebook and the other usual suspects, the PS Vita will be open to a lot more apps than the PSP ever was. For instance you can ditch the supplied music player and use some cool custom ones. The first is supplied by the developer of the BlazBlue fighters.

Not too dissimilar from Jeff Minter's early attempts at trippy players, this one is called NOELS. It lets you watch characters from the fighting games dance around as the music plays with a host of groovy lighting effects and lots more info than you usually get from a music player.

PS Vita: Beyond the Games

Sony is showing off a lot of cool new tricks the Vita can do beyond games. For a start it can link into the PlayTV service and be used to watch TV streamed around the home, Engadget has a brief article on the feature.

Not entirely sure about the suitability of the chosen movie

Engadget also has a post on the AR Reality Fighters game with some video that's worth a peek. Finally from this Engadget sponsored post comes word that PlayStation Suite dev tools should be out soon, way to late for the Xperia Play - really a feeble effort by Sony. But some early results should coincide with the Vita launch. 

What Will PS Vita Games Look Like on the Shelves?

Apparently, the answer is this:

I hope they keep that colour across all regions, as its suitably striking. As for the cards, makes my feel all nostalgic for Atari Lynx games - anyone for a spot of multiplayer California Games?

As a bonus pic, here's one Hideo Kojima took of the PS Vita stand with a range of colour options available, although probably not all will make it into production.

TGS Day 1: All the new PS Vita pics and videos

Wow - this is post no. 750, who would have thought you could write so much about a console not even out yet (backed up by the good old PSP, some XperiaPlay and a little Tablet commentary). If that's not worth you clicking on an advert, I don't know what is.

After the explosion of titles yesterday, there was a decent amount of media (check out yesterday's shots here). Today things look much better with an armada of new screens and video, all on one page, just as nature intended. (Click a pic to enlarge and enter slideshow mode). Videos are down the bottom of the page.

Ridge Racer Screenshots: Isn't it beautiful? This is what I've been waiting all week to see and well worth the wait, from my slightly biased opinion.

RIDGE RACER TRAILER: No gameplay, but seems to indicate lots of multiplayer (check out the new official site)

f1 2011 screens, (trailer down the bottom)

So, first up is the new Katamari Damarcy

Next up, a bunch of Army Corps of Hell shots from Square EnixL


TRAILER TIME - I have no idea why they are putting PSV games in these silly PSP-type video windows, the res is high enough to show them off full screen.

Gravity Daze

Lord of Apocalypse (Square)

F1 2011 (Codemasters - there are a few gameplay videos popping up for this, will try and upload them)

Ragnarok Odyssey

Ashphalt Injection

Little King's Story

 Tales of Innocence R

 The new Ys title

AR Combat