Fight for the future

Polite Plea: After almost seven years and 7,000 articles, you may have noticed the number of stories slowing down here. Time moves on, but I'll always keep posting, as the Vita becomes the new Dreamcast.
However, I do need a new Vita as my launch day model is starting to show its age.
Since I don't have the time or content for a Patreon or YT channel, please consider clicking an ad to help reach my new Vita fund!
Once reached, hopefully in time for Christmas, I will remove all adverts, leaving this island of Vita life an ad-free oasis!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Monster Hunter 4 shown off at Capcom's Summer Jam

No 'Portable' tag on it yet, but we live in hope, right? Capcom showed off a new trailer with new monsters and locations. More when I get a look at the trailer...



Keep on hoping for a PS Heaven or TGS unveiling of a Monster Hunter "Freedom" or "Portable" edition, to get around this MH4 exclusivity thing, if you like the idea of big fat Vita sales to hunt. This version is due for a Spring 2013 release.


Also, weren't there any Japanese journos at the Summer Jam to ask what Capcom's plans were? The one Sony game that was shown off was some freaky Tetris-style PSP game featuring the Feylenes from the successful(ish) cartoony PSP titles.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wrapping up June for the PS Vita

E3 came and went with a whimper rather than a bang, but Sony acknowledged the blunder and good things beckon for GamesCom. At least E3 came and went, the promised June PS Heaven event has all but evaporated (unless Sony Japan works Saturdays). But, there was still lots of good things to enjoy in the world of the Vita.

Largely on the basis of the wonderful Gravity Daze in the West, offering a fantastic world to inhabit and explore and a game that doesn't rely on endless killing! And Persona in Japan which gave the Vita a much-needed lift.



Good things came in small packages too, with the excellent PulzAR proving that augmented reality games can be both good and fun to play. The YouTube app was also a much-welcome addition to the Vita's slowly growing range of apps. And Vita-based joy doesn't need to be expensive with the excellent PSV/PSP/minis sale offering near-endless amounts of entertainment for fantastic prices. I've picked up Trails in the Sky and God of War: Ghost of Sparta so far.

Finally, there's the oddball moments in life that you can't help but laugh at, this month brought to you by these rather mad Orgaryhthm trailers.

What were your personal favourite gaming moments in June?

Vita strategy war game Nobunga's Ambition gets first screenshots

Tecmo has shown off the first pics from the new Vita version of PS3 game Nobunga's Ambition, set in the Three Kingdoms era, it offers the usual grand battles, scheming and so on.



Here's the strategy pics, take a look at Andriasang's slew for the less exciting management pics.



The game is due out in September.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Sony starts hyping the white PS Vita

Tomorrow sees the launch of a second colour (if black and white are colours) model PS Vita. Available in radiant crystal white, it is being advertised thusly:



Yesssss. Not quite sure what's on Sony's mind there, but a trip to shrink may be need for the advertising and marketing department. There's more where that come from on a new Sony site. Plus a list of upcoming Vita titles. The guy in the trailer is actor Shigeru Matsuzaki, whose Dead Sushi is worth a look.

Unit 13 back on top of the PSN Vita store

If Sony wants a quick demonstration of the power of the price cut, this week's EU PSN store Top Sellers list is Unit 13, which has been doing well in that particular chart but I don't think it was on top for long after its March launch.



Now though with a £19.99 price point (or £17.99 for PS Plus users) and with an extra £5 off voucher in a Sony email, it must be doing a decent trade to overcome Gravity Daze and the perennial bargain price games that usually sit on top.

Japan's games sales see Persona 4 and the Vita rock on

After last week's kick ass Vita performance, what hope of a repeat as gamers gear up for Metal Gear HD which is out tomorrow? Naturally the new Pokemon topped the chart, selling over 1.5 million copies, Persona 4 dropped to No. 3, but still sold around 30,000 copies despite likely stock problems and the PSP rounds out the top five with the Spike's latest brawler.

1. Pokemon Black 2 DS
2. Dragon Quest Monsters 3DS
3. Persona 4 Golden PSV
4. Kenka Bancho Bros: Tokyo Battle Royale PSP

5. Tokyo Jungle PS3
On the hardware front, the Vita managed to shift another 13,589 units which, while well down on last week, is well up on the previous weeks' performances. Hopefully MGS will give it a neat little punt, but Persona proved that the Vita can sell with the right games, now its up to Sony and other developers to deliver them. Perhaps the PS Heaven event, expected tomorrow, will show the way?

PSN EU Update: Metal Gear, YouTube, Jonah Lomu and Ridge Race Ultimate plus that huge sale!

The PS EU Store update post has been made (actually update between 3&4PM UK time, with most of these releases probably not happening until Friday) with a decent roster of Vita games.

Top of the list is Metal Gear HD Collection, which arguments about it not being in HD or a proper collection aside, is pretty damn hot gaming. The pack is only £19.99 which is annoyingly less than I pre-ordered for, but not by much. It does weigh in at 3.3Gb however, so you might be better off getting the physical version if you're low on space.

Evergreen Jonah Lomu Rugby makes it over to our shores, at the rather pricey £39.99

Ridge Racer Ultimate Edition (should be available today, as all the stuff is already in the store) offers all the passes, tracks and music for one price £19.99 which is what I paid for the rather weedy first version, hey-ho!

Next up is the YouTube app, which is free and has been discussed already.

Apparently, there's a small patch already, so refresh your LiveArea once downloaded to get the best experience out of it. On the DLC side, we have:
Gravity Rush
Spy Mission Pack – Gravity Rush
Prices: £3.19,€3.99,AU$6.95

Pure Chess
Pure Chess Forest Vita
Prices: £1.59,€1.99,AU$3.45

Touch My Katamari
Download Request #7: Katamari Soccer
Prices: Free

And under no circumstances must you miss the PSP game sale with some of the top titles on the venerable format getting awesome discounts.

YouTube app hitting PS Vita

I'm hoping it hits the EU store today, as America got it yesterday. Here's the word from the US blog for features. Hopefully it will sync to your Google or YouTube account for subscriptions and the like (although judging by the comments, you can't).
Hi everyone! Recently, we announced that YouTube would be coming to PS Vita. It’s the latest application to be added to PS Vita’s growing portfolio of applications and one that takes full advantage of PS Vita’s high-definition and 3G capabilities. Starting later today, the YouTube application will be available as a free download via the PS Vita Store on PSN.
With the YouTube application on PS Vita, you can watch millions of YouTube videos on PS Vita’s stunning 5” OLED screen. And with 3G, you can watch your favorite content – from comedy to gaming tips to viral videos – while you’re at home or on-the-go. The application itself is straightforward and easy to use.

Key features include: Recommended Videos: Displays videos recommended from YouTube
Search: Search for videos by typing a keyword
Viewing History : Displays the most recent videos you’ve viewed
Add to Favorites: Displays a list of videos you’ve added to your Favorites list. You must be signed into your account to add a video to your Favorites.

On the back of this, the browser will get an update too, seriously the weakest part of the Vita's arsenal (love the Twitter and Facebook apps).

Orgarhythm goes serious on the box art

After the slightly silly video shorts the box art for Orgarhythm is pretty serious stuff with semi-biblical and tribal motifs all over the place. Check it out, looks rather serious compared to all the screens, what do you think?


The game is out in Japan in August and puts your music-rhythm led tribes to the test in a series of challenges. 

Dokuro scores well in Famitsu for the Vita

A couple of Sony handheld games were reviewed in the latest issue of Famitsu, with the Vita's quirky, dark, platform puzzler Dokuro from GungHo getting a very decent rating with two 8s and two 9s for an overall 36/40.



On the PSP, the sequel to the chef/monster hunting combo Toriko Gourmet Survival from Bandai picked up three 8s and a 7 for a score of 31. After all, its hard to rate down a game with a tiger-striped mammoth in it.

Sol Trigger ready for launch on PSP

Having had a burst of PSP news yesterday, here comes one of the format's last big hitters, Sol Trigger from Imageepoch. The latest trailer and gameplay movies set the scene neatly for this massive , rsther Square Enix-looking, RPG.



The limited edition comes with an audio CD. The demo is due out next month, check out the official site for move new clips.



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Students of Round: The Eternal Legend is not an eating game

While the title sounds like some Sisyphus-style eating contest, it is in fact a new PSP RPG. Another Japanese company cross-over sees Kadokawa and Experience getting together to produce a series of Dungeon RPG titles, the first of which is for the PSP, with a PS Vita title to follow. This trailer is patched up of a few screen and character shots, and voice artists, but gives a hint at what's to come...



According to a literal translation the actual title should be The Eternal Legend student of the Round Table, but that's not what's on the box, but Hey-ho! Due in October, it will be available on UMD or download, so it should play on the Vita, but with a Vita game on the way, I'd hope for a western version of that over the PSP one. Or does this venture sound a little too niche for western gamers? Would it get you psyched?



The Vita game is titled only as a Dungeon RPG, which doesn't give much away.

New PSP Legend of Heroes gets cute limited edition

The Japanese always get the best stuff, and Falcom's next release for the PSP (yep, still going strong and getting cool limited editions) features a fluffy sheep, a live accoustic recording CD and other goodies.

Due for release at the end of July, Legend of Heroes Nayuta no Kiseki, is an action role playing game. Check out the trailer and gorgeous artwork Ghostlight did a great job bringing Tales in the Sky (which is part of this week's PSN sale) over here, so we can but hope for a repeat.

NBA 2K13 cover gets triple-coverage

Rather than cause a fuss, or because LeBron James was too expensive, Take 2 has gone with a threesome of The LA Clippers' Blake Griffin, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Chicago's Derrick Rose to adorn this year's cover.



The game will hit the PSP, but not the Vita (yet), despite a fair bit of interest. The PSP version will likely lack all the cool features of the big versions, so I won't bother going into detail.

DJ Max Technika Tune gets screenshot overload

To follow on from this morning's trailer, CyberFront has realeased a wodge of images that Andriasang has posted.







Obviously, the game is all in English, so should be an easy import for fans and looks seriously slick. There will also be a limited edition with a soundtrack CD.

PS Vita PSN sale continues with Persona 3 and other PSP games on offer

After last week's Vita game sale, this week the focus is on PSP titles, with some of the best of the bunch on offer. You simply have to own Split Second Velocity and can get some Persona time in advance of No. 4 at a pretty good price. Exit 2 is pretty hot too.

Persona 3 Portable Was €29.99/£23.99 - Now €17.99/£13.99
Breath of Fire III Was €9.99/£7.99 - Now €6.99/£5.49
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together Was €19.99/£15.99 - Now €9.99/£7.99
Assassin's Creed: Bloodlines Was €9.99/£7.99 - Now €5.99/£4.79
Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 Was €9.99/£7.99 - Now €3.99/£3.19
Split Second Velocity Was €7.99/£6.99 - Now €3.99/£3.19
Spectral Souls: Resurrection of the Ethereal Empires Was €14.99/£11.99 - Now €6.99/£5.49
Exit 2 Was €9.99/£7.99 - Now €4.99/£3.99
Nom Nation (minis) Was €1.99/£1.74 - Now €1.19/£0.99
Duael Invaders (minis) Was €2.99/£2.49 - Now €1.19/£0.99

Remember the sale will finish next week, on the 4th July, so you need to get those purchases in fast, with all of the previous week's offers still live.

Ghostlight has told us that it will have more games, aside from Persona 3 in the sale, including Trails in the Sky, Persona 2 and bundles, plus some of their older titles.

Rainbow Moon being considered for PS Vita

The boss of SideQuest Studios, the Italian team behind the newly announced PSN game Rainbow Moon is thinking about doing a Vita version. Marcus Pukropski's translated comment is, "We are currently considering developing a version for PS Vita, so it is certainly a possibility. If we decide to do this, however, it will take a long time. So if you are an avid fan of Rainbow Moon, unfortunately, over the next months there will be no alternative to the PSN version."

 

The turn-based combat and exploration game would look pretty good on the Vita and should be a fairly straightforward port. Hope this does happen.

Help, I've lost my PS Vita AR cards, where can I get new ones?

If you have asked that question then this is the place to come, the solution is quick and easy. Go to this Sony page, print out the PDF file and voila, you have new AR cards to play with. I checked this out as I was playing PulzAR and wondered what would happen if one went AWOL, as this game needs all six.



I think with games of PulzAR's quality I'll be using them a bit more and the risk of losing one down the back of some furniture, or one of the kids desecrating them is ever more likely. Fortunately this fix is free and easy.  Here's my page for other Vita-related advice.

Nobunga's Ambition offers Vita-based strategy for Japanese gamers

This turn-based strategy series has been a staple of Japanese gaming since the 8-bit days and now the Vita is getting in on the role-playing simulation action. Set in the Japanese feudal Three Kingdoms era, Nobunaga's Ambition Tendou is likely an update of the recent PS3 game, from which this trailer is swiped, with traditional shouty-man voice-over.



Developed by Tecmo Koei, there's war, politics, betrayal and management of your growing empire aplenty. Don't know if these games make it west much, but it would make a welcome addition to a platform somewhat bereft of strategy titles. Which makes me wonder if a Total War game on the Vita is a possibility?

DJ Max Technika Tune gets a new video

Coming in September, to Japan anyway, the Cyber Front music game stalwart is officially heading to PS Vita. The new video is little more than the intro but the site has had a facelift and gets some big Vita style bubbles.



These used to come to the west on the PSP, so hopefully the tradition will continue.

Monday, June 25, 2012

LittleBigPlanet Vita now up for pre-order with Bioshock bonus

If you didn't get involved in the beta, then you can at least get in line for the real thing. Stores will soon be taking pre-orders for LBP on the Vita and it comes with a couple of neat virtual goodies. Offers vary by country so check out your local store site for the details.

Among them are Bioshock costumes, a knights and dragons theme and probably some more. The game is due out by October, don't have a firmer date than that.

Review: PulzAR

PulzAR is the latest in the Vita's series of quirky augmented reality games, and is one of the best yet. Earth is under threat from massive meteors lurking by your ceiling. Throwing in some traditional beam adjustment, which I guess dates back to Deflektor on the Spectrum (although there may well be others), and power-up collecting, you need to line up your cards and tilt your mirrors to charge up the missile bases.



You can either go for speed, with the shortest route and number of mirrors, to feed the laser to the charger, or go and pick up all the power-up stars to get the bigger trophies, with the risk of those meteors coming smacking down on your head. The AR is pretty neat, and this time you can move your cards around to actively help in your quest.



The presentation is also pretty slick with a slight WipEout feel, great lighting on the objects as missiles clear the silos and a nice touch where you can tilt your Vita up, away from the AR cards to watch the space scenes or get a nice hole in the sofa when things go wrong. There are some 25 levels and you'll need to collect enough stars to progress to the tougher levels with more obstacles, multi-colour lasers, beam splitters and other trickery. Access to the later levels is easy enough, so you're not likely to get stuck too early on.



This is the first AR game I've wanted to come back to for more than five minutes, with a proper gaming challenge. The first few, diving and football, were clearly tech demos, while the recent Table Top Tanks, just felt too finicky. This is just as good as the endless iOS games with similar puzzles but actually in your house.

There's the odd AR gremlin or loss of focus, but it seems a lot smoother than previous efforts, but with genuinely fun gameplay and at only £1.59 is a must-have for Vita owners on a budget and a great reason to dig out those AR cards. Developer: Sony/Exient
Price: £1.59 ($1.99)
Score: 7/10
Progress: Into the gammas
More reviews

LEGO Batman storms the top of the UK Charts, Gravity Rush plummets

The PS Vita kind of gets its first UK number one as the very multi-format LEGO Batman 2 scales the top of the all formats chart. Gravity Rush immediately plummets out of the chart, showing the weakness of UK Vita hardware sales. Wonder if we'll get a breakdown of those Batman sales from Warner?

In the PS Vita chart, the newer games are starting to force the launch titles off the top now and with Metal Gear out this week, that trend should continue. Again, no downloads counted so, who knows how it is really doing. I saw a story Last Week that Gravity Rush in the US had at least 5,000 downloads and ratings, so potentially many thousands more PSN purchases. In the UK, it has just 682 ratings on PSN which means UK gamers don't rate games much or UK Vita sales are really in the toilet.

1 new LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES WARNER
2 GRAVITY RUSH SONY COMPUTER
3 FIFA FOOTBALL EA SPORTS
4 RESISTANCE: BURNING SKIES SONY COMPUTER
5 UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS SONY COMPUTER
6 MODNATION RACERS: ROAD TRIP SONY COMPUTER
7 EVERYBODY'S GOLF SONY COMPUTER
8 LITTLE DEVIANTS SONY COMPUTER
9 RAYMAN ORIGINS UBISOFT
10 MORTAL KOMBAT WARNER


Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2012 UKIE Ltd

Spy Hunter appears on Amazon, over-priced

A place holder for Spy Hunter has appeared on Amazon UK's site at the whopping price of £40. Not sure what Warner is playing at here, but that had better come down before a single sane person puts down for the game.



The 3DS and Vita title is based on one of my favourite arcade games from my childhood, but with only a brief trailer, we'll need a lot more information to be convinced it is worth £20, yet alone £40. If you are a Spy Hunter obsessive, then pre-order it here:

Here's the original announcement and video.

Sony PS Heaven event happening Thursday

Looks like Thursday is the day for Sony's next PS Heaven event, with the unveiling of new games or some flesh and bones on previously announced titles. According to Andriasang, teaser adverts are starting to appear for an event on the 28th.

The actor in the posters is in the upcoming Dead Sushi, which looks hilariously bad, but I suspect isn't on Sony's 2013 line-up. Although, with Japanese games, you never know.



That's the day Metal Gear HD and the white PS Vita model go on sale, but since Sony promised the next Heaven event in June, they should all coincide in a happy day of PS Vita love. This, after the machine's sales finally took off last week with the arrival of Persona 4.

What do you hope to see announced at the event?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ragnarok pre-orders off to strong start

Talking to siliconera, Xseed reckons things are looking good for the PS Vita and its translation of current as-close-as-we-can-get-to-Monster-Hunter title Ragnarok, with pre-orders for the game off to a 'strong start' and lots of buzz coming from the forums.

Here's a decent video explaining how it all works:



Hopefully the conversion will pack in the Japanese expansion that enables full multiplayer and some of the recent updates, but file size may be a problem for the boxed version. Expect the game later in the summer in America, no real news on an EU release.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Konami hypes Metal Gear HD in Japan

Don't know if we're getting any western advertising for Metal Gear, given that I saw nothing on TV about Gravity Daze, which - you know - might have merited some airtime. But Konami has put out a brief spot for Metal Gear HD in Japan.



Pre-ordered mine for next week, while lucky Americans get to play with theirs already, hopefully it should keep the Vita's recent revival rolling in Japan.

PS Vita Review: Frobisher Says!

The rules for creating a game like this seem to be as follows, write a bunch of words, put them in a bucket and pull them out at random. You can play it at home, "Tickle Nana's Bloomers" "Make Vegans Angry", "Find the Flan" and so on.

One of those is an actual game, but whatever the title, you end up using most of the Vita's controls and features. The camera can see you smiling, but not at the badgers. The rear touchscreen will help you scratch a monster's back while both are used to squash a toff, you can whisper sweet nothings into the microphone, tilt clouds, flip switches and much more.



Games are thrown at you with vigour. Cock one up first time and it'll be around again soon enough for you to try to get right. Hints are given as to what to do, with the aim to get the best score possible by reacting fast. New games are unlocked the more you play, and it likes to connect to PSN to send postcards to friends, but there's no trophy support.

With slightly unnerving presentation from Frobisher, this man is on a register somewhere, you can pass the Vita around between friends to create rounds, but its not really on a social par with Nintendo's Wario titles. Still, as a free diversion, it is miles ahead of most of the Vita's AR games and there's a cheap expansion pack you can buy to throw in more fun.
Developer: Honeyslug
Price: Free (PSN)
Score: 7/10
Progress: Wondering how well the Vita would have done if this had been included instead of Welcome Park
More reviews

Frobisher Says! gets a new mothership mini-game

There's no excuse not to be trying the Vita's party game, with its quirky nano-second bursts of absurd entertainment. If you haven't then give it a go, and you can try this new level that's been added by Sony.


On this one, you have to prepare a landing place for this very 8-bit mothership, using the touchscreen. Other games use the camera, microphone, rear touchpad and the usual controls. All wrapped in a quirky English presentation. A tiny story on the PS blog with plenty of comments asking for trophies.

Jonah Lomu Rugby Challenge pops out the scrum on Amazon

With the southern hemisphere internationals rumbling on, what better time than to get in a ruck with your PS Vita. The latest Jonah Lomu title is out next week, now available for pre-order on Amazon, developed by Tru Blu and Sidhe, it is published here by Alternative Software.



• Multiple game modes including Single Match, Competition and Multi Year Career Modes as well as extensive Help and Tutorial Mode options for players new to the game;
• 96 teams and 31 stadia, incorporating official team and competition licences for the All Blacks, the Qantas Wallabies, the USA Eagles, Bledisloe Cup, AU/NZ Super Rugby, Aviva Premiership Rugby, TOP 14 Orange, RaboDirect PRO12, ITM Cup, and Ranfurly Shield;
• Utilisation of key PlayStation Vita capabilities including touch screen controls for gameplay (conversion kicks and lineouts), the rear touch panel for sprint and a full touch screen user interface.


Some coverage of the game here, and you can pick it up here.

Friday Opinion: What do an extra 35,000 Vita gamers actually mean?

This week's Japanese sales charts rocked for Sony and Atlus. Almost 35,000 people went out and brought a Vita, taking the total ownership over 750,000 in Japan. And, 137,000 of that lot rushed out and picked up Persona 4: The Golden. Making it the Vita's first bona fide hit.

The obvious advantages for Sony are a very high profile in game stores, magazines and websites for this week. While those sales will naturally tail off next week (Atlus only shipped 150,000 copies of the game and restocking takes time), the interest generated will only have a positive effect on a platform battered by perceived weak sales.

With the Vita ownership shooting up almost 5% in a week, those new owners will probably be raiding the back catalogue for more RPGs, with the likes of Tales of Innocence R, Ragnarok Odyssey and Disgaea 3 getting a sales boost. Probably not enough to kick them up the charts, but enough for the developers to feel more confident about further Vita work.

More importantly, any new games coming out like Metal Gear HD next week, Time Travellers and Hatsune Miku next month will see a greater number of sales than it would seen without this spike, boosting their positions in the charts and increasing the overall positive feel about the Vita. It might be small steps compared to the massive 3DS sales, but if the trickle becomes a stream, it can soon become a flood, if you ignore the 3DS LL for now.

The huge question for us in the west, is what game could have a similar effect over here? For all the talk of Bioshock, Call of Duty and GTA, these games will sell millions of copies easily, but they aren't the Vita's games (even Persona 4 was an update). Sony needs one title from any developer that comes straight from the Vita's heart and has huge appeal, I haven't seen it yet, and possibly we never will. But it'd be good to think that one dev is working on something magical, somewhere.

3DS XL to dwarf Vita's market revival?

One good week doesn't make a summer, but the Vita has been looking rather perky recently. All of that will go out of the window with the arrival of the new 3DS LL in Japan (XL in the west). Overnight, Nintendo announced a new model of 3DS, with almost double the screen space, a better battery but no other new noticeable features.

It will be released at the end of July in Japan and Europe, and in August in the States, so expect a big drop off in original 3DS sales in Japan over the coming weeks, followed by a huge spike on launch, as it comes with arrival of a New Super Mario game. If Nintendo could make 5 million, they'll sell all of them. The trouble is Sony, can't really respond. Not that it may feel the need to. The Vita's screen size is as big as it will get, there's little room for making it thinner or lighter. About the most we can hope for is improved battery life or a true HD screen in some future iteration. Instead, Sony will have to focus and refocus on the software, having seen the success of Persona 4, it needs to hit hard at the next Sony Heaven event (which should be next week according to Sony).

Perhaps that's why Nintendo made this announcement now, as opposed to at E3, if Sony does happen to casually mention the words "Monster Hunter," Vita sales would rocket. Now Japanese gamers have a hard choice between the two. Sure, the new 3DS is still relatively low-res, lacks a second stick (how PSP owners must enjoy the shoe being on the other foot), and is decidedly underpowered. But, that hasn't stopped Nintendo selling zillions of the things in the past.

How can Sony's Heaven event respond to Nintendo (aside from MH)? A big boost to Japan's PlayStation Plus Vita offering is highly likely. A new Persona announce from Atlus would go down pretty well, Arena for the Vita perhaps? Expect a new tease for Soul Sacrifice but it is going to take something like a Gran Turismo or another big franchise to drown out the LL hoopla. As much as I'd love another all-new announce, they'll likely be saved for TGS in September.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sonic rolls in to Vita's Super Monkey Ball as DLC

The long wait for a proper Sonic game (on either Vita or PSP) goes on (I'm not counting the Rivals games or the upcoming racer), but the hedgehog is making an appearance in Super Monkey Ball to mark his 20th Birthday.



Not sure if he's directly playable, the free DLC instructions don't make much sense in English, but there he is, just waiting to running after rings at high speed. Come on Sega do the decent thing and put Sonic 4 on the Vita!

Enjoy some new tunes with Hatsune Miku on Vita

Sega has just put up a new video with snippets from a host of the new tracks from singing goddess, Hatsune Miku to promote her Diva F game, hitting stores in Japan next month.

 

Even if the game doesn't get a western release, it should be easy enough to import and enjoy as Miku and her friends get their groove on on-stage and in various locations around the world. With the custom white PS Vita bundle and AR features, this is going to be huge. UPDATE: A new story lists some 30 songs and 80 costumes in the game, with the music being all new, and the costumes presumably rewards for hitting all the right notes.

Real Boxing and Bright coming to PS Vita from Vivid

Vivid is probably best known to PlayStation games as the company that gave us Speedball 2 on the PSP as a mini release, and it has plenty more in the pipe. Coming to the PSP is BMX Jam, and coming to the PS Vita is its iOS hit Real Boxing. But not just a port, the visual quality has been significantly boosted according to the developers, it should be out by the end of the year.


Also coming the Vita's way is Bright, about which we know nothing, but from the image, I'd suggest it might be a light-based puzzle game of some kind.


The Polish-based company has just got a bunch of cash, listing on the Warsaw stock market and looks like it has big plans ahead. More news when we get it, check out their site for Vivid's other games.

Who's under the cover of NBA 2K13?

Even though Take 2's sports title isn't (currently) scheduled for the Vita, despite being one of this blogs most searched for terms, the PSP version is still due. So, you can get all excited over who's going to be on the cover. Will it be the Knick's Jeremy Lin, LeBron? Bosh? Or a more left-field choice?



Check out the Facebook page where clues will be revealed to the identity of the eventual choice. From there, you can follow a Twitter feed that will be dropping hints. And perhaps you can bomb the page with demands for a Vita version.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Assault Gunners hitting the Vita hard on PSN Japan

Marvelous has a new game hitting the Japanese Vita in demo form this week, with the final game out next week at a budget price. Assault Gunners is an action-focused mech title with 30 missions and challenge modes.



With 35,000 new Vita owners this week, they couldn't have picked a better time to release a small game that players can enjoy between their bouts of Persona 4.

Ys Celceta packs in the visual punch on Vita

First shown off late last year, this reimagined edition of Ys, subtitled Sea of Trees, has come on in leaps and bounds from the rather weedy early images. The new batch from Famitsu show some chunkier characters, a far better use of palette and texture.



UPDATE: The game's site is now live, with a change of subtitle, "Foliage Ocean in Celceta" which really doesn't do it any favours, unless it plans to have us swimming in kelp? The site's video link is to the old movie, keep checking back for the new improved version.




With Persona 4 topping the charts, the Vita will need a steady stream of new, updated or classic RPGs to keep Japanese gamers happy and this could fit the bill nicely. This game is due for a western release, so keep an eye out. It hits Japanese stores at the end of September.

Need for Speed Vita box art revs past

A trawl through Amazon just showed up some PS Vita artwork for Need For Speed Most Wanted. Pretty much the first solid proof of the Vita version's existence. Threre's some of the neat renders along with it on the page, but no Vita specific shots.


Buried in the text though, is this nugget. "Vita Exclusive Features - Navigate and play Vita specific events and challenges with fully enabled front and rear Touch Pads. Use the Front Camera to take your Autolog profile picture or the built in Microphone to chat with friends online."

You can pre-order the game at £34.99 or for £37.99 on PS3 here:

Persona 4: The Golden Hits No. 1 in Japan

Vita fans get ready to celebrate the first No. 1 Vita game in Japan. No real surprise here, given the success of the series in Japan, we'll have the exact numbers in a couple of hours and find out if it helped the Vita shift any more units. Gundam drops out of the Top 10 after a quick visit last week.
01. [PSV] Persona 4 Golden
02. [3DS] Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry’s Wonderland 3D
03. [PS3] Lollipop Chainsaw
04. [PS3] Tokyo Jungle
05. [PSP] Akiba’s Trip Plus
06. [3DS] Mario Tennis Open
07. [PS3] Dragon’s Dogma
08. [360] Lollipop Chainsaw
09. [WII] Mario Party 9
10. [3DS] Super Mario 3D Land

This is the Famitsu chart, the Media Create (with sales figures) will be out later today.

UPDATE: Persona 4 sold 137,076 copies, while the Vita sold 34,459 units, a big post-launch record. A new PSP entry saw Akiba's Trip Plus sell nearly 30,000 copies, while Gundam was just out of the Top 10, in 11th with almost another 9,000 sales.


Hopefully Japanese gamers will be cracking open a crate of this tie-in soft drink that was doing the rounds as part of the launch marketing campaign. 

EU PSN Store Roundup goes all Batman on you

Yep, the Dark Knight, in LEGO form anyway, will make an appearance on UK Vita consoles with the latest PSN store update (well, he will on Friday anyway at £34.99, scratch that - its on the store now, go buy it!). Packing a whole host of other DC super heroes, this is probably going to be a lot more fun than the last LEGO Harry Potter.

There's also the WipEout 2048 Fury expansion, in a couple of versions for various wallet/memory card sizes.



Kind of a shame that the original isn't included in the updated Vita sale, which does go live today with Rayman the pick of the bunch. PSP owners can enjoy Cars Race-o-Rama game for £7.99 Check out the full update here.

They're back, the Orgrhythm dancers strike again

Here's another short video promoting Orgarhythm, a bit too similar to the first one, these guys should be on tour appearing in famous places, in front of landmarks, gatecrashing popular TV shows and the like.



The actual game, yeah, that looks pretty cool too. I also like that the official site which some of the tunes to listen to and tells you when the next update is so I don't have to randomly keep checking in. Nice stuff!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Walmart blabs on Black Ops Vita

A brief synopsis of Activision's near-invisible FPS has been published by the US store. Not much in the way of detail, but for what it's worth, Here's the description blurb in full:

UPDATE: Amazon US now has it down for pre-order, no such luck on the UK page:



"Before the future could be won, history had to be written. Exposing that story exclusively on PlayStation Vita, Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified explores original fiction in the Call of Duty Black Ops universe with an all-new campaign of Special Ops missions. Optimized for gamers on-the-go, Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified delivers the most intense handheld Call of Duty experience to date, including both Special Ops Story mode and Multiplayer combat tailored for the PS Vita."

WipEout 2048 gets a Furious expansion

Not a "furry expansion" as I first read. The PS blog has the details with a some 24 new levels from the WipEout HD Fury game ported to the Vita. If you already have them for the PS3, then you can download them for free.



Vita owners can pick up all 24 tracks, zones and ships for £9.99 or there are two smaller bundles available. That's kind of a shame as the awesome PSP WipEout games had loads of free DLC, but I guess times they are a changing.

Zen Pinball 2 coming to UK Vita owners soon

Buried in the comment thread on the PS blog for the new Marvel Avengers pinball tables for the PS3 is word that the Vita version of Zen Pinball 2, which these tables will be compatible with, will be coming out "in a few short weeks." That's pretty good news, as the US has had it for a good while, and the content is starting to build up.

Cross-platform owners get a good deal, if you buy tables on the PS3, then you get them for the Vita version also. Zen is also working on KickBeat, but Pinball is the studios bread and butter and the Marvel tables should do well on the back of the Avengers Assemble movie.

PS Vita sale expands, £10 off Rayman, Unit 13 and more

Sony started its Vita summer sale last week with a few quid off most of the better digital download titles, this week the full price games get the haircut with some bargains to be had. Ignore Army Corps of Hell which you can get for under £10 on some websites (see Amazon). But Rayman and Unit 13 at £20 isn't bad, if you have the memory card space.



Army Corps from Hell Was €39.99/£34.99 – Now €26.99/£21.99
Blazblue Continuum Shift Extend Was €39.99/£34.99 – Now €26.99/£21.99
Little Deviants Was €14.99/£11.99 – Now €10.99/£8.99
Modnation Racers: Road Trip Was €14.99/£11.99 – Now €10.99/£8.99
Rayman Origins Was €34.99/£29.99 – Now €24.99/£19.99
Reality Fighters Was €14.99/£11.99 – Now €10.99/£8.99
Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen Was €39.99/£34.99 – Now €19.99/£16.99
Touch My Katamari Was €29.99/£24.99 – Now €14.99/£11.99
Unit 13 Was €34.99/£29.99 – Now €24.99/£19.99

(Bonus - sign up to Inside PS Vita before 29 June 2012 and you'll get a voucher knocking an extra £5 off Unit 13. You'll also get the voucher if you've already signed up)

See the PS Blog for more details.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another KickBeat trailer shows off the Vita's dance/fighter combo

Showed off one of these in-game videos last week from Zen Studio's KickBeat, this one has a more rappy track to play along to, and purple people eaters to pummel, but shows pretty much the same type of moves and action. A bit more noticeable are the controls you need to hitting to keep up with the furious action.



As long as there's a little more variety, or more breaks like the "Perfect Section", I can't see why this won't be a fun title, but it does look a little too similar to the previous video, I could be missing something, but it needs some something extra to make the levels stand apart. Plenty of time to add stuff in though, right?

Super Monkey Ball rolls into view on Vita

Missed this last week, and not sure if it shows anything new over the original Japanese videos I've posted, but here you go, another game that will make extensive use of the Vita's tilt functions. Hope its better than Katamari.

 

The current features lists includes:


  • Over 100 stages spread across five exhilarating worlds made of Jungle, Clay, Wood, Metal and Cardboard. 
  • 8 mini-games including fan-favourite Monkey Target, Monkey Bingo, Number Ball and more 
  • Tilt and touch or use the dual sticks to guide your monkeys through the game. 
  • Create your own stages using PS Vita’s camera feature and share with friends. 
  • Wi-Fi enabled online multiplayer mode. 
  • Using the GPS function, compare your standings locally or against players from around the world.


Certainly the innate sense of fun in Super Monkey Ball shines through, but scores for the series have plummeted in recent years. What can Sega do to bring back some of the shine? Making it a mid-price release would be one thing, throwing in loads of new mini-games and secret characters to play as wouldn't hurt. How about some novel multiplayer modes that offer something off-the-wall?


Silent Hill: Book of Memories does Diablo and Gaunlet?

Really not sure about this now, the latest batch of screens I've seen show off a game that barely resembles the Silent Hill world, and is increasingly looking like a Diablo or Gauntlet-inspired derivative. I'm not saying that it won't be a bad game, but selling it with the Silent Hill brand is going to cause confusion, hurt and upset among the tender sensibilities of game players. Why not go the whole hog and do Silent Hill All-Stars?<





With multiplayer, some nasty looking demons, and dipping in and out of Silent Hill's body (and bodies) of characters, there is lots of customisation for both characters and their skill sets. Again, it could be a lot of fun, but Konami needs to tread very lightly with how it handles the grey world between genres and gaming history.

Gravity Rush floats into the UK charts

More of a gentle rise than one of Kat's majestic leaps, but Gravity Rush makes it to No. 11 in the all formats and tops the PS Vita chart. It did one better than Resistance, which made it to No. 12 on debut, so perhaps a few more people are buying a Vita now. Of course, this doesn't count digital downloads from PSN, which came with some extra DLC, so perhaps more gamers got that than the boxed edition.

Sitting pretty at the top of the Vita chart

PS Vita U.K. Top Five

1 new GRAVITY RUSH
2 RESISTANCE: BURNING SKIES
3 FIFA FOOTBALL
4 UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS
5 EVERYBODY'S GOLF SONY

Gravity Rush had sold around 72,000 in Japan (around 1 in 10 Vita owners brought it, although that could be over 100,000 inc. digital sales), and really needs to do well in the west to justify developer's further investment in unique IP games for the Vita. It is still winning critical acclaim with plenty of 80%+ reviews. I'm still at the admiring the scenery and exploring stage, before cracking on with the missions and challenges.

As new Vita gamers pick it up over the course of the year, it could end up doing healthy numbers, but it looks like Sony increasingly needs a system seller out right now, something brutal and nasty, rather than the fine art of Gravity Rush.

Can't see LEGO Batman 2 , this week's release doing as well, as its on so many formats. Perhaps Metal Gear HD Collection will crack the top 10 next week.

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2012 UKIE Ltd UKIE.

Friday, June 15, 2012

An in-game look at Zen's KickBeat on PS Vita

Zen Studios is annoying me:
  1. The PS Vita Pinball games still aren't out in Europe, which is probably Sony's fault but hey, someone sort it out. 
  2. It doesn't put dates on its videos so I have no idea what's new.  
I think this is a recent addition, an in-game look at KickBeat in action, with music from Celldweller. Following on from the launch trailers, the video shows a well-poised miss kicking seven shades out of the Blue Man Group.



It looks really slick and fluid, but what controls are being used? Would be handy to see some off-camera footage to get an idea as to how the player is performing all those graceful moves. Also, I'd say the bout is about two minutes too long, hopefully there will be breaks in the middle for a bonus-round, some freestyling or something.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Earth Defense Force 3 Portable for Vita gets a new trailer and content

Earth Defense Force has done pretty well on the PSP and PS3 in past iterations, and gets a revised outing on the Vita soon. A new video is out showing the EDF team fighting off some fricking-great alien monsters and mechs.



It does look a touch primitive but packs in the nasties and with four-player co-op should appeal to the Monster Hunter-deprived. It will launch in Japan in a normal, Limited Edition and a double-pack offering two copies. The Vita version comes with all the content in EDF3 plus new missions and monsters.



EDF3 on the PS3 headed west, published by Namco and titled Insect Armageddon, and it'd be great to see this version head our way. Check out the website which has more gameplay action and massive monsters running in the background.

MotorStorm RC gets a major update, makes life a little easier

MotorStorm has been updated on both Vita and PS3, to make some of the challenges a little less daunting, adding some content and tweaking stuff in the back end and improving the all-round game. Read the full post on the PS blog, but there's the point that should be of most interest to us less than insane gamers:


Q: How has the ‘Festival’ campaign been fine-tuned?
A: Many of you told us that “the Festival gets too tricky too quickly” and the stats we see from the game backed this up, highlighting 23 races in particular that only a small percentage of people were able get all three medals on compared to the other races at that stage of the campaign... After a lot of testing it looks set to make a positive difference to the game, so we expect to see new players getting into the swing of the game and progressing much more fluently, although they’re still going to have to rise to the challenge to get every medal from every race and go on to earn the prestigious “Lunatics Unite” Platinum Trophy!


I've not played the game for a good few weeks now, but this will definitely get me back into it. Check out the  Montezuma Blitz update too which gave a new lease of life to that much-maligned title. Good to see games being tweaked and fine-tuned along the way, even if they are the smaller ones. Imagine what a Resistance update could bring?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Final Fantasy III PSP in pictures

Square Enix has posted a herd of pictures, neatly hosted on Andriasang, showing the PSP's latest Final Fantasy offering. With gorgeous cut-scenes, uprated visuals, and a nice line in character art, it is well worth a look at the collection.




Never played this version before, but since its a big step up from the flat sprites of FFI and FFII which I imported on UMD, hopefully it will be easy to play and come with English, since I can't see Square shipping out any new PSP games to the west. 

Survey hints at Gran Turismo for PS Vita

Now, I know we've been here before with the PSP, but this looks like a more sensible approach. It came as part of a PlayStation Plus survey offered to an IGN reader. It may be perhaps just a theoretical question, as many marketing surveys tend to ask.
“You told us earlier how interested you would be in buying the PS Vita version of the latest Gran Turismo game. Knowing that you might be able to get a discount on the PS3 version of the game, how interested are you now in the PS Vita version?”
There's no reason why GT couldn't be a decent effort on the Vita, but given Digital Polyphony's turnaround times, its not something you'd want to put in a diary.  The overall theme of the survey was if you got a PS3 game, would you like the Vita one free? That's an interesting precedent, but really, the Vita needs more unique games to make it a distinct purchase, being a PS3 lite is not a good place for any device.



If you don't know Sony showed off a mock-up box and UMD of Gran Turismo just four years before it actually arrived on the PSP, and while it looks cool (Monaco looks pretty detailed), was limited to just four cars in a race.

Japanese charts and Vita lifetime sales small but getting better

Looks like the Vita is still waiting for its break out game, with fairly dismal (physical) sales across all content types, both conversions and original titles. Of course, digital sales could be doing really well, but with Sony's crap reporting of them, how are we to know? Here are Media Create's lifetime sales of the top 10 Vita titles:

115,000 - [PSV] Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational (SCE)
 87,000 - [PSV] Uncharted: Golden Abyss (SCE)
 73,000 - [PSV] Dynasty Warriors Next (Koei Tecmo)
 72,000 - [PSV] Gravity Rush (SCE)
 69,000 - [PSV] Tales of Innocence R (Bandai Namco)
 67,000 - [PSV] Lord of Apocalypse (Square Enix)
 62,000 - [PSV] Ragnarok Odyssey (GungHo Online Entertainment)
 53,000 - [PSV] Disgaea 3: Absense of Detention (Nippon Ichi)
 45,000 - [PSV] Ridge Racer (Bandai Namco)
 38,000 - [PSV] Ciel Nosurge: Ushinawareta Hoshi e Sasagu Uta (Gust)

Making a splash in that chart soon will be this week's No. 3 entry, Mobile Suit Gundam SEED BATTLE DESTINY which managed to sell 40,000+

Japan Top Five

Tokyo Jungle PS3 110,000
Dragon Quest 3DS 83,000
Mobile Suit Gundam SEED BATTLE DESTINY 40,000

With that and Persona 4: The Golden plus Super Monkey Ball going on-sale this week, the Vita gets a decent boost (around 75%, from last week's 7,500) in sales, and bringing it closer to the 750,000 overall mark in Japan.

3DS 64,875
PS3 15,593
Vita 13,383
PSP 10,038
Wii 6,029

So, there's definitely a future for the Vita, but it really needs that killer app (no names needed) to get it going in Japan. Personally, I can't see Soul Sacrifice doing the job, or PlayStation All-Stars, so time to go back to the drawing board, or the cheque book.

Hatsune Miku Diva F to get extra accessory bundle

If the game isn't enough, always rely on the Japanese to offer something extra. While I prefer Persona 4's official drink, Sega will be selling a little extras bundle featuring a pouch, cleaning cloth, PS Vita card case, Vita strap, original metal charm, and some decoration stickers.

This looks separate to the white PS Vita bundle at just under 4,200 yen. But, nothing will come close to the range of figurines you can get of the leading lady.

PSN EU Update teases UK gamers with Gravity Daze

Its tough not to feel jealous about the bountiful US update as all the European update offers is Gravity Daze (on Friday in the UK, and next week for New Zealand, but I've seen tweets say pre-orders have been dispatched) and Pulzar, which I will be having a go at.

Even the PS One game Arc the Lad III look like it isn't Vita compatible. On the plus side, its freaking Gravity Daze, check out the new trailer here! Looking forward to it! There's also a new mini, although one largely wasted on the UK audience (I'm staying up until 2AM to watch the NBA finals.

Top Trumps NBA All Stars Prices: £2.99,€3.59

There's some DLC also out: Escape Plan The Asylum
Prices: £0.21,€0.25,AU$0.45 (for two weeks only!)

Table Football Match Day Game Pack
Prices: £0.79,€0.99,AU$1.75

Don't forget the digital sale too, with some of the Vita's best games with a couple of quid off. Note, Doctor Who was supposed to be out on Vita this week, but has been subject to a delay (and reviews reckon its a bit crap).

Vita's Augmented games roster grows, gets DLC

Today, another game is added to the Vita's line-up of augmented reality games. Following on from the fun Table-Top Tanks, PulzAR looks a bit more of a thinking game as you line up lasers with mirrors to blast asteroids that threaten the planet.



PulzAR is released today for £1.59 and comes with trophies! More details on the PSN blog. Also out is some free DLC for the Table Football game that was a free download. Think I may need to make some time to go play that and the diving game that were cruelly kicked off my memory card to make way for bigger things.

Info on Street Fighter x Tekken goodies for Vita

Specialist brawler site Hadoken.net has word from a Capcom insider that, to make up for the mucking about with paid DLC and bugs in Capcom's current crossover, the Vita version will get some extra characters, and be cured of all the issues in the console versions.
" As a sort of surprise/apology, Capcom is developing two completely new characters that will also be released with the Vita version launch, for all platforms, at no additional cost beyond the cost for the main DLC download. These characters are Evil Ryu and Devil (Kazuya).
- Several balancing changes will be done before the Vita launch. 
You’ll especially see major changes in the DLC characters, because even though they were “completed”, they were not properly balanced and some of their moves will have very different properties. Bryan and Lars especially have major overhauls."


New Orgarhythm trailer takes off New Order's Blue Monday

Well, that's what I thought when I saw it. I love this clip, no Orgarhythm gameplay, just blokes in suits and bemused passers-by. Neilo is bringing the colour-coded, music-led, strategy rhythm-action game to the Vita soon.



The game met with positive, if cocked-eyebrow, coverage from E3 and will definitely be one to watch, even in the gameplay might be the kind that polarises audiences.

PSN US Update, the best week ever?

Well, this has to be the best week, stateside, in the Vita's short history (after launch week). Just imagine all the play hours in that lot. Is June isn't the month that Vita sales take off then it won't  be for lack of effort.


Gravity Rush ($35.99)
Metal Gear Solid: HD Collection ($34.99)
PulzAR Full Game ($1.99)
PSP - Gungnir ($29.99)

I'd buy every one of them, and its just a shame that the EU update will only include Gravity Rush and PulzAR (I think). On the plus side, we do have the digital sale, to brighten things up. More on that later today when the EU update hits.

Velocity team muses on the power of negativity

The best PSN mini ever? 80,000 sales in three weeks and not a bean in extra coverage from the likes of IGN... until you same something that can be construed as a negative blast against the evil Sony empire.



That pretty much sums up a post from FuturLab, the team behind Velocity, and is an interesting take on the state of an industry obsessed by big games that don't exist (Half Life 3, Monster Hunter Vita, etc.) while ignoring all the gems that are out there (and yes, we've all done it).

My advice for any developer, get John Romero to do a level on your next game, and in that level the player has to kill either a baby or Bobby Kotick.

Persona play sessions tiring you out? Get this...

Yep, Japan, the land where no marketing stone is left unturned is bringing Persona flavoured drinks to thirsty gamers. Dengeki is showing off a new line of licensed drinks for Persona 4: The Golden. So, come on western gamers, starting demanding a weak lemon drink to enjoy with your Vita gaming experiences.

I see Irn Bru doing Ragnarok Odyssey, Cherry Coke for Hatsune Miku and Red Bull for Gravity Daze. Any others you can think of? The game is out in Japan this week and there has been a full court press of marketing and media, is this the game that will help shift some Vita units?