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!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Malicious has designs on your PS Vita

First mentioned last year, and popping up formally in May, Malicious Rebirth from Alvion has had a splashy feature in Dengeki with a load of new images and artwork of the sprawling combat game.



Originally on PS3, the Rebirth Vita version comes with a new cloaking feature, freaky weaponry and many other goodies. It is due out in Autumn in Japan, and looks likes there's little reason why it couldn't make it west. Check out more pics and art here.

The game's official site has a neat desktop background and some Twitter icons you can download.

With Phantasy Star Online 2 coming to Vita, what other MMOs could make the switch?

With Sega manfully promising to cram all of Phantasy Star Online 2's content from the PC to the Vita, there is clearly not much of a limit (other than man power, time and cranky code bases) on getting others working on Sony's handheld. With Dust 514 also headed the Vita's way (eventually), and with more traditional titles like NC Soft's Guild Wars 2 coming to consoles, what others would you like to see on the Vita.

With constant rumours of an Elder Scrolls MMO, perhaps Bethesda could make up for not bringing a title to the PSP with a Vita version to play alongside the PS3 version? The company is also supposed to be doing a Fallout MMO, which again would be awesome.

Dipping into the past, there are many classics that could see a new lease of life on the Vita. I love Anarchy Online (pictured) which has a bit of a Deus Ex about it, now 11 years old, games like these could find more friends on new formats.

I suppose most folk would like to see World of Warcraft go portable, but I suspect Blizzard has bigger things to worry about. The same is likely with any Final Fantasy MMO, although Square has more history with Sony, so perhaps. What would you like to see cross over from the world of MMOs to the small screen?

Namco's Lost Heroes find a home on PSP

Namco Bandai has a new title out in September in Japan for the PSP and 3DS that brings together a host of heroes from its various titles into a dungeon explorer game. The great piece of art introduces the original Gundam, Ultraman, Kamen Rider and other heroes from games and comics past.

With dungeon levels, huge battleships and a huge range of monsters to fight (there's a bunch of screens over on Famitsu), this looks like bags of fun and, possibly, has enough English to make it worth an import.

Need for Speed Most Wanted E3 video goes public

Not too sure if this is "new" new, but its an annotated guide through the streets of Fairhaven showing off some of the cars and effects in Criterion's upcoming NFS title. As ever, this if from the big-screen versions, and I have no idea what the Vita version will look or play like in comparison.



Still, with this and WRC3 on the way, the Vita will soon be fully stocked with a range of awesome automotive titles.

Vektropolis vectoring in on the Vita in 2013

This awesome-looking retro wireline 3D shooter is hitting the PC later this year, but the developers are looking at a PS Vita for early 2013, according to an IndieGame article.


Using the PS Vita's tilt controls would make this an awesome experience and there's few things more iconic than those arcade Star Wars and Battlezone-like graphics, with the original developer being part of the team, this has to be a must-own game, whatever format it comes out on.

Lumines Electronic Symphony: What might have been

There's a gripping four-page article on Gamasutra about the development process behind the Vita's Lumines title and how it could have turned out. From a Daft Punk game, to a concept album, to all kinds of crazy in-game tweaks or departures and the possibility of DLC. What I would have enjoyed most from the "music we couldn't get list" has to be Yello's "Oh, Yeah" track, that would have been mind-blowing.


From boardroom battles, to the usual design angst, it is well worth checking out, with plenty of prototype screens like the above with completed squares bursting into flower petals. One comment the author, producer James Mielke, is dead right about is playing the game through decent headphones. Through my Turtle Beach set, it really is a different, more immersive game.

Amazon US bundling Gravity Daze with a PS Vita

Pick up a PlayStation Vita in the U.S. from Amazon, in the next week and you get Gravity Daze bundled for free. Quite a neat deal with the Wi-Fi model retailing for $249 and the game going for just shy of $40. Sure, its not the same thing as a price-cut, but it could help shift a few units, especially with the gaming calendar moving out of the quiet season.


The Madden 13 bundle is the same price and out at the end of August, if that's more your thing, with the white model in the Assassin's Creed III bundles coming October, just remember to add a memory card to your order.

North of the US Border, Wal-Mart in Canada also has a top offer with Wipeout 2048 and Resistance: BS free with Vita purchase.

Starlight Inception warps forward in development

Kickstarter-funded PS Vita game Starlight Inception now has a year to go until the promised delivery date. A new update by the team mentions a host of advances in the code and graphics...

Welcome to the second edition of "Inside the Ready Room - Starlight Edition!" At least once a month (and more frequently as we get closer to our estimated release date of August, 2013), we intend to take you 'behind the scenes' for a glimpse into the preproduction and production process of the game.

CONCEPT ART
We’ve been seeing lots of deliveries related to the art list put together last month. USF fighters, capital ships, enemy capital ships, enemy fighters, and civilian vessels have all been coming to life in concept drawings. Last month, I spoke about the process, and within the next few months, I’d like to show you the process of going from thumbnail to concept drawings, to final concept art. You’ll see a lot more of this process in the concept art book (and over the next year).

3D MODELING
The USF (and enemy) drydocks are now open for business and humming along! In the past month, we’ve seen creation of the USF Destroyer “Colin Powell”, as well as an enemy interceptor and the beginnings of an enemy carrier. Each of these models, along with the already existing “Lightning III” fighter (remember fighter “E” from the Kickstarter campaign?) represents a class of asset in the game, each with their own attributes.

PROGRAMMING
We’ve seen great promise on the implementation of new features by the lead programmer on the project. We have some really cool stuff working that we’ll be sharing over the next few months, and we have expanded the feature list that we’re asking for based on the extreme speed that features are getting accomplished.

GAMEPLAY
We’ve been able to play through a multiplayer game of four players in splitscreen (all flying the same fighter, but with different color schemes) and blast each other into bits without serious bugs. This is a really good thing to have working early because it greatly helps with balancing and tuning the game. And the fact that the game is already really fun doesn’t hurt.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sonic All-Star Racers Transformed boxed on PS Vita

Amazon has a page up for SASRT with an "is it a boat, is a plane..." conundrum on the front as Sonic races ahead of his chums. Sega has already said each version will have unique competitors, but there's no sign of any mystery guests on the cover art.



You'll be able to pre-order the game soon, the game was recently confirmed for a mid-November.

WRC3 box art puts a Mini on the PS Vita, pre-order now

Not too long after the initial announcement, you can pre-order it from Amazon and other places. Love that the Vita version has a Mini on the front cover. The Italian developer, Milestone, has put out some more screen shots to show off this impressive looking gravel, ice and tarmac time-trial racer.



The game is due out on the 12th October (Amazon has September down for some reason, but pretty sure they're wrong).

Tap up Orgarhythm for some music-based strategy

A new trailer shows the tap, tap, tap on a touchscreen as the way to succeed in this intriguing title. You need to keep the beat while your little minions disco their way to victory in battles, with some serious opposition to defeat. Really looking forward to this one from Tak Hirai, the guy behind Space Channel 5.

Welcome to the world of Summon Night

If you'd never heard of it either, this Summon Nights series from Banpresto looks like being a big thing on the PSP in Japan, with a whole new game and several remakes. The new trailer is really just someone playing with the first batch of screens that were shown off, but here you go.



Unlikely to appear in the west in this form, if it sells well on the PSP, there could be Vita versions that might head over in a year or so.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Vita adds GTA Chinatown Wars and The Warriors

Two very well rated PSP titles are being added to the Vita-compatible PSP range next week. GTA-throwback Chinatown Wars brings back the fun of the series' earlier titles while The Warriors is a decent beat-em up based on a classic gang movie.

Hopefully this trend will accelerate as the Vita store needs to bulk up fast, and we'll finally get that missing essential, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and others. This is from next week's US update, but expect the EU versions to appear soon.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fate Stay Night CCC for Vita gets an official site

The next Fate game, the first for the Vita now has an official site with some screens up and plenty of Japanese character and story information.



The game launches in November, expect the site to add video and more content soon. Question, why do Japanese console game pages always have a spec sheet? For PC titles I'd understand, but isn't the Vita logo enough?

Friday, July 27, 2012

PS Vita PSN Fun Stats Friday, what's the numbers on the store

Okay, this is based on the UK store, Friday 27 July, other stores may vary, things change over time. Here are a few stats I found while digging around.

For a start, there are 51 PS Vita titles (excluding PSP titles and apps) in the games section of the store.

The best rated games are:

Gravity Rush 4.87
Disgaea 3
Plants vs Zombies
Uncharted Golden Abyss
Tales from Space
Rayman Origins
Metal Gear HD
Super Stardust Delta
Dynasty Warriors Next
WipEout 2048 4.65

The games that have been rated the most times are:

MotorStorm RC (8675 ratings)
Treasures of Montezuma Blitz
Escape Plan
Ashphalt Injection
Table Football
Cliff Diving
Hustle Kings
Tales from Space
Foosball 2012
Plants vs Zombies (1954 ratings)

Wave this bit at anyone who tells you Vita games are too expensive, on this basis the average price of a Vita game £20.16 (and you could do far better shopping around):

There are 5 free titles on the store
There are 13 games priced at less than £10
There are 7 games between £10 and £19.99
There are 4 games between £20 and £29.98
The most popular price point is £29.99 with 9 games at that figure
F1 2011 has the oddball price of £31.99
The next most popular price point is £34.99 with 7 games
There are 4 games priced £39.99
Only FIFA Football beats the £40 mark, at £44.99 (still)

So, there you go, and if the gaming scene suffers another month as quiet as this one I might update these figures from time to time.

A Monster Hunter-alike on PS Vita? What madness is this?

A week in the sun left you feeling giddy? You might almost fall for this strange Chinese blog post that has a very Monster Hunter-style game apparently running on the Vita.



In actual fact the game appears to be Hunter Blade, a PC MMO as one of the videos shows on the site, a Chinese rip-off of Capcom's legendary title. That's not a PS Vita game either, so is probably using the old network trick to play it on the Vita's screen.

Still its a slow Friday, so doze on the thought that one day it could really be a MH title.

What else should PS Vita firmware 1.80 offer?

From 1.69 up to 1.80 is a pretty big leap in firmware numbers, and it can't have taken Sony coders that long to update the PSOne engine (even the compatibility testing wouldn't have taken this long), so what else could the company be packing into the next firmware update?

Number one on most people's lists would be an improved browser, with Flash support (not likely), and better integration between the apps (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) with the browser.

Number two would be PS2 support, Sony has discounted this notion in the past, but software developers just don't sit still and gamers' needs move on at a frightening pace, as Metal Gear HD proved. An alternative could be the Gaikai service Sony brought to deliver games without the technical hassle and huge downloads (but, we're a bit early for that). on the plus side, Sony would rake it in selling extra memory cards and have 2 million plus more users capable of paying for PS2 games.

Having more apps open while you game would also be a good addition, allowing you to drop in and out of sessions. Also, getting rid of having to press "Start" to launch each app would be more than welcome. What else would you like to see in the upcoming update?

Sonic All-Stars Transformed, which characters will the Vita get?

A Sumo Digital producer's post on the Sega forums suggests that each version of the game will have a few unique characters to add some distinction between the platforms.

"Over all the different platforms, this totals up to 29 actual playable choices. But that doesn’t mean that there are 29 playable choices in all platforms (in fact no single platform has all 29). Some drop down to the low 20′s, some instead have high 20′s."




So, alongside PlayStation All-Stars, we have another game where we'll doubtless be drip-fed a character list. Wonder what the Vita will get as its exclusive roster line-up?

Phantasy Star Online gets a hefty summer makeover

While the Vita launch is still some 8 months away (plus however much longer for a western release), the PC version is growing fast with three schedule updates in August to give it a major facelift and add new features.

There's an army of screenshots over on Andriasang showing off new characters (including bikini babes and freakish toys in water rings for some reason), constumes and monsters. Along with Hatsune Miku, it looks like Sega could be the Vita's saviour in Japan, as this game already has approaching 750,000 users while Miss Miku will probably double or triple current Vita sales on her own.

Hatsune Miku Diva gets her dancing shoes on in new trailer

This looks like the last big trailer before the game actually ships at the end of August (and will probably be broken down into smaller TV spots). It shows both rendered and in-game Miku, and friends, doing their stuff, previewing some of the game's songs and moods.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gran Turismo Vita no time soon

For "time", you should probably read no "year" soon, as Digital Polyphony producer, Kaz Yamauchi, said in China of a Vita version, "If we were to make it, we'd like to make use of the ability to play anywhere and the ability to use 3G at any time." He was there promoting GT5 for Sony at China's Joy Exhibition.

Given the gestation times for GT products, that sounds like a 2015/16 time release, which is very far away. If anyone wants to develop a realistic driving game for the Vita, you have a couple of years to turn it around. We do have WRC3 to look forward to and Need for Speed Most Wanted on the way, but lack that genre defining title that the potential Vita owner might be looking for.

Games Sony and partners could reveal at Gamescom

After yesterday's likely Sony Gamescom line-up was revealed and as its another slow news day, and I'm bored, let's play, games that could make an appearance on the Vita at Gamescom.

The obvious
  • Killzone - in development at Sony Cambridge
  • Call of Duty: Declassified (have we dropped the Black Ops bit now?)
  • Invizimals - Novarama was signed exclusively by Sony to work on the Vita and since the Spanish developer is "at home" for Gamescom, it makes sense to announce something here.
  • Ace Combat - There's always an Ace Combat game on the go, and with the Vita missing out so far, surely an uprated version of AC5 or a new game is in the works at Namco. (maybe a TGS announce though)
The really-should-be-on-the-format already

  • Skylanders - the game is out on every other format (including iOS) and since Invizimals proved pretty popular on PSP, a Vita version should do decent business.
  • Any sports franchise - We're already getting Madden, FIFA but come on, how hard is Tiger Woods to render on a Vita? Or the other major sports series? That goes for off-road racing and street racers too, they all seemed to appear happily on the PSP, will Gamescom see a few more pop up for Vita?
  • Sim-something - Again, there were loads of Sims games and similar type titles on the PSP, we even enjoyed all the Theme Park PS One games, surely a few of these can be re-crafted for a quick Vita release?

The out of left-field

  • Persona 4 Arena - Since Persona 4 Golden was such a big hit on Vita in Japan, a quick port of this title might not be out of the question, and highly profitable for Atlus. Although, that would more likely be a TGS announcement if anything.
  • Doom 3 BFG Edition - John Carmack always loved to tinker with new systems, and I know he's a very busy man these days, but how much effort would it take to zap this dark shooter into the Vita's dinky frame?
  • Xcom Enemy Unknown - While the PSP and Vita have loads of Japanese tactical RPGs, it would be great to have the upcoming remake of the daddy (well, apart from Laser Squad) of them all. Plus, there would be no squealing kiddie characters you want to punch.
  • Something with vampires in - They're everywhere, films, TV, books, erotic books. The pointy tooth brigade are all over the shop. So, if you wanted to test the waters for a major, next-gen, new-to-gaming series, why not launch a Vita title first before the PS4 arrives, in an attempt to get some night-dwellers on your side?

Apps

The original NGP launch showed off an email app on the Vita, which would be nice, though hardly essential. Europe is also waiting for Netflix to appear, which could well happen. I also wonder if the 1.80 firmware update might also improve the browser, which is clearly the weakest link on the Vita's existing apps.


Feel free to add your own contributions, is there anything glaringly obvious I've missed?

Swedish indie Nifflas bringing Knytt Underground to Vita

Indie game developer Nifflas and production company Green Hill and Ripstone are bringing the latest version of the critically acclaimed Knytt PC platformer game Knytt Underground to PSN. The game looks pretty and etheral, an improvement over the PC original, while the gameplay looks pretty decent with bags of atmosphere.





Here's the original PC version video that I based my rather crude first impresssion on.

Knytt Underground, sequel to Knytt and Knytt Stories, is the next stage in the well-liked series, with the original boasting over 1 million downloads globally. The exciting platform game offers gamers exploration in an infinitely breathtaking atmosphere and will be available on PS3 and Vita later this year.

Fate CCC coming 2013 for PSP with limited edition

The new Fate/Extra CCC game for the PSP has been pushed back from this year to a February 2013 release, according to 4Gamer. There will also be a new limited edition with a Saber bride figurine, art book and more.



Check out the 4Gamer site for some more pics, no look at the limited edition, yet.

Sony's PSP vs. Vita problem in a simple picture

Here's a neat little snapshot of Sony's problems in Japan right now. Here with have the company's own magazine guide to what's out and coming on the PSP soon:


And here's the Vita:



Sure, you can throw in the usual "early days" and "user base" caveats, but for anyone thinking of buying a Vita, they'd take one look at this and take their money elsewhere. At least in Europe and America, the dearth of PSP games (apart from some high quality contributions that appeal to core gamers) is pushing gamers more to the Vita, albeit slowly.

I suppose as long as Sony are profiting from PSP hardware and game sales, they don't mind so much, but from an external perspective, it is kind of scary. Anyway, here's my release list to cheer you up a bit. Sony can feel free to borrow it if they like.

Growlanser for PSP out next week, gets a new trailer

Atlus is bringing the PSP's latest Growlanser RPG, Wayfarer of Time, to America next week, and here's the opening trailer for the game. Check out the official site for info on the plot, characters and so on. The game,  Growlanser IV: Over Reloaded in Japan, is regarded as the best of the bunch and this remastered version should do well.



Here's some action from the Japanese version, I honestly can't remember if its getting a European release, must check:

Vita gets a grip with battery power for longer, more comfortable gaming

I've seen grips before and battery packs for the Vita, but this is the first one I've seen with both in the one package. Looking pretty sturdy and stealth-like, with an 1,800 mHa battery for extended periods of gaming. You can order this from the US at dx.com with free shipping to the UK, can't see it on Amazon, let me know if you've seen it on an EU site.
It comes with a USB lead to keep it charged for you and prevent your hands from cramping as you try to sneak under the three-medal time limits in the tougher MotorStorm levels. 

PSP getting a whole lot of Summon Night

First question, what's Summon Night, certainly something I've never heard of, but the Japanese seem to be into it. Stories have been rumbling on about it over the last week, but only now do I have a faint clue. With the PSP getting a whole new game, SN5, and a couple of ports of older versions, SN4 and 3. Sure, the art-style looks fun and you can't go wrong with electric, presumably launch-able fists.

The game looks rather like Aedis Eclipse, FFT War of the Lion and quite a few others, offering role playing and tactical combat in a steampunk setting. There are a few more pics and bits of art over on Famitsu with a rather attractive-looking city to play in.


Published by Namco Bandai, this has no chance of a western release, so enjoy these pics while they last in your memory, because apart from a brief appearance in the Japanese charts, this is likely the last we'll see of them. Summon Night 3 will arrive in October, SN4 in November and the new release is TBA.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sega mixing the genres as Hatsune Miku meets Phantasy Star

This girl will wear literally anything, one of the Vita's upcoming songs will see her all kitted out for a PSO mission. Famitsu is reporting on four new songs for the Diva, but few will likely be as memorable for rabid gamers as this one.

Which makes you wonder if this specific costume will appear in PSO, and just how many thousands of players will be running around dressed as her. It looks pretty easy to make fairly detailed characters in the game, so I guess it would have happened anyway, without Sega's help.

New God Eater 2 screens and art emerge

Having found the interview yesterday, now the screens and art are coming out from the Famitsu article. Check a few out here, they're mostly tiny res, so expect larger ones to appear soon, perhaps on the offical site which is yet to be updated.




The game certainly looks a whole lot different to the imagery shown off last year. There's a whole lot more over on the Famitsu site, but no mention of it is also coming out on the Vita, yet.

Japan games and hardware sales, PSP frenzy as Digimon and Baseball storm the chart

Media Create's sales figures for Japanese games show a bustling PSP scene with seven PSP new entries and a single Vita game in the top 15. The new Digimon game proves some people are still collecting the little buggers, while the PSP's Powerful Pro Baseball gets an extra 12,000 sales on the Vita version.

01./00. [WII] Kirby's Dream Collection (Nintendo) - 100.286 / NEW
02./01. [NDS] Pokemon Black 2 / White 2 (Pokemon Co.) - 92.178 / 2.381.586 (-25%)
03./00. [3DS] Rune Factory 4 (Marvelous Entertainment) - 85.955 / NEW
04./00. [PSP] Digimon World Re:Digitize (Bandai Namco Games) - 85.817 / NEW
05./00. [PS3] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2012 (Konami) - 62.740 / NEW
06./02. [3DS] Taiko no Tatsujin: (Bandai Namco Games) - 31.741 / 97.202 (-52%)
07./00. [PSP] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2012 (Konami) - 28.142 / NEW
08./00. [PSP] New Class of Heroes Mono: Toki no Gakuen (Acquire) - 19.284 / NEW
09./00. [PSP] Warriors Orochi 3 Special (Koei Tecmo)) - 18.136 / NEW
10./00. [PSV] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2012 (Konami) - 16.837 / NEW
11./00. [PSP] Record of Agarest War Mariage # (Compile Heart) - 14.556 / NEW
12./00. [PSP] Toki no Kizuna: Sekigahara Kitan # (Idea Factory) - 13.667 / NEW
13./04. [3DS] Dragon Quest Monsters # (Square Enix) - 12.820 / 825.273 (-30%)
14./09. [WII] Mario Party 9 (Nintendo) - 10.969 / 492.383 (+21%)
15./00. [PSP] Ailu de Puzzle (Capcom) - 10.738 / NEW



On the hardware side, the Vita tallied around 12,000 sales while the PSP managed 13,000, still way behind the competition, although the 3DS has dropped to "just" 45,000 now.

EU PSN roundup: Foosball 2012 and Match of the DLC

Foosball hits the EU store today, along with a whole kit bag of paid-for DLC. Play multiplayer matches, dominate the online leader boards, or become a global champion in the single-player World Tour mode. Buy the game and get the PlayStation 3 version free! Was expecting a few more titles, given the lively US update, but it'll do in these sunny times (anyone else given up playing the Vita in the garden? It doesn't like the brightness much.)


Foosball 2012, 134Mb
Price: £5.49/€6.99
Foosball 2012 Bonus Cities (£1.59/€1.99)
Foosball 2012 Tic-Tac Shot (£0.40/€0.49)
Foosball 2012 Snake Shot (£0.40/€0.49)
Foosball 2012 Pull Shot (£0.40/€0.49)
Foosball 2012 Pin Shot (£0.40/€0.49)

On the minis front we have the sweet looking Arkanoid and RPG homage, Wizorb.


Wizorb
Prices: £2.49/€2.99/AU$4.95
There's also the Gravity Rush military costume DLC at £3.19 for those who want to see Kat at her commando best. Remember the sports sale too, with Everybody's Tennis a must-buy. When the update goes live, I'll check to see if there's any hidden extras.

Early Impressions
Got the Foosball trial and Wizorb with some left over credit, Foosball is odd, as I'd assumed the Vita would offer touch controls of the bars. But once you get past the bunch of tutorials, they become pretty redundant as the key to scoring is just to power shot at every opportunity for an easy 5-0 win.

The higher level tables will probably demand more strategy, but the Stuart Pearce thump will see you through the early levels easily.

Wizorb on the other hand requires a bit of thought from the start. Do you use your limited magical blasts early on to clear the nasties as your wizardly orb caroms the breakout-done-RPG-style levels, or wait until the end to clear those last few tricky blocks?

Your limited cash in the RPG sections must be spent wisely for the best rewards, that tiny bit of thought elevates this above being just a twitch arcade game. It's not quite as slick as Velocity in reinvigorating a genre, but is still great fun.

Could the Vita be home to piracy-ravaged Android game developers?

A couple of interesting stories have done the rounds recently, Android developers seeing mass piracy of even $1 games due to Android's open, easily hackable status, making no money and looking at other alternatives. The other is the whole free-mium market likely to cave in on itself, as gamers stick with one or two titles and ignore the rest of games that are being turned fremium due to the first problem.

With this piece in mind, which covers both apps and games, perhaps the Vita, with developers charging $5/£5 for games to a smaller installed base (2 million vs. 400 million) would be a better offering then competing for the scraps of the Android market left behind by the likes of Angry Birds, Cut the Rope and the rampant piracy.

The Vita could do with the games, the developers could do with the money and there are quite a few examples of developers turning a tidy profit on minis and smaller Vita titles. This could be achieved through full-on Vita development, or the PlayStation Mobile scheme, which would keep them in the Android space. Sure it won't appeal to all devs, with the lure of that one big hit hanging there, but for more pragmatic types, it could be an easy option. Would love to hear from any developers thinking of switching.

Sony's Gamescom Vita titles unveiled

German site PlayFront seems to have got its hands on an invite to Sony's press event at Gamescom next month, and it mentions several Vita titles in the list, plus two new unannounced games.

- Call of Duty: Declassified (PS Vita)
- Soul Sacrifice (PS Vita)
- Dust 514 app (PS Vita)
- LittleBigPlanet (PS Vita)
- PlayStation AllStars: Battle Royale (PS3 + PS Vita)
- Assassin's Creed 3 (PS3 and PS Vita)
- The Unfinished Swan (PS3)
- The Last of Us (PS3)
- Wonder Book: A Book of Spells (PS3)

With Capcom also promising big things at the event, could the middle of August be the time when the Vita really gets going? Of course, PlayFront could just be making an educated guess, there's no photo of the invite, but I'd buy into this. Killzone has been shown off, but not seen beyond the Vita's launch so could be one title. The other is anyone's guess.

The awesome Velocity now available on U.S. PS Vita

The best shooter in ages is now available directly from the Vita's PSN for US gamers. The delay in getting it there, down to paperwork, has been long and annoying for some, especially those without a PS3 which was the only way to copy it over.


Anyway, all fixed now. Check out the game's awards and then download it and enjoy its unique charms, and help support a top-notch indie developer.

Vita 3G owners getting free goodies in Japan

Japanese owners of the 3G Vita will be getting some free stuff from their service provider NTT DoCoMo, to keep them renewing their contracts. Not sure the dozen or so UK 3G owners can expect to see Vodafone doing anything similar soon. The gifts come in the form of free content for Ceil NoRouge and Ragnarok Odyssey, not sure they'd have me rushing for a new contract, but who knows?


Perhaps if Sony Europe put up some persistent offers it might encourage a greater take up of the 3G Vita, which is probably less successful than the PSP-Go. More pics and info on NTT DoCoMo's site.

Five minutes of new PSP Gundam trailer

Having announced a slight delay on the pair of PSP Gundam titles, Cosmic Drive and Accel, to the end of August in Japan. Namco makes up for it with a new five-minute trailer showing off the never-ending mech series in action, fighting in space and on-land with dewy-eyed character shots of the cast of dozens in between.

Many, many previous Gundam stories, screens and videos here.

Monster Hunter headed west, but which one?

A new community manager over on the Unity forums has said there isn't long to wait for a new MH title in the west. But on which format? Place your bets ladies and gentlemen.

Will it be an updated MHF3 for PSP and Vita or one of the 3DS games, or something new that's a touch more western-gamer friendly? Guess we'll find out from Capcom at Gamescom, judging by the timing of the statement, which you can read here...
Meanwhile, Japan gets near-endless Monster Hunter love, the latest being these cute Nendoroid figures, (more pics on Andriasang).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

US PSN Store Update, plenty of cheap and cheeful on Vita

Here's this week's update on the US PSN store with a bunch of budget games to keep Americans entertained until the big guns arrive next month. The EU update should mirror this, with luck. Check earlier posts for videos of these games.

PS Vita Games
Foosball 2012 ($7.99) (Demo Also Available)
Purchasing this content entitles you to both the PS3 and PS Vita versions! For the first time ever, enjoy foosball on your PlayStation Vita system. Play multiplayer matches, dominate the online leaderboards, or become a global champion in the single-player World Tour mode.
File Size: 134 MB

Puddle ($7.99) (Demo Also Available)
Dive into Puddle (award winner at the Independent Games Festival 2010), a physics game unlike any other where you have to guide a puddle of fluid by tilting the environment to the left or right! Play carefully taking friction, gravity and temperature into account, and by using the unique properties of each type of fluid (water, oil, nitroglycerin, molten lava…) in a range of original environments.
File Size: 558 MB

PS mini Games
Gang Wars ($2.99)
Play as Mike, and fight through New York City against The Jaguar, an evil gang which terrorizes the town and have kidnapped a young woman.

I Kill Zombies Minis ($2.99)
It’s time to maim and murder your way to the top of an exciting new game show! I Kill Zombies see’s you trapped inside a giant arena fending off the forces of the undead as one of three characters. Do you have what it takes to survive? Who kills zombies? I Kill Zombies!!!
Time Soldiers ($2.99)
Travel through time to rescue your comrades in this top-down action shooter released by SNK in 1987.

Wizorb ($3.99)
The once peaceful Kingdom of Gorudo is threatened by an evil presence. The only hope for salvation is Cyrus, a wizard versed in a secret magic art called Wizorb! Explore many strange places from the derelict monster infested town of Clover to Gorudo Castle atop Cauldron Peak. Danger lurks around every corner so you’ll need to keep your wits about you and have quick reflexes in order to survive.

Sonic Adventure 3 domains bagged by Sega

Sega has bagged a bunch of site domains with Sonic Adventure 3 in the title, creating a tantalising future for the spiky blue chap who has been notoriously hiding in 2D hedges recently, with occasional forays into not-quite-3D.

The Dreamcast original Adventures were fun, better than the Wii offerings certainly, but it has been a long time since he did anything genre-defining. I'll post this more in hope than any real expectation of a Vita version, but the PSP did okay with the unspectacular Sonic Rivals games (both £7.99 on PSN) and the Vita is getting the next Sonic Karts game, so there is reason to be optimistic.

New Chinese Vita rip-off-a-go-go goes Android

Just a few months after this uninspired rip-off from China comes another go at emulating the PS Vita. The Droid X360 runs Android 4.0 and isn't afraid of any copyright or patent lawyers.

The Verge has the specs, which are basically a mid-range smartphone with gaming controls,but frankly we're more likely to see a unicorn in the west before we catch one of these beasts. With all of these appearing, how long is it before Sony decides to do another Xperia Play model?

EU PSN having a sports sale

Mostly PS3 stuff, but not their Vita equivalents, alas. However, there is Everybody's Tennis for PSP and Vita, which is down to an unmissable £3.19, and the promise of some some more PS1 and PSP titles in the mix. A shame that Everybody's Golf Vita doesn't get a chip, given the incoming update.



Find out more on the EU PSN blog. The sale starts tomorrow along with the EU update. I'll update if anything interesting is added to the list.

Hot Shots Golf gets an update, more multiplayer

Hot Shots (aka Minno No or Everybody's) Golf is one of the Vita's best selling titles, and also did brilliantly on the PSP. The Vita version is getting an update today, offering private tournaments, ranking modes in the real tournaments and seasons of tournaments, rather than the daily ones.



More info on the US PSN  blog, The update is now live around the world, bringing more golfing fun to the masses. The game itself is floating at around £15 in UK stores, and well worth investing in.

SNK's Gang Wars and Time Soldiers hitting PSN this week

Like those old eight-bit SNK hits? The PSN store is getting a couple more this week with Gang Wars and Time Soldiers hitting the US store for $2.99 each. These and a couple of other games were outed by PEGI a couple of weeks back, so should be hitting the EU store soon too.


While they don't look up there with Metal Slug or King of Fighters, probably worth a little play for nostalgia buffs.

Also wondering why we're not getting more arcade classics from the likes of Sega, Capcom and so on, endless remakes are fine, but few are as good as the originals. Sure, there are the PSP Capcom Collections, but how hard could it be to open them up as individual downloads to run on the Vita?

Ys Celceta gets a new party combat trailer

Ignore the same old, same old, first 30 seconds of the intro and the last minute which shows off the limited edition. The meat of this trailer shows off the game's party combat mode and some decent close-ups of the characters. It looks pretty action packed and full of gorgeous detail.



A western release is likely through Xseed and while its more of a reimagining of an older Ys game, is still very much welcome.

God Eater 2 rises again in Japan

I wondered why there were a lot of searches for this yesterday. Japanese magazine Famitsu has a splashy look at the game which had gone quiet in recent months. Now it is back with a style overhaul and Namco is also promising a big surprise for the end of August, a Vita or 3DS version being the most likely options (or perhaps they'll drop the silly "s" in the Gods Eater western versions, assuming it gets here).


Hunting down the mag scans now, as the official site hasn't been updated at all this year. Here's some earlier stories on the game. But ignore the art style as this has apparently been changed to make it less Final Fantasy-esaque.

 UPDATE: Here's the text of the interview (via Google translate). The magazine isn't out until Thursday so scans of the page art and screens could turn up anytime.

Summarising what I get from the interview:

  • Still on for an Autumn release, 
  • New look and feel, new characters coming, 
  • Over 100 arts, 
  • More NPCs  with improved interaction

Further Update: Andriasang has had a look through the Interview and done a slightly better job of translating the salient points.
Interview with director from producers and Yoshimura Y. Tomizawa.

The lack of information is not to have worried users. Our motto was just do not talk about anything. That communication was a painful situation

Gil: To meet the expectations of the user, it was necessary for a lot of trial and error

Gil: this period was a fierce day-to-day work. I want you to feel that the direction of evolution met users expectations, teamed had repeatedly broke. The idea is exceeded, and to meet the expectations in the new concept is hung. But that you are scheduled to be released in 2012, The new concept takes itself a little more towards the realization of development. I want you to expect the trend to early fall is also available so that a big surprise

Gil: Brad arts system to evolve into powerful mortal in nature and are using the action. Become mortal and go with the technique, we are strengthening to the next stage and knock down more Brad arts are also set to Action. Brad Arts is one character to master, with Buster blade things to remember is to be used in a weapon which

Gil: Not only weapon, that can grow their own player Gil limitations: acquisition between categories weapon is not to learn the skills of the other When you return to the branch even in the special technique branch able to

Gil: The total number of well over 100 arts Brad Gil Prereq: Brad arts is displayed only possible to learn next. Although some necessary arms, one hand basically to learn.

 I know that you are using a special technique in multiplayer fellow also becomes important. It was Bando everyone, it became possible to demonstrate individuality in GE

Gil: Communication wants to occur or have been using the technique fellow does not know at all ... etc. Gil: Digimon with over 100 although , I would like to propose a new multiplayer it makes sense to spear embedded player, also a rookie that fun. Details at a later date.

NPC is a significant presence for the GE series, enjoy Chara episode the process or to enhance the same to remember Brad Arts.

Gil: Since the positioning Blood Arts of NPC that, to grow in the experience of the episode, action anti-player Restraints that do not If you do not there is no come to propose a mission from the NPC at a certain time.
Gil: The main scenario is independent, be forwarded when your favorite character to sub NPC in the sense of previous work: Gil have prepared the episode.

 This is the main and sub-classification that is not Gil: Why did you suffered a new beret illustration Alisa has been announced today, may have a secret screen in the photo?

Character models are adjusted by the policy to be represented in the game illustrations

Gil: we are looking at the graphics in response to the reaction in TGS2011 was a concept the previous model that you want to enrich the expression of feeling was adjusted so many parts are not transmitted the new element are provided on many factors, not just this yet. Since you will also evolved mission, I want you to look forward to further news, including new characters.

Oriignal Japanese interview text here, if you want to try other translation tools, or can read it yourself.

Monday, July 23, 2012

PS Vita seen controlling an iPhone

I'm guessing this is another network control job, like the Vita controlling a Wii, PC and other videos we've seen recently, but it still looks neat, and shows off the can of worms that Sony has opened with PlayStation Mobile. On the practical scale, this is a lot less useful than running a PC, but still nice to see. I'm sure Apple's lawyers will be visiting shortly to make sure the creator hasn't magically ported iOS to the Vita.

So, where's that Kingdom Hearts HD remix then?

With little-to-no actual news today, I was digging in the archives, wondering what we'd been missing updates on recently. Announced at the end of May, the Kingdom Hearts HD remix is a likely candidate for showing at TGS, here's a trailer with a Summer 2013 release date, which seems a tad excessive.

Namco shows off One Piece Romance Dawn trailer

Okay, guess who can't capitalise PlayStation properly. Following on from the recent announcement, here's Namco Bandai's rather feeble first trailer showing off the town and surroundings for this pirate-themed RPG with a dash of combat.


The PSP game will be out later this year in Japan, minimal chance of a western showing, but should look good on the Vita.

Global Vita sales firm if uninspiring last week

Not sure where they get the data from (likely VG Chartz and Media Create), but French blog PlanetePSVita has the latest global sales which show the Vita holding steady, if down on recent highs (thanks to Persona 4 and the white model in Japan).

Interestingly, both the PSP and Vita are doing best across Europe, which comes as a surprise, while America is seemingly lagging behind with the PSP a dead-stick over there. Is the 1000-model PSP actually selling well in Europe? That'd be handy as a cash-cow for Sony if it is.

Real Boxing to be shown at Gamescom, with Oscar-winning MoCap

I first mentioned Polish firm Vivid Games and its upcoming Vita titles a while back. The company now has news that it will be showing Real Boxing at Gamescom, and ahead of the show explains some of the technology used to make it "real." The game will be unveiled at Gamescom, so expect more news then.

In Real Boxing (also coming to smartphones) we are aiming for the highest visual quality. To achieve such a demanding goal, we decided to use the most advanced technology and to cooperate with the finest specialists. In the process of development we will utilise Unreal Engine 3, and the animation will be created by Dash Dot Creations, one of the best animation studios in Poland. In order to provide highly realistic experience we used motion capture sessions at Alvernia Studios, the same place that seen the process of preparing the animations for such games as: Witcher 2, Bullet Storm and Dead Island.



During the mocap sessions, Alvernia Studios uses the newest technology by Vicon – awarded the technological Oscar for its proprietary MoCap system. with 24 Vicon T160 16mpix cameras that operate at 120 frames/sec. They allow us to capture shots with up to six actors simultaneously. No word on the company's other Vita game, Bright.

Latest UK Vita charts

This week's chart see Snake finally dethroned from the top of the UK's Vita table by the ever virile FIFA Football. With news of FIFA 13 making increasing noises, will sales of the Vita's first football game start to slide now?

1 + FIFA FOOTBALL EA SPORTS
2 - METAL GEAR SOLID HD COLLECTION KONAMI
3 = LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES WARNER BROS
4 = RAYMAN ORIGINS UBISOFT
5 = MODNATION RACERS: ROAD TRIP SONY COMPUTER
6 = UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS SONY COMPUTER
7 = RESISTANCE: BURNING SKIES SONY COMPUTER
8 = GRAVITY RUSH SONY COMPUTER
9 + MORTAL KOMBAT WARNER BROS
10 + LITTLE DEVIANTS SONY COMPUTER

Last week Ubisoft noted that the Vita accounted for just 2% of its revenue, which means that the long-standing top-five dweller Rayman must account for most of that. Last week's chart details here.

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

FIFA 13 shows off its skills in a new mode

A new post on the FIFA 13 blog sees the start of a stream of information in the next few weeks about the upcoming EA soccer monster. The first installment takes us through the Skill Games, a new element for the series (not sure if they'll be included in the Vita version though).


Replacing the bland arena "loading" screens, you'll have a limited time to complete 32 challenges across 8 categories that help you learn the game better and master specific skills, from keeping control, to passing and crossing. With leader boards and aiming for a Legendary top rating, they'll make your pre-match preparations all the more fun.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Out in the sun watching Sound Shapes do Beck

This game should be genius to play but it doesn't look like much. If you told someone that jumping an egg over some sounds was fun, strange looks would ensue.

See for yourself over on the US PSN blog, (sorry, out in the sun, so unable to do proper links).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3 and other PSP games losing radio contact

In this inevitable move forward, more and more games are having their multiplayer component sacrificed, due to lack of use, or lack of money. Sony Europe is shutting down one of the best PSP online games, SOCOM 3 and racer MotorStorm Arctic Edge, along with the rather less essential Eye of Judgement. <br> <br>



Personally, I only ever played a bit of WipEout online on the PSP, but for die-hard fans of these games, losing that little social niche will probably be a major disappointment, and makes future sales of these titles on PSN rather dismal. 

Dyad developer says PS Vita version should be free (if you got the PS3 version)

Having said earlier in the week that he might well port Dyad over to the Vita, developer Shawn McGrath is now saying he would do it, if it doesn't turn out to be crap, and that it is available free if gamers got the PS3 version first. Which should be doable, given that quite a few games are now adopting this model. Check out interview here.

Devs say LittleBigPlanet and PS All-Stars match or beat the PS3 versions

Two developers have said in recent interviews that their Vita versions of games are identical to, or surpass, the PS3 equivalents. Over on high-tech site, The Verge, SuperBot say the game is nearly identical to the PS3 version, with both running at 60fps and apart from slight camera dynamics to allow users to keep focus on their character, there is little to choose between them.



Over at TGL, an interview with XDev producer Tom O'Connor highlights some of the improvements on LBP Vita that move it above the PS3 offering. For example:
TGL: What are the main differences between LBP on Vita and PS3 besides the unique Vita controls?
TO’C: There’s a massive list of creative differences. We’ve tried to make things easier to build for one. There are things you could build on LBP on PS3 that were really difficult, but now on the Vita version, we’re giving you new tools to make those once difficult items much easier to build. Then there’s the memoriser tool. That’s a game changer. It allows you to save anywhere you want in whatever game you build. If you wanted to create a 50 hour RPG in LBP Vita, you can. There’s nothing stopping you now. On top of that, you have all the new Vita functionality, like front and rear touch, the cameras and tilt. They all seem like obvious things but you couldn’t do these on PS3. We’ve brought over the best bits of LBP on PS3, some tools from the PSP version and now with all the unique options on Vita, we think LBP Vita is the most definitive version of LBP yet.
So, the Vita can happily keep pace with the PS3 and surpass it in some ways. All of this will be useful ammo for developers in the coming years. And if a game just isn't as good as the PS3 equivalent, then it most likely down to poor development processes than the hardware.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Opinion: Jet Set Radio on iOS and Vita, a price challenge

A couple of things have appeared this week. For a start Plants vs. Zombies for the Vita got a price cut to £6.49 (while only being £2 on iOS and cheaper still on Steam). Now we get Jet Set Radio coming to iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

I have no idea what Sega are planning on selling the Vita (and big console versions) for, but I'll be slightly put off it is vastly more than phone and tablet owners are paying for their copies. Sure, they have to put up with borked controls (possibly), although given this late announcement, I suspect some cunning coder has come up with a neat touch control system, perhaps even based on what they're working out on the Vita.

Who knows! But price is king and if the game is fun to play on a phone, I'll happily throw a couple of quid in the App Store, rather than get gouged for the pleasure of playing it on my Vita. Sure, I get the maths, Sega can expect to sell millions on iOS, and perhaps only 100,000 tops of the Vita around the world. But its not like this is a whole new game, developed from scratch. All the developers have done is upscaled the graphics and tweaked the control systems, and bolted them into new hardware-specific packages. So, come on Sega, play fair on this one!

Madden 13 PS Vita bundle in safe hands

I would have thought Sony would have been marketing this a bit more by now, but no, I just stumbled randomly on it when checking out the Amazon US site.

It doesn't even come with a memory card, so isn't much a bundle, but if you need a Vita, this could be yours for $249 from 28 August. This follows a newish tradition as last year's version of the game featured in a PSP bundle.

Final Fantasy III on PSP gets an English accent

Andriasang has a huge stack of screenshots and artwork showing off the lovely-looking PSP version of Final Fantasy III. One of them even has English text, which suggests die-hard fans will be able to easily import this game, if there's a delay with Square getting it over here, if they bother to do so.


I imported FFI this way, when that came out, and had no trouble playing it as nature intended (joke). Looks like this will complete the series for PSP owners. While Vita owners will have to wait for PSOne compatibility and wait for the next Final Fantasy sale to get their hands on all the series, with the FFX HD remaster to round things off neatly.

PQube bringing the World Rally Championships to PS Vita

UK publisher PQube is bring the Official World Rally Championship 3 title to the PS Vita. The game will offer over 50 official teams across the classes with over 35 cars and including the brand new Volkswagen Polo R WRC test car, Renault Twingo R2 and the Proton Satria Neo S2000. The title is out on the 12th October.


Each championship track has been recreated with a career mode to help you rise through the ranks. The Road to Glory offers a blend of racing and management with RPG elements. Begin your career and play through as a new driver on the professional circuit – just as you would in real life. Customise your cars, liveries, team and also un-lock new items. It also features super special stages, rallies, challenges (Drift contest, Top Rally Contest, Crash and Run to liven things up), “boss” characters, tournaments and head-to-head elimination battles.


The RC Experience puts you in the driving seat during the 2012 World Rally Championships season. Choose from over 50 drivers (including top British Racer Matthew Wilson and current World Champion and rally phenom, Sebastian Loeb) and race all of the official tracks, battling for pole position and the maximum number of points for each stage.

WRC Online is an exciting multiplayer game mode that allows players to race Single Stage, Single Super Special Stage, Single Rally or a whole Championship. A full list of tracks and cars, and some itty bitts screens can be found on the game's home page, slightly bigger pic on the game's Facebook page.

Street Fighter x Tekken hits Europe on 19 October

Street Fighter X Tekken has a launch date for European Vita owners. The game will deliver all the content from the home console version plus new features when it launches on October 19, 2012.

These PS Vita exclusive features include:
  • Augmented Reality: Pose and take pictures of your favourite characters, and then place them in real life photos.
  • Front and Rear Touch Panels: Create the size and positioning of extra buttons on the front and rear touch panels, and customise these with different moves. Also, menus now work with the touch screen.
  • Near: Customise the costumes of your characters, and share them with other Vita owners that pass by. Collect other players’ custom costumes.
  • KO Monument: Collect trophies from the players you beat and build the ultimate KO monument.


Street Fighter x Tekken Vita will deliver a total of 55 playable characters. In addition to the core roster of 38 characters from the console version and the five exclusive characters from the PS3 version, the PS Vita version will arrive with a free download code for the 12 new playable characters: Blanka, Cody, Dudley, Elena, Guy and Sakura from the Street Fighter side, and Alisa Bosconovitch, Bryan Fury, Christie Monteiro, Jack-X, Lars Alexandersson and Lei Wulong from the Tekken side.

The game will also offer Cross-Platform Play with PS Vita players being able to compete against PS3 players as well as the ability to challenge other owners wherever they are in the world either locally via Ad-Hoc or online via Wi-Fi or through the PS Vita’s 3G connection (really, a fighting game over 3G? That'll be interesting, unless by challenge they just mean send them a message?).

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: Persona 3 Portable (PSP)

I like Persona 3 Portable for many different reasons. Firstly, there's very little mind-numbing exposition and introduction. You're pretty much straight into the game, controlling your character (him or her in the PSP udpate) through the introductory stages.

Secondly, the game opens up with near perfect pacing. New areas and skills become available quickly enough to keep you hooked. Also, nothing gets boring, the travel back and forth between places can be speeded up by maps and shortcuts, conversations can be jogged through. That'd be fine in any game, but with a story as dark and intense as Persona's things rattle right along.

But what is Persona? You might be asking. Well, its a role playing adventure game where your character (and party of friends) blow their brains out on a nightly basis to summon powerful spirits (the Personas of the title) to fight off demonic foes that appear at the midnight hour (a sort of extra happy hour for malcontent demons to try to take over our world). That'd be a lot to take on, especially for the bunch of students who make up most of the team.


They have to attend school during the day and bust demons by night. Which leaves them tired and grouchy at times, but an essential part of the game is forming relationships with new people to help craft your personas for the night's battles ahead. Combat is turn-based, and you don't need a persona for each battle, weaker characters can be seen off with a sword, other weapon or elemental spell.

The higher up the 250-storey tower of Tartarus you go (that's what your dorm turns into during the lost hour) the bigger, meaner and nastier the fights become, so you'll need stronger personas. Each one has strengths and weaknesses, so is useful in some situations. As a major bonus, your character is the only one who can choose from multiple personas.

As well as levelling them up in combat, you can go to a special "Velvet" room and combine two personas into one new one, influenced by your social status and standing at school. All of these elements flow neatly together through night and day, creating two distinct atmospheres, each with their own challenge and aims.


Nothing within the games mechanics is overly complicated, combat is fast and fun, with helpful but non-intrusive advice from your advisers like the lovely Mitsuru. While portals zip you up and down the levels of the massive tower to keep you pushing ahead. Crafting personas is a brief but thoughtful process and the school's social scene is a fun minefield to navigate.

Soundtracked by beautiful music, and with slick graphics throughout, the only real aesthetic let down is the randomly generated Tartarus levels which look a little primitive. Otherwise this game is everything I'd hoped for from all the hype and make me look forward to Persona 4 Golden immensely, but I'd be quite happy to grab Persona 1 and 2 from the PSN while we wait. As an example of great game design, this really impresses, by letting the player get on with it is leaps ahead of games that have a lot less plot but spend ages dragging you through it and the interweaving of school and nightly terrors is a brilliant leap by the creators.

I'm sure the game gets better, deeper and more nuanced as you get further in, but I'm happy to write this now, with a wholehearted recommendation, based on the excellent introductory experience and early going so far.

Price: £23.99 (PSN, played on PS Vita)
Score: 9/10
Progress: Only in the twenties, gulp
More reviews

Set the date: Sony's Gamescom press event, games, firmware and price cuts

Sony has hinted at a heavy Vita focus, it had better damn well deliver. I'll be the one at (virtual) ringside with the scorecards and anything less than a 9.8 will leave me feeling seriously grumpy. Capcom has already promised "an event to remember" for Gamescom, so I'm wondering if the two have something scaly up their collective sleeves. Anything less than an awesome showing and the industry will turn on Sony, and any response like "oh, wait until Autumn 2013 or 2014" won't cut it for consumers.

To earn that score, or more, Sony needs new games, big new games and big fricking new games with lasers on. Tune in Tuesday, 14th of August at 19.00pm (guessing that's CET, so 6PM U.K., 2PM EST etc) to see what Sony and partners can deliver.

The full show starts the following day. There's already news of a new dinky PS3 in the air, but its all about the games and Sony had better have them. I also think Sony Japan will run its Games Heaven event to coincide over in Asia, possibly with the release of the new firmware update 1.80 to enable PSOne play on the Vita.

Now that all the clamour for a price cut has fallen away, I'd be stunned if Sony decided to pull one out of the hat, but I guess that's down to how well (or badly) the Vita is selling in America and Europe.

Go star gazing on your Japanese PSP with Sega

Sega is launching a download version of Homestar, a digital guide, on the Japanese PSN which will help PSP and Vita owners learn about the stars, planets and other celestial phenomena. More of an ambient tour, rather than hard science, a Vita version would be a lot better as it could use the tilt and GPS functions to help locate and identify what users are looking at.


Then again, perhaps lots of Japanese brought that PSP GPS peripheral that was a rare sight in the west. Although, in metropolitan Tokyo, I'd be stunned if they could see any constellations at all (perhaps that's why it is so popular). The original UMD release was back in 2006, so you wonder if they've updated it with all the new cool stuff we've discovered in recent years? Its star plotter will show the sky hundreds of years into the future, so that bit is okay.

Super Danganronpa 2 gets ad spots and limited edition

Have top-scored in this week's Famitsu, Spike Chunsoft is advertising the heck out of its new PSP title which is out next week. The detective game subtitled Farewell School of Despair and comes in regular and limited editions.


The limited edition will include:

- Monokuma Porch
- Super DanganRonpa 2 Character Booklet
- Soundtrack & Cast Comment CD
- D4 Monokuma Monomi Rubber Strap
- Monokuma Medal
- Kibou ga Mine Gakuen School badge
- Original Custom Theme Download Cod
- Original Design B2 Poster
- Monokuma Jacquard Towel
- Monomi Mug



The official site is also worth a peek.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Persona 4 Golden US boxart shown off

Atlus is sending round an email showing off what Persona 4 Golden will look like on the shelves, still not as bright as the game's website, but still pretty darn cheery.

The game is easily the best selling Japanese Vita title, and considering how well Ghostlight has done with the PSP titles in Europe, I'm guessing it will do great things in the west too.

Hatsune Miku tops Amazon Japan's pre-order chart

Want to know what Japanese gamers are planning to buy for their Vita? The latest list on their Amazon site gives us a pretty good idea. Hatsune Miku has been there for some time, suggesting huge sales, while Nippon Ichi will be delighted to see the relatively recently announced SRD doing so well.

Orgarhythm doesn't look to be doing quite so well, while Ys Celceta should move up the list in the coming weeks. I'll check back in a month or so to see how things are doing. Click on a link to find more news on each title. A couple are deeply Japan-only but worth checking out the YouTube videos.

1. Hatsune Miku Project Diva F (Sega)30/8
2. Special Reporting Section (Nippon Ichi) 23/8
3. Street Fighter x Tekken (Capcom)25/10
4. Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2012 (Konami) 21/7
5. Earth Defense Force 3 PORTABLE (D3) 27/9
6. Moe Moe Modern Burn (Aplha) 2/8
7. Nobunaga no Yabou Tendou (Koei Tecmo) 27/9
8. FIFA 13 (EA) 18/10
9. Orgarhythm (Acquire) 8/9
10. Ys Celceta (Falcom) 27/9

Matsune Miku Project Diva F hitting Vita in weeks

At the end of August the Vita is likely to have its second No. 1 hit in Japan with the singing sensation that is Project Diva. And with art like this, its easy to understand why Japanese gamers have fallen under her spell.

There's a collection of new screenshots and art from the game on Famitsu, and along with videos like this, the marketing drive is being ratcheted up week after week.
With a white PS Vita bundle also on sale, I'd imagine hardware sales will get a healthy kick too. The last Miku game arrived on the 3DS early in the year and sold around 130,000 before leaving the chart. Sega would hope that this Diva version does a whole lot better. The game has been top of Amazon Japan's pre-order chart for some time, so I'm thinking something special could be on the cards saleswise.

Foosball 2012 and Wizorb hitting the Vita next week

Table top football will arrive on the Vita next week with Grip Games' cross-play release available for £5.99 ($7.99) (for both PS3 and Vita versions) or £3.99 ($5.99) for PS Plus subscribers on PSN.
It will hit US and European stores the same week

Check out the Foosball 2012 website, for more information, screens and social links. Could be another little gem (well, 140Mb gem) to tide us over until the Autumn gaming season arrives.

Wizorb from Tribute Games is a mini title with a decidedly old school Arkanoid feel to it. It plays on PS3, PSP and Vita and will cost $3.99 on the US store next week, no mention of an EU release.