Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sega showing Phantasy Star Online 2 at TGS, what chance Yakuza on Vita?

Surprises kept firmly under wraps for now, Sega has announced that will be showing off the latest news on Phantasy Star Online 2 for the Vita, plus it will be handling EA's FIFA and Need for Speed titles on the format, perhaps giving us a better look than was seen at Gamescom.

While we can only guess at what, if any, surprises Sega has in store, I have a sneaking suspicion that a Vita Yakuza game might be announced and would love to see one of the recent Out-Runs or Sega Rally titles ported over some rapid-play auto action.

With Sega and other Japanese developers showing a massive focus on mobile titles, it'll be interesting to see if the Vita can make some noise against that tide.

Will Fox Engine make for scalable cross-gen Metal Gear games?

Everyone present went "ooh" and "aah" at the Metal Gear 25th anniversary event, as Hideo Kojima showed off the Fox Engine-powered Metal Gear Ground Zeroes. No shots have leaked out of worth, but the likelihood is that Fox Engine can power both this and next generation games, much like Square's Luminous Engine, the new Unreal Engine 4 and so on.

That scalability should also enable future games developed on it to hit the Vita, and there's every reason to think that Kojima's next-gen babies will head our way, as he has put so much into the PSP and Vita so far. It is a shame that Revengeance can't make it across, but that non-Konami engine is clearly less scalable, doing things the Vita can't hope to pull off.

Gravity Daze's Kat relaxes with a touch of Golf

Having pulled a city back together in Gravity Daze, the gravity defying queen must like to take time off wandering the greens of her local links course. Whatever, she's being roped in as a DLC character in Hot Shots (Everybody's) Golf on the Vita.

Wonder if she'll move between shots with gigantic leaps through the air, or cling to the trees for a better view? Either way, the lady does need to get out more, aside from an inevitable PS3 version of the game she deserves more.

Vita's Fate/Night Stay gets an uprated trailer

The new Vita remake from Kadokawa and Type Moon gets an extensive trailer boasting of the higher quality visuals, voice work, animation and other additional features that should see this go down a storm. It will also propably lose any of the adult content from the original PC version.

Battle Royale doing a beta test on the Vita

I like this beta concept on the Vita, I had a little play on LittleBigPlanet and now Sony is offering the chance to join in some early fun on ASBR. The test runs on a pretty tight schedule, on Tuesday 11th September and Tuesday 18th September 2012.

Those chosen will be notified via email and will be able to access the PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale section of PSN Beta. Once logged in, you can retrieve your voucher code and find out about the test night information and any requirements we may have of you – our PlayStation Community.

Check out the PSN blog for information on how to sign up for this beta, and as a Vita gamer you probably stand a better chance of getting into than the PS3 crowd.

Gunhound EX shooting up the PSP

For some reason, the PSP never got that many shooters (outside of Japan). It is getting at least one more with Dracue's Gunhound EX offering bullet hell for the handheld, it will be released on UMD if you fancy a die-hard import.

  Andriasang has some pics and details, there's a new story mode and limited edition.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sony Carry On with the whole tablet thing

Having never released a sales figure (as far as I know) for the Tablet S and P devices, which were hyped with PlayStation branding, Sony is having another go, with a US$400 Xperia Tablet S. It keeps the original's unique tear design but adds the smartphone brand name to increase some market awareness.

The Xperia Tablet S features a Tegra 3 chip, Android 4.0 (not 4.1, cough) and up to 64GB of built-in storage, an SD card slot, a 9.4-inch (1,280 x 800) IPS screen and a chunky 6,000mAh battery promising lengthy play time. It will be PlayStation Mobile compatible, but as a full Android tablet should offer the full range of smartphone gaming. However, since PSM is dropping PS one support, no Crash Bandicoot!

2000th Post, Sony launches PS Vita's PS one games fest with a sale

On the no-Vita stuff PSN update post, Sony's blogger said "I am extremely busy today sorting out some PSOne deals for you..." So, hopefully we'll be picking up a bunch of cheap old games on the when the update goes live.

UPDATE: Sony is making changes to the store, no entries yet (update to the update), lists are now populated, break out those PSN vouchers) but here's the new addition. Some of my PS one titles are appearing as ready to download in my History list. So go, go, go!

Original story: Now, here's the press release, as I'm too busy reloading PSN on my Vita:

 Over 100 Classic PlayStation Titles Explode onto PlayStation Vita to enhance the ultimate games collection with games priced from only £0.99, PlayStation One Classics are coming to PS Vita to complete the ultimate digital games line-up including PSP, "minis" and exclusive PS Vita games.

A full list of titles can be found at, but highlights from the range include:

Tekken 2 (SCEE) – Fan favourite of the popular fighting series Tekken
Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus(GT Interactive) – Quirky platformer starring the unusual, but iconic Abe
Tomb Raider II Starring Lara Croft (Rebellion) – Hugely popular sequel to the genre-defining action / adventure game Tomb Raider
Crash Bandicoot (SCEE) – Classic platforming action from Naughty Dog, creators of Uncharted and The Last of Us
SILENT HILL (Konami) – Debut chapter in the terrifying survival horror game series that has been haunting dreams since 1999
Vagrant Story (Square Enix) – Square Soft developed action / adventure role playing game that focuses on weapon creation and modification, as well as elements of puzzle-solving and strategy
WipEout (SCEE) – First in the series of futuristic racing games set in the year 2025
GRANDIA (Ubisoft)– Role-playing game set in a fantasy world of emerging technology and exploration
Ridge Racer Type 4 (Namco Bandai Europe) – Arcade racing at its finest

A few requests for PS Vita firmware 1.90

While I'm expecting sex-on-the-beach from firmware 2.0, Sony can have a little well-earned rest after the travails of getting 1.80 out to us. However, in between there should be a little 1.90 step up. And I'd like to make a couple of requests.

PSN download history list sort function: My list goes back to 2007, it is rather hard to find things in that long list, exacerbated by the Vita's silly costly memory card limitation and poor PC back up experience. So, its quicker just to re-download old stuff, if I can find it. Therefore, please add a sort function this list by format (PS One, PSP, PS3, Vita) and type (demo, game, DLC, other).

While Sony is at it, I have some games with dozens of bits of DLC (MotorStorm for example), so a Super Download All button would be really helpful.

A new start up sequence: I was really disappointed when I turned my Vita on for the first time. How dismal compared to PS1, PS2 and PSP it looked, and it'll never make it into those cool YouTube greatest start up lists.

When I turn it on from cold, I'd like a snazzy animation and couple of symphonic bars to remind me I'm in the world of PlayStation. It doesn't need to do it every time I hit the power button, just those odd total restarts. Also, I don't have epilepsy, so I'd like to turn that warning off please!

Those are my small ideas, but, what would you like to see in a monstrous 2.0 update?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lego Lord of the Rings and Silent Hill get covered

Not sure I've seen these before today, but its possible. Anyway check out the cover art for the latest Vita LEGO title, which does a neat line in plastic mean and moody, while Silent Hill goes all dictionary corner on us, belying the silliness we've seen in recent screenshots of the game.

Your Trophies of Montezuma can now be linked to PSN

Treasures of Montezuma, the funny little free game that is quite good now, if you haven't tried it since the updates, just got a little bit better. One of the hidden features of firmware 1.80 is that this and other free games with trophies will now Sync to PSN for you.

So, you can wave them at your friends on PSN, or other gaming services. All you need do is install 1.80, run the game, then run the Trophy app to sync them. Dedicated players should get a nice boost to their stats.

New Need for Speed Most Wanted trailer whizzes by

So, Criterion have teased us with a visually comparable, feature matching, version of this have they. I can't wait to see it, in fact I'm getting a bit fed up with EA ignoring the Vita versions of all their games. Still, if it looks anything like this, I'll be a very happy (old) boy racer.

And with Autolog, I'm assuming I can play it on my Xbox then carry on with my Vita version, or have I got the wrong end of the stick there?

PS Vita firmware 1.80 out NOW

What are you waiting for, hit that system update button on your Vita. What other gaming platform can claim to have 100+ "new" games out for it on a single day? Enjoy the likes of the original Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Ridge Racer Type 4 and others, assuming you have the card space.

If you don't hear from me in the next few days, its because there's no real news from now until Tokyo Game Show and because I'll be running through Vagrant Story and a few other fasvourites just one more time. Then again, quite a few PSOne games I picked up look like utter stinkers now, so be careful what you choose.

Nuts, you can't download PS One games from your history list, and the store doesn't have a PS One section yet. Anyone tried side-loading? Elsewhere, there is now a Settings option to enable interface control through the Vita's buttons, it is not on by default.

Here's the PSN post with all the games that you still can't play listed. Don't feel too chipper about that 100 games number, the Japanese have over 600 titles headed their way! (Although many of them are probably Pachinko games). Come on Sony, how hard is it to link two updates together? Its not like there are huge numbers of Vita users to swamp your servers.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Earth Defense Force 3 Portable hits the bars

I have no idea what this commercial for the Vita revamp of the PS title means, but I'd like to share a beer with that man. The game from D3 Publishing is out in Japan at the end of September and should prove another popular boost for the Vita.

Since the PS3 version made it over here, published by Namco, a western release for the Vita title would be greatly appreciated. Especially the double pack for nearly the price of one, so friends can go bug splatting together.

MonkeyPaw's PS One games join the Vita army tomorrow

MonkeyPaw Games' list of published titles from the Classic PSN library get a new lease of life for Vita owners tomorrow. The company has brought some Japanese classics to western audiences with the latest, Alundra, topping the list.

Here's the full list of MonkeyPaw Games titles to be playable on PS Vita tomorrow, with links to video where I have them.

Vanguard Bandits
Arc the Lad
Arc the Lad II

What games will you be playing when the 1.80 Vita firmware update hits? Will playing these games on a bigger screen with a smidge of filtering make that much difference to you, aside from the second stick?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Konami confirms New Little Kings Story for September

As if the next few months aren't going to be busy enough, we now have New Little King's Story from Konami shipping a little earlier than planned at the end of September. That's just in between LittleBigPlanet and FIFA 13.

Enjoy the first 20 minutes of the game in Japanese

The Vita update of this Wii title features upgraded 2D and 3D graphics, touch controls, and DLC, along with co-op play and online leaderboards to add to the challenge. We're pretty light on cute RPGs over here, but will New Little King’s Story stand much of a chance against the avalanche of big new titles.

Star Wars 1313 not coming to Vita, in case you were wondering

LucasArts, at a massive Star Wars celebration event, has made the non-shock revelation that 1313 won't be a Vita or 3DS release, just in case you had some mad lingering hope on that front.

The powerhouse single-player game will be big console only, and still hasn't been confirmed as this-gen or next. That's according to IGN who has some new video from the event.

Samurai Beatdown coming to PlayStation Mobile from Beatnik

Beatnik is a UK developer whose Plain Sight, was a gorgeous robotic combat title on Steam. Samurai Beatdown is a little less refined, mixing rhythm action and hitting people with sticks. In it, you hack and slash your way with deadly rhythmic accuracy through levels in what will be a constantly updated and expanding Musical Brawler!

The game is coming to Vita and compatible Android devices via PlayStation Mobile. With all the musical and singing action coming the Vita's way, how long before Andrew Lloyd Webber has a game out for it? There's a little more info and imagery on the Beatnik Blog.

More PSM games here.

Dokuro celebrates 100,000 trial downloads

With only 800,000 gamers with the Vita in Japan, Dokuro's (more about the game here) developers seem pretty happy that one in eight of them have downloaded the trial of the spooky platformer. How many of them have gone on to buy the fully game is a different matter, but ever-grateful, they've put a new pic to celebrate.

I don't think there's been any word of a western release, but can't Sony just put the Japanese demo up on PSN for us to try and guage interest, can't hurt can it? How about a new section on the Vita for foreign game demos, is it really that difficult? I used to love trying out non-EU PSP demos, which you could just download.

Some DJ Max Tunes in action

There's a DJ Max festival going on in Japan next week, with events in various cities. In this Japanese video, a DJ and game producer shows players around some of the songs, worth a quick peek. The South Korean game is out on the 20th September in its homeland, and at the end of September in Japan. A western release is promised but no idea when.

SpyHunter dated and ready for sneaky pre-orders

Spy Hunter on the Vita and 3DS has been given a 1 October roll-out date by Warner, some glossy new box art and is now available to pre-order from most US online stores for around $40.

Still haven't seen any decent size Vita images, so hard to tell how good or bad it'll look and the early videos were all 3DS, so hard to judge the gameplay. On the plus side, the game's Facebook page is adding tunes from the soundtrack, with a slinky new rendition of the Peter Gunn theme, click below to give it a listen. 

Madden 13 on Vita reviews start breaking tackles

The first reviews are out for Madden 13 on the Vita, and having heard some grumblings based on the demo, I'm not too surprised to see that they're a mixed bag.

We have a fairly detailed review from GamrReview giving it a 7.8/10, GamerHub has a poor semi-literate review but still manages to give the game a 3.5/5. FanBolt seems a bit less impressed giving it a 6 out of 10

I'll add more reviews as they show up, but on the whole (and for a first effort) this doesn't seem a bad effort from EA Sports, but it'll have to be on a par with the features of the console versions come 14.

You can find the game's Trophy list here.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Keiji Inafune talks Soul Sacrifice and Monster Hunter

I've just been playing Walking Dead on the Xbox and found some of those live-or-die, and conversational choices pretty hard to make. So quite what I'll make of some of what's on offer in Soul Sacrifice is something that puts shivers down my spine.

Keiji Inafune has an interview up on the PSN blog which discusses some of these points, and as he had a hand in the development of Monster Hunter, we have to hope he's added a brilliant spin on that theme to attract the MH crowd.
"PSB: Is there an advantage to sacrificing versus saving? Does your character develop differently?
KI: You’ve probably heard that you can customize your character, and you’ll have a lot of choices and options. But the way you choose to fight will affect your appearance. So if you keep on saving, or keep on sacrificing, the visual effect will look different; you’ll look more angelic if you keep saving, more evil if you keep sacrificing."

PSB: Developers have taken many strategies in creating PS Vita titles, from bite-sized games to home console-style games. What do you think makes the best portable experience?
KI: I was very involved with the Monster Hunter series, one that pioneered multiplayer gaming in a portable device, and I think my experience there will be very valuable as I explore PS Vita’s opportunities. That said, though there are many ways to approach game design I think that real-time online multiplayer is the most fun and exciting, though it can be challenging to create. In a portable gaming environment, you can’t have hours and hours of gameplay – 30 minutes is probably the comfort zone. I like to view it as playing chapter by chapter, as opposed to the whole book. At the end of each chapter, I like to see results. In Soul Sacrifice, for example, you fight the boss character and at the end of the battle you decide whether to save or sacrifice [and that provides a payoff]. At the end of the game, you’ll have a whole “book” of experiences. From my perspective, that approach makes a lot of sense for PS Vita design.

WRC 3 goes to Argentina in new video

Another day, another World Rally Championship video (after the recent Portugal round) showing off the equally dusty climes of Argentina's tight and twisty dirt stages in a VW Polo.

Persona 4 getting a Solid Gold edition

Vita gamers upset by the endless Japanese special editions are starting to get some love from publishers in the west now. Yesterday, we saw the Ragnarok Mercenary edition and today we get news of Atlus' Persona 4 Golden, Solid Gold Edition, a 10,000 unit special box.

Europeans probably need to get their import radar working. I'm pretty sure there is still no official publisher or release date for this or Ragnarok in Europe, someone needs to sort it out, fast! Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Check out the new apps video for PS Vita

Sony sneaked out a new video showing the upcoming apps for the Vita, ignore the first 35 seconds showing the already available social apps, and focus on the new stuff. That includes Ecolibrium, Imaginstruments, and the virtual grafitti game t@g plus some other gems.

Panic! coming to PlayStation Mobile from Thumbs Up

There's a lot of stress relief in these upcoming PlayStation Mobile titles, now we get some added panic in the form of, um, Panic! from Thumbs Up It offers top-down puzzle action that requires quick thinking and fast reflexes. A giant alien slime monster is attacking your city! What can you do? Help a few survivors escape the city by creating blockades. Topple houses, drop bombs and throw buoys to save those about to be swallowed by the slime!

It’s all about action and fun! And a whole lot of slime. You know, the green kind you find in your handkerchief. Find out more about the survivors through animated cut-scenes that tell the story of John, the overweight ex-marine, currently a first class police officer. Or granny… She might be old, but she can still wield an 12-gauge. And see what happens once the military get involved in the battle.

More content coming to Phantasy Star Online 2

The western release of PSO2 on the Vita is going to be quite something as Sega continues to pack in the content. This new trailer shows off a bunch of stuff coming in new upgrades to the PC version, with the Vita version due to launch in Japan next spring and in the west some time whenever.

A little closer to now, Special Report Division is out in Japan today, with Hatsune Miku hitting stores next week as the summer lull comes to a tuneful end.

New WRC 3 video takes us to Portugal

Milestone is doing a sterling effort bringing this and FIM Motocross (last story) to the Vita. Here's a recent trailer showing the game off on the dusty tracks around Portugal. Offering the full world rally experience, you can pre-order the game here.

MUD FIM World Championship gets Vita screens, out September

Milestone and publisher PQube have released a batch of new Vita screenshots for MUD - FIM Motocross World Championship, that will hit the handheld in September.

The screenshots are an overview of the amazing Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, a massive and internationally recognised motocross annual event. MUD - FIM Motocross World Championship: feel the real Motocross! Developed and published by Milestone, MUD - FIM Motocross World Championship will be available on PlayStation® Vita in September 2012.

Ys Celceta gets some new Vita screens

Looks like the Japanese gaming news is drying up ahead of Tokyo Games Show, but I'm still seeing the odd snippet here and there. Just out are some new screens for Ys Celceta Sea of Trees which, if I read it right, shows how the touch panel can be used to zoom in and out of the action.

Very decent results, if it moves as smoothly as it looks. Some more pics of this and a couple of spells in action over on 4Gamer.

See Assassin's Creed III Liberation in action on a Vita

Here's a few minutes of Aveline in action on the PS Vita, recorded at Gamescom, showing off the Vita's user interface and some of her moves. Boy, she can out-do Tarzan on the tree-leaping stakes. I'm not too fond off the fat white line highlighting the current target, there has to be a more subtle way of doing that, and I'm pretty sure alligators aren't that easy to kill (but, hey, I'm not an assassin), otherwise I'm full of love for this game.


Ragnarok Odyssey limited Mercenary edition for the States

XSeed is pulling out all the stops by offering a smart limited Mercenary version of multiplayer RPG, Ragnarok Odyssey for western Vita gamers. Packing trading cards, a game guide and soundtrack CD, it is only $10 more than the standard version. Hope it makes it to Europe, although Xseed only has the US rights for the game, based on something I read a few months back.

XSeed has also just put up a western trailer for the game, giving us a little background story... 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sunflowers to bloom in the Autumn on PS Vita

I was hoping to hear more about this French developed title at Gamescom, but after a fairly substantial silence, it has popped up on the PSN blog with some more details about the portrait-oriented horticultural fest. 

Whether you prefer taking care of your flower collection (you’ll come across 330 flowers among the two different worlds), or beating the highest-scores (from one of the six Leaderboards), there are plenty of ways to enjoy SunFlowers.
When Sony presented us the PS Vita at the beginning of 2011, we definitely thought that SunFlowers was a perfect fit for this console so we kept the display as is, just as it was originally designed in the early concept. 
Every world is split into seasons, where specific weather happenings occur — you will need to use the PS Vita’s various features to get rid of them. For instance, during autumn some unexpected falling leaves cover your flowers — lightly shake your PS Vita to make them go away.

So, which PS One games will you play when firmware 1.80 arrives for the Vita

Sony has said that over 100 games should be compatible with the new PS One feature on the Vita. Here's a list of all PS One games on PSN for Europe (138 games) and one for the U.S. (thanks Wikipedians). So which do you fancy trying out on your 21st Century gaming system?

Alundra is the latest arrival to the store, and now the Vita is fully functional, hopefully the pace of releases will pick up a bit. Personally, and as I've said many times, I'll be playing Ridge Racer Type 4 (again), putting some more effort into Vagrant Story and enjoying the lovely Rayman once again from my PSP-era purchases.

Looking at the list, I might pick up Parasite Eve II and Grandia. But some games, like the Tomb Raiders now seem rather superfluous, as you can get the Tomb Raider Legend PSP release for a couple of quid in the summer PSN sale. What do you fancy picking up for your Vita?

Amazon US puts Black Ops Vita bundle up for pre-order

The Black-Ops bunde in now officially out of the black bag as any Tom, Dick or Harry can pre-order it from Amazon, for the princely sum of $249. That gets you a WiFi Vita model, 4GB memory card, and a copy of the game. That's $69 in savings according to the blurb.

Also available are the Madden and Assassin's Creed bundles, making a neat range of titles to tempt new Vita gamers. Hopefully, Amazon UK will have their update soon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Media Molecule devs discuss Tearaway

In a post up on the PSN blog, the team behind the Vita's very own Tearaway had a brief chat about the game and the legacy of LittleBigPlanet after the new title's unveiling at Gamescom. They discuss the unique mechanics and more.

PSN's summer sale running out of sunshine

We're into the home stretch of Sony's PSN summer sale, with a few Vita games still down for some good discounts. This week portable gamers seem to get a rehash of old sales as some familiar PSP titles get a range of reductions.

Among them are Ghostlight's Persona 2 and 3 Portable, plus Trails in the Sky. Well worth getting if you haven't already. Also updated in the sale are some minis and other stuff. These prices will kick in with tomorrow's update. Grab last weeks bargains including the likes of Tomb Raider, Innocent Life and others while you can.

PSP Breath of Fire 3 Was – €9.99/£7.99 Now – €4.99/£3.99
Fate/EXTRA Was – €29.99/£23.99 Now – €17.99/£13.99
International Athletics Was – €6.99/£5.49 Now – €3.99/£3.19
Legend Of Heroes: Trails In The Sky Was – €29.99/£23.99 Now – €17.99/£13.99
Persona 2 Innocent Sin Was – €29.99/£23.99 Now – €17.99/£13.99
Persona 3 Portable Was – €29.99/£23.99 Now – €17.99/£13.99
Spectral Souls II: Resurrection of the Ethereal Empires Was – €14.99/£11.99 Now – €8.99/£7.29
Spectral Vs Generation Was – €7.99/£6.49 Now – €4.99/£3.99
Spinout Was – €6.99/£5.49 Now – €3.59/£2.99
WWII: Battle Over The Pacific Was – €6.99/£5.49 Now – €3.99/£3.19

Guess the Vita version will be called FIFA 13 after all

There seemed to be some uncertainty at Gamescom as to what EA's soccer game on the Vita would actually be called. Even though its not compatible with the PS3 version, it will still get the FIFA 13 name. I know this because here's EA's official cover image, replete with the two English lads fresh from the unveiling yesterday

While the presentation wasn't a patch on EA America's Times Square live unveiling of the Madden 13 cover chap, anything makes a great improvement on Rooney's mug.

LEGO Lord of the Rings team shot

Not much actual news since the Gamescom trailer and a few screens, all we know is it will have 80+ playable characters and the open world mode seen in LEGO Batman 2, but will the Vita get that feature this time?

Anyway, this picture is well worth checking out, would make a great desktop too, if Blogger would let me put up the full size version. The game is due out in October, should expect some more game play news soon.

Another analysis piece on the CoD Black Ops Declassified trailer

After the American enthusiasm of yesterday's guide through the Black Ops Declassified trailer, today, we have a more analytical British view of Nihilistic's take on the franchise with some interesting observations.

ZeeReviewz has noticed some truncating of levels to better suit the smaller player numbers and other points of interest. Again, what do any CoD heavyweights make of what has been shown so far?

Positron brings a neon glow to PlayStation Mobile

Now this looks a little bit familiar, but you can never have too many Tron games in your life. Positron from Retroburn is headed to the Vita and Android devices via PlayStation Mobile. It features three game modes which offer a number of challenges:

Arena Based on the classic Arcade games this mode sees you battling against enemy vehicles that are trying to destroy you by forcing you to crash in to their trails or in to the arena's walls. It is your goal to do the same to these enemies and remove them from the arena. Featuring 12 unique arena designs and layouts the levels progressively get more intricate and more difficult to navigate while also offering more opportunities to take out your enemies.

Maze Your only goal in maze mode is to reach the end of an intricate maze laid out in the arena. There are no enemies to deal with and your only goal is to reach the exit as quickly as possible. Once you have memorized the path to the exit it is then your goal to complete the maze without crashing even a single time and to share your fastest times with the online community. The maze mode offers 3 difficulty levels, each featuring 12 levels with increasingly complicated mazes to complete.

Race Somewhat similar to maze mode, in race mode you must complete laps of a circuit laid out in the arena. The trick is however to avoid hitting your own trail (and the arena walls) on subsequent laps of the tracks! This mode features 12 levels of increasing complexity making navigation more difficult as you progress. Ultimately your goal is to complete the required number of laps as quickly as possible and share your fastest times with the online community.

Hungry Giraffe and Cubixx confirmed for PlayStation Mobile

I saw the sneaky long-necked muncher in action during Sony's Gamescom event, and now Laughing Jackal has confirmed the former PSP mini will be making a break for it on the PlayStation Mobile platform, along with puzzler Cubixx. So, if you haven't snapped it up already, get ready for a, presumably slightly better-looking, piece of fun arcading, coming soon.

I'm compiling a list of all the PlayStation Mobile titles here.

Sixty Second Shooter coming to PS Vita via PlayStation Mobile

Hot on the heels of Switch, comes Sixty Second Shooter, another spacey-looking game headed to PlayStation Mobile so we can play it on the Vita and "compatible devices". You can try the game for free in Google's Chrome browser, but it should look a lot slicker on the Vita's screen under dual-stick power.

Find out more about the developer here. It looks like lots of the signed-up developers will release news on their PSM efforts soon, might need a dedicated page for it. Its not quite Geometry Wars, but we have Super Stardust for that.

Another Digimon game hustling the PSP

To celebrate 15 years of digital monsters, Namco has a bunch of projects in the works, including Digimon Adventure for the PSP. This follows on from the recent launch of Digimon World, which managed a decent 85,000 sales on entry into the Japanese chart recently.

Here's some pics and the official site. The game is scheduled for release in 2013 and likely available on PSN for Vita owners.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Who's on the cover of FIFA 13 alongside Messi?

A live EA press conference is starting right now to unveil the new cover stars for FIFA 13. There are two other spaces on the cover, who will fill them? This is for the UK version, so others will likely differ to cater for local tastes.

We're still not sure what the Vita version will be called, but I'd guess the artwork will be the same. The first player out of the hat, Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. And second, is Joe Hart, Man City's and England's goalie.

Atomicom's Switch coming to Playstation Mobile

Atomicom launched its Android and iOS title Switch back in 2011, an endless racer that sees the player having to avoid barriers and enemy ships whilst the game keeps accelerating. Touted as one of the fastest mobile experiences the game has received praise from its fans and reviewers alike.

Atomicom and Sony Computer Entertainment have announced that Switch will be redesigned exclusively for Playstation Mobile and will have added extras such as new game modes, new enemies, power-ups and objectives along with an improvement in the game’s already stunning graphics. The title is set for release in Q4 2012 on PSM devices including Sony Tablets and PS Vita.

The game feels like WipEout's Zone mode meets GridRunner or Tempest (or something) and is free to play on smartphones. The company also has a KickStarter fund going to try to bring an updated version of Super Off-Road to modern devices.

Criterion talking up Need for Speed on the PS Vita

Criterion is doling out the interviews after Gamescom, now that the news about the Vita version of Need for Speed being a match for the big-screen version, apart from a 4-player MP limit. It would be nice if they could grace us with some video and a few more screenshots, but words will do just as well for now. In a new interview with NowGamer, they spill a few more beans.

Matt Webster, Producer, Criterion Games: This is our Vita game. It's exactly the same game [as the home console versions]. It's the same big open-world, the only difference is the number of players online. This is 4 players online rather than 12, but the experience is exactly the same. It's got the same open-world structure, it's got the same cars, it's got the same Autolog features and the same competition; it's exactly the same. We're really, really thrilled with what we've managed to do on Vita. It's coming along really well. The important thing is that any Speed Points that I earn on Vita, or console, PC, iOS or Android, everything is aggregated into the Most Wanted list, and that's how you compete to be Most Wanted amongst your friends.

More on the Dust 514 PS Vita app

A new PSN post highlights the detail and amazing amount of access PS3/Vita users will be able to get from their Vita app. Of course, things will really kick off when the Vita gets access to the full game, but until then PS3 owners might want a Vita-owning buddy to run the store when they're out.

A quick hands-on session with the app demostrated just how much functionality CCP has managed to squeeze in. Players will have access to the complete Fittings system – allowing you to tinker with your weapon load-outs, armour and various vehicle configurations. And as Eve afficionados will likely be well aware, this is almost a game unto itself, with thousands and thousands of different combinations available. On top of that, the game’s store is fully accessible from the Vita app, complete with daily deals and special offers, while the in-game mail and social features are also present and correct. Not only that, but you can also navigate around the Eve universe’s enormous galaxy map – a feature which CCP plans to build upon further down the road.

Plants vs Zombies 2 coming 2013

Okay, I never really got this as a phone game, so never bothered on the Vita, but apparently it is really, really popular. So much so PopCap has just announced a sequel for 2013. I don't know if that will include the Vita, but the original has been near the top of the PSN chart most of its life, so there's a fair chance.

Anyway, here's what the developers have to say:
 Plants vs. Zombies Sequel Will Feature Hordes of New Plant and Zombie Types and Mulch More. The sequel to Plants vs. Zombies is expected to launch by late spring 2013, and will include a bevy of new features, settings, and situations, designed to delight the franchise's tens of millions of fans around the world. No other details of the highly anticipated new installment in the franchise are available at this time, beyond the following comments from some of the game's denizens. "Spring is crullest curlie ungood time, and plantz grow dull roots," noted an unidentified spokesperson. "So, we are meating you for brainz at yore house. No worry to skedule schedlue plan... we're freee anytime. We'll find you." "There was a time we relished a bracing, hearty blend of zombies, in the morning," said Sonny F. Lower, a representative of the Flora Forever Foundation. "But first, a brisk shower and some strategic pruning are required. Tomorrow is near!"
No pics or art to go with that. So just imagine some plants and some zombies... should be easy enough. While we're on the sobject, where are the Angry Birds and FieldRunners sequels, since the originals were good enough to grace the PSP?

New Grand Theft Auto 5 shots doing the high-speed rounds

Hmmm, I live vaguely in hope that this will get a Vita announcement too, but probably no decade soon. Even though, you can't deny it looks good and until they confirm or deny, I can post them here in that faint hope.

Check out the new blog post on the Rockstar site for an extra pic, there's more to come this week too.

A CoD gamer's eye view of the Vita trailer for Black Ops Declassified

I like a bit of Call of Duty as much as the next grunt, but I'm no expert. So, I'll leave it up to Richnificent of the Sticky Paddle to give an expert's guide to the trailer that Activision showed off on Sony's Gamescom event.

He sounds pretty psyched about the whole thing, and there's little of the moaning we've heard from plenty of other quarters. When it comes down it to, this will sell on gameplay and if some serious CoD fans like the look of it, then perhaps that immediate despondency about the trailer is unfounded.

What are your thoughts on the job Nihilistic has done, given the brief glimpse in this trailer, and the few screens shown off and feature list? Would love to hear from the CoD die-hards about if they'll enjoy this. Would it convince you to buy a Vita?

Media Molecule renders shows off Tearaway's hero Iota

Meet Iota, the hero of the PS Vita's massive exclusive from Media Molecule. These renders and screens from Gamescom show the pulpy hero and some of his adventures. This really does look like a class piece of creativity and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

The PSN blog has a 10 things about Tearaway list, which is about as much info as there is on the game. 

Sony's Jim Ryan clarifies the PS Vita focus at Gamescom

Despite his placid "here is the weather forecast" presentation, Sony's Jim Ryan stood up and helped the Vita back to its feet at Gamescom. Afterwards, he spent some time with CVG clarifying some of the points raised during the show and over the event.

At the press conference was it your objective to pitch the PS Vita as a PS3 companion?

JR: No I think the priority was to convey the range of great IP that's coming to the platform this Christmas, and I think we achieved that. It's not so much about considering the PS Vita as the 'little brother' of PS3, I mean we consider it a partnership of equals. Obviously, if you have in excess of twenty million people in Europe that have a PS3, that's a pretty good place to start.

 I did get the impression that you're now pitching PS Vita to PS3 owners specifically. That narrows your target market of course but gives you focus. Would that be fair to say?

JR:  I think we're trying to appeal to PS3 owners, but I don't see how that is essentially restrictive. The main emphasis for PS Vita at our Gamescom press conference was the focus on this big killer IP that will be on the platform.

 But how can PS Vita appeal to the more casual audience? What does it have?

JR:  Well, the games we create for the PlayStation Mobile initiative are compatible with Vita and we see Vita as being one of the primary devices for that content. We have a lot of Vita network games that are lighter touch but are priced accordingly. So I think there's a reasonable amount of things now that will appeal to that side of the market.

Read the full interview which includes discussion on developer struggles, crossplay, 3D and more on CVG's page.

Imageepoch's Black Rock Shooter is headed west, digitally

With the PSP dropping off the radar, the awesome looking Imageepoch title Black Rock Shooter seemed destined to lose out on a western release. But, now it looks like we (well, America at least) will get it as a PSN release.

Here's the info Ryan Phillips of NIS America shared with RP Gamer (word of some PS3 developments in their interview.
First, Black Rock Shooter: The Game for PSP is still on track for a digital release. As was stated by the CEO of Imageepoch, NIS America confirms that the game is still 100% in progress for a North American localization. The company is still working on the logistics of how a limited edition could work, but cannot confirm if it will actually happen.
Hopefully a European release will follow on from that.

Last of the old-style PS Vita charts

I don't mean any great arty upgrade or design change is coming, just the text ma'am! However, with the release schedule packed full of new stuff, hopefully, those perennial launch games lurking in the top 10 will now start to shuffle gracefully off to make way for new titles.

Okay, FIFA will be replaced by FIFA 13 (or whatever EA want to call it), but the others should make a sedate exit. Unless all those (hopefully) bus-loads of new Vita owners decide to keep buying ModNation Racers and Everybody's Golf because they're cheap.


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

PlayStation Mobile dropping PS One classics

This isn't really a surprise given the feeble release schedule and equally crappy sales, but it must be rather annoying for users given Sony has marketed its S1 and P1 tablets and phones with PS One games as part of the appeal.

However, with PlayStation Mobile trying to create a new vibe, perhaps having these old games hanging on (and the possibility of them reappearing on a Gaikai-powered service) isn't much of a priority. Of course, Android users probably have enough emulators running for this not to be a problem.

Here's the quote from Sony's press release. "In conjunction with the launch of dedicated content for PlayStation Mobile through PlayStation Store, legendary PlayStation games (PS one® Classics) for PlayStation Certified devices will no longer be offered."

With Vita users raring to go on PS One games (the 1.80 firmware update is just a week away), I've already got memory card space ear-marked for Ridge Racer Type 4 and Vagrant Story, you have to hope Sony will increase the pace of releases in western markets. Or just launch the PSOne, PS2 all-in Gaikai subscription service and be done with it.

PS Vita and PS3 Cross Buy will be a global trend

Wow, there's a lot of whiny bastards on Twitter, farting on that Cross Buy was announced in Europe first. Sony's Shuhei Yoshida has already said:
PS Vita-PS3 Cross Buy price promo is coming to both Europe and North America. My quote by Famitsu was meant as "not decided for Japan yet".
So, chill out, of course this will be a global feature of the PS3 and Vita, led by PS All Stars Battle Royale with Ratchet & Clank QForce and Sly Cooper to follow. Why would Sony do something fairly daring, but logical given the convergence of devices and not spread that love (and the marketing boost it brings) around the world?

Negotiations for third-party games (Need for Speed seems to be the first one up for discussion, but I think that is a way too high-profile title) will take some time, this might be more of an indie deal to get it off the ground before bigger names sign up.

Just remember, this won't be for every title that's got a dual release, I expect just a trickle of big titles, and a gentle stream of PSN titles to use Cross Buy.

UPDATE: Retro City Rampage has just confirmed it will be available as a Cross Buy title, with Cross Save, so you can pick up the same game on either device.

Last bits from Gamescom, Sly Cooper to 2013, Silent Hill still creeping along and what was missing

I'll tidy up any bits I missed from Gamescom here. First up is the late Sly Cooper, who is now appearing in 2013, slipping from an Autumn release. He got a new video at the the show, but with so much Vita action coming our way, I think he'll be happier for a quieter release slot early next year.

Konami came out with a new batch of Silent Hill screens for the show, looks like this game will now be done when its done. The game became more of a running joke recently when the developers showed off stupid character customizations.

Naturally, some publishers weren't there and some games were held over, but mysteries I would love to have seen cleared up at Gamescom include:

Persona 4 Golden European release date please
Doctor Who and the Eternity Clock PS Vita, happening or not?
Sunflowers information from Game Atelier
Urban Trials release date from Tate

Is there anything you were expecting to hear about from Gamescom that might have slipped under the radar?

Get a close-up look at the Hatsune Miku Limited Edition PS Vita

Not sure about the cosplay, but the Vita looks cool and there's more gameplay snippets for the game from Sega which is out in Japan next week in regular and limited editions, WiFi and 3G bundles. Plenty more pics, videos and vocaloid news here.

And here's some unboxing shots of the limited edition Hatsune Miku Vita bundle.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The PS Vita on the road to Tokyo Games Show

With Gamescom fading to a wurst-tinged memory, attention now moves to the second half of Sony's Vita comeback story at Tokyo Games Show from the 20-22nd of September. Japan is the company's real powerhouse and if it can pull three new games out of the hat in Europe, then it can probably manage a couple more back home. We've already got Famitsu teasing a new title for next week, which might be a new Vita offering.

Certainly on show will be Earth Defense Force 3 Portable, Special Report Division and a host of recent or imminent release titles, but what new stuff could Sony have on show? The Gran Turismo team at Digital Polyphony has said they'll be ready to make an announcement soon, and with Criterion looking to have done an awesome job getting Need for Speed on the Vita, I'm sure they'll be up for the challenge, but a final game could be years away, unless they do a GT5 remix for the Vita.

Some quicker wins for the Vita could come in the form of new Patapon or Locoroco games (perennial PSP favourites)/ But it will be the third parties that Sony might need to rely on most for a big Japanese boost. No need to mention the eternal (and likely doomed) hope of a reveal from Ca***m for a new Mo***** Hu****, but the company could still have more than just Street Fighter x Tekken in the works.

With Persona 4 having done so well in Japan, it wouldn't be of a surprise to hear about Persona 4 Arena getting a rapid conversion, while I'm pretty sure Square Enix will have something new to announce after their first dabblings with the Vita for Army Corps of Hell at launch.

What do you think Sony and partners will be dishing out at TGS this year?

Japan gets a new Legend of Heroes Zero no Kiseki Evolution trailer

While the west starts getting some Vita love back, Japan hasn't forgotten it, with a new trailer from Falcom to show off just some of the elements in the new Legend of Heroes Zero no Kiseki Evolution. Check out that cute limited edition at the end.

If you want to see more of the game, this Japanese YouTube video has a runthrough of the game with commentary...

Smart As... got a Gamescom trailer too

Such was the fuss about the big-league games and new reveals, some of Sony's fun looking titles lost out in the race for coverage, such as Smart As... We recently found out that John Cleese will be acting as host, and now you can see a bit more of the game in action.

But its mostly another appalling attempt by Sony to drag out the smart geek myth a litle more, can't the company come up with a decent advert these days?

Zone of the Enders still heading Vita-wards, new Gamescom pics

I was a bit worried about this one, after the Vita version seemed to drop off the publishing list, but according to VG247, the game is still going portable alongside the big-screen versions, as Hideo Kojima's MGS HD Collection did.

They have a few screens that were released during Gamescom, but no firm word of a release date. I've never played any of the originals so am looking forward to these more than MGS (which I haven't given much time to, yet).

Saturday, August 18, 2012

PA Vita sales hit 2.2 million, we all deserve a medal!

Sony announced at Gamescom that sales of its second handheld have hit the 2.2 million mark. Frankly, everyone of us should get some sort of special trophy for turning up early, compared to the millions of latecomers who'll swan in now there are some games to buy.

With Tearaway, Killzone, CoD, Assassin's Creed 3 and more bundles to come, even a modest boost in sales should get the Vita rolling along nicely and cut the level of negativity.

Gamescom has shown there's much more life in the Vita, with great things to come. All eyes will now turn to Tokyo to see what Japanese developers have up their sleeves.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Need for Speed Vita screens

I was assuming these were renders until I noticed the jaggies on the hood. If these are action shots, colour me impressed. Looks like Criterion really will deliver the goods. What have you got to say about that Mr. Ridge Racer?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

US gamers getting the Persona 4 Golden skin with pre-orders

Those lucky Americans are getting the same PS Vita protective skin that the Japanese got, if they pre-order the game according to a new email from Atlus. The usual "while stocks last" caveats apply. Hopefully more western games will come with these fun treats.

Finally, a look at Madden 13 running a Vita

I kind of see why EA doesn't want lots of videos of Vita versions of their big games doing the rounds in case folk mistake them for the console versions and panic (you know, as you would). Anyway, here's the first video I've seen of Madden running on a Vita from the demo on the US PSN, and it looks excellent, despite some slightly ropey video quality!

Hey, if EA posts some proper videos then I wouldn't have to resort to showing these. Still, seeing is believing, and I believe in this one!

PS Vita 2013 price cut dependent on hardware efficiencies (which are tough to come by)

Ouch, I usually just like to write about the games, but so I've done marketing today, and now industrial processes and supply chains. Basically Sony says the Vita will only get a price cut when Sony's engineers can reduce the hardware cost. That's according to a chat with Eurogamer, but it won't happen until well in to 2013, for a few simple reasons:

For a start, the Vita's most expensive components (the OLED and touchscreens) are in massive demand for phones, tablets and so on. That pushes the cost up, not down (as makers vie to buy limited stocks) and as OLED is still a pretty new technology, it is sold at a premium. It won't match traditional LCD prices until well into next year, when prices might start to come down.

Pic from the Vita teardown by iFixit

For the processor and memory, Sony makes the CPU under license itself, so is cost-fixed, and it probably has a spot-price contract with Samsung for the RAM, but prices are supposed to rise in 2013 due to under-supply by chip makers (but predictions fluctuate). Most other components are priced at a few dollars and hard to make significant savings on.

Finally, the Vita hasn't sold as many units as it would have hoped, so Sony will have plenty of boxes and component stocks that it brought at the higher prices. It can't save money until it gets rid of the first-generation models, something that may take time (probably the reason why there are so many different bundles being produced).

Therefore, don't expect a cheaper PS Vita until well into 2013, even if sales rocket over the next few months as the game line-up improves. Sony is supposed to make a decent profit on each Vita sold, but can't afford to cut that due to the company's wider struggles. So, when the cut does come, don't expect it to be massive.