Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Little King's Story gets a launch trailer

Konami has just put up a new video to celebrate the launch of New Little King's Story on the PS Vita in Europe. Setting the scene as you, in the boots of little King Corobo tries to reclaim his kingdom from "The Nightmare".

Recruit your subjects to form an army and roam the incredibly detailed and beautiful world, while meeting original characters and defeating enemies, rebuilding your kingdom, and restoring peace to the land

Rainbow Moon to shine on the Vita

The PS3 RPG Rainbow Moon is coming to the Vita, developer EastAsiaSoft has confirmed, after quite a bit of begging from fans. The stylish HD RPG should come with Cross Saving for users of the original, but Vita owners can look forward to some questing of their own in 2013.

The PS3 version is well-rated and well-loved, hopefully the Vita version will receive similar plaudits.

Earth Defense Force 3 to save the west

Good news! EDF3, which is about to set light to the Japanese charts (hopefully) will be sending reinforcements to the west with a Vita release. For no good reason it'll be called Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable, but hey, who's complaining.

Publisher D3 games mentioned the transfer on its Facebook page. Check out the recent live-action trailer and in-game trailer and screens. There's no sign of a date on the news, but I'd expect early 2013 to be a reasonable time frame.

Silent Hill Book of Memories, spooky thoughts about a surprisingly good game

The demo you can now download on PSN (in Europe) gives a decent hint as to what's to come with this Vita exclusive. And, having played through it a couple of times, I think the developers are onto something good. The first scene looks typical Silent Hill with a mystery mail man and a mystery parcel that turns out to be the Book of Memories.

The bulk of the (demo) game though feels like a cross between Alien Breed, Gauntlet (or at least it will be in multiplayer mode) and those arcadey Bard's Tale PS2 games. Instead of creeping from room to room, you stride from room to room wielding a decent array of weapons and whacking anything that moves from demonic pigs, dogs and flying beasties to some chunky zombie-types.

Picking up health, solving the odd light puzzle, watching the mystery TV spots and juggling your ad hoc arsenal are all done at pace, keeping you on track through the slightly mazy levels. There's a main mission and loads of boxes to tick in the book.

However, tucked away in the menus are hints and suggestions that the full game will be a modestly deeper experience with different weapons to suit different targets, a need to repair and cherish your most potent tools and the collection of enough experience to make the changes that will affect the Book, which is an unfinished story of your life.

The demo doesn't give away how you'll change the book, but with puzzles and the odd room that gives you a bit more of the traditional Silent Hill experience, this game (Which I think many had doubts about), could be a bit of a hit.

With the full power of the Book to come and the challenge of multiplayer against some, hopefully, truly monstrous enemies, this certainly plays like a game with potential, even if it isn't true Silent Hill at its core. Take any of those games mentioned earlier and drop some SH memes in it, and that feels closer to the truth, with short bursts of play and rapid series of challenges, suited to the Vita.

Neat comparison between PSP and PS Vita running PS One games

This Sony Japan page is actually about some PSN voucher contest for those buying PS one games. But, it also neatly shows the improvement between playing a PS one title on the Vita over the PSP.

Sure, they still look like PS One games, but the improvement is noticeable, with improved sharpness and readability due to the OLED screen and higher resolution, perhaps the filtering is slightly improved too, although Sony hasn't made much of a deal about it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Need for Speed trailer sticks up two fingers at the Law

Okay, the game may not be out on the Vita until Spring, but it could still be one of the best titles on the system, if Criterion keeps up its promises. That delay (if confirmed - UPDATE - the game is still due to ship with the other versions, according to a comment, still can't find an outright confirmation though) has me wondering about their lofty aims, but here's a new trailer showing just what could be.

Final Fantasy III on PSP tops the chart in Japan, LBP makes a modest entry

I always wondered how LittleBigPlanet would do in Japan, the answer not as bad as I feared, but still pretty weak. According to Famitsu's figures, it sold over 4,500, the Media Create figures (due soon) will probably see it doing around 6,000.

On the plus side Final Fantasy III stormed to the top of the charts, selling over 45,000 and we get to play it too as its in this week's PSN update. That leads some five PSP (including Hunter x Hunter) and two PSV games in the charts. Vita hardware sales are in the checking-for-a-pulse 8,000s, Sony must be rethinking its need for a price cut, right (But still won't do it, as it can't afford to.)

EU PSN Update: A fine week for Vita gaming.

Right, rant aside, if you haven't got the old FIFA Vita game, then the new one is out this week (with very minor changes). But that's not all, out of the blue we also have New Little Kings Story (which I thought was late 2012 in the EU).

Then there's the much-maligned Silent Hill Book of Memories demo, allowing us to see what all the fuss is about, and if there's a good game in there somewhere. Finally, for the budget-limited there's Table Ice Hockey, which while not exactly making up for the lack of an NHL title should provide some fun and PSP mini Feisty Feet.

PSVita Games 
FIFA 13 (AU/NZ 27th, rest of EU 28th)
Price: £39.99/€49.99/AU$79.95

All New Little King’s Story (released on 27th)
Price: £34.99/€39.99

Table Ice Hockey
Price: £1.59/€1.99/AU$3.45

PS Vita demos 
Silent Hill: Book of Memories
PEGI: 16
Not available in Germany, New Zealand


The Pinball Arcade (Cross Compatible)
Add-On Pack 1: Medieval Madness And The Machine: Bride Of Pin•Bot
Prices: £3.99/€4.99

PSP Games

Final Fantasy III
Price: £11.99/€14.99/AU$23.95
PEGI: 12, File Size: 234MB

Feisty Feet
Prices: £2.49/€2.99/AU$4.95

Earth Defense Force 3 Portable goes live action and sexy

This really should be coming to a Sy-Fy channel near you, the four-minute advert for the upcoming EDF3 Portable has gone all live-action (with some serious faces, some action faces, a touch of love and C&C style uniforms).

In case that isn't enough they've also up-armoured Risa Yoshiki as Pale Wing to add a touch of slinkiness to the game's launch. More pics over at Famitsu. The game scored pretty well in the magazine a couple of weeks back, and should do decent business for the Vita, still hoping for a western release on this one.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

FIFA 13 on Vita, first user reviews lay into a poor effort

1 WEEK AFTER UPDATE: Wow, having done a whole lot of wondering (below) last week, I thought I'd check and see how FIFA 13 was doing on Metacritic. Except there are still no entries for it, zero, nil, nada! The user score has rocketed up to a corking 3.8, yet the entire games journalism industry has decided to give it a pass. How much is EA paying for this blanket of silence? 37 reviewers have managed to try the Xbox version, 22 have played the PS3 edition, yet not one single games publication has tried the Vita one - WOW!

UPDATE (5 October) - Gamespot has finally put up a review, giving it 5.5, a week too late for those who paid good money for a piddly update.

Hey, I found a review! "There is hardly no innovation here just some tweaks that hardly justify spending out another £40. For instance, there is a new online friends league, the menus load faster and the graphics and player modes seem slightly improved over the previous game. Career mode also seems to have been slightly tweaked and you can now create set pieces within practice mode - that's about all I can find which has changed"

Original article:

Ouch, you may be wondering why there are no PS Vita FIFA reviews out there. This is probably why... of course that's just one guy's opinion (UPDATE: more user reviews, tweets and opinions are backing him up) on Amazon but if the game basically lacks any of the features of the core versions of FIFA 13 then why not give it a different name? As happened with the original Vita version, and was suggested by EA not too long ago.

UPDATE: User scores are starting to appear on Metacritic, giving the game a you've-got-to-dig-for-it 0.4 average, currently. While I doubt this will dissuade EA from doing shitty updates in the future, and the game is clearly worth more than that (give it a five or six at least) it might force them to stop calling games by titles that clearly misrepresent them.

While the first FIFA on the Vita is a fine game, this really does sound like a we-all-saw-it-coming accident that will sour the Vita for fans of the series and give more clout to the "Vita is doomed" bunch. Even then, it will probably sell truck loads (in Vita terms) and dominate the chart until next year's (hopefully proper) update.

Also, where are the proper games press reviews highlighting the terrible lack of updates? And if there are subtle improvements, why hasn't EA been doing anything to promote them?

With EA doing such a poor job of marketing and getting information out, you have to suspect the guy is right. Considering the first game is now £20 cheaper on Amazon, you might want to pick that up if you can live without the latest team sheets and strip designs. It will be fun to see any proper reviews when they appear. I'll add them and other user opinion as they emerge. Check out a video of FIFA 13 in action and play spot the difference.

Big nasties show up in new LEGO Lord of the Rings art

Looking forward to this immensely, looks like some of the biggest baddies in LEGO gaming history are stomping their way to gamers soon. Warner has provided some bios for the ugly additions to the cast.

Saruman the White
Saruman was the wisest and greatest of the Wizards, but he fell into the evil ways of the Dark Lord. He betraysedGandalf and bred a large army of monstrous Uruk-hai warriors to rule-over Middle-earth.

In-Game Abilities: Magical staff can lift LEGO objects, provides light in dark places and shoots out bolts of energy.

Gollum was corrupted by the One Ring. After finding the Ring, this once friendly Hobbit became a depraved and withered 500-year-old creature living alone in a deep cave. He liked to feast on fish, but his obsessionwas the One Ring that he callsed “my precious.” Driven to madness when he lost the Ring, Gollum willould do anything to get it back.

In-Game Abilities: Climb LEGO walls

The Witch-king of Angmar
The Witch-king of Angmar is the leader of the Ringwraiths, who serve the Dark Lord Sauron. He is often seen galloping on a black horse or riding a large flying creature called the Fellbeast. Whether by air or by land, the Witch-king always brings destruction.

In-Game Abilities: Super strength, smash Mordor LEGO

They used to be great Kings of Men. But the magic rings given to them by the Dark Lord Sauron made them into his slaves with one mission: to hunt down and return the One Ring to the Dark Lord.

In-Game Abilities: Smash Mordor LEGO

Silent Hill getting a Vita demo tomorrow

After delays and much concern over the focus of the game, Konami's Vita Silent Hill title Book of Memories is almost upon us. With all the grief Capcom is getting for moving Resident Evil 6 away from its roots, expect a right bit of angst over this game. We'll get a little taster in a demo that has just been announced for the game, due tomorrow.

Hopefully that will show a game full of spirit and gloomy persistence as you go about clobbering demons with any online friends. Or, it could show a game that would make a fun iOS title. Either way at least we'll know in advance of the full game release. Unfortunately, the demo won't offer multiplayer, which might be the title's saving grace if it doesn't grab as a single player experience. See you on the other side.

Monday, September 24, 2012

See FIFA 13 on the Vita in action

EA has been pretty coy about the Vita version of FIFA, other than to say it isn't quite the same as the PS3 version, or cross-playable with it. Anyway, here's a first peek of the game in action, some Spanish videos found on a Russian site. The game is out this week, so we'll see how it compares for real then.

More videos on the source site.

UK Charts, the Vita has a new hero

After a stupid amount of time, the old guard finally get kicked off the top the Vita chart, with LittleBigPlanet rightfully taking its place at the top. Hopefully it'll be around for a while but with FIFA 13 arriving very soon, that'll probably take over the role of its predecessor. LBP Vita also managed to burst into the all-formats top 10 at No. 6, a creditable achievement.


Sainsburys doing Vita, LBP, 4GB card for £189

Want LittleBigPlanet? Need a PS Vita to play it on? Sainsbury's seems to have things covered with a bundle including a 4GB stick for £189! And if you've got some points on your family Nectarcard, that'd be even cheaper.

Super Rider Climax Heroes fighting for Japanese PSP gamers

Looks like a Power Rangers rip off to me (or did Power Rangers rip these off?). Masked heroes and villains scrap it out with magic, combat, spells in Namco Bandai's latest release for the Japanese market. The game is out in Japan in November, unlikely to see life over here.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

DJ Max Technika Tune spins up America on October

One of the most eagerly awaited PS Vita imports is heading west next month, available exclusively from the Tune site. Pre-orders start next week and are well worth it with a $100 750 copy limited edition for those really into the series.

That will include: 

Two Disc Original Soundtrack for DJMAX TECHNIKA TUNE
A book featuring artwork from the game
Hand Strap
Screen Cleaner
branded armored PS®Vita game case
PS®Vita Pouch

 Preorders for both the limited edition and the basic stand-alone $49 version start on Monday September 24th. The game is out near the end of October.

Final Fantasy III arrives on US PSN next week

The missing link? Well sort of, this remake of the elusive third game is out for PSP on the US PSN in next week's update. the PSN story doesn't mention the Vita, but I'll just have to prise my PSP out of my son's hands for a while.

New features for the PSP version include: graphics optimized for the 16:9 screen, an image gallery, an option to switch to the original BGM, and an auto-battle system that doubles the speed of combat.

Generation of Chaos Pandora's Reflection headed to PSP

NIS America is bring a new Generation of Chaos title to American and European PSP users via PSN in early 2013. Pandora's Reflection, originally from Idea Factory, brings more action-based combat and role play set in a world of chaos.

Dark clouds blanket the withered skies and block out the sun; cracked earth and choking fog rule the land. This colorless world, showing no signs of life, is known as Hades. The barren land is blasted by chilling winds that cut to the bone... This is where we meet our heroes—Yuri, a young girl cursed with a disease draining her life away; and Claude, her protective older brother who will stop at nothing to save her. As they travel in search of a cure, they find themselves embroiled in a conflict that will determine the fate of the world and, just maybe, the fate of the siblings. They’ll lose old friends, meet new friends, and travel on a path that will lead them to the very doorstep of destiny...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sly Cooper launching February or March 2013

Spring next year is rapidly becoming the jump off point for the next batch of big Vita games, we'll have Sly Cooper, out on 5th February in North America (with Cross-Buy, yay!) and in March for Europe along with Need For Speed Most Wanted and Persona 4 Golden for Europe.
With Japan not getting Soul Sacrifice until that key period. After that Sony had better have seen major success selling the Vita, otherwise I can't see huge numbers of third-party developers investing time and resources in it. 

Enjoy 15 minutes of Soul Sacrificial action

Sony Japan has put up a couple of hefty trailers/tutorials explaining how to play Soul Sacrifice (in Japanese naturally) but still worth a peek. Sure, the game is delayed to Spring next year, which probably means Autumn for the West, but it still looks a corker.

MUD FIM dirty trailer for the PS Vita

Not sure about the dying bee engine note, but everything else in this dirtbike racing game looks alright. Guessing it is set to easy mode, and there should be bags of challenges within the different events.

Persona 4 Golden set for Spring 2013 release in Europe

Hot on the sad news of a possible (still unconfirmed) delay to Need for Speed Most Wanted, it looks like Atlus will bring Persona 4 Golden to Europe, but after a fair old delay, presumably for localisation purposes. Which means there's going to be a hell of a lot of importing going on for English speakers as the game ships in November in the US.

Wonder if we'll also get the US limited edition over here? Source: OtakuStudy

Gravity Daze set for a sequel according to Director's hints

Having just picked up the Tokyo Game Show "game of the year" award, Sony should be pretty pleased with the efforts of Japan Studio. And if a game does that well, you can expect a sequel can't you?

Now this is a surprise, I'd figured any new Gravity Daze sequel would be a PS4 launch game to bring some new(ish) IP to the console. But it looks like the Vita might get another round of Kat's adventures. Comments from Director Keiichiro Toyama are that "he'll do his best on the sequel, but it’s a secret,” when discussing his next title.

Hopefully we'll visit whole new cities rather than be revisiting the same old places, and they'll be able to boost the colour palette a little to make it feel like a new game, not that the original isn't a thing of grace and beauty.

PlayStation Mobile launching Vita and Android, 3rd October

This isn't exactly new, but the PSN blogs are posting the news, so worth a reminder. A new stream of games will hit Sony's console and "compatible" Android devices in the coming weeks on the new PSM service (All the games here.
When PlayStation Mobile launches on October 3rd, we will have around 30 titles available from a range of developers, including games from indie devs as well as our own Sony Computer Entertainment World Wide Studios. PlayStation Mobile game prices will range from around $2 to $20 and be available in a variety of popular genres, including Adventure, Action, Puzzle, Sports, and Simulation. PlayStation Mobile will also offer an easy-to-navigate storefront to check out and download PlayStation Mobile games, making it easy for you to find what you’re looking for quickly. More details to come on where you can start to download PlayStation Mobile games beginning on October 3rd. 
 Hopefully these, PSP minis and budget PSN games will be able to live alongside each other quite happily, and also see lots of new developers find the Vita worth working for.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Phantasy Star Online 2's official Vita trailer

Hot on the heels of the show floor footage comes a look at the official Vita trailer from Sega. Prefer the showfloor stuff myself. In the absence of a Monster Hunter will this be the closest the Vita gets to a "phenom" game?

Watch Phantasy Star Online 2 played on a PS Vita #tgs

Now Tokyo Game Show is open to the public, there's loads of footage making its way out onto the net, including these clips of Sega's PSO on the move. Doesn't look bad for a game that is still some six months away from release. Love the gorgeous dragon that pops up just over a minute into the top clip.

Sega's Demon Tribe looks like a Vita and PSP game

The alluring lass getting undressed on the recent Demon Tribe site tease seems to have some good news for Vita and PSP owners. The site has both PSP and Vita buried in the source code (along with Wii U).

Of course, this could a case of recycled site code or content, but Wii U is pretty new and this game is very new, so here's hoping. It is from the Jet Set Radio HD team and could well their technology for other seductive gaming purposes.

Atelier Totori Plus gets a trailer, still confused

Yep, this game could have been about anything... and with characters like Sterkenburg Cranach, Mimi Houllier von Schwazlang and Marc McBrine, my first instinct was for a new Chelsea FC squad name creator. But, no! It looks pretty much like another long-winded, but very pretty RPG for the Vita, out in November.

PS All Stars beta test, new TGS trailer

I've been playing the beta offered on the EU PSN beta test service since yesterday and it is truly fun and frenetic action, even within the limited confines of the test download. If you don't believe how nuts it can get, check out the latest video from TGS with all the characters taking a bow.

Need for Speed Most Wanted on Vita delayed until 1Q 2013

Well, cross that one off the Christmas list, the Vita's best shot at a decent racing game has been punted into next year according to an EA press release. Hopefully this is so Criterion can do a full-spec job on the Vita, rather than some pesky Vita dev woes.

This info comes from a Polish event, so there's a smidge of hope that its an error of some kind, or limited to the export versions.

Street Fighter x Tekken gets new screens and trailer

This fighter seems like it is taking forever to get here. So, here's yet another batch of screens and a new trailer from TGS to tide you over until Capcom can tidy it up for release.

IT certainly looks to have the biggest characters in a  Vita brawler, but

New God Eater 2 trailer shows off more monster bashing action

Yep, this is definitely looking like the Vita's closest thing to a Monster Hunter for some time to come, so enjoy and embrace it, if you want to do some monstering on your handheld. This one shows off more of the footage that was condensed on the small screens of yesterday's reveal trailer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

EU PSN Update, LittleBigPlanet coming this Friday

LittleBigPlanet Vita hits the PSN today (Available in UK on 21st) letting users play with pretty much everything, everywhere with Sackboy and in the mad world of LittleBigPlanet. Set out on an adventure to bring joy and laughter back to the fairground planet of Carnivalia and create and share your own games in more ways than ever before.

Price is £29.99, €34.99, AU$47.95

On the DLC front, there's a LittleBigPlanet PS Vita Launch Rare T-Shirt (Cross-buy for PS3) for (£3.99,€4.99,AU$8.45) and the inevitable network Network Pass (£7.99, €9.99, AU$15.95)

A couple of PS one import oddities are also out this week

Tall Unlimited is a challenging puzzle game where you build a tower by rolling blocks so the colored sides match up. Matching a block creates two new blocks.

While Klonoa takes you on a journey through a magical World where dreams and reality merge. Uncover the mystery of the legendary Moon Pendant and save the singer, Lephise, from the clutches of the evil Ghadius in this imaginative, enthralling adventure.

More on PSN.

#TGS Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 sneaks up on the Vita

Tecmo has just announced that another Ninja Gaiden title will hit the Vita. I haven't got round to trying the first one yet, but Sigma 2 will be hitting the handheld in 2013.

Keiji Inafune is also a busy boy, still finishing off Soul Sacrifice, he appeared on stage at Tecmo's event to announce Yaiba Ninja Gaiden Z (for next-gen?) More on Tecmo's Facebook page. Sigma Plus is between £16-20 on Amazon, so might pick that up as a taster. Anyone played it? What do you think?

#TGS Our first peek at Toukiden from Omega Team

From the people who brought you many, many Dynasty Warriors games comes a whole new title where pummelling oversized monsters (sound familiar?) is the aim of the game.

Just a rendered trailer, but I think we get the message and I'd be happy to play something like this. Don't think the video is quite that blue, seems to be Sony's dingy atmos for the event. Will look for something better quality. 

#TGS Muramasa Demon Blade slices up PS Vita in 2013

Once a Wii title, this Vanillaware game is being ported to the Vita, where presumably the slashing of Wiimotes will be replaced by the swiping of screens. The Wii version made it west via a number of publishers, where it did pretty well in North America, so there's hope for this to creep out overseas.

It should certainly look bright on the Vita's OLED screen, and looks like a decent old-school action title, that we're seeing fewer and fewer of these days.

#TGS Comic Book Reader app returns to the Vita

One of the PSP's highlights was the awesome comic book store, and while you can now enjoy them on most tablets and phones, there's no reason why the Vita shouldn't have one. Perhaps the question is, what took so long?

Anyway, a new reader app is coming to Japan in November (no pics that I can find) and should hopefully travel the world bring the joys of superheroes and villains to all.

Famitsu reviews rate the latest Vita releases, Ys, EDF3 and DJ Max

The Vita and PSP had a pretty good week in the world of Famitsu reviews, garnering high scores for all the games hitting the stores. While none of them are likely to match Hatsune Miku's sales, they should all post decent numbers, particularly EDF3.

Ys: Celceta no Jukai (PSV) – 9/9/9/8 
SD Gundam G Generation Overworld (PSP) – 9/9/8/8
Earth Defense Force 3 Portable (PSV) – 8/8/8/7
DJMAX Technika Tune (PSV) – 7/7/7/7

Technika would probably have scored better had it not come out so soon after Sega's Hatsune Miku title, but is still a cracking music title

#TGS Soul Sacrifice delayed, new trailer and demo news

Keiji Inafune's monster game for the Vita will get a release in 2013, but we'll see a demo this year and you can enjoy a new trailer hot from TGS. It shows off some of the creatures that have been revealed in recent weeks in all their gory glory.

This and God Eater 2 will certainly provide plenty of Monster Hunting opportunities for Japanese gamers, but this doesn't seem like a game with endless sequel potential.

#TGS Check out God Eater 2 running on the PS Vita

Since it is now pretty clear that Monster Hunter isn't happening anytime soon, Sony is looking to the likes of Namco's God Eater 2 to dig it out of the dragon slaying hole. The new video from TGS shows off the game on the Vita for the first time, and you have to admit it looks pretty hot.

With interplay between the PSP and Vita, there's a decent chance this could get Japanese PSP owners upgrading to play with their friends, although who'll have the stinky old console is up for debate. The first PSP games sold over a million combined in Japan, which is hardly MH territory, but could build to something good on Vita.

#TGS Will new colours help sell the Vita?

Don't think so myself, but the new models sure look purdy! Will you take the red pill or the blue pill? These were unveiled during Sony's TGS event and in lieu of any stunning new game announcements, it looks like these will have to do as Sony attempts to get the handheld back on track in Japan.

The blue model is called Sapphire and the red one Cosmic, which I don't quite get. 

God Eater 2, Valhalla Knights headed to Vita

Sony's early-morning, wake-up call, and TGS event went off today and while it offered few "wow" moments there were plenty of neat bits of Vita news. Top of the list is a lot of due-on-PSP games are moving to the Vita including Namco's impressive-looking God Eater 2 and an uprated Valhalla Knights game from Marvelous.

PlayStation Plus will be hitting the Vita in November at $49.99 for a year. The Vita itself is getting new colours in Japan, a neat red and blue edition. The new PS3 was unveiled, and Sony promise greater connectivity between the two in future.

Soul Sacrifice has slipped to next year, but there will be a demo soon. Marvelous is also bringing something called Oboromuramasa while Koei are bringing out something called Toukiden, developed by the folks behind the Dynasty Warriors series.

Pics coming soon.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Another Need for Speed video zips past

Here we go again, fast cars, slow pullbacks and swooping camera angles, it can only be another top notch Need for Speed trailer. Criterion has promised the Vita version will have all the features of the big boy consoles, so here's hoping.

LittleBigPlanet servers go live for Vita gamers

After a first little pre-official-launch patch last week, there's another one out now. But this does great things, by enabling access to the game's servers for content sharing and other online modes, cross-buy of PS3 content and more.

That's no good for us Euros just sat here, twiddling our thumbs until the boring official launch, but go America, start making some cool stuff for us to play with.

Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland heads to the Vita

Likely a Japan only release, this oddity from Gust looks like it can stay that way with its mix of anime meets Tron stylings, green fields and bland character designs. Updated from a PS3 release, it is out in November in Japan.

More pics here. NIS did bring the PS3 version to the west, but this looks a bit of a stretch.

Set your alarm clocks and get ready for Tokyo, big Vita news afoot?

Sony's Tokyo Game Show event takes place at 5AM U.K. time tomorrow. While a new, cheaper, PS3 is likely to be the most talked about event, rumours scuttling around suggest Sony has a few new Vita titles to unveil. Check out Sony's TGS site here, use the Nico Nico link at the bottom to watch the show live tomorrow.

We'll certainly see the likes of Phantasy Star Online 2 running on the Vita, but as for all-new announcements, who knows? Capcom, Sega and Atlus could all be partners with new things to show, and Sony will have its own cards to play. But, as we've seen with Hatsume Miku and other big Vita releases, it needs a flood of games rather than a trickle, so if there isn't a rush of news, don't expect those sales figures to rise anytime soon.

What do you want to see, out of the event?

Sony making movies with the Little Battlers

Here's a quick look from Sony at some "live action" and making of... using some of the Little Battlers mechs. The next game in the series is out in October for both Vita and PSP and previous versions sold pretty well, with a good score in Famitsu.

The actual trailer is being created by Studio Placebo, and will be shown in the run up to release.

Sony's Madden 13 trailer hits the spot

Okay, last week I was pretty damning about EA and its low-lying approach to Madden on the Vita. That hasn't changed, but at least Sony's marketing guys are getting it right with this great advert for the NFL title and bundle. It punches home the play everywhere message, without getting too wrapped up in silly Vita features.

Note the lack of an EA logo though. I'm guessing this is all Sony's work, which is pretty embarrassing, but at least Vita has the game, so it would be unfair to bitch too much.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Zen Pinball 2, Plants vs. Zombies

I know Zen Pinball 2 has been out for a while on other formats, and it provides so many tables that a review is probably redundant. Instead, I'll just take a peek at the new Plants vs. Zombies table that you can buy for £2.99 on PSN.

 To get it, install the free Zen Pinball 2 component from PSN, then launch the game. Go to the Collection page and choose Plants vs Zombies and buy the table, a spot more downloading and you're good to go. The Plants vs. Zombies table provides a decent facsimile of the action from the very popular smartphone/Vita title.

And, when you open the table up, the view really is spectacular. For a start, it shows the Vita's screen off at its best with the smallest detail crystal clear and pin-sharp, and the colours are very vibrant. Shooting your seedling peas up the table, you need to defeat the zombie hordes through well-timed slaps to launch the ball into the vital areas, triggering a series of power-ups and mini-games.

Collecting sunlight increases your seed power, and money allows you to buy extras from Crazy Dave's car sale. Most of the features, zombies and weapons from the original game are represented and there's plenty of challenge in activating features like the melon-pult, an ideal way to slow the zombies as they lurch toward the welcome mat between the two main flippers.

With missions, high score challenges and multiplayer (local hotseat) with your PSN friends or the world, and stats for every element of the game, there is plenty to keep you playing, but only a couple of Trophies to collect, if you're just here for the silverware. About the only thing I don't like is the touchscreen tick that appears on the right, it is often hard to know what it will do and can easily distract you from the table action.

Just take time to savour the detail as the view pans around the table before you play, you certainly won't have time to stop and stare once the multiballs start rolling. The game is fun on its own, with previous experience of the progenitor game not needed.

Price: £2.99 (PSN)
Score: 8/10
Progress: 48 million
  More reviews

Vita gets a little firmware update today, no PSN goodies for NA

Here we go again, does this one add some extra PS one compatibility, a new feature or does it stop whatever cheekiness the homebrew crowd are getting up to? Since it comes to us via Sony's Turkish PlayStation Facebook page, the answer could be one, all or none of these things. I've got my own wishlist for firmware 1.90 but if a few of them make it over early, I'll  be more than happy.

Update: Looks like a pure security fix.

Over in America, the drop for this week's PSN shows bugger all Vita games, although there is Feisty Feed coming via minis. A game about which the entire Internet apparently knows nothing. Anyone?

New LittleBigPlanet trailer heralds launch

Just get it in the damn shops already (in Europe!) But for now, this will have to do, as the PSN blog dishes out some art, review scores and other goodies as the Vita's finest game (if you can call LBP a game) arrives in stores this week.

Will this help sell the Vita in the west? There's a bundle due, if the marketing campaign is clever enough to attract buyers. Time, as ever, will tell.

Is there life in WipEout yet?

A tweet from Studio Liverpool's WipEout2048 Twitter (and an update on Facebook) account suggests there might be life in the old thrust-propelled dog yet. The tweet comes with an image that features official team names, so this isn't an indie-offshoot going out on a limb.

The tweet arrived out of the blue a couple of hours ago, and is generating a fair amount of excitement. Hope to hear more news soon. It could be a spoof however, with an insider posting "That Tweet should not have been posted, Studio Liverpool is closed, there is no new Wipeout game. Ami Nakajima was not released [I wonder why ;) ], she was just tweeting to say that she "is still alive". Which is pretty tactless."

Update: Rumors flew overnight with stories that Evolution were taking over the WipEout series, still no firm announcement, but the game is definitely afoot.

New Persona 4 video out and about

Atlus Japan has just released a new video for the next Persona game (beyond Golden on the Vita) for the 3DS. You can watch it here on Nico Nico, the YouTube page (maybe region locked) seems to have trouble playing at the moment. (Update - fixed, and in HD)

There's 3:43 worth of new characters and settings to take a peek at, no idea if this will ever hit the Vita, but I'll be quite happy with my copy of Persona, whenever it gets a European release.

Phantasy Star Online 2 to be shown on Vita at TGS

Sega will show off PSO2 running and playable on the Vita for the first time at TGS. The game is due out next Spring on the Vita and is already going great guns on PC. iOS and Android versions are also due, so it should be interesting to compare and contrast.

Game Director Hiroshi Suganuma will be giving a stage talk on the Vita version during the first day of the show (which runs from Thursday to Sunday).

Go spying on girls with Sony's TGS AR app

Anyone lucky enough to be headed to TGS should take their Vita, as Sony has an AR app which visitors can use to help track down a lady spy and get some free goodies.

"An order came to Tokyo Game Show Detective office. That was a request to find a spy girl who has stolen an ancient treasure that was supposed to be displayed at PlayStation Booth. You are, as one of detective, find out whereabouts the spy girl with an exclusive PlayStation Vita app. Prize follows success. Today, the exclusive app, "Tokyo Game Show Detective -Find a missing spy girl", is ready for download!"

To help you out, here's a map of the show floor, with Sony having a big chunk of hall 4, next to Capcom which you'd hope is an auspicious sign, given Capcom's Nintendo love-in recently.

LittleBigPlanet patched already on Vita

The game isn't formally out yet, but plenty of Americans have already got their hands on it as the sales date was cast aside. Now a v1.01 patch is available for those lucky gamers, the update includes:
  •  Minor level fixes
  •  Slight changes to some menus
  •  Improved performance and graphics
  •  Activity stream now easier to use
  •  Fixes to skill rewards on level badges
  •  Fixes to skill rewards when copying levels to My Moon
There is plenty of LBP action in the latest PS blog Access TV episode. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Top 10 Vita games on PSN in August

Here you go, congratulations to the Sound Shapes developers for creating such a novel combo of sound and game:

Top 10 PS Vita Games on the US PSN

Sound Shapes
Table Top Tanks
Madden NFL 13
Plants vs. Zombies
Escape Plan
Pure Chess PS
Gravity Rush
Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack

LittleBigPlanet in stores, no online until Tuesday

American gamers have been snapping up LBP in the last couple of days as the ship date collapsed. However, Sony says the online areas of the game won't be live until Tuesday.

"Hi everyone – production on LittleBigPlanet PlayStation Vita was completed earlier than expected, and due to the excitement from our retail partners, some have decided to put it on shelves as soon as the product was received. You’ll still be able to fully enjoy all the offline features of the game, but the servers will not go live until September 18th. We apologize for any confusion this may cause and will keep you posted on any further updates."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dokuro comes to the west in October

After the rather poor response to the painted delights of Acquire's Sumioni, GungHo is giving chalk art a shot in the tricky platform puzzler Dokuro. The game got over 100,000 trial downloads and a reasonable 31/40 in Famitsu.

The game is now getting a western release, with a PSN release in October. With the Vita a little light on new platformers, this could well get a fair audience over here. The news is on the US PSN blog, hopfully Europe will be getting it too.

Persona 4 Golden Special Edition almost sold out

If you're after one of those super-sexy, limited edition, PS Vita Persona 4 Golden Packs (in North America), you'd better get a move on. Right at the end of this Gamespot playtest, the game's PR dude mentions that they are sold out in  most stores (of course, he's a PR dude, but he might be right).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vita Street Fighter x Tekken getting more alternate costumes

Just to lighten the mood in Capcom's upcoming brawler, the characters on the Tekken side of the fence are getting some fun new outfits to bring a smile to gamer's faces as they pummel each other senseless.

So, if you want to slap a bear, or immolate a super hero, check out Capcom's blog for some more creative efforts.

Sony teasing new Vita game with empty boxes

Like some corporate nightmare (or pleasant dream if you like the post-room) two execs wake up to find themselves surrounded by cardboard boxes with "open me" stamped on them. In the last one they find two Vitas, suggesting multiplayer, but on the screen are just more boxes.

What could it all mean? Snake likes hiding in boxes, but this isn't a Konami trailer. Sony Japan will probably let us know more at Tokyo Game Show. Any thoughts? I'm thinking something by the EchoChrome guys, but only on the merest hint of a synapse firing, but this seems a lot effort for that kind of game.

There is now a site for this, which doesn't give much away, except that it is a download only title.

More Let's Fish Hooked On news lured into our net

Wired Productions are putting the final touches to Let's Fish, one of the Vita's potential surprise hits that fuses gaming and anime. It combines realistic fishing action with fast arcade style game play and a full story mode, which aims to make fishing fun for everyone. More news to come in the following weeks, but here's plenty of bait for now.

Players can choose between four different characters, each with their own story line and unique abilities, with the challenge of improving their skills, and beating the tournaments to become a world champion by competing in a host of progressively difficult tournaments on the World Tour.

Let’s Fish! Hooked On features beautifully illustrated anime style artwork - designed by well-known Japanese artist Poyoyon❤Rock and features four different game modes, World Tour – with its character driven story line, Challenge - quick short-bursts of fishing action and online ranking, Training – to help develop your skills, and Underwater Mode, which lets you view your prized catches, all of which are designed to make use of the Vita’s features.

 The intertwining, and often humorous relationship between the games characters, drives the story as you see just how much fun fishing can be using the Vita’s touchscreen and rear touch For more hardcore fishing fans there are nine different kinds of fish to catch – including four different kinds of Bass, Trout and Salmon - and 240 lures to earn across 11 themed outdoor stages. The game’s intuitive controls mean it’s fast and fun to play and has more than enough to keep you entertained, whether you know your Rainbow Trout from your King Salmon, or not.

Uni indie game Bounceback hitting PS Vita

Bounceback was supposed to hit the PSN update yesterday, but I can't see it on PSN or mentioned by Sony. UPDATE: Searching for the game should find it, the developers are checking with Sony to see why it isn't visible (varies if you're using PSP, Vita or PS3).

When it does arrive, this is a student developed PSN mini. A platform/puzzle game similar to classic puzzle games like Lost Vikings (or more recently Trine) which require you to use the abilities of different characters to solve puzzles that prevent you from reaching your goal. The ultimate aim of Bounceback is to return the main character home, by getting him to ‘bounce back’ all the way to the moon. Lanos (as he is known) may appear to be a bouncy toy ball, but his origins are actually not from this planet at all.

Each level contains a number of ‘Bounceable’ pickups which gradually restore Lanos’ bounce until he can launch himself right out of the current level and onto the next. A light-hearted back story unfolds as the hero encounters a range of environments and collects an entourage of friendly characters whose specialist abilities can help him in his quest. This includes Puff the balloon, Boom the explosive and Splash the water bomb along with a race of alien robots called the “Tri-hards” who can adopt the skills of any other character, more details here.

Konami bringing New Little King's Story to Europe in October

Yes, this came out yesterday, but I was busy doing Apple stuff, although I did manage to update the release list. Featuring a brand new storyline and online functionality, New Little King's Story offers players a royal role playing game with enhanced PlayStation Vita system graphics and features.

New Little King's Story follows players as they assume the role of King Corobo, tasked with reclaiming his kingdom from the Devil King, "The Nightmare." Players will experience an incredible journey as they visit seven different kingdoms and battle against evil dark lords that have captured the royal princesses. As King, gamers will need to lead their Royal Guard in every grand battle, and plan attacks wisely as they grow their populations and broaden their territories.

The action adventure title takes full advantage of the Vita with upgraded 2D and 3D visuals, and utilizes intuitive touch controls, including the rear touch pad. Players can also enjoy a myriad of newly added online features including downloadable content, item combining co-operative play, and online leaderboards. New Little King's story will be downloadable on October 2.

Sega's Project Omega, a Demon Tribe heads our way

Sega Japan is teasing a new game currently known as Project Omega with a seductive striptease, which ends up with a series of stylised tattoos being laid bare. The final tattoo translates as Demon Tribe or Demon Drive, depending on who you believe.

The game is being developed by the Jet Set Radio HD team, so could well be a tribal racing or other kind of game. No platforms have been specified, but Sega is being pretty good to the Vita, so here's hoping.  I was kind of hoping that the tattoos, being a Yakuza thing in Japan, could mean a Yakuza 5 spin-off for the Vita, hey she is kind of Black Pantherish right? But guess not.

Despite the power, iPhone 5 still no direct threat to consoles

If you ignore the general drift of millions of people towards casual swipey games, the iPhone 5 despite its doubling in power with the A6 processor, does nothing to increase the threat towards core, portable and other forms of gaming.

The PS Vita, as vulnerable as it is due to low sales, won't see what sales it does get wiped out by a massive influx of iPhone 5 owners. Why? Because if the best Apple can drag up on-stage during its flashy launch event is a bare-featured looking racing game from EA and Firemonkeys in Real Racing 3, I'll take Need for Speed Most Wanted on the Vita any day of the week.

I'm pretty sure Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo crap themselves every time an Apple event starts up, hoping against hope that Tim Cook doesn't introduce John Carmack or  pulls out a proper game controller or a far better gaming service than the diet-Coke Game Center offering.

Despite all the gaming industry hires, the dragging out of a big publisher (last time it was Epic) at each launch, Apple just seems happy to dip its toes in the waters of gaming and let others do the work. Every time, the games corps must breathe a huge sigh of relief when Tim Cook doesn't do a "one more thing".

I'm pretty sure Apple has signed up some big developers to create some "AAA" iPhone/iPad/iTV games, otherwise why hire all the gaming expertise, and will release a controller of sorts eventually, but for now Sony can breathe easy.