Friday, November 30, 2012

Tales of Hearts R video talks the talk

Famitsu has put up collection of new pretty brief videos showing off gameplay, characters and combat for its upcoming Vita Tales RPG. Make of them what you will, and assume the position of prayer for a western conversion. Considering the flappy-mouth speaking animation, it wouldn't take too long to throw in a new voice track.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Toro's Friendly Network hits Asian PS Vitas

Available in Chinese and Japanese, this fun little social networking game and meeting place arrived on the Hong Kong PSN recently. Read into the broken English and the trailer what you will.

“TORO’s Friendly Network” application can help you to increase PlayStation®Network pairing in a free way. This app based on the input of personal intelligence interacting with Facebook and Twitter applications to recommend some friends to you. If you find a suitable user, you can exchange name cards with each other immediately and thus increase the number of your friends! After gathered a group of friends, it can help you to create a luxurious courtyard and dress up your avatar to be more stylish.

Sounds a bit like PlayStation Home remade as PlayStation Playground to me, with some dungeoneering thrown in. Seems unlikely we'll get this here, but you never know.

Binding of Issac coming to Vita in its own sweet time

You can't rush these indie types, so don't expect this to happen anytime soon, but developer Ed McMillen has confirmed that publisher Nicalis is working on ports for PS3 and PS Vita. The new Rebirth version will include Wrath of the Lamb and a new expansion just for us featuring an extra chapter and ending, more playable characters and content.

Urban Trials Freestyle gets some new pics

Having kickstarted (but not in that way) back in to life with a video yesterday, Tate's motocross game is actually looking pretty slick with a more gritty urban guerilla theme to it as you battle the cops while trying to perform the most outrageous stunts.

The game now boasts that it is inspired by and influenced with the support of Julien Dupont, the “godfather of urban trial freestyle.” Julien is known around the world for his unique street style and technique, mashing down barriers and setting new records. The game is coming to 3DS too, which should make for an interesting comparison.

!Brian Blessed Voice! The PS Vita's Alive?

After wondering where they were for a while, Sony has finally dropped its U.S. Black Friday sales numbers. The Vita sold 160,000 units across the various bundles and offers. That's a decent haul for a "dead" system and if software picks up, should see it set for a decent holiday season.

Of course, at this point, selling anything would be good news. And, since the PS3 managed 525,000, the Xbox sold 750,000 and the 3DS did 250,000, the Vita is still at the back of the field. That figure is at least four times higher than the Vita's normal weekly output, and if it continues in that vein, then things are looking up.

The arrival of PlayStation Plus for the Vita has to be helping, (overall subscriptions for that were up 250%+ on the weekend). Now its just down to when Sony can do a permanent price cut, and show off a decent 2013 line-up that things might get back on the road without the endless "doomed" speculation.

With the usual rentaquote, Sony said: "We’re very pleased with the Black Friday sales results, especially the incredible reception for the PS3 and PS Vita bundles. The demand was very strong which quickly depleted our inventory across retailers nationwide," said Jack Tretton, President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America.

If inventory was depleted then the numbers could have been even higher, but as a backlash, how quickly will Sony be able to restock? You'd hope it must have plenty of unsold stock in warehouses. Now, if only Sony Europe would provide us with some comparable information, I'll be happy (Note, the Vita sold 9,400 in Japan last week. Down from 13,000 the previous week when the new colours arrived.)

Media Molecule does its first dev diary for Tearaway

The PSN blog has a first update from Media Molecule on development of Sony's Vita exclusive from the LittleBigPlanet team. From the piece:
The game theme we’re building is a marooned island in a lake of glue, where something fishy is going on. We don’t want to say much more than that right now, as with any luck we’ll be showing more of it before the end of the year, and we don’t want to spoiler people too much. Teasing is way more fun! We’re looking good for our milestone: the underlying technology, visuals, animation, audio, and gameplay for the theme are well underway, and in building the whole area we hope to find the answers to many questions we’re still asking ourselves about the rest of the game.
There's no new imagery or other goodies to salivate over, but its good to know we'll be hearing plenty more on this game before it approaches launch.

Let's Fish Hooked On gets a new trailer

Fishing, the most popular of sports apparently, so this could be one of the Vita's surprise hits. Here's a new video of the upcoming cartoony arcade simulation from the makers of Sega Bass Fishing, showing off some of the Vita's menus, challenges, trophies and other snippets.

12 Deals of Christmas returning to PSN this season

If you've got any money left, Sony will be trying to take it off you via PSN with some bargains in the run up to Christmas as the 12 Deals of Christmas makes its return to PlayStation Store.

Starting on 1st December 2012, PlayStation Store will feature 12 incredible deals for you to unwrap. You will only be able to redeem each deal from PlayStation Store for a period of 48 hours and then they vanish, quicker than a Christmas pudding! Just like the presents under your tree, we are going to keep these deals under wraps until it’s time for them to be opened. So make sure you keep checking PlayStation Store to find out what the latest amazing deal is. We’ll also update this Blog post every time a deal is added.
Don’t miss out on some great one-time offers – take a sledge ride over to PlayStation Store and treat yourself to a few extra presents this festive season. Enjoy!
Can't they just send us small treats like a Vita memory card by post? As a taster, here's what was on offer last year.

New video for One Piece Romance Dawn, hitting Japanese PSPs in December

A chunky new five-minute video is out for Namco's soon to be released quirky combat game on PSP. If you want a full dose tears, angst and fighting, check it out. A few earlier stories on the game here.

Hatsune Miku still cranking out the hits in Japan

Hatsune Miku was one of the Vita's best sellers in 2011 for Japan, and the game is regularly being updated with classics from the Miku stable. Here's the video for Sweet Devil while Tell Your World is also out on the Japanese PSN.

Non-game gaming gift ideas for those struggling this Christmas

If like me, your Christmas list is games, games, extra controller, games and more games, then you might be annoying family and friends with this narrow list of options. If you want to add a little variety to your wish list, here are a few game-related items that might just be more palatable to them.

There's a CD of the greatest video game music played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra including Final Fantasy VII, Elder Scrolls, Battlefield 2, Metal Gear, GTA, Mario and, um, Angry Birds.

Love them or hate them, Angry Birds Star Wars will at least get you away from the TV for a while in the form of this Death Star Ballistic Piggie game.

I couldn't see any Vita-ish specific t-shirts, so this Trophy Whore one will have to do. And, finally, since they won't release the damn game over here (yet), why not enjoy some Hatsune Miku in all her pose-able glory?

That's my wish list sorted, come on relatives, anything other than socks and Lynx!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

FuturLab's Surge to overcharge your PS Vita and Android

Futur:Lab's third PSM title has now been announced and (as ever) it looks pretty slick. A crazed, charged take on the game of matching three squares, it all looks very neon and explosive. On the heels of Velocity (a PSP mini) and Fuel and Beats on PSM, it shows you don't need endless polygons and filters to provide some top-notch entertainment.

You can listen to the theme tune here and the game description is on the FL site. The game is out on 12 December.

Your Vita can now Bug your friends

A new freebie is out for the Vita today, doing a little social networking on your behalf via the power of a virtual insect. According to the new PSN blog post, once hatched your Travel Bug will spread via Near to meet other PS Vitas and report back with who it meets.

Hopefully this get a few more people using Near, but it hardly sounds like something that everyone will rush to investigate. The game itself is a freemium title, with you paying to release more bugs, accessorize them and  so on.

Vita PlayStation Plus users getting Knytt, Big Sky and Mortal Kombat in December

Well, that honeymoon didn't last long. Sony will offer a couple of indie games and Mortal Kombat (which does rock) for the Vita via PS Plus next month plus some other reduced price content. That's a bit of a comedown from the blockbuster opening, and if Sony is resorting to throwing all the new games on the store to PS+ owners, won't that reduce the income developers get?

12th December: Big Sky Infinity (PS Vita and PS3)
19th December: Mortal Kombat (PS Vita)
21st December: Knytt Underground (PS Vita and PS3)

Urban Trials goes Freestyle on PS Vita

A tweak here and a tweak there won't stop Urban Trials being compared to the Xbox's awesome Trials Evolution, but at least this snippet and a  new piece of art and a trailer means the game is still in the works, having been all quiet for months.

Posted on the game's Facebook site: "Hi, We have changed the name of the game to "Urban Trial Freestyle" and also set a new fan page ( Check it out, the game will be released really soon. Greets!" Hopefully Polish developer Tate will be able to make it stand out more from its illustrious rival.

Here we go again, In defence of the Vita

Now the Vita's "big" games are out, so are the knives for this "dead" system, and while they may be proved right, their reasoning seems rather off. Even though no gadget has any right to be a success, and yeah, the Vita isn't the hit Sony would have hoped, "dead" only happens the day Sony pulls it from production.

The most common argument I've seen is the Vita has "mostly rehashes of PS3 (and PS2) games." Fine, so did the PSP and that did okay. The same accusation can be levelled at all systems from all makers. As an argument its not the strongest, as is the art of innovation among games studios.

My main issue there is what happens if you don't own a PS3? I've got an Xbox (and a Wii for the family) under the TV and there isn't room for much else along with all the other boxes. Multiformat games I get for the Xbox, but if the TV is occupied, what could I play, even if I did own a PS3? So that's where the Vita comes in.

It lets me play some Uncharted, Assassin's Creed and plenty of smaller games, wherever, whenever. Full-time games journalists who have free access to all these devices largely seem to forget about that aspect.

Which brings us to the iPhone and iPad, which are killing dedicated devices, apparently. Umm, they live happily among the family of gadgets I own, some games I play on them, some on the Vita. Sure, lots of people now game solely on their phones, but those people were unlikely to invest in the Vita anyway. And, while it is true that not many PS3 gamers are rushing out for the Vita, that is something Sony can change with bundles and the inevitable price cut, at some point.

Going back to that first point, Sony seems to have finally realised the Vita is struggling and is gradually pivoting its resources to cope (that'll take time, but its getting there). While it hasn't been helped by poor third-party choices, you have to hope that at least the revenue from Black Ops Declassified and FIFA 13 will convince the likes of EA and Activision to be a little braver in their support.

So, yeah, Vita not doing as well as hoped, but the knives that are out for it are stabbing against a major player in the video games market. Sony has made just about every mistake in the book (memory cards, release schedule, pricing etc), but it is still here and if it continues to learn, we might just see it be a success yet.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Modest price-cuts on US PSN update

There's no new games on the Vita this week in the States (excluding PSP title Phineas and Ferb), fair enough after the frenetic launches recently. But, for those with some money left after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there is a smattering of a sale.

Price Change

Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational – PS Vita (now: $17.99 original price: $35.99)
Little Deviants – PS Vita (now: $17.99 original price: $26.99)
MLB 12: The Show – PS Vita (now: $17.99 original price: $26.99)
ModNation Racers: Road Trip – PS Vita (now: $17.99 original price: $26.99)
Reality Fighters – PS Vita (now: $17.99 original price: $26.99)
Resistance: Burning Skies – PS Vita (now: $26.99 original price: $35.99)
Smart As… – PS Vita (now: $26.99 original price: $29.99)
Uncharted: Golden Abyss – PS Vita (now: $35.99 original price: $44.99)
Unit 13 – PS Vita (now: $26.99 original price: $35.99)
WipEout 2048 – PS Vita (now: $17.99 original price: $26.99)

Hopefully, Resistance and Unit 13 will get a price cut in Europe too, as I'd give them a go at a decent price.

Monday, November 26, 2012

MLB 13 definitely coming to the Vita

You can tick this one of the list of games that are coming out on the Vita next year, Sony has a contest on its US blog to choose the cover star of the next game in the series. I don't suppose we get to vote too, and can choose a girl to represent all those who play rounders, rather than the steroid-abusing, baccy-chewing gumps we usually see? (And I quite like baseball as a sport!)

Just a thought! Hopefully the his-and-hers matching coves means the games will get Cross Play, which would be cool.

U.K. PS Vita top 20, four new entries!

There are four new entries this week on the chart, as Call of Duty maintains its grip on the No.1 one spot. While All-Stars makes a rather weak entry in at No. 8 (and at No. 38 in the all-formats chart), beaten by Lord of the Rings, Assassin's Creed creeps up to No. 2, suggesting a good life for Ubisoft's game, with Virtue's Last Reward in at 11, and Spy Hunter new at 18.

Should be interesting to see the split between PS3 and Vita All-Stars when The Guardian's detailed chart emerges. No Vita-only games in the all-formats top 20, but Need for Speed and FIFA 13 are still doing well for EA. The Vita Call of Duty game is down to No. 32 in the all-formats. Last week's chart here.


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

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Weekend thought: Sony killing it on Vita memory cards

We might hate them, but Sony is raking money in with its Vita memory cards and will continue to do so. Perhaps one more reason why Sony is probably happier than we think about the Vita's overall sales. I picked up a 32GB memory card for my PC yesterday for £12. The same storage for the Vita costs around £58 on Amazon and almost all of that is extra profit for Sony.

With the PlayStation Plus offering now kicking in, existing owners on 4 and 8GB cards may well be looking to upgrade. That and the rush of new buyers will also drive these extra sales, helping to smooth over the previously weaker Vita sales. As long as the Vita struggles to sell, don't expect price cuts for the memory or third-party modules, they are a nice little earner for Sony.

Perhaps that's one reason why the Vita and PC Content Manager apps are so cack-handed. If it was easy to drag and drop whole games, save files and DLC between devices using WiFi, I'd be happy with the cheapest 4GB option Sony offers, instead its a slow nightmare and unusable expect for regular backups.

On an odd note, the Japanese Amazon site has slashed the prices of memory cards by around 18%, but they are only down to the level I see in the U.K. and the U.S., where a 32GB stick is around £50 (minus sales taxes).

Love Election AKB1/149 to raise the Vita's pulse in Japan

The PSP version did great guns, so things might go well for the Vita version, which hits Japan on 20 December. The new version of this dating sim features elements called "event performances" and "reaction gaze function" which are song performances from the ladies you wish to date, and they now give you different reactions depending on how you interact with them.

The rest of it is largely incomprehensible to westerners, just as well, as these games never make it here. Official Japanese site here.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Want Persona 4 Golden in Europe? Easy!

Can't wait for the February release of Atlus' mega-scoring hit Persona 4 Golden for your Vita in Europe. Then just order it now from Amazon UK via an import retailer for £32 + postage. Or you can can find plenty of new copies on eBay. Anywhere else you can find it, let me know.

Me, I can't wait any more, so put me down for one. Of course, if you have North American friends or relatives, then its even easier.

Note: When I said Europe, they don't ship to all territories, apologies if you're in one of them.

Amazon UK's Black Friday PS Vita deal hits tonight

Get ready for it... Amazon will be throwing a PS Vita deal into the Black Friday sales this evening, a smidge before 9:00 PM. If you haven't got one yet, this will be the deal to get, perhaps similar to the U.S. Assassin Creed Bundle with free PS+ 3 months deal (making it a five game bundle in effect).

The UK deal is currently hidden, its the last one on the PC & Video Games list....

There haven't been any Vita games in the sale (that I've noticed) despite the likes of the Sonic All-Stars being discounted on Xbox and PS3. Keep checking though. I know I'm preaching largely to the converted here, but if a friend has expressed an interest in the Vita nudge them this way!

UPDATE: Okay, the deal was a PS3, PS Vita and PlayStation All-Stars for £329 which was pretty decent, it sold out in seconds, and I'll shout if I see it come round again. 

Quick firmware Vita update coming to fix cloud saving issue

If you've signed up for PlayStation Plus and are having trouble saving games in to the service's cloud storage facility, there's a dinky firmware update on the way to fix that issue for you. Firmware 2.00 has given the Vita a great deal of extra utility,

I now leave it running to monitor my gaming email and Twitter accounts, and will probably stream Sony's Music service through it when I upgrade to PS+. The patch will be here within the next few days according to Sony Japan.

Save bug patch coming for AC3 Liberation

I haven't suffered from this one myself but quite a few folks on the Ubi forums have been struck by corrupting saves and other game-killing issues with the game. Ubisoft has announced a patch is undergoing final testing and approval and will be with us shortly.

I've stopped playing for now until it drops, just to be on the safe side. Check out my review, if you're still undecided on one of the Vita's highlight winter games. It isn't as good as Uncharted but still a decent story and saga to get immersed in.

LEGO Lord of the Rings now out for PS Vita

It's not on PSN (yet) but you can now get LEGO Lord of the Rings for the Vita. Sure, its the compartmentalised portable version, not the fully-fledged open-world of the big consoles, but it still looks a lot of fun and is packed with Traveler's Tales humour.

The Vita RRP is £39.99 which looks rather steep, I'll check how much it is on PSN when that gets round to updating.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

PS Vita PSN Top Sellers, we love Black Ops Declassified

What an odd bunch at the top of Vita's own PSN app. The top seller is unsurprisingly Declassified (with a four-star rating, natch) and this week's releases haven't filtered in yet. But the rest is a right mix, with racing games doing well (F1 can't have benefited from the US Grand Prix, as that track isn't in the game).

Similarly crud like Doctor Who and inoffensive material like Table Ice Hockey really shouldn't be doing that well, should they? On the other hand, go Vita owners for giving things a try.

  1. Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified
  2. ModNation Racers
  3. F1 2011
  4. Plants vs. Zombies
  5. Doctor Who The Eternity Clock
  6. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
  7. Table Ice Hockey
  8. Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
  9. Super Stardust Delta
  10. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty

Phantasy Star Online Portable 2 trial soon, out in February

Wow, that's not too far away now. The Japanese version will be on trial come mid-January with a release date pencilled in for the end of February. The game is free to play, or there will be a special boxed version retailing for 5,220 yen with bonus armour, characters and other content.

A western version is confirmed, hopefully it won't take as long as some to make it over here. Particularly with PC, iOS and Android versions also on the way, which should give it a high priority for translation. The Vita and PC versions will share servers and be cross-compatible.

Seventh Dragon 2020 for PSP gets a sequel, new screens

Having rated the first game, 7th Dragon 2020 (PSP): 9, 9, 9, 8 in Famitsu, the Japanese site seems pretty happy that a sequel is on the way in 2013. Sega and Imageepoch should be pretty happy with it too, as the original PSP game sold almost 125,000 units on launch.

Again for the PSP, although it should play on PS Vita through PSN, Famitsu has a bunch of new pics showing funky dragons and the usual perky hero-types. The game, charting the battle between humanity and a horde of space dragons arrives next spring.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

PS Vita sales rise in Japan on new colours and Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation

The new colour editions of the PS Vita have given it a useful boost in Japan with the sales of 13,091, beating out the PSP's 12,217 according to Media Create figures. Even combined that's less than a quarter of this week's 3DS sales, just for perspective.

The new Sapphire Blue model and a red unit were helped by the arrival of Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation which sold almost 25,000 copies, not bad for a western game in Japan. The Vita was down to under 5,000 last week, and will probably by back in four-digit figures next week, but every little helps!

PSN and PS+ Update for PlayStation Vita, just like Christmas

Yep, its the first PlayStation Plus PSN update for Vita owners and, if you don't own two of the biggest games on the platform, then get whopping and ready to download. Uncharted, Gravity Rush, Chronovolt and Mutant Blobs Attack are all free if you're a PS3 PSN subscriber or if you sign up for the Vita version. Plus there's an extra 20% off some other PS Vita titles.

Even if you're not on PS+, there's a whopping seven new games out this week across all prices, so there has to be something you'll want to play.

PS Vita
Price: £4.99/€6.19
File Size: 261MB

Jet Set Radio
Price: £6.49/€7.99 (Free Trial Version!)
File Size: 1.1GB

Lego Lord Of The Rings
Price: £TBC/€TBC (releases Friday 23rd for UK/IRE)

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale
Price: £29.99/€34.99 (releases Friday 23rd for UK/IRE)

Sine Mora
Price: £7.99/€9.99 Free Trial Version
File Size: 675MB

Price: Free
File Size: 201MB

Virtue’s Last Reward
Price: £29.99/€34.99
File Size: 1.2GB
Try the demo if you're not sure about this one, its well worth it. Check out the awesome reviews its getting.

PS Mobile
Arctic Adventures: Brain Freeze
Prices: £1.59/€1.99

Bullion Blitz
Price: Free

PES 2013
Price: £15.99/€19.99
File Size: 1GB

PSOne games
Tomba 2: The Evil Swine Return
Price: £3.19/€3.99
File Size: 220MB

Jetpack Joyride
Price: £3.49,€3.99

Grafitti App t@g arrives on PS Vita today

Okay, that's odd, earlier this week a stream of emails were giving folks access to the beta test of this app, and since not many of us have 3G models, we were passing them around on Twitter like confetti. Now the full app is launching, which hardly gives them any time to get feedback on it

Anyhow, here it is coming to PSN today with fun tales of trying to develop it when there weren't any 3G Vitas at all.

Jetpack Joyride causing havoc on PSN

Available as a mini for Vita, PSP and PS3, Jetpack Joyride from HalfBrick (the folks behind Fruit Ninja) is a face paced scrolling shooter with an awesome amount of content for a mini. Brought to the PSN by BeatShapers, it is packed with 34 achievements to crack and a whole arsenal of upgrades and extras, check it out on U.S. PSN now, Europe today.

Sure, its $3.99 on PSN and free on iOS and Android, but they've gone ad-supported or DLC (I believe) while this is the full thing with no further demands. Anyway, with these awards, it is probably worth it.
  • Pocket Gamer - Best Action/Arcade Game 2012 
  • Pocket Gamer - iPhone/iPod Touch Game of the Year 2012 
  • Pocket Gamer - Overall Game of the Year 2012 
  • Gamasutra Mobile Game of 2011 
  • TUAW Best iPhone Game of 2011 
  • UGO iOS Game of the Year 
  • Game Revolution Best Mobile Game 2011 
  • App Store Rewind, iPhone Game of the Year Runner-up!
What with this, Big Sky Infinity and Sine Mora, and the coming-soon Radiant Flux, looks the Vita will finally be home to some top shooting. 

Hands on with a sapphire blue PS Vita

Cue many jokes about "has the Vita got the blues?" this is one of the two new colours out in Japan, the other being a pretty red. They might nudge sales in the right direction, but its hardly something to get excited about, still check it out and enjoy the sparkly fascia.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Atelier Totori Plus scores well for Vita in Famitsu as the PSP rolls on

Hey, there's tens of millions of the buggers out there, so why not keep releasing the games? This week's Famitsu issue gives out decent to middling scores for five PSP titles with new Vita game (well, PS3 conversion) Atelier Totori Plus edging them out. Here's 10 minutes of Gust's leggy RPG in action.

Atelier Totori Plus (PSV) – 8/8/8/7
UnchainBlades Exiv (3DS/PSP) – 8/7/7/7
Kamen Rider Chou Climax Heroes (PSP) – 8/7/7/7
Koi wa Kousoku ni Shibararenai! (PSP) – 7/7/7/6
Saint Seiya Ω Ultimate Cosmo (PSP) – 6/7/6/6
Missing Parts (PSP) – 6/7/6/6

Uncharted Golden Abyss gets a patch ahead of Fight for Fortune

Sony's Bend Studio has just released a 90MB patch for Uncharted Golden Abyss, enabling you to collect and unlock cards for use in the upcoming Fight for Fortune game. It also increases the frequency of bounty drops in the game.

This is be a good opportunity for another run through of the Vita's best-selling game so far, if the card has been tucked away in your game box, allowing you to stock up on game cards for the release of FfF.

The game won best handheld title at the recent Golden Joystick awards and was the subject of a very detailed post-mortem on Gamasutra. Sony Bend are currently hiring for their next Vita project, which we can only hope is as good.

Zen Pinball's Marvel Civil War table pits Iron Man against Captain America

Coming this week to PSN, comic fans can join forces with Iron Man or Captain America in the newest Marvel Pinball table, Civil War! The Superhuman Registration act has stirred up controversy within the Marvel universe. If passed, this act would force those with super powers to register with the federal government and reveal their true identities. Iron Man is in favour of this act, while Captain America leads the charge against it.

Choose a side and rally the support of other superheroes! Zen Pinball 2 as Cross Buy entitled content for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita for $2.99 / €2.99, November 20th in North America and November 21st in Europe.

UPDATED: Now with video

Persona 4 Golden officially out in America

Will this be the game that......  oh you know the rest. After the modest success of Assassin's Creed Liberation and Need for Speed on the Vita, will it take a remake of a PS2 game to really lift its fortunes. The game has a metacritic score of 94 and plenty of mega reviews. Here's Atlus' official press release, leaving us Europeans in the lurch until February with an import quandary.

ATLUS, today announced the North American release of Persona 4 Golden, exclusively for the PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita) handheld entertainment system, available in retail stores as well as for digital download on PlayStation®Network.

A remastered version of the award-winning RPG Shin Megami Tensei®: Persona®4 that earned a Metacritic score of 90, Persona 4 Golden for PS Vita system drops a host of features and content including new personas, added player areas and events, a wider variety of difficulty level options, and more cutscenes and character dialogue.

Persona 4 Golden has been lauded by media since its first showcase at E3 2012. Currently the highest-rated PS Vita system title on Metacritic (94 score), top gaming outlets are heaping praise, with Game Informer saying the game is "one of the best RPGs to date." Additionally, has stated "if you don't have a Vita yet, this is probably the best reason yet to get one" while says "Persona 4 Golden is one of the best games I have ever played in my life."

"We're thrilled to bring the biggest handheld game launch in the history of ATLUS to PS Vita," said Tim Pivnicny, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, ATLUS. "Persona 4 Golden's elements of adventure, combat, and storyline evoked such a strong calling with fans that the 10K limited run of the Solid Gold Premium Edition sold out almost immediately after announcement. This is a must have PS Vita title for all RPG fans this holiday."

In the small town of Inaba, a high school student has been sent to live with his uncle when his parents go away on extended business. Soon after arriving, people begin to turn up dead under mysterious circumstances, and at the center of it all is a strange fog and the bizarre "Midnight Channel" that appears on blank TVs on rainy nights. The kids in town soon discover that they have the ability to enter a dark, twisted world inside the TV, and they may be the small town's only hope of solving the mystery.

Persona 4 Golden is rated "M" for Mature by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). Persona 4 Golden is available exclusively for PS Vita at MSRP $39.99 ($69.99 for the Premium Edition). For more information, visit

Vita sales doing a (small) number on the UK Charts

As shown yesterday, the Vita does actually sell some games, but since the numbers are buried by the arsey-faced chart providers, finding out how many is nigh on impossible. One snippet of interest provided by the Guardian's version of the chart is that:

Vita sales make up 13% of the total for Need for Speed: Most Wanted, up from 6% last week.
Vita sales make up 7% of the total of FIFA 13, up from 3% last week.

While the overall sales of those games may be heading down, as they're a few weeks old now, that has to be good right? While it would probably take a lot more to convince EA to do invest more in the Vita, any numbers headed upward have to be good.

Demon Gaze adds a trailer, voice talent

Kadokawa's Demon Gaze page has a trailer that I missed last week, and some other updates. New stuff includes character information and a list of the voice talent and some of their contributions to the game.

Samurai and Dragons, round two in Japan

I'd guess this has to be one of the more popular PS Vita games in Japan, with its huge amount of digital content added since launch and its online play features. It looks like this new retail version contains much of the content released since launch and new goodies to keep those sales ticking over.

The "Advent Balaur Deluxe Edition package" offers new vouchers and features. Adding new knights, minotaurs, four new species of dragon including the Balaur monsters to your collection, extra rarities and other goodies.

PS Vita firmware 2.00 is live

Enabling PlayStation Plus, the browser as an app you can open during game sessions, email app, backup over Wi-Fi, cloud storage for PS+ users, improved browser performance and other goodies. Features video here.

A few quick tests and notes:

If you launch a PSM title, you will get a new version of the PSM runtime package to download.
Email tested, added a Google account, looks pretty easy to navigate and use. You can check for new mail periodically, add multiple accounts and can be loaded on Startup (from the main Settings app).
Maps, now with added weather and traffic, enabled in the Maps settings section.
Content Manager over WiFi doesn't seem to work, its asking for a setting in Assistant that I can't find (good old Sony and its PC apps). NOTE - You need to download a new new version from here.
PS+ Cloud Storage, need to sign up for that...
More options for Notifications, why are Sony obsessed with flashing lights as a UI method?
Near has had a major upgrade, is faster and less obtuse.
The web browser is a lot better supporting HTML5 according to
Trophy synching is a lot faster

The official features list:

Support for PlayStation Plus has been added.
Email app has been added to the home screen.
You can now transfer content between the PS Vita system and a PC using Wi-Fi.
You can now transfer a folder from a PS3 system or a PC to the PS Vita system.
Maps can now display weather information.
The display performance in [Browser] has been significantly improved.
The buttons on the PS Vita system can now be used with more applications.
In Settings, you can now set how you will be alerted depending on the notification type.
In addition, the usability of many features has been improved.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Uncharted card game shuffling to the Vita

Having been semi-leaked a couple of weeks back, there is now an official card game for the Uncharted series hitting the Vita on PSN in December, the US version will be $5. Featuring online multiplayer mode, it expands on the Vita's original Uncharted adventure, encouraging you to go collect all those trinkets glinting in the muck.

Fight for Fortune sounds like a feature that didn't quite make it into the original game and looks like a straight card battle game with those trinkets acting as boosters for characters and weapons. While it doesn't boost the core game as Metal Gear Ac!d did for that series on the PSP, it looks like it could be fun.

Bend Studio meanwhile is continuing to work on a new PS Vita title.

Gravity Daze characters for LittleBigPlanet this week

I saw this on Famitsu earlier and didn't want to post in case it was Japan-only, But both the US and EU PSN blogs have posted news of LBP getting some cool Gravity Daze costumes to go leaping about in this week.

They'll be available either individually or as a bundle with stickers and will soon be available for LBP Karting too.

Chronovolt free on the Vita's EU PS Plus launch this week

Player Three's ball-tickling game will be released on PSN in Europe and Australia on Wednesday 21st November and it will be free for all Playstation Plus subscribers. It is a fiendish 3D puzzle-platformer in which players have to guide the rolling Chronosphere through the twists, turns, traps and hazards of the Escher-like levels. To keep the chase alive, they will need speed, dexterity and determination to reach each Time Gate as Dr Scabious makes his escape.

Players can use powerful time controls to stop and rewind time, open time gates and blast enemies into the past. The game takes advantage of the PSVita features such as touch screen, rear touch panel and tilt controls. Players can “touch” objects in the game to stop time for them thus solving puzzles and making traversing the levels easier. The social aspects of the console have not been overlooked: Chronovolt features asynchronous multiplayer, high score charts and Facebook integration. Maurizio Cerrato, Technical Director on the game, adds: “It has been an exciting experience working on new platform since its early stage of development, Sony has given us massive support helping us to get the best results form the console. The powerful PSVita hardware brings the home console experience to mobile.

Its new fully featured control system combines both touch and physical buttons making it the best machine for players on the move”. Game Features Summary: 27 intricate levels, 3 time bending powers, 3 unique settings DLC with extra Chronosphere available from day one. A U.S. release is planned for later this year.

Among all the big new games, don't forget Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

Just a quick reminder that while all the big-name games are getting the adverts, the air-time and all the fuss, the best rated game on the Vita right now is ChunSoft's Zero Escape, the sequel to 999. With a metacritic score of 89% it is easily beating the likes of Need for Speed, Assassin's Creed and Black Ops in the reviews stakes.

There's a demo on PSN to try out the visual novel medium if you're new to it, and the game is pretty cheap too, some more articles here. The game is out this week in Europe, published by the ace Rising Star Games who deserve our support if they'll continue to bring games like this to the Vita.

Black Ops Declassified charts for the Vita

Despite the wide slating it got in reviews, Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified still made it into the all-formats top 20. In at No. 16, meaning it probably sold a little less than Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation which made it up to No. 14 on its launch.

Its bigger brother naturally raced to the No. 1 spot with squillions of sales, but I think Activision will be smugly happy with its rip-off job. Of greater interest will be the upcoming hardware charts to see if these new games managed to get Vita handhelds shifting. As I've said, Declassified makes a better pack-in title than a full game, so it might help the Vita get moving.

With the Black Friday sales in the States offering a range of Vita bundles for $199, it could well get a decent boost in the coming weeks. However, to maintain that it will need a host of good games in 2013 to look forward to and now the Vita's happy season approaches fever pitch (with All-Stars and Sonic Racing), it might be good for Sony to drop some hints soon about what's to come.

The Vita's UK top five, for the record, is now:


Which is the first time since launch that no launch games have been in the top five. Not much of a watershed moment, but progress nonetheless.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed getting great reviews

Sega's racing love letter, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is one Vita game that might be more Need for Speed than Call of Duty. The Vita version was developed by Sumo Digital who are doing the main console versions, and who did great service to the PSP OutRun.

The full console version is getting some great early reviews and there's every reason to hope the Vita version will match that level. It has scored:

IGN - 8.6/10
EuroGamer - 9/10
Official Xbox - 8/10
Official PlayStation 8/10

Given the game is only £24.99 on Amazon or £29.99 in GAME, it has to be worth a shout, out on 7th December. The Limited Edition (there is no regular one for the Vita) comes with an OutRun Bay track and other goodies.

Black Friday PS Vita offers roundup

Next Thursday is the Thanksgiving holiday in America, followed by Black Friday, the day when they used to go mental with their credit cards for presents and gadgets. Recently it has been followed by Cyber Monday with more web-based offers.

Not sure its been so crazy in the last few years, but the deals are there for those want, perhaps, a shiny new Vita ($1 = about 62p at the moment if you want to compare to UK prices). Here's a round up of the advance news on Vita offers.

Best Buy and Fred Meyer - PS Vita Bundle with Black Ops: Declassified at $199.99
GameStop - PS Vita White Assassin's Creed III Liberation System Bundle - $199.99
Target - PlayStation Vita WiFi Bundle – LEGO Batman 2 - $199.99
Toys R Us - PS Vita Call of Duty Wi-Fi Bundle with Bonus 10-in-1 Pack - $199.99

So, they're basically £125 plus sales taxes, will that tempt millions of buyers? Amazon is doing its U.K. version again this year with a Black Friday deals week running from next Monday, I'll post any Vita goodies that make it on.

Capcom promises free 2013 update for Street Fighter x Tekken in 2013

To salve some of the wounds affecting uppity fans over Street Fighter x Tekken's earlier woes, Capcom is giving the game is getting a big, free, 2013 upgrade. I'll assume for now it applies to the Vita version too, which was largely free of the issues from the console versions, although there were problems with the DLC shortly after launch.

The upgrade will arrive at the end of January in Japan, with no word of a western release, but it shouldn't take too long. Expect more information soon.

How Activision could have avoided Declassified-gate

By avoiding previews and reviews before the release, Activision is rightly getting caned for the farce that is Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified. But it could have been so much different. Some owners seem pretty happy with it, others are saying its a total waste of money, but just a few smart moves from a supposedly gamer-savvy company could have seen things play out a lot different.

By pricing the game at £20/$30 you remove the pressure it being a full budget game, with full budget expectations. Along these lines, the Black Ops + Vita bundle seems to be the highlight of American Black Friday sales, so maybe the idea was for it to be a freebie all along?

By tweaking the game (not only with difficulty levels, but through additional modes and trophies) to offer high-re-playability around the limited levels, and pummelling that replay value message to users, we would be aware that it was a short game, but happier to charge off and do it again.

A trickle of DLC... I'm pretty sure there's none coming for Declassified as Nihilistic is focused on mobile games, but by offering some new single and MP levels, Activision could have made more money and been able to deflect some of the focus on the shortness of the game.

So, any publisher, next time you want to bring a high-profile title to a portable, stop, think and do the right thing, rather than something that damages your brand and credibility. Me, I'm waiting until the price comes down.

Assassin's Creed III Liberation review

I don't know if past experience will help or hinder my review, but I've played a few hours of the first Assassin's Creed on Xbox, enjoying the huge steepling vistas and the rather novel approach to the story. I stopped playing that when I knew I'd be buying this, as I didn't want to be all AC-ed out. On the plus side, I can review this with a relatively open mind, without constant references to the main games and carping about feature X or Y missing or borked that lots of other reviews seems obsessed with.

The Liberation story follows a new assassin in the series, Aveline, a mixed-race well-to-do lady who can disguise herself as a slave or go full-bore in her assassin's outfit. Each has strengths and weaknesses, which adds a little strategy and variety to the game.

Using money raised from completing missions and looted from victims, you can buy clothes shops, tailors and other businesses around town, as well as doing some trading around the Caribbean, to boost revenue for your family business empire. A lot of the early game is set around tasks to do with the biz as you get up to speed, but the overall focus is on strange cults, vanishing slaves, peculiar artefacts and the battle between Assassins and their enemies in time.

So, Aveline starts out with a few tentative leaps and bounds as a child, setting the back story, grows up quickly to become a fine young woman who can charm the pants of some men to help her out and slit the throats of others who get in her way.

The streets of New Orleans, it quickly transpires, are no place for a lady, and most missions are a lot easier when viewed from the rooftops in Assassin's garb. However, some need to be undertaken with her bustle out, so its slow and cautious progress (as ladies don't climb), trying to avoid combat, or getting others to help her you.

Fortunately, Aveline isn't decked out very often, and in full assassin's flow, leaping from beam to roof to tree, the game feels just as slick and smooth as it did in the other games.

Stop and look around, and the graphics are very fetching, apart from some leapy shadows. The towns are well populated, with busy docks, timber-framed buildings (with lots of nice handholds) and you can usually see one or two towers in the hazy (slightly vaselined) distance for a better vantage point. In any of her outfits, Aveline is an attractive sight, with her piratical assassin's clothes, slimming slave wear and her posh frocks (which can be customized to create new looks). 

The tools of her trade can also be improved and upgraded across the game, from new poisons that have peculiar or fatal effects on their victims, to dual wielding, Aveline can pack a mean punch and fighting will rarely cause you to fail a mission. The most likely reason for that is failing to fulfil some set goal, which is a pain, but usually easy enough to figure out and only a couple of minutes of lost gameplay. 

From town to farms to the swampy bayou and further afield, Aveline seems at home, with a network of high-rise paths and opportunities for her to explore and find hidden objects. From random kills of alligators to stealthy parts of missions and lots of little box-ticking side quests, there's always something on the go, but the story never quite manages the dramatic pull or push of, say, Halo 4 which I'm playing in between bouts of Liberation.

However, you try playing Halo 4 on the train! Aveline's missions are pretty well sized for on-the-go gaming with most targets within a few minutes reach. Reasonably loading (and reloading) times mean you're never twiddling your thumbs and the useful tips in the corner mean you won't be scratching your head when you come back to the game.

The real niggles with Liberation come with the fact you can often ignore the armies of defending soldiers, wade up to a target, perform the assassination and the mission ends right there. some soldiers you do kill (in high places) often hang off floating in mid-air making for ugly scenes and men will happily stand around while you blowpipe their comrades from distance, basically Liberation isn't very smart.

These glitches could ruin the flow of the game which is probably the reason for so many 6s and 7s in reviews. But there was a day one patch for Liberation with some fixes and I'd expect a couple more to come as the rush to release the game beat the coder's for time.

None of these negatives are what you'd call game breakers and the touch controls are largely helpful, with weapons selection, opening envelopes, swiping down your wanted posters and so on, no complaints about those. But the overriding feel is that game isn't quite there in terms of ambition:
  • Blowing up a rival's boat should take more then just pressing 'O to interact,' 
  • The Mexican caves are gorgeous but devoid of life or clues to expand an other wise cute run-through.
  • Surviving a poisoning should take more than just running around a bit. 
  • When the time runs out in escaping the mines, nothing actually kills you.
Just a little more here or there could have been woven in between the main plot to liven events up.
That's where the game feels a little weak for me, but I've no complaints about the value, the expanse of game, the lite-combat action, the occasional joy of an assassination well done and the splendour of the Mexican pyramid or caves. The second half of the game sees the pace pick up, but its not quite enough to balance the two halves out. Still, a cracking adventure with great ambition for a portable title that

Price: £34.99 (Amazon)
Score: 8/10
Progress: Finished the story
More reviews

Old-school JRPG Eliminage coming to US PSN next week

This trailer is a bit like looking at Eye of the Beholder in the early PC days, and if you enjoyed those times, then this could be the RPG for you. It throws brave warriors up against dragons and other dungeon dwellers, thanks to UFO Interactive Games' conversion of the Japanese original from Starfish, itself originally a PS2 game.

There's a few more games in the series, including the recent Eliminage Gothic if sales do well, hopefully we'll see them too. Hope the game will work on the Vita too. Official website here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Top shooter Sine Mora gets a PSN trailer, out soon

Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture were due to bring hit shooter Sine Mora to the Vita back in the summer. Not sure what happened, hope it wasn't for the addition of the touch controls, but the game now has a PSN trailer showing the awesome shooter in action. Expect a release pretty soon.

There's some new concept art up on the game's Facebook page. Already reserving some space on my memory card for this one! With this and Big Sky Infinity on the way, shooter fans will finally have some reasons to be cheerful.

Is this why the Japanese aren't buying the Vita?

Cultural differences aside, I'm not sure anyone gets this as a promotional concept? It stars Japanese pro wrestler, Antonio Inoki but doesn't do a whole lot of the Vita. It links into a promo site, which is selling all three Sony products, but again - why? With sales at just 4,000 a week and no games coming this doesn't strike me as the best way to sell a console.

Vita going into hibernation in Japan until next year

With Vita sales going to bed for the winter, put a sign outside Sony's Japan offices saying "do not disturb!" T|he company seems to have no new games for the handheld until next year while Konami has just announced Silent Hill Book of Memories will launch there in February.

Looking through the Japanese games sites, there is barely any news on the Vita. And, anything there is, like Demongeizu and Mon Monster are due in late January. There's plenty of PSP activity sparking off, which leaves the Vita with little to look forward to this year now that Assassin's Creed III is out there.

Black Ops is out in December in Japan, but won't sell hugely. There's a Fate Stay/Night game and an Atelier title among a smattering of love sims at the end of November, but that's about it. Worse still, Amazon Japan seems to have very little stock of anything, which suggests it isn't exactly buying in bulk, so if Japanese Vita owners can't pick up the games they might like to buy, what's the point in getting a Vita? There are some new model colours due out this week, but that's not going to help much.

Still, Sony refuses to cut the price, which means it either knows something very good is coming soon and will bear the current cost, ignominy and all the bad press. Or, it has lost the plot and is stuck in a dogmatic rut.

Sorry to hurt your eyes, but here's Radiant Flux on PSM

Ouch, do we need 3D glasses for this one? A decidedly 8-bit vibe going on in this shooter from TACS Games. It is due on PlayStation Mobile soon, joining an increasingly neat line-up of games (hope you're playing Alien Breed from yesterday's PSM update)/.

Sony Bend working on another Vita game

A recent job posting suggests internal studio Bend, the folks behind the awesome Uncharted Golden Abyss are working on another title or two. Here's hoping its an original game that doesn't leech of an existing franchise.

No real clues in the blurb, "Bend Studio - creators of Sony’s flagship Vita title Uncharted Golden Abyss is currently looking for the entertainment industry's top artistic talent to help us create AAA content for Sony’s powerful new hardware. We just scratched the surface on what the Vita can do with Uncharted Golden Abyss and expect to push the platform even further with our future projects."

There's a great read about the making of Uncharted on Gamasutra, it makes me want to go back and play it all over again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

PSN Update: Alien Breed and Black Ops brings the noise

While the jury is out on Black Ops, and the game is way overpriced at £45, it is now out for download on PSN if you want to give it a go. A safer bet at just £3.19 is classic game Alien Breed from Team 17 on PSM, a fun out and out shooter that time hasn't diminished and Green Hill's Panic!, there's also some decent DLC to grab for various games.

PS Vita
Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified – £39.99/€44.99

PS Mobile
Alien Breed £3.19/€3.99
Panic! £1.59/€1.99

New Little King’s Story (x4)
Pure Chess – Easter Island Chess Set £1.59/€1.99
Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz Hard Pack – Free
Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz Professional Pack – Free
Zen Pinball 2: Fantastic Four (Free)
Zen Pinball 2: Fantastic Four Key (£2.39/€2.99)

High quality video of Black Ops Declassified on Vita

With the first reviews in the gutter, commenters up in arms, and the price too high by any reasonable standard, I'm guessing many of us are waiting for a better look at Activision's portable shooter. This could be that look (ramp it up to full HD), but take the opinions voiced (although they sound solid enough) with a the usual grain of salt.

I'm still battling through Assassin's Creed III Liberation to worry about this right now, and might just wait until its cheap, but it doesn't look or play as bad as the reviews sound. My main fear is now that Nihilistic has gone mobile, we won't see any extra DLC for Declassified which would help keep gamers coming back and expand what sounds like quite a small set of gaming arenas.

My biggest hope is Activision passes the engine onto to a new developer who can go away and make their own story, in their own time and come up with a game worth that money.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

VooFoo adds Easter Island pieces to Pure Chess

Developer VooFoo Studios and publisher Ripstone are excited to announce the release of the new Pure Chess DLC; the Pure Chess Easter Island set. Download and start playing Pure Chess, Easter Island style! For just £1.59 in the UK, €1.99 in EU and $2.49 in the U.S., you too can experience your own Polynesian escape to allow your inner grandmaster to play at its best.

PS Vita firmware version 2.00 video with PlayStation Plus news

Here's the official video of the new update showing off the stuff besides the PS+ content. It shows the likes of Jet Set Radio, Wipeout 2048 and others being added to the mix too. Plus 1GB of cloud storage for saves. There's also the long-awaited (mirth) email app, improvements to the browser, support for 1080p video files, even if it doesn't play at that res and more!

Knytt Underground gets its first PS Vita trailer

Ripstone has just put up the first trailer for Nifflas' Knytt underground platform adventure for the PS Vita and PS3. The game is out later this year and delivers a uniquely captivating, platform adventure experience, allowing you to explore over 1,800 rooms and complete multiple story-driven quests. If that wasn’t enough, prepare to experience an unparalleled sense of freedom and beautifully fluid movement as you play.

Official, PlayStation Plus comes to Vita

Here's the release: Its kind of annoying for existing owners as most good gamers will already have the lead two titles. I'd have thought Resistance or Unit 13 might have been a better bet?

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) announced that as part of the version 2.00 System Software Update for PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita), they will be bringing PlayStation®Plus (PS Plus), a subscription service package from PlayStation®Network, to PS Vita. Allowing fans to get even more from the world’s most powerful portable system the subscription service will be available on PS Vita from the 21st November and it will be available to existing PlayStation®3 (PS3)subscribers for no additional cost. PS Plus offers subscribers even more with the release of PS Plus on PS Vita.

NOTE: The U.S. gets a far better deal (again): Once you update your PS Vita to v2.00 and PS Store publishes next Tuesday, PS Plus members will be able to download the Instant Game Collection, which includes PS Vita games Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Jet Set Radio HD, WipEout 2048, Gravity Rush and Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack!, as well as (PSP) PlayStation Portable hit Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions.

Europe gets, as part of the Instant Game Collection, PS Vita titles including Uncharted: Golden Abyss™, Gravity Rush and Chronovolt with Mutant Blobs Attack. Members will have access to four games per month, as well as to a multitude of other perks such as free play, exclusive discounts and online storage. PS3 fans can rest assured, if they’re already a PS3 owner with an existing PS Plus membership, they will be able to enjoy PS Plus features and services on both PS3 and PS Vita - at no extra cost.

There will also be a 20% off sale for the following games:

Escape Plan
Unit 13
Hustle Kings
MotorStorm RC
Super Stardust Delta and Advanced Star Fighter Pack Bundle
Top Darts
Little Deviants
Modnation Racers: Road Trip Reality Fighters

The Instant Game Collection across both platforms means players will have a constant library of 14 games and at least five new games a month, which means over 65 games a year for PS3 and PS Vita. Gamers will also receive automatic updates with the service to ensure they are on top of the latest PS3 and PS Vita game and software updates.

Other cross platform benefits mean players can set their trophies and game saves to synchronise automatically, and access to online storage like never before will give fans up to 2GB of game saves online (1GB on PS3 and 1GB on PS Vita). Commitment to PS Plus is also convenient with subscriptions ranging from 90 days for £11.99 / €14.99 and 365 days for £39.99 / €49.99. An annual subscription available for just €49.99 will give users access to 65 games and equates to a very reasonable €4 a month.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Superflatgames bringing Lone Survivor to the Vita

To fill the gaps in the Vita's breaks between big-name games (except for this month), it will need lots of help from indies. So, step up Superflat games, Jasper Byrne's one-man band , who is bringing PC survival adventure Lone Survivor to the Vita and PS3. Try the online demo on the site for a flavour of the pixel-powered cheeky title.

The Good News That’s right, something wonderful has also happened in this time period. I have something I’m very excited to announce: LONE SURVIVOR is coming to PS3 and PS Vita! It’ll be re-coded from scratch by Curve Studios in London, creators of a number of great PS3 games like Fluidity, Hydroventure and Explodemon. It’ll be super-smooth running, and better yet (for my European cousins, at least) the plan is to include translations into French and German. I’m greatly looking forward to this, as it’s been a dream of mine since childhood to release a game on console, and especially the Sony ones as I love what they do most of all. Anyone who follows my twitter will know that I don’t tend to play games on PC, I really am a couch gamer, most happy on my PS3! Lone Survivor was designed as a console game (in my head, anwyay.) In fact, all the games I work on I really imagine being on console, or fantasise about, anyway! 

Ubisoft happy with Assassin's Creed III Liberation sales on Vita

Comments from a gi-biz article about the games' marketing suggest Ubi thinks things are going well for the game, which remains at No. 1 in the UK Vita chart. And, if you dig, way down, on Amazon's best seller PC and video games list, you'll also find it sneaking into the top 100, just below the super-priced Halo 4 in the guise of the Assassin's Creed III Liberation bundle. 
"It's the first time we've proposed another experience on another format, but there are some links between both of the games. The consumers are aware that Aveline, the main character on the Vita format, could have a future in our history for the Assassin's Creed brand, and the second thing is we wanted to bring a new experience using the features of the Vita.For now we are super happy with the first results we have got on the Vita, it is the biggest launch for week one for 2012, and it's the first Vita product for this end of the year.” "It's not only about games, we are talking about a global brand" He adds that the tactic “could give some ideas for another franchise, for sure."
Having built up the Vita engine for Liberation, it would be odd for Ubisoft not to create another game, or a new off-shoot from the series, or even bring the original titles over to Sony's handheld. I'm still playing through the game and will put up a review soon. I agree with most reviews that its not the perfect AC experience, but is still a great game to enjoy on the move.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Black Ops Declassified in Nukehouse video action

Since Activision can't be bothered to market the game, members of the gaming community seem to be taking it upon themselves. Here's a largely positive interview with a YouTuber who's got access to the game and put up a bunch of decent-size clips. And here's some of the action from his latest clip set in Nukehouse.

There does seem to be a bad case of Instadeath going on, but that aside the game does look a lot better than the content from the earlier version.

Cosmic Clean-Up does the bins on PSM

Vita and Android owners have another tidy looking title for their PSM range, with Ripstone and Green Hill's Cosmic Clean-Up. It’s your goal to clean up the galaxy by burning away all objects surrounding the centre planet. Once the spaceship has been launched, there is no option to turn off the engine. Slow down your ship by counter thrusting in the opposite direction. If debris is blocking you, fly towards it and steer just in the nick of time. The fire from your thruster will burn the debris away. Steer too late however, and you will crash your ship.

While its good to see more games coming to PSM, the same few names are already cropping up as developers and publishers, suggesting Sony isn't getting the stream of new coders it would like. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Atlus puts up a school of Persona 4 Golden videos

Starting an email with "Can't wait for Persona 4" is a good way to annoy European gamers who subscribe to its posts. But since the body links to a collection of 28 videos (old and newer) showing off various parts of life in the typical day (and night) of a Persona player, I'll let it slide. Here's one, zap to the end to find the rest.

With the reviews looking rather perky, can't wait to get hold of this game.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

PS Vita PSN download charts show who's the boss

Sony still doesn't want to share any actual numbers with us, but here's the latest Vita downloads from the western PSN services. Us old worlders eagerly await Retro City Rampage, while you have to think the number of downloads is pretty low if Table Top Tanks can still sneak in (I mean its fun, but not star quality). Congratulations to The Game Atelier whose SunFlowers makes both charts.

PS Vita games (EU)
Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation
LittleBigPlanet PlayStation Vita
MotorStorm RC
Doctor Who : The Eternity Clock
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – HD Edition
Burn the Rope
Table Top Tanks

US PSN Vita games
Retro City Rampage
Assassin’s Creed III Liberation
LittleBigPlanet PS Vita
Ragnarok Odyssey
New Little King’s Story
Plants vs. Zombies PS Vita
Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack
Need for Speed Most Wanted

First 15 minutes of Need for Speed Most Wanted on the Vita

Nuff said, still thinking about buying this game, worry no more thanks to this video from PS Access. From some cross comparisons I've seen the Vita version is a little less shiny, and there's a bit less additional scenery, but that's about it.

Big Sky Infinity video shows off some final frontier

There are way too few old-school shooters out there on modern consoles, I still go back to Ikaruga, Gradius, Raiden and way back to Xenon II for kicks. This might help scratch that itch, with some high-intensity lasers and lots of oddities to blast.

The video ends with free for PS+ users, so hopefully this will be a freebie for the first wave of Vita PS+ content.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Who needs Battle Royale, when you have Heroes vs Heroes

I'm not sure how well PS All-Stars Battle Royale will go down in Japan, but I think their local version for the PSP might do pretty damn well. Throwing the likes of Gundam, Ultraman and others in a blender you get a Banpresto game with a load of heroes battling it out (sound familiar?)

At least this game is full 3D, and while it might lack the four-player mode, the thought of mechs battling against suited heroes seems like great fun. The game is out next year.

Malicious Rebirth spawns a Vita trailer

Alvion's PS3 mega-monster whacking game is hitting the Vita soon in Japan and there's a new trailer showing some of the larger than life fiends you'll be thwacking with a range of magical weapons, your crazy cloak and some steely gazes. Looks pretty intense, as long as there's decent rhyme and reason to the many attacks shown off.

PSN EU store update: go Vikings!

The PSN gets a light update for Vita owners this week, but those Vikings look like they'll offer a lot of fun. And, don't forget the PSASBR and racing-themed sales going on.

PS Vita:
When Vikings Attack!
Price: £7.99/€9.99

PS Mobile:
You are the Ref
Price: £2.79/€3.49

You are the Umpire
Price: £2.79/€3.49

LittleBigPlanet (Cross-Buy) – Rare Racing Jersey (one week only) (£3.99/€4.99)
New Little King’s Story – Summer Set (£1.19/€1.49); Supreme Ruler Battle Equipment Set (£0.79/€0.99); Winter Set (£1.19/€1.49); Work Set (£1.19/€1.49)
Street Fighter X Tekken (Cross-Buy) (x8) Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz Sega White Pack (Free) Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz Sonic Pack (Free)
The Pinball Arcade (Cross-Buy) – Add-On Pack 5: Harley Davidson Third Edition And Taxi – Prices: £3.99,€4.99

New Knytt Underground for Vita screens

Indie hit platform adventure Knytt from Nifflas is coming to PS Vita and PS3 soon, with a release promised before the end of year. To keep interest up, published Ripstone has just put out these new screens packed with subtle layers of art and detail.

Sony throws in a PS All-Stars Battle Royale themed PSN sale

Hot on the heels of the racing games sale announced a little earlier, the EU PSN store is now getting another sale themed around characters that appear in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, which is quite a lot of games as you can imagine.

From the archives, we've got Medieval on PS one classics, some Ape Escape, God of War, Uncharted, Sly Racoon, Fat Princess and many more across all PlayStation formats (but no full Vita games), with some LBP DLC thrown in for good measure. Read all about this one on the PSN blog.

Tales of Hearts R gets a Vita trailer

Here's the first trailer showing off the all 3D approach in this remake of another sprawling RPG remake from Namco Bandai that won't likely get a release here. The game is due out in Japan early next year, still not sure why we haven't got Tales of Innocence R over here, even from a third-party publisher that focuses on JRPGs, if Namco US don't want to do it.

Ragnarok Tactics arrives for PSP in the US

While most Vita gamers will be rampaging in Ragnarok Odyssey, don't miss out on Aksys Games's slightly more refined game. It has announced that Ragnarok Tactics, the strategy RPG based on the Ragnarok universe, is out now for US PSP owerns on UMD, as well as digital download for both the PSP and Vita systems.

Developed by GungHo, Ragnarok Tactics features an epic original story with numerous warring factions and five different endings! Featuring an all-new battle system with some familiar Ragnarok universe game classes, creatures, and cultures.

Long ago, a ferocious war, which came to be known as the Holy War, was waged. It was during this bloody conflict that humanity erected a magical barrier to keep both gods and demons from overrunning their world. Once the war was over, it was believed that peace would return. However, humanity soon began to turn on itself, and war began anew.

  • Immersive Story –With multiple factions to support and a plethora of different endings to pursue, Ragnarok Tactics has a vast wealth of original story content for players to enjoy.
  • Engaging Strategic Battles – Go beyond standard strategy RPG combat with a variety of unique tactical mechanics, such as the Overdrive, Burst Strike, or even resting mid-battles
  • Interact with Friends – Using the Playstation®Portable’s adhoc capabilities, you can exchange weapons and unlock extra features with your friends.
  • Customizable Characters – True to the spirit of former Ragnarok games, Ragnarok Tactics features customizable characters complete with modifiable skills, stats, and job classes.
  • More information about Ragnarok Tactics can be found at