Monday, December 30, 2013

Final Fantasy X HD gets plenty of gameplay vids

Popping up all over YouTube are the familiar tones of a Final Fantasy menu screen as the Vita version of X in HD is imported by those who can't wait until March for the western release, and who can handle the Japanese. It certainly looks good and should chart well in this week's Media Create sales figures.

Valhalla Knights 3 Gold new video and pics offer more battles and whoring

Marvelous seems determined to keep tweaking this series to some form of obscure perfection. Setting increasingly low standards along the way with bikini-clad killers and some general sluttiness to go along with the tightly defined combat and grinding.



We can see what all the fuss is about with XSeed on conversion duties for VH3 (released back in October I think), not sure if the Gold version will be worth the extra wait.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

So, 2013 wasn't exactly the Vita's year, how about 2014?

That's a slightly loaded title, sorry. But from the perspective of a typical Cro-magnon gamer, the Vita failed to shine in 2013. It had some small victories, sparked by a resurgence in indies, but dragging us down the Vita basically vanished as a target for western third-party developers with no further adventures in the worlds of Assassin's Creed (although that might be down to a delay), Call of Duty or the other big names.

There was no more Need for Speed and FIFA 14 was an even lazier port than before. On the plus side, we got Sony's studios pulling a major effort on Killzone Mercenaries and Tearaway, and enjoyed a whole world of great indies thanks to Shahid and team.

Even better news were resurgent hardware sales in Japan, with the Vita running a distant second behind the 3DS but setting itself as popular enough for Japanese developers to throw resources at it and not just the usual eroge or visual novel fodder.

So, 2014's release schedule is heavily bent in favour of indies (Tempest 2xK, yum) and some third-party Japanese translations. Plus the inevitable questions of when we get the next instalment of Gravity Rush, plus Freedom Wars and Japan Studios other offerings. There's also this effort from Sony to bring back older games across the PlayStation family, all of which could bring ripe fruit.

But the big question remains, is Sony selling enough in the west to attract any developers? Based on their rather nervous percentages, I don't think so, and as much as most hopes seem to rest with Borderlands 2 (a game that just went free for PS+ users on PS3) things are again reliant on Sony pulling out some unannounced blockbusters which I'd imagine it is reticent to invest in, given the poor sales.

Of course, things could change! Sony could announce three million sales over Christmas in the west and a new army of third party titles... I'm waiting! In the mean time, I'll enjoy what I can get on the world's greatest handheld and love every minute of it, see you in 2014 (let us know how you expect the Vita's adventure to continue...).

Friday, December 27, 2013

Enjoy some Vivid Memories thanks to Kadokawa

While your typical salaryman might dream the dream more than most, there's something vaguely universal about the woman of your dreams bursting into your life. The Vita makes this so with a series of mini games and dating decisions in Vivid Memories, a game announced back in October, but with a new trailer from ASCII and Kadokawa, out at the end of March in Japan, not coming west anytime soon.

Vita sales toasty in Japan

Sony sold 55,000 Vita consoles in the run up to the holidays, shifting 50,000 Vita units and another 5,000 Vita TV devices. Add in just shy of another 10,000 PSP consoles and that's not a bad haul for Sony. Dynasty Warriors Gundam entered the chart at No. 9 selling 45,000 on Vita, while Madoka Magica managed 23,800 to land at No. 19.

More info later. All eyes will be on Final Fantasy X HD in next week's chart, which released on the 26th in Japan.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sony's PSN January sale kicks off today

I'm still downloading stuff from the 12 deals of Christmas sale, but Sony has already kicked off with the January sales for the EU PSN. For the Vita, we get:

FIFA 14 Was €49.99/AU$69.95/£44.99, now €24.99/AU$34.97/£22.49
MotoGP 13 Was €34.99/AU$47.95/£29.99, now €15.04/AU$20.61/£12.89
Assassin’s Creed III Liberation Was €29.99/AU$39.95/£24.99, now €14.99/AU$19.97/£12.49
Street Fighter X Tekken Was €44.99/AU$62.95/£39.99, now €19.79/AU$27.69/£17.59

Most with an additional 10% discount for PS Plus subscribers

Those are fairly short term deals, plus a very long list that run through January, with PSP and Vita games including Unit 13, WipEout, Metal Slug, LEGO titles and more.

Digimon to battle it out on the Vita in cyber space?

Jump Festa saw the first footage of the new Vita DigiMon game, well a cyber-esque trailer, the last PSP outing did okay, but it looks like the series is losing its clout compared to still-insane Pokemon sales. Wonder if Invizimals is doing any better?

The festive charts for the Vita... Tearaway, Tennis and Metal Gear

So, here's the festive charts out of various places for the Vita, I don't normally use the full list, but the official chart shows some activity across the board. Tearaway rightfully holds on to the top spot, showing FIFA 14, which is the all formats No. 1, a clean pair of heels.

Killzone is back up to No. 3 and there's only four games over a year old in the top 10, which is nice. Injustice doesn't look like it did much, despite that excellent Argos offer. Warner wins the publisher battle thanks to all those LEGO games, while Sony can only manage four.

1 = TEARAWAY SONY 1 5
2 = LITTLEBIGPLANET PS VITA SONY 2 66
3 + KILLZONE: MERCENARY SONY 5 16
4 = FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 4 13
5 - LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES WARNER 3 6
6 + RAYMAN LEGENDS UBISOFT 7 16
7 - BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS WARNER 6 9
8 + VIRTUA TENNIS 4: WORLD TOUR EDITION SEGA 9 84
9 - ASSASSIN'S CREED III LIBERATION UBISOFT 8 60
10 re NEED FOR SPEED MOST WANTED EA GAMES - 59
11 = LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES WARNER 11 70
12 + LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS WARNER 13 49
13 + UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS SONY 17 96
14 + FIFA 13 EA SPORTS 18 65
15 - INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US. WARNER 14 4
16 - CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS ACTIVISION 15 58
17 - ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS ACTIVISION 12 6
18 + LEGO LEGENDS OF CHIMA WARNER 19 25
19 - SONIC & ALL STARS RACING SEGA 16 37
20 re MORTAL KOMBAT WARNER - 57

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2013 UKIE Ltd

On Amazon, the mega-budget Virtua Tennis is the only game in the overall Vita Best Sellers, with consoles, PSN vouchers and memory cards (thanks likely to its own PSN store) filling out the rest of the chart. On the games only chart, Football Manager 14 is at No. 12 based on pre-orders.

On the PSN Top Sellers list, Sony still doesn't seem to be accounting for Tearaway, with the chart skewed to newer releases, it should be in there somewhere.

1 Metal Gear HD
2 Injustice
3 Amazing Spiderman
4 LEGO Marvel
5 FIFA 14
6 Killzone

Monday, December 23, 2013

Persona 4 Golden, Sony's final deal of Christmas

If you're a relative newcomer to the Vita, then Sony's deals should have helped bump up your collection with all the best games. Following on from Killzone comes Atlus' stand-out RPG Persona 4 Golden, which I'm still slogging through despite picking up on release.

PS3 owners get The Last of Us (just grabbed that myself, could stare at the detail on that downloads screen for ages) while the last movie offer is The Purge. All in all, not a bad collection if you had the money to grab them all.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sony admits it has no Vita games for 2014

So, there I was filling in the EU PSN's game of the year awards form (Tearaway, tick) when I noticed the last category was 'most anticipated game of 2014.' Not a single new PS Vita game on that list, nada, not a bean, not even TxK. Couldn't they have just picked one from the release list?

Now the fan in me simply goes, well they haven't announced anything yet. However, I'm pretty sure Sony won't commit many more resources, third-parties certainly won't and it's down to indies and Japanese translations to fill the void. 

Perhaps there's one big game out there (beyond HD remakes), being worked on by a western developer, but with every man-and-dog knowing it won't sell, I think we've reached the natural conclusion of Sony's ambition here. 

Good job I like indies and Japanese games, but the supply of both could dwindle fast by the second half of the year, if focus moves to PS4, which probably outsold UK Vita's installed base after about day 4. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I have a bad feeling about this!

Also, in other news, some people have no sense of humour, irony or brains!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

J Stars Victory and Naruto swing into action at Jump Festa

Its fighting all the way for the Vita at Jump Festa, with J Stars Victory Vs and Naruto Shippuden Ninja Storm Revolution being shown off at the event, along with the earlier posted Dragon Ball Z clip. Guess the Vita is now solely for dance, fighting and party hunter titles, plus the odd RPG. Not a bad mix , check out the release schedule for dates.



Jump Festa shows off Battle of Z boss action

Jump Festa (official site) is taking place over the weekend in Japan with some new Vita goodness in action. Take a peek at Dragon Ball Z's latest multi-starred brawler in action with subtitles for the hard of Japanese. At least this game has a western release assured, most of the other games at the show won't be so amenable to travel.

Killzone Mercenary only £14.99 on PSN Christmas sale

For 48 hours only pick up the best shooter on the Vita by far at half price. An awesome game in its own right, Guerrilla's creation looks awesome and while its a little bit old-school is still the best you'll get on the Vita for some time.

Fast and Furious 6 is the movie on offer for rental while PS3 owners can pick up GTA 5 for £34.99.

The final deal will be announced on Monday, wonder what it can be to top that? Have you picked up any of the offers so far? Let us know.


Friday, December 20, 2013

YouTube and Dragon's Crown updated on Vita

Vita updates are falling like snowflakes today. For a start there's an update to the YouTube app, it doesn't seem to fix the issue with comments and I can't spot any obvious other differences, not that I use it massively.

Offering a bit more excitement is a new patch from Atlus' Dragon's Crown (who just shared their digital Christmas card) offering bug fixes and extra features including Ultimate difficulty, quest skipping and more:

If you clear the ninth level of the Labyrinth of Chaos you can select “ultimate” difficulty at the temple.
When you’re playing on “ultimate” you can access a new automatically generated dungeon “Sky Road of Dreams.”
On “ultimate” difficulty the level cap has been raised from level 99 to level 255.
Both the up arrows and the L button can now be individually used as item shortcuts.
Damage can now be displayed as a total number.
Silhouettes can now be displayed on the foreground to improve visibility.
On a save game with a cleared game it’s possible to skip the initial phase of the story with new characters and start with the search for the talismans.
It’s possible to skip quests that have already been completed once.

[Operational Improvements]
Adjusted skill effects and actions for each class.
Adjusted behavior of NPCs.
Adjusted effects and rules of equipment and items in the Arena.
Made all round improvements to the system in order to enhance operability and ease of use.

Still looking for Vita deals and offers...

Still looking for something Vita-flavoured for your Christmas? The prices are still headed down for systems and games, check out what Amazon UK has to offer, your local store may vary etc. A bare Vita system is now going for £125 but the Tearaway bundle with 16GB card is a decent deal.


Note that Sonic Racing is currently free if you have a PS+ subscription

Shopto.net has LEGO Lord of the Rings for under £10 and New Little Kings Story for £13.

Zavvi has Dynasty Warriors Next for £15

GAME has Dead or Alive 5+ for only £3 (currently out of stock)

PixelJunk Monsters is the current offer on the 12 Deals of Christmas, only £3.99 and the store got an excellent update this week.

Sing-along-a-Final Fantasy X HD

Square are going to drag this out right up to release day aren't they. Here's Rikku keeping an eye on her pal Yuna having a singalong. Does it really set a good example beating up a concert venue guard though? Remember, the western version arrives in March so, if like me you never played the original, you might want to avoid YouTube which will be full of playthroughs.

Sword Art Online takes the tour in new video

New areas to explore, mysterious ladies, and a town to kick back in. It looks like another party hunter is headed to Japanese Vita players thanks to Namco Bandai. The special edition at the back of the trailer looks pretty cool though.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dragon's Dogma Quest, a Spectrum game in mobile clothing

After the spectacular original, Vita owners would be hoping for something at least a little stylish and polished. Instead we get an 8-bit level design, a 16-bit RPG battle interface and some out-of-all-proportion-to-that-minimal-effort rendering.

Sure, the game's coming out on iOS too, but you know that has a GPU too; Capcom could have made some effort to spruce up the visuals. At least we won't have to pay to try it out, but you get the feeling anyone investing some time in DDQ will also end up spending a lot of cash.

Vita sales up thanks to PS4, but probably not by much

Industry mag MCV has been talking to Sony and got some numbers out of them about Vita sales. Trouble is they're no good at all. Unlike the Japanese numbers which are based on store sales, and statements from Nintendo where it is happy to talk about passing 2 million UK sales, all Sony offer is a 68% rise during the week that the PS4 launched and by 65% the following week.

So if the Vita sold 1,000 units in the UK before the PS4 launch, it sold 1,680 during PS4 week and 2,772 the next. The real numbers might not be much higher. Why would I think that? Because Sony is so reticent to give the real figures that they have to be appallingly low, and because if Tearaway - the biggest and best Vita game of the year - fails to dent the charts, there really aren't many buyers out there.

Sure, Sony could give us the real numbers and I might be wrong (or staggered at their hugeness) but I doubt it. And since there's no figures on game sales at all, why should any third-party developer care to risk their time and money on a Vita project?

There's also the question of what happened the next week? if sales are tailing off again then the PS4 bump for the Vita was very small indeed based on eager Remote Play users, rather than new gamers. Thank the lord for Indies I guess!

Legend of Heroes gets sequelitis from Falcom

The tales from Sen no Kiseki will be back for another airing next year on PS3 and Vita as Falcom announces a new outing for the series with improvements across combat and scope of adventure. Some more art and screens over on Dualshockers


More Freedom Wars in action, and how annoying is that bear?

Studio Japan and its many partners on this project have kicked out another video starring the bear that's the head of its Twitter campaign, the video is 11 minutes, probably 3 if you skip past the annoying creature. It shows off what looks increasingly depressingly like a generic party-hunter game, so far removed from the cool CG first video.

Still excited for this? At least it stands a better chance of coming west than PSO2 or God Eater 2

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Enjoy a blockbuster PSN udpate for the Vita

This week sees a shed-full of games arrive for the Vita. Click the links for more info, with Broken Sword, Bit.Trip Runner 2 and MotoGP Compact most likely to tempt you into a purchase. Backgammon, Eufloria and Age of Zombies are probably also worth a look. There might be more when the update goes live on the Vita, but you can grab things now on the PC store.

Broken Sword 5 Ep 1 £9.99 (£7.99 PS+)
Broken Sword 5 Ep 1+2 (15.99 (£12.99 PS+)
Eufloria HD £7.99 (£6.49 PS+)
Age of Zombies £3.99 (Update of an Xperia Play and PSP mini game)
A-Men Bundle £9.99
Backgammon Blitz £4.99
Bit.Trip Runner 2 £5.49
MotoGP Compact

DLC has a range of DC Comics characters for LittleBigPlanet

PlayStation Mobile gets a couple of new games with Night Riders 3D (£1.39) offering some Sega-style arcade racing and UFO Dad, a match 3 game with aliens and burgers. Note PSM is now available in a few more countries, with Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand joining in the fun.


A-Men go for a bundle

The Vita's indie launch game and its sequel are now available together (in Europe, US coming January) as a neat bundle for those who link guns and thinking. Bloober Team, the developers behind A-Men and the upcoming Basement Crawl, dropped the PS Vita bundle pack of A-Men 1 & 2 for 12.99 euros.


The series is a nostalgic logic platformer which takes influences from the likes of Lemmings and The Lost Viking with a focus on difficulty and a strong replay value. With both games together this is sure to be the most challenging experience available on PSN. Guide the five characters through many different worlds and expansive levels to get them safely to their helicopter. Every character has special abilities that allow you to approach every challenge in a different way, but we worked very hard to ensure that it did not make the game easy in any way.

Sega bigs up bigger battles in PSO2

Oh, we can dream about this coming west, but for now sit back and enjoy the latest clip from Sega of Phantasy Star 2 Online in action on Japanese servers. Recent updates including Episode 2 look to have added new features and gear, making this an even more exciting looking place to play. Come on Sega, do the right thing, even if its just throwing it open to westerners with the most basic of Anglicised explanation.

Vita and Vita TV sales continue to climb in Japan

Sony's handheld trifecta continues to move units in Japan with the Vita combo selling nearly 36,000 units, boosted by holiday sales as there are still no new games. The Vita TV sold 5,500 (up 1,800 on last week) with the Vita selling 30,000 and even the venerable PSP shifted 6,500 units (all told, they accounted for 13% of hardware sales last week).

Vita sales should get a neat boost when FFX-HD arrives at the end of next week, but for now it has to rely on the back catalogue and God Eater 2 which has dropped off the chart (sold another 10,000 according to Famitsu), as there's nothing in the Nintendo-dominated top 20 to help it sell.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Atlus brings some limited edition Conception II west

As has been explained, this RPG probably isn't quite what you think it is from the title. Instead, Conception II lets you play as a teenager imbued with the power of the Star God. fighting monsters and halting evil, all the while maintaining relationships with the game's seven heroines to create Star Children, who can join in the fight.

ATLUS has pre-orders and limited first-run availability of Conception II that will come in a special box and include a 10-track CD arrangement, composed by Masato Kouda.




The box and CD are guaranteed to US pre-orders from participating retailers and for a limited time after the game's launch in spring 2014 for the PlayStation Vita and Nintendo 3DS. The game will be $39.99 for either version. More details will be on the game's official website at atlus.com/conception2. Hopefully Europe will get the same deal.

Backgammon Blitz hitting the Vita

The traditional game, plus a new souped-up version are hitting the Vita and PS4 this week for just £4.99, adding to Pure Chess as more cerebral offerings for gamers who want a quieter time of it this Christmas. Publisher VooFoo lists the features as including:

  • Stunning photo realistic graphics
  • Local multiplayer
  • Seamless cross-platform, a-sync multiplayer (yep, that means PS Vita vs PS4!)
  • Brand new, unprecedented Blitz mode!
Add that to Runner 2 and MotoGP 13 Compact launching this week and that's quite a busy festive break for Vita owners

Freedom Wars spreads the rebellion with a Twitter account

If your browser does auto-translate, and you're into Japan Studios Freedom Wars, you might want to follow Prop-kun. The character is a bear that describes itself as a ultra-high-performance general-purpose teller according to the only tweet so far. Why is it always bears (Persona, Danganronpa, etc)? But, more importantly, what nuggets of information will this little fellah drop as Sony's next big Vita game nears release.


Lone Survivor joins PSN festive deals list

That seems a bit more like it for the adventuring survival game from Jasper Byrne, now only £5.49 on PSN as the latest of the 12 deals of Christmas. Check out more on the indie hit Lone Survivor here which offers bags of atmosphere for every one of its chunky pixels.

Also, remember to check out the rival Amazon PSN store as it evolves, hopefully the PSN vouchers and more Vita games will be onsale soon.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Final Fantasy X HD finally dated for Vita

Okay, finally Sony Europe puts a date on FFX. The deal is you buy Final Fantasy X HD in-store and get X-2 as a download voucher. Which seems kinda bonkers, with lots of people will be scrambling for memory card space (UPDATE: Each game is around 3.5GB). The date for the Vita's biggest RPG bundle of joy is 21 March.

A limited edition will come with an art book, but it looks like you can't buy X-2 as a physical product. Since its the same day as the PS3 version, and its digitally gimped, I'd expect most gamers to ignore the Vita version, which will be another nail in its coffin. But perhaps Cross-Play will salvage some sales for those who want to go portable.


Vita TV creeping outside the homeland

While sales may have fallen to niche status in Japan after the opening week, Sony will be looking to other territories to boost take-up of the screen-less Vita. It goes onsale in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippines early next year and will likely head west when the Vita 2000 arrives, I'm still guessing end of February for that. 


Again, the big question will be where are the games that will help sell it? Sony has Soul Sacrifice Delta and Freedom Wars on the way, but aside from a new Hatsune Miku the list looks pretty bare. 

Puyo Puyo vs Tetris shows off a new mode

Puyo te Tomix is a new gameplay mode for Sega's Puyo Tetris adding to the roster of fun on the increasingly intriguing looking crossover blocks title, which hits Japan in February. Mixing the two games on the one screen, I think a few Vitas will be slammed down (or harsh words exchanged) between gamers as they battle for the win.

MotoGP 13 goes compact on the Vita

Perhaps to give the game a wider potential audience, Milestone is offering a new compact version of MotoGP 13 to tempt gamers, less expensive, smaller with only the core MotoGP series (so no Maverick Vinales) game, it offers a more pick-up-and-go experience. Availability is listed as 'soon.' UPDATE: The game will be out on the 18th priced at €9.99 (around £8.50)



The developers say "MotoGP 13 Compact has two specific purposes: to satisfy the requests made by our fans that desire a 'digital delivery and ready to go game' and the need to create a more accessible game. This new version that includes only the MotoGP class and a selection of Game Modes at a reduced price."

The MotoGP 13 Compact modes include:

  • Grand Prix– where the player can select one of the official riders and teams, the track, the category and bike. 
  • Championship–In this game mode the player has to prove his rider abilities riding through the entire MotoGP 2013 World Championship in MotoGP category. 
  • Split screen – local multiplayer to enjoy the MotoGP experience with friends. 
  • Online Grand Prix–The player can experience and race against his friends.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dustforce trailer does 50 minutes worth of cleaning up

Now that's a gameplay video, the popular Aussie clean-em-up title that's headed our way gets a monster episode showing off the Hitbox product where leaving a level clean is more important than leaving it fast. With wall jumps, double jumps, dashing and other moves all part of the super-cleaner's arsenal.

Weekend thought: PS One games dead on PSN until Gaikai?

I was browsing PSN just now and see that Sony keeps the PS One Classics games icon quite high up the list. With such prominent placement, you'd have thought they'd be adding new games at a decent pace. Yet aside from Monkey Paw's efforts to bring some RPG and Shooter fun from Japan, it seems Sony is doing its level best not to update the service.

Which makes me think that it is holding back until Gaikai to release any sizeable new library of games. One reason for that could be that renting them via a subscription service is different to owning them, which might get around all the copyright stuff that prevents many games from being re-released.

The other is that Sony wants everyone to pay an additional Gaikai fee and is holding back all those games to nudge us into subscribing. Since we won't likely get it in Europe until 2015 (because of our shitty broadband, apparently -- he writes looking at his good-to-go 110Mb connection).

So, will you subscribe to Gaikai - whenever it arrives - to play these PS One, PS2 (and by then PS3) classics? Or is Sony taking enough of your money with PS+ and ludicrous PSN prices?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hatsune Miku looking very glam for her next Vita outing

Famitsu has a bunch of screens and art of the vocaloid popstress gearing up for her next opus on the Vita. With the game arriving on March 6, us western Vita owners might just have got our hands on the first episode (mutter, mutter).


Starlight EU beta codes heading out the docking bay

Since the Vita will never enjoy the blistering scenes of Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen, its time to see if the money invested in Starlight Inception from Escape Hatch is worth it. The EU beta codes are being sent out now to those who backed the $150,000 project (one of whom is me).



I'll post some impressions, but there are plenty floating about from the US beta (see video). I'm not getting overly carried away given its tiny budget and team compared to its rivals and the fact its still a beta. Just a fun space shooter will do me fine thanks!

UPDATE: My beta feedback

Unless there's a major visual upgrade on the way, ditch the briefing meeting scenes. It looks ugly, does nothing to advance the plot that can't be done from the cockpit and doesn't paint a good first impression.

In flight dialogue: Like it! Just sci-fi-corny enough to get away with it.

Fighter controls: Nice and lose, fun to fly, a bit juddery near the captial ships but manageable.

Targeting: Touchscreen control to pick from multiple on-screen targets please.

Explosions: Add a check so if a small ship explodes close to you there's only a tiny (or the first part of the) explosion effect, a full-screen near explosion for a dinky fighter seems rather excessive and seemed to kill the frame rate if really close.

Music and game effects: Like the meaty weapon fire and thrust sounds, music suitably atmospheric. Some nice hull-on-hull clangs would help.

Landing: While I liked landing the first time, tell me there's an auto-land option so you don't have to do that at the end of each mission?

Radar and missile sub-displays: Are they really needed? Is there an option to turn them off? Didn't find myself noticing them at all, especially with duplicate information elsewhere on the screen.

Options wheel: Activate by holding the rear touch panel?

On the plus side, no crashes, no getting stuck of mission breaking that I can find.

Other than that, based on the shortness of the demo, that's all I have to offer. There's a few quirks, its nice to know I can blow the turrets off my own mothership without reprimand among others, but I'd happily play this if the full story is fast-paced and engaging enough. Oh, and no damn escort missions please!

Soul Sacrifice and BlazBlue going free on PS+

January's PS+ roster of freebies includes Soul Sacrifice and BlazBlue Continuum Shift on the Vita, plus some to-be-announced discounts for EU gamers. Sonic Racing will leave the store on the 24 December, so grab it now for the most fun racing on the Vita, especially if you've got someone a Vita as a present (they'll never notice you broke into the box (or use a PC to create their PS+ account)!

Digging in the comments it looks like Persona 4 Golden will be up soon, meaning that all those games we've been buying, some lucky sods are now getting for free. Beyond that its hard to see what we could get that's essential, so time for some developers to start announcing 2014 games soon. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?


Walking Dead Season 1 just £6.99 on PSN seasonal sale

Not sure if I've missed one, but for the next 48 hours, the epic, emotional and heart-rending zombie tale is part of Sony's 12 deals of Christmas, at just £6.99 with an extra 10% off for PS+ subs. There may be the odd graphical glitch and lock-up but please look past them and enjoy the tale, as the rest of us get ready to enjoy season 2.

And, if you want a movie to keep the kids quiet, Jack the Giant Slayer is just 99p to rent.

Infinite Stratos 2 wants to ignite your heart through song

Here's the opening song for 5pb's Infinite Stratos 2, about an all-girl multinational team of mech wranglers fighting the good fight. Is there any game attached to the posturing and posing. Given this is from the people behind Steins Gate visual novels, I wouldn't bet on it.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Toukiden gets a western opening trailer

Looks pretty much like the Japanese one if memory serves, but hey there's big demons and a handful of heroes to do battle with it, so what's not to like? It arrives in the US on the 11th and in Europe on the 14 February, so get polishing your weapons of choice. Here's the new EU game site too, with some neat Vita wallpapers and more content.

As release looms Final Fantasy X HD shows off its inner tiger

Or lion, or whatever, here's another clip of the upcoming RPG do-over with characters strutting their stuff, impatient for the Boxing Day release no doubt. Its possible more trailers for this game have been released than any other game, I haven't posted all of them, but there's still loads way down the blog.

See the Soul Sacrifice Delta demo in action

The game isn't due out until around March next year, but Sony has put the demo up extra early to gather feedback. Check out the official new trailer and some five minutes of player action of new features and battles against the game's increasingly freakish opponents.


Hyperdimension Rebirth 2 shows off some surprisingly deep emotion

If you ignore the silliness and random punctuation in Japanese games, there's often a decent level of mechanics and emotion in most of them, Check out this gorgeous action sequence from Re;birth 2 Sisters Generation, the Hyperdimension Neptunia sequel from Compile Heart. Give me some quick subtitles and I'd play a game like this any time.

Badman follow up Hero G goes puzzling in Japan

You may have enjoyed those slightly crazed dungeon puzzlers on the PSP, Holy Invasion of Privacy Badman from NIS, with all kinds of game mechanics thrown in for a dark and hero-biffing experience. The same set of mechanics is back in a new puzzle game hitting the Japanese PSN today.

From the looks of it, Hero G simplifies and focuses on the puzzle element with the heroes wading into the dungeon being fought off as you make-a-line to unleash monstrous creations to fight them off. With multiplayer it could be really evil fun.

Amazon UK and Germany open their own PSN stores

While PSN is handy, its also a monopoly which is never a good thing, even with PlayStation Plus discounts, things are often expensive. What it needs is a little competition, which is exactly where Amazon's digital store comes in.

Offering PS Plus subs, PSN credit and digital downloads, its only a beta for now but could eventually compete with better pricing (guess it'll have to negotiate with publishers first, but that seems to be Amazon's way). So far there's a couple of Vita games you can grab, buy them, enter the code Amazon sends into PSN and you get your download.



Buyers outside the UK and Gernany should be able to grab these codes and use them since there's a communal Europe-wide PSN service, stretching out to the Middle East, which might propel sales. I do wonder if these sales will start to count on the regular chart sales, perhaps helping merge digital and boxed sales.

Runner 2 getting into the blocks for next week

Gaijin's latest bit trip experience is nearly ready to hit the Vita, with Runner 2 offering a Vita experience that the developers claim should compare with the PC and console versions, offering the same level of content and polish. We'll also get the Good Friends DLC character pack for completeness sake.

Have to say it looks pretty impressive and action-packed and along with OlliOlli should give the Vita plenty of running (or skateboarding) room this winter.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Vita sales in rise in Japan despite no new games

The Vita is almost out of Media Create's Top 20, with only God Eater 2 clinging on at No. 19, selling another 12.610 copies, bringing the Vita total to 338.544. Throw in PSP sales and the game hits a respectable 500,000 boxed copies. Looks like Tearaway failed to charm Japanese gamers.

On the plus side, the Vita goes roaring on with just shy of 29,500 sales this week, 25,500 for the Vita and 3,800 for the Vita TV. I'll see what lurks in the deeper charts and see if there was any reason for sales to rise, if that's holiday sales kicking in, its not looking very good.


Velocity Ultra joins the 12 deals of Christmas

You really should own this already, but if you've missed out here's another chance to bag it at a cut price. Velocity Ultra is now down to just £2.39 plus an additional 10% discount for PS Plus members. With the sequel due out next year, you'd be mad to miss out on FuturLab's finely tuned, classic shoot 'em up with a few modern twists.

Some new screens in honour of Terraria Day

Terraria lands on EU Vita stores this week, and 505 Games has dropped off some new Vita screens to celebrate terraria-boom-di-day. The sandbox, build-and-fight game has sold millions of copies putting it firmly in the indie hit category and will be a welcome addition to the Vita, neatly paving the way for Minecraft next year.

Supporting Cross-Play with the PS3 version and online multiplayer, leaderboards, trophies, get ready to lose your life to its pixel charms. UpdateL there's now a new PSN blog post with some more detail on the Vita features, the game is now live on the store, £11.99 or £10.49 for PS+ subs.




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Light gets a first trailer

I first wrote about this French developed visual novel back in June, but it has avoided the limelight despite all the growing hype for indies. Now we get a look at the adventure in 'action' with plenty of slo-mo scenes. Hopefully we get to see a little more of the interaction in future and perhaps a slightly more realistic way to take down a gunship than with a pop-gun.

A Vita for the kids this Christmas? Sony ramps up the ads

Sony's advertising for the Vita has been pretty light since the Marvel Agents of Shield sponsorship, but its making a last minute play as a Christmas gift idea for the children. Showing off Invizimals, LEGO Marvel and Tearaway plus the Vita's multiple controls, its a compelling offering but shout if you ever see this on TV or somewhere where non-gamers are likely to notice it.

Road Not Taken takes us on a tour

The Road Not Taken was revealed in the summer but is now getting closer to completion, as Sony has put up a blog post and video showing off the game's unique object-based features and environmental approach to puzzle solving. Early 2014 is as close as we're getting to a release date.

Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God gets a gameplay trailer

Aksys has put together a new trailer showing off the Vita's only curry obsessed RPG (well how many can you think of?) in action. The game is out in the US this week, I'm assuming an EU release isn't too far behind. Lots more info and curry-related puns on the official site.

Gundam and Injustice get reviewed in latest Famitsu

There's a bundle of PS Vita and PSP games rated in this week’s Famitsu with the new Gundam title picking up a 10 from one reviewer. Injustice gets a pretty good rating too while Madoka is pretty much the only other one I've heard of, what's the betting the rest are love sims?

Shin Gundam Musou (PS3/PSV) – 10/9/8/9
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition (PSV) – 8/8/7/7
Gekijouban Madoka Magicka: The Battle Pentagram (PSV) – 7/8/7/7
Kud Wafter: Converted Edition (PSV) – 7/7/7/6
Taishoukitan (PSP) – 7/8/7/6
Ore no Kanojo no Uraomote: Pure Sweet Heart (PSP) – 7/7/7/6
Getsuei no Kusari: Kouran Moratorium (PSP) – 7/7/6/5

Panzer girls fire some screenshots our way

The cutesy, tank-driving, adventure loving ladies are revving up for their release on Vita courtesy of Namco next year and have shown off a few teeny-tiny pics of some of the vehicles in the game. A little more info on the game and the first trailer are here.





PS VIta firmware races ahead to 3.01

Via the power of the mighty 3.00 revision, my Vita this morning had already downloaded this piddly new update, allowing me to install 3.01 in mere seconds. It looks like the typical security and improvements patch, so nothing to write home about, but its good that these things arrive automagically now.


Just one thing for 3.02 Sony, I don't need a "Battery level is low, do you want to continue?" message when I'm copying over a single screenshot, seems a bit excessive, especially when the charge meter is still green!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chromatic Abberation to add color to your Vita game collection

Looking like a Spectrum cast-off, this PSM title out this week actually focuses on the colours with your character having to grab colour-changing tokens to change the level design, allowing you to progress. Looks pretty fiendish and I'll bag it purely on the basis of its sheer Speccy-ness.

See Puyo Puyo vs Tetris in action

It was a mad idea to start with, and looks increasingly frenetic in action as players flip between games modes, with the outcomes of one influencing what happens in the other. With the Vita rather lacking in fun little jollities like this, here's hoping that dense Japanese text won't stop Sega from posting it our way soon.

Note, look for the Roger Dean and Alexi Pajitnov credits at the bottom, who'd thought it however many decades on.

New indie survival horror Koduko aims to put away the pistols

Kodoku isn't a puzzler, but a survival game that leaves the guns in the locker and challenges you to stay alive through stealth, and a little magic. The player's quest takes them in search of a rare book to the Island of Kodoku, which turns out to be haunted by Japanese folklore ghosts (what's wrong with the casts of Rentaghost?).


Seeking the book, escape and a meaning for all this paranormal activity, provides the backdrop for a spooky horror adventure, and your very survival. Looks like a deeply credible effort from indie outfit Carnivore.


Dead or Alive 5+ gets the chop on PSN sale

Dead or Alive 5 Plus is the latest game on offer for PS Vita owners on the EU store's PSN seasonal sale. It was £34.99 but is now just £14.99 minus that good old extra 10% discount for PS Plus members. Throwing all the fighters from the series plus a range of extra costumes, available as DLC, it adds to the Vita's roster of brawlers, but is it up there with Injustice?


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Terraria arrariving in coming weeks on PS Vita

Developer 505 has announced that the Vita version of Terraria has been approved for release by Sony on PSN, with a European release coming on 11 December and the US a week later on the 17th. An update for the PS3 versions will allow cross-play.


Rayman Legends hits the PSN Christmas sale

You can grab the latest instalment of the limbless one's adventures in Ubisoft's Rayman Legends for just £14.99 on the latest offer in the PSN seasonal sale. And with the new update released last week, the game has almost all the features of its big console cousins. Look out for another new offer on Monday.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Killzone Mercenary gets its shrinkifying update

Version 1.03 of the Vita's bestest FPS is now available, and while it doesn't offer any of the big new toys Guerrilla's been teasing, it will help toward that end. What we do get is a 350MB patch that reduces the games footprint by around 800MB. It also adds a quit button to player end-game summary screens and the start-up valour screen only shows once-a-day which should speed up your progress through the game.

The game's major new features should arrive in 2014, but it'd be cool if they could drop just one more neatly wrapped update before Christmas to reward the faithful.

Sony trying to boost PlayStation Mobile with Unity for PSM

PlayStation Mobile has gone a bit quiet in recent months, you might think, and you're probably right with a drift of odds-and-sods games among the occasional gem. However, that could change as Sony and Unity look to bring out a software development kit just for PSM development.

That'd be a great way for raw talent indies, younger or very independent coders to get on-board the console ladder. Currently looking for beta testers, it works on Windows 7/8 machines and retail Vita systems, so no dev units are required, and since Unity is free or dirt cheap, its an ideal home coder solution.



Of course, it could be roundly ignored and PSM may fall into obsolescence as the focus on best-in-class indies continues, but if it brings a future generation of developers into the light, that could benefit Sony immensely.

While there's no guarantee any of these games will make it over, the developers of Delta-V and Blast 'Em have already shown an interest on Twitter, so it could pay back some pretty quick benefits when the final version launches.

Sony hopes Santa will sell the Vita in Japan

After one relatively sane and tasteful attempt to sell the Vita TV, Sony is back on normal loony tunes form with a random appearance from the helmeted purveyor of monster hunting clones doing his bit as Santa to distract some kids playing God Eater 2 and Final Fantasy X HD. Generally sales trickle up in the last few weeks of the year, so here's hoping Santa brings Sony some more good news.

Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc gets western trailer and screens

NIS is bringing some Trigger Happy Havoc to western Vita owners with that mad bear and the rest of the Danganronpa posse. The game will be out in North America on February 11, 2014 and in Europe on February 14 in both retail and digital form.

It is a revised and revamped edition of the first PSP Danganronpa title with you playing as Makoto Naegi, a desperately average teenager who somehow finds himself accepted into Hope's Peak Academy, a prestigious high school normally reserved for the nation's most "ultimate" students.


But when he arrives, he and the other students soon find themselves trapped in a battle for survival against a twisted mastermind who has taken them all prisoner. You'll have to unmask the villain and uncover the secret of the school...or die trying!




Previous pics, videos and news on the game here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

New Final Fantasy X HD trailers rock the web

There seems to be about half-a-dozen of these videos suddenly floating about. Here's the most relevant one, focusing on gameplay, the others are mostly the lovey-dovey renders we've seen in part before. With an end of year release for Vita and PS3 in Japan, here's hoping Square Enix don't delay the March western release

Remember, that's for the PS3 version, no news on the Vita yet, which worries me that PS3 sales will make the Vita version largely redundant, if and when it does arrive.

Today's PSN deal of Christmas - Metal Gear HD

A game that hopefully most Vita owners already have. But if not, head online shortly for the latest in Sony's festive sale for a double dose of stealth action and sneaky killing. Its down to around £10 on PSN with PS+ and is a 3.3GB download. Of course, we don't get the original or Peace Walker, but there available elsewhere on the store if you want to get back into the series.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

PSN EU Update packs them in

Its all gone a bit hectic on the PSN store update this week masses off goodies on offer. Top of the list is Rainbow Moon casting its spell on the Vita while Flow arrives hot on the heels of Flower as a Cross-Buy with the PS4 version.

Indoor Sports World packs in pool, air hockey and darts with loads of different game types and modes, while everyone who played Stealth Inc should fire it up for some more great levels. Even the gnarly old PSP gets a look in with Pro Evo while there's some new fun on the PSM, remember the freebies too!

PlayStation Vita
flOw Cross-Buy: £3.99/€4.99
Indoor Sports World: £3.99/€4.99
Rainbow Moon: £9.99/€12.99
Stick It To The Man (Cross-Buy): £9.99/€12.99
Stealth Inc: A Clone In The Dark – The Lost Clones: £2.99/€3.59 (DLC)


PSP
PES 2014 (PSP) Price: £15.99/€19.99

PlayStation Mobile
Ninja Insect Price: £0.79/€0.99
Tower&Scooting Price: £2.39/€2.99

Japanese sales dig in for the winter, as the Criminal Girls arrive

Just four weeks to go in the year and the Vita plus its TV pal remain stable at around 25,000 sales combined, 20K for the Vita, 5K for the TV unit. Final Fantasy X HD should give things a kick to the end of 2013, but its certainly been a better year overall for the Vita, while still far from a winning brand.

There's no Vita game in the top 10 this week which is a recent rarity. God Eater 2 is nudged down to 12, selling another 20,000 and reaching 325K boxed sales, the Criminal Girls land at 14 selling 16,000 copies and Dynasty Warriors 8 makes it in at 19 selling not far off 12,000.


Sony tries to kickstart the Vita TV generation with new advert

In what appears to be a vaguely coherent advert out of Japan, compared to the usual insanity, here's Sony trying to get the Vita TV back on track after a ropey second week of sales. Will portable and classic games on a TV screen get families back around ye olde goggle box? Well, you'd like to think it'll have some kind of impact.


Flower and Rainbow Moon spring onto the EU PSN this week

Got a very hippy vibe to the PSN update this week. Rainbow Moon the long-awaited RPG from Sidequest, with Cross Buy on PS3 for existing DLC, plus a demo where your experience carries over to the full version, if you grab it.

Waaaay after the PS3 and PSP indie hit Flow, one of That Game Company's even more charming efforts comes to the Vita in the form of Flower, now listed on the PSN PC store for £6.49 with a trial version for those who want to give this most ethereal of titles a spin. (OKAY, this was last week, I'm sorry - must have missed it).



You can download them now, the demo is 474MB, they'll probably appear on the Vita pages when PSN console updates, which is has been early lunchtime in recent weeks, remember to check the PSM page too for two more freebies. And do grab Spelunky today if you have the cash, as its in the 12 deals of Christmas sale.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Broken Sword 5 split in half, Vita version before Christmas

The nearly double-funded Kickstarter project is nearing completion, almost. Having announced that the PC version of Broken Sword 5: The Serpent’s Curse will be released on December 4th. But the game will be released as two action-packed episodes, with each chapter a full sized game in its own right, with the second one to follow next January. According to the team, a PlayStation Vita version to follow later in December, bringing the excellently crafted graphics and old-school adventuring to the handheld.

Soul Sacrifice Delta demo hitting Japan next week

Soul Sacrifice Delta news has been coming out in dribs and drabs,with freaky new characters to add to its roster of ghoulish demons. Keiji Inafune and team had better get a move on finishing the game as a demo is due out next week to test the waters.


Packing many improvements, new spells and those disturbing creatures, lets hope the demo sparks further interest in the series, or does Japan now have enough monster hunting options?

Vita game sales figures out of the Japanese PlayStation awards

Among the gongs from last night's big PlayStation shin-dig in Japan comes news on the Vita's biggest sellers (including digital sales). The Japanese press releases say shipments, but since you can't ship digital games, I guess it means sold, at least into retail.

After only a few weeks on-sale, God Eater 2 is already at the 600,000 mark, just as Namco announced work on a full multiplayer patch. Persona 4 Golden is up at 700,000 and winning a User's Choice award for the second year. Top of the tree though is the effervescent Dragon's Crown that sold over 800,000 thanks to strong global interest (and the PS3 version), picking up a Gold Award in the process.

Spelunky is the new Vita game in Sony's 12 deals of Christmas

Now on the PSN blog, you can grab Spelunky as the second offering in Sony's festive sale, bringing the game down from £11.99 to around £5 with a PS+ extra discount. The game has got rave reviews, and claimed many addicts with its daily challenges. Perhaps I didn't get enough of it from the demo, but at this price it has to be worth a go.


Monday, December 2, 2013

God of War Collection finally coming to the Vita

Sense a trend here? If you can't get a new game on the Vita, crank out an old one in HD. If you're lucky you might already have played God of War HD on the handheld using the PS3's Remote Play 'feature', but it looks like we'll get the native set at last with that ubiquitous "M" rating from America's ESRB.



Of course, as with other Vita collections, we wonder what games are in, and what has been left out, given you can happily download the PSP outings right now. The PS3 version had the first two games in one collection and the PSP's pair in a second. I guess we'll only get the first, giving us a nine-year old title and its sequel when they finally arrive, probably at twice the price you can get the PS3 edition for now.




Vita games up for the chop on Cyber Monday

American sites are going into sales overdrive today to try and bleed the last of the cash out of US shoppers. Vita seems to be a modest thing among the mega games sales with both GameStop and Amazon chopping games prices to decent levels.

Killzone Mercenary is down to $19.99 and Walking Dead, Uncharted and PS All Stars down to $9.99 GameStop, while Vita hardware is mostly $199.

Amazon US has Sonic All-Stars as a deal later today, and is selling the Walking Dead hardware bundle for $179. Perhaps its best bargain is a 16GB memory card for under $20.

Best Buy isn't looking so hot with Killzone, Tearaway, Uncharted and Soul Sacrifice going for $30 each with hardware starting at $199.

Latest UK Vita chart, new faces and old

While still failing to bother the all-formats chart much, Tearaway is stuck by pritt-stick to the top of the UK Vita chart, joined by its Media Molecule buddy LBP. Injustice fails to crack the top 10, arriving at 12 (despite that super-cheap Argos deal, perhaps I'm the only one that brought it).

On the plus side, only 4 of the top 12 are over a year old now, but Sony needs to get its developers and partners moving if there's to be much life here in 2014, with mostly some Japanese imports coming our way.




On the hardware front, the PS4 launch has finally dethroned the PSP as the most successful console launch in the UK, that was eight years ago, how times have changed! PS4 sold over 250,000 to the PSP's 185,000 (And how did Sony manage to screw that one up?) What's alarming is it managed that with no killer app game and mostly rehashed titles. Guess they'll think the same way for the PS5 and the Xbox 2.

1 = TEARAWAY SONY 1 2
2 + LITTLEBIGPLANET PS VITA SONY 3 63
3 - LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES WARNER 2 3
4 = FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 4 10
5 + BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS WARNER 6 6
6 - KILLZONE: MERCENARY SONY 5 13
7 + ASSASSIN'S CREED III LIBERATION UBISOFT 8 57
8 - RAYMAN LEGENDS UBISOFT 7 13
9 + VIRTUA TENNIS 4: WORLD TOUR EDITION SEGA 11 81
10 = CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS DECLASSIFIED ACTIVISION 10 55
11 + ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS ACTIVISION 16 3
12 new INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US ULTIMATE ED. WARNER 1

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2013 UKIE Ltd

Amazon's Best Sellers (as of Monday AM):

1 Tearaway
2 FIFA 14
3 Killzone Mercenary
4 Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation
5 Virtua Tennis
6 Uncharted Golden Abyss
7 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
8 LEGO Batman 2
9 Batman Blackgate
10 Rayman Legends

PSN Top Sellers (Who knows when they update this list?)

1 Amazing Spiderman
2 LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
3 Killzone Mercenary
4 WRC 4
5 The Walking Dead

Japanese promoting Tearaway in the freakiest way

I know the Japanese reverence for their elders in ingrained but this 10 minute clip that teaches the unique capabilities of Tearaway is just a little bit freaky. Perhaps its the hat, his constant hand gestures or her doe-eyed appreciation. Either way hope the game has enough universal appeal to sell well in Asia, it hits their shelves this week.

Sony running its 12 deals of Christmas PSN offers, cheap games and vids

Okay, if you're borderline insane, the first of Sony's rolling PlayStation deals is for you. FIFA 14 is just half price for PS3 and Vita. No, its not worth the money when you can get the same game for £10 in the form of the Vita's original FIFA Football, and pretend to play with updated teams.

Keep looking on PSN for new deals as they rotate every 48 hours up to Christmas, there's also some cheap movie rentals, if you use PSN for that with Oblivion available for UK PSN types, other countries get different deals.

Note, GTA Liberty City Stories is free on PS+ this month, there's also free PSM games to grab, and a rather feeble Sony sale buried among the PS4 launch news.




Friday, November 29, 2013

MXGP video shows some mud and physics

Milestone's dirt track racer seems to be coming along nicely with well balanced handling, huge amounts of mud and lots of bikes being thrown around the skies. That should help it in the flashy trailer stakes, and help it offer a bit more variety than the pacey but straight-laced MotoGP title.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Yay, more Stealth Inc DLC incoming, meet the Lost Clones

I simply loved Stealth Inc and its Teleport Chambers DLC, with the Vita being the perfect platform for its sneaky play. So, I'm delighted to hear that a new batch of levels is coming in the form of The Lost Clones, coming out next week. Note there's also a patch for the original to tighten up a few bits and bobs.


Packing 20 new levels, it offers a few more hints about the dark toy company that put you through all the torture of the first levels. Available as Cross Buy for PS3 too, this is exclusive to the PlayStation versions and it'll pack six new trophies and new leader boards for only £2.99

God Eater 2 gets festive, even in Japan

Pandering to the western memes are we? Namco could at least release the game over here first. But basically, if you recommend God Eater 2 to a friend in Japan and they download it, then there's some free DLC in the form a cute Santa suit for your demon fighting party. Not sure what perks they come with (ahem) but players will at least look distinctive.


Panzer Girls have some news for Tanksgiving, towing a trailer

Sure, its unlikely to ever see a western release, but the recently unveiled Panzer Girls game from Namco has been confirmed for a June 2014 release in Japan. With a few snippets of the anime and in-game action in the new trailer, World of Tanks it ain't, but there will be a special edition with the anime and collector's cards included.

CastleStorm gets DLC to bolster your ramparts

This impressive rampart defence and destroy game has only been out a few weeks, but Zen has been quick on the skirmish with a pair of new DLC updates. From Outcast to Savior and The Warrior Queen DLC are now available for download as Cross Buy content for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita in North America and Europe ($2.99, €2.99).

From Outcast to Savior features a brand new Royal Guard faction, new environments, an unlikely Hero, 20 new battles, new weapons, Skirmish & Survival levels and new trophies! Lead your army into battle across stunning new environments including Stonecrest, The Royal Airport, The Skyship Harbor and the Bladgard Icefields in your quest to capture the mighty Viking warrior, Chief Ramhorn.


The Warrior Queen reveals a new Viking Elite troop class, plus huge additions to the arsenal of weapons available for the destruction of your enemy’s castles. We’re not joking around here: Meteor Showers, Exploding Barrels, Stormbringers, Golem Hostages, and FROZEN SWORDFISH. Throw in 20 new battles and new trophies and you have an excellent addition to your favorite super 2D physics destruction tower defense brawler mashup.

Vita gets its own LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Universe in Peril Trailer

So, the Vita still won't get fair play with the big console versions, but at least the portable game gets its own trailer this time. See Hulk, Wolverine and others in action without the false promise of those open world levels and so on. The game is out on the PSN store now for £34.99.

Disgaea 4 Returns new trailer adds mechs and dinosaurs

Need more Disgaea in your life? I kinda liked the D3: Afternoon of Darkness game that hit the Vita pretty early, but it all got a bit much with the squeaky-voiced mania. Looks like this D4 remake will follow the same traits, still the gameplay is pretty enticing but with a few new tricks, and you can't go far wrong with mechs and dinosaurs.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Toukiden coming February 2014 with pre-order bonuses

Tecmo Koei has announced Toukiden will bring its unique take on monster hunting early next year for western gamers, with some DLC content as pre-orders to sweeten the deal. The second-best selling Vita game to date, check out some screens here. Plenty more description and a few images on the game's Facebook page. An official game site is up here.


Free PS Mobile games on the EU store

Two very different indie hits are now available for PS Vita/Android users via the PlayStation Mobile store for free as part of a Thanksgiving, Black Friday style offer. Passing Time and Rymdkapsel offer soccer passing and space-based RTS action and are among the best that PSM has to offer. More games are being set free in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out.


Latest Vita sales figures out of Japan

Final Fantasy XIII Lightning Returns tops the chart in Japan on PS3, showing what can expect for the December release of FF-X HD. For the Vita, God Eater 2 keeps going in the top 10, up to over 300,000 sales with another 40,000 this week, showing very good legs. Atelier Rorona arrives at No. 13 on Vita, selling 17,500 and out-selling the PS3 version.

On the hardware front, Vita sales dive after the recent hubbub, but still shifting a decent 21,000 and Vita TV sales plummet, after last week's impressive start, to below 8,000 (total sales now around 50,000), which means the west will likely get this device soon rather than later since it isn't a gangbusters seller in Japan.

Still, 20,000+ a week is a decent level for the Vita to hold and build on, as long as the games keep coming, and with Final Fantasy HD, Gundam, Dragonball and a couple of others to come, there's reason to remain hopeful that the sub-10K days are behind it. Games sales should look clearer if we add in Famitsu's download data, although that means switching all my data from Media Create.


Famitsu to publish Japanese PSN download sales figures

Come on Sony Europe, get with the times! Let's see just how well PSN is performing. Japan, as usual is ahead of the game and will see Famitsu publishing downloaded game sales data from early next year. To show off the current base, it has published a bunch of Autumn sales numbers across Nintendo and Sony devices showing how wide the range can be.

Not sure if they're based on official data, or other means. With Vita games picking up between an extra 4,000 to 7,500 sales, usually between 8% to 10% of the retail figure (in brackets), that's a decent addition to most titles numbers but we'll see across next year how it affects the overall numbers.

September:
1. 3DS Monster Hunter 4 225,324 (2,542,114)
2. PS3 Final Fantasy XIV 22,807 (217,644)
3. PSV Ragnarok Odyssey Ace 6595 (46,788)
4. PSV Killzone Mercenary 6403 (18,582)
5. PSV Sen no Kiseki 4489 (93,674)
7. PSV Musou Orochi 2 Ultimate 3853 (24,825)

October:
1. 3DS Pokemon X&Y 33911 (2,953,059)
2. 3DS Monster Hunter 4 30,879 (433,365)
3. PSV SakaTsuku 7462 (40,795)
6. PSV Danganronpa 1&2 Reload 5697 (88,334)


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Killzone extra maps confirmed, eventually

Hot off the PSN blog, comes news that Killzone will get some extra content, at some point, after a series of patches which will refine and add new modes to the game.

First up is Update 3. In terms of functionality there will only be minimal changes, but this is the patch that reduces the size of the other patches! After installing this patch it will free up around 800MB of space for those who have already installed Updates 1 & 2. Update 3 should be ready in the next few weeks.

 Update 4 is due in January and is being designed to improve Matching and to help reduce join-game connectivity problems, as well as adding an auto team-rebalancing feature. Following that is the big one:

Update 5. Two new multiplayer maps for FREE, and the release of offline Botzone for Mercenary and Guerrilla Warfare modes.

 Also in the first few months of 2014 will be Update 6, in which we’re working towards continued refinements and adding support for playing Killzone Mercenary on Vita TV. We hope you enjoy the additions to Mercenary. Happy gaming.

Remote Play may kill core Vita development

Here's a little bit of history with my tech-writer hat on:

  • In the 80s/90s, IBM launched versions of OS/2 with DOS (and then Windows) support. No one much bothered to develop OS/2 apps unless IBM paid them, as they could use the Windows apps. OS/2 died horribly.
  • More recently, BlackBerry launched BB10 OS with limited Android app support. Not that many people developed bespoke BlackBerry apps. BlackBerry app development collapsed, as is the company. 
  • This month, Sony launched the PlayStation 4 with Remote Play for the Vita. The Vita now plays PS4 games. 

So, who would develop a PS Vita game that will sell maybe 100,000 copies (likely less) when it could develop a more powerful PS4 game on a booming high-profile platform, that could sell a million?

The answer is Sony, with a bonus point for third-party developers that Sony pays (see Assassin's Creed). And looking (outside Japan) there are few games coming from third parties outside Traveller's Tales titles.

Indies are a different case with smaller profit needs, access to a tight platform that's easy enough to port/code for, and a keen captive market looking for quick-and-fun entertainment.

So, while there's some hope that increased Vita sales on the back of Remote Play and PS4/Vita bundles will see more games from third-parties come out, don't hold your breath.

Monday, November 25, 2013

LEGO Hobbit will enchant the Vita

Warner Bros and Travelers Tales Games will bring the first two movies of the Hobbit trilogy to the Vita early next year The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and the upcoming The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, the game will take players on quests throughout Middle-earth, joining Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf the Grey, and Thorin Oakenshield and Company in their exciting adventures toward the Dwarven Kingdom of Erebor.


Players will visit key locations from the films, including Bag End, Bilbo’s Hobbit-hole in Hobbiton, trek through the treacherous High Pass over The Misty Mountains, and explore the depths of Goblin-town, Mirkwood and Rivendell. Along the way, players will solve countless puzzles, partake in Treasure Quests and battle with Orcs, Trolls and fouler things. They will also be able to mine for gems, discover loot from enemies, and craft powerful magical items or build immense new LEGO structures.

Tearaway fails to dent the UK chart

Proving the grim status of the Vita among UK gamers, despite glowing reviews and lots of social media praise and chat, Tearaway has failed to make it into the UK top 20. If the biggest, and pretty much only big Vita game of the season, can't make a dent then don't expect third parties to take more of an interest until Sony can provide more evidence that the Vita is selling.

The game landed at a lowly No. 26, and while it would have been higher had it not coincided with the Xbox One launch, still shows a fatal weakness for the Vita. No doubt it will sit on top of the Vita chart, and no doubt Sony will claim decent download sales, but even with a PS4/Vita bundle coming, time is starting to run out for the Vita as a consumer concept.

Killzone at least managed to reach No. 8 on launch, but Tearaway may have only sold a few thousand boxed copies at best, which is a pretty sad state of affairs for a product crafted with so much love. Sure, Sony can hope to sell Vita consoles via bundles, but the damage is done with another poor showing.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Persona 4 Dancing all Night on the Vita

So, um, yeah, Atlus announced Persona 5 for the PS3 today, coming out next winter, plus crossovers and spin-offs for other consoles. The Vita appears to be getting a rhythm game, Dancing All Night, which is different, anyway it'll arrive in Autumn 2014.

I guess Persona 5 Portable will arrive in 2015 or 16, but who knows which portable will get it. Trailer to follow... I guess it made sense to add a fighting game to the series, but is a music game jumping the sharktopus?

Friday, November 22, 2013

As you walk through the valleys of God Eater 2, carry a damn big stick

The God Eater 2 playing masses in Japan have been hard at work putting up videos of their exploits on YouTube. These real play clips show a slightly different side to the game from Namco's own clips, presumably created by the developers or using pro-level players.

There's a bit more mayhem, and swapping of weapons, which means ending up up-close with the guns and out of range with the hammer. And, of course, there's the squad shooting themselves to pieces after the battle and the trudging wait for the bout to end.

Reports from Japan say the Vita version sold just over 75% of its copies, shifting over 250,000 copies. That should leave enough for a decent second-week performance, and hopefully restocking will see it hold on to the No. 1 spot.

No Madden on the Vita? No worries with Remote Play

PS4 owners don't need to stress about the lack of quality EA Sports support on the Vita, with the full-fat FIFA 14 and Madden 25 hitting the new console. If they want some portable sports, just kick in Remote Play and off you go, as they decent look at Madden in action shows. See some more Remote Play action here, including just how far you can get it to work.

Terraria arriving on the Vita very soon

Recently, Sony promised big things for December, and it looks like they'll stick to that in big and small ways, with the upcoming PS4/Vita bundle and a raft of Indie games with Terraria confirmed for early December, which probably means the 6th.

Getting out ahead of Minecraft is probably a good thing for the 2D build-em-up, as the 3D Mojang game has been confirmed to the fuller-fat console version and not the weedy mobile edition. Terraria's combat might give it some wider appeal, but there's going to be an almighty dust-up between the two as Vita owners get constructing.

Sony marketing confirms Vita and PS4 Ultimate Edition for hardware heaven

So, having just shifted a million of the new PS4 and with a few million more to sell next Friday. Sony finally succumbs to the inevitable and announces a hardware combo pack with both the Vita and PS4 in one-hyper powered box. No price or exact release date, but it'll coincide with a £2.5 million marketing campaign and probably make a great stocking filler for the rich and famous.

Ys Memories of Celceta remembers about western gamers

Getting ever closer to a western launch (next week in the US), here's a new trailer for the Ys RPG with an up close look at the character Duren, a master information dealer (and Adol's right-hand man during his long journey through the Great Forest of Celceta).

Ys: Memories of Celceta comes in standard and digital editions at $39.99, while the ultra-swanky Silver Anniversary Edition comes with a 130-page art and strategy book, a 3-CD compilation of music from throughout the series' 25-year history, a cloth map and a logo-emblazoned compass for $59.99. Hope we get those version in the EU too.

Just one question, is there some massive pressing need for all that Damaged Lumber in the game?

Roll with the launches, a brief history of the console experience

So, Xbox One is out in the nicer parts of the world, PlayStation 4 is out next week for us Euro types and I definitely need a PC upgrade next year. What better time to think back on my personal gaming history, before I take that next step.

Okay, so I'm a bit old. My first sight of any games system was probably PacMan on a school friend's Atari 2600, then owning one of those handheld Space Invader LCD games, Duck Hunt with the light gun being awesome fun on the NES and lots of other goggle-eyed 'Wow' moments as a kid.

There was looking at a super-expensive Vectrex in Woolworths, the first time I went into an import shop and wondered which bank I should rob. Fast forward through an Atari ST (years of Elite and Bard's Tale) and that first clunking PC (a 40MHz 386 DX with 40Mb HD, but played X-Wing brilliantly) and I hit the 16-bit console era with some actual hard-earned cash.

Choosing a Megadrive over a SNES might seem like the bad sort of evil now, but I was young and Sonic went soooo fast, then there was Madden and the original FIFA, years of late-night multiplayer in the proper elbow-banging style! Then things went a bit wrong and I got a Jaguar (for Aliens vs. Predator and Tempest, naturally) and a Lynx (RoadBlasters and not-quite Gauntlet) as the console market took that funny turn.

Then there was PlayStation and its endless gaming brilliance, Dreamcast (House of the Dead bundle), PlayStation 2, plus all the shared consoles my college and flatmates had as I moved out and up in the world. In between them came the PSP, a day-one Japan import and a jealous bunch of friends watching Ridge Racer and WipEout on a small screen.

My last generation went Wii (at launch, having stabbed refresh 1,000 times on some Find-a-Wii-in-stock site), Xbox 360 (when the non-exploding Jasper model came out), Vita (at launch, naturally) and PS3 (early 2013 latest model, driven largely by my PS+ subscription and all those free games).

This gen looks like being PS4 (next week), the Wii U (whenever the next price cut arrives) and lastly XboxOne (probably 2015 when the first hardware refresh arrives). After that, its conceivable there won't be new consoles, just some cloud service farting any-game-you-like to our 4K TVs. How weird will that be? Will we stand outside the shuttered remains of long-closed GAME stores with candles?

Even though I barely have a tenth of the time I used to have, something in my DNA says I must own these things and play the games. They helped me get jobs (with a little technical know-how too), made me friends around the world, and when I see my son building whole worlds in Minecraft I know they'll help him in future life too.

What were your defining moments, and wouldn't this have been all much simpler and cheaper if we'd been in pubs and clubs fighting? Feel free to share your generational experiences too.