Friday, February 28, 2014

New Pavilion trailer offers something a little different

We all know the rules of puzzle games, which are only broken by a few brave titles Mercury or Echochrome. There's a post up on the PSN blog, but the game is distinctly shy about giving away its secrets, as explained by developers VisionTrick.

“Pavilion, the fourth person puzzling adventure from Visiontrick Media, throws you directly into its mysterious world without any text tutorials or beginning explanations. It is a puzzle game portrayed through exploration and audio-visual imagery. By interacting and observing you gradually, bit by bit, learn things about both the puzzling gameplay and the world itself.”

Further adventures in penguin-powered Vita adverts

With big game season kicking off and the cherry blossom holiday just around the corner, Sony Japan has pulled its adver-penguins out of the pool and got them back to work in the studio to promote the latest and greatest in Vita gaming. Short and fun, just like the animals, expect loads more of these over the weeks.

Walking Dead Season 2 limping to Vita in March

Already well ahead on the main consoles, the Vita will pick up soon enough with the first episode available for on-the-go consumption next month. They follow the continuing adventures of the now not-so-sweet Clementine and her new 'friends' in the continued battle for survival. the second episode will follow soon and is priced $4.99, no EU figures yet.

Visual novel update to Fate Hollow Ataraxia gets a Vita site

The Vita update on the Windows OS Fates game, a 2005 visual novel, from Type Moon and Kadokawa now has its own dark and sinister website. Not much information up yet, beyond a 2014 release date but given the growing success and interest in visual novels, and the Fate games in the PSP era, it seems like Vita updates should do pretty well.

A new Hyper Goddess Faith Noir: Extreme God Black Heart trailer

Compile Heart and Sting are putting a lot of effort into its latest mini-manga heroine game, set in the Hyperdimension universe (the games console in console type thing) with plenty of nods and winks to other games like Metal Gear. Hyper Goddess Faith Noir seems to back a lot of mini-games into its usual RPG and battling themes. Whatever the game is really about, you can't go wrong with cute mini-figs, which I guess come with the limited edition.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends shows who's boss

Tecmo's DW8 is getting a number of characters to do some major house clearing when it comes to those big feudal Japanese battles. Check out Lu Lingqi, a brave warrior princess who fights among the loneliness of the land, feeding it a bloody meal of mashed-up enemies. There's a bunch more too on Tecmo's YouTube channels, the game is hitting PS4 and Vita soon.

A last look at Soul Sacrifice Delta before the Japanese launch

Soul Sacrifice has the big review score, it has the fan base from the original, its in the most popular genre in Japan, so what's missing? Well, here's the card that new PS Vita 2000 or Vita TV owners will get offering them some extra content. There's also a nice line in tee-shirts, gloves and other goodies.

Then there's that last uber-trailer to pack in all the game's new features in five minutes of epic video and, of course, show off the limited edition with an art book. That's all done, now let's launch! The game us out on 6th March in Japan in the middle of a hectic schedule.

Puzzler Teslagrad to charge up your Vita

We've already spent some time in Limbo, now we get another invitation to a classy puzzle-packed platformer from the indie hearts of Nordic developer Rain. Originally a Steam greenlit affair, its making its way to PS3 and Vita, and there's a chatty piece over on the PSN blog highlighting the game's features and the process or converting it to the Vita via Unity.

Anyone else expecting, those massive trees to turn into a giant dinosaur at some point?

Tower defence and a quiz mark March's PS+ content for Vita owners

Guess the sack of goodness that is PlayStation Plus is getting a little thin, now Sony has previously given away most of the Vita's best games. Next month we have quiz Smart As... and tower defence oddity Pixeljunk Monsters Ultimate HD. PS3 owners get the latest Tomb Raider to chew on, showing the gulf in class between the two formats.

The US fares a little better with launch, and rather neat, combat title Unit 13 plus PSP mega-seller Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, plus Thomas was Alone and Lone Survivor via Cross Buy. Wish the EU branch would offer up more PSP goodies.

There may well be a few more deals to continue to sweeten the deal, and since PS+ has been damn good value recently, its easy to forgive them the odd off-month.

Sony doing Amazon-style deals of the week

The PSN is becoming more like a Del-Boy style market stall every month, with random collections of sale items, dodgy (yet lovely) imports and now random snap sales. The first 'deal of the week' is (in my opinion) a true scam, offering FIFA 14 (Aka FIFA 13, aka FIFA Football) which is now "just" £19.99, down from the insane rip-off price of £45.

Given you can find the original FIFA Football or FIFA 13 for under £10, buy that and you get the same game, minus the latest transfers and kit updates, which I think most of us can live without. It's not like Wayne Rooney is going anywhere.

Quite how EA can expect to charge that much, even reduced, for what should be a free update for any other game is both disgusting and unseemly. Even with Sony playing nice on the sale, you can still get the latest update cheaper in stores.

MXGP gets its first Vita trailer

PQube and Milestone are hard at work bringing motocross to the Vita and other formats. Today we get a first look at the Vita version (which is up for pre-order on Amazon) and a brief explanation from director Alessandro Castrucci of how it compares to the PS3 version.

"The PS Vita version of the game has been developed simultaneously with the PS3 one, although it isn’t a porting of the home console. This approach allowed us to include all the contents such as lighting effects, physics and the styling of MXGP as well as the ability to play with a dual stick controller which allows the rider and the bike to be managed separately. Thanks to this feature you’ll be able to execute tricks such as Scrubs and Whips."

Nippon Ichi teasing new game with a puzzle

While NIS America continues to roll out the Vita games for us westerners, back at the ranch, the mother company is hard at work on new projects. The latest teaser for a new game (no format, so perhaps not for Vita) comes in the form of a puzzle.

Move the cursor to rearrange the letters and characters (the result seems like gibberish) but you need to get the order right to play a slightly haunting tune. Any hints from that?

Demon Gaze and Disgaea crossover characters

The upcoming western release of classic-style RPG Demon Gaze will get a little spicier with the inclusion of some free DLC characters from the world of Disgaea to drop into your demon gazing party. For the first month upon release on PSN, players can download a number of Disgaea characters for free that will allow them to add them their list of party member appearance choices. Characters being offered are Etna, Flonne, Sicily, Asagi, and Prinny.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Stand easy for a new release date for the Vita PCH-2000 dock

Sony launched the new-look Vita, but had to delay the dock for some unspecified reason. That's changed with the new-style dock being launched at the end of March, on the 27th in Japan. Sony says, "Users can use the stand to dock their PS Vita system upright, and also charge their systems by connecting the stand to an AC adaptor. The cable is also very light, making it easy for users to carry around."

Wow, never been weighed down by a massively heavy cable before! What the hell was the first one like?

Facepalm's The Swapper headed to the Vita

Curve Digital keeps bringing the goodies to PlayStation, with The Swapper getting a new lease of life on PS4, PS3 and Vita. Check out the PSN blog for more info and enjoy the PC playthough below to give you a decent idea of the game.

It looks like a classic sci-fi exploring game with puzzles to solve, and distant platforms and areas of a broken down space station to find access to. Looking forward to this one? Yep! The Swapper title refers to your character's ability to clone itself, which will add to the fun, and puts it right next to Curve's Stealth Inc. in the self-replicating stakes.

Vita sales flat despite PS4 launch

In the mystical world of Japanese games sales, the Vita remains glued to 18,000 sales (with the PS Vita TV chipping in or 16,500 without). Assuming Sony were hoping for a boost from the launch of the PS4, then that hasn't happened, yet. Still, that's a continuing solid performance with some big games to come.

There are no Vita games in the chart, which is littered with PS4 releases, of which only the new Yakuza game really sold well.

Note, shrunk the vertical axis number to better show the dinky changes in recent weeks. Hopefully something will get moving soon.

Vita gets its own Flappy Bird knock off on PlayStation Mobile

The PlayStation Mobile update is live with a number of cheap and fun games, including the obligatory Flappy Birds clone, this time called Trolly Bird, offering the same dodge the pipes mechanics. It only costs £1.59, which is cheaper than having to buy LittleBigPlanet for the version someone recreated in that game.

There are also a couple of puzzle games in the form of The Cube and Pixel Colors, plus a Japanese arcade game, Galatea, each for less than the price of a pint.

Soul Sacrifice Delta gets the mandatory ace Famitsu review

Picking up a 10 and three 9s, Soul Sacrifice Delta has got the official nod and a wink from Famitsu, as if we'd expect anything less. The original got an identical score, so more of the same then! Western sites gave the original mostly 7s and 8s, most without factoring in multiplayer.

The game is out next week in Japan, having been heavily trailed with an early demo (see video). The original sold 93.000 on launch, plus many digital sales, and any repeat should give the Vita a small lift. But I can't see it helping in any major way, although it'd be a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Persona 4: Dancing All Night boogies onto western Vitas in 2015

After all the socialising, splatting of demons and questing, the cast of Persona 4 will kick back (with the usual sinister overtones) in the upcoming Atlus dance off game, now confirmed for a western release. Persona 4: Dancing All Night.

The summer following the events in Persona 4 sees Rise return to Inaba after spending the summer back in her old life as an idol. After hearing rumors about the Midnight Stage, she checks a certain website at midnight and sees a mysterious movie clip and, you guessed it, winds up on the "other side." Worse yet, she finds out her junior idol peers from the group Kanamin Kitchen are missing as well. She has no choice but to send an SOS to the Investigation Team to help rescue the missing idols.

Japanese PS4 sales off to the races, what effect on Vita?

So, in the space of two days, Sony sold 322,083 PlayStation 4 consoles in Japan, out of a rumored shipment of 350,000. That's an awesome start but instantly opens up the question of will Remote Play help Sony shift even more PS Vita handhelds? With sales heading down off an awesome seasonal run, what will PS4's impact be?

While its a bit of a stretch to ask most gamers to buy two consoles at once (there are still no official PS4/Vita bundles) we should find out tomorrow if it nudged Vita sales a little higher, or will interest in the Vita die off now? In the long run, with Japan's superb mobile infrastructure, the temptation to play your game at home and then carry on while commuting or during breaks, has to be a pretty strong one.

Sony's new Vita, PS4 headphones up on Amazon

I'm still glued to my old Turtle Beach Mobile M5 model for my Vita gaming, but if you're in the market for a new pair of ear-warmers, check out Sony's new set. It offers 7.1 virtual surround sound for the big consoles, but not the Vita. The benefit of wireless has to be pretty big and it should last eight hours before charging. There's a mic for chat and they look pretty slick.

There was some fuss over old models not working with the PS4, so for comparison, Turtle Beach's new model offer proper Dolby Digital Surround at greater cost and doesn't offer wireless microphone on PS4, which seems rather dumb. You can use them on your Vita too, check them out on Amazon...

Toukiden mashes up with Soul Sacrifice in new update

Cerberus offers a new pair of missions for Toukiden players that throw in the hell-hound doggie monsters from Soul Sacrifice to offer up a new challenge. This stuff was out in Japan last year, but I'm not sure if Toukiden content went into Soul Sacrifice, guess we'll find out soon enough.

How's everyone's Toukiden experience going? I only played the demo and am wading through Ys and Danganronpa right now. Is it really the next big hunting game, or a pale copy once you get into the bigger beasts?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sony promising some third-party news soon

Having wondered when Sony would announce some third-party action and berated Sony's marketing in my happy birthday Vita post, US Sony bod Gio Corsi makes some new promises via the power of Twitter. Will the Vita get to party like its 1999 yet again?

This mostly refers to the list of older games that he was asking fans to list with Sony having an eye on reinvigorating them. Most popular is Shenmue, which Sega just lost the trademark for due to inactivity, but many other classics have been listed if you follow the #buildingthelist tag. What would you like to see on the list (and I'm thinking from around the edges of gaming, not the usual suspects?)

Get some rhythm with Streetkix Freestyle

Spotting this on an ESRB ratings posting, as a PSP release, but it will play on the Vita and throws together sports and rhythm action. In Streetkix, you aim to become the best freestyler in the city, taking a range of seedy characters and learn new tricks to beat them. Looks a little different to the usual out-of-nowhere indies, so maybe check it out?

Happy birthday PS Vita, the world's deadest console is two years old

Back before the Internet, I owned all kinds of games machines, listened to many bands and enjoyed many TV shows. Now the Internet is here, its lovely to hear on a daily basis that those, and more recent technologies, musical genres, actor's careers, whole businesses and even things that haven't happened yet are all dead. Frankly, its amazing anything or anyone is still living, but the net has never been that reliable.

Of all those, few things are deader than the PS Vita (expect possibly BlackBerry, which is also still not dead). Sure, I like to moan about the failures in the world of my little old day-one Vita (specifically, Sony's appalling marketing, feeble third-party efforts, hiding sales figures and horseshit over-promises). However, the main lesson from this is that NOTHING EVER DIES.

My favourite long-dead TV shows all seem to be coming back, or live on in other media! Music I grew up with, all those bands are touring and recording again. Games systems; Dreamcast, Lynx, even 8-bit dinosaurs like the Spectrum are still having games written for them. NOTHING EVER DIES

What has happened is expectations have realigned with reality. Thanks to the poor third-party support, the rise of mobile, the moon prodding Uranus, whatever, the Vita is no longer a PS3-on-the-go. Instead it has refocused around its few strengths. Currently those are a still-thriving Japanese handheld scene (hope you're basking in all these translations) and a horde of indie developers fed up with the long-odds of iOS success and rampant piracy on Android.

They will provide the backbone of the Vita's gaming arsenal for now. Giving Sony time to plan a next phase:

  • rejig its development resources as the PS4 gets up to speed (of course, the Vita IS a PS4-on-the-go, which could be a seriously good move). 
  • get some more third parties on-board (those who can't afford larger teams or the move to next gen aesthetics).
  • push the Vita into new markets (rest of Asia) and drive it for the Autumn inevitable price reductions, when it should become an impulse buy.

So, yeah, the Vita isn't perhaps quite what Sony promised in the early hype, but it isn't dead. Not only does it have a small but growing army of owners enjoying a line-up of quality titles, its not dead because nothing dies, until the last cent in value has been extracted and there's a hell of a lot of value in what the Vita offers.

What it offers is us - you, me, your Vita owning friends - a few million gamers around the world, who have a tight little app store offering a great range of niche games alongside the odd blockbuster. That's what has kept the Vita alive and will continue to see it grow, perhaps not as well as we'd would like, but still moving in the right direction.

So happy birthday Vita, and well done the buyers who ignored this "dead" crap, and who've kept it going. Feel free to share your Vita experiences in the comments.

Ys Celeta enjoys the view from the top of the Vita chart

Last week's chart action shows another new entry for the Vita cruising to the top of the pile, with all four of this month's releases continuing to float around the top 10. Yet, no Vita-exclusives made it into the all formats top 40.

3 = FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 3 22

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2014 UKIE Ltd

On Amazon, Final Fantasy X HD pre-orders top its own chart with Persona 4 Golden in second and Danganronpa in third with Ys in sixth place. Aside from FFXHD, Amazon looks a bit bereft in the Pre-orders stakes now with only LEGO Hobbit and Demon Gaze, continuing NIS America's good run, both slated in for April.

On the PSN's UK Top Sellers list, congratulations go to Jeff Minter and Llamasoft for TxK mixing it up wit the big boys, we have:

Toukiden Tecmo
Danganronpa NIS
Dragon Ball Z BoZ Namco
Spiderman (why?) Sony
TxK Llamasoft

Sunday, February 23, 2014

What's the Vita's next big visual novel?

Just a stray weekend thought here, Virtue's Last Reward generated some interest in visual novels when translated by Aksys for us westerners on the Vita. But that was nothing compared to the new bear on the block, Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc going gangbusters in forums (5,000 posts over two threads on NeoGAF), lots of high praise tweets and every step and death covered on YouTube.

It seems like one of the few games that has unified the dinky Vita user base around a title, which hopefully means more games will head our way.

We're definitely getting Danganronpa 2 with its tropical island setting, and NIS America have another surefire hit. But what else could venture west to tap into this new interest in murderous detective work and progressive story telling? The PSP was full of visual novels and the Vita in Japan is getting updates or conversions from specialists 5bp including Infinite Stratos, Steins;Gate and Robotics;Notes (below). Do these games have the style and pizzazz to grab western gamers? That's pretty doubtful, but the sci-fi overtones could be rather compelling

I'm not sure about the relationship-focused games (of which there are apparently millions) with the likes of Oregairu coming to Japan, but unlikely to be worth the translation. What else is there in the crazed psyche of writers that could tempt us? I'm no expert so feel free to comment and point out some possibilities.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Console Saga swinging on to PSM soon

Wow, this swings in out of nowhere. Console Saga from Thomas Hopper goes a few steps beyond what Life of Pixel did, bringing an entire console across a classic platform journey, swinging, jumping and zapping its way through a world of retro-badness. Loads of neat retro elements should make this another PSM title worth bagging.

Another peek into the world of Sword Art Online

With launch just a couple of months away, Namco's popular RPG offers another quick peek into its world with tattoos, tears, cleavers and lots of picture-in-picture, plus the inevitable limited edition tease. This is a shoe-in for decent sales, but with all these mini clips going on, its hard to judge the pace of the game, please Namco, drop a nice extended play?

Most wanted Vita games in Japan, will PS4 launch help or hinder?

Vita games manage to creep into the bottom of Famitsu's latest most-wanted game poll in Japan, pushed down by a few PS4 entries, as the new console launches in just a few hours. Will the Vita really get a sales boost from the new big-screen console? Sony gave anecdotal evidence of a Vita sales boost, but what? 1-in-100, 1-in-1,000? As the PS4 passes five million sales, that could be a little or a decent chunk.

The second question is, after the launch, will Japanese developers focus on the PS4 and its big-screen appeal? Or will Japanese love of diddy-screen gaming win through? With lots of lay-offs in recent years, do Japanese developers have the depth for multiple efforts?

One thing is pretty certain, Persona 5 Portable/Golden can't come soon enough as that's clearly the big cheese in Japan right now.

01/01. [PS3] Persona 5 (Atlus, Winter 2014) – 562 votes
02/03. [Wii U] Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo, 05/29/14) – 549 votes
03/02. [PS4] Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix, TBA) – 470 votes
18/17. [PSV] Freedom Wars (SCEJ, Summer 2014) – 171 votes
28/25. [PSV] Soul Sacrifice Delta (SCEJ, 03/06/14) – 103 votes
29/14. [PSV] Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd (Sega, 03/27/14) – 98 votes
30/—. [PSV] Over My Dead Body 2 (SCEJ, Summer 2014) – 97 votes

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Holy Moly! Batman, another Vita game heads to consoles

The Dark Knight will step into the light from his dingy Vita and 3DS haunt, as Armature's Blackgate gets promoted to a big-screen console experience. The modestly received spin-off from the main Arkham games vanished quickly from memory, but will now follow Aveline Du Grandpre's exploits from Assassin's Creed Liberation onto the big box consoles.

Hopefully that'll help recover more of the development costs (can't see the first release having made that much money) and enable another shot on the smaller screens? The engine itself looked okay, but putting up a Batman game that was so much less than the big-screen version probably wasn't the best idea. The new version gets more voices, hi-res graphics and 5.1 audio.

Namco announces Japanese voice over for Dragon Ball Z BoZ

NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe has just let us know that a free DLC is under development for Dragon Ball Z Battle of Z for the PlayStation Vita version. This DLC will extend the audio support of the game with the Japanese voice-over for those who like their mad Asian fighting games the way they were meant to shout at us.

The game arrived late last month, I didn't really notice if it made much of an impression on gamers? Anyone into this in a big way? I see it entered the all-formats chart at 10, dropped to 20 the next week and is gone. It arrived on the Vita chart at No. 1 but has rapidly slipped away. Isn't it strange when a game like this slips you by?

Demon Gaze lines up the characters and zingers

NIS America is bring all comedy guns blazing to Demon Gaze with the RPG packing in some decent one-liners from the appealing characters you'll meet and party with in the game.

  • Lezerem Rantile - A frivolous elf who runs the item shop. He can't seem to keep himself out of trouble — or in his clothes once he's drunk.
  • Kukure - The self-proclaimed stylist at the inn. He looks like a child, but is actually a full grown Migmy. He's picky when it comes to the female body, especially the posterior.
  • Fran Pendoll - The beautiful, young manager of the Dragon Princess Inn who's somewhat of a tightwad, though she says she's it's because she's working on a mission.
  • Lancelorna Beowulf - She's got an Evil Eye, similar to the main character. After retiring as a mercenary for mysterious reasons, she now looks after the main character.
  • Prometh - A mysterious mortician girl who lives in the inn's basement. She loves herself some skulls!
  • Pinay - A Ney girl with boundless energy who lives at the Dragon Princess Inn. She also might have another side to her...

New movie sees Hansel and Gretel playing nice in Soul Sacrifice Delta

As far removed as you can get from the Hollywood gloss of Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton recent action outing, here's Keiji Inafune's take on the Grimm duo. Soul Sacrifice Delta's obsession with reimagining fantasy ends up with the usual pretty-as-a-picture Swiss mountain town, but instead of children skipping in the snow, we get two monstrous clay-like Hutt creatures lobbing slime bombs at the player.

Helldivers drops a major info motherlode

Whenever I've looked at my release list, I had to think really hard what the heck Helldivers was. Happily, the developers, Arrowhead, have a big old post with new screens on the PSN blog to light up the situation. We've got aliens, mechs, varied planets and lots of shooting. Add to that lot, the high-class polish being applied to the game (sure these are likely PS4 pics, but it should scale nicely) and it looks like a real winner.

And IGN has a video of it in action on PS4.

Muramasa Rebirth gestates new DLC

Aksys Games cranks out more fun DLC for the sublime Muramasa Rebirth in the form of  "Genroku Legends – A Cause to Daikon For," arriving next week (25th, 26th) on PSN. It tells the tale of Gonbe, a widowed farmer, as he leads a rebellion against a negligent lord. Put your swords down and pick up the and get ready to plow down enemies that stand in your way!

The new content offers a wider range of new bosses and characters and challenges galore! – Take Gonbe into Momohime and Kisuke’s world to battle bosses like the Dragon God! Will Gonbe and his wife stand a chance?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ragnarok Odyssey Ace to tell its tale to western Vita gamers in April

The new and improved version of Ragnarok Odyssey might not meet with such a hot reception as the original, now the Vita is loaded with Soul Sacrifice and Toukiden players, but its light and fun nature should still gather a decent audience. The PSN blog has a post highlighting the new features, worlds and content, and that 1st April launch date.

If its priced reasonably, I'll probably pick it up, but it'll have to go some to win over the more hardcore slaying audience.

New maps finally arrive for Killzone Mercenary in update 1.06

Get ready to extend your killing spree with the new 515MB update for Killzone Mercenary that finally adds a pair of new maps for multiplayer mode. The new stars of the show are updates to Killzone 2 maps, which is fair enough given the lack of resources, as the company focuses on the more successful PS4 title, but it'd be good to see some new ones in future. Fans are already playing and uploading footage, take a peek.

Tharsis Depot: After incurring damage during the ISA invasion of Helghan, this subterranean mining platform has been converted to process nuclear Petrusite. Now that it's back in full-scale production, the ISA will again battle Helghast and mercenary forces between the structures of Tharsis Depot. This time they intend to finish the job they started. Under the cavern's artificial light this is a great map to play Guerrilla Warfare or Warzone on. A Mercenary version of the Killzone 2 classic.

Blood Gracht: Months after the nuclear blast that ruined most of the city, Pyrrhus is slowly recovering. But now with ISA, Helghast and mercenary troops clashing in the suburb's buildings and winding alleyways, the canals once again run red with blood. This fan-favourite multiplayer map from Killzone 2 is ideal for all game modes.

English Final Fantasy X HD trailers roll off the production line

I have no idea how many Japanese FFX-HD trailers I've run in stories since the series was announced, but I can only hope the western team narrows down the focus a bit before the release next month, otherwise this page will melt under the YouTube links. Here's the latest English-language video showing off just some of the many game's features.

Titan Invasion collection to tower over the Vita

Curve Digital continues to bring the goods to the Vita (and PS3 and PS4) with two games for the cross-buy price of one. The Titan Invasion collection includes two titles from UK developer Puppygames, sporting both Titan Attacks! and Revenge of the Titans.

Titan Attacks! is a straight-up, highly polished arcade action title inspired by games like Space Invaders and Galaga, but with many modern features including a full ship upgrade system, online leaderboards and stylish, neo-retro visuals.

Revenge of the Titans keeps the frantic action and the distinctive visual style, but expands the game into a unique mash-up of RTS and Tower Defence, including over 25 different types of buildings and a deep upgrade system as players progress through 50 challenging levels. Sounds fun, can't wait to see more

Vita finds its floor for 2014 in Japan (hopefully)

The Vita's (plus the Vita TV and PSP's) dive has bottomed out in Japan as hardware stabilize, despite a lack of new games. According to the latest Media Create sales data out of Japan, the Vita rose a little, selling a few hundred more, the PSP dropped by just four units and the Vita TV has basically flat-lined at 1,250. Hopefully the March launches will kick Vita sales back up to rude health before the spring of emptiness settles in.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Futuridium EP brings more retro shooting to the Vita

Funny that, I was looking at the PC trailer for Flight of the Kondor the other day and wondering what other early 32-bit shooters would look good. And now we get a first trailer for Futuridium EP on the Vita from Mixed Bag Studios. Somewhere between Zaxxon, Uridium and a whole host of others 8-bit titles but in that 32-bit style, this is an update on a PC game and looks like another winner for the Vita. If Kondor would make it over too, that'd be pretty ace.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Soul Sacrifice Delta gets an anime trailer

It looks like Sony is hyping SSD hard in Japan with tee-shirts, art books, audio tracks and other limited edition goodies to tempt buyers. To get the campaign rolling, there's also a new anime clip to break away from the usual polygonised monstrous fiends.

It looks smart, but in a market where God Eater 2 and Toukiden are packing in the fans, will gamers still be excited about the update and its new take on twisted western fantasy tale figures?

Team Muramasa bringing new RPG to the Vita

Currently translating as, possibly, Stranger of the Town of Blade (Black Edition), a new RPG from Experience and the Team Muramasa (also behind Demon Gaze) promises to be a full-scale fantasy dungeon epic, with guilds, knights and other staples. The Vita version could be a slightly different game to the Xbox/PC (White Edition) version and only has 2014 as a release date. Certainly sounds impressive, but we'll have to see what's what as more news arrives.

Danganronpa dominates the new UK Vita chart

The new Vita games don't manage to dent the all-formats Top 40 chart, aside from its contribution to the new overall No.1 LEGO Movie release, but the Vita chart does get a major shake up with Danganronpa sleuthing in at top spot ahead of Toukiden. Just as well the sequel to Trigger Happy Havoc is heading our way and Tecmo already has more Toukiden in the works.

UK Vita Chart

3   -   FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 1 21

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2014 UKIE Ltd Who really need to start adding digital sales to these numbers!

Final Fantasy X HD (due in March) is ahead of them on pre-orders in Amazon's Vita popularity list. And at this rate is likely the only Vita title with a chance of breaking into the all-formats chart. Due out this week are Sorcery Saga and Ys Celceta, plus indie Gunslugs keeping up the Vita's decent release momentum.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Steamworld Dig prospecting on the Vita soon

Mining games are almost as old as computer entertainment, and its good to see another one joining the fray. Swedish team Image & Form games bring their Steam and 3DS title to the Vita with platforms to leap, loot to find and puzzles to solve. The deeper you dig, the harder things get and the better (more expensive) equipment you'll need.

The game has had some awesome reviews from Steam and has a neat visual flair to it, looks like a lot of fun. More info on the PSN blog.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Producing Perfection western trailer

Go, go, NIS America, they keep churning out the news with a new trailer (with Japanese footage) of the upcoming Hyperdimension Neptunia title for the Vita. The quirky cross-genre game sees you fall into Gamindustri, a land of competiting games consoles and makers. No release date other than this year, so yet another sack-of-cats-mad game to look forward to.

One of the four CPUs—Neptune, Noire, Blanc, and Vert— hires you to be their producer and manage their idol careers. Leaving you to train the CPUs and turn them into idols, Teach the girls to sing, dance, and properly promote themselves. So, not quite like the other visual novel/RPG titles in the series, but since Persona can do a dance game, why can't other series go all musical?

Gunslugs arriving on Vita next week

Continuing the indie rush on the Vita, here comes Gunslugs (previous stories) from Abstraction and Orange Pixel, ready to fire all barrels next week. Here's a new trailer showing off the lovingly crafted shmup action, some of the heroes in action and the massive enemies they face.

Demon Gaze gets a western trailer

Continuing NIS America's news fart, Demon Gaze gets a western trailer showing off the features of this dungeon romp. Hope you like Japanese games as that seems to be the bulk of the Vita's offering from traditional developers/publishers so far this year.

NIS America promises Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited for your Vita

Nippon Ichi's Disgaea 4 Vita title recently bounced into the Japanese charts and western gamers will get a version too. The remake, update and expanded version of the PS3 release A Promise Unforgotten, is due for physical and PSN release this summer offering the usual bat-shit crazy characters and combat.

New Vita-exclusive content and features:

  • Tons of bonus content, including brand-new scenarios exclusive to this release, adding more backstory to some of your favorite characters.
  • New characters, as well as cameo appearances by characters from previous Disgaea games.
  • A new tier of spells, job specific techniques, as well as other gameplay enhancements.
  • Includes all of the downloadable content that was available on the PS3 version.
  • Brand new music tracks have been added for a total nearing 100 enjoyable tunes.
  • Features beautiful Hi-res sprites, looks a big step up from D3 too!

More Danganronpa murder mystery headed our way

Most of us are still slogging through the dimly lit halls of Hope's Peak, but NIS America has already announced the sequel is coming to western gamers. Due in the autumn, it promises to pack in more grizzly demises, this time set on the tropical paradise of Jabberwock Island – once a popular tourist destination, this now uninhabited island remains oddly pristine.

You and your classmates at the elite Hope's Peak Academy have been brought to this island by your super-cute teacher for a “lovey-dovey, heart-throbbing school trip.” Everyone seems to be having fun in the sun...until Monokuma returns to restart his murderous game!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sony announces MLB 14 The Show for Vita, PS3 and PS4

Arriving April 1 in the states, the summer sports slug fest will continue on its merry way. There's a post over on the US PSN blog highlighting the details and differences between the PS3 and PS4 versions, the Vita doesn't even merit a mention.

That leaves me wondering if there's going to be any cross compatibility or bundle offers between the games. As Sony's flagship sports series, it should show the way for others on how to make clever Vita features for their games (or even bother to update them). If Sony doesn't lead the way with multiscreen, seamless device-to-device continuation, or other tricks, why should anyone else bother? This isn't to say Sony doesn't have such plans, but it really needs to make them clear, nice and early.

Toukiden sequel or enhanced version in the works

We've only just landed Toukiden in the west and already a Japanese trademark suggests that a follow up is in the works. And why not with the game selling some 600,000+ in the east alone? Whether "Toukiden Kyoku" is a true sequel or a combination of all the DLC content plus some new features, and hopefully new monsters, remains to be seen.

Between this and God Eater 2, the Vita has plenty of monster hunting opportunities. Furthermore, with 3DS sales of Monster Hunter 4 topping out at around 3.25 million, not much over half of the PSP's 5.5 million, perhaps the daddy of the genre will stalk a Sony's handheld in years to come?

MouseCraft to squeak on to the Vita

Crunching Koalas are bringing their mouse-baiting puzzler to the Vita with the help of Curve Digital. In the game you need to help the mice get to their cheese. Currently a Steam title, it looks like a good fit for the handheld with touch controls and has a unique charm that lifts it above other block builders.

UPDATE: Game arriving on PSN, July 8/9th

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The best PSN EU Vita update ever? Get ready for Toukiden, Danganronpa, txK and more

Rarely has so much quality been packed into such a week's release, a shame most of them aren't out until Friday. Still, this is probably one of only three occasions when I've gone "wow" at the quality of a week's releases for the Vita.

Get ready to crowbar open your wallets for Dangaronpa Trigger Happy Havoc where murder is most definitely on the curriculum, Toukiden bringing modern monster slaying to the Vita and the LEGO movie game.

But my top bet is on TxK, Jeff Minter's startling reinvention of the Tempest 2000 shooter, and only £5 and change, less for PS+. However, you may need to hire someone to pry the Vita from your sweaty hands as you're sucked into the finest of twitch shooters. Note, the soundtrack will soon be available if it gets your gaming juices pumping.

Also,  please don't forget the smart-looking Creatures and Castles VX on PlayStation Mobile.

PlayStation Vita 
Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc (available 14th Feb) Price: £34.99/€39.99 PEGI: 16

The LEGO Movie Videogame (available 14th Feb) Price: £34.99/€39.99 PEGI: 7

Toukiden (available 14th Feb) Price: £29.99/€39.99 PEGI: 16 Note, you can play the demo now!

TxK Price: £5.49/€6.99 PEGI: 3

PlayStation Mobile
Creatures & Castles VX Prices:£3.19/€3.99

Terraria sets up camp as new Vita games rush the Japanese charts

Continuing on from last week's Disgaea 4 arrival, more new Vita titles land in the chart this week, but again, nothing to help Vita sales tick up. Even with five Vita titles in Media Create's chart, sales are dropping steadily. Still, its good to see Terraria get a decent reception in Japan while Puyo Puyo Tetris gets barely a fifth the sales of the 3DS version.

01./00. [3DS] Dragon Quest Monsters 2: # (Square Enix) {2014.02.06} (¥5.490) - 443.656 / NEW
02./00. [3DS] Puyo Puyo Tetris (Sega) {2014.02.06} (¥5.229) - 44.627 / NEW
03./01. [PS3] Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Full Boost # (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.01.30}

07./00. [PSV] Terraria (Spike Chunsoft) {2014.02.06} (¥2.980) - 15.070 / NEW
08./00. [PSV] Super Heroine Chronicle (Bandai Namco Games) {2014.02.06} (¥7.480) - 14.467 / NEW

14./00. [PSV] Puyo Puyo Tetris (Sega) {2014.02.06} (¥5.229) - 8.973 / NEW

18./04. [PSV] Disgaea 4 Return (Nippon Ichi Software) {2014.01.30} (¥6.729) - 5.781 / 39.530 (-83%)
19./09. [PSV] Amagami (Kadokawa Games) {2014.01.30} (¥5.040) - 5.779 / 26.298 (-72%)
20./16. [3DS] Monster Hunter 4 # (Capcom) {2013.09.14} (¥5.990) - 5.654 / 3.214.065 (-22%)

Sony will hope that the release in Japan on 22 February of the PlayStation 4 will give a boost to the Vita's numbers with the lure of Remote Play and PlayStation Plus deals, plus CrossPlay and CrossBuy all creating a tempting link between the two devices.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Amazon finally updating its PSN store

After a splashy launch, the PSN store for Amazon UK went rather quiet for Vita content, but now big name games are rolling out along with a tidal wave of indies, it really needs to get a move on. And, some good news appears in the form of some updates, not quite the latest and greatest, but at least things are getting a move on:

Your own country's PSN content may differ

Review: TxK

As you may have noticed from previous coverage, I've been looking forward to this game since it was first announced and followed its development pretty closely. At no point did I have any worries that Jeff Minter and Llamasoft would manage to produce a sub-par piece of digital art.

His love for the game shows in every pixel, and you can see each and every one of the little fellahs as they glow, pulse and explode. That's down to the Vita's OLED screen that delivers such clarity and the power of the processor when throwing old-school gaming sensibilities around the screen in high volumes, at high volume (headphones should be mandatory).

As a fan of the Jaguar version, this version is the 20:20 vision edition with similar rave anthems playing away, having lost none of the Llamasoft's sense of fun into the bargain (level 9 is called "Mooing" - my favourite). The gameplay is simple enough, spin around the edge of the web, shooting the enemies that crawl up it, collecting the particle laser, jump and AI droid bonuses that make surviving easier, then try to collect the big point bonuses and extra lives as the action and particle count hots up.

If it all gets too hectic, unleash the Superzapper with a tap of the touchscreen. To spice things up a bit, there's online leaderboards, a survival -- no extra lives -- mode and tweaked tilt-enabled bonus levels to briefly chill out to. Playing with skill will propel you up the leaderboards, but its also perfectly acceptable to whizz around madly, like a crazed sheepie, loosing off every shot you have.

In all seriousness, this is a game every Vita owner should have, alongside fellow indie exclusive Olliolli. It provides short bursts of intense action, or can suck an evening out of your life as you aim for perfection. Just one question, can someone come over and help take screenshots, as its impossible when the action is flowing.

Score: 10/10
More Reviews
Price: £5.49 PSN (£4.39 for PS+)
File size 106MB
Progress: Thirtysomething

Review: Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc

The Vita's only real previous western-release diving into the visual novel field was Virtue's Last Reward. If you tried that game, playing the opening section of Dangaronpa (previous coverage), things feel very familiar indeed. The good news is, if you liked VLR, then this is great fun and different enough to be worth playing. If you haven't, and are unsure about the whole visual novel thing, its might be worth a go.

In short, you arrive at a new school, pass out and wake up in a bedroom with the windows sealed by metal plates. When you meet your fellow high-achieving school chums, they too are trapped, and soon face the wrath of the psychotic Monokuma, a robo-teddy-headteacher-from-Hell. There follows a lot of meet-the-class chat before the issue becomes clear, you have find out who's killing whom, as that's the only way out.

If you can put up with some of the perkier or more abrasive characters, with lots of screen jarring and squeaky voices, you should enjoy the game, its puzzles and strategy. If you find the banter and vocals irritating the nuts off you, then probably give the genre up as a dead loss (apparently more games are coming).

Once you start the detective work, there are a slowly opening set of floors, new locations to visit and inspect. With the mad bear urging on your fellow captives to kill a classmate undetected, there are plenty of red herrings and bloody endings (if your dorm is called The Despair Hotel, you know things are pretty bleak). The early cases are pretty easy and it'd be great if there was a big "here's the killer, next case please" option to skip the trudge to each conclusion, but then you could miss a lot of the game.

I can't say much about the game as you skip between sections of free time where you can explore and the tightly-scripted narrative scenes or the gruesome detective work of investigating the murder scenes for clues. But with plenty of neat touches (scenes drop into place, objects of interest are pretty obvious [or just press triangle] and you get credits for spotting them to buy stuff in the school store) to offer as presents, the game is fun, fast and fluid to play.

Even conversations are perked up as key phrases need to be acted upon to advance the story, which are broken up into different cases when the corpses start mounting up. Trials take place after you've amassed enough evidence, but you still need to shoot down the defendant's story, which is where the game's extensive in-game automated note-taking (and handy truth bullets) come in handy. There are various mini games throughout the trail including rhythm argument combat and a neat, final, comic recreation builder.

But these create the only real grind in the game, going through the same phrases again and again, and not knowing if its worth talking to someone standing around. Other minor quibbles including a long unsortable present list and coming out of a place only to face straight back in. Put those aside and we have a darkly sordid tale of murder to wade through which is immensely entertaining.

Score: 8/10
More Reviews
Price: £29.99 (Amazon)
NIS America
File size 1.3GB
Progress: Blood on most hands

Olliolli lands near perfect on the PSN Vita charts

How dozy is the Vita scene? enough for Farming Simulator to make the top 10 downloads for Europe in January. At least OlliOlli kicks into the top 10 and hopefully encourages further unique games for the Vita.

America keeps Killzone close to its heart and at the top while I guess a sale pushed Feed for Speed to the top in Europe. Hopefully Toukiden, Danganronpa and TxK will dominate, or at least make a decent dent in both come February's charts.

US PSN PS Vita chart
Killzone: Mercenary
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Thomas Was Alone
PixelJunk Monsters: Ultimate HD

EU PSN Vita chart
1. Need for Speed Most Wanted (4)
2. Muramasa Rebirth (6)
3. Assassin’s Creed III Liberation (8)
4. OlliOlli (New)
5. Terraria (2)
6. LittleBigPlanet PlayStation Vita (RE)
7. Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z (New)
8. Jetpack Joyride (RE)
9. Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour Edition (RE)
10. Farming Simulator (RE)

Monday, February 10, 2014

America does the Vita Slim right

News out of a Sony press event in the states shows how you launch a new (or updated) console. The US will get a bundle with Borderlands 2 and an 8GB memory card for $199. Not a bad bundle at all. They also officially confirmed God of War collection and Sly 2 Trilogy. Hopefully they'll have a bit more zip to them than the rather clunky Ratchet and Clank HD trilogy.

No word of any NEW games coming out for it, Sony has an embargo for a couple days for some titles, with rumours mentioning the already confirmed MLB The Show 14, so there might be something lurking in the woods. Still, it remains hard to see Sony investing much western developer time ahead of a major rise in sales.

Sword Art Online ramps up the action

A new near-four minute video of Sword Art Online in action shows Bandai Namco's popular PSP title ramping up the slicing-and-dicing, monster fighting, action.Sure the battles look a little slow and tame compared to Toukiden (and very flat compared to Freedom Wars), but it seems more character and story driven, so no doubt it'll still do well in Japan.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Take a colder look at Frozen Synapse

The Sony blog is banging out Vita updates right now, apart from any new game announcements, with a fresh piece on the impressive looking Frozen Synapse Tactics. Between this and Mike Bithell's Volume, it looks like the Vita has got sneaking around in Tron-like worlds covered.

Still, FST has shooting in it which could see it win more kudos, while Volume feels like it'll be the more unique title, telling. Of course, get both and hedge your bets in the continuing indie fest on Vita.

Velocity 2X gets a hyper new trailer

Not satisfied with giving us the sublime Surge Deluxe this week, FuturLab is keeping the hype up for its main course with the new Velocity title. Throw in the new exploration levels/sub game and its looking like a growing world of fun and gun. Somewhere there's some pics of the full HD PS4 version which looks staggeringly gorgeous. Some more details on the PSN blog.

Tecmo shows off Dynasty Warriors 8 for Vita

Tecmo Koei will bring (deep breath) Xtreme Legends Dynasty Warriors 8 Complete Edition to the Vita and PS4 in early April. It includes both Dynasty Warriors 8 and Dynasty Warriors Xtreme Legends, which is also coming to the PS3. New pics are up on the company's Facebook page.

Dynasty Warriors 8 is a historical tactical action game that follows the stories of the kingdoms of Wei, Wu, Shu and Jin through the actions of historical military and political figures of the time as they fight to gain control over the Three Kingdoms of China. It features more than 40 completely new stages: verdant plains, desolate wastelands, sharp ravines, huge castles, and other breath-taking sites, giving stronger emphasis in the stage of these epic battles and inspired by ancient landscapes.

Shocker! New PS Vita now £199 on Amazon

Well, I hope you picked up a Vita 2000 model when it "just" £179, as Amazon has now punted the price up to £199 on launch day. So much for Sony's SRP... Has anyone ordered one and got theirs yet, thoughts on the screen welcome. Would anyone pay £199 for it? Definitely cheaper in the stores for once.

UPDATE: Amazon has fixed its pricing, even knocking a couple of quid off, now down to £177.99. Not sure what the glitch was, but it can't have helped Sony's case on launch day.

Has Sony's poor financials given it a change of heart, trying to screw a few more pounds out of buyers rather than actually sell some units? GAME and what's left of HMV still have it at £179, and ShopTo at £185 (with a 16GB card and games), any better deals out there? 

Perhaps best of all, you can buy Japanese imports in the cooler colours for £140 with free shipping from eBay, if you can wait a few days for the courier to deliver. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Sony's 3Q financials, Vita up thanks to Japan and Christmas

Sony has announced that it is selling its Vaio PC business as it aims to turn the company around, while making a small profit for the quarter, but still predicting big annual losses. Sony remains vague about Vita sales putting it and the PSP together for an improved, but still diddly, 2 million sales in the quarter -- up from around 800,000 in the last quarter.

Half a million of those Vita sales come from Japan since the launch of the Vita 2000, leaving the remaining 1.5 million spread around the world, likely thanks to seasonal sales. You can throw in another 200,000 Japanese sales since New Year, and with launches in Asia and the new model in the UK to come, Sony might just get a decent boost, as Japan can't carry the whole handheld universe.

PS3 and PS4 sales were a more substantial 7.8 million, with the PS4 announced as selling around 4.2 million, helping drive the PlayStation division in to the black. Sony also saw increasing smartphone sales but with the PSP/Vita likely to hit Sony's worst-case 5 million figure for the year, the handheld needs a major boost in western software to get any momentum.

On the services side, PlayStation Plus is a big winner, with subscriptions up providing useful regular income, and PlayStation Now has the potential to offer a similar bulge in Sony's wallet as it rolls out.

We don't need no Monster Hunter, see Toukiden in action

Hopefully, you're all enjoying the Toukiden demo, if not download it now. To tempt you, here's a couple of big boss battles from the full game, with satan birds and demon snails just some of the creatures you and your friends can take on.

I've played the demo a bit and its super-slick, fast-paced and engaging, feeling a little more accessible than Capcom's legendary beastie mashing game. But judging by this video, the later bosses will be serious challenges for experienced parties.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Soul Sacrifice Delta gets a new story trailer

The book is back, and he's madder than hell is just one of the themes in this new Soul Sacrifice Delta trailer. We also have the tormented soul fighting all the other freaky torment souls and choosing what to do with their podling essence. In the wake of Toukiden and God Eater 2, will SSD really keep the fans coming back?

God Eater 2 rakes in the cash in Japan

Namco Bandai (soon to be known as Bandai Namco in the west, just to screw with us) has announced its latest quarterly figures in Japan, along with some game sales info. GOD EATER 2 was their top seller on PSP/PSV,  having sold 630,000 copies while GUNDAM BREAKER on PS3/PSV sold 400,000 copies.

No breakdown beyond that but that they're decent numbers and God Eater 2 is likely reaching a million by the time it hits the west and gets a budget releases. Is that enough for Namco to get working on a God Eater 3? Given its Shift team is helping out on the multiplayer for Freedom Wars, perhaps that not needed - it can work its magic on other projects and claim a share of the spoils.

Disgaea 4 kids its way into the new Japanese chart

File under "hmm" as the first raft of new entries for 2014 sees some strange returns for big names, with Disgaea 4 shifting 33,000 copies. That's still up on the 20,000 that D3 managed during the Vita launch, but it seems like a series that should do better, given the Vita's now more-sizable user base.

The Vita itself managed a creditable 22,250-ish sales on the week, basically flat and keeping up 2014's much improved performance, still over double last year's sales. The VitaTV? Best not to ask, pretty figures to follow.

01./00. [PS3] Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Full Boost # (Bandai Namco)  (¥7.980) - 269.940 / NEW
02./00. [PS3] Diablo III (Square Enix)  (¥7.980) - 41.727 / NEW
04./00. [PSV] Disgaea 4 Return (Nippon Ichi Software)  (¥6.729) - 33.749 / NEW
09./00. [PSV] Amagami (EBKore+) (Kadokawa Games)  (¥5.040) - 20.519 / NEW
17./00. [PSP] Shinobi, Koutsutsu # (Idea Factory)   - 7.174 / NEW
18./11. [PS3] Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster (Square Enix) - 6.913 / 273.084 (-34%)

Sony puts up an EU PSN sale for February

Sony's getting us over the January angst with a new sale across a whole range of games, some up on offer now, with Tearaway later in the month. Among the highlights, well, you'd be mad not to get Spelunky, Stealth Inc, Terraria, Walking Dead or Thomas Was Alone.

Will anyone brave the first real price cut on Call of Duty to see how bad it is? Or how about Angry Birds now its almost sanely priced? Lots of trophies to wrack up there I guess.

 Angry Birds Star Wars Was £29.99/€29.99, now £11.99/€14.99
Atelier Meruru Plus: The Apprentice of Arland Was £31.99/€39.99, now £19.83/€24.79
Atelier Totori Plus with Bonus Was £34.99/€39.99, now £21.69/€24.79
Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland Was £34.99/€39.99, now £21.69/€24.79
Broken Sword 5 – The Serpent’s Curse: Episode 1 and 2 Was £15.99/€19.99, now £11.99/€14.99
Broken Sword 5 – The Serpent’s Curse: Episode 1 Was £9.99/€12.99, now £6.19/€8.05
Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified Was £44.99/€49.99, now £17.99/€19.99
Dead or Alive 5 Plus Was £34.99/€39.99, now £17.49/€19.99
Dungeon Hunter: Alliance Was £14.99/€19.99, now £7.49/€9.99
Dynasty Warriors Next Was £29.99/€34.99, now £17.09/€19.94
F1 2011 Was £14.99/€19.99, now £5.99/€7.99
Hotline Miami Was £6.49/€7.99, now £2.4/€2.95 (Cross-Buy)
Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut Was £9.99/€12.99, now £6.19/€8.05 (Cross-Buy)
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection Was £23.99/€29.99, now £10.31/€12.89
Spelunky Was £11.99/€14.99, now £4.79/€5.99 (Cross-Buy)
Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark Was £7.99/€9.99, now £4.79/€5.99 (Cross-Buy)
Stick it to the Man Was £9.99/€12.99, now £3.79/€4.93 (Cross-Buy)
Tearaway (deal 19th-26th February) Was £19.99/€24.99, now £12.99/€16.99
Terraria – PlayStation Vita Edition Was £11.99/€14.99, now £8.03/€10.04
The Amazing Spider-Man Was £34.99/€39.99, now £12.94/€14.79
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season Was £14.99/€19.99, now £6.74/€8.99
Thomas Was Alone Was £5.99/€7.49, now £3.59/€4.49 (Cross-Buy)
WRC 4 FIA World Rally Championship Was £29.99/€34.99, now £17.09/€19.94
Monster Hunter Freedom 2 Essentials Was £7.99/€9.99, now £3.99/€4.99
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite [PSP] Was £7.99/€9.99, now £3.99/€4.99
Tomb Raider: Anniversary [PSP] Was £11.99/€14.99, now £2.39/€2.99

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Dustforce trailer blows in on the wind

With Capcom getting in on the indie scene, helping push Hitbox's Dustforce on the world, who's next? EA Sports' Horace goes Olympic Skiing? Take 2's GTA text adventure? Anyway, enjoy this one and get ready for the indie barrage to keep on coming if third-party publishers are taking a keen interest.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Sony teasing big news in 2014, but what are these mystery games?

After the Vita 2000 UK announce, Sony is now doing its usual teasing for some big game news to come. That's in the fullness of time, after due consideration of all the facts, most likely for PS4, yadda, yadda, ignoring the Vita's super-low-calorie diet of (admittedly brilliant) indie games and the odd hefty Japanese title like Toukiden.

Shahid Ahmad and the other Strategic Content folk are saying "wait a month", while other hints are being dropped to keep a look out at Games Developer Conference. GDC 2014 runs from March 17th-21st, which is more like six weeks, so two different announcements, or is this all part of a coordinated campaign?

I'm trying to think of new, new games, not re-reveals or peeks at stuff we already know about. So, Borderlands 2, Bioshock (whatever they decide, if it ever gets off the ground) and even Gran Turismo don't count. The same goes the old-games-revived motif they're waving around. While all these projects are deeply worthy of respect, and will be more than welcome, they ain't new!

So, what "new" stuff could Sony have up its sleeves?

Most likely contenders are another Uncharted title. That's given the good sales of the first one and that developer Sony Bend can likely pass the engine on to another team, perhaps while they work on a return to the Syphon Filter series, which they did a corking job with on the PSP.

Another option is "what the God of War devs did next." That could be Santa Monica Studios (or whatever they're called having just moved) or Ready at Dawn (currently working on The Order) who handled the excellent PSP incarnations.

Sony has had some fun with its partner Vita efforts, from the likes of Queasy's Sound Shapes, and its more of these left-field games that I'd look forward to most, is Sony Japan figuring out another Patapon or LocoRoco?

Then there's the big unknowns, an all-new IP, which seems to be at the heart of Sony Japan's efforts with Soul Sacrifice and Freedom Wars. Will Sony US or Europe be betting big on an untested idea that has emerged from some cunning coders mind or a dark development session?

Guess we'll find out soon. Any thoughts?

Japan's top-selling games of 2013 listed

This won't come as a surprise, but the 3DS dominates Japanese sales and consequently this list. Looking at the full sheet, you can see what most Japanese developers are losing money, with very few big sellers beyond the usual suspects.

The Vita and PSP, managed 20 games in the list (10 each), with God Eater leading despite being a newer release on the block. Sword Art Online should do well on the Vita in 2014 given the PSP sales while Toukiden proved that new games can sell:

20. [PSV] God Eater 2 # (Bandai Namco Games) {2013.11.14} (¥5.980) – 354.498
35. [PSV] Toukiden # (Koei Tecmo) {2013.06.27} (¥6.090) – 229.455
43. [PSP] Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment # (Bandai Namco Games) {2013.03.14} (¥6.280) – 200.845
47. [PSV] Soul Sacrifice # (Sony Computer Entertainment) {2013.03.07} (¥5.980) – 190.592
53. [PSP] God Eater 2 (Bandai Namco Games) {2013.11.14} (¥5.980) – 180.781
58. [PSP] Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 (Konami) {2013.03.20} (¥3.980) – 170.684
65. [PSP] Toukiden (Koei Tecmo) {2013.06.27} (¥5.040) – 155.473
69. [PSV] Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus: # (Marvelous AQL) {2013.02.28} (¥6.980) – 145.979
73. [PSV] Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster: Twin Pack # (Square Enix) {2013.12.26} (¥7.140) – 134.645
76. [PSP] Summon Night 5 (Bandai Namco Games) {2013.05.16} (¥5.980) – 129.557
81. [PSP] Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball 2013 (Konami) {2013.10.24} (¥3.980) – 119.307
82. [PSV] The Legend Of Heroes: Sen no Kiseki # (Nihon Falcom) {2013.09.26} (¥7.140) – 119.220
83. [PSP] 7th Dragon 2020-II (Sega) {2013.04.18} (¥6.279) – 114.353
86. [PSP] Uta no Prince-Sama: All Star # (Broccoli) {2013.03.07} (¥6.090) – 111.898
88. [PSV] Dragon’s Crown (Atlus) {2013.07.25} (¥8.190) – 109.549
89. [PSV] Phantasy Star Online 2: Special Package (Sega) {2013.02.28} (¥5.229) – 108.343
90. [PSP] Shining Ark (Sega) {2013.02.28} (¥6.279) – 104.689
91. [PSV] One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 (Bandai Namco Games) {2013.03.20} (¥7.140) – 103.757
94. [PSV] Dangan-Ronpa 1-2: Reload (Spike Chunsoft) {2013.10.10} (¥5.229) – 99.610
97. [PSP] Fate/Extra CCC # (Marvelous AQL) {2013.03.28} (¥6.279) – 98.105

Essential games to get with your new Vita 2000

People of Britain, well done on being the first folks outside Japan to get the new PS Vita, lighter, thinner, longer-runnning etc. If you're picking a Vita up for the first time, what games should you be grabbing first?

If you're not getting a memory card with it then, you can aim low with a decent collection of fantastic indie games:

  • Terraria 32MB
  • Velocity Ultra 224MB
  • Thomas Was Alone 239MB 
  • Spelunky 126MB
  • Stealth Inc 187MB
  • Total Recoil 82MB
  • escapeVektor 37MB
  • Guacamelee 328MB
  • OlliOlli  249MB 
If you do get a memory card (I see the 32GB is still hard to find at the new low price) or go the boxed copy route, there are only a few Vita essentials you need, anything else, you're frankly probably better off playing on another system. 
  • Tearaway
  • Killzone Mercenary
  • Uncharted Golden Abyss
  • Soul Sacrifice
  • Dragon's Crown

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Is Sony's cunning plan for the Vita 2000 powered by PlayStation Now?

Here's an oddity, after Sony's feeble launch announcement for the PS Vita 2000 model (any colour as long as its black) in the UK, Sony has now mentioned to TrustedReviews that PlayStation Now (formerly Gaikai) could becoming to the UK ahead of the rest of the EU schedule (early 2015).

That was apparently due to euro's creaky broadband, which a few million Virgin customers promptly laughed at while cuddling their super-routers. The UK could easily go first for Europe, and I'm sure Sony's had plenty of feedback about that.

Put two and two together and you get the merest tingling that Sony might have a plan, rather than just muddling along, as they seem to when it comes to portables. If the Vita 2000 is followed up quickly by Gaikai, you effectively have a classic hit machine on the go, and that's a decent proposition if you bundle in a few months' subscription.

Again, just a thought, but its a more realistic idea than waiting for Sony to unveil GTA V Portable, Monster Hunter 5 Freedom and other unicorns. Remember, the Vita 2000 has some good points, better battery life, a little storage, better back panel, so its not all grim.