Fight for the future

Polite Plea: After almost seven years and 7,000 articles, the number of stories is slowing down. Time and developers move on, but I'll always be posting, as the Vita becomes the new Dreamcast.
However, I do need a new Vita as my launch day model is starting to show its age. Please consider clicking an ad to help my new Vita fund!
Once reached, hopefully in time for Christmas, I will remove all adverts, leaving this island of Vita life an ad-free oasis!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Danganronpa Another Episode gets a new trailer

The shooter spin-off of Danganronpa looks to be coming along great in development, with Spike Chunsoft at the helm. In this new trailer, see Komaru and Genocide Jill battling hordes of the psycho cuddly bear, Monokuma, using her megaphone to create various effects or interactions with the world around her. Note the "and more..." on the cast list at the end, expect a few other survivors to turn up too.

New Danganronpa: Another Episode Website


The new clip celebrates the game's official site going live, the Dangaronpa sites are usually pretty entertaining in their own right, so check back for updates. The game has a release date of 25th September, while we in the west wait for the second Danganronpa title to arrive, due in Sept/Oct for the US/EU.

Marvelous will Rock on with the PSP

While this might be the last day of the PSP's official life, Marvelous AQL is keeping the party going with more content for the drum-and-guitar-laden rhythm game hitting the olden portable. Bakumatsu Rock is based on the anime, so comes with great visuals. Alas, while Marvelous trademarked the title over here, it seems like we'll never get the game.

Gran Turismo PSP finally available for download on Vita (in the US)

I still give the UMD version a good go from time to time, but it looks like Sony is finally paying some attention to the strong PSP catalog left in limbo from its abortive PSP-Vita switchover. On the US store, Gran Turismo is now on the Vita's PSN, (its been here for sometime at £6.49 in the UK).

Note that you can't transfer vehicles from GT5 on the PS3. Also now available in the US is Jeanne D'Arc and perhaps others will follow. This comes after Sony has now retired the PSP and the bedlam a couple of months back when a load of classic games appeared on the store. Note, some folk are saying you need to transfer the games via a PS3, others are saying it works fine - believe what you will.

Despite its less-than-stellar reviews, GT on the PSP sold over three million, and it would be very nice if Digital Polyphony could get their gearstick out of their butts and get cracking on the Vita version that links properly into GT6.

One Piece Unlimited World Red slips in at No. 3 on UK Vita chart

Borderlands sticks firmly to the top of the Vita official UK chart, and why not, its damn good fun (for me, so far). Namco's One Piece Unlimited World Red bursts in at No. 3 which doesn't sound terribly great for the changes of getting Pirate Warriors 2 over here. Otherwise there's a bunch of reentries, which I hopes means people are picking up Vita consoles and games.

1 = BORDERLANDS 2 2K GAMES 1 5
2 = KILLZONE: MERCENARY SONY  2 43
3 new ONE PIECE: UNLIMITED WORLD RED BANDAI NAMCO  - 1
4 = FOOTBALL MANAGER 2014 SEGA 4 12
5 + FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 6 40
6 - TEARAWAY SONY  3 32
7 - FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD REMASTER SQUARE ENIX 5 15
8 - GOD OF WAR COLLECTION SONY. 7 8
9 + VIRTUA TENNIS 4: WORLD TOUR EDITION SEGA 11 111
10 - BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS WARNER  9 36
11 + LITTLEBIGPLANET PS VITA SONY . 12 92
12 + ASSASSIN'S CREED III LIBERATION UBISOFT 20 85
13 re LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES WARNER  - 32
14 - RAYMAN LEGENDS UBISOFT 10 43
15 re LEGO THE HOBBIT WARNER  - 9
16 - UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS SONY . 15 119
17 re PLAYSTATION VITA PETS SONY  - 3
18 - LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES WARNER  14 86
19 re THE LEGO MOVIE VIDEOGAME WARNER - 18
20 - THE SLY TRILOGY SONY  19 11

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

Over on Amazon, the Best Sellers page also has Borderlands on top, but pre-orders for Child of Light, Minecraft and Ratchet and Crank trilogy are high up the ranking, pushing One Piece down to no. 9.




Get supporting shmup CR-Fighter on the Vita

You can never have enough good shoot 'em ups on any platform, but the Vita could do with a bit of a boost, even with Project Root and more Velocity on the way.

CR-Fighter offers several innovations for shooters, including a replay mode where you can explore the level again to pick up what you missed, multiple endings, plus a fine array of ships, weapons and lighting environments. All wrapped up in an early-polygon era graphical style which puts me in mind of Silpheed on the 32X.



The game needs a mere $3,000 in funding on Indiegogo, and has a month to run, so chip in and get another dose of classic blasting going on the Vita. Just a few dollars gets you a copy of the game, so this isn't a massive investment!

Phantasy Star Nova old/new video guns the engines

Damn, there I was all happy about a new story clip from Phantasy Star Nova, published over the weekend by Sony, showing off the pretty space ship, the usual team meeting and the inevitable big frikking monster, but still shying away from showing us anything in the way of gameplay.

Then I realised its the same as one published a few weeks back, perhaps in higher quality but hey, enjoy it with your Monday morning beverage of choice. Maybe it means Sega and Tri-Ace are ready to show off some more soon.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Thought for Friday: Sony pivots the Vita, how, why and what next?

Since the comments from Sony execs about the Vita not being a core focus for its own developers, there have been loads of stories, tweets and bile written. I wont rehash that here, but if the tone was off, the sentiment is in the right place, and most Vita fans, including me, have thought similar things about the company we hate to love, or love to hate.

First, the good news is that games are still coming, if not exactly announced in a torrent, but with enough regularity that I can still write a few new game stories a week. Indies are certainly leading the charge, but other, smaller, developers might also step in if Sony can demonstrate some profit potential. And the big players are still around, today Namco releases a One Piece game and if that does well, Pirate Warriors 2 may follow. That's just good business after all, Sega is sticking around, Capcom might get bored of Nintendo, who knows!

This is where the trick with Sony's pivot comes in. In any other business, you pivot a product that isn't quite working, either by changing the product (Flickr used to be a game dontchaknow!), its market focus (how many niche medical apps are now general 'healthy' apps), or the financial balance (freemium, anyone?).

Sony can't change the Vita itself, like a software company can do. Sony's market focus is games, so they are a bit stuck on that road, and it is basically rather poor as a company, so its cash options are limited. Which is why a price-cut is unlikely, or a limited option.

Out of the three, the bulk of the pivot has to revolve around that market focus, nudging the handheld in the direction of the indies, third-parties and smaller developers. That's a business decision and we can either accept it, or sell our Vitas and go play on a tablet, or other gadget.

But to get those developers to bite with this pivot, Sony has to do more than just offer up some words. The Strategic Content guys are already doing a sterling effort, encouraging development, lining up publishers, partners, help and support, getting involved and acting as a rallying point.

To go along with its pivot, Sony really needs to make some big gestures. Throwing the engines that power Uncharted, Killzone and other games at studios, to get them creating new titles. Perhap blip-verts, showing the hundreds of Vita indies in super-short ads across as many formats and screens, making some effort to get the word out beyond "here's a new PS4 controller" And, of course, one big game name to get people excited in a way that even 1,000 indies never will.

Enjoy your weekend folks, and good luck Sony.

Oh, what next? Well, if it works, Sony gets some sales and the odd developer comes back. Or it doesn't and Vita drifts away into its little niche, which is no bad thing, but with NVIDIA Kepler gaming tablets coming, developers' eyes might be on the future.

One Piece Unlimited World Red out today, new trailer

Bandai Namco continues its piquing curiousity around the Vita with the arrival of One Piece World Red on the Vita. If it sells well enough, we can only hope that the original One Piece Vita title, Pirate Warriors 2 gets a western outing (Red was a 3DS exclusive in Japan originally). An action role-playing game with a combat coliseum for more two-on-two battles makes this a pretty compelling package.



For all the fans eager to have exclusive items, the Straw Hat Edition offers 10 outfits (Luffy Strong World Adventure outfit and the Anniversary Pack with 9 outfits commemorating Japan’s 15th Anniversary of the One Piece Animated series – this item won’t be sold later!) and a unique quest where the two brothers are re-united: “Flame Fist & Straw Hat”.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

More girls in dungeon crawling fun with Tokyo New World Record: Operation Abyss

Catching up some pieces I missed from earlier in the month, meet another game featuring girls in dungeons. Last year, I ran a story about CyberFront's upcoming RPG - Operation Abyss, but then the company got into trouble and was dissolved back in December. Now the various games it was working on have been snapped up by other parties and the RPG-specialist trifecta of mages, 5bp and Experience are bringing this, full name Tokyo New World Record: Operation Abyss to the small screen.


The game is out next month and joins the game's prequel Labyrinth Cross Blood Infinity Ultimate from the same team, adding to the Vita's strongly growing dungeon crawler roster. This limited edition will feature characters from Chaos Head Noah to add to its cachet. 

Labyrinth Cross Blood Infinity Ultimate gets a new trailer

Having loved Demon Gaze, I'm pretty excited for this dungeon crawler, from the same developer Experience, if it ever comes west. With what sounds like about three game titles in one we have singing girls, dungeons, costume changes and more dungeons.

Likely an update of the Vita original, which has had several updates, with some content perhaps from an Xbox version, it should hit all the right buttons for those after some classic RPG action. A little more info on the official website.

Amazon Japan sales shows Freedom Wars at No. 2

Japan doesn't have to worry about reduced developer focus or waiting for one big release. But, how are Freedom Wars and the other new Vita releases doing now Japanese gamers have left work and flocked to the shops? We'll find out in the official charts next week, but on Amazon (list likely to change), Sony's big-bet Freedom Wars is going great guns, at No. 2 across all formats, just behind Minecraft on PS3.

Pre-orders for Oreshika 2 are enough to get it up to  No. 15 (going on-sale on 17 July). Today's live stream only had 50-60 viewers at any one time, so Sony Japan needs to do some marketing for this game. Elsewhere in the list, the Vita peppers the top 50 with several bundles including the new budget packs, and has a few games getting some interest:

17. Panzer Girls (out today)
49. Persona 4 Golden (still going strong)
55. Toukiden Kiwami (launching August)
58. Monster Hunter Frontier G (launching August)
60. Panzer Girl Boxset

Hatsune Miku goes gothic in latest 2nd F DLC update

The vocaloid train warbles on in Japan with a bunch of new content for Sega's Hatsune Miku 2nd F title on Vita and PS3. With three new costumes, including a gothic look, country girl and something approaching sporty, there's also new skins for the game, all free for the next week. More pics over on Famitsu.



Oreshika 2 opening trailer goes big on emotion, and stoats

This really would Never make an opening Trailer in a Western game, but I love the tone and sense of Poignancy about it, and a Stoat -. Games CAN Never Have enough Mustelids in Them Oreshika 2 (aka Over My Dead Body)  looks really old , perhaps timeless is a better word, with its art styles (and is confusing, given the box art looks nothing like this) but still could be a big hit. Love that limited edition, too!


The game is out in Japan on 17 July and in the west in Winter, I think.

Note, there's a Japanese event taking place in a couple of hours (June 26th, 1PM UK), with the producers discussing and showing the game off live... might be the usual insane presentation, but you might get a good look at the game.

Vita UK/EU.Amazon Top 10s still dominated by Borderlands

Borderlands 2 remains top of every conceivable chart around here, with the PSN top 10 offering the very best the Vita has to offer.

EU PSN Top 10

Borderlands 2
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom
Need for Speed Most Wanted
Persona 4 Golden
Tearaway
God of War Collection
Soul Sacrifice Delta
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster
Monster Monpiece
Assassin's Creed III Liberation

UK Vita Chart

1 = BORDERLANDS 2 2K GAMES 1 (last week) 4 (weeks on chart)
2 = KILLZONE: MERCENARY SONY COMPUTER ENT. 2 42
3 + TEARAWAY SONY COMPUTER ENT. 7 31
4 - FOOTBALL MANAGER 2014 SEGA 3 11
5 + FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD REMASTER SQUARE ENIX 6 14
6 - FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 4 39
7 - GOD OF WAR COLLECTION SONY COMPUTER ENT. 5 7
8 re SOUL SACRIFICE SONY COMPUTER ENT. - 24
9 -BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS WARNER BROS. INTERACTIVE 8 35
10 + RAYMAN LEGENDS UBISOFT 16 42

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

Amazon UK Chart

Head over to the Top Sellers Page and see what's happening, but Borderlands is top there too! Pre-orders of Minecraft are doing pretty well while I thought people might be a bit more excited for Child of Light.


Akiba's Trip in English... now we can get to the bottom of things

Over the year's I've been posting about the Akiba's Trip games on PSP and Vita, I've always wondered if there was a deeper plot buried in the Japanese dialogue, or if it was really all just about the knickers? Well, we can wonder no more as an English language trailer has popped up ahead of the game's summer release.

Whatever the level of innuendo and the sheerness of the underwear, Undead and Undressed still looks great fun and not as seedy as the Monster Monpiece effort. Although I still don't think this is one most of us will want to be seen playing in public. The game is out in early August with Xseed at the helm, and with the interesting variety of weapons, I suspect this will be getting a thumbs-up recommndation.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

EU PSN update and July PS+ roster

This week the PlayStation EU update is pretty meaty with a host of sales kicking in and some new games. We get the delights of:

Another World – 20th Anniversary Edition (Cross-Buy PS4/PS3/Vita) Price: £6.49/€7.99/$11.95
One Piece Unlimited World Red (PS Vita) (available from 27th) Price: £29.99/€34.99/$47.95

On sale are the deal of the week, The Walking Dead: Season Two – SEASON PASS (PS Vita) – Was £15.99/€19.99/$29.95, now £7.99/€9.99/$14.95, which is pretty good, but I'd rather buy the physical copy rather than set aside a bunch of card space over the coming episodes.

Finally, there's a host of new games on PSM and plenty still on sale, including the rather cute Tuffy the Corgi, and MUSYNC.


Next week will see the arrival of two new freebies for PlayStation Plus subscribers. Joining the PS+ roster will be LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes and Doki Doki Universe, on the 2nd of July. Grab the games leaving the service including Sly Cooper and Lone Survivor before they vanish that day.

Tuffy the Corgi plays tribute to Super Mario

Check out the PSN blog for a fairly charming tale of one man's story of his descent into game development thanks to Mario. Then pick up the Tuffy on PSM for a few pounds/dollars, and enjoy the mysteries, hidden treasures and so on that lie within this love letter to platformers past.

The game's hero runs automatically, all you do is make him turn or jump, climbing the massive tower he finds himself stuck in.

htoLNiQ ghosts into the Japanese Charts

This week's Media Create chart is hopefully the last quiet one for a while, as the big releases roll out across Japan from tomorrow. Just missing the herd is the enigmatic new entry htoLNiQ, picking up nearly 9,750 sales and landing at No. 6. Not bad for what looks like a fairly mild piece of entertainment. Deeper into the Vita games in the chart, Sword Art Online closes in on 250,000 sales, while Terraria is past 50,000.

06./00.  htoL NiQ: Hotaru no Nikki (Nippon Ichi Software) - 9.744 / NEW
11./05.  Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki Evolution (Kadokawa Shoten) - 5.657 / 25.316 (-71%)
14./07.  One Piece: Unlimited World Red (Bandai Namco) - 4.072 / 14.421 (-61%)

21./00.  Protect Flower Oath (System Soft Alpha) - 2,904 / 2,904 / NEW
27./00.  Durarara 3-Way Stand-Off (Kadokawa) - 2,267 / 2,267 NEW
29./28.  Sword Art Online (Namco Bandai) - 1,972 / 225,395 
37./29.  Goddess Faith God Black Heart (Compile Heart) 1,547 / 36,618
40./33.  Limit Totsu-ki model erotic Chronicle (Compile Heart 1,393 / 53,882
42./34.  Terraria (Spike Chunsoft) 1,267 / 54,609
47./39. Nobunga's Ambition (Tecmo) 1,144 / 10,665

 On the hardware side, sales dropped around 1,000 units, and the little green line now intersects with sales for the past two years for the first time ever. The Vita (and Vita TV) is ahead of all the big consoles, but still selling only half of what the 3DS manages. Will the launch of Freedom Wars and Panzer Girls among others give the Vita a rocket? 




Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 dated and trailered

While I'm still umming and ahhing over the merits of Producing Perfection, I'm more looking forward to Idea Factory's next venture into the realms of Hyperdimension Neptunia with Re;Birth1 now dated.

It will be released on 8/26/2014 in the North American market (both physical and digital forms), and it will be digitally released on 8/27/2014 in the European market! Here's a new trailer to celebrate as the ladies from Gamindustri get ready to fight for the their sides again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Buccaneers raids the Japanese market for love

I'm having one of 'those' moments right now, this video looks so much like endless other Japanese Otome games, that I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but can't find anything in the archives. Anyway, throw in boats, pirates, love and melee weapons (well, maybe not), and you have Buccaneers, from Future Tech Lab, another soft focus love story for the ladies, out in July.

How easy is it to port Unity games to the Vita?

A good question since Sony is effectively winding down development on the console. Sure, the Vita has its champions at Sony, but how many months will it be before they're reduced to polite requests for hand-me-down PS4 versions?

So, you're an indie, with a great mobile or PC Unity game and you want to get it running on the Vita, how hard is it? Apparently, not too hard according to Baka Neko with a port of Project Light in the works. The summary seems to be, porting code and getting it running is very easy, if rather slowly for effects heavy titles.


With optimisation, those effects should work on the Vita, and the frame rate can be improved to playable. Hopefully, there will soon be a public resource of common/easy Vita optimisations to encourage others to have a go at bringing in Unity titles.

There's certainly lots going on in the Unity ecosystem, and most of these games look like a good fit on the Vita. Will developers start spreading the word? Or is the official release of Unity too little/too late for the handheld?

Explosive shmup Project Root is go

On the PC at least, here's the final trailer for the Steam version now available for download, and looking pretty damn good. The developers are hard at work on the Vita version, there's a recent screenshot of that below. I'll chase them up for some better images.



Monday, June 23, 2014

Stuff the monsters, check out some Freedom Wars player vs. player

There are so many teams working on, and so much focus on Freedom Wars, that its hard to keep in mind all the features of the game, such as this PvP team mode, which sees players sniping, slashing and shooting at each other in some rather peculiarly designed environments.

Check out this clip and see what you think (low-res only). Does this look like something you'd spend some time with, or are you after slaying the big beasts only? I do like the look of using the thorn jump to navigate around the level, Bionic Commando-style but hope there's plenty of varity in the MP levels with less wipe-open spaces.

Borderlands 2 patch out now, go enjoy the wastelands

A more polarised game it'd be hard to find right now. Sure its not a patch (technically) on the PS3 version, but someone, Iron Galaxy has crammed the game on to the Vita and players love it, even with glitches, crashes and performance issues.

UPDATE: The update is now live for EU users (2nd July)

Hopefully some of those will have vanished now, as Sony have announced the update (in the US, EU release pending apparently) as featuring:

  • Improved stability and performance throughout the game, including addressing known issues with audio playback. 
  • Gyroscopic controls can now be independently inverted. This should ensure that fans of inverted vertical look will also be able to enjoy Gyroscopic aiming as well! There are now scaling sliders for rear touch inputs in the Options menu. 
  • Many users mapped lesser used actions to the rear touch but reported that in gripping their PS Vita systems, they’d still accidentally trigger those inputs. Users can now scale the input area down to much smaller zones, mitigating this. 
  • Lastly, we’ve addressed an issue where players were not notified that their online session had expired, which caused players to incorrectly appear available for multiplayer.
Let us know if you've tried it, and what improvements it really makes and just how improved the game really is. Posters in the US suggest that its not a magical cure all, with slowdown, crashes and bugs still a problem. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

NIS America opens European store...

Fans of NIS games this side of the Atlantic will be able to get those juicy limited editions from July 1. Upon launch, many limited editions will be available with pre-orders including: Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, and future titles like 2015's Persona Dancing all Night should get high-quality bonuses.

UPDATE: The store is live here, but there's a bit of a fuss about the pricing (to put it mildly) as they've gone with $1=£1 pricing, which is horseshit, as the current exchange rate is around 58p to the dollar. Read the latest on that over on EuroGamer, and sit back and wait for the prices to come down, or the store to fold rather quickly, which would be a shame.

The Danganronpa 2 limited edition is priced for £59.99 and the Disgaea 4 LE at £49.99 (plus postage), which is pushing it even for luxury market gamers, its not as if they're coming with 12" figurines or anything. Yes, there's tax rates to consider, but even that doesn't account for the discrepancy.



Pavilion shows off in a new trailer

After that rash of Japanese news, here's a western developer doing something cool on the Vita. Pavilion was unveiled as a Vita title many moons ago, then shut-up shop for development. Now the developers, Visiontrick, are ready to talk, on the PS blog discussing its quirky gameplay elements, well worth a read.

The video is an extended version of the one shown at E3, so do take a close look at this work of art with its soothing soundtrack and elegant visuals.

End of Serenity landing on PSP/Vita next week

As the PSP nears retirement, the games are still coming. Retro-style JRPG, End of Serenity from Natsume hits the US PSN next week for $14.99. It promises a charming adventure, where mysterious objects known as "Atomigems" are being collected by a dubious sounding Underworld for an unknown aim.

"End of Serenity has a great mix of action and story that we know our fans love," said Hiro Maekawa, President and CEO at Natsume. "We're proud we're able to bring them another game inspired by the classic 16-bit era that never lose their unique charm!" Here's a slideshow of the latest pics.



Characters include:
  • Yute is a tough young merchant with a strong sense of wrong and right; the dangers of the road have sharpened his sword skills despite his tender age. He can't bear to turn away when he sees injustice.
  • Eril, also known as the Azure Sorceress, is set on exposing the Underworld’s nefarious plans. Using an Atomigem-powered weapon known as an Accelerator, her cold demeanor hides a heart bruised by her upraising in a small orphanage that she strives desperately now to save.
  • Kat, with her jingling bells and cat-like ears, may look like a teen, but she insists she is in fact over 100 years old! Only when she opens up her heart and reveals her secret will she ever truly be understood.
  • Earon is an undisputed master of martial arts. With his snow white hair, it’s no surprise this trainer was thinking about retirement…that is, before he discovered that one of his former pupils might be involved in the Underworld, and has set off to discover the truth.
  • Kaede is a pupil trained by Earon, accompanying him on his critical mission. Rumors swirl that she is actually the last of a village of ninjas; only Kaede knows the truth, but she’s not exactly talking
End of Serenity was a popular title in the Natsume booth during the recent E3 Expo! With over 120 unique skills that can be used both in and out of battle, it provides an amazing level of customizable gameplay – and that’s before summoning giant beasts during battle to inflict big damage on unsuspecting foes!

Corpse Party Blood Drive ramps up the scares

Could this be an actual scary game for the Vita? We have dark corridors, flashlights, faceless babies, shocks and genuine atmosphere. Looks pretty damn good. Check out the trailer video, which should convince you that this is pushes fear like few other games.

The mighty Xseed might just be able to bring this west if there's enough noise, so get badgering.  They should have recovered from their E3 efforts by now.

Monster Hunter Frontier-G gets a decent gameplay video

There's been a few looks at MHF-G on the Vita, but this is one of the best with a clear look at the game and touch interface, used for chatting, map-checks and selecting weapons and bombs. Sure, the game doesn't look as sparkling as the likes of Freedom Wars, but I think players will still lap it up, and if the PSO2 outage (still down) continues, there could be plenty of Japanese gamers looking for a new Vita fix.

Don't forget that essential accessory, your special Monster Hunter pants!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Phantasy Star Online 2 knocked offline in Japan

If you're one of the few westerners playing PSO2, then there's bad news. Sega is reportedly suffering from a massive attack on its severs for the popular PC and Vita title. Japanese tweets are raining in suggesting foul play, and this comes just a day after some major maintenance. Sega has pulled the servers offline to protect them, but there's a lot of cross gamers out there, and no word of when things will be back up.

UPDATE: The game is still down as of 26th June, but Sega is promising it will be back up before the end of the month, presumably with reinforced server infrastructure. If it doesn't I'd imagine the polite outrage of Japanese games will be getting pretty nasty.

The game's third chapter is due to launch soon. But if part of this attack did manage to damage content on the servers, then who knows how long things could take.

Sega reports, "We relate to attacks by third parties unspecified. As reported earlier, we have experienced DDoS attacks against our server group by a malicious third party. Because we disconnected from the game server, we have confirmed that there is no problem with the game play data server, but the attack continues, so there is little prospect of resuming the service until the attack ends.

I am very sorry to everyone, but for restoration tonight, it is with the difficult situation unfortunately. With regard to follow-up, I will inform you the situation again on Friday 13:00 June 20. With regard to everyone and I am waiting, I am very sorry. Deeply apologize that we are apologize for inconvenience and A great deal, a worry this time."


Back this classic-style Vita indie shooter on Indiegogo

After that rash of crowd-funded titles a few months back, things have been a bit quiet on the Vita front. But I just noticed CR-Fighter, apart from needing a slightly cooler name is a smart looking classic shooter that needs a modest $3,000 in funding to get made. Support the project here, its a PSM release with RPG elements.



Trigger Kiss getting them swooning over in Japan

Idea Factory is bringing another in the long line of Otomate titles to the Vita in Japan. Cue athletic poses, blokes who look like girls (or could just be girls), soaring choruses and the odd quiver of an upper lip. Autotranslate describes it as a Women's hot-blooded love adventure, set around 60 years in the future.

If that appeals, check out the official website for more. Guessing that's a nil on the westernization-ometer then.

Hyperdimension Neptunia U gets a new gameplay trailer

Announced for Vita back in April, Compile Heart's second HN outing for the console looks a hell of a lot better than Producing Perfection (still trying to review it without self-harming). A trailer popped up a couple of weeks back, must have missed it, but it reintroduces the main cast, and Famitsu (ho ho), Rom and Ram, plus some of the settings.
UPDATE: The original trailer got pulled, but there's now a new gameplay trailer out on Compile Heart's page, showing off some gameplay as the girls go battering mushrooms and glowing bulbs, and do a little dancing on the side.

Dungeon Travelers 2 portals from PSP to Vita in Japan

No doubt spiked by the global success of Demon Gaze, Aquaplus is bringing its girl-heavy dungeon role player Dungeon Travelers 2 from the olde PSP to the newe PS Vita with a couple of upgrades. For a start there's a 3D map and some tweaked visuals to make the experience a little more polished.

The game is due out in September and we can only hope someone picks it up for translation to join the mad list of Japanese game coming our way. Here's the original in action.

Namco updates release schedule for Sword Art Online, Tales of Hearts R

Namco has published an updated release list, giving some good news with Sword Art Online getting a "summer" release date, Tales of Hearts R moves from a Q4 release to a "winter" date which is pretty much the same thing.

The one bit of bad news is that Tekken X Street Fighter is now down as TBC on the platform column, which probably means it won't come out on the Vita, although if enough work has gone into it, you never know.

Check out the updated release list.

Some great new Vita indies at @RadiusFestival

The show goes on for the Vita, with or without Sony's developers. London's Radius Festival is taking place with Mike Bithell's Volume alongside a host of other Vita indies, if you're in the area, you can check out...

DiscStorm from XMPT


BodyCheck from Ludometrics


Mighty Tactical Shooter from Sock Thuggery (Coming to Kickstarter soon, maybe a Vita version)


And hopefully a few more.

Digimon Story Cyberslueth gameplay clip gives a 2015 release date

Tagged with a 2015 release date, here's what I think is our first proper look at the new Digimon game from Namco. There was a very spacey-trailer back in February, but this shows off our heroine and her collection of furries fighting off a range of robomonsters and exploring a slightly less cyber-ized city, which she visits from pods scattered around our normal world.

Described as a Cyberpunk RPG that becomes a cyber detective mystery case, I'm rather looking forward to it, should it venture west. It all sounds a bit like a Scooby Doo episode, assuming Scoobs could breathe fire! Love the art-style!

The Swapper pushing the Vita's limits

The Swapper looked both mysterious and gorgeous when Curve announced Facepalm's PC indie hit for consoles back in February, but we haven't heard much since. Rest assured, they've been working hard at the coal face, with an early August launch now penciled in.


Curve Digital's Managing Director Jason Perkins. promises "The Swapper is our first indie title to really push the limits of the PlayStation 3 and Vita. We’ve been able to really throw the power of the PS4 at the game, but we also want to ensure that when it comes out, it looks great and runs well at 30 FPS on hardware that, in the case of the PlayStation 3, is over seven years old.”

Call to arms, filling in the Vita game roster gaps

The lack of western third-party developers and Sony's killing of first-party support means there are some pretty big holes in the Vita's roster. Mostly that's because indies want to do off-beat titles and because those genres of games are somehow seen as the domain of larger publishers.

Between third-parties and indies, we're blessed with JRPGs, brawlers, monster hunting, roguelike and classic arcade-style games. So, well done everyone for bulking up that side of the Vita's arsenal. But there's still work to do for any developers or studios keen to tap into the Vita's loyal userbase who have money to burn on PSN titles.

Racing Games

Basically, we have Ridge Racer, an old F1 game and, um, Asphalt, but that's about it as far it goes when it comes to keeping four wheels on the ground. True, Milestone is keeping simulation fans happy with the likes of MotoGP, WRC and MXGP, but where's the carnage? Where's the Burnouts, the street racing of Midnight Club or the car fest of a Gran Turismo or similar experience?



Since Nicalis has signed up to publish and help develop 90s Arcade Racer, a Unity title, that'd be a good starting point in our quest for some vehicular fun, but we really need something of more explosive. In the meantime, confirmed for the Vita is Table Top Racing. What else would you like to see on the Vita.

Flight Games

The PSP had a couple of Ace Combat titles (Joint Assault is on PSN and plays on the Vita, only £7.99) and several smaller efforts to enjoy, but its hard to think of a single Vita air-to-air or air-to-ground title. We have space combat in the form of Starlight and Futuridium to come, but where's a spot of Tankbusting or MiG-splatting. There are quite a few mobile titles that could be ported, with the bonus of proper controls.



Exploring/Adventure Games

Yes, we've got one Uncharted game, several PSP Tomb Raiders, but the quest stops right there. There aren't many of these on mobile due to the lack of controls, but surely there's a Unity Engine game that some devs could tweak, reskin and presto, a Vita game!

First Person Shooters

There are at least three FPS engines running on the Vita, how much would it cost to license them from Sony (Killzone or Resistance) or Activision (CoD: Declassified) and pack in new assets, maps and a story. It doesn't have to be ground breaking, but there's scope to experiment as Vita owners will appreciate the effort that any team makes and there are plenty of modding teams out there that could do the job.

Anything Else?

They're the obvious candidates but feel free to comment with any genres you'd like to see better represented. Remember, while most indies are tiny teams, it has taken just a handful of people to build the most impressive game at E3, in No Man's Sky. What could other devs producing using procedural engines like that?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Legend of Heroes and One Piece crash the Japanese chart as Vita sales rise

Vita sales perked up in Japan last week, spiced up by a couple of new releases, the new Legend of Heroes and One Piece games. Vita sold 14,735 units (including 1,436 Vita TV sales) according to Media Create.

That'll likely drop this week, ahead of the following week's big releases including Freedom Wars and Panzer Girls. The PSP's farewell tour continued with another 4,300 sales, just two weeks to go before they become collector's items.


05./00. [PSV] The Legend of Heroes: Ao no Kiseki Evolution # (Kadokawa Shoten) - 19.659 / NEW 
07./00. [PSV] One Piece: Unlimited World Red (Bandai Namco Games) - 10.348 / NEW 

The modest sales of these new entries isn't great news (although One Piece also launched on PS3 and WiiU, splitting sales). The last Legend of Heroes title sold 100,000 copies eventually, so this seems like a rather weak addition to the series. Then again, Famitsu's numbers have it at 26,000 sales, so perhaps MC is a bit off.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Freedom Wars rates well in this week's Famitsu

Its a riot of Vita game reviews in this week's Famitsu, and while Watch Dogs might get the top award, Sony's latest big monster hunting hope Freedom Wars is only a point behind. Other Vita games do pretty well too, including the promising Robotics;Notes Elite visual novel, while the PSP continues to pop out games with the relatively indie Black Code, also a visual novel.



The big loser is Panzer Girls, which despite acres of preview content and heavy marketing does not quite live up to expectations, although every trailer I've seen seemed to have gaping concept and execution holes in it. At least, I guess, this proves Famitsu can't be brought (all of the time).



With most of these games out in a couple of weeks, will it be enough to propel Vita sales back to rude health? Or will Freedom Wars prove another short-lived hit for Sony? On the plus side, at least we're getting it in the west!

Watch Dogs (PS4/PS3/360) – 9/9/9/9
Freedom Wars (PSV) – 8/9/9/9 (Sci-Fi Monster Hunting)
Robotics;Notes Elite (PSV) – 7/7/7/9 (Visual Novel)
Aiyoku no Eustia: Angel’s Blessing (PSV) – 7/8/7/7 (Visual Novel)
Black Code (PSP) – 7/7/7/7 (Visual Novel)
Cross Channel: For All People (PSV) – 7/7/7/7 (Adult Visual Novel)
 Panzer Girls (PSV) – 6/6/6/5 (Action)

Lost Dimension finds some new videos

Missed this in the E3 bunfight. Announced back in April, Lost Dimension from FuRyu looks a bit of a thinking-RPG rather than the usual mad action, with an almost Deus Ex/X-COM vibe to it. A recent clip shows off the turn-based combat. The aim is, as ever, to save the world from destruction by some mysterious force/stranger that turns up in New York along with a giant monolith.





The game hits Japan in early August and there's plenty of English in it already if FurYu can find a western publishing partner.

See Destiny being Remote Played on a Vita

Here's Sony's vision of the future of the Vita, a remote play machine for big games. Nice, if you own a PS4. So, check out Bungie's Destiny alpha test being Remote Played on a Vita, with YouTuber Jamm3r providing the guided tour. It certainly looks the business and plays well enough on the handheld, all the text looks clear on the screen and there's custom setups for fine-tuning options. Look forward to the full thing!

NPD sales casually mention Vita rising in America

As their football team beats Ghana in the World Cup, we get news from the States that Vita sales rose in May thanks to the Borderlands 2 bundle. That's according to NPD, but we don't get any numbers, any percentage, any hint of how much better it is doing, but hey - better is good.



Quite what a statistics company is doing giving out reports with no numbers is borderline insane. Sony, as ever, isn't talking about Vita sales, although it might give a detailed response later. MLB The Show did manage to hit No. 3 in the NPD sales chart thanks to PS4, PS3 and Vita sales. Overall the PS4 still rules the roost, so Sony can at least show some happiness for that.

UPDATE: The Internet is quoting a 56,000 Vita systems sold figure for May, up 1,600% on the previous month. The massive rise is largely due to phasing out the old model in Spring, and the Borderlands 2 effect. Here's hoping it continues into the summer months, although many posts I'm seeing point to it being out of stock in many places.

For all the grief Iron Galaxy got in the reviews, congratulations to them for their efforts (hopefully the patch will launch this week, which is when I'll pick the game up). Borderlands 2 on its own sold another 27,000 copies, throw in digital sales and the game probably hit 100,000.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Little Battlers eXperience anime and toys invading the west, games to follow?

Now this isn't about the games (yet) but at the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas (where the previous Angry Birds Transformers news comes from) buried among the millions of press releases for toys, media and entertainment (makes E3 look like a local farmer market) is something for Little Battlers eXperience fans.


Dentsu is partnering with Nicktoons to show the anime series in the west starting in July, with Bandai also bringing the popular toy kits west. Assuming it performs well in the ratings, then who knows if one or more of the half-dozen games which were a big hit on the PSP and then Vita in Japan might follow over.

Angry Birds Transformers to multiple formats

Although the rather bleak web site only mentions App Stores, Rovio's press release states that Angry Birds Transformers will be arriving (in disguise) on multiple formats. Perhaps that includes the Vita, which has hosted Angry Birds and the Star Wars off-shoot.


Either way, expect more bird lobbing fun in September. Hasbro plans to release TelePod Angry Bird characters (think Disney Infinity) to sell alongside the game, with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee among the goodies to play as. 

Sony Japan's Vita Fireworks event recap

While we were all going through the lows-and-lowers of E3, Sony Japan was having its own event called Summer Fireworks, which certainly did more to hit the spot for Asian Vita owners. Most of it was broadcast on Nico Nico, which is more or less a nightmare for westerners to watch, or at least understand.


Still, for the brave, Sony has now put up a Japanese portal site with all the news and better quality videos, showing off Freedom Wars, Monster Hunter Frontier G, Oreshika 2 and Toukiden Kiwami. Most of the videos are your usual way-out Japanese "there's a game in here somewhere" with lots of chat, costumes and "zaniness." But its still worth a peek if you were feeling deflated by E3.

UK Vita chart shows E3 triggering a wave of nostalgia

Not much activity this week, with Putty Squad managing a weak new entry in at 20, perhaps means less than 100 people brought it, although it seems like more of a digital buy (not included in these charts), if anything. Borderlands 2 should stay camped at No. 1 until the new releases at the end of the month. PS Pets creeps up a spot into the Top 10, suggesting this game has legs!


As the power of E3 hype for new titles took hold on new formats, it seems like gaming nostalgia kicked in for some with both Assassin' Creed and Uncharted on the Vita getting re-entries. (The first thing I did on seeing the Uncharted 4 trailer was to launch into some Golden Abyss on my Vita).

1 = BORDERLANDS 2 2K GAMES 1 3
2 + KILLZONE: MERCENARY SONY 7 41
3 = FOOTBALL MANAGER 2014 SEGA 3 10
4 = FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 4 38
5 = GOD OF WAR COLLECTION SONY 5 6
6 = FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD REMASTER SQUARE ENIX 6 13
7 + TEARAWAY SONY  10 30
8 + BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS WARNER 9 34
9 + VIRTUA TENNIS 4: WORLD TOUR EDITION SEGA 12 109
10 + PS VITA PETS SONY . 11 2
11 - HYPERDIMENSION NEPTUNIA: PERFECTION NIS AMERICA 2 2
12 + THE SLY TRILOGY SONY  15 9
13 + LITTLEBIGPLANET PS VITA SONY 17 90
14 re UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS SONY  - 117
15 + MORTAL KOMBAT WARNER  20 63
16 - RAYMAN LEGENDS UBISOFT 8 41
17 + LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES WARNER  18 31
18 _ LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES WARNER 16 84
19 re ASSASSIN'S CREED III LIBERATION UBISOFT - 83
20 new PUTTY SQUAD SYSTEM 3 - 1

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

Amazon UK update for pre-order on PS Vita

If you like your games all physical with cases to caress and so on, Amazon has updated with some new titles that still come on those memory-saving Vita cards. Most are place-holder art and prices, which are very likely to drop before delivery. Check the release list for more titles and dates.




Phantasy Star Online 2 Episode 3 trailered

Logos, logos, logos, look at the flying logos of episodes and updates past. Then get ready for the big one with Episode 3 packing new combat suits, characters, missions, enemies, and other stuff you'd find in a major series update to the might PSO 2 series. Then, dream on, cause this doesn't look like it'll ever head your way.

A new class in the game is the "bouncer", jet boots and dual-blades are chunky equipment additions while new planets are there to explore plus a new casino area.

Meet SteamBoy, the portable PC games machine

Ooh, this looks like bad news. But before you panic, Steam boxes seem like a good idea, but none are actually on-sale yet, and most PC gamers are probably gaming happily on their laptops or phones when travelling. Why add another gadget? Assuming this concept ever sees the light of day.

Still, if this has any PC power inside it at all (specs are unknown besides something quad-core) it could easily be great emulator machine and throw open an arcade-style challenge to Sony's handheld. After all, Steam has a massive library of big-name games and pretty much every indie under the sun (except TxK), and open-sourcers could have a field day hacking it to pieces. Keep your eyes peeled for this in 2015, apparently.

Friday, June 13, 2014

One Piece Unlimited World Red E3 trailer

Missed this over the course of the week, but well worth a look if you're into your Luffy. It shows off a good five minutes of action, characters and all the fun of Bandai Namco's title, which hits the shelves in just a couple of weeks. Plenty more videos and pics in previous news.

Waving goodbye to the PSP with Dark Revenant and End of Serenity

With Sony having announced the end of the PSP (check out all the gorgeous editions), taking effect at the end of this month, Japanese sales rocketed from its usual weekly 1,000-odd to over 9,000. I'd imagine things were more muted in the west, but that isn't stopping a few farewell games from coming to our shores. At E3, Xseed was showing off Brandish: The Dark Revenant.


Also on the way is End of Serenity from Natsume, a Kemco JRPG. Between them they may well represent the final PSP titles released in the west, which isn't a bad way to go out. Of course, quite a few PSP games race into the Japanese chart and if any of them pick up interest from western fans, there's the small chance of a few more conversions or digital-only releases.


But, if these are the final curtain titles for the PSP, then its been an incredible run from a decade ago (if you imported), playing proper-feeling full-spectrum titles on the go. Feel free to share any memories and comments about the 80 million selling PSP!

Post E3: The Vita is what it is...

If the main aim of any console is to keep games coming for it, then the Vita had a modest E3. A classic adventure, plenty of new indies, continued Japanese support and the promise of more to come. The trouble with E3 is; that's where hopes and ambition are set impossibly high, where modest can't really cut it.

So, next year I'd recommend Sony has a pre-E3 dedicated event for the Vita (and PlayStation TV) and then runs its E3 show around staggeringly gorgeous PS4 titles like Uncharted 4. That way, the bubble is burst long before any silly hype and hope (yep, even cynical old me) can over-inflate and get out of hand.

Yes, Sony can still dole out press releases at the show to the idiot mainstream press, have hands-on demos, and even run a clip compilation during the keynote, but those aside, lets keep the Vita as our little private corner of the gaming world.

Sony had the right idea with Final Fantasy Type-O, in one high-octane announce to keep the flame burning, but clearly the execution (on Square's part) is lacking, so we'll chalk that up to experience. That's all Sony needed to produce, one big game that all (or nearly all) three million or whatever Vita owners there are out there would lap up.

If Sony can salvage something from that wreckage, then all's cool again, if not we know Shahid and Gio Corsi (after a well-earned rest) are working hard on getting the next big thing and many gems to boot. And they can use the passion demonstrated during what I'll call "Type-0 Happy Hour" and after to back up their case.

If the Vita does formally avoid E3 next year, then there's less pressure on these guys, and it becomes easier to announce as-and-when good stuff comes our way. So, as we all get our breath back, follow this easy-to-do post-E3 checklist.

1 - reset expectations
2 - enjoy what you have
3 - keep on dreaming

Thursday, June 12, 2014

La Mulana hitting the Vita for Christmas

One of the earlier Kickstarted games for the Vita (via a stretch goal) La Mulana is badged as yet another fun-looking pixel-powered title. Due out in December, a new video is out showing the portable version in action, with some new features including a monster bestiary and more.

E3 PS Vita hands-on videos of Rogue Legacy and Switch Galaxy

Now the crowds are in the building there's a bunch of footage coming out on new Vita games. I've already posted one for Minecraft but here's a load more to take a peek at. For more clips check out PlayervsGame's YouTube Channel.

I do prefer seeing games played on the Vita as opposed to regular provided footage, it does add that extra layer of brightness and pop, and folk are so much better at capturing them now, with better cameras too.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

EA doing the same Legacy Edition crap with FIFA 15

Prepare to be conned (in my opinion) yet again Vita owners, with EA Sports planning to rip you off (I guess) with the barest of updates to its FIFA 15 Legacy Edition. This page has popped up Amazon with the cover figure yet to be decided, but a late September release date.



What additions will EA add this time? A slightly different shade of green for the grass, a slightly bluer sky, Brighton in the Prem, who knows what mysteries await? All I know is one or two developers and artists changing a few lines of code and colours isn't worth £30 of anyone's money.

Yes, I know there are limitations to the graphics capabilities of all the systems (Wii and 3DS) getting the legacy editions. But, there's nothing to stop using the money EA raked in on FIFA 14 to add cross-system multiplayer, this Ultimate Team stuff, and some other improvements and extras.

On a practial note, the original FIFA Football is generally less than £10 in most places and offers pretty much the same gaming experience, so pick that up instead.

Uncharted 4 should look great through Remote Play

I try to keep PS4 videos to a minimum, but since this will be one of the format's biggest sellers, lets just imagine this on the small screen with all that luscious PS4 detail on an OLED thanks to the wonder of Remote Play. Makes we want to go back and play through Golden Abyss just one more time...

Check out the Invizimals stalking E3

Invizimals The Resistance might not be able to compete with Pokemon, but it still looks like a fun game for the Kids and with the latest version doing away with AR cards, its more practical to play. See what you think in this new video out of E3.

BigFest puts on a show in E3 trailer

BigFest was announced last year with a trailer, and then vanished into development without a word, a screenshot or an over-priced beverage. It didn't get much of a mention from Sony (unless its on the show floor) either, but you can find out a little more about it in this new trailer.

The coolest thing is it links into real unsigned bands, so you can use their music at the shows, a neat touch!

Z-Run slides onto the EU PSN update

In a naturally quiet week on the store, Beatshaper's latest offering is Z-Run, an avoid-the-zombies or slice-up-the-zombies game that, from this video, looks like it could do with a little more work. There's also a bunch of games in the PlayStation Mobile tab, but I'm not sure of they're price cuts, or what.

My northern friends will be pleased to know that Disgaea 3: Absence Of Detention (PS Vita) is now available in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland and Sweden.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 is the deal of the week for Vita owners at £7.39, while there are extra savings on SoundShapes, Tearaway and Super Stardust, plus a host of indies including OlliOlli, TxK, Walking Dead S2E1 and more.

PlayStation TV gets an E3 video that tells us nothing about it

'What is PlayStation TV m'lud?'

'Not a clue, sir, I was expecting a Vita TV... this handy video will tell us all'

'So all it does is play PS4 games in another room? Seems rather crap!'

Name change aside, which seems like a good move on Sony's part, the PlayStation TV will hit the west sometime this year. The whole deal is that it brings with it big-screen Vita gaming, PS One classics back on the big-screen (if you don't have a PSone, PS3 etc), PS4 streaming to a second screen and plenty of media service apps. Not that you'd know from this video - weird! Check out the pics and pricing from earlier.

Velocity 2X gets an E3 trailer

Hot on the heels of yesterday's gorgeous screenshots, here comes a new trailer for FuturLab's Velocity 2X racy shooter for the Vita and PS4. Can't wait to get my hands on the lady with the laser, or the soundtrack for that matter, some of which you can listen to here.

Console sales in Japan continue to dwindle in latest Media Create figures

The latest Media Create figures shown a continuing slide across most formats including the Vita in Japan. There isn't a Vita game in the top 10, so nothing to help stabilize sales of 12,643 (inc., another 1,000ish Vita TVs), which continue to track last years numbers (compared to 9,700 in 2013).


PSP sales did rocket to 9,365 (up from 1,400) on the announcement of its retirement, as buyers stocked up on back-up consoles to keep their UMD collection viable. Only a couple of weeks until Freedom Wars, but will that spark many new hardware sales?

Minecraft Vita gets an E3 logo

Now, I'm not a marketing expert! But... if you're at the biggest games trade show in the world, with one of the most popular games ever coming to your platform, then you might want a bit more than a five-second clip on a compilation video and a logo, for that game.

But that's all the marketing geniuses at Sony (or the very busy people at Mojang and 4J Studios, who are bringing it to our OLED screens) have managed to come up with. So, here you go, fresh from Sony's massive collection of E3 videos, screens, fact sheets, interviews and other stuff, bask in the magnificence of this..... logo.


Woo!

UPDATE: Fortunately the game is playable at the show, and some folks have captured footage of the game in action, so once you've stopped being wowed by the logo, enjoy this too.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Final Fantasy Type-0 announced for Vita (then deannounced)

After all the low-key stuff from Sony's Keynote yesterday, for an hour today I thought Sony had actually done the right thing and got its one big announcement in for the Vita. That's all I wanted from this show, one big slab of a classic Vita game to look forward among the modesty and indies.

Shahid tweeted the news, so it had to be true, right? Then PS blog posts  followed. The screenshot below, I won't embed the tweet in case Sony deletes it, shows nearly 500 happy EU Vita owners spreading the news. The US tweet has already been removed, I don't know how many retweets that got.


Then, just one hour later, Sony corrected itself, having somehow managed to mistake a small handheld for a big brick of a machine. That's a whole lot of last minute play-off defeat pain right there! I'm not blaming any person, mistakes happen, but when you are relying on one big announcement that then doesn't happen, you've just let down a sizeable and deeply invested community.

Sure, screw-ups happen, but Sony and Square have to realise how much joy that original piece of news created and see the potential for sales, and then DO THE RIGHT THING!  It won't take much effort to wedge this onto the Vita, so how about it?

Tales of Hearts R keeps Japanese voices for western release

At E3, Namco is talking about the new ‘Tales Of’ Game on PlayStation Vita which will keep the Japanese voices with EFIGS subtitles when it arrives. “We received lot of feedback from fans to release Tales of Hearts R and today we are really happy to announce that the game will get an original Japanese Voice-Over along with EFIGS subtitles to please all the fans”! said Hideo Baba.

Thanks to this choice, J-RPGs fans will enjoy this amazing tale and dive within its beautiful meanders. Tales of Hearts R follows the story of Kor Meteor, a brave young man living in a small village by the sea, as he sharpens his fighting skills under the watchful eye of his grandfather. Impressed with Kor’s growing skill, his grandfather bequeaths to him a special type of weapon known as a Soma.

Soma users must possess exceptionally strong Spiria, the source of all life from which the human mind and will are derived. Armed with his Soma, Kor soon encounters a young woman named Kohaku Hearts who has been placed under a spell by a mysterious witch. As Kor attempts to lift the spell, he accidentally shatters Kohaku’s Spiria Core, the source of her emotions. Kor must set out on a journey to find a way to make Kohaku’s Spiria whole once more.

Disney Infinity 2 comes to the Vita

Sony mentioned Disney during the E3 keynote a couple of times, as LucasArts is now part of the Disney empire (which is how it got the Grim Fandango remake). The other time was to (very sneakily) announce Disney Infinity 2.0, an expansion of the plastic toy/token game with characters from many movies and series appearing in the game.



The 2.0 edition will bring Marvel heroes, could perhaps see Star Wars figures, as well as the usual cartoon suspects lining up to play. Of course, you'll have to pay for each extra character, but that's the way this cash cow plays. At least the Vita should have little trouble handling the cheesy graphics, release date is down as September.


Sony's E3 Vita highlights trailer, with exactly one Sony game

This is the problem right here, Sony's big, mega, highlight clip video for the Vita, contains exactly one Sony title, and that's made by Japan Studio (with a bunch of third parties helping out). The rest are indies, led off by Minecraft and Velocity 2X, MechRunner and a couple of the Japanese games headed our way, plus a snippet of The Walking Dead.

While I don't expect AAA games, or AA games, or even 'a game'. At this point Sony should come out and say, "we're not doing Vita anymore," just to make it totally clear , to prevent any potential Vita buyers picking one up expecting some Sony games to appear on it.

Sure, Sony Worldwide Studios and gamers themselves through Kickstarter are massively helping the indie scene, without which Vita would be toast already, but at a functional studio level, this is exhibit A that Sony is done with Vita.


Having said all that today, I'll now quit whining and enjoy the Vita for the games it does, and will, have (until Gamescom when bitch mode will kick off again most likely).

Devolver churning out the Vita indie hits

Publisher Devolver has a lot on its plate dealing with a battery of indie devs around the world. Along with the much anticipated Miami Hotline 2 and intriguing Titan Souls are some serious cases of shoot-first, ask questions never.

First up is the British Roll 7 team (behind the mega-fun OlliOlli) who's next title is a pixelly cover-based shooter, Not A Hero.


Following that is Broforce, a high-octane retro shooter, and another PC conversion.



All of these games are hitting the Vita at some point, cementing its image as a mobile indie hit machine.

Tetris Ultimate blocking up the Vita

Lagging a little behind the 30th anniversary celebrations, Blue Planet's latest version of the all-time best-selling puzzle game will hit the Vita later this year on PSn. With a range of multiplayer modes (5 fan-favorite modes taken from the franchise’s vast history plus one new mode), or seeing where you stack up on the worldwide leaderboards, the experience should be nothing short of great Tetris Ultimate fun.


Free-to-play goodies raining down on Vita at E3

Buried in a short segment I seem to have missed, Sony has a few free-to-play titles on show for the Vita.
Guns-Up, Fat Princess: Piece of Cake, My Singing Monsters (arty shot below) and the Big Fest (unveiled at Gamescom last year) each offer something intriguingly different. Will update when media appears.

Here's some detail on Guns Up, by Valkyrie Entertainment, is a side-scrolling strategy game, where players take on the role of a General, managing resources and deploying the right combination of troops, land mines, air strikes, smoke screens, and sniper towers to topple their opponents’ bases. With Cross-Play, Generals can fine-tune their strategy against opponents with turn-based asynchronous gameplay across the PlayStation 4, PS3 and Vita systems.  

Sony's Vita E3 backlash starts on its own forums

Once again, Sony pretty much ignored the Vita at its E3 keynote. A couple of bits of news aside, it was all PS4. Which is right, for Sony, as a profits driven corporate, has to focus on as its the big-profit-generating success story of the year. Fine, no problem.

However, Sony says at multiple points that it "listens to its fans." Well, its fans are talking, ripping Sony a new one on the PSN blog comments and to a slightly lesser extent on the US site. Then there's the Final Fantasy Type-0 farce, that, while likely some horrendous mistake, has rubbed vats of salt into Vita owner's wounded hopes.

How hard is it for Sony take one or two minutes of the 90, to show us some of these 100 games that it brags are in development? Surely not all of them are indies/Japanese titles? My release schedule shows 86 games coming (including indies, excluding Japanese titles).

So, come on Sony, which is it? Do you listen to your fans and react to what they are asking for, or don't you? Yes, you can't please everyone, but not every PlayStation gamer owns a PS4, and Vita is one of the key ways you can distinguish yourself from Xbox. So why not give it a little more love?

I don't realistically expect any more AAA games for it (but I can dream), but invested fans and members of the PlayStation family deserve better treatment, just one or two sweet cookie crumbs you know!

Also, if it shows off Vita during the keynote, more stories appear in the wider press, which might help sell hardware. By limiting the PR oxygen supply to the Vita, Sony only helps the handheld's demise (which perhaps is something it wants) to kill off the weaker child in the eternal survival of the fittest?

Velocity 2X goes streaking at E3

Son of a PlayStation Mini, sired by a kick-ass PS Vita indie, FuturLab's Velocity 2X ramps up the action with all-new features that we're all pretty familiar with. Just release the game dammit, in the meantime, here's a few new pics out of E3.







Super Exploding Zoo bursts into life at E3

Coming to PS4, PS3 and Vita, Super Exploding Zoo from Honeyslug is another in the impressive indie line-up at E3, here some screen showing off the penguins, pandas and lions taking on some mutant or alien beasties in defence of their home, which is pretty ironic if you think about that.






PlayStation Vita TV looks a real handful

PlayStation TV will be the budget entry in the family when it releases in the west later this year. At just $99/€99 (hopefully £80) it will provide access to PlayStation Now streaming, Vita games, PS One titles and second-screen PS4 streaming, which is a lot of activity in a PS heavy household. But will anyone else buy it?

UPDATE - Price confirmed at £85 which isn't too bad. Will pick one up, assuming we finally get Netflix, Amazon Instant, Cruncyroll and others in Europe.

Sales collapsed after launch in Japan, as it can't play all Vita games, so everyone will be expecting it to fail over here, but who knows. Here's some western images, showing its relative size and features. A $139 bundle will come with controller, HDMI cable and Lego Movie PSN code.




Freedom Wars screens bust out of E3

These are probably familiar if you've been paying attention over the months, but Sony put out a bunch of screens for Freedom Wars which is one of the few big Vita games left in the bag. The demo is out in Japan, and a western release is due for later this year, with all the development help from other studios assisting Japan Studio, this is quite the all star effort.