Thursday, December 29, 2011

MLB 2K12 gets Justin Verlander on the Cover

Hitting the PSP (and likely the PS Vita) next year comes the new MLB game from Take 12 with Detroit's Justin Verlander on the cover.

He's only the thirteenth pitcher in baseball history to throw multiple no-hitters and the first Detroit Tiger to win 20 games since 1991, Verlander pitched the Tigers to an AL Central title and into the 2011 American League Championship Series. Verlander is favored to win the American League Cy Young Award for pitching excellence during the 2011 season, and could even become the first pitcher since 1992 to win the Most Valuable Player Award.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ridge Racer Priced £15 on Amazon UK

Getting a Vita in February? Fancy Ridge Racer? the base game is just £15 on Amazon. Sure, that only gets you the three cars and five tracks (or was it the other way around) and there's loads of downloadable content to come, but its a pretty cheap way to start your Vita gaming.

Katamari is down for £22, Little Deviants for £18 with the big games like Hot Shots Golf, Unit 13 and ModNation Racers at the £28 mark. So, after all the Christmas splurging, time to start saving again, unless you were lucky and got lots of vouchers.

PSP Beats Vita for Japanese Sales

Sony's PSP and PS3 managed to beat the sales of the PS Vita in its second week of sales. Sure the initial enthusiasm will have waned, but even so that's a pretty poor showing for the Vita. Expect a rush of premature calls for a price cut to kick in pretty soon, especially as the 3DS is now approaching half-a-million a week in sales thanks to Monster Hunter.

1. 3DS: 482,200 (367,691)
2. Wii: 91,176 (60,916)
3. PSP: 101,121 (64,468)
4. PS3: 75,943 (65,119)
5. PSV: 72,479 (324,859)

Just remember the handheld has six years to reach the 70-odd million of the PSP, and this is very much a marathon for Sony, not a sprint despite what all the pundits will say.

Friday, December 23, 2011

OnLive now works with Xperia Play

OnLive has announced an Android app that will let Xperia Play owners join in the streaming gaming craze that's gaining ground on the usual type.

Sure it's early days yet, but the idea of playing Batman or other current PC games on your phone has to appeal. And a phone with proper controls has to beat the other options.

Sony announces official UK game and accessory pricing

The full price for PlayStation Vita games will be between £24.99 and £44.99. But has anyone paid full price for a game in years? Also, digital versions should be a lot cheaper, if we follow Japan's moves.

Seven first-party titles have been listed with Uncharted: Golden Abyss topping the range at £44.99. ModNation Racers: Road Trip, Everybody's (just call it Hot Shots already) Golf and WipEout 2048 will cost £34.99. Little Deviants and Reality Fighters are £24.99. Third parties will probably follow a similar approach.

PlayStation Vita memory cards aren't too scary either, after all the fuss with 4GB, 8GB and 16GB memory cards for £17.99, £31.99 and £44.99 respectively.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

PS Vita does modest first week game sales

The Japanese chart is out and on the back of its weekend launch, the PS Vita managed to get two games into the top 10. Hot Shots Golf (one of the best selling PSP titles) led the way with 64,000 sales with Uncharted just under 50,000. After selling 325,000 units the Vita is off to a solid, if unspectacular start.

One striking fact, the total absence of PSP games, having ruled the charts for much of the year. A couple of days sales won't show the true picture, so next week's charts will probably give a more reliable picture. One thing is for sure, the 3DS has definitely taken off with four out of the top five.

01. [PS3] Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Square Enix, 12/15): 525,271
02. [3DS] Monster Hunter 3G (Capcom, 12/10): 208,427 (730,386)
03. [3DS] Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo, 12/01): 182,418 (789,871)
04. [3DS] Inazuma Eleven Go (Level-5, 12/15): 135,259
05. [3DS] Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo, 11/03): 112,533 (837,143)
06. [WII] Kirby Wii (Nintendo, 10/27): 71,028 (398,516)
07. [PSV] Hot Shots Golf 6 (Sony, 12/17): 61,412
08. [PSV] Uncharted Golden Abyss (Sony, 12/17): 48,224
09. [WII] Just Dance Wii (Nintendo, 10/13): 44,021 (323,293)
10. [WII] Poke Park 2 (Pokemon, 11/12): 43,829 (164,018)
11. [WII] Wii Party (Pokemon, 07/08/10): 42,632 (2,129,236)
12. [NDS] Magician's Quest: The Merchant's Store of Sorcery (Konami, 12/10): 35,068 (81,110)
13. [WII] Mario & Sonic at London Olympics (Pokemon, 11/12): 34,351 (64,573)
14. [PS3] Shin Kamaitachi no Yoru (Chunsoft, 12/17): 33,686
15. [PS3] BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend (Arc System Works, 12/17): 32,992
16. [WII] Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo, 11/11/10): 30,804 (734,046)
17. [WII] Taiko Drum Master Wii Ultimate Version (Namco Bandai, 11/23): 30,046 (100,284)
18. [PSV] Dynasty Warriors Next (Tecmo Koei, 12/17): 29,181
19. [PSV] Lord of Apocalypse (Square Enix, 12/17): 28,742
20. [NDS] One Piece Gigant Battle! 2 (Namco Bandai, 11/17): 28,406 (207,458)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Zipper's Unit 13 guide video sneaks into the action

This near five-minute video shows off Unit 13 from Zipper, not only the guns and characters, but the multiplayer with its daily challenges and new missions, which gives the game a real hook for those who love being top of the leaderboard.

The game does look gorgeous, with lots of tight spaces and sneaky views to help locate the enemy troops and in the absence of a Call of Duty it'll do nicely.

TGC's Flower and Journey headed to Vita?

Just a quickie, but the That Game Company, the developers behind Flow, one of the first PSP download games have mentioned that they might bring the equally lovely, eerie and ethereal Flower and Journey games to the Vita.

Being a small development house of a dozen people, it's not something they can do right away, but both games will be a welcome addition to the PS Vita's line-up. And if TGC is looking at the Vita you can pretty much guarantee that the other indies are thinking about moving their games over. We've already seen that Plants vs. Zombies is coming, many more will follow. .

Vita sells 321,000 on opening weekend

The first semi-official figure is out and the PS Vita sold 321,000 units in Japan in its first weekend. There is no breakdown between WiFi and 3G models, but if that rate continues, it will easily hit the million mark by Christmas. Most retailers said they still had the PS Vita in stock, but many had sold out of memory cards which might delay some sales.

That figure is roughly double what the PSP sold in its opening weekend, and just behind the 3DS. These figures will be discussed in an inane fashion by a bunch of people claiming the PSV is either doomed, or totally dead already. Ignore them and we'll see how it is doing in six months after its global launch. Sony will be delighted on the sales of memory cards as that's the only thing it is making a profit on right now.

See Vita launch coverage here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Every PS Vita feature demonstrated in video

An intrepid gamer braved the Japanese cold weather to pick up his Vita and then, rather than enjoying it, wasted his time recording all these YouTube videos. On the plus side, it does show off pretty much everything you can see and do on a Vita right now.

Here's the first video, which duplicates the set up one we covered over the weekend, there are 10 in total that show off more interesting stuff:

Part 2: Store features and the browser
Part 3: Browser, the welcome park, trophies
Part 4: Friends app, group messaging, Near
Part 5: Camera
Part 6: Remote play with PS3
Part 7: AR games
Part 8: Uncharted
Part 9: Music
Part 10: Peace Walker PSP with filtering

Controllers down, help a real man on a real mission

This break in your normal scheduled handheld gaming comes with an important message. Comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli is getting people to sign up to the Anthony Nolan register to help cure people dying from blood cancer.

So, rather than saving the princess, or slaying the dragon - why not save a real life by signing up to the bone marrow register or donating cash to help slay a horrible cancer? Follow his quest on the full YouTube page. If Hardeep isn't your scene, then Charlie Brooker has also laid it out pretty straight.

And, while I don't normally beg for clicks, please retweet or like this on Facebook and help spread the word.

Samurai & Dragons trailer shows off

The first trailer for Sega's Samurai & Dragons is out, showing off what looks like a modern day Gauntlet with a spot of Sim City thrown in. Not forgetting the full-screen dragons to battle with your four players partying together in the dungeons and towers where the might beasts live.

For pretty much the first post-launch game announcement, this looks like it makes good use of the Vita's connectivity and social features - and shouldn't be too hard to tweak for a western release.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sony PSP E-1000 now below £80

The original price on these was £89, with Amazon selling them for £85. Now though the online retailer has lopped another £7 bringing them down to £78, so if you want a decent kiddie gaming present, then grab it here.

If you still want the full PSP experience, you're better off picking up a 3000 model, but these seem to be going out of stock (or being offered at silly prices) in several places, so I'm not sure what Sony's plans are long term with the Vita out in just 66 days!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

How PSP games work on the PS Vita

Here's a handy tutorial video showing how PSP games work on the Vita and how you set up the extra features. Logically, you only need to press on the screen to access the Vita additions including bilinear filtering, right-stick support, camera support for Invizimals (can't think of any others) and so on.


Keep watching for the Welcome Park and Trophies, all of which is shown in English.

Check out Marvel vs Capcom 3 on a Vita with touch controls

Not convinced myself, but the game does look pretty playable with those additional touch controls. At its core though, the game looks very slick and fast, definitely one to pick up I think, along with my new best fighting buddy BlazBlue.

Sony PSP games look pretty good on the Vita, and the whole launch seems to have gone off okay - no massive recall disaster.

Watch a Vita start up for the first time

One of the Kotaku guys has done this and he gets a couple of bouts of Vitastab as he sets it up. There's quite a bit to do as you set up the various connectivity systems. This isn't a console for a kid's birthday.

There are plenty more videos of the Vita's features (Remote play, Near, Social, Music etc) in action in a later post. Also, word is don't bother importing, customs are throwing a strop at the Lion battery and returning them to sender.

First PS Vita game reviews out

Famitsu's special Vita edition contains all the first wave game reviews with the usual suspects at the top and a bloated corpse of F1 2011 at the bottom (which everyone has had doubts about, wonder what the chances are of a delay to the western version.)

Vita-original games are pretty average by the looks of it, Little Deviants being the only real one so far.

Minna no Golf 6 – 10 9 10 9
Uncharted Golden Abyss – 9 8 8 10
Dynasty Warriors Next – 9 10 9 8
Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom – 9 9 9 8
Disgaea 3 – 8 8 9 8
True Night of the Kamaitachi – 9 8 7 9
Virtua Tennis 4 – 8 8 9 7
Ridge Racer – 8 8 8 8
Army Corps of Hell – 7 8 9 8
Katamary Damacy – 8 8 8 7
Blazblue – 8 8 8 7
Mahjong – 7 8 9 7
Shinobido 2 – 7 8 8 7
Lord of Apocalypse – 8 7 6 7
Little Deviants – 7 7 6 7
Dream Club – 7 6 8 6
Asphalt – 6 7 6 7
Monster Radar – 6 6 5 6
Michael Jackson – 7 6 5 4
Dark Quest – 5 7 4 6
F1 2011 – 6 5 4 5

PS Vita Goes Live - Japan Launch

Japan now has its hands on the PS Vita with reports of 100+ strong queues outside some of the bigger stores with many 100s of buyers at the main events where Sony's Kaz Hirai and Andrew House were on-hand to add a little official flavour to the launch. Check out a live blog here and news updates below:

Quite a few gamers are already tweeting from the device as well as taking screenshots and posting them. Current prices on eBay start around the £350 mark plus postage, up to £400, with games around the £50 mark.

First interesting stat from the Vita is that the physical purchase game card loading times are faster, rather than the download versions saved to the PS Vita's over-priced memory cards. Perhaps that's part of some deal with chain stores to help keep them open? (scurrilous rumour, naturally)

Check out Andriasang's full range of pics, and there are some comparisons of Monster Hunter running on the PSP And PSV here, to show off the Vita's improved filtering. Sony must be hoping those five million Monster Hunter fans are happy to play the old game on a Vita rather than rush off and get the 3DS and its version.

The first bit of news in this machine's short life is that Firmware update 1.5 is already out, which is leading to lots of "here we go, again!" sighs from old PSP owners. If Sony have found a flaw in the 1.00 software, likely these early machines will be like golddust to modders and pirates.

Friday, December 16, 2011

GTA III now out for Xperia Play

After wondering where it was all week, Sony drops word that the classic GTA title is now out (at the odd price of £3.22) for the Xperia Play

The company said, "You may have seen already that Rockstar’s legendary Grand Theft Auto 3 is out now. It is also optimised for Xperia PLAY" which is a pretty terse statement for one of the best loved games of all time hitting your platform - surely there should be a little more shouting about it.

A new verb - Vitastab - to describe confused Vita user actions.

Having watched a few videos of gamers taking their first go on the Vita, its time for a new word to enter the lexicon:

Vitastab (verb) - A frenetic series of finger jabs on the screen and buttons when the user is not sure what they are supposed to do next. This mental confusion arises from the PS Vita having two input methods and it not being obvious which one to try.

Here's one example of the PS Vita getting stroppy with the touchscreen and a severe case of Vitastab.

First proper Vita FIFA 12 video

After some silly hi-res pics, an off-cam clip, now we can see what FIFA 12 really looks like on the PS Vita thanks to a new EA video. I do actually like the idea of touch screen passing, as long as the incoming player reacts smartly enough to your punts.

Japan prepares to welcome the PS Vita

In a few hours, lucky Japanese gamers will be picking up the PS Vita. Expect some frenetic scenes as gamers move into the next generation of portable fun. Andriasang has a massive gallery of the accessories that will be available.

Japanese stores are preparing for the big day with events and expect lots of photos of happy campers queueing for hours, then gurning for the camera when they get their little blue box. I'll update this page with news and pics as they happen.

It'll be fun to see what games the early movers pick up for their Vita and just what their reaction is to the price of memory.


Here we have what looks like the first real-world user unboxing of a PS Vita.

Enjoy a browse through the PS Vita's manual on the official site, in English. You can now take screenshots as you play (PS button and Start at the same time)

Play Asia do a bit of PS Vita unboxing, the dirty teasers:

Famitsu has site up its own Vita site to keep track of events, (easily translatable with Google Chrome).

Word is the first shipment of PS Vitas is some 700,000 which doesn't sound much for a company that's been aiming for a single territory launch. Apple must be laughing their faces off, that's barely enough for metropolitan Tokyo's gamers let alone the rest of the country.

Stein's Gate opens from PSP to Vita

Japan's hit Stein's Gate, a story-led game will soon be accessible to Vita owners a few days after the system's launch as the game joins the roster of UMD Passport games. Upgrading PSP types will be able to carry on their adventures for just 1,000 yen.

Expect more games to pop up on Passport now that the Vita is live, and developers smell some more money as PSP gamers upgrade.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

StarDrone Extreme to light up the Vita launch

Here's a new trailer for BeatShaper's StarDrone Extreme, the bright and fast arcade game that reminds me vaguely of intestines and amoeba. The game is down for the Vita's western launch and should offer something a little different.

PSN Store Update for PSP - Persona Time

Sorry for the delay on the update, but quite a good one it is. I've left the file sizes in because most of these are monster games, even the PSone adventure Fear Effect. All I can find out about Ambassador Kane is on a producer's CV here (UPDATE: Thanks to HiddenAway for finding me a video, looks slick!).

Click on the title links for videos.

Full Games

Corpse Party (£11.99/€14.99) File Size: 556MB
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Impact (£31.99/€39.99) File Size: 928MB
Persona 2: Innocent Sin (£27.99/€34.99) File Size: 909MB
The Legend Of Heroes: Trails In The Sky (£27.99/€34.99) File Size: 1173MB

Full Game Bundle
Persona 2: Innocent Sin + The Legend Of Heroes: Trails In The Sky (£59.99/€47.99) Rating: PEGI 12
File Size: 909MB + 1173MB

Mickey’s Wild Adventure (£4.79/€5.99) File Size: 60MB
Rally Cross (£3.99/€4.99) File Size: 102MB
Fear Effect (£5.49/€6.99) Rating: PEGI 18 File Size: 1300MB

Ambassador Kane (£2.49/€2.99) File Size: 26MB

Amazon goes pricing crazy on PS Vita memory cards

File under "surely some mistake," but Amazon UK has listed the PS Vita's memory cards with some insane pricing: The 16GB is cheapest and the 4GB unit is more expensive than the 8GB Clearly madness and likely to be corrected very soon.

Also pretty sure if you pre-order it now, you'll have to pay the proper price come launch. UPDATE: The prices are still a bit whiffy, but the 16GB Card is now £39.99 so only 8 quid more than the 8GB one - go figure!

How much will the Vita miss Monster Hunter?

Wow, the 3DS version of Monster Hunter sold over 500,000 copies in its first week on sale. Something the Vita could badly have done because despite their decent efforts, all the wannabes just can't touch the phenomenon that is MH in Japan.

So, over the next few months, that's going to be four to five million gamers all squinting away at HM in 3D that won't be buying a Vita - a serious chunk of Sony's target audience. Even if Capcom does throw Sony a bone with a Vita upgraded version of MH3, the boat is sailing right now and it could take until 2013/14 for Capcom to come up with a proper sequel.

In the week before launch, you have to wonder how much Capcom asked Sony for to keep the game on its handheld. I suspect whatever it was Sony should have paid, because no matter what Nintendo paid Capcom, they just gor their money back.

Why 2012 won't be the year of the Vita

As much as I'd like it to, but not as much as Sony need it to, I've noticed the big problem with the Vita. You might have too - all those mildly interesting new games revealed at the Spike awards - not one of them was for the Vita.

If U.S. developers thought the Vita was going to be worth their time, at least one or two of those games would have had a "for Vita" tag on them, and if the machine is on a par with the PS3 in any way, it's not because the Vita is difficult to code for or convert games to, far from it. The not-Metal Gear game in particular seemed ripe for Vita-ness.

Therefore, a logical conclusion is that developers of the big-name "event" games aren't biting. Sure there's an impressive launch line-up, but the original PSP had that and only in the subsequent years did it tail off as developers focused on the PS3. But with no sign of any of the new-era big name games, like Batman, Catherine and so on, Vita is already being ignored.

Now everyone is fixated on the Xbox which is doing massive sales and looking at the PS3 as a secondary target, which leaves the Vita off the radar. Of course, this could just be an industrywide ploy to keep the focus on all the launch games garnering press and there will be a second wave of announcements after the console is generally available, but I was expecting more news than there has been about its second batch of titles.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Persona 2 and Trails in the Sky coming to PSN

Tomorrow sees the Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky and Persona 2: Innocent Sin hitting PSN for €34.99/£27.99 each or as part of the Trails of Innocence double pack for €59.99 (£47.99). Both games are crackers and I'd rather pay that price for a quality release and support a smaller publisher like Ghostlight, than fork out a similar amount for the latest FIFA rehash.

Plants vs. Zombies shambles over to the Vita

As expected, most of the "big name" mobile games will make it over to the Vita at some point or other. First up is Plants vs. Zombies, which I thought was rather slow and boring - but hey however many million casual gamers can't be wrong, right?

The news was confirmed only by tweet, with a pretty pic. Here's a video if you're unfamiliar with the game.

Japan gets plenty of TV on PS Vita

After the West's crappy showing on the PSP front, I hope it follows Japan's example with the Vita for TV content. Not only do they have Torne, which is getting an upgrade on the PS3 to serve content to the Vita, there is also s specific Nico app for video sharing.

Note, I want pure apps on the Vita - I don't want to stream stuff from PC or PS3 - just send it direct to Vita. That is all!

Sumioni puts the Vita's touch controls to good use

Sumioni will probably be ignored in the rush for big-brand name games as the Vita launches, but I reckon its worth a go, based on the beauty of the character designs (check out that peacock) and the cunning use of the touchscreens. This video of the first level shows off some of your moves and while those enemies look particularly dense, this could still be a good budget hit!

Watch a bunch of Uncharted: Golden Abyss

I think I've seen enough clips to know this game is both gorgeous and an essential purchase (not owning a PS3, I know nothing of older Uncharted games). If you want to get well into spoiler territory, enjoy this 15 minute clip narrated by two incredibly polite Japanese gents. Skip the first 3:30 if you want to bypass them

Sony Vita ads show off the future

If you're aware of the PS Vita, there's no real need to check these out, we all know the drill. But, its always good to see if Sony can explain things to the masses properly (and I like the Transformer move) - do users really care what an OLED is?.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vita doing a similar UK caravan tour to Japan

Sony is taking the Vita on tour around the UK to Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and London in January. Similar to Japan's caravan tour which wraps up in Tokyo with the launch event this week, the UK version called Vita Rooms will see players able to play the latest games for it and get a feel for the device.

You can find out more at Sony's Facebook page.

Deadmau5 in "Hide the PS Vita" Jape

Don't get celebrities that often in here, (an Xperia Play sneaked into a David Guetta video but now DJ Deadmau5) who did the pretty cool Nokia Lumia launch event in London...

... claimed on Facebook that he'd lost his PS Vita that he picked up at the recent Sony event. That kicked off a bit of a panic among his management and at Sony, but it just turns out to be a humorous prank.

Ho ho ho

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Check out FIFA 12 in action on PS Vita

I always hated posting those hyper-res shots of FIFA 12 on the Vita, so here's some in-game action that shows it off in all its fluidly animated glory. Looks like its from one of the Sony events and while the camera is miles from the screen, we get the feeling this is just as good as the PS3/Xbox edition.

Friday, December 9, 2011

See Vita Shinobido's Opening Scenes

Spike has just put up an intro video for Shinobido 2. With the Vita launching in Japan next week (just one week - time has flown!) get a good look at what's going on, on a rooftop near you. Be sure to click on the 720p button for the best picture and enjoy.

Persona 4 The Golden, the brightest advert ever!

Get ready to don your shades, this advert from Atlus for its first sojourn onto the PS Vita with a Persona title is brighter than a daytime TV host's jumper...

Definitely one to pick up when the game comes west. Remember to pick up all the Persona PSP titles thanks to the awesome Ghostlight guys.

Doctor Who to get a PS Vita Adventure

A Doctor Who game, The Eternity Clock, will make its way to the PS3 and PS Vita in 2012 care of SuperMassive Games. There's little news apart from mention of River Song, and only this brief trailer to highlight what's to come. Don't expect this to hit the Vita's launch date - perhaps an Autumn release.

Haven't played any of the games related to the revamped series, but this could tempt me if its big budget enough and perhaps written by some of the old LucasArts adventure guys.

New Super Monkey Ball Vita Trailer

Shows off some of the great humour in the game, and some odd-looking VR stuff, with a level based on a photo of a banana! If anything will sell my kids on a Vita, I think this is it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Samurai & Dragons shown off in Japan

Famitsu has the first details on Samurai & Dragons, the uprated iOS game heading to PS Vita.

As you can see, the game is part management and city building, part combat with your samurai warriors raised to fight off the vicious dragons.

Up to four players can compete in the game with equipment awarded for defeating the dragons that dominate the landscape from their massive towers.

Enjoy nine minutes of Heroes Phantasia video

With Japanese RPGs still going crossover mad, what's not to like about Heroes Phantasia from Banpresto. The first few minutes is all anime and singy-song, then the PSP video kicks in with some character intros and special-move type scenes.

Fight with touch in Marvel vs. Capcom

It's a natural move for a console with touch sensors, but will it be natural for users? Probably not. Still, Capcom has bolted in the obligatory rear touch panel feature into Marvel vs. Capcom 3. As well as playing multiplayer over WiFi, and watching other matches, they can use Near to exchange gifts and collectibles. But for those who do want to give touch combat a go they can:

  • Move forward/backward by dragging forward/backward
  • Dash forward/backward by flicking forward/backward
  • Duck by dragging down
  • Jump by flicking up
  • Change characters by tapping and holding the icon of the new character
  • Call on assist character by tapping the icon of the assist character
  • Attack by tapping anywhere but the icons
  • Execute your Hyper Combo by tapping the Hyper Combo Gauge

Its possible this might be in some way playable for casual types, but I can't imagine any of the fighting champions using it over their super-speed button reflexes.

Check out PSN Mini, Hungry Giraffe in action

Love the soundtrack, and it could be the game to replace Rainbow Islands or BombJack in my heart.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

GTA III headed to Android, no Xperia Play?

This shows how fast the gaming world is moving on phones. Classic game Grand Theft Auto III is coming to newer iPhone (4 and 4S, plus iPad 2) and some Android devices, but the Xperia Play - the one phone ideal for the job, with proper controls - isn't on the list.

UPDATE: Finally, after a week of arsing about, Sony Ericsson announced GTA III for the Xperia Play

The game is out next week for £2.99 and celebrates the games 10th birthday. Hopefully it will be playable on the Xperia Play, not sure I want to all that fighting and driving on a touchscreen - more news next week I guess.

Update: Word from Sony Ericsson's PR is they haven't heard anything about this title yet - hot on the case, obviously!

Harry Potter Leads PSP PSN Update

A couple of games make it onto the PSP via the latest PSN update today. First up is the last batch of Harry Potter movies in Lego form for £23.99 and The Mystery Team  for £11.99, a Spanish developed adventure/detective/puzzle title, that looks well worth checking out.

New Dynasty Warriors Next clip shows off awesome combat moves

I wish I could do a forward roll and all my enemies would instantly be flung back - would have been handy in junior school. Still, I can dream about that when playing the next Dynasty Warriors game on PS Vita and this video shows off some other awesome moves.

Xperia Play's MineCraft Edition gets a boost

Minecraft is one of those endlessly updated games as the developers tweak, tuck and expand. The mobile version is getting a hefty update with the developers blog saying:
The plan now is to start digging into making Minecraft – Pocket Edition with Survival features!! Please note that we will NOT replicate Minecraft and try to bring all the features that are already out. This is not possible and does not match the touch platform. I’m trying to be as detailed as possible to show you why some stuff may take some time. 
This is what the plan looks like right now and being worked on:
A new file system – to make sure we can support items and mobs in the world
Item system – to be able to pick up items
Crafting – we know you want this :) This will probably need some iterations since the interface will be customized for the touch devices
Inventory system
Mobs – animals and enemies!
Optimizing rendering code – we are experimenting with caves but need to make it work better before we are able to release it
Clean up of code and overall optimization

Samurai and Dragons coming to PS Vita from Sega

We've been drooling over some of the PS Vita launch games for months now. Want something new and sparkly to drool over instead? Well, Sega is offering up Samurai & Dragons, an dungeon/city builder game based on an iPhone title where you then charge into the dungeons to hack stuff up, with a keen sense of team and multiplayer elements in both sections.

It is being developed by Masayoshi Kikuchi who has been behind the likes of Yakuza,  Jet Set Radio and  Panzer Dragoon series. It will be shown off this week in Famitsu magazine and will be playable later in the month at the Jump Festa event.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Another ModNation Racers Vita update

The PSN blog has a new update showing some of the insides of the game with the garage and mechanic features. There's also a new shake to randomize function, while you can swap in and out parts to create a better kart and drag colours to the bodywork to jazz it up.

As the post says, "Just spread your thumb and finger on the screen to open and then a pinch to close the view. We can’t say it enough but there is just something intrinsically fun with the tactile feel of using your fingers to “explode” you kart open, spin it around, rinse and repeat!"

More Tales of Innocence R screens arrive

I'm not sure what the record is for the most pics of a game sent out pre-release, but Namco's new Tales game for the Vita must be pushing it. Andriasang has another three page roundup of images featuring lots of combat and action.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Top 10 Most Wanted PS Vita games

Japanese magazine Famitsu has been polling its users again, to find out what they most want on the Vita, the results are pretty straightforward., Uncharted is clearly the pick of the bunch, and given that Hot Shots was one of the best-selling PSP titles it will always do well.

01. Uncharted (361 votes)
02. Hot Shots Golf 6 (315 votes)
03. Persona 4 The Golden (192 votes)
04. Ridge Racer (146 votes)
05. Shin Kamaitachi no Yoru (129 votes)
06. Disgaea 3 Return (126 votes)
07. Dynasty Warriors Next (109 votes)
08. Katamari Damacy Novita (71 votes)
09. Tales of Innocence R (69 votes)
10. Army Corps of Hell (67 votes)

For me, the top four seem pretty solid purchases, even Ridge after the recent fuss,

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Little Deviants screens ask more questions

What the hell is Little Deviants? The first pics were of some sort of deformable puzzle/racing looking game. Now it could be anything, a LittleBigPlanet or Ravin Rabbids gone Looney Tunes if you like, judging by these new pics posted by developer, bigBig studios.

Check out Marvel vs. Capcom played on a PS Vita

Again, looking at a Vita screen is really a lot better than staring at screenshots or direct-feed video. While the lighting is a bit annoying, check out this cool  bout of Marvel vs. Capcom and some Uncharted from a store event in Tokyo.


The poster comments that the load times take rather a long time, a bit disappointing if true, thought that'd gone the way of the UMD!

Hello, nurse! Strange goings on in Dream Club Vita

Never likely to set foot in the west, we can still have a giggle at Dream Club Zero on the Vita where you have to make the right moves, literally with the rear touchscreen to impress the young ladies.

If only review systems had a sordid-o-meter next to graphics, sound and gameplay.

Vita gamers getting free downloads to tempt them

Clearly, someone is learning from the mobile drive in gaming. Rather than just bleating about how "mobile is stealing its industry" Konami is offering a chunk of its AR Combat tank game for free. Five of the 40 stages can be downloaded for nothing, and if you like those, then you can pay to download two DLC packs.

Perhaps if Namco had gone the same way with Ridge Racer, there wouldn't have been all this fuss about its own brand of DLC offering.

Lots going on the Japanese PSV Uncharted: Golden Abyss Trailer

A new two-and-a-half minute video is up showing off plenty of action in the PS Vita version of Uncharted and you can't call spoilers because the language is all in Japanese. Watch, enjoy, begin the inevitable wait.

Really does look awesome and leaves most other Vita games looking like they have a lot to live up to, apart from WipEout perhaps.

Sony shows off the PS Vita pre-order box

Yep, just the box, but it is pretty stylish. Sony is showing some lucky journos around its European manufacturing centre, where EU Vita games are made, produced and boxed up.

Looks like a neat gift-set with the download code tucked up into the back of the box.

PSP getting Samurai Warriors 3Z in Japan

The PSP is getting a port of the PS3's Samurai Warriors 3Z from Tecmo, and if you owned the original you can use your save games on the new version. Andriasang has a decent collection of screenshots, showing off the hefty mass battle scenes, and up to two-to-four players can join in the fight.

The game will be out in February, so some firms are clearly still banking on the tens of millions of PSP owners not all rushing out to upgrade. Even then, if its on the PSN - it should look even better on the new console.

Second PS Vita Ad airs in Japan

<Voiceover Man> In the second episode of this enthralling saga, our cycling protagonist ends up on  a huge screen playing Uncharted...

Interesting to note he's playing a western game and not one of the Japanese-developed titles.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BlazBlue Continuum Shift: EXTEND Coming to Vita Early Next Year

Having just this minute published my review of the PSP edition, here comes news that the Vita EXTEND version is now confirmed for a European launch. It pretty much mirrors the PSP release, but - and here's hoping - the PSP's ad hoc-only multiplayer also gets a boost.

The press release says, "Brand new Team Battles for a better online experience. Play 2v2, 3v3 and even handicapped matchups, like 2v4." But doesn't specify if that's for the PS3/Xbox version only. Checking out to confirm if the Vita will benefit too.

1,000th Post: BlazBlue Continuum Shift II Review

Yep, this blog is 1,000 posts old, but there's fighting to be done, so on with the show!

A small confession, I'm not a great fighting game disciple. I do love a blast of immediate and OTT action from Tekken or Mortal Kombat over the subtleties of Street Fighter. In short bursts, I'm more of a button masher than a stylish blocker and, while the BlazBlue series has eluded me until now, it seems to have the necessary moves to grab me by the throat.

I love any game that throws a sense of fun at your head along with big hammers, robot-enhanced fighters, arachnids and other lunacy (Rival Schools was probably my all-time favourite). The good news is BlazBlue delivers on the frenetic action, over-the-top characters and huge amounts of content in its own bonkers style. The main menu packs in 13 options, 11 of which are game-related. First up is the training mode which helps overcome some of my button-mashing tendencies, although it would have been better if they'd remapped the A,B,C,D buttons to the PSP's in the text.

Kicking things off properly in arcade mode, we're introduced to a wide choice of characters including all the DLC peeps from the original game, making this something of a bargain. Each has their own loopy tale to tell which is expounded on between bouts, with some gratuitous boob-related humour, but its the fighting that's the heart of the game.

While the bigger, slower characters feel clumsy and frustrating, the lithe and nimble ones make the game a delight to get into. I'd recommended you start off with the likes of Taokaka or Noel Vermillion, and really get into the spirit of things before taking control of the heavyweights like the clunking Lambda 11.

Fighting is intense fun, with blissfully-designed level backdrops to strut your stuff in. Using beautifully animated leaps and charges to get across the wide levels, you can pummel, block and charge up your heat meter to unleash tricky special moves. Most moves have a neat visual effect and the more hits you string together, the busier things seem to get, but the pace never lets up.

All of this is backed up by an awesome wall of sound (this is the first PSP game that I've played through my new Turtle Beach XF1 with DSS headphones), kicks and taunts are driven by a corking soundtrack, while the story narration and background music are truly soulful.

You want to play in Story Mode if your want to get the deeper background of magic, mist and heroes - and if you like about five minutes between each fight. Other modes including Legion where you get to build up and army, and Abyss where you can level up your character's abilities from a shop add to the fun, in fact I don't think I've seen so many options in any fighter, portable or otherwise. Multiplayer is limited to Ad Hoc, a great shame - hopefully something the Vita EXTEND edition will fix.

Whether you want a quick fighting fix, or to dive into the deeper game modes, the latest BlazBlue feels perfectly balanced to welcome fun as well as hardcore gamers. It throws enough features and design effects in to keep you having "wow!" moments for many continuum loops to come.

More reviews here
Available on PSN/UMD
Publisher, pQube
Developer, Arc System Works
8.5/10, Brilliantly bonkers fighting action

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus hitting the Vita next Feb

That's the Japanese launch date, so not certain it will hit the western launch, although the game is pretty much done, so could hit at the same time. It features a new "hero" mode and adds touch controls, but is basically the game you know and love in a slightly new wrapping.

It will feature slightly smaller bite-sized level design to allow for gaming on the go and the rear touch panel can be used to charge up moves.

Ridge Racer DLC, some free, some priced, will extend the game

Traditionally, you played Ridge Racer for the first week of your new PlayStation's life, got it out to show friends and then left it for the odd nostalgia play. Not with the Vita version.- this baby will run and run thanks to the drip-feed DLC approach.

The list of content for Japan is as follows: (c/o Andriasang), the music packs are free (I'd be pissed off if I was charged for old music) with cars and tracks coming later and priced either individually or as an all-in-one offer (1,000 yen is about £8..50, $13)

December 22: 
Demo version
Music Pack 1 (music from Ridge Racer Type 4)
Music Pack 2  (music from Ridge Racer Type 4) 

January 12:
Music Pack 3 Ridge Racer V #1,
Music Pack 4 Ridge Racers #1  (the PSP title)

January 19:
Music Pack 5 Ridge Racers #2

January 26:
Music Pack 6 Ridge Racers #3

February 2:
Music Pack 7 Ridge Racer 6 #1

February 9:
Music Pack 8 Ridge Racer 6 #2

February 16: 
Ridge Racer Pass. Priced ¥1,600, this will let you purchase all DLC that will be released between February and May. Through February 29, this will be discounted to ¥1,000.

February 23: Car 1 Promessa, priced ¥250, and Course 1 Old Central, priced ¥400. These two will be free through February 29. Also due on the 23rd is Music Pack 10 Ridge Racer 7 #1, also free.

March 3: Cars 2 to 4, priced ¥250 each, and Course 2 and 3, priced ¥400 each. Music Pack 11 to 15, available for free. A "Medley" will also be released, priced ¥100.

April to May: Cars 5 to 8, priced ¥250 each, and Course 4 to 6 priced ¥400, Music Pack 16 to 19 free, and New Song Pack 2 and Medley 2 for ¥100 each.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sony Man shows off PS Vita features, doesn't justify memory card prices

Sony has popped up another video showing some of the creative juices that flowed behind the making of the peripherals. The first one was all about the cases, this one shows off the memory cards and headphones.

Pretty sure just because something is small, doesn't mean it should be so expensive, just saying!

Check out the final Lego Harry Potter combat trailer

Its the last game in the series, and the movies were full of wizardly combat on a grand scale. Things look a little cosier in this trailer, but all the main elements and scenes are present and correct.

Ready for one last foray into Lego Harry Potter's shoes? Of course you are!

PS Vita roars up the pre-order charts

With Joystiq reporting on near-riots as Hong Kong stores started taking pre-orders, its good to see the Web is a little safer for doing your gadget snagging. Not sure what basis this Preorder madness site has for its chart, but it has the Vita sitting pretty in second ahead of the likes of Star Wars: TOR and Mario Kart 3DS.

Not bad considering there's still another three months until its release in western countries.

PSP and PS3 up in Japanese sales, 3DS still king

The latest hardware sales figures from Japan show the 3DS way out in front still but slipping down week-on-week while the PSP and 3DS are racing up rapidly on the back of big releases.

3DS: 96,219 (-7,743) (-7.45%)
PS3: 41,069 (+18,150) (+79.19%)
PSP: 40,085 (+16,613) (+70.78%)
Wii: 13,613 (+1,831) (15.54%)

PS Vita hits Twitter

Last week someone from Sony tweeted, claiming to be doing it on a PS Vita. Here's the video of them showing off from last week's London PSV event. As its Twitter, its hardly the most inspiring of videos, but worth a peek of the service in action.

PS Vita memory, its price will be a lasting one

The PS Vita's custom memory cards have been a big annoyance for gamers since their unveiling. Sure, Sony need to make money back on the console. But charging $120 for the 32MB version is really going to cause a ruckus.

Gamestop in the US has listed its prices which are on a par with the Japanese pricing:

  • 4GB - $29.99
  • 8GB - $44.99
  • 16GB - $69.99
  • 32GB - $119.99
While these aren't wildly different to the list prices of current MemorySticks (Amazon has a Lexar 32GB of $159, on-sale for $98), there will be next to no discounts, making them a serious expense for some and a deal-breaker for others.

Of course, you can pick them up in a bundle which will save you a few extras bucks, but only the 4GB version has been sighted in these. At least it will be easy enough to start small and work up, assuming you don't have a mass of PSP games you want to transfer over!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Snakebyte offering Vita cases and accessories at launch

Snakebyte will have a complete range of Vita accessories good to go by launch. The line-up all looks rather generic and low on styling, but will include a:

8:1 Vita Game Case: Safe storage for up to 8 PS Vita game cards.

view:box  Vita Case: Case for PS Vita with stand for watching movies on the Vita and storage space for games and other accessories.

auto:ac  Vita Car Adaptor: Charge PS Vita on the go.

global:ac  Vita Universal Adaptor: Charge PS Vita via USB.

shield  Vita Screen Protector: Protects the PS Vita screen from dirt and scratches. Easy to attach, virtually invisible.

starter:pack:  Includes soft case, 8in1 game case, screen protector and wrist strap.

travel:pack:  Includes soft case, 8in1 game case, screen protector, headphones, car adaptor and wrist strap.

Great Battle Full Blast gets some action-packed pics

Namco's Great Battle Full Blast is due out in Japan next March and should bring some pretty intense combat action with its robotic heroes. Andriasang has a full 36 pack of screens, highlights below.

The game mixes up the Gundam, Ultraman and a few other famous armoured heroes in a side-scrolling brawl. The series dates way back to the SNES days and is ripe for a revival in these cross-over heavy days.

Madden 12 sacks the Xperia Play

Madden 12 rumbles on to Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play for a more controllable game of gridiron for just £1.92 via EA's current sale on the UK Android store.

What's STILL missing from the PS Vita line-up

Every time Sony has a get together, a few more PS Vita games are added to the line-up, but there is still a bunch of stuff missing. I won't even start on the sick joke that would be Gran Turismo Portable 2  but there are a few serious omissions.

First up, where's Sonic? There were a few suggestions that Sonic Generations was coming to the Vita, but you would think it would have been announced by now. Also, with the new Ace Combat ripping up the skies on PS3 and Xbox, you'd think that they could manage to cram a version into the Vita without too much trouble. Both series got some PSP love, so you'd hope news won't be too long in coming out.

In a similar bracket, but very far apart on the handheld scene are GTA and Saint's Row. The PSP (and even phones) got some GTA respect, but Saint's Row has been firmly on the big screen. With the Vita's power is GTA V a step too far, or how about a Saint's Row Remix bringing the best of the series to the Vita?

I'm pretty sure any unannounced sports games will migrate over in the goodness of time but I'd also expect to see the new SSX game and other extreme sports games making some moves on the Vita. What else is missing from the roster, or would make a good classic comeback from the history of gaming? Let us know.

Download the Lords of Apocalypse PSP demo now

Grab it here, I'm downloading it now - remember it'll probably be all in Japanese but most Square games are easy enough to bluff your way through.

Will update with thoughts and a mini-guide later. The download is only around 65Mb and should give us a nice idea of the mechanics.

Right, got it going. Click Start to get past the Man-of-deep-voice/girl-of-squeaky-voice intro scenes.

Choose a level, a weapon type and then your party characters and head out into the wilds. Run straight out the first door. There's some back on forth on the three parts of the map, so keep checking it.

In the play area, face buttons act as camera, stick moves you and your attacks are mapped to the icons on the lower right. Left trigger brings up health and other extras, right trigger is lock-on (useful on the bigger monsters).

Rush into an area, attack the nasties until you get the key or treasure chest to move on to the next area. Seems to be it so far, obviously missing out on all the stats and refinery if you could understand what was going on but still good fun.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Just the one F1 2011 pic. Why? Because its ugly!

Its not just me, pretty much everyone who has looked at these pics has recoiled in horror, some in disbelief that this is a next-generation title. The trouble is, I've seen the game played on a Vita and it looks okay. Its just these screens (particularly from this angle) are horrible.

These are the latest set from the Sony EU event and still look gross. If I was at Codemasters or Sumo Digital, I'd stop releasing pictures right now, they're not doing you any favours. (I'm sure it'll play great - but that'd still be like shagging Munch's The Scream.)

First up - this view is wrong. If its supposed to be from the driver's eyes then it should be lower down, F1 drivers look straight down the nose, not down into the cockpit. If its the roll-bar camera, then where is the helmet (see TV pic below)? And all the pics have this same odd view - just seems wrong. I know you can adjust the view but it's both wrong and ugly.

Also, everything is square - F1 cars are renowned for being sculpted and curved in all areas. Here we have square wing mirrors, square edges and where there is some curvature it looks like child's playdough efforts (especially the arms). Some of the other in-game pics show cars with more rounded mirrors, but if Lotus has gone all square

Anyway, I'm sure the game will play fine (see video) , but Codemasters is really not helping itself with these grim looking shots. I do wonder if they would be better off taking some photos from in front of the Vita where things do look a lot better!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ridge Racer Vita is cheap thanks to DLC

Ridge Racer will come at a bargain price for the Vita's launch, as the title only comes with three tracks (which can be run in reverse) and five cars. The rest of the content will be available as downloads (and I'm guessing most of it won't be free).

That's perhaps understandable in part, as it helps the publisher get around the second-hand games plague but will still likely annoy some gamers. It also explains why the game needs a memory card to play, although it does look gorgeous as a new batch of screens show.

Another slight downer is that Namco has confirmed the game runs at 30fps, not 60 - but that's hardly going to make a real difference, with the gorgeous AMOLED display showing off these great night scenes. 

New video shows off Urban Trials' grim landscape on the Vita

Just uploaded the intro video for the Moto X game from developer Tate which shows off the grimy urban wasteland you'll around, over and under, to pull off awesome stunts and avoid a nasty end - as with its rather grim looking final scene. Check out the in-game screens here.

Putty Squad squishes its way on to the Vita and PS3

Continuing our splurge of new Vita games news and pics here's another new game in the form of Putty Squad from System 3, based on the Amiga Putty game (and the SNES Putty Squad title) from way back when (on the same day that Codemaster's Dizzy reappears too - truly retro heaven). It features a stretchy blue blob as the hero and uses the Vita's interactive features to improve the action.

It has double the levels of the original, many secret levels, some activated only via location-based services. For example, going to a football stadium will unlock a correctly attired Avatar, visiting the natural History Museum will unlock an ancient Inca level or visiting the Science Museum will unlock an outer space level.

The rear touch-pad will be used to attack, expand and select items instead of using shoulder buttons and button combinations. Gamers will also be able to quickly zoom into the action for difficult jumps and even just to appreciate the detailed graphics even more. This can easily be done with a flick of a finger to or fro on the rear touch pad.

The PS3 and Vita versions will be fully compatible, allowing players to play one level at home and then continue their game on their journey to work, on their VITA! They will also be able to transfer and view Trophies. Additional features include:

Over 20 exclusive characters (enemies and allies) over and above the PS3 version. On top of that every character in the game has been remodeled in glorious 3D.

Intro/outro and inter level movies have been re-rendered and will be included in the game.

Multiplayer game-share options that allow up to four people to compete in tournaments, either versus or in Team Play.
Only one person needs a copy of the game in order for their friends to be able to experience Putty Squad, albeit in a limited fashion. When the link is severed the other players will no longer be able to play the game but they will immediately be given the option to buy it from PSN.

As described in detail later in the document, Putty Squad supports PSN Avatars in a big way.

Easy, constant access to online leaderboards.

New PS Vita Urban Trials screens

Continuing our splurge of new Vita pics here's the latest collection of images from the Vita's answer to Trials HD, Urban Trials from Tate Media looks the business.