Sunday, March 31, 2013

New screens from Toukiden shout out "here be monsters"

Hot on the heels of the hardware bundle, come some new screens of Toukiden in action, featuring the, now ubiquitous, giant monsters in some rather confined looking spaces with multiple players taking them on. Looks like the Vita's rash of monster slaying games is just about getting started... where will it all end?

More art and pics on Dengeki.

More bounce in the latest Shinovi DLC trailer

You can't keep a good girl down, especially in the world of Shinovi Versus which is following up its pretty spectacular Vita game sales with a bunch of new DLC. Yep, that means bouncing cleavage and smiting of cookie-cutter enemies. The new characters are called Daidouji and Rin and cost a few hundred Yen each from the Japanese PSN.

Japan getting a new Toukiden Vita Bundle, demo soon

The Japanese bundles keep on flowing with a stark-looking Toukiden pack on the way for Sony's home market, coming bundled with a copy of Tecmo's Omega Force's spectacular looking monster-slayer title. The game is due out at the end of June with a four-player Ad Hoc trial mode coming in a few days time.

Tecmo has done a good job with bringing its Vita games to the west recently, here's hoping the run continues. I'd love the console too but that's probably pushing it a bit. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

AR Mini Golf brings a little crazy to your Vita camera

We haven't had an AR game in a while, and few have got close to providing actual gaming fun like PulzAR, but this might do the trick. Out in a couple of weeks, Table Mini Golf will bring an augmented round of putt-putt to your home.

It offers:

36 fully themed holes (with a further 18 holes available via DLC)
Limitless challenges
Three trophy rooms to show off your achievements
Up to four players multiplayer
13 PlayStation Trophies
Three unique golf characters

More pics and info on the PSN blog

Terraria brings some digging fun to the Vita

If I read this right, Terraria is basically Minecraft in 2D, with lots of resources to collect and turn into your own little kingdom. Combining mining, woodcraft and some horticulture, you can craft a world to your own design and then beat up some monsters in it.

Already available on PC through Steam, this looks like a great creation (or destruction) tool depending on how you look at it, packed with quirks and pets to add to the ad hoc creationism. Having just moaned about the indie games coming to Vita, perhaps Sony is getting more developers on board than I'd thought.

Sega's mystery game, basically Sim Football

Sega was teasing a new game over the last week and the final reveal is a new football game where, it looks like, you build, manage and run the club, and play the matches. Called Make a Professional Soccer Club (with Saka), it will be a cross-play title so you can carry on your Man City-level empire building on the go.

More pics on the official site. The page mentions the J-League so I guess its all about official clubs, so if it comes to the west, this could fill the gap left by a lack of proper Football Manager games on the Vita.

Sony should look to IGF for the hottest indie games

Earlier in the week, Sony announced a neat list of Indie games coming to the Vita. These are all good and noble efforts, and show Sony's commitment to adding to the Vita's roster. While some say the Vita needs more big games, that's true, but it needs a steady supply of small-to-medium gaming goodness in between the biggies, and these fit the bill perfectly.

But then along came the Independent Game Festival and just two of those Vita titles are among the 28 nominee titles (Hotline Miami and Guacamelee). Sure, we've got the likes of Machinarium (which is nearly five-years old) coming out very soon, but Sony needs to be a bit more on the ball, and these indie games are currently the ones generating news among gamers.

The other IDG look stunning, some are unique, heavily retro but all look impressive and well worth a shot on the Vita. Digital Spy has a handy collection of pics, but Incredipede, Intrusion 2 and Kentucky Route Zero all look like perfect Vita titles.

I'm not saying the Vita deserves any or all of these games, but if Sony is making the effort to reach out to the indie community, these are the guys it should be talking to. Anything else on the list you'd like to see on a handheld, or any other favourite indies you'd like to see make it over?

Sure, some of these nominees are a couple of years old (and some might be coming to the Vita but not yet announced). If the Vita is going to be an indie-hit-machine then Sony should be offering incentives right now. 

Another new Velocity Ultra trailer, just release the game already!

Another week, another trailer for the scrumptious Velocity Ultra from FuturLab, showing off the touch controls, trophies and other goodies they've added to the best mini ever to grace the PSP. But, now that's quite enough teasing chaps, just concentrate on getting the game up on PSN for us.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vita games out this week in Japan

Having seen a good rise in sales in Japan, the Vita is getting the gorgeous Oboru Muramasa tomorrow along with Madou Monogatari (also available in a Limited Edition). While both are likely pretty niche games, which are unlikely to trouble the top of the charts, they'll help the console tick over until the Golden Week sales in April/May.

Update: To celebrate the release of Muramasa, here's a major new video from Marvelous (although the start is the same as a previous trailer) showing off the game in all its splendour.

One Piece drives PS Vita up in Japan

One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 was the big release in Japan last week among a decent bunch of games with the PS3 version doing the lion's share of business with over 250,000 and the Vita being a decent tailgunner with 60,000. Pro Spirits on the PSP outsold the Vita version thanks to its huge install base. Dead or Alive 5+ sales will probably be viewed as disappointing!

01./00. [3DS] Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon (Nintendo) 280.151 / NEW
02./00. [PS3] One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 # (Bandai Namco Games) - 274.625 / NEW
03./00. [PS3] Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 (Konami)  - 101.389 / NEW
04./00. [PSP] Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 (Konami)  - 80.618 / NEW
05./00. [PSV] One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 # (Bandai Namco Games)  - 60.315 / NEW
06./04. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf # (Nintendo)  - 56.876 / 2.918.394 (-3%)
07./00. [PS3] Disgaea D2 # (Nippon Ichi Software)  - 55.443 / NEW
08./00. [3DS] Pretty Rhythm: My Deco Rainbow Wedding - 33.466 / NEW
09./02. [PS3] Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX (Square Enix)  - 29.401 / 157.815 (-77%)
10./00. [PSV] Atelier Meruru Plus: The Alchemist of Arland 3 # (Gust) - 25.095 / NEW
11./00. [PSV] Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 (Konami)  - 23.621 / NEW
12./00. [360] Gears of War: Judgment # (Microsoft Game Studios) - 23.345 / NEW
13./03. [3DS] Super Robot Wars UX # (Bandai Namco Games)  - 18.818 / 134.202 (-84%)
14./01. [PSP] Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment # (Bandai )  - 18.002 / 156.182 (-87%)
15./05. [PSV] Soul Sacrifice # (Sony)  - 15.488 / 137.006 (-47%)
16./00. [3DS] Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate (Konami) - 14.138 / NEW
17./00. [PSV] Dead or Alive 5+ # (Koei Tecmo) - 13.291 / NEW
18./07. [PS3] Dynasty Warriors 8 # (Koei Tecmo)  - 11.523 / 283.734 (-48%)
19./06. [PS3] Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f (Sega)  - 11.482 / 147.959 (-56%)
20./14. [3DS] New Super Mario Bros. 2 # (Nintendo) - 10.497 / 1.970.061 (+20%)

For hardware, the Vita made decent improvement on last week with 41,000, up 5,000, carrying on its recent good run of form. With Japan heading into the Golden Week holiday when sales go ballistic, Sony and partners need to keep the releases coming to ensure this level of sales becomes normal rather than a blip.

3DS Sales 76,500 

PSV Sales 41,000
PSP Sales 12,600

Sony shits on the Vita with its Easter sale

There's precisely one Vita game in Sony's Easter sale, one out of around 64 games on offer. Sure there's some PSP, PS one and minis in there too, but that's not really the point. That one game is Urban Trials Freestyle, which isn't bad with £2.50 bringing the price down to £5.49, but is that the best Sony can do?

There will be some time-limited Easter Egg deals going up over the holiday, so the Vita might bag a couple of those, and you can always grab some of the PSP titles with the Persona games and other usual suspects on-sale once again. Most of these games have an additional 10% off for Plus subscribers.

PSP: Fate/EXTRA - Was €29.99/£23.99, now €12.99/£9.99
Generations of Chaos - Was €6.99/£5.49, now €2.99/£2.39
The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky - Was €29.99/£23.99, now €14.99/£11.99
Persona - Was €9.99/£7.99, now €4.99/£3.99
Persona 2/Persona 3 Portable bundle - Was €49.99/£39.99, now €24.99/£19.99
Persona 2 - Was €29.99/£23.99, now €14.99/£11.99
Persona 3 - Was €29.99/£23.99, now €14.99/£11.99
Disney Pixar Double Pack - Was €14.99/£11.99, now €6.99/£5.49
Pirates Double Pack - Was €11.99/£9.69, now €5.99/£4.79

Today's PlayStation Mobile releases, Snake, Quiet, Please! and nekomimimusumega

The latest batch of games to appear on PSM are certainly an odd mix. First up is Snake from Carrot Creations, for just 79p, one of the first games I ever played on any computer and this version looks barely evolved from that eight-bit version.

Quiet, Please! from Nostatic is an adventure game that looks a little more modern, but not much, with a Skooldaze or Little Computer People kind of feel to it as our heroine just wants some peace and quiet in this noisy, modern world.

Finally, nekomimimusumega (just part of the name) is some truly mad Japanese game about fish and cats, and jumping. £1.99 its probably the best of the bunch, but I'll try and find some video before making a decision on that one.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sony bigs up the indies at GDC

Sony has a raft of indie PSN and Mobile games from developers to show off at GDC. Some names are familiar others new, I'll add videos and info as I track them down.

Dragon Fantasy Book II
Hotline Miami

Thomas Was Alone
Friend Network App
Velocity Ultra

PS Mobile
A Virus Named Tom
Beatdown in Treachery City
Don’t Wake the Bear
Hermit Crab in Space!
Oh, Deer!
Ten By Eight

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tooled up Worms headed to the Vita

They've invaded just about every other format, so its only fair that Worms comes to the Vita, and Team 17 has announced the news in an interview with Red Bull, of all people.
There’s even a version for Sony’s next-gen PS Vita handheld in the pipeline for 2013, Bestwick reveals. "One big Worms game we can mention is a game for the PS Vita that we are working closely with Sony on, this will be the ultimate handheld console version releasing later this year."

That comes hot on the heels of Alien Breed as a PSM and then PSN title and with SuperFrog on the way. Hopefully the Worms team will be able to throw something a little new and wriggly into the mix.

Final Fantasy X HD Trailer struts its stuff

Hot on the heels of the screenshots from last week comes the trailer for Square Enix's remastered opus (in English without the German subs all over it). While the pricing remains a topic of much debate, just bask in the visual splendour and story that should eat up a good few weeks of Vita owner's time.

UK Vita charts, Dead or Alive?

Dead or Alive 5+ bursts into the top five while the Vita other big hitters continue to juggle for position. But,Vita sales are in an odd state at the moment, Persona is clearly not selling as it should have, while gamers have turned to sports as their games of choice, probably because its too cold to go out and do the real thing. Sub-£10 Virtua Tennis has to be the bargain of all time and Sega will be happy with the continued performance of All Stars Racing

1 + FIFA 13 EA SPORTS Last week - 2 Weeks on chart - 26

With last week's non-clarified news that a third of sales are digital, I wonder what that would do to the state of this retail sales only chart? Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation sits at the top of the Top Sellers page on my Vita followed by Ragnarok, Oddworld and LEGO Lord of the Rings.

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

Sega's new game teaser site fills up

What started out as a light, sand or water fall last week is taking form. Is it a cup, is it a ball, a magic orb or crystal globe? Or maybe an egg, how about a cracked planet? (probably not as it appears to be resting on some grass). How does any of that fit in with Sega's past canon? Or is this really something totally and utterly new for the PS Vita and PS3. All will be revealed in a few days time.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vita getting Zero Escape and Thomas Was Alone on PS+

Another decent update for PS+ subscribers in April with a clutch of PS3 games and two cult classics for the Vita. Zero Escape is a surprisingly gripping psychological adventure with death and betrayal by the bucketload.

Covered Thomas was Alone last week and, in the vein of Life of Pixel, it looks like another Indie retro success for the Vita. A few more PSP or PS1 games would sweeten the deal I think, what would like in your subscription next month?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vita protected by Sony as the Remote Play device for PS4

Gee, Sony folks are talking a lot today. Their latest nugget of wisdom comes from a Mike Denny interview with OPM, and explains why only the Vita will handle Remote Play from the PS4, despite some smartphones and tablets being equally or more equipped to do so. Its all down to the buttons is the simple answer.

Denny: So what we announced in terms of remote play was certainly for PlayStation 4 games to be played remotely via wifi access on your PS Vita. Because obviously the Vita is the perfect second screen in terms of the analogue sticks and buttons. We also talked about PlayStation apps and the ability to interact with your games via a smartphone and your tablet in different sorts of ways. Those may not be playing the full experience because the controls may not map that well we think, but certainly in a companion sense. So if its Drive Club, your viewing a race or a friend’s race and can set challenges and send them and receive them on a second screen.
Having just started enjoying remote play with God of War HD, this is good in many ways and also secures the Vita's lifespan for the five or six years any owner would hope for as it becomes part of the PlayStation family furniture for PS4 owners. 

One-third of Vita game sales are digital claims Sony

Wow, as part of a big IGN interview, which revealed The Walking Dead on Vita to the world, Sony's PlayStation Director of Product Planning and Platform Software Innovation (which is the biggest job title ever) Don Mesa also mentioned that 1/3 of Vita sales are from digital downloads.

Now I guess that varies by game and type (lets face it lots of Vita games ARE download-only, and he could be fudging the numbers with PSM, PSOne and so on) but if you could boost the pretty shoddy physical game sales by a third you might get numbers approaching respectability.

He's also talking about 100 games for the Vita this year, most of those seem to be indie titles (just look at the ratio of indie news to major developer stories on these pages). But its good to know a few major titles are awaiting their reveal.

Killzone Mercenary weapons and MP test, sounding good

OPM magazine has had a pretty in-depth play with the latest version of Killzone Mercenary from Guerrilla Cambridge and reports in with a three-page preview, including a neat description of some of the weapons we'll get to play with (and interact with via touchscreen controls):
We’ve tested four of the total eight: the Ion Cannon is your air strike, zooming out into the obligatory thermal drone cam and letting you tap enemies on-screen to rain death down on them. Do make sure to burrow away somewhere safe, though, before activating it – there’s nothing more satisfying than swipe-knifing a prolific bomber. The Cloak does exactly what you’d expect, for a short period. The Porcupine is a lot of fun, flagging up enemies on-screen and dismantling them with rockets as quickly as you can touch them (a Helghast twist on whack-a-mole). But the spoils really belong to the Mantis Engine, a brutal drone mounted with nightmarish death scissors used to pop enemies’ heads like angry teenage zits.

Read the rest of the article here. Multiplayer sounds good too.
Multiplayer is no less absorbing for being portable, and will easily arrive as Vita’s best online shooter. It packs eight-player battles over six maps and three modes – including the multiple-objective-based Warzone from Killzone 2 and 3. I got to grips with Shoreline in a four-on-four deathmatch. Half tunnels for close-quarters shooting, and half terrifying open space, it successfully channelled us all out of our cosy hiding places by dropping Vanguard weapons in the exterior half every few minutes.

The Walking Dead to force hard decision making on your Vita

Hmm, glad I only played the first episode on Xbox now, because the whole zombie, brutal decision-making, neatly-written Walking Dead series is making its way to the Vita. Sure millions of gamers have done the whole thing on their big console, which kind of limits the audience, but I'm sure there are many more still to give this mature game a try.

Here's the original trailer, no release date as yet, but it can't be the hardest game in the world to port over for developer Telltale Games. Hopefully it will be available in one game, so as not to clutter half a Vita's page worth of icons up with all five episode's icons.

Thomas was Alone dated and priced for the Vita

Indie developer Mike Bithell and Curve Studios have confirmed the details of the release of Thomas Was Alone on PS Vita and PS3. The game will launch in the UK on the PS Store 24 on April 2013, priced at £5.99 with a 20-level DLC expansion pack also available for £1.99.

Thomas Was Alone is a study in simplicity. A 2D platform-puzzle game that quickly engages and engrosses the player with its charming storyline and art style.

Created by Mike Bithell, with a BAFTA-award winning voice over performance by Danny Wallace and with a rousing score by David Housden, Thomas Was Alone launched for PC and Mac in the summer of 2012 to critical acclaim and has built a strong following for the brand and developer Bithell amongst the indie gamer and development community.

In addition to Danny Wallace’s BAFTA award, Thomas Was Alone also received BAFTA nominations for Best Story and Best Music. Following strong sales on Steam, Independent publisher Curve has been working closely with Bithell and SCEE to port and publish the game on PlayStation, in association with Bossa Studios, Bithell’s former employer.

Final Fantasy X/ X-2 shining in HD on the Vita

After a week of rumours, its finally official, the Vita will be getting both games, but not in the PS3 style combo, so we have to pay for both, which seems a little rude. But, being able to enjoy the world of Final Fantasy on the go is worth it, I guess. Hopefully the Vita versions will be priced a little less to make it not a complete rip off job.

There are some new pics up on the PSN blog with word on the enhancements and extras, with a trailer promised for next week. The official site is now live, while Amazon has a likely-placeholder release date of 31 December.

Watch Velocity Ultra in action on the Vita

Website TheSixthAxis has been down to play FuturLab's revised and upgrade Velocity game on the Vita and were kind enough to put up a video showing the improved visuals and some subtle additions to this fantastic game. Can't wait for the launch.

Big developer news: Unity Engine finally heads to PS Vita

The popular indie-favorite developer system, Unity 3D Engine is finally headed to the PS Vita (and PS4 and Gaikai). Many iOS and PC hits were developed with Unity and it has a huge user base among the developer fraternity. The only bad news is there won't be anything to play with for a few months, with the publishing switch not likely to be thrown until Autumn.

Deadtrigger from Madfinger is a good example of what Unity is capable of and the likes of Temple Run 2 and many other mobile hits were made with it. The prospect of the cream of mobile games available with proper controls is worth a pleasant thought or two.

Quite why Sony didn't get Unity on board earlier, given their claims of indie-friendliness is worth wondering? But this does mean Vita could be in for a spectacular second half to the year, if the right games and developers take an interest.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lufrausers brings the air war to your Vita

We're a bit light on flight and combat games on the Vita, and while we await a non-PSP Ace Combat, Luftrausers from Devolver will have to do the job. bringing a retro riff and a whiff of the likes of Spectrum hit Harrier Attack, a little Defender and other classics with a few modern twists.

Dragon's Crown trailer swings into action

The Vita's two side-scrolling action games are churning out more trailers and videos than most other Vita games put together. Following on from Muramasa's earlier effort, here's a new look at Dragon's Crown from Atlus in action.

With implausibly proportioned Amazon and Sorceress characters, expect high levels of cleavage wobble and don't ask how they could possibly swing their weapons, unless you can do a good Sid James laugh at the end.

Out in Japan for Vita this week... game riot!

Having steadied its sales, the Vita had a relatively quiet week release-wise, but could blow the doors off the charts next week. Out yesterday in Japan, they have:

Guilty Gear XX Acore Plus R - Arc System (western release confirmed)
Dead or Alive 5+ - Tecmo (already out in the west)
Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 - Konami (we have The Show)
Arland Atelier Plus Merle - Gust (previous Atelier just arrived on PSN)
One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 - Namco (sadly lacking a western release)

Muramasa opening video introduces a girl and her sword

Rivers, fire, mountains, and not a Hobbit in sight. Welcome to the intro video for Muramasa, a game that should need little translation to enjoy, if you can't wait for the western release by Aksys. Sure there's not the hack and slash action of the previous trailers,  but it sets the scene nicely for this sparkling revamp of the Wii original.

The game is out next week in Japan on the 28th.

Sega Japan teaser site for a new Vita and PS3 game

With Northern Spring almost upon it looks like the developers and marketing types are waking from their winter snooze. This is yet another teaser site opening up with a countdown for a week's time. With its ethereal gauze and lightfall, it reeks of RPG, but could really be anything

Chatter on Japanese sites is for a Valkyria game, but hopefully its for something all new. Personally, with Shining Ark not really doing shining sales on PSP, I wonder if they'll promote that to a full-spec revamp? The Facebook link goes to a new page, but there's nothing to tease us further.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Persona 4 Golden, $10 off in North America

Those lucky new worlders (who to be fair have had Persona since last year) can now get an extra $10 off Persona 4 Golden for the next two weeks thanks to an offer from Atlus. Not sure if that relates to PSN or in-store, but if you don't own the game you have no excuse to enjoy the Vita's finest title.

Hot Shots Golf gets a rising shot of DLC

For a launch game, Everybody's (or Hot Shot's) depending on where you are is a little late to the DLC party,  but it is making up for it with a host of new courses and characters. After the recent mega patch, last week saw the addition of gaming's latest DLC-whore, Kat who is now appearing in more games than is seemly for a relative newcomer.

Now we have a clutch of courses to add to the roster and more fair maiden characters to roam the fairways with. This game is now pretty cheap (£12 on PSN, less for a boxed copy in most places) to buy and with improved multiplayer and this new content, as with the PSP version, it is one of the system's most played titles.

Mind Zero, a new PS Vita game, images emerge

Looks like something spooky is coming out of the developers at Acquire as a new Vita game splashes across the pages of the latest Famitsu. Set in our world and a twisted alternate reality, it looks like there will be puzzles and battles galore to fight. A riff on Persona perhaps?

Mind Zero is described as a dungeon quest type title, and has impressive looking characters, as long as it does something a little original, could be another big hit.

UPDATE: A teaser site is now open, going fully live next Tuesday

Laughing Jackal working on two PS Vita games

A couple of interesting tweets from the folks at Laughing Jackal, the team behind Hungry Giraffe and a host of PSP minis. They are working on two Vita games, one of which is an update of one of their existing titles (OMG Zombies or Cubixx perhaps) and an all-new game that should be the most interesting game from them yet.

With a bunch of the company's games having made the move from PSP mini to Playstation Mobile, hopefully they have the resources to do something more challenging and ambitious as a full Vita title.

Open Me boxing clever on western Vitas

Driven by a series of crazed videos, Open Me is a cunning Japanese-developed Vita AR puzzle game that is now heading our way. The goal of the game is simple, open a box and collect the items inside. But these boxes are full of traps; players will need to use Vita’s augmented reality features to look closely at the boxes from every direction, looking for the slightest hint on how to open them.

By using PS Vita’s cameras and smart augmented reality technology, the elusive box will appear on the screen in seconds. Touch the screen to open the box, but be careful, the lids of some boxes are razor sharp and they will shut tight if you fail. Boxes range from a simple wooden box to a more sophisticated box made of metal, each with its own unique tricks to opening the box. Examples of challenges include stacking colorful boxes from the inside of a larger box, or exploring and disarming a box’s security system (i.e. spinning blades or propellers). So you can definitely say that “thinking outside the box” is a requirement.

More on the US PSN blog.

Western One Piece Pirate Warriors trailer, August release, but not the Vita version

Namco Bandai is bringing the potentially massive hit from Tecmo Koei to Europe in August, not bad considering the game is out in Japan this week. There's a trailer, even a limited edition with a neat Luffy figurine. The only problem is there's no sign of the Vita version, has Namco really given up on the Vita in Europe already?

While I now own a PS3 to enjoy that version, a little freedom of choice here might be a good thing. Namco hasn't released a Vita game in a year now, would be good to know if they officially don't give a crap rather than leave good games hanging.

Sony PlayStation Vita vs. PS3, a game of two eras

Having had a PS Vita since day one, my recent decision to snap up a PS3 to take advantage of all the free PlayStation Plus titles on offer is going pretty well. But having devolved (as it were) in system terms, I can see pretty clearly where the Vita is a big step up on the PS3.

The most obvious point is that in no way is the world ready for a digital-only console market. You can just about do it on the Vita with three-or-four gigabyte games, but downloading 15GB+ of a title, then a bunch of patches means you can not actually do any gaming for much of your day (And I have 30mbit broadband, typically 15mbits). Now we know why the PS4 is sticking with a BD drive. The Vita is also better and slicker at downloading and integrating games and patches. I'm still stunned at how old-hat it feels on the PS3 and surprised Sony hasn't updated things.

The crossbar memory system looks antiquated when you load up on digital games, and are used to happy pages full of round icons for apps and games on the Vita. I'd hope the PlayStation 4 has a more open look to its front end, given the typical gamer could have game collections in the hundreds.

The PS2 line up is rubbish. I love the PS1 and other retro-gaming opportunities on my Vita and thought the PS3 would have a decent line-up of PS2 titles to play by now, many of which I missed due to hectic work commitments during much of the PS2 era. Nope, all I see is wave after wave of Disney crud and obscure titles. If Sony brings this rubbish to Gaikai, that service could sink faster than Sony's stock price.

In retrospect, Sony learnt a hell of a lot from the mobile industry and did pretty well putting that knowledge into the Vita, without copying those styles verbatim. It leaves the PS3 looking like a rigid, frigid, cold-hearted brick of a machine. What that means for the PS4, I guess it'll act a lot more like the Vita than the PS3.

Puddle now free on PlayStation Plus for Vita owners, F1 2011 diddy discout

Another two games I happen to own already, curses! But, if you don't (and its pretty good timing with the start of the new F1 season last weekend) you can grab hold of Codemaster's F1 2011 for just over £10 on the Vita.

The F1 simulator plays better than it looks in the videos, but isn't quite what you'd hope for given the power of the Vita and while it is well out of date, at least we don't have to put up with the horrible crooked noses.

Puddle on the other hand is free and a fun and engaging game in the world of a blob-on-the-run. Not quite as fun as Mutant Blobs Attack, but still well worth a go.

Vita sales robust in Japan for a quiet week

After a couple of good weeks of Japanese sales, the Vita had the potential to come crashing back down to earth today, possibly due to lack of stock, or the lack of a stand out game this week. However, with plenty to look forward in the launch roster, including Pirate Warriors 2 next week, there's little reason to think the Vita is condemned to low sales again,

Its sales dropped by half down to a mere 36,000 which is still pretty impressive and enough for second place in the hardware chart. Soul Sacrifice sold another 29,000 copies but the big new release was No. 1 Sword Art Online, one of three new PSP titles.

01./00. [PSP] Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment # (Bandai Namco Games) - 138.180 / NEW
02./00. [PS3] Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX (Square Enix) - 128.414 / NEW
03./00. [3DS] Super Robot Wars UX # (Bandai Namco Games) - 115.384 / NEW
04./04. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf # (Nintendo) - 58.578 / 2.861.517 (-7%)
05./02. [PSV] Soul Sacrifice # (Sony Computer Entertainment) - 29.121 / 121.517 (-68%)

PSM's Life of Pixel update is down to the fans

The PSM title that pays homage to gaming formats throughout history had a decent update recently and the developers Super Icon have gone on record to thank the fans.
"Feedback from those who downloaded and played Life of Pixel v1 has given Super Icon a fantastic opportunity to listen and revisit the game, while fixing a few issues that were present in the initial release.
So what is new?"

Audio; we went back to the drawing board, scrapped everything and started again! There is now a unique music track for each machine plus brand new sound FX all created either with the original hardware or via emulation. This has really helped to enhance the identity of each machine.

Fairer game levels; Life of Pixel can be hard – particularly the later levels and we didn’t want to change this, but it could also be unfair. We went through every level, playing them over and over and tweaking the layout as needed. So while we didn’t try to make the levels particularly easier – they are now a fair test of skill, not chance.

New Levels; we added a new machine into the game; the Sega Master System, it is unlocked after you collect all 64 special gems.

Out of Mind added to PlayStation Mobile today

Available right now in fact for just £1.19, Out of Mind is a retro, slightly psychedelic  platform shooter adventure with a chubby lead character who can uncover amazing physical powers to help get around the levels.

Definitely worth a look if the stranger levels of Jet Set Willy and other quirky games of that era appeal to your Jedi gaming senses.

Atelier Totori Plus hits the PSN for JRPG-loving Vita owners

File under one of life's funny coincidences, just last week I was wondering where this was while talking about the new game, Atelier Meruru Plus in Japan, and yesterday, completely unannounced it arrives in the US PSN update, and the EU PSN update today for £34.99.
Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland ($39.99) An all new Atelier Totori for the PlayStation Vita system, ‘Plus’ added features! Get the exclusive swimsuits in one pack with this game & DLC bundle! ‘Angel Swimsuit’ and ‘Devil Bikini’ are included in this package. This bundle is a limited time offer until Apr 16th, 2013. ESRB: T // File Size: 2.9 GB

Guessing it'll arrive on the EU PSN sometime soon, and while it seems to have generated some excitement, does Atelier really have much appeal to the west? We'll see I guess, for fans, it appears this has the PS3 localization with dual audio option.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

PlayStation All-Stars Update 1.10 Out Now

A massive 850MB update is now available for Vita owners (and PS3 types) to improve the balancing of characters in the fun brawl 'em up. There's a massive list of changes over on the PS forums for all the different characters, but the basic function changes include:

General Combat Changes:

Characters can not Block or Evade until frame 5 after landing during an air attack; Previously they were able to do so on the first frame if landing during air attacks

Characters have been standardized to not be able to Super until frame 12 after landing during an air attack

While blocking a hit while already in Block Hit reaction, character’s X velocity no longer gets set to zero

More good scores for Vita games in the new Famitsu, led by PSO2 and Muramasa

Another week, another raft of good scores for Sony's portable which is having its own little renaissance in Japan. Phantasy Star Online 2 leads the way with the exquisite Muramasa just a point behind and a Compile Heart RPG not far behind. Even the PSP happily rumbles along with a trio of decent titles.

Phantasy Star Online 2 (PSV) – 9/8/8/8
Muramasa Rebirth (PSV) – 8/8/8/8
Sei Madou Monogatari (PSV) – 8/9/8/7
Dungeon Travelers 2 (PSP) – 8/8/7/7
Fate / Extra CCC (PSP) – 8/7/7/7
Megpoid the Music# (PSP) – 6/6/4/5

Monday, March 18, 2013

Disney's Epic Mickey 2 coming to the PS Vita

There I was just ready to write another Vita-saved-by-indie games piece, when along comes Disney's UK Twitter account to offer us this box shot. The console version came out late last year, more news to come I guess.
The original Wii game got a much better reception than the sequel, but the Vita's touch screens could help lift it above the Xbox/PS3 version. Sony is handling publishing duties this time around, which might be part of a bigger deal to bring Disney titles to the Vita... Infinity maybe?

Puzzler Quell Memento to scratch your gaming brain

From a dusty attic comes an ambient puzzle game that's heavy on the invention as you connect lights, changes colours and bounce around in neat lines, trying to solve the game. Based on a smartphone original, this looks like a hefty challenge.

Nuns on the Gun, on the Vita

Nun Attack, a Frima title, will hit the Vita this week with stories going up on the US and German PSN blog. These girls would lay waste to the OTT mob that featured in a certain Hitman trailer last year and is bound to generate some tabloid headlines, and perhaps even a comment from the new Pope.

Features include:

Challenging tactical action and reflexive gameplay
Rebalanced leveling and weaponry for PS Vita play
Improved graphics for PS Vita
40 missions to conquer in multiple stunning environments
Four nuns, each with a unique personality and special power
A full shop with over 80 guns to equip with various effects (stun, slow, DOT, AoE, Knockback, Fear, Charm)
Seven miracles to cast

FuturLab, Velocity on Vita and some bad acting...

Okay, jump to 50-second mark for some actual footage of the greatest shooter in recent history in action, the rest is a traumatic tale of depression and self-hatred that is best left for a Norwegian arthouse movie. The company is showing the game at GDC and has been teasing a new, unannounced, original project on the go through Twitter.

Style and grace, and hitting dragons with sticks, in Atelier Meruru Plus

Following on from Atelier Totori Plus, Gust's  game) offers a new range of adventures, and ties in the previous game by unlocking extra costumes if you've kept the save game. It looks way too cute for me, but rapid JRPG importers might be keen. There's a host of new screens here, best of them below.

NIS America brought the PS3 versions to the west, not sure if they'll bother here, while Tecmo Koei was down for a Vita release of Totori, according to the Australian Ratings board, so you never know.

Friday, March 15, 2013

PlayStation 3 and Vita, together in perfect harmony

So, just six years after its UK launch, I've finally picked up a PlayStation 3. It makes sense to go alongside my Vita and PlayStation Plus subscription as I've got 10 games I can download for free right now, and the rest of its illustrious line up I can pick up on budget or will appear on PS+ over time.
I picked up a 500GB new slide-top model to store all those games, which have been downloading at top speed most of the day, but its a slow process with some 5-15GB a decent game plus patches. Note to self, download at night, play during day!

My first ports of call will be to test out Remote Play, LittleBigPlanet 2 has that feature and was the first game I went to download. Then to find some games with Cross Play multiplayer, I know WipEout does that, any others?

Anyway, my lil' ole PlayStation Family is now complete, and I'm now five-for-five on PlayStation console ownership. Just in time for the PlayStation 4 to arrive early next year, gonna be a crowded shelf. Pretty sure I won't be bothering upgrading my Xbox 360 or renewing my Gold subscription, not that they were in any way bad, just not as a compelling deal.

Star Trek: The Next Generation table coming to Pinball Arcade

After a successful Kickstarter project, FarSight is bringing a classic Star Trek TNG table to its Pinball Arcade package for the Vita and PS3. Coming in a couple of weeks to the US PSN, it is both a work of love and dedication to bring it to the virtual world.

From the KS page: One of the licensed tables that we’ve always wanted to digitize is Star Trek: The Next Generation. This table was released by Williams in 1993 and is unquestionably one of the greatest pinball tables of all time (in fact it’s currently #3 in user rankings on the Internet Pinball Database!) It was designed by the lengendary Steve Ritchie (who also designed Firepower, Black Knight, High Speed, and Terminator 2). Steve was a lifelong Star Trek fan and he was instrumental in convincing Williams to license the Star Trek property for a new pinball table. Consequently this table features an incredibly deep integration with the Star Trek license. It also has a number of unique play field features, including two aim-able ball-firing cannons and an system of warping balls from one place to another that was so ingenious Williams patented it. It's one of our favorite tables ever!

Machinarium hitting the Vita in two weeks time

Yay, the robotic-world indie adventure was announced some time ago, but there hasn't been much news until now, with the US PSN blog announcing that the game will be out over there on 26 March for just $6.99. Hopefully Europe will get it the same or next week and we'll get an equally decent price.

One Piece 2 Pirate Warriors TV spots pimp the Vita

If the Vita is to continue its hot Japanese sales run of the last couple of weeks, the lead driver looks like being the hugely popular One Piece sequel, the latest adverts from Namco Bandai are doing a pretty good job of getting that Vita message across.

The game is out on the 20th so won't count toward next week's chart, leaving the latest Pro Spirits Baseball to carry the flag.

New Muramasa clip shows great beauty and violence

From the pretty bamboo forest to blossoms, and scenes of fire and ice, everything in Muramasa from Marvelous looks pretty beautiful, and then your hero runs in slashing and slaying the enemy hordes. Quite a juxtaposition, but one I'm looking forward to playing immensely.

The game is out in a couple of weeks in Japan and should be an easy import if you like the look of it too. Hopefully that and revitalized Dragon's Crown should give older-school gamers something to get their teeth into.

Assassin's Creed Phoenix Rising's non-stealthy reveal on the Vita?

Ubisoft has promised more games for the Vita and it makes sense having built an AC engine for it that another game would be forthcoming. This time we seem to have a distinct break between the officially announced Black Flag for consoles, with the mysterious Phoenix Rising seeming to be its own game.

Several leaks from Ubisoft like the image above and short-lived store listings, suggest this is for the Vita and looks to further pit the entities Abstergo and Erudito against each other. What era it'll be set in and who the hero(ine) will be remain very much up in the air.

Phoenixes have appeared in Egyptian, Greek and Oriental mythologies which doesn't narrow it down much. The chances of you getting to stab Dumbledore in the beard also seem pretty remote.

The next Call of Duty game about to blow the doors off

Here's a chance for Activision to redeem itself after the Black Ops Vita disaster. A new teaser site, UnexpectedReveal, is up counting down to a reveal next week. After the initial flash of a screenshot, and the whine of a night vision display (I think), among the site code are the tags, "Call of Duty, Activision, Modern Warfare, Teaser Trailer, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games, Neversoft, 2013 March 21, Countdown, MW4"

That's pretty conclusive, perhaps for a major new update, or the next game in the series. But there's not format information, but the game is most likely to cover PS3, PS4, X360 and XNext. While I'd put the odds of a Vita version as pretty slim, given the farcical Black Ops Declassified game has reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the Vita retail and PSN charts, if it is earning enough for Activision, to justify some investment, then there's a little hope.

Acquire has a new mystery Vita game in the works

All we have is this picture to go on...

Which gives us a number, something to do with 2010, and advice to check the next issue of Famitsu. The map in the background has that brooding air of "city in peril" look about it, but I can't really infer much else, any ideas?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lone Survivor creeps onto the Vita

Indie PC title, Lone Survivor is an old-school adventure packed with character that brings some survival horror elements to its distinctive pixelly look (which reminds me a bit of the Dracula adventure on the Atari Lynx). Coming to the PS Vita and PS3,

Set in a broken, dingy, world, the UK-developed title from Curve and Superflat, is full of tension, stealth and touching moments, backed by a great soundtrack. Not surprisingly, it has won a hatful of awards and should look excellent on the Vita's screen.

Phantasy Star Online 2 downloaded 350,000 times for Vita in 10 days

The PS Vita version of PSO2 has sold over 70,000 retail copies, but the free digital version has managed a massive 350,000 downloads in just 10 days, which is around a quarter of all Vita owners, likely making this by far the most successful PS Vita game so far, according to Dengeki.

The Sega game has approached 100,000 concurrent players at times and with cross play on the PC, endless trade in micro-purchases and a decent supply of DLC and new missions, the game looks to have a long life ahead of it.

So, come on Sega, bring it west, now!

Dragon's Crown site updated, reveal coming

After a very long hiatus indeed and a change of publisher, Dragon's Crown is finally back on the tracks, with the website update, teasing some new information for next week. The multiplayer hack and slash game now has to content with the likes of Muramasa and others, but should still be able to hold its own

This trailer from 2011 promised much, what will the new version offer?

Hyperdimension Idol Neptunia PP offers more Vita lady fondling

As if the bouncing boobs of Shinovi Versus weren't enough, along comes Hyperdimension Idol Neptunia PP in June to allow stroking of your CPU lady creations which mock and mimic staples of the gaming industry. Beyond that information, I have no idea how this will work, not that it is likely to stray outside of Japan.

As long as it comes with an extra-strong screen wipe cloth, I'm sure Japanese gamers will love it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wondering what the heck Tiger and Bunny is all about?

The PSP game just got a modestly decent score in Famitsu, but the name wasn't familiar to me and I passed over it. Then I see a random tweet reviewing a Blu-ray of the very same title. Interesting, it turns out to be all about heroes, sponsored robots, fighting and racing, which should be right up most gamer's streets.

Actually, that sponsored robots thing triggered a faded memory and I have written about this before, last summer. It looks like the game would translate pretty well but I doubt Namco are all that bothered, unless it gets monster sales on release. Anyway, this review explains the source anime very neatly.

And this video shows off the game pretty well, with over 10 minutes of action.

Vita gets Metal Gear for free on PS+ and some snooker

While Japan blazes from the glare of Vita games, we get International Snooker 2012 to play in Europe this week, but not in Aus or New Zealand and a few other places. Is snooker somehow offensive over in these places? Anyway if you hadn't picked it up on launch, there's also Metal Gear HD for PlayStation Plus users and that's your lot.

This weeks PSM title is Forevolution at a rather hefty £4.49 for a mobile title. I'll wait a while on that. Apparently, its a kinda god game set in a forest with a hand-drawn aesthetic, but details are pretty light on the Pygmy Studios game, can't even find out about the developers.

Dakko Dakko brings games with long names to the Vita

Since I no nothing about these games and the news came with no pics, this is straight from the press release:

Dakko Dakko has announced that its two popular PSP releases are to be updated and expanded for the PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita) handheld system. Titled The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character and Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD!, both games will benefit from visual and aural overhauls to take advantage of PS Vita’s increased capabilities. Dakko Dakko is readying both games for launch this summer.

The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character and Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD! will both feature pin-sharp visuals in combination with remastered chiptune soundtracks. To take full advantage of their migration to PS Vita, both games will also boast PlayStation®Network (PSN) Trophies as well as additional features and gameplay fine-tuning. Notably, The HD Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character adds online leaderboards to its Challenge Mode, and Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims in HD! will allow players to use the PS Vita’s rear touch panel to provide even more scope for skilful play.

This video is from the PSP mini version.

PlayStation Vita tops Japanese hardware charts

Won't get to say that many times, so I'll enjoy it while I can. On the back of stellar sales of Soul Sacrifice and Tales of Hearts R, the Vita topped Japan's sales with 63,000 units, beating the 3DS by a few thousand. Soul Sacrifice sold 114,000 across the single and double packs. You could even add another 22,000 to that as there are (duh) two copies in the double pack, and if you throw in digital sales it is probably doing 150,000.

The combined sales would top the official No. 1, Hatsune Miku on PS3, but have to settle for No. 2 and 10 due to the different stock units. Tales of Hearts sold 55,000 making it a great week for the Vita with four games in the top 20 including Phantasy Star Online 2 (selling 71,000 copies which isn't bad for a game you can download for free) and Shinovi Versus which managed to keep rolling.

Next week will be more of an acid test with One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 sales likely to be split between PS3 and Vita, but for a few weeks at least it all looks rosy for the Vita in Japan. Time to announce those unrevealed games now I think before things calm down.

01./00. [PS3] Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f (Sega) - 110.229 / NEW
02./00. [PSV] Soul Sacrifice # (Sony Computer Entertainment) - 92.396 / NEW
03./00. [PSP] Uta no Prince-Sama: All Star # (Broccoli) - 67.217 / NEW
04./05. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf # (Nintendo) - 63.285 / 2.802.940 (-14%)
05./00. [PSV] Tales of Hearts R # (Bandai Namco Games) - 55.258 / NEW

PSV 63.581
3DS 61.008
PS3 19.567
PSP 18.023

Switch Galaxy brings that Wipeout-feel to PSM

There are many lane-racing games out there, and the genre is being bolstered by the endless running games. But for something a little more pure, try Switch Galaxy which brings high-speed and precision to PSM. Out last week in Europe, you can read an interview with developers Atomicom here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Vita games roar into life in the latest Famitsu reviews

Wow, the PSP and Vita get a whole host of top scoring games in the new issue of Famitsu. Sure the scores don't mean much, but it looks like the Vita is roaring out its games slump with both One Piece and Pro Baseball Spirits on Vita scoring just one point less than the PS3 versions, while DOA5+ a new Atelier and even a Vita version Little Busters all delivering solid and above scores.

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 (PS3) – 10/9/9/9
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 (PSV) – 9/9/9/9
Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 (PS3) – 9/9/9/9
Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 (PSV) – 9/9/9/8
Pro Baseball Spirits 2013 (PSP) – 8/8/7/7
Dead or Alive 5 Plus (PSV) – 9/9/9/8
Atelier Meruru Plus (PSV) – 9/9/9/8
Little Busters! (PSV) – 8/7/8/8
Tiger & Bunny (PSP) – 8/7/7/7

Here's how Sony is selling the Vita and Soul Sacrifice back home

Yep, another look into the crazed minds of Sony's marketing folk in Japan. Apparently, playing Soul Sacrifice together is more fun on a cheaper Vita than restaurants, karaoke and other traditional Japanese pursuits. I'd buy that for just shy of 20,000 yen.

Early word is Soul Sacrifice sold anywhere from 70,000 to 150,000 depending on Sony's production run, and looks to be driving the portable's momentum along with PSO2 and that boob-juggling combat game, Shinovi Versus.

PS Vita firmware 2.06 out, stability updates

Sony has pushed a new minor firmware update, bringing us up to the heady heights of 2.06, with the temptation of new security and stability improvements. What with Apple seeing millions of users a week by converting to jailbroken iOS devices, you can see why Sony is pushing these small but featureless updates, just one slip and it could be curtains for the Vita as a software seller.

Downloading now, will let you know if there's anything really beneficial tucked away. Apple's iOS 6.1.3 has been in beta (and beta 2) for weeks now, showing just how much pressure there is to keep these digital ships watertight.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Vita third-party desert, no sign of life

I was looking through this blog and other sources to find the last major third-party Vita title announced. Can you guess how long ago that was, outside of Japan? Aside from indies, for whom there is proof that they can make a decent living off the Vita with the right product, and Sony first-party and affiliated developers, the third party well is pretty dry.

Zen Studios have supported the Vita pretty well and the new Star Wars Pinball series was announced and released in short order last month. We await KickBeat from them too, but while Star Wars is one of the Galaxy's biggest brands, and with all due respect to Zen, this isn't exactly triple-A stuff.

So, I keep flipping back through the posts, plenty of Indie stuff; Deathmatch Island, Frozen Synapse, Rocketbirds and many more (which will all help the Vita along), but you have to go back some way until you find something with "system seller" stamped on it from a western developer.

Early in the New Year was news of LEGO Marvel Heroes, but the Vita version will likely be another mobile effort, cut-off at the knees, then there was Spy Hunter from Warner, back in August 2012. But you really have to go way back to find anything vaguely packing some "wow" factor, Need for Speed was announced in June (over 600 stories ago), and then you have to go back to the launch when we were promised Bioshock and a proper Call of Duty title, and look how that turded out.

Now, we know new games are coming, Ubisoft has all but promised more Assassin's Creed, and Sony Bend are working on something plus there are other Sony studios. But the lack of anything from a big player like Activision or EA that can help sell the system is both crippling for sales and alarming for fans of the machine. Are Sony really asking third-parties to hold back on news until some unspecified event oe E3?

Has RockStar really got a Vita GTA Stories tucked away? One that it'll reveal through one of the protagonists on the PS3 version of GTA V playing it in the full game... that'd be cool. Will Square (since western devs seem to have given up) bring another FF: Crisis Core or Dissidia to the party? Where else can you turn for something that will sell a million consoles these days? I'm dying to know, and the longer this goes on the more I suspect it'll be bad news.

Ogle the shiny, sparkly, Soul Sacrifice PS Vita bundle hardware

Oh, here he goes again. But I love his style as you would in that nutty-roommate or quirky cousin kind of way. Check out OmniOmega ripping apart the new PS Vita Soul Sacrifice bundle with the red Vita, bloody cloth, and other accessories.

Would be really good to see this in Europe. Someone else has taken some decent photos of the bundle's components here. Remember to crank the video up to HD for all the shiny details.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Killzone Mercenary gets a developer video

Find out what's going on with the latest developments in the world of Killzone Mercenary via a video chat with Tom Jones, the Creative Director at Guerrilla Cambridge. Some of the cool weapons and tricks enabled by the Vita's interfaces and hardware tricks look to refine what has come before in other Vita shooters, will this finally deliver the goods?

Soul Sacrifice comes with two covers in Europe, pre-order DLC

Soul Sacrifice is out in Japan and selling like hot cakes according to early reports. Sony's PSN blog has a look at the reversible art you can choose from to adorn your box of Soul Sacrifice if you're getting the European version next month.

I think I'll go with the more menacing tones of the first one And if you pre-order the game, there's a range of exclusive DLC out there, including:

Two unique costumes with which players can customize their character Three magic items to aid players in battle: Spirits’ Flamepike – Shards of the spear provided by Fire spirits, unleashing a five hit combo attack with heat effects Spirits’ Blightstone – Explosive stones with poison effects provided by the spirits Spirits’ Fulgurwood – Root provided by the Thunder spirits. Tracks enemies on the ground and attacks with thunder spell

Cartoon combat and cleavage in the Pirate Warriors 2 opening video

With the game now out in Japan on PS3 and Vita, here's a good look at the opening cinematic of Tecmo's latest anime-drive open, which promises plenty of ridiculous combat and action from Luffy and co., and a couple of other things.

What are the odds on a 1-2 next week in the Japanese chart, as the source material has been massively popular, or is this series more popular in the west these days? The first game sold over 500,000. As a little bonus, here's the latest in-game video from the publisher, Namco Bandai.

Sony's UK boss hints at more big Vita games to come

In a wide-ranging interview with trade title MCV, Sony's Fergal Gara hints at improved sales and big things to come for the Vita this year. Sure, he would say that, but his track record suggests he wouldn't be trying to puff up the Vita's promise without some solid information. Start your guessing as to what's coming in the comments:
MCV: Vita is a year old now. How do you evaluate its performance so far?
 Gara: Vita really, really responded as we went into Christmas. We had a pre-Christmas lull where sales were quite low. But that absolutely exploded 20-fold from that low-point into the peak of Christmas. That’s very encouraging and shows that with the right promotion and software we can light that fire. 
 MCV: The cupboard looks bare in terms of upcoming titles though.
 Gara: It looks bare in terms of what is announced. The cupboard won’t be bare.

Of course, 20 fold sales of practically nothing could easily still be a tiny number. However, since we've seen the short-term impact of the Japanese price cut, it is only a matter of time and necessity (having cleared out the early adopters) for Sony to trim prices here, which would generate a more significant boost (if the market is really there).

Similarly, the Vita doesn't need a cupboard of games, it needs shelves in stores stacked with them, something which most retailers won't commit to without a far bigger line-up than it currently offers. On a different tack, The question I would have asked is, what was the point of Ken Levine waving a Vita in front of a Bioshock logo if no one had signed a contract to develop a game, isn't that deceptive practices?

Hot Shots Golf monster putt update adds new modes features

One of the Vita's launch games and more popular titles (around 180,000 sales in Japan and rising thanks to the patch landing over there, which saw it rocket back into the Top 20) has got a major near-500MB patch that adds new features to the already pretty chunky game.

The patch is live in the States, will check for Europe (oh, it came out here last week). V1.05 looks like a sterling effort from developer Clap Hanz and offers:

- Turn-Based Challenge Mode
- 4-Player Stroke Mode multiplayer rooms
- Game Balance Adjustments
- New Visual Lobby “Elite Lounge 2″ available
- Additional Items
- Adjustments to the item acquisition method
- Real Tournament award specifications have changed

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Urban Trials leads the pack of PSN February best sellers

Urban Trial Freestyle was the EU's top seller in February (outselling the PS3 version), but even with Persona's late-in-the-month launch, I'd have expected that to blow everything out of the water, that and its drop down the retail charts really has me worried about the best game on the platform's success.

Price cuts explain a lot of the other games, and hopefully LBP will get a big left this month with its own reduction.

  1. Urban Trial Freestyle (New)
  2. MotorStorm RC (6)
  3. Escape Plan (RE)
  4. Ragnarok Odyssey (New)
  5. Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken (New)
  6. PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (RE)
  7. Persona 4 Golden (New)
  8. Rayman Origins (RE)
  9. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD (1)
  10. Super Stardust Delta + Advanced Star Fighter (RE)

Montezuma Blitz getting a big update

To fix a few annoyances, and jolly along the faithful still playing this free-to-play time killer, Alawar is releasing a patch next week to freshen things up. For a start time bonuses will be instantly awarded, not fly across the screen just as time expires, which is one of the game's most grievous flaws.

Others include:

Scratchcard will now wield higher winnings more often and, in addition to that, show what was hidden below the other squares which remained unscratched!
Easier process of levelling up for new players with a little bit more crystals for smoother ride up.
The flow of time will become more forgiving, with time bonuses being added instantly, and game being paused when no moves remain and the board shuffles.
From now on, you can switch the gravity off when you don’t want it to meddle with your game while commuting, and switch it back on when you need it.
Totems now work much faster - the next one activates right after you use the previous one.
New Ziggurat notifications are now removed from LiveArea, keeping it clean for posting new personal score records.
Never stop the combo: if the timer runs out, you will be allowed to finish the current combo before counting up the game results. Stack up crystals to get the multiplier twice as high as it was before.
More strategic options thanks to updated features of Crystal Score, Color Discard and Score Frenzy bonuses and Yellow Totem.

MotoGP 13 looking good, first video from Milestone

Sure this is footage from the big console version, but the Vita won't be too far behind as long as the Italian developer Milestone keep their eye on the ball and use their skills gleaned from FIM Motocross and WRC to bring all the fine balance and nuance of the art of riding these monster bikes around the slippery, twisty tracks like Mugelo in this clip.

Sony brings The Show to Europe, anyone for baseball?

Doesn't have quite the same ring about it as other bat-related sports, but MLB 13 The Show is now out on the EU PSN for the old world to enjoy. While the game is decently priced at £23.99, I'm not so sure about the need for all that DLC like training points, bigger budgets and magic healing for injured players. But, hey if it helps you enjoy the game go get it.

Have a sneaky feeling this will be a free PS+ title in a few months, so might leave it until then, anyone going to give it a shot now though?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

EU PSN Update, its a Ninja Gaiden vs Sly Cooper fist fight...

Which game will you buy this week? There's a Tecmo Ninja Gaiden bundle for high rollers (and if you have a big enough memory card), there's Sly Cooper, there's Generation of Chaos (for PSP too), there's LittleBigPlanet for just £18 (for PS+ subs), basically a whole lot of choice, they should have an American car dealer flogging it.

PSM and anything else I forgot updates to follow.

PlayStation Vita sells 62,500 on first week at new price

Scratch that earlier story, according to the just-published Media Create sales figures the PSV sold 62,500 in Japan, likely the best week aside from the the launch. A combination of the price cut, Sega's Phantasy Star hitting retail and selling 61,000 units, despite being available as a free download, and two other Vita games in the top 20 make it a pretty rosy week for Sony.

Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus (unboxing  video above) was the top selling Vita game with nearly 95,000 sales and good old Hot Shots Golf re-entered the chart as gamers stocked up on back-catalogue titles. The hardware number was just 15,000 behind the 3DS and we have Soul Sacrifice to look forward in Japan next week.

Shining Ark for the PSP sold 55,000 on debut while the scrappy older Sony handheld still managed to sell 11,000 units. That leaves it less than 250,000 from 20 million sales in Japan. Despite the bump, the Vita can still only dream of those numbers.

Zombie Tycoon 2 drooling over to rot your Vita

I think this is one of the last games to break cover from the Vita's launch roster (ignoring Bioshock, grrrr), certainly its been on my list forever with no news. However a new PS blog post suggests the game is on its way with Cross Play and Cross Buy support.

Due out on May 1, it pits two evil geniuses and their zombie hordes against each other, with some RTS-style play livened up by squad-based limb rending and munching on brains.

Vita sales rocket in Japan after price cut

It was hardly rocket science to figure this would happen, but a Sony exec claimed at the One Piece: Pirates event in Japan that sales of the console had quadrupled in the week since the price cut, and with many places sold out, it could have been even higher.

That means the Vita could have sold around 40-45,000 units this week, we'll find out later today when the Media Create figures are out. With Soul Sacrifice on-sale today, expect the trend to keep rising as Japan finally embraces the Vita.

Big Sky Infinity gets a big, free, enemy-packed upgrade

If you were getting tired of procedurally generated shooter BSI, there's a new update out for the Vita and PS3 Cross-Buy game to keep things rocking on a little longer. With new enemies, bosses and other content, its a must have for the 200,000+ gamers who've tried it our already.

Read more about it on the VooFoo site, features include:

  • 3 new bosses – Giant Crab Boss, Meteor Ship Boss and Scrapyard Boss 
  • 2 new enemies – Trailer and Fogger 
  • 6 new black hole enemies – Vikings, Ninjas, Zombies, Pirates, Ghosts and Chaos 
  • 4 new events – Parallel Cascade, Laser Levels, Portals and Minefield

Steins;Gate and Frontier Gate+ lead Vita and PSP scores in Famitsu

Stein's Gate is top of the portable scorers this week in Famitsu, hot on the heels of last week's Soul Sacrifice. Stein's Gate managed around 100,000 on the PSP last year and the older handheld keeps on rolling with an update to the great-looking but poor-selling Frontier Gate, plus a new update on the horse-racing Winning Post series.

Steins;Gate (PSV) – 9/9/8/7
Frontier Gate Boost + (PSP) – 8/8/8/8
Sword Art Online (PSP) – 8/7/7/7
Winning Post 7 2013 (PSP) – 7/7/6/7

Monday, March 4, 2013

Soul Sacrifice is a big mother, Famitsu loves it

Sony's big demonic hope for the Vita scored a 37 in the latest Famitsu with the reviewers loving the multiplayer, undead extension of your 'life' and the decent 25 hrs+ gameplay with the promise of near endless DLC to come.

With that and Sony's Japanese price cut in full effect, there should be a decent kick for the Vita's sales. The game goes onsale next week and won't be too long before it arrives in the west.