Fight for the future

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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Great Edo Blacksmith screens go live

Nippon Ichi's Great Edo Blacksmith site has gone live replacing the photos of glamorous Japanese ladies for screenshots of glamorous Japanese ladies. There's also a few screens of the game's actual RPG elements,which all looks pretty standard. We've got a nice-looking exploring screen, battle screens with a couple of juicy rats on the menu and your forge where weapons and other goodies can be cast from the metals you find in the dungeon.

You can check the lady pics on the site, which seem to include the usual tickling and hard choices when it comes to picking the woman you will spend your last year of life with. So, nothing dramatic from NIS, but as long as there's enough proper dungeon-based gameplay, I'd say its worth a go.





Sony returns to profit as games system sales rise

Sony as a whole is back in the (piano) black in its first quarter results for 2014, driven by a 95% rise in profits from the gaming division over last year's quarter. With PS4 and software sales rocketing, the company as a whole benefits, even though its TV division continues to drag.

Portable sales were also up. This time last year, Sony sold 600,000 PSPs and Vitas. In this quarter it managed 750,000 including around 100,000 Vita TVs. While its not a massive rise, that's the weakest quarter out the way and Sony has plenty of games in Japan to keep the handheld selling there.

With PSP now finished, Sony expects to sell 3.5 million Vita/Vita TV units this year, that's down on last years 4.0 million and way down on 2012's 7 million sales. However, with generally healthy sales growth continuing in Japan, the Vita's future seems pretty secure.

Despite continued good sales of mobile devices, profits from those sales dived into the red, which might also help put more focus back on the Vita which is now a mature product with less R&D needs, unlike the never-ending push for new smartphone and tablet tech.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

PlayStation Plus games for August

It looks about even this month as both sides of the Atlantic wait to find out what free goodies our PS+ subscriptions get us. Europe gets Road Not Taken (assuming its Cross Buy), LEGO Harry Potter 5-7 and PowerPoint arcade sim Metrico arriving early in August. Throw in Fez and Proteus as Cross Buys and you have a decent month.


The US gets the slightly better deal with Dragon's Crown instead of Harry Potter, so they're maybe ahead on points. But, Sony must really hope Europe likes LEGO games, because that seems to be the flavour of the summer for PlayStation Plus subscribers.

Sony's PlayStation Vita ad campaign for summer kicks off

Okay, you all know my feelings about the gonads that inhabit Sony's marketing department. But they've managed to get off their arses/begged some budget from the bean counters to put up a TV advert in the UK for summer. It highlights Minecraft, LEGO The Hobbit, Tearaway and LEGO Ninjago (if you can spot the ninja) as games for the kids.

It's not bad but quite why there's this lingering focus on the touch features is beyond me? We've already proved that it doesn't sell games, so they could have added a couple of extra titles in those gaps. Just hope there's a grown-up version for later viewing for the Vita's darker fare, otherwise how will anyone get to know about lady tickling and underwear arranging, the usual MDK fun.

Summer sale puts a host of Vita and PSP games cheap

The summer sale starts in Europe with a host of Vita and PSP games going cheap. Most of them, except FIFA and Need for Speed have additional 10% (or 20% for some indies) discounts, so knock that off the price.

If you have any change after your lurid summer-wear spree, go spending. Mind Zero, Spelunky and Terraria are must-buys. Also no excuse to not own the awesome Burnout games on PSP.

PS Vita
Asphalt Injection Was £14.99/€19.99/AU$24.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55
Assassin’s Creed III Liberation Was £14.99/€19.99/AU$24.95, now £6.99/€9.99/AU$14.95
Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars Was £32.99/€39.99/AU$59.95, now £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95
EA SPORTS FIFA Football Was £44.99/€49.99/AU$69.95, now £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95 F1 2011 Was £14.99/€19.99/AU$24.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55
Farming Simulator 14 Was £28.99/€34.99/AU$52.95, now £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95
Guacamelee! Was £9.99/€12.99/AU$19.45, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55
Hotline Miami Was £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition Was £34.99/€39.99/AU$54.95, now £14.99/€19.99/AU$24.95
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes Was £19.99/€24.99/AU$32.95, now £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Was £34.99/€39.99/AU$54.95, now £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95
LEGO The Lord of the Rings Was £24.99/€29.99/AU$39.95, now £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95
Mind Zero Was £24.99/€29.99/AU$44.95, now £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95
MotoGP13 Was £29.99/€34.99/AU$47.95, now £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95
Need for Speed Most Wanted Was £39.99/€49.99/AU$69.95, now £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95 
Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath HD Was £9.99/€12.99/AU$19.45, now £5.79/€6.99/AU$10.45
Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken Was £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.95
Spelunky Was £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95, now £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95
Terraria Was £11.99/€14.99/AU$22.95, now £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95
The LEGO Movie Videogame Was £34.99/€39.99/AU$54.95, now £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95
The Walking Dead: Season Two Was £15.99/€19.99/AU$24.95, now £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season Was £14.99/€19.99/AU$24.95, now £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95

PSP 
Army of TWO: The 40th Day Was £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95, now £6.49/€7.99/AU$11.95 
 Burnout Dominator Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £5.79/€6.99/AU$10.45 
 Burnout Legends Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55 
 Burnout Legends Was £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95, now £5.79/€6.99/AU$10.45 
 Dante’s Inferno Was £15.99/€19.99/AU$29.95, now £5.79/€6.99/AU$10.45 
 The Sims 2 Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55 
 The Sims 2 Castaway Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £5.79/€6.99/AU$10.45 
 The Sims 2 Pets Was £7.99/€9.99/AU$14.95, now £4.90/€5.99/AU$8.95

Japanese Vita sales not enlivened by Operation Abyss and Corpse Party

A bit gloomy for the Vita in Japan with all these doomy games arriving. Also, sales were mostly flat in Japan this week according to Media Create, so to see the Vita and Vita TV slip some 5,000 sales is a bit alarming as new games continue to arrive. But it is still selling healthily, and way above home consoles. Just ignore the 3DS juggernaut and everything is peachy.


In the chart, Freedom Wars has now passed 300,000 sales if you add in the 35,000 digital downloads Sony mentioned recently, while Oreshika 2 crosses the 100,000 mark in its second week. Operation Abyss and Corpse Drive make solid if unspectacular entries. Demon Gaze managed 25K sales on its launch, so Operation Abyss has some catching up to do. Corpse Party did similar numbers to previous games in the series, so all looks good for 5bp

04./02. [PSV] Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines # (Sony) 17.690 / 111.465 (-81%)
05./00. [PSV] Tokyo Shinseiroku: Operation Abyss # (5pb.)  15.242 / NEW
06./00. [PSV] Corpse Party: Blood Drive # (5pb.) 13.688 / NEW
13./07. [PSV] Freedom Wars (Sony) {2014.06.26} (¥6.264) - 5.344 / 267.771 

Last Inua chilling the Vita

Wired Productions is bringing Last Inua to the Vita, yay! No, not Last Ninja as I first read (must be the font), but Last Inua, as in Inuit, the Artic dwelling natives. A former iOS hit, the game from Glowforth (yet another Dutch developer) is gong multi-platform, but I'd imagine it will be another hit.


Here's a walkthrough of the early levels on the iOS version to give you a flavour of the game, avoid if you're not into spoilers. It looks a little bit like Limbo with some added icing and an environmental tinge to it. Anyone keen?

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare goes Remote Play weeding on the Vita

PopCap and EA are bringing the shooter installment of the Plants vs. Zombies series to the Vita via the PS4. As the developers show in this quick look at the game on both platforms, it looks pretty sharp on the Vita. I think the game was delayed as it was an Xbox exclusive (do people still do that?) but should be hitting pretty soon, to add even more woes to hay fever sufferers.

Do expect the PS4 versions to to come with a premium price, as it continues to evolve from a fun mobile game to a big-budget project. There's lots of extra content promised, the game is out in the middle of August.

Broforce not ready to storm the Vita

Free Lives' shooter Broforce is all over the PC at the moment via Steam early access with bags of extra content arriving on a regular basis. Riffing off the likes of the Expendables movies, The Vita version was shown off at E3, with multiplayer, so is still in the pipe somewhere.Early 2015 seems to be a reasonable date for our version.

While it might look like a more fractious version of eight-bit shooters like Gunslugs, there's lots to like assuming the developers can cram all that action onto the Vita. There's so much stuff going on with this game that hopefully Devolver as publisher is keeping a keen eye on things, making for a smooth ride to PlayStation.

Avoid Droid is now finished and called Don't Die, Mr. Robot

A quick name change here since "Droids" is something that the Disney/Lucasfilm megalith now owns, apparently. Don't Die, Mr. Robot has more punctuation in it than any game I can think of (unless there was something called Die, Bastard!!!!!!!!!!).

The happy-looking arcade shooter from Infinite State Games is complete, going through QA and certification with Sony, and should be with us soon. Here's the latest teaser trailer, showing off the latest fruity, laser-dodging, munch-robot avoiding arcade fun at its finest. Look forward to adding this


Assault Android Cactus at that spiky dev phase

Wow, reading the Twitter account of Tim Dawson, the guy is really trying to polish this game, which I thought looked pretty slick about a year ago. Keep reading though for lots of evolving character and boss concept art. His existential angst over menus shows the level of dedication needed to produce a really polished product. Still, it sounds like they're close to the finish and the game does look worth the effort.

Witchbeam's game is now available on Steam early access, so a Vita version is likely still someway off, although using Unity, hopefully it won't be too tricky. There's a few recent YouTube videos of the early access code running, which looks awesome, but you know (or hope) it'll be best on the Vita screen with those twin-sticks blazing merry havoc.

Airship Q brings the multiplayer feline mayhem

I know its probably a rough comparsion, but the Japanese answer to Terraria, crowd-funded sandbox game Airship Q is coming along nicely in development. This recent multiplayer video showing all kinds of blocky mayhem, with the feline players using bows and bombs to rearrange the furniture, travelling around the world in their wacky airships.

The game is down for a "soon" release date with lead programmer Kengo Nakajima talking about it at the upcoming CEDEC developer event. Does this tweak your gaming mojo?

The Bullet Girls offering some Dramatic Lingerie

Now that's how to grab an audience. Here's the latest clip from D3 showing off Shade's theoretically sexy Bullet Girls with their massive weapons and tiny pants. There's plenty of in-game action, lots of shooting, and highly questionable jiggling about in their underwear.

UPDATE: Guess the jiggling did its job as the games scored 30/40 in the new Famitsu. 

Then again, I suppose if America is allowed bikini calenders with girls packing Armalites and hand cannons, Japan can get away with this. The fact these weapons largely deal damage by shooting bits of clothes off just adds to the dumb-factor. There's also tanks and helicopters to take down, and the levels, while a little sparse, offer opportunities for cover-and-shoot, sniping and some diet tactics.

As for the tickling, spanking, mild torture scenes of your defeated opponents near the end, I wouldn't expect them to make it into any western release, should that ever happen.

Excamedia hints at A Clumsy Adventure

What on earth are we looking at here? Excamedia is a Dutch team working on A Clumsy Adventure for 2015, running on PS4 and Vita. And here's the first hint of a pic at what looks like an otherworldly scene bathed in light from the pinky part of the colour chart.


The company hints that Gamescom will see the first showing, along with Tokyo Games Show. The question is, what's it all about? I hope the art from the screenshot is prevalent in the finished game, rather than the rather scatty concept art and video.

The above pic fills me with mystery and wonder, the concept below bellows tacky platformer and the video looks like an 90s shareware game. Let's hope the developers stick with the above or find an elegant way to evolve the two. Guess we'll see at Gamescom what's going on in these crazed indie minds.



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Destiny of Spirits downloaded 500,000 time, big whoop!

With Angry Birds games hitting the 2 billion download mark, its a half-glass-full moment to see a Vita game, a free one at that, only managing 500,000 downloads around the world. So, almost a third of the world has played Angry Birds, while barely 1-in-8 Vita owners have tried something Sony is offering for free. Perhaps some marketing, you know?

I've dipped in and out of Destiny of Spirits since the beta, but its never really grabbed enough to keep me playing. Perhaps another playthrough is in order? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps!


If you're in a similar frame of mind, or have missed out, why not give the game a go now? Sony is putting up a host of cheaper in-app-purchases and some extra content coming should you get hooked by it? There's nothing wrong with the elemental battle game per se, it just took ages to do anything. If Sony could speed the play up a bit I might enjoy it a bit more.

Rogue Legacy hits the Vita this week on PSN

There seem to be a large number of Rogue Legacy addicts on Twitter right now, a number which will only grow as the game hits PSN today for the US and tomorrow in Europe. The PC hit from Cellar Door Games sees your offspring continue the battle, even if you die, with a certain amount of genetics to spice things up, plus endless realms to explore and loot to collect.

The PlayStation version comes with some extras including a Platinum trophy, touch screen support plus Cross Buy and Cross Save for always-on rogueing. Rogue Legacy is picking up plenty of 9/10 reviews, so seems to deliver in every area, another great addition to the Vita's roster. Look forward to checking it out tomorrow.


Review scores:

PSU - 9.5/10
PushSquare 8/10
Pulp365 9/10
IGN 9/10

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blue Beetle captured in LEGO Batman 3

While the story will change (lots of spacey stuff) there's little that Warner can do with the format of the LEGO DC comics games, so we have Batman fighting the Joker and his cohorts. Making welcome changes to this episode are the arrival of the Blue Beetle (the Jamie Reyes version), AquaMan and others.

There's also some new gear for our heroes to play with, like Robin's rather old-school new diving helmet, pictured below. There are millions of new screenshots out of Warner's ComicCon appearance, but most of them could be from any of the games. Natuarlly, they're not Vita shots, but it shouldn't look too far off the end result.

UPDATE: Batman 3 has a release date of November 11



Tecmo Koei merging with Gust

Both brands have provided a lot of decent Vita games, so this could be good news. Tecmo has helped publish Gust's games over here, so the two have a firm relationship. Gust has given us the Atelier and Surge series, while Tecmo produces pretty much any game with a pummeling stick or sword as part of the line up including Toukiden, Dynasty Warriors and others.



The merger will be effective from the 1st October and will see Gust become a brand and studio within Tecmo. The release promises that Gust will be able to expand its existing series, create new IP and bring them to a broader audience. Hopefully we'll get boxed copies of Gust games, rather than Europe's diet of PSN only releases.

You can currently pick up Atelier Meruru Plus and Atelier Totori Plus on the UK PSN, both at over £30, hopefully those prices will come down in the near future.

Latest UK Vita chart, Killzone and Borderlands scrap it out of the top

Killzone manages to blast its way past Borderlands 2 to reclaim the Vita chart top spot, proving that gamers do love big-budget shooting on the handheld, whatever Sony will tell you. Expect FIFA 14 to soon be replaced by the equally insipid FIFA 15, otherwise the charts are just hanging on for some Minecraft.

1 + KILLZONE: MERCENARY SONY 2 47
2 - BORDERLANDS 2 2K GAMES 1 9
3 + FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD SQUARE ENIX 5 19
4 - THE RATCHET & CLANK TRILOGY SONY  3 4
5 - FOOTBALL MANAGER 2014 SEGA 4 16
6 + CHILD OF LIGHT UBISOFT 7 4
7 - FIFA 14 EA SPORTS 6 44
8 = TEARAWAY SONY . 8 36
9 = GOD OF WAR COLLECTION  9 12
10 + ASSASSIN'S CREED III LIBERATION UBISOFT 18 88

Over on Amazon's Vita top sellers, Final Fantasy is currently flavour of the hour, with Minecraft still pre-ordering well in 2nd spot. Ratchet and Clank is in 3rd place while fans are clearly keen for Tale of Hearts R, which is fourth, despite not arriving until mid-November.



According to Sony's PSN Top Sellers list, One Piece Unlimited World Red is top, with the digital-only Another World in second. Borderlands is third, followed by Final Fantasy X and The Walking Dead Season 1.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Judas Code gets a short, sharp trailer

Hope you weren't looking for too much new stuff from this clip of Judas Code, as it shows pretty much what the first screenshots were about, with a little more movement. City in the lurch, check! Hero on the run, check! Big green eyed lady to help out, check! All good then, just give us some more info next time please Tri-Ace?

All we know is it will be free to play, looks rather fun and has picked up a good few thousand views in its first days, which suggests at least some Japanese gamers are keen on it. Expect more in the weeks to follow, probably with a big TGS formal unveiling.

Guardians of the Galaxy hits Zen Pinball 2

I was wondering why there was an update for Zen Pinball 2 blinking away on my Vita this morning, and now I know. Never one to miss out on a good tie in, Marvel, Star Wars, Plants vs. Zombies, etc, Zen has grabbed the latest mega-blockbuster movie Guardians of the Galaxy and will have the pinball table up ahead of the film's launch (in the UK).

Packing in renditions of Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and the other heroes, its only a couple of pounds, so hard to pass up if you like your super heroes and furry friends in the same screen. Some more detail on the PSN blog.

Sega's Phantasy Star Nova video captured

Sega made a very big show and dance about Phantasy Star in Japan last night as part of a Thanksgiving event held in Sapporo. There's new details for Chapter 3 of PSO 2 plus some in-game footage of Phantasy Star Nova, now dated for Nov. 27 that's well worth checking out. Check out the whole show below, I'll update as I find the juicy bits.

It starts out with the typical fluffy characters and squeaking bints on stage, but toward the end of the first part, there's the new content for PSO2 with a chicken getting some "oohs" from the crowd, really? The gameplay video quality is pretty low, I'll see if I can find something better.



There's another big gameplay clip in Part 2, around 23 minutes in with some Shining Force crossover content. Parts 3 and 4 has some live multiplayer action, with some replica mechs and kit on show at the end of that section. Part 5 has a little bit of cosplay, then they start talking about PS Nova.

Part 6 shows off character creation and some gameplay for Nova, Part 7 is more PSO 2 live play, part 8 has some new footage from PSO 2 Chapter 3.

Sony lists its Vita Gamescom lineup

Sony may (or may not) announce some new stuff for the Vita at its Gamescom press event. Regardless, it will have a bunch of Vita games on show, including Freedom Wars. I make it five major games already out, four major games not yet released and the rest are indies led by Minecraft. More on the official German Gamescom site.

Interestingly, or suspiciously, Disney Infinity is listed for PS4 but not for Vita, as are Galak-Z and Helldivers, which I thought were Vita titles.

OUT
Soul Sacrifice Delta
Invizimals: The Alliance
The Sly Trilogy
The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy
PlayStation Vita Pets

COMING
Hatsune Miku-Project DIVA-F 2
Lego Ninjago Nindroids
Freedom Wars

INDIE
Super Exploding Zoo
Futuridium
Flame Over
Frozen Synapse Tactics
Final Horizon
Dragon Fin Soup
Murasaki Baby
Minecraft PS Vita Edition
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Hohokum
Entwined

Friday, July 25, 2014

Does no one else talk about the Vita?

Thought for Friday: I was wondering in the cosmic scheme of things how the Vita is in the mess its in. There's little way to get a finite answer because marketing, presence in stores, perception and other elements are all pretty intangible. Sony may have spent millions marketing the thing, but I rarely ever saw any effort at promotion, and really the issue boils down to user choice.

This little graph from Google Trends shows what people have been talking about in the years around the Vita's life. The 3DS is way ahead, but surprisingly, Android Games has been a more popular search topic. Even more surprisingly, iOS (or iPhone or iPad) games are way down, yet "Vita games" barely registers as a search term.



Try that search with games and its ridiculous, phenomena like Minecraft and Angry Birds dominate, PS3 games like Uncharted 3 get some spikes but there isn't one Vita game that makes a dent. Take out the big ones and leave the Vita games, Persona 4 does really well, but everything else, even exclusives like Tearaway struggle to register.

Borderlands shows what the Vita can do in terms of interest, but that's a viciously steep downslope, which most Vita games suffer from. I won't even show the chart, but GTA on PSP generated more interest than anything the Vita has ever done (and still does). So, people (outside our quirky group of owners) never talked about the Vita, the games made little or no impact and the world didn't care.

Its a shame things ended up that way, but juggling search terms, regions and types and its pretty much the same story, outside Japan. Anyway, on with the gaming for those of us that do care. How do you fix that? Shove a Vita up Justin Bieber's arse? Everyone will want one then!


Stylish new paint jobs for Switch Galaxy Ultra's ships

With the super-fast Switch Galaxy Ultra nearing completion, developer Atomicon is playing with the paint cans for some new looks for the game's racing craft. Check out the game's Facebook page for the evolution of the WipEout-esque craft as the game moves from PSMobile to a fully-specced Vita title.


The team is clearly focused on a highly polished product and the original's gameplay was class enough to ensure this should do well. Given the original WipEout crew were dissolved by Sony, and Nintendo can't be arsed to ressurect F-Zero, there's plenty of space for games like these on the Vita and hopefully Atomicom will get the reward they deserve and create something even more spectacular next time round.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tiny Troopers pics herald summer launch

After being announced for the Vita back in March, we now have a summer release date for the many-million selling mobile combat game from Wired Productions. The new screenshots for Tiny Troopers look pretty spiffing too, likely the PS4 version in a new post on the PS blog, which gives it a summer launch date.


Tiny Troopers Joint Ops is a brand new edition, mixing both of Tiny Troopers 1 and 2 with a brand new control scheme as well as cross play and cross save functionality! There will be a video along soon to enjoy along with a narrower release date. I'll try and chase some Vita snaps. 

Whatever happened to the Vita's apps?

The Vita doesn't really need apps, but it was a minor delight that the likes of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and others came out around the launch period to show the media and social capabilities of the handheld. How much do you use them now? I use Twitter, Skype and YouTube from time to time, but that's about it.

I'd love to use Netflix, Crunchyroll and some other media apps, but they don't even exist in Europe. I was kind of hoping Sony was holding onto them for PlayStation TV, but that makes no sense in the gloom of the Vita's line-up. Sony and partners should be throwing them out like confetti to keep users engaged with the Vita, and therefore a little more likely to buy games.

Following that, you have to wonder what happened to other common media apps like iPlayer or Sky TV. These apps are relatively small, easy to code (or port Android editions) and with flexible codecs on the server side, sending Vita formatted video should be a trivial exercise.

So, what's stopping them? Twitch mentioned the possibility of an app, but don't appear to  have gone further. Being able to stream Vita sessions would be awesome, although there might not be enough power to do so. What else do we gamers need but there isn't an app for yet?

Sony/GAME over-pricing digital downloads

One of the Vita's big issues is how to sell digital games in stores, to keep those retailers happy and in the loop? We've already seen a PSN-like store appear on Amazon's Digital Vita store, but with only a modest effort on the Vita side.

Now major UK retailer GAME is stocking digital download cards to help bridge the gap between physical sales and digital. You may have noticed a bunch of tweets from GAME stores about these, with the big kick-off tomorrow.

With prices starting from £3.99 that should help give indies some shelf space (Limbo and TxK are on there) as well as increasing the number of games on offer for the Vita beyond the usual top five and some cheap second hand titles. PS One titles will form part of the range. Trouble is, they're still doing it the wrong way round, charging more for a download than a new physical copy... madness!

In some cases things are as they should be, with tat like Smart As and Little Deviants only £6.99 for download. However, for this to do any business, the big name games should at last price match the boxed copy.



Akiba's Trip second western trailer gets chatty

Hopefully you've seen plenty of the combat videos from the Japanese version of Xseed's vampire-stripping fighting game set under the bright lights of Akihabara, but what the hell was all the background context and stuff? You can check that out too now, there's a western trailer with some of the game's social interactions as Akiba's Trip Undead and Undressed approaches its US launch (12 August, the EU date I have is October for some reason).

Since the vampires prey on social energy, I guess they'll be after those doing the most inane chatting, imagine if that happened in real life, no more Beliebers! So, have a peek at the clip and you can see there's lots of banter going on, which will likely attract the beasts, and then its pummeling time.


No word on the PS4 version if you need your naked vampires in HD!

Phantom Breaker Battle Grounds pummels you with its trailer (western PSN release imminent)

Japanese retro-brawler Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds hits the western PSNs next week. Offering cooperative, side-scrolling combat that brings back memories of Target Renegade, Double Dragon and other arcade fisticuffs, it will cost a mere $12/€10 with some extra DLC from series like Steins Gate. To celebrate, here's a rather short trailer.

The 5bp/mages developed game is an updated take on female-led Phantom Breaker which was a more traditional beat 'em up, but with the Vita pretty full of those games, this makes a neat diversion and one that should capture some hearts (and throats) among the old school gamers. With up to four players on-screen, there's plenty of action against oversize enemies and numerous tiddlers to thwack, sock and pummel.

Great Edo Blacksmith site opens up its forge

The official website has gone live for Nippon Ichi's Great Edo Blacksmith. And all it has to show for all that patient waiting is a logo, until next week. At least we've seen the lovely ladies, and we've found out about the basics of the game through those mag scans.

Guess the magazines articles have to have their exclusivity first, which seems rather quaint. Still, if you want something to do right now, Bandai Namco's Godzilla site has also gone live today (only for PS3, but hey, its Godzilla). Also update is NIS's own True God Fashion site, an update of a PSP horror game coming in August.


Hopefully someone will tell NIS that there's no capital S in 'BlackSmith', but as long as we get a compelling role-player out of it, I'm not really that worried. Will the lady-bothering elements (its a good job my Twitter following is 92% male) put you off? Guess they'll be toned down for any western release, as with Criminal Girls.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Counterspy ready to sneak onto Vita, launching clandestinely in August

A new trailer for Dynamighty's Counterspy is out, showing off the game which is off on its mission on 19/20th August. Using stealth and a silenced pistol, plus whatever you can find to hand, it has a brilliant 60s spy-caper soundtrack, a unique visual style and the finest mix of bits of metal gear, Spy vs. Spy and other classic titles.

There's a little more info over on the PSN blog, but check the company's social pages for greater insight into the game that doesn't want to seen. Can't wait for this, and yet another chance to save the world from those evil doers, while maintaining my poise, style and sipping an expensive drink afterwards.



It looks like Sony is packing the summer break with indies to keep us out of the usual lull, which is welcome, with Metrico, The Swapper and Hohokum among others, but would it really kill them to find one or two big releases to get the gamer's salivating?

Quick update: Sony must be very keen to remind us of the line-up, they've just put up a new Hohokum trailer, showing off the curious and colourful exploring game in action.

EU PSN Update, get Entwined with your Vita

Aside from the heavily trailed release of Entwined and Walking Dead S2E4, there's a couple of deals of the week hitting the Vita that might be even more interesting. Certainly in terms of longevity, Ragnarok Odyssey Ace has years worth of gamplay, while Dustforce

NEW

Entwined (Cross-Buy PS4/PS3/Vita) Price: £6.49/€7.99/$11.95
The Walking Dead: Season 2, Ep. 4, Amid the Ruins Price: £3.99/€4.99/AU$7.55

DEALS of the WEEK

Dustforce – Was £7.99/€9.99/$14.95, now £3.99/€4.99/$7.55
Ragnarok Odyssey ACE – Was £24.99/€29.99/$44.95, now £11.99/€14.99/$22.95
(Plus Additional 10% discount for PS Plus members)

DLC 

One Piece Unlimited World Red (Cross-Buy PS3/Vita)
Quests for Bugs and Fish (£2.49/€2.99/AU$4.55)
Robin Swimsuit pack (£2.49/€2.99/AU$4.55)

There's also a bunch of games listed on PlayStation Mobile, which check to see if any are new when I get to my Vita.

Oreshika 2 shifts 93K on Japanese Debut, Vita sales strong

The Media Create charts are out in Japan and Oreshika 2 manages a sturdy entry at No. 2 shifting 93,775 copies. Freedom Wars drops down to No. 7, but still sells another 7,600 units and Persona 4 Golden makes a welcome return to the chart at No. 19, selling another 2,500 copies thanks to the new TV series (more than the new Persona Q on 3DS) which takes it over the 300,000 lifetime sales mark.


On the hardware front, the Vita had another good week, selling 29,601 units including 2.2K Vita TV units. The Vita has sold 90,000 units in the last three weeks, with the launch of the new value packs and a good run of software.

My current hot topic, Operation Abyss is out tomorrow in Japan, alongside western developed WRC 4 World Rally Championship and 5bp's Corpse Party Blood Drive, which should shift a few units between them.

New Operation Abyss screens light on abyss-ness

Good lord, there's a whole massive article on Dengeki with perhaps 25 screens on it, and exactly one of them shows a monster. The rest are your perky colleagues and a couple of the bosses. I know the Japanese love going on about their characters, but really? Show us some action!

Anyway, here's the, umm, action shot! You can see all the pretty people in the main article here. Fortunately, I've covered plenty more stories about this game, with a bit more of the good stuff, as Demon Gaze fans wait eagerly for this to head west.


Experience were also behind Stranger of Sword City, which should be landing on the Vita after debuting on Xbox earlier in the year. All in all, things are looking good for classic JRPGs.

The Toukiden Kiwami limited edition is pretty slick

Toukiden Kiwami, or Extreme if you prefer, will land in Japan next month, and to encourage people to grab this semi-upgrade, there's a decent looking special version aka the Treasure Box from Tecmo Koei with audio CD, book of illustrations, limited edition costumes and cuddly toy along with the game on PSP or Vita. Its quite a pricey bundle at 11,800 yen on Vita (around £68) but


The quality of the content in the game looks pretty hard to question, given all the effort Tecmo is putting in, but will the fans, or new Vita owners, really rush out to buy a modest expansion. Hopefully we'll get this soon in the west and can find out for ourselves. The game releases on 28 August in Japan, check out the recent demo in action here.


Use your Vita to play Class of Heroes 2G on PS3

Class of Heroes 2G is coming to the PS3 next month in the U.S. from MonkeyPaw and Gaijinworks with an exclusive dual-screen feature. Adventurers can use a PSP or Vita to link to the game to display the second screen. That allows players to get constant access to important extra details like in-game maps, comprehensive character status/information and detailed enemy descriptions along with what loot they drop. 

Not only will the second screen offer extra nuggets of valuable information but allow players to control the on-screen action for the game. All the information displayed is still accessible in the game, it just won’t be displayed alongside the action on the screen. Its a shame more developers didn't try and make greater use of cross-screen features between the consoles, but good on MonkeyPaw for trying.


Note, there's a special limited edition boxed version for US gamers on the Monkeypaw site.

Great Edo Blacksmith mag scans from Japan

After all the seductive teasing, here's our first look at Great Edo Blacksmith, Nippon Ichi's get-rich-and-hitched before you die tale of a metal basher. Mag scans are going around on Twitter (thanks Frank) and from the pics it looks like the focus is very much on the ladies today, with the dungeoneering taking a back seat for now.


From the pics, the RPG side does look pretty old-school, but with a proven engine in Criminal Girls, why go changing things around? And, yes, it does seem the flavour of the year, stroking your potential fair maiden gets yet another run out. Will the Japanese ever get bored of this idea, or is it something engrained in their developers that all gamers will want to do? Expect some edits if it does come west!
 


I'll keep an eye out for better screens and images and post those once they break cover.

Citizens of Earth's trailer of hope

Your new Vice President of Earth will now deign to speak to us mortals... in the new trailer from Atlus about the unfortunate real politik this newly elected berk finds himself in. There be monsters, angry wildlife, protests and many other threats to his hairline. How will he solve these troubles? Through delegation, which I guess means finding the right person for the right job.

But looking at the people following him, good choices seem a bit thin on the ground. Developer Eden Industries (whose previous PC game Waveform was a lot simpler, but very stylish and well-rated) looks to be packing in the humour, but will it translate to a worldwide indie hit for Atlus, or will the brash style see it categorised as a mobile game thrown onto console?

With politics such a joke anyway, I wonder if it'll play a little close to the edge, or just stick to the well-trodden plastic parliamentarian approach? Either way, always good to see something new heading to the Vita (and other formats).



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Table Top Racing hits PSN in August, memories of Micro Machines!

Capturing the essence of the Micro Machines game from the Megadrive days is a pretty tall order, but Playrise claim to have cracked it with this fun, cartoonish, miniaturised racer arriving in August on PSN. A little more detail on the PSN blog.


Still not much in the way of a decent action video about the game, but the screens look perky enough, and its looks native res to boot. The developers were part of the WipEout team, so have plenty of pedigree in making a good racer. I'll update the release schedule.

Nippon Ichi's sexy game is all about a Blacksmith

Those tasty calendar style shots of a girl and her Vita from last week were in fact for the new NIS game, Great Edo Blacksmith, about as far from slender ladies as you can get. In fact they do play a role as this blacksmith needs a girl and a load of cash to ensure his legacy, as he has but one year to live.

The game (teaser site still rolling here) is due for Japan in November and sees the historical hammer-timer mining away for the raw materials to create items of value for others to buy. The raw materials, naturally enough, lie in monster infested dungeons that must be cleared out by you and a party of fighters. Which should spice things up a bit.


No pics yet, but some content should be along shortly, with more details promised in this week's Dengeki. Apparently it will be a more male-oriented version of the Criminal Girls game. Those naughty ladies are heading west, so hopefully we'll get our hands on this guy's chopper too.


Freedom Wars getting a boxed release in Europe

In the eighties, the BBC tried to kill of Doctor Who and his little blue box through no-budget production values. Sony has tried the same tactic to kill off Vita sales by limiting what hits the shelves in those oh-so-cute little blue cases, reducing the Vita's visibility even when big sellers are available.


Yet again, gamers have told Sony where to stick it and now EU types will get a pristine boxed copy of Freedom Wars, rather than having to find 3+ GB of space (plus the inevitable patches and DLC) on a memory card for it. Thanks Sony for listening, but you really should know better! Read their full admission on the PSN blog.

Next up on the complaint list is Oreshika 2, and while Europe is at it, how about that Netflix app?


Nice costumes, but the latest Magical High School: Out of Order clip is crap!

Well, I still like the uniforms! But, the snail slow pace of reveals and the lack of any action in this latest Magical High School: Out of Order clip from Bandai Namco clip is really starting to make this game seem very boring indeed!

The only hint of gameplay, running through the forest while your opponent shoots the wrong way looks plain horrible. Still, they've got another three months to fix it all before release. Anyone a fan of this?

What's in your pants? A PlayStation Vita, naturally!

Ah, the Japanese subtlety when it comes to advertising. See what we could have won, if only another couple of million westerners had picked up a Vita! The latest rush of games get a nod too, with Oreshika 2, Freedom Wars, Monster Hunter Frontier, Toukiden and God Eater 2, and of course, he's playing on one of the nice-coloured models!

If anyone ever sees a Vita ad on western TV, let me know because I need some unicorn poop to feed my griffin with. However in the west if some lad whipped out a Vita in the changing room, I'm sure the local jocks would pummel him into oblivion pretty quickly.

The ad marks the start of Sony's Japanese summer campaign, highlighting the 29 games they get to play over the holidays. So, expect lots more clips in a similar vein. In the west, Sony's Vita marketing team (some sad sap called Gerald) will probably hide the last few remaining Vita units in shops' stock rooms and claim it is part of a guerrilla campaign.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sophitia and more join the Warriors Orochi 3 lineup

Ahh, Sophitia, she was always my favourite in Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast, and she's making a welcome appearace in Tecmo's upcoming Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate along with the slightly less legendary Sterkenburg Cranach, Nazha and others. The game will land on 5 September.

UPDATE: The game's official site has gone live with all the info on the story and new characters.



Throwing hundreds of cookie cutter enemies on-screen, you can play as characters, or on levels from the likes of Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warrions, Ninja Gaiden and more, with online modes.

Stranger of Sword City, another Experience RPG headed to Vita?

Missed this somehow, or can't find it anywhere (despite having a nagging feeling I've seen it before), so perhaps it has stalled. But Experience launched an Xbox 360 RPG in Japan, Stranger of Sword City that is also slated to land on the PC and PS Vita, always good news.

It only has a 2014 release date, and will all the troubles at Experience, who knows if it will still happen. However, their other games, like Labryrinth Cross Blood Infinity and Operation Abyss are still coming, so there's hope for this I guess.

Getting around in Labyrinth Cross Blood Infinity

Since so many people have been looking for maps in Demon Gaze, here's the floorplans for the rather similar looking Labyrinth Cross Blood Infinity, also from Experience, which I hope to Hades is coming out for western Vita's as soon as NISA can get the text translated (honestly, don't even both with voice overs!)

If you've imported already and are in need of help, these should get you moving, across the School, Reservoir and River sections.

FLOORS 1-3 (east and west)







Reservoir















River District