Thursday, May 28, 2015

Extreme Dimension Tag Blanc + Neptune VS Zombie Army trailer

Borrowing from Hyperdimension and who knows what else, the recently announced 'Extreme Dimension Tag Blanc + Neptune VS Zombie Army' is on its way to Japan thanks to Compile Heart. This trailer doesn't really give much away in the gameplay stakes, except more battling in the vein of Neptunia U Action Unleashed, this time with a multiplayer element and a horde of zombies.

With Hyperdimension rapidly becoming the single biggest franchise on the Vita, I hope you like those squeaky voices and big eyes!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Assault Android Cactus gets a new trailer

The Vita version is slated for later this year, but I'll happily wait for 2016, if it can come out on handheld looking as polished and smooth as the PC version. The top-down 3D twin-stick shooter from Witch Beam looks simply stunning and with great pacing. Add in a bunch of great characters, cleverly designed levels on that monster space craft, and we're definitely looking at a hit.

Night City Assault kicking it on Kickstarter

Fans of Streets of Rage, Double Dragon, Renegade and other eighties brawlers will be on familiar territory with Xtra Mile's brawler with a metroidvania twist. The game has just popped up on Kickstarter and needs $115,000 Aussie to hit the Vita stretch goal.

Check out the full list of Vita Kickstarter campaigns for this and many more that represent much of the Vita's future line-up, if funded.

Shhh, don't wake the sleeping Japanese gamers (latest chart)

Japan's early summer slump with the Vita and Vita TV selling a few hundred more than last week, just behind the PS4 but ahead of the New 3DS LL according to Media Create. Overall, its oh so quiet. with a couple of niche Vita games entering the chart. Ironically Minecraft on Vita is now back up to No. 2, continuing its strong sales run.

01./00. [PS4] The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (Spike Chunsoft)  67.385 / NEW
02./03. [PSV] Minecraft: PlayStation Vita Edition (Sony)  11.898 / 167.176
04./00. [PSV] Lovely x Cation 1 & 2 # (5pb.)  - 6.835 / NEW

08./00. [PSV] Abunai: Koi no Sousa Shitsu - Eternal Happiness # (Asgard)  - 4.266 / NEW

Sony writes off the Vita, in black and white

Sony's plans for 2015 and beyond do not include the PlayStation Vita, that's made clear in the company's new strategy document. Also, Sony CEO Andrew House described it to investors as a "legacy device" which is polite talk for "dead as some doo-doo."

UPDATE: Sony has tried to backtrack on Andy's comment, saying basically, "legacy" only meant the first-gen Vita write offs, and it will continue to support the new Vita 2000 and PS TV. But with no Vita news in their presentation, and no new games under development, that will trigger the bullshit alarm in all of us. Also, Andy House is a shrewd dude who knows what's he talking about, so I'd believe his comment over generic anonymous PR hack!

While the main focus is on PlayStation 4, and rightly so, instead of keeping the Vita running, Sony is risking its PS4-driven recovery with huge bets on services like:
  • Playstation Vue (since most people already have a Netflix, Amazon Prime or a cable on-demand service, why would they want a late-to-the-market effort?)
  • Project Morpheus (no one has made money on VR yet and there's a good chance that Sony will be a high profile casualty if this comes out as over-priced and catalogue limited)
  • PlayStation Now (only viable when it has a massive subscriber base due to the massive infrastructure costs, and with Sony treating it like a drip-feed service rather than an a la carta menu, that won't happen). 
The only mention of the Vita in Sony's bumper fun investment booklet is in the recent write-off of assets. So, while Sony may keep it running in a holding pattern for Japan, expect no investment whatsoever in the west. That's already happening with indies focusing on PS4 only, Cross Play rapidly becoming redundant and all effort from a few third parties. 

Of course, Sony could be holding back anything it wants to announce at E3 from this report, but the chances of anything major Vita-related coming out of that are next to nothing. Instead, as most of us know, the future is niche, but the Vita's life is far from over, just because its creator doesn't love it anymore. 

Visual novel Norn9 coming west from Idea Factory

While the world and dog waits for next week's Steins;Gate release, it looks like other publishers are smelling money in the visual novel market. Idea Factory is bringing us Norn9: Var Commons, something I'd never heard of before, so it must be pretty niche? Or maybe Otome fans have been crying out for this?

There's a PSN blog post up with some details, with a fantasy world of mixed-era technology and three girls in need of answers trapped on a boat full of mysterious passengers. While I like the idea of some top-end visual novels coming west, I hope the Vita doesn't become a shovel magnet for them. Is this high-end story telling?

The game will be retail and digital in the States, digital only in Europe.

New Looney Tunes Galactic Sports trailer

From the lofty reaches of the PlayStation New Zealand YouTube channel comes a new trailer for those crazed Warner Brothers characters, with six events its definitely one for the kids, with archery, space racing, water tubing and more. It certainly looks bright enough, and will probably be a pack-in title for any Vita summer campaign Sony might offer bored kids on their holidays.

Note, the game is now onsale in the UK for £19.99 on PSN, nice marketing plan there Sony! You can pick up a physical edition from Amazon at £30, but stock is limited, as in there probably wasn't much to start with.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What would a theoretical PS Vita 2 need to sell?

Purely hypothetical, since I'm pretty sure its never going to happen, except for a more realistic PlayStation 4 Portable remote play device. However, if Sony were planning a second-generation Vita, what hardware would it sport, and what features would it need to support?

Let's start off with social sharing, and pause for reflection on why Sony didn't do it with the original Vita? Imagine three years ago, if your gaming friends' Twitter feeds were suddenly flooded with spectacular looking game pics from a portable device. That could have made quite a difference to the Vita's fortunes. So, if there is a second model, then a Share button, so successful on the PS4, should be front and center to instantly send in-game pics (and possibly video, depending on the hardware) to your Facebook and Twitter followers as a gimme.

Avengers Unite

Many developers are moving to Unity 5, and the Vita can't cut it with its years old hardware, despite being listed as a supported platform. So, any new hardware spec will have to provide support for the majority of Unity 5's features. The Vita's ARM Cortex A9 can be replaced by the A15 or the new A57 for greater power and efficiency performance. Add a little "+" magic from Sony and we get top notch gaming again, and even smaller developers adopting Unity should be keen to port!

While I'm not expecting the Vita to play all those supercool real time demos that the latest engines like to show off, by turning down the shaders, physics and some of the glossier effects, any new Vita generation should be able to cope. Naturally, that means a full HD screen to keep up with the smartphones of this world and going back to OLED as a premium device.

Do the Android

Make way for Android support. The Vita might be largely uncracked thanks to its security systems, but the lack of apps and software means that any future Vita needs a major boost. Enter Android with a metric whoop-ass of apps and games. Sony could partition the system or make it pure Android, but either way, the feeble social media app support and lack of content apps were criminal Vita omissions, as if anyone was going to subscribe to Sony Music and Video services!

Fix the WiFi

One of the most appalling features of the Vita was its slow download performance, and the horribly experience some people have had with remote play. Any next Vita will need a kick-ass smart WiFi chipset for constant streaming performance.

Sort the Storage

Some gimpy accountant at Sony rubs his hands in glee, whenever they sell a Vita memory card. His hands fell off through frostbite years ago! The idea never worked and while it may have prevented piracy, it helped kill the system. Whatever comes next, from a tiny SSD drive to plain old SD cards, Sony must learn that lesson. While we're axing things, the Vita is a games machine, it doesn't need cameras or touchpads, use the space for some killer portable speakers, PS4 compatible thumbsticks and triggers, and do things properly.

What else would you add to your ideal next-next-gen portable? Remember, its only a dream!

Holy crap, some movement in the UK Vita chart

Having recently said I wouldn't bother with the retail chart anymore as it bears no relevance to the typical Vita owner, compared to the PSN download Top Sellers, there's a stirring among the upper reaches of the chart.

Check out my review of Neptunia U and there are plenty of YouTube clips of Disney Infinity 2.0 in action. Will the Disney title stick around the upper reaches of the charts long enough for Disney to continue to support it? Guess we'll find out. Despite its arrival on the Vita, DI2 fell six places in the all formats chart, so I'm guessing sales were in the 100s, not 1,000s.

2 = FIFA 15 EA SPORTS 2 35

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2015 UKIE Ltd

Monday, May 25, 2015

Net High teaser from Japan's Marvelous

Meet a couple of the heroes who will feature in Marvelous' new PS Vita game, Net High. The game's official site is live, and puts them in a future where those with vibrant 'Tweeter' accounts get extra money, the best jobs and other perks.

Naturally, those without good social reputations are ignored. But they are fighting back by hunting down the lies spouted by the big wigs who are embellishing their online personas. By engaging in a flame war, you can bring them down while boosting your own ranking.

Not much idea how this will play out, but its a cool idea and as a Vita exclusive, sounds like it could be a clever riff on the Danganronpa formula.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dancing All Night cast enjoy a little cross-dressing

And why not? The Persona 4 crew are swapping costumes in this latest trailer (just release the game already dammit!). Dancing All Night is still a few weeks from launch, and recent trailers have checked out the minor characters making an appearance and the girls in their swimwear.

What next? It won't be beyond Atlus to tie in some crossover content from mech or sci fi games, just to help churn out a little more DLC. Will there be an international pack for the global DLC with some dodgy foreign use of international dress?

Updated EU Vita PSN Top Sellers, Helldivers wins!

The top sellers this week on the European Vita store show Helldivers popping back into the No. 1 spot with their bundle offer, deposing Shovel Knight. The 'chart' is also back up to 10 games strong, not sure what happened last week. Need for Speed and Another World are on sale, well worth picking up.

1. HellDivers Heat Bundle (Sony)
2. Shovel Knight (Yacht Club)
3. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (Bandai Namco)
4. Need for Speed Most Wanted (EA)
5. Minecraft (Mojang)
6. Another World (Digital Lounge)
7. FIFA 15 (EA)
8. Broken Age (Double Fine)
9. Hotline Miami 2 (Devolver)
7. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD (Square)

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3: V Generation western trailer

Arriving late June, It’s time to Nep-Nep like it’s 1989. Neptune’s been sucked into an alternate dimension of Gamindustri! In order for her to escape from this late ‘80s world, Neptune will have to collect enough shares to open up the path to her own dimension. Sounds easy enough – except a nefarious alliance called the Seven Sages wants to rid Gamindustri of all CPUs, including Neptune!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Latest Airship Q gameplay clip

I've been wading through the indie release list, checking what's still coming, what's quietly died on the vine, and what's made some progress. First of these, and most notable for being the largest profiles Japanese indie is Airship Q from Miracle. Check out the latest gameplay clip from a couple of days ago.

The feline themed sandbox game mixes crafting adventuring and battling airships in the sky. It still only has a "2015" release date, but should be nearing completion.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Samurai Warriors 4 II battling to the Vita this October

Koei has announced Samurai Warriors 4-II will hit the Vita in October. A hero-focused saga, it tells the stories of the series' noble warriors through 13 new chapters. These chapters revolve around nine characters introduced in Samurai Warriors 4, three fan-favourites from previous titles and a brand new addition (Naomasa Ii - pictured) to the samurai roster.

The game will feature many new and improved features as the battle, action and character development systems have been revamped. It also introduces a highly challenging and richly rewarding mode called: the Endless Castle. Players can choose to enter and struggle to survive for as long as possible, or to play against the clock and see how far they can get up the castle’s increasingly difficult levels!