Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ars Tactica taking turns on your Vita

Ars Tactica looks like a game following in the many Tactics titles (Final Fantasy, Ragnarok, etc) that found a home on the PSP. Bringing things up to date, Ars Tactica, offers turn-based strategy and combat set around an isometric 3D grid.

The title is being developed by Alpaca games and has a Twitter account and Facebook page offering up pics and more info. It is coming to PC and Vita, thanks to Unity, sometime soon we'd like to hope.

Thanks to Vagabond for the hint.

Sony boosting Vita production to combat stock issues in Japan

When the western Sony big cheeses were crowing about the PS4's 7 million sales, there was not a twitter about the poor old Vita, slogging away, selling 10,000 a month in the States, if you believe NPD. In Japan, however, its a different story (now matching the 3DS) with Sony's President Hiroshi Kono offering up the following nugget:
Hello, everyone. The other day, we announced in this blog, the actual sales across the whole world has surpassed 7 million units in total for "PlayStation 4" (PS4) I think this is greatly down to your support, thank you very much. Thanks, In Japan, in addition to PS4, PlayStation Vita also is very popular and is enjoying sales so that supply can not keep up, causing out of stock in some shops. 
We apologize for the inconvenience, so we have now an adjustment in order to meet the demand, thank you for your patience. 
That's been lightly edited for clarity, but with PS4 sales pretty low due to the lack of games, I'm confident he means the Vita, so it sounds like a hike in production is underway of the 2000 model (or perhaps returning unsold western 1000 units and repackaging them?), which will help sales rise further. I do love in the comments that people are asking for 128Gb and even 256Gb memory cards.

Mind Zero gets a translated developer diary

Aksys is bringing Acquire's paranormal mystery game, Mind Zero, to western Vita owners this summer. Rather than spout on, they're translating the developer's own words about what actually looks like a pretty stock dungeon crawler.

The game did pretty tamely in Japan, and really failed to stand out beyond the few real-world video clips, I mean the one bit gameplay you'd choose to use when showing a game off isn't plain text in an empty classroom? Okay, it gets more exciting in the last few seconds, but is anyone overly hyped for this?

From the developer: Mind Zero is a dungeon crawler RPG for the Vita that pits high school students in the middle of a war between our world and the mysterious and dangerous “Inner Realm”! Play as Kei, a Japanese high school student, who suddenly becomes a minder, a human who can control a MIND, an otherworldly creature with powerful skills. With the government and other minders hot on their tail, will Kei survive, or will his own MIND consume him and be his end?

Chain Chronicle V, PS Vita, 2014!

Is pretty much what this video says. The game is also for iOS and Android, making my worry slightly. Apparently, the game is a mini JRPG that's heavy on the combat. The Vita version will feature the same story and gameplay, with some extra characters and scripts.

In the game, players recruit characters into an army in order to defeat the menacing Black Army.

Ah, found a gameplay clip which explains a lot more. The game's name derives from the interlocking relationships among this vast cast of more than 200 characters. Akira Ishida voices 46 of the characters, and Ai Nonaka, Shiori Mikami, Ayane Sakura, Maaya Uchida, and Kotori Koiwai also have roles.

Sony removes your right to play games!

After the maintenance and surprise move to open up previously unplayable PSOne and PSP games on the Vita. Someone at Sony has had a hissy fit and revoked the changes, so now if you missed out, you can't download certain games on the Vita. If you got them, then well done, you! Sony on the other hand is missing the point.

Rule one of customer experience, don't give people something and then take it away.

Rule two of customer experience, if you make a mistake explain about it, don't muck about behind the scenes.

Rule three.... see Rule one.

I see no official word from Sony about what's happening here. It can't be a licensing issue, as the games were already there. At best we can hope that someone jumped the gun. At worst, Sony has just shown they can do something that benefits users and has decided to take it away again, cue toys out of prams and a minor shit storm out of what could have been a beautiful thing. But, Sony's good at producing that sort of result, so we're kind of used to it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Monster Hunter Frontier G gets collaborating

While we wait for Capcon's olde online monster hunting game to arrive on the Vita, and then get its arse over to the west, the Japanese team is still churning out content for the existing PC and console versions.

Watch in amazement as a dragon protected only by giant blotchy pixels is attacked by the team from Attack on Titan (looking very Battlestar Galactica, chaps), then go wow as the Infinite Stratos team do a little song and dance. I guess all this content will hopefully come to the Vita, if you like that sort of thing. Otherwise, is there any point in releasing the game on the Vita at all?

Vita still top in Japan on falling sales

Vita hardware sales remain above the 3DS in Japan this week according to Media Create. But with the country having very much an off-week and little in the way of new releases (is there an annual "turn off that console day" in Japan?, there isn't much good news to shout about with Vita sales dipping below 20,000 for the first time in a couple of months.

The Vita is just below 18,000 while the 3DS slips below 15,000. Sword Art Online and the new BlazBlue are out tomorrow in Japan, so should provide a boost to the Vita's numbers next week. Expect the 3DS to do very well though, as Nintendo is running a free game offer with console sales.

The following week after that is Golden Week which sees a big sales boost for portable gadgets as lots of Japanese go travelling. After that summer hell commences and sales will struggle without a big name game to provide a lift.

Another World 20th Anniversary will party on the Vita

Delphine's 16-bit hit, designed by Eric Chahi, is back for its 20th (um 23rd actually) birthday. The lovingly rotoscoped platform adventure was a massive award-winning title at the time and made it to most formats, with a recent PC HD edition arriving a couple of years back, which also made it to iOS.

That is likely the version, with further improvements, to hit consoles including the Vita soon. Should look really smooth on the small screen.

Muramasa and Golf teeing off on PS+ in May

Funky and stunningly drawn arcade game Muramasa Rebirth from Marvelous (localised by Aksys) leads the way on the Vita's EU PS+ collection in May, ably abetted by the consigned-to-the-bargain bin Everybody's Golf, although there's plenty of neat DLC for it.

What that does make me wonder is what is developer Clap Hanz doing now? It dabbled with Tennis on the PSP and those fun Stress Buster mini games, then uprated Golf for the PS3. But what are they working on next?  Their last product appears to have been a smartphone Smart Golf game, but surely they have something bigger in the pipe?

Danganronpa 2 dated for September

Have you survived the perils of Danganronpa Trigger Happy Havoc (review) yet? Have you made it through the trials and tribulations of the students and the psycho bear? Then regroup and rest up over the summer because he's back for more in September. NIS America has put an early September date on the sequel for the US, with an EU date probably not far behind.

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair packs the students off to a tropical island called Jabberwock and runs through the same type of mad student escapades, murders and trials. Can't wait to see what lunacy is thrown at us this time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Need help navigating Demon Gaze? Try these maps

I don't usually do hints and tips, preferring to slog my way through games the old-fashioned way. However, as my review of Demon Gaze points out, its pretty easy to miss a turn or hidden passage that can leave you scratching your head and pretty much stumped or bumbling around looking for the one next step.

Check out these maps of the early levels which should help you find the missing bits in the likes of Red City, Slave Grave, Star Curtain, the White Garden and Neptune's Lair.

Sorry for the Japanese, but click on a pic to enlarge and you should be able to figure out where's where on each map and how to get to the bits you can't get to. I'll post the later maps sometime in future, so no one can accuse me of going spoiler mad.

Star Wars: Masters of the Force table homes in on Zen Pinball

We've already seen videos of Chewbacca in action and those loveable Droids for the new set of Zen Pinball 2 tables. Seems the team aren't done, throwing in a fourth table alongside the New Hope episode.

Adding some Jedi masters to the mix, Masters of the Force focuses on the lightsabre wielding ones and their mysterious ways. If only you could guide your pinball around the table with some force-like powers!

One Piece Unlimited Red coming in Limited edition

For all the sense that title makes, here you go. One Piece: Unlimited World Red is coming to the PlayStation Vita (and other formats) in July! Namco has announced a Day One Edition that includes DLC costumes for Luffy, Nami, Sanji, Chopper, Zoro, Usopp, Franky, Robin, and Brook. This edition (format not specified) will also include an additional quest for players to enjoy! The Day One Edition will be available at launch while supplies last. Here's some new screens to enjoy.

Sword Art Online heading west this summer

The manga-based Vita game, subtitled Hollow Fragment, is just about to explode onto shelves in Japan, but Bandai Namco (to use its new silly revised name) has promised a western translation this summer. The game (plenty of news here) was a massive hit on the PSP first time around, and Namco must hope the Vita version will do just as well.

It is only getting a digital release in the west, but we can't argue at getting an online party RPG. Sword Art Online on the PSP sold nearly 140,000 copies in its opening week. Would be good to see the Vita version do as well when it launches in Japan on Thursday. Following on from the Tales of Hearts R news, looks like the Vita will have a happy JRPG summer.

The Walking Dead Season 2 gets a Vita trailer

You know, they're probably lobbing stock console footage over that Vita screen. Anyway, if you've managed to ignore the big-screen versions, here's what The Walking Dead Season Two should look like on a Vita with Clementine growing up into a well-rounded human being, under the circumstances. Episodes 1 and 2 are out this week.