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Archive for February, 2010

PSPhone at E3?

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

 

Since the release of the PSP there have been rumour everywhere about a potential PSP/Sony Ericsson smart phone but we have never seen anything. While the Sony Ericsson Aino offered remote play it didn’t even begin to touch the gaming aspect of the PSP or PS3. However comments made by the President of Sony Ericsson, Bert Nordberg have sparked new rumours about this long sought after product finally becoming a reality.  Here’s what he said:

We missed the window for high-end and touchscreen devices big time . . .Part of the recovery will be much better design and closer work with our partner Sony… In the past there was no tie-up between us, the PSP platform and Sony, but you can expect to hear much more about that.

What was that he said? Working with Sony, thats a hint if I ever saw one, while he doesn’t confirm or deny the existance of a PSP Phone he does refer directly to a PSP phone, it at least means it’s on their minds. Now he finishes his statement by saying they will be telling us more soon. How soon? We can only speculate, however there are two major events coming up which may be when an announcement is made, GDC and E3. It is unlikely that there will be any announcement at the Games Developers Conference next month, it’s simply too soon. These comments only came out yesterday and to reveal a product just 3 weeks after is very unorthodox. But you never know, sometimes that’s what Sony is. E3 is a safer bet though, it’s arguably one of the biggest annual gaming expos and because it falls in June it will give Sony and Sony Ericsson time to prepare whatever it is they’ve got. Once again I cannot make accurate predictions simply because there isn’t much that I and everyone else knows, especially in regards to where this mystery product is in the development process. Is it ready to manufacture? Or is it only at the concept stage? We just don’t know.

But whenever this product is announced what will it be? Will it be an upgraded Sony Aino, not a PSP Phone but one that does have some PS3 and PSP functionality? Or a fully fledged PSP/Smart phone combo? Some how I think it’s unlikely to be the latter of the two, maybe I’m just being skeptical, let down by all the other hints and rumours left by Sony and the gaming industry but the PSP Phone feels like something that will never happen. I just don’t believe Sony would take such a gamble, they’re just scraping back the money invested in the PS3 and PSP, why risk it all again? I think Sony will be playing it safe for a while yet but you never know, Sony is like your crazy uncle. You’re not sure what he’s going to do next, many times he does something disastrous  but occasionally he pleasantly surprises you with something entertaining.

Bad metaphors aside, here is what I think will happen in a nutshell. They’re will be a small hint at something at GDC. No picture or any other details, maybe a title if we’re lucky. Then at E3 they will make a full announcement. The PSPhone is being developed and we’ll get a couple of pictures as well as some tech specs. It’ll look something like this:

While it’s not the do it all smart phone we hoped for, it does allow you to play PSP Minis stored on you’re PS3 as well as featuring remote play for movies, pictures and other media. On top of that you will be able to access the social functions of the PS3 and PSP. Accessing you’re friends list and being able to use messaging and chat rooms.

So what are your thoughts? Will we be seeing a PSP phone anytime soon? Leave a comment.

Bioshock 2 Review

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

The sequel of the critically aclaimed Bioshock by 2K Marin and Irational, Bioshock 2, is the new release of this month… or 2. From the developers of the first game, the studios expand from 2 to 5 studios. 2K Marin, Digital Extremes, which do the multiplayer, 2K Australia, 2K China, and Arkane Studios were brought together to create this amazing sequel. Bioshock 2 combines the gunplay of the first game with some interesting story arcs to create a truly competent experience. And since I have not played the first game, there is no bias in the review. Hit the jump for the review.

Read The Review

Warner buys famed developer Rocksteady

February 23, 2010 1 comment

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Today Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group announced that it had purchased the majority stock in the up and coming Rocksteady, a studio best known for summer blockbuster Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Read more…

Fable III will allow you to import your character and ‘touch’ people

February 22, 2010 1 comment

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Peter Molyneux announced in an interview at X10 that owners of the previous game in the series will be able to import their Fable 2 save file to Fable 3 when it hits stores this fall. Although it won’t have as crucial of an impact, seeing as you are only importing your character as the father or mother of the new hero, you could speculate that your new avatar might posses some abilities from the the get go that have been genetically passed down to him/her by heroic parent.

Click the “more” tag for more info on Fable 3 and my thoughts on  Lionhead’s baby. Read more…

Categories: 360, Microsoft, natal Tags: , , , , , ,

ACII DLC: Bonfire of the Vanities

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

The second and final piece of DLC for Assassin’s Creed 2 has just been released this Thursday on the Xbox Live marketplace and PSN. However two versions are up for purchase: The standard version that comes with the 10 memories or the deluxe version that includes 3 secret templar locations, previously only available in the special Black edition of Assassin’s Creed 2. The normal version is priced at $4 or about £3 and the deluxe version at $6.50 or about £5. Both versions include 10 new memories, a new area of Florence and a new move, the spring-jump. This chapter is all about trying to get back the piece of Eden stolen by the monk Savonaralo who is now using it to control Florence.  I bought the deluxe edition simply because I loved the interior/Assassin’s Tomb sections in AC2 and wanted more for, what I though was, a reasonable price. 

As I said before this DLC is about mainly about taking down Savonaralo. So you meet with your friend Machiavelli who fills you in on the situation; Savonaralo is using the piece of Eden to take control of various figures of mild power and influence to take control of the rest of the citizens for Florence. He’s then got all of them to get all the books and paintings and burn them in large bonfires, hence the name.  You then get round to plotting, Savonaralo is too powerful to get so you decide to go after his lieutenants, 9 in total. With them dead he should lose influence and the disgruntled citizens should do the rest. Cue 9 assassination missions. Now when this first popped up I sighed, my bad experience with the assassination missions in AC2 had left a bitter taste in my mouth but I was pleasantly surprised. I expected 9 very repetitive, unexciting and overall short lived missions but what I got was quite the contrary. The 9 assassinations missions come in a variety of forms: some you can just charge in while other have to be done without being spotted. There were two especially fun missions. One was a stealth mission, your target was on a boat and you had to swim around and pull people off the sides without the others spotting you. I required timing and skill but was very fun. The other one was the polar opposite. You start the mission in a closed off square, your target spots you and sends down his guards. once you kill them you climb a ladder to the roof of a church and have a massive sword fight on the roof, before killing your target. All I can say was, apart from being incredibly fun, it also looked epic, like something straight from Hollywood. The other 7 missions are good too, but these were my personal favourites. Once you have killed all 9 men the citizens rebel and send Savonaralo to a fiery death. That leaves you free to grab the piece of Eden before heading off on your mission to Rome.

Now game also unlocks the southern district of Florence, separated by the river Arno. It roughly half the size of Florence but is interesting enough. The DLC also features a new move the “spring-jump”. I was actually quite excited about this. I, like many others, had hoped it would be some new type of assassination move, where you spring across a plaza and stab your target in the face before you can say “renaissance”! The move, unfortunately, is basically a jump. Only it’s a jump that propels you slightly further (<—sarcasm)!  It’s very underwhelming, and that’s only added to by the fact it can only be done from certain flag polls that only appear in the southern district of Florence. So it’s an unexciting move that can’t be used in about 90% of the games, very disappointing.

I’m now going to go into the 3 secret locations you get with deluxe version of the DLC. The first is the Palazzo Medici, the home of the Medici family which has been invaded by Templars. Your mission is to rescue Lorenzo Medici from his treasure room (it’s a hard life) before the Templars get to him. This level is great fun, balancing platforming and combat perfectly. The second is the Santa Maria de Frarii, a church in Venice. It’s a level built entirely around climbing around the churches masonry in order to find yet another treasure room. This level is again good fun but does get a little repetitive especially after playing through some of the other Assassin’s tomb missions in ACII. The final mission is in the dry docks of Venice, called the Arsenal Shipyard. This is again a balance of platforming and combat as you make your way through drains and over half built ships. This was again a really fun mission, if not for the fairly good free running then for the enviroment. Over all I’d say these 3 locations are worth the extra £2 or $2.50. While they don’t add that much gameplay time the level are incredibly fun to play and are at some points quite a challenge. Even if the goal, the treasure rooms, do get very boring.

Overall quite good, it adds a good chunk of story and the assassination missions are some of the best in the game. It will keep you entertained for at least 2-3 hours and for any of you that have cold feet about the last DLC pack, do not fear, I’d recommend at least getting the basic version and if you enjoyed the Assassin’s tomb mission get the deluxe version.

Microsoft to Cancel Xbox Live (No not Xbox 360 Live, Xbox Xbox Live)

February 14, 2010 Leave a comment

That’s right Microsoft has announced it’s going to axe the original Xbox Live. In a post on his blog, Major Nelson has said that the service will be stopped on the 15th of April meaning you will not be able to play any online multiplayer games on the console. You will also not be able to play the multiplayer of backwards compatible games on your 360.Now you’ll have noticed that in the title I refered to Microsoft as M$. Something that is commonly associated with a Sony fanboy, calling out their “arch-enemy” for trying to rob their customers of every last penny. And that name has never been more appropriate. Let me explain. The reason for the services discontinuation, according to Major Nelson: Read more…

The Indie Love Bundle

February 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Since it’s almost Valentines day, everyone is feeling the love, especially some indie developers. Right now, through the next 6 days, you can get: And Yet It Moves, Auditorium, Aztaka, Eufloria, Machinarium, and Osmos. The pack’s total value adds up to $85, but you can get it for a limited time for only $20! If you can hurry, you can get the bundle at TheIndieBundle.com. Hope you get to it in time, and Happy Valentines Day!