PS3 Attitude

PlayStation 3 news, views, reviews and interviews from PS3 Attitude - a daily news site with bite! 100% philanthropic website - all revenues derived are donated to charity...

PS3 Attitude

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

PS3 Attitude Anniversary Competition; win games and gear

As you may know, we turned one year old last Sunday.

During the past 12 months, we've met a lot of great people in the videogame industry.

Of the various publishers and PR people we have worked with in order to bring you previews, reviews and information, two have stood out due to their attention, assistance and involvement - Ubisoft and Vivendi Games.

In addition to being all-round good eggs, the guys and gals at both Ubisoft and Vivendi have offered PS3 Attitude a bumper crop of goodies to give away this week by way of saying 'thank you' to all our loyal readers.

Could you be one of the lucky five people to win these great gift packs?

From Ubisoft, we have 2 gift packs containing the following:

A copy of Haze for the PS3
A Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 steel drinks mug
A Haze mini torch
A Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2 poker set
A Haze notebook

From Vivendi, we have 3 gift packs containing the following:

A copy of Timeshift for the PS3
A copy of FEAR for the PS3
A copy of The Bourne Conspiracy for the PS3
A Bourne Conspiracy t-shirt

Our special thanks go to Pete, Korina and Lucy for all their help this year, and for offering these brilliant prizes.

Here's the FAQs:

How do I enter the competition?

Simple. All you have to do to for a chance of winning is sign up for our email update. Click the 'Email' button on the left sidebar (or you can click here also), enter your details and then confirm you want to sign up in the verification email that you'll receive.

Then, when you get your next email update (which goes out at around 11:00 a.m. UK time each day) you'll see confirmation that you have entered.

Only 'verified' email subscribers will be entered. That means if you sign up and don't see a verification email appear soon after in your inbox, check your spam folder. Adding news [at] ps3attitude [dot] com to your 'whitelist' or contact list will also help.

What if I'm an RSS subscriber?

That's fine - please continue to subscribe to our RSS feed. It is your way of staying in touch with the news as it happens, since the RSS feed updates each time we send out a story.

But to enter the competition, you need to subscribe to our daily email summary by following the instructions above.

What if I already subscribe via email?

You are automatically entered into this and all future PS3 Attitude competitions! If you stay subscribed, you'll gain a place in every future giveaway.

What is the prize?

Five lucky email subscribers (picked at random by our 'supercomputer') will win one of the Ubisoft or Vivendi gift packs detailed above. The packs will be allocated at random.

Who is the competition open to?

All PS3 Attitude email subscribers worldwide.

When will the winner be chosen?

We'll be picking a single winner from the current list of email subscribers on Saturday, 19th July 2008. The prizes will be sent out within 28 days of the 19th July 2008. Once chosen, we contact all winners to ask if we can use their name on the site. If we cannot contact you via email after two weeks, we reserve the right to allocate your prize to another randomly chosen winner.


Good luck, and look out for more anniversary news and announcements this week.

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Thursday, 12 June 2008

European PS Store update for 12th June

Looks like the MGS Effect is in full swing, since the European update is nothing to write home about for once.

Yes, there are a couple of demos, but we expect that since the biggest PS3 exclusive of the year just hit the streets, the guys at SCEE are too busy playing MGS to worry about the PS Store! The demo of Quake Wars will, at least, let you know why we thought it was worthy of the Big Three award in May...

Here's the (full) list:

Demos (all free)

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars [PS3 Attitude Big Three title]
Monster Madness

Add-ons

Guitar Hero III - Isle of Wight track pack (£3.99)

Videos (all free)

Haze interviews - two videos with Korn frontman Jonathan Davis
Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer

Wallpapers and Themes (all free)

Pixeljunk Monsters (x2)

Now, get back to finding all those MGS4 secrets...

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Thursday, 5 June 2008

Haze viral video tool is ridiculously good

Ubisoft have released the best viral video tool we have seen in many a year.

During the setup process you're asked about the friend you want to send it to. Once you've given the details (age range, build, talent etc.) you get to upload a picture of the 'victim' - don't worry about the size since they let you crop it on-site.

You also choose a 'spoof video', where in the UK they live and their occupation.

The tool then gives you a preview of the video.

It starts with the spoof video you've sent, but then the 'transmission' is interrupted and you're treated to a highly personalised rebel recruitment feed, where they even hold up your picture.

What's more, if you add in your friend's mobile number, they'll get a text message that is referenced in the video! Smart.

Really impressive stuff - go create your own Haze recruitment video and send it to your friends...

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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

GameFlirt Most Wanted chart for May

Exclusive to PS3 Attitude, we bring you the monthly 'most wanted' PS3 charts at GameFlirt

GameFlirt are one of the UK's top games rental companies, and you won't find this information anywhere else - not even at the GameFlirt website.

Like the often seen Netflix charts for US movie titles, it's a great indicator of what's hot in the PS3 community.

Haze has taken over as the number one rental, pushing Assassin's Creed into second place, which is unsurprising following the wide range of scores the game received. The rest of the current rental chart remains the same, with Ridge Racer being pushed off the Top 5 by Haze's arrival.

Metal Gear Solid 4 remains the number one pre-rent title and both Race Driver: GRID and Top Spin 3 enter the chart to replace Haze and GTA: IV. GTA: IV only remained on the chart for one month and the game hasn't appeared in a current rental slot, which indicates that pretty much everyone decided to buy rather than rent.

Here are the charts in full.

Top 5 current rentals year-to-date:

1 - Haze
2 - Assassin's Creed
3 - Blacksite
4 - Unreal Tournament III
5 - Devil May Cry 4



Top 5 pre-ordered games for April:

1 - Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
2 - Mercenaries 2
3 - Race Driver: GRID
4 - Top Spin 3
5 - Monster Madness


Many thanks to GameFlirt for providing the data.

Click any of the links to visit GameFlirt for more details and to rent or pre-rent the titles. As a thank you to our readers anyone who signs up for the GameFlirt service via these links will receive 10 days free rental.

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Monday, 26 May 2008

Haze Week winners; congratulations...

Thanks to everyone who got involved with our Haze Week competition.

We're pleased to announce the following three PS3 Attitude email subscribers as the winners of our competition:

  • Sascha Taylor-Curtis from London, UK
  • Alison Serdet from Chichester, West Sussex, UK
  • "A T" from Surbiton, Surrey, UK

Congratulations to the three winners, one of whom will get an extra surprise when they receive their Haze prize - a signed copy of the game.

Remember to stay subscribed to our email summary (available on the 'Email' link in the sidebar) to gain automatic entry to all our 2008 competitions.

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Friday, 23 May 2008

Haze Week; wrap-up, re-cap and meta-review

That was Haze Week. We hope you enjoyed it, because apart from letting you know who won the Haze games and goodies - including the signed copy of the game - it's all over...

Firstly, here's a quick re-cap of the stories we ran, in case you missed anything:

5 things you may not know about Haze
Monday news wrap-up
Interview with Rob Yescombe and Derek Littlewood
Tuesday news wrap-up
PS3 Attitude's multiplayer review
Wednesday news wrap-up
Thursday news wrap-up
The PS3 Attitude review

During the week, it was the reviews of Haze that got the most attention across the blogosphere and at sites like N4G. The fuss all started when IGN gave Haze 4.5/10, and other sites quickly followed in their wake.

Our review has been well received and we've been told that some see it as a kind of antidote to the madness. The comments we got at N4G have been well-received, and we would like to thank everyone for letting us know we're going in the right direction. As you may have spotted by now PS3 Attitude don't give scores - we just tell you how it is and let you decide for yourself.

Of course, review scores are the staple diet of other sites and magazines, so here's a round-up of how Haze did elsewhere (all scores normalised to a percentage):

90 - PSM Italy
85 - Famitsu
71 - PSM3 Magazine UK
70 - GamePro
70 - GameDaily
70 - Total Video Games
65 - IGN UK
65 - Gamer's Hell
63 - Game Informer
62 - IGN AU
62 - Cheat Code Central
60 - VideoGamer
60 - GameTap
60 - GameSpot
58 - The Onion (A.V. Club)
55 - GameZone
50 - Hardcore Gamer Magazine
45 - IGN
40 - Giant Bomb
40 - G4 TV
40 - GameSpy
40 - EuroGamer

That gives us an average of just over 60% and if you were to press us on the issue, we'd say that is not a completely fair reflection. But ultimately, it is you, the consumer, who has to make up your own mind. If you're not sure, then why not rent it. If you like it, buy it.

One thing is for sure - you'll catch me playing online when I'm not on GTA: IV, but I can't promise anything after Metal Gear Solid arrives!

Our thanks go to Ubisoft and Free Radical for the great prizes they offered our readers and the previews that enabled us to put Haze Week together.

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Haze Week; and the winners are...

Haze Week is almost over at PS3 Attitude, and it's been a blast.

There are just two more stories left to deal with, and one of those is the announcement of the three people who have won our biggest ever prize.

You'll remember that we had a copy of Haze plus a box full of nectar-induced goodies to give away, but that one of the copies of the game was special; it has been signed by the creators at Free Radical.

The competition is now closed, and details of the winners will be announced here soon.

Remember, if you stay subscribed to our daily email summary, you will gain automatic entry to all our 2008 competitions. If you do decide to unsubscribe, the opposite is true and you will count yourself out of any future competitions in 2008, even if you subscribe again later.

Keep an eye out for the names of our winners in the near future - was it you?

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Haze Week; the PS3 Attitude review

It's the year 2048, and the world is not a happy place.

Mantel Corporation are the Microsoft, Oracle or EA of the future. A huge behemoth swallowing everyone up in their wake, purely in the name of profit and shareholder value. As well as producing a range of half-decent weapons, they have a performance-enhancing drug up their sleeves - Nectar.

As a Mantel Trooper named Shane Carpenter, it is your job to stop the 'ethnic cleansing' being performed by members of a rebel group - The Promised Hand. Nectar offers you the edge you need to defeat the 'evil' rebels by giving you unique capabilities, such as Nectar Foresight which warns you of impending explosions or Nectar Focus; a kind of auto-zoom for your gun sight that helps lock on to your now-glowing target.

In the first part of the single-player campaign, you are introduced to these various drug-induced abilities, only not in the way I expected.

Having been invited to play the co-op and multiplayer modes of the game twice by Ubisoft and Free Radical over the last month, and after experiencing the joy of zero load times during a two-hour co-op session, it was a surprise to me that the flow of the game stopped almost as soon as I had got into it. In front of me was a large black dialogue box with reams of text about how Nectar works.

The fact that you're introduced to the features Nectar offers in this clunky way does put you off your stride. It would have been nicer to bring them in through example and commentary. But the delay doesn't last long (assuming you bother reading it at all) and you're back into the experience.

The 4Gb mandatory install that is becoming so common on the PS3 does actually work in Haze, since the rest of the game streams constantly with no load times. Well, that is until your get your second rude interruption as your Rebel abilities are spelt out for you in a similar way.


Unconscious competence

There are two things I noticed immediately about Haze when playing the campaign mode, and interestingly both of these items became largely insignificant later, but for different reasons.

The first is the graphics.

Haze is never going to win any awards for graphical prowess. After a mammoth 8-hour session playing the single-player campaign through, I can honestly say I didn't notice any major issues with the graphics - certainly not the pop-ups being commented on in other websites and magazines. The graphics are not remarkable, but they aren't terrible either.

But the reason the graphics become largely insignificant is that they are good enough to do their job, and so after a short while you forget that you're not looking at a work of art, and you get on with the game instead. Think of it like painting a feature wall in your living room - it's only a feature for a few days, and then you don't even notice it is there.

Things do change graphically when you realise 'the truth' about Nectar and switch sides, and it's interesting to note what the real world looks like without honey-tinted glasses, but once again you begin to forget about how things look and get on with the game instead after a few minutes.

The second are the controls.

Free Radical haven't messed around with the way you play an FPS, and with their pedigree and experience, why should they.

I remember the first time I picked up Haze at GameCity in Nottingham last year, I didn't even need to look at the cheat sheet - the controls were so intuitive and the targeting system worked so well, it just came naturally. Of course, to progress you do need to know how to use the specific buttons that operate the Troopers' or Rebels' special abilities, but it all seems to just work.

So consequently, you end up forgetting about the controls quickly too, which helps with the flow of the game and the better-than-average gameplay.

The only problem I found that destroys the illusion of this 'natural gameplay' is when you are required to press a button or pull a lever - often there is a delay between being told to 'press square' and actually being able to press it. The frustration of standing in front of a lever, pressing and pressing until your character does what he's told, can't be ignored.

Something that never quite sits naturally in Haze, however, is the acting.

Did someone say 'Semper Fi'?

I understand why FRD went in the direction they did with the Troopers. Troopers act just like frat boys, and in the UK we just don't have those characters like they do in the US. It wouldn't have been right for a British developer to cast Brits in the role. It's pretty clear to me why the Mantel soldiers all sound like they belong to Kappa Omega Sigma. In fact, the only things missing are beer kegs, toga parties and induction ceremonies.

I also understand that Rob Yescombe went to the additional expense of recording the voice talent all at the same time, like a high-tech episode of The Archers, in an attempt to make sure that the actors fed off each other's lines (no drug-pun intended). Usually, developers record actors separately as it is cheaper and easier to schedule their diaries.

The result, unfortunately, doesn't quite work. And it's not the process that is at fault, it's just the acting isn't that good. The lead character of Shane Carpenter and the voice behind the leader of the Rebels (Gabriel 'Skin Coat' Merino) are the best of the bunch, but the supporting 'cast' often sound awkward.

The storyline itself works well as far as I'm concerned. Many people will look at this game and think that the only parallel here is neoconservatism, with a leader ruling through fear, uncertainty and doubt to ensure his troops take the enemy down regardless of whether they are the bad guys or not, and ensuring the support of the populace. There are nods towards 'pep pills' with the fabled Nectar and references to the politics and psychological strategy of war.

Another way of looking at Haze is that this could also be a game about gaming. The Troopers are the FPS masses who don't care about the morality of the task they're performing - they just see the prize ahead and go for as many headshots as they can. The Rebels are the gamers that think about what they're doing, seeing the game in a different angle and connecting emotionally with the story and the actions they have to perform.

Ultimately, the script just misses the target and I'm sorry to say the campaign does have one of the weakest endings I've experienced in a game of this type. You never quite get that 'light bulb' moment where you actually feel truly bad about killing the Rebels, and you are quickly sent out by your new 'leader' to do exactly the same to the Troopers with a similar lack of remorse because you never quite connect with the cause.

It's not all bad though - there are good moments in the script that do involve you, particularly early on in the game, and it is a shame the momentum of those emotions weren't carried throughout the entire campaign.

Summary

Haze's single-player campaign offers competent graphics with well-above-average gameplay that mostly seems natural and intuitive. The multiplayer and co-op elements of Haze are slick and varied and offer longevity to the game. We have written a good deal about both the co-op and multiplayer modes already, so follow the links to hear what we had to say about them.

Haze definitely has enough going for it to keep you involved. I'm not so bloody-minded that I absolutely have to complete a game just for the sake of it, but in the case of Haze I wanted to complete it in one session, and had a lot of fun in the process.

You may not be looking at the future winner of 'Graphics of the Year 2008', but the single-player, co-op and multiplayer experiences Haze offers ultimately make up for that shortfall.

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Thursday, 22 May 2008

Haze Week; Thursday news wrap-up

Another day passes and Haze Week is nearly over.

Tomorrow, you'll be able to read our full review of the game. Will we agree with the likes of IGN, or do we side with Famitsu and The Guardian? You'll have to wait and see...

In the meantime, here's what the rest of the 'net had to say about Free Radical/Ubisoft's shooter today:
That's it for today. Check in tomorrow for...
  • PS3 Attitude's Haze Review
  • Haze Competition winner announcement (there's still time to enter)
  • Haze meta-critic scores

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European PS Store update for 22nd May

No full games this week, but a good mix of demos for both the PS3 and PSP, as well as a bunch of add-ons, videos, themes and wallpapers.

I say 'demos' but as far as the PS3 is concerned, I mean 'demo'. Having already experienced the pain of Iron Man from the US PS Store, I won't want to relive the experience again.

We played The Bourne Conspiracy already too, and I have to report the actual game is looking better than the demo, which seems to have too many 'breaks' to show how fluid the finished product is.

Here's the full list:

Demos (all free)

The Bourne Conspiracy
Iron Man
Everybody's Golf 2
Beginner's demo for PSP
Everybody's Golf 2 Intermediate demo for PSP
Ultimate Board Games Collection demo for PSP

Add-ons

High Stakes Poker video chat (free)
Go!Explore map packs for PSP (£14.99 each)

Videos (all free)

Haze music video
High Stakes: Poker trailer
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull movie trailer

Themes and Wallpapers (all free)

PixelJunk Monsters: Encore wallpaper
PixelJunk Monsters: Encore theme
echochrome wallpaper

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Haze Week; competition reminder

Don't forget to enter our Haze Competition if you haven't done so already.

Up for grabs are three prize packs - all including a copy of the game and various Nectar-induced goodies. One of the three winners will get an extra bonus - their copy of Haze will have been signed by Free Radical!

Go find out how to enter now for your chance to win with PS3 Attitude and Ubisoft.

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Haze Week; Wednesday news wrap-up

A whole slew of reviews hit the internet today - far too many to put them all here. We'll be doing a 'metacritic' round-up on Friday after our full Haze review is launched.

However, there is some other interesting Haze news popping up on forums around the Internet. Here is a round-up of some of the forum posts we've come across - positive and negative comments included.

Don't be discouraged
I think this sums up Haze the best
Mantal or rebels? Which will do you choose?

That's it for today. Check back tomorrow for more from Haze Week.

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Haze Week; PS3 Attitude's multiplayer review

With our full review of the game appearing this Friday, today we're focusing on our experience of playing the various multiplayer modes Haze has to offer.

Haze is up against some strong multiplayer competition, of course, in the form of our other favourite shooters - namely CoD4 and Warhawk. Naturally, people will compare Haze to the former (being a gritty FPS) rather than the latter, but it is the multiplayer portion we're focusing on here.

As we explained in our '5 things you may not know about Haze' article, there are effectively 8 multiplayer modes, but they are arranged into 3 types - Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Team Assault.

Within the Assault mode, you have 6 'campaigns' that cleverly align themselves to the single-player story. I'll give you an example, without any spoilers...

Let's say that in the single-player game, someone meets you at an extraction point with a helicopter. In the Assault mode, you might play a 'story' that sees you escorting that person to the helicopter. But along the way, you need to recapture a building (and hold it), remove a blockade and find the radio to call the helicopter in.

It's this multi-task gameplay that makes Haze stand out from the crowd. The Assault modes require proper teamwork and communication, something that a lot of shooters don't foster or promote.

Of course, this being Haze, your view of that particular assault mode changes dependent on which side you choose.

When playing the 'village' map, for example, it might be raining when you play as a member of the Promise Hand, but all is sweetness and light when you're playing as a Mantel soldier. The objectives change, of course, and that means you effectively have 12 Assault experiences to enjoy.

Another Assault mode sees you either trying to burn down, or save, the very plants that Nectar is synthesised from.

The thing that really sticks out in the multiplayer mode is the slick gameplay. Whilst no-one is going to say that the graphics in Haze are particularly cutting-edge, they do serve their purpose well.

Of course, there has always been a pay-off in the world of videogames, where either the graphics a good or the gameplay is good, but seldom does anyone manage to pull off combining the two. As we continue with this current generation of consoles, not only do we start to see great gameplay with excellent graphics, but we almost expect it - maybe that is why so many commenters are being sidelined by the look of the game rather than concentrating on the feel.

The truth is, multiplayer in Haze is immediate and fun. The Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes offer you the chance to play both sides of the coin with the varying pluses and minuses of being a Trooper or a Rebel, and the Assault modes add a nice change of gear that allow more strategic FPS fans a chance to show their worth against the 'gun and run' merchants.

The other thing that struck us is that it seems that being a Trooper on the more open, expansive levels is a better option than being a Rebel, whereas Rebels tend to do much better in close-quarters environments; such as running in and out of all the buildings in the village.

This means that you can choose to really impress your friends by selecting the 'wrong' type for the environment and still win! But the difference we found was a small one - the balance between the factions has been carefully managed by Free Radical, and both sides will find their particular skills useful regardless of the map.

You can check out our multiplayer screenshot gallery below, and look out for our full, non-sponsored, frank and independent review of Haze on Friday.


Haze Multiplayer


You can pre-order Haze now for delivery to your doorstep this Friday, and don't forget to enter our Haze Competition - you could win a signed copy of the game and more...

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Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Haze Week; Tuesday news wrap-up

It's been an interesting day for Haze, given that IGN decided to review the title and award it a 4.5/10 mark.

So today we'll list both the review and the reply from Rob Yescombe of Free Radical, as well as some fun stuff for you to enjoy:

Come back tomorrow for more from Haze Week at PS3 Attitude. It'll be interesting to follow the various comments and fallout from the IGN review and whether other reviewers follow suit. Of course, other reviewers also have the option of reflecting the likes of PSM Italy and Famitsu, who both gave it much better scores.

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Haze Week; interview with Rob Yescombe and Derek Littlewood

Recently, we had the pleasure of interviewing Rob Yescombe and Derek Littlewood of Free Radical about Haze. Well, it wasn't going to be about anything else, was it?!

During our 15 minutes with the dynamic duo we found out a lot more about the game. We discovered Rob has an uneasy obsession with his crotch-area, and he can do a Rebel Sidekick like.no.other. We hope Rob likes the size of our 'censored' sticker... Finally, we saw what happens when someone interrupts an interview with Rob and Derek!

Check back later this week for our 'gag reel', which includes some possibly NSFW chat about monkeys and dogs!

Our Haze Competition is now live - go win yourself a signed copy of the game and more...

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Haze Week; win a signed copy of Haze and more

As promised, here's our biggest competition yet!

Thanks to Ubisoft and Free Radical, we have three prize packs to give away this week.

Three lucky readers will walk away with a copy of Haze and a goodie box that includes a can of Nectar, a glow stick, a torch, a pen and a notebook.

One of those three winners will get an extra surprise when they open up their copy of Haze - as it has been signed by the team at Free Radical!

Here are the answers to the questions I can already hear you asking...

How do I enter the competition?

Simple. All you have to do to for a chance of winning is sign up for our email update. Click the 'Email' button on the left sidebar, enter your details and then confirm you want to sign up in the verification email that you'll receive.

Then, when you get your next email update (which goes out at around 11:00 a.m. UK time each day) you'll see confirmation that you have entered.

Only 'verified' email subscribers will be entered. That means if you sign up and don't see a verification email appear soon after in your inbox, check your spam folder. Adding news [at] ps3attitude [dot] com to your 'whitelist' or contact list will also help.

What if I'm an RSS subscriber?

That's fine - please continue to subscribe to our RSS feed. It is your way of staying in touch with the news as it happens, since the RSS feed updates each time we send out a story.

But to enter the competition, you need to subscribe to our daily email summary by following the instructions above.

What if I already subscribe via email?

You are automatically entered into this and all future PS3 Attitude competitions! If you stay subscribed, you'll gain a place in every future giveaway.

What is the prize?

Three lucky email subscribers (picked at random by our 'supercomputer') will win:

- A copy of Haze
- A Haze merchandise package containing a can of Nectar, a glow stick, a torch, a pen and a notebook.

One of the lucky winners will receive a signed copy of Haze instead of a regular version.

Who is the competition open to?

All PS3 Attitude email subscribers worldwide.

When will the winner be chosen?

We'll be picking three winner from the current list of verified email subscribers on 23rd May 2008. The prize will be sent out within 14 days of the 23rd May 2008.

Good luck, and keep coming back all this week for more Haze goodness...

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Monday, 19 May 2008

Haze Week; Monday news wrap-up

Since it's Haze Week here at PS3 Attitude, it would be wrong of us not to give you a daily summary of the important nectar-induced info hitting the 'net.

Here's a taste of what other sites a saying about the much-anticipated PS3 exclusive:


Haze Week continues tomorrow, with details of our biggest competition yet and an exclusive video interview with two of the team at Free Radical.

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Haze Week; 5 things you may not know about Haze

Haze Week begins at PS3 Attitude - check back every day for new Haze content, information and exclusives... plus details of our biggest competition yet!

Let's start the ball rolling with a few details you may have missed during the recent information storm surrounding Haze.

1. Multiplayer has 8 modes, not 3

Whilst you may be excused for thinking that Haze only has three multiplayer game types - Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Team Assault - the reality is that Team Assault has a lot more to offer than it seems.

Each of the six maps has a different Team Assault mode, changing the multiplayer gameplay depending on which landscape you choose to fight in.

2. The script brings people out of retirement

Carlos Riera, a Spanish star who plays Gabriel "Skin Coat" Merino (the leader of the rebels), apparently came out of retirement to do the voice acting after having read the script. Of course, we gleaned this fact from scriptwriter, Rob Yescombe...

The voice talent also includes Rupert Evans, who has been seen in films such as Hellboy and on the sci-fi TV series Lexx.

3. Spanish people love Haze

The acting for the various rebel soldiers was performed by a group of Mexican actors who happened to be in the UK performing Shakespeare at the time when Free Radical were recording the voices.

Consequently, the accents and inflections are spot on, and that's one of the reasons the Spanish press seem to have really latched on to Haze.

4. The single-player campaign will take you about 8-10 hours to complete

Like that other great FPS title, CoD4,the single-player campaign could be seen as a relatively short experience.

However, just like that other FPS, it is an emotional ride with a great story and a real sense of involvement. The main difference between the two titles is the switch from one distinct style of fighting (when playing as the dosed-up Troopers) to another (the nimble and resourceful rebels).
Of course, this is only in Normal difficulty. Hard is particularly challenging and completing the game in that mode unlocks Extra Hard, in which you die... a lot!

5. Separated at birth

"Skin Coat" looks remarkably like one of the Directors of Free Radical, David Doak. Take a look at the pictures and decide for yourself.














Don't have your copy on order yet? Pre-order Haze and have it delivered to your doorstep on launch day...

[UPDATE] Our Haze competition is now live - go win yourself a signed copy of the game and more!

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Thursday, 15 May 2008

European PS Store update for 15th May

What an update!

SCEE have certainly been putting things right since the new store came our way, but it looks like this could be one of the biggest updates we have ever seen.

Not only do we get to finally play Dark Mist (and for less than a fiver), but today's update also sees the arrival of the PixelJunk Monsters expansion.

There is also a downloadable version of WipEout Pure for your PSP (in case you didn't pick it up on UMD), another classic PS1 game that will have RTS fans cheering and an Overlord demo.

Not to mention two additional characters for one of our recent Big Three titles, Everybody's Golf: World Tour.

Throw in a bunch of videos, themes and wallpapers, and you're done.

Here's the full list:

Games

Dark Mist (£4.99)
C&C Red Alert - PS1 game for PS3/PSP (£3.49)
WipEout Pure - PSP game (£14.99)

Demos (all free)

Overlord

Add-ons

PixelJunk Monsters: Encore expansion (£1.99)
Everybody's Golf: World Tour - 'Alex' character (£0.69)
Everybody's Golf: World Tour - 'Gloria' character (£0.69)

Videos (all free)

Dark Sector launch trailer
Burnout Paradise trailers (2 of them)
Brothers In Arms trailer 2
Haze 'TV Ad' trailer

Themes and Wallpapers (all free)

Overlord wallpapers (5 of them)
Overlord theme
Warhawk themes (2 of them)
Eye of Judgment themes (2 of them)
PAIN themes (10 of them)

Don't forget it is Haze Week at PS3 Attitude starting Monday, including our biggest competition yet. Find out more and download the Tiny Trooper wallpapers now.

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Haze Week preview; new Tiny Trooper wallpapers

Next week is Haze Week at PS3 Attitude - 5 days of exclusive interviews and content for you to enjoy that celebrate the release of one of our favourite PS3 exclusives to date.

To get you warmed up for the big event, here are four fun Tiny Trooper wallpapers for you to download. Just click the gallery icon below...

Check back every day next week for much more honey-coated goodness, including news of our biggest competition yet!

Haze Tiny Trooper

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Tuesday, 6 May 2008

PlayStation Day 2008; European PS Store update for 6th May

As we revealed earlier today, there was going to be an additional update to celebrate the PlayStation Day event in London.

We knew about some of the items on the list, but were surprised to see the likes of High Velocity Bowling finally appear in Europe.

Here's the full list of items you can download today:

Games

Blast Factor Advanced (£4.99)
High Velocity Bowling (£4.99)
Street Skater - PS1 game for PSP/PS3 (£3.49)

Demos (all free)

Haze
Condemned 2

Add-ons

High Velocity Bowling - Mike (£0.69)

Videos (all free)

Buzz! Quiz TV
Secret Agent Clank
Siren: Blood Curse
Motorstorm: Pacific Rift
PS Day Showcase

Amongst all these updates you'll have noticed two name changes; one we knew about a few days ago, the other was announced today. Yes, Motorstorm 2 is officially subtitled Pacific Rift, and Siren: New Translation has been, erm, translated to Siren: Blood Curse.

Look out for another date as usual this Thursday.

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Haze demo and Motorstorm 2 on the PS Store today

To coincide with the PlayStation Day event in London, there will be an additional update to the PlayStation Store today.

Look out for an update later on this afternoon that includes a new Motorstorm 2 trailer and, most importantly, a Haze demo.

The Haze demo will take you through the opening level of our new favourite FPS.

We'll have more news from the PlayStation Day event as it unfolds.

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Thursday, 1 May 2008

European PS Store update for 1st May

So far since the launch of the new PS Store, European has seen it's fair share of good quality updates. Certainly, the situation appears to be much better than before and SCEE seem to be coming good on their promise that they would 'sort the situation out' by the Summer.

It would be a shame, therefore, to see a lacklustre update this week, wouldn't it?

Here's the full list of available items:

Games

Ape Quest (£8.99)

Add-ons

Need for Speed Pro Street - Bugatti Veyron (£1.99)
Need for Speed Pro Street - Mclaren F1 (£1.99)
Need for Speed Pro Street - Premium Car Pack (£3.49)
Need for Speed Pro Street - Premium Car Pack 2 (£3.49)
Snakeball - Team Mode Pack (£1.99)
Kane & Lynch - Fragile Alliance Maps (free)

Demos (all free)

Ape Quest Starter Pack

Videos (all free)

Ironman movie trailer

Wallpapers and Themes (all free)

Rainbow Six Vegas 2 Theme
Dark Sector Theme
Haze Theme
Haze Wallpaper

Obviously, anyone still playing Kane & Lynch can't complain about the value for money the extra map pack represents, but the big news of the week has to be Ape Quest.

Including the instantly recognisable characters from the Ape Escape franchise, this is an RPG-style quest that sees you battling evil in the kingdom of Toqsica. You can download a starter pack and then pick up the full game if you like it.

There are also a good range of extra vehicles for Need for Speed, although we're wondering if anyone is still playing the 'street racer' since the release of Burnout Paradise. One point though - to use the car packs you must own the version of Need for Speed: Pro Street that has the disc ID BLES-00175 (you'll usually find this printed on the disc under the PlayStation logo).

So on balance, another good update from SCEE. Here's hoping the momentum carries through for the foreseeable future.


ADVERT

Don't forget you still have time to win 2Kg of prime video-game swag in our competition.

Find out how to enter (it's ridiculously easy)!

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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

May mayhem; PS3 Attitude Big Three

This is certainly going to be one of the more interesting Big Three features we've done, simply because many of you will automatically be thinking 'but GTA: IV is out, why would I buy anything else?'.

And to an extent, you'd be right.

The GTA effect means that many publishers are not releasing titles in early May as there is really no point in competing with 'the big one'. But that doesn't mean May can't offer us three great titles to pick up or rent later in the month.

Here's the rundown on the Big Three for May. Remember, the Big Three is based on UK and European titles that will launch in May only...

1. Haze [pre-order] [pre-rent]

With a confirmed release date finally in our hands, it's time to revisit a former Big Three title. Yes, back when we thought Haze would hit the streets in time for Christmas, it was one of the games we thought you should spend your hard earned cash on.

Although a few months have passed by since then, our opinion hasn't changed. In fact, we're even more certain about this game then we were back in 2007. Why?

After being invited up to London to get a sneak preview of the co-op and multiplayer modes that Haze has to offer, we can tell you that the gameplay is sublime. The multiplayer mode is as good as any FPS we've been playing to death recently (CoD4, if you hadn't worked that out).

In terms of the single-player campaign, Haze is a game that dares to treat us like the adults we are, with political themes that resonate well against the current world climate despte being set in a sci-fi future.

We will have a lot more to say about Haze before it launches, but I promise you this is one game you definitely should pick up in May - in between GTA fixes, of course!

2. Race Driver: GRID [pre-order] [pre-rent]

When we got hands-on with this new racing game from Codemasters we must admit to having mixed reactions.

On the first hand, it is as good as any of the TOCA series that Codemasters did so well with on the PS2. The action is fast and furious, it looks fantastic (especially the race replays) and sounds wonderful. For an 'arcade racer', as opposed to the simulation tag GT5: Prologue enjoys, you really can't beat it.

On the other hand you may have noticed we're big fans of Burnout Paradise here at PS3 Attitude, and we can't help but think that everything Race Driver: GRID has to offer can also be had in Paradise City, only with more race-type variety, better crashes and ridiculous stunts.

There is no denying that Race Driver: GRID is a polished game that delivers more on the out-and-out racing scene than Burnout, and it certainly does a 100% better job than games such as the recent Need for Speed effort.

For me personally, this is more a 'rent' than a 'buy' title, but that's just because I'm still into Burnout in a big way. You may be less of a 'gimmick racing' fan and more an 'arcade racer' purist, in which case Race Driver: GRID is worthy of your attention.

3. Enemy Territory: Quake Wars [pre-order]

You didn't really think we'd put Top Spin 3 or Iron Man in the Big Three, did you? So that means that we only really had one choice left as May is certainly a sparse release month.

Does that mean Quake Wars doesn't deserve to be here? Certainly not.

Firstly, for those of you comparing it to Haze, here's a few statements:

Is it another FPS? Yes.
Is it another FPS that has asymmetric teams? Yes.
Is it another FPS that has asymmetric teams and various vehicles to control? Yes.

But it does have one thing that the other FPS in this month's Big Three hasn't, and that is the Quake universe.

The follow up to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, Quake Wars really acts as a prequel to Quake II and that alone will have series fans clamouring for the release of this game.

Already out on the PC since Autumn 2007, Quake Wars has done universally well in reviews. In our opinion, it doesn't play as well as Haze or have the interest level of that new IP, but Quake devotees will certainly enjoy the latest foray into the franchise that has sold over 4 million copies.

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Monday, 28 April 2008

GameFlirt Most Wanted chart for April

Exclusive to PS3 Attitude, we bring you the monthly 'most wanted' PS3 charts at GameFlirt

GameFlirt are one of the UK's top games rental companies, and you won't find this information anywhere else - not even at the GameFlirt website.

Like the often seen Netflix charts for US movie titles, it's a great indicator of what's hot in the PS3 community.

Assassin's Creed continue to be the number one rental. In the course of running these charts, we've noticed that critically acclaimed games don't tend to stay around for too long since it would appear people would rather buy the game instead. What does this say about Assassin's Creed? It's too early to say, but the general consensus of opinion appears to be 'great look, repetitive gameplay, worth renting'.

In the meantime, Oblivion and Army of Two have dropped off the chart altogether.

Metal Gear Solid 4 remains the number one pre-rent title and GTA: IV has finally made an appearance, although coming in at fourth place suggests that most people will be buying their copy outright. Which makes us wonder if consumers are just a little wary of MGS4 and whether it really is as good as the preview videos would suggest.

Here are the charts in full.

Top 5 current rentals year-to-date:

1 - Assassin's Creed
2 - Blacksite
3 - Unreal Tournament III
4 - Devil May Cry 4
5 - Ridge Racer 7


Top 5 pre-ordered games for April:

1 - Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
2 - Haze
3 - Mercenaries 2
4 - Grand Theft Auto 4
5 - Monster Madness



Many thanks to GameFlirt for providing the data.

Click any of the links to visit GameFlirt for more details and to rent or pre-rent the titles. As a thank you to our readers anyone who signs up for the GameFlirt service via these links will receive 10 days free rental.

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Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Haze multiplayer; new screens and info

You may remember we were invited up to London to get a sneak preview of both the co-op mode in Haze and the multiplayer game modes.

We were sworn to secrecy about the game modes - until now that is.

Today we're happy to reveal to you, for the first time, brand new screenshots from the multiplayer game modes. Click the icons below for our gallery of brand new, never seen before on the 'net images.


Haze Multiplayer



We'll be giving you our full review of the multiplayer experience in May, along with lots of other Haze news.

We'll also be running an exciting Haze giveaway in May, which you'll automatically be entered into if you get involved in our current April Competition!

So watch this space for everything you want to know about Haze - arriving next month on May 23rd. You can pre-order Haze now.

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Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Haze date not hazy any more...

We told you about the Haze launch date.

Then we told you the date was a little hazy.

Now the previously hazy date is clear once again!

Yes - Ubisoft have finally set the date. And guess what?

That pesky PS3 Attitude Calendar was spot on all the time! Wow!

Why not celebrate with a new T-Shirt...!

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Thursday, 3 April 2008

Haze: hands-on with co-op mode

Along with a select few, we were lucky enough last month to be invited up to the PlayStation 3 Rooms to get hands-on with Haze.

On display for our thumb-twiddling pleasure were the co-op and multi-player modes. We're sworn to secrecy about the multi-player experience right now, but today we can reveal more about Haze co-op play.

Sitting down to a February build of the game (much further on from the one we played last November at GameCity) the anticipation built as we were launched into a LAN play co-op game.

Which is where I made my first mistake. I didn't spot the handy vehicle sitting behind me, and none of the other three players I was 'teamed' with decided to use it, so I ran blindly off into the distance on a map that was clearly made for driving through.

Picking off a few Mantel troopers with some select sniper shots, Derek Littlewood of FRD popped up from somewhere and said "decided not to use the vehicle then?". By the time I'd realised just how many troopers were against us, and without the protection of a vehicle, I was done for.

What I didn't know about co-op mode was that once you are dead, you get to sit in spectator mode and see what your teammates are doing. And they weren't doing a lot. So I sat. And waited. For a long time.

Eventually, the guys at FRD and Ubisoft got the others to move up and get themselves killed. I've never been so happy to see my compatriots bite the dust.

Second time around was a lot easier with the vehicle in action. When you're inside pointing your gun through the armour plating, you get a real sense of claustrophobia. The idea, I guess, is to make you think about how you approach the enemy. Drive up close, but not too close. Get out. Find cover. Pick them off.

Having a good strategy makes all the difference in Haze co-op, and the fear of dying only to be relegated to the 'stands' ensures that there is a good incentive to get on the headsets and work together as a cohesive unit. If you go all Rambo on the enemy, you're sure to be punished.

In all, the co-op mode offers something different that requires a good amount of thought and proper cooperation. Having little mini-stories to complete extends the life of Haze beyond what other FPS titles currently offer. After all, who has bothered to go back and complete CoD4 single player again after the brief, but brilliant, experience. It's all about the multi-player mode from then on. At least with Haze you are offered an extra, almost episodic experience you can enjoy with your friends.

Co-op mode on Haze is available on separate screens via LAN play with up to four players, or two on a single screen and two joining via the 'net. There's no lobby to access for your friend to get involved - they just press Start and they take over the body of one of your team-mates instantly.

Check out the brand-new, never seen before screens of the Haze co-op mode below, or click the gallery thumbnail to check out the hi-res versions. We'll have a lot more from the Haze universe soon - watch this space!




Haze Co-op Mode Gallery

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Thursday, 27 March 2008

Haze date still a little hazy...

Ubisoft now say that the 22nd May is 'around' when Haze will be launched.

So - we're going to stick our neck out and say that since most releases in the UK appear on a Friday, Haze will appear on the 23rd instead.

Whatever date Ubi decide on, we'll be amongst the first to tell you. Oh, and the scarily accurate PS3 Attitude Calendar will be updated, of course.

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Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Haze dated; PS3 Attitude calendar right again...

[Gloat Mode: ON] We were right again! [Gloat Mode: OFF]

It has been confirmed that Haze will arrive on May 22nd, exactly as we stated on the PS3 Attitude PlayStation 3 Events Calendar weeks ago. The fact is, the calendar is proving to be scarily accurate and on a regular basis, so please make sure you visit it regularly or subscribe to it using Google Calendar.

We'll have much more about Haze as we get closer to the release date, so look out for all manner of nectar-fuelled goodness from PS3 Attitude.

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Tuesday, 18 March 2008

GameFlirt Most Wanted chart for March

Exclusive to PS3 Attitude, we bring you the monthly 'most wanted' PS3 charts at GameFlirt

GameFlirt are one of the UK's top games rental companies, and you won't find this information anywhere else - not even at the GameFlirt website.

Like the often seen Netflix charts for US movie titles, it's a great indicator of what's hot in the PS3 community.

This month sees the biggest shift of the year so far. Call of Duty 4 has dropped out of the chart altogether. It would seem that our favourite game of the moment is so impressive, people have stopped renting it and have bought their own copy instead. That means for a second month running, Assassin's Creed takes the number one slot.

In fact, Assassin's Creed is the only title to make it on to this month's chart. Other new entries include Devil May Cry, Ridge Racer 7, Oblivion and Army of Two. Everything there makes sense to us except for Ridge Racer 7 arriving in third place! We reckon all the people who picked up a PS3 over Christmas have just found out about game rentals and are trying some old school racing...

Metal Gear Solid 4 remains the number one pre-rent title, of course! Devil May Cry 4, UT III and Blacksite has moved out of the pre-rent chart since their release, so Haze is joined by Monster Madness and Mercenaries 2. The difference this month is the pre-rent list is a top four instead of a top five, as March is always one of those transition months on the gaming calendar whilst new titles get ramped up for the Easter break.

Here are the charts in full.


Top 5 current rentals year-to-date:

1 - Assassin's Creed
2 - Devil May Cry 4
3 - Ridge Racer 7
4 - Oblivion
5 - Army of Two



Top 4 pre-ordered games for February:

1 - Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
2 - Haze
3 - Monster Madness
4 - Mercenaries 2



Many thanks to GameFlirt for providing the data.

Click any of the links to visit GameFlirt for more details and to rent or pre-rent the titles. As a thank you to our readers anyone who signs up for the GameFlirt service via these links will receive 10 days free rental.

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Saturday, 15 March 2008

Play.com Live 08; Day One wrap-up

Wembley Stadium played host to the inaugural Play.com Live show today, with another day of the event coming tomorrow.

PS3 Attitude were there to cover the event and whilst there was a lack of items we felt needed 'live' updates, there were some highlights for PS3 fans.

The bottom floor of the event was almost exclusively Xbox 360 hardware. And yet there were still new builds of multi-platform products to be played. The latest Soul Calibur IV was there and looks very slick indeed.

Playing as one of three characters - Taki, Cassandra or Mitsurugi - it is exactly what you would expect from a Soul Calibur title. Only this time the graphics have taken a real ramp up since the PS2 incarnation. Everything looks pixel perfect.

Rainbox Six Vegas 2 was also present and was another title that seemed to deliver exactly what was expected of it. A straight sequel, and whilst that's not a bad thing it also doesn't appear on the surface to bring anything new to the franchise.

Moving upstairs marked the shift from white to black as everything became PS3-oriented. Immediately to the right was the Rock Band setup from EA. With still no release date for the UK, I was surprised at the skill of some of the players, the best of which were chosen to battle on the music stage later in the day for a complete Rock Band kit each.

Sony's stand was very well put together with some impressive 'pods' set up for GT5: Prologue. Around the driving area Sony had a number of screens showing videos from LittleBigPlanet and God of War: Chains of Olympus for PSP. In addition, they had playable demos of Time Crisis 4 and the new Buzz! game.

We covered Time Crisis 4's FPS functionality earlier today. In the standard game mode it doesn't offer anything new, but the new GunCon 3 is a remarkable piece of equipment that we expect will be made use of in the future to much better effect.

Buzz! now comes with wireless controllers, although your old wired ones will do just fine. The game has taken a real step up graphically as you'd expect, but the new game modes are a lot more fun and I can see this version being a massive hit for families. I played against three other players (and won with 5,000 points - woo hoo!) and it really helped me to forget just how much my feet were hurting!

The latest build of Haze was also available to play upstairs and although it doesn't look like it has graphically moved on from the build of Haze we played at GameCity, it's still as exciting to us as before. In the deluge of FPS titles available for the PS3, I can see Haze being one of those that raises its head above the rest. The responses I got from other players seemed to suggest they thought so too.

Capcom showed the Street Fighter IV trailer and had Lost Planet set up to play, so I'm afraid we didn't spend much time with that.

On the third floor were a few third-party stands, such as the memory manufacturer SanDisk and Corgi, who had light sabres and other merchandise for sale. I was fortunate enough to meet my favourite ever Dr. Who - Tom Baker - who was being as effervescent as ever. On the next stand was Robert Llewellyn of Red Dwarf and Scrapheap Challenge fame who I shared a few comedy moments with.

The e-sports section of the show saw one lucky PES 2008 player walk away with £50,000 in cold, hard cash. The Soul Calibur IV competition had a Dodge car as the prize. Certainly Play.com seemed to have lined up some pretty decent prizes for their first show, and it's good to see e-sports becoming more serious and gaining better rewards.

The two outstanding moments for me were the actual gameplay video from Codemasters of Race Driver: GRID, and the demonstration from the guys who are making Far Cry 2.

Race Driver: GRID looks amazing, but it is the little things that make a difference. The environments you race in and the detail in the crowd and surroundings are superb, but also subtle. Unlike some racing games I've played, the crowd don't all move in unison as if they're connected by a metal rod, and they're not cardboard cut outs either. It's this subtlety that makes all the difference.

Far Cry 2 will be coming to the PS3, and it looks like a serious step up for FPS titles. The real selling point is the natural weather and enemy AI. Virtual wind blows the palm fronds (which are all destructible) and also allows you to set fires that blow towards your enemies, helping you gain cover and create a distraction. The world (which is 50Km in size!) gradually moves through a 24-hour cycle. If you spend long enough, you'll see the sun set. If you want to perform a mission at night, you can sleep for a while and tackle it in the dark.

We'll have more on Race Driver: GRID and Far Cry 2 in the near future.

So - on to Day Two. We'll cover anything that needs a quick update live from the show, but come back same time, same place tomorrow for a wrap-up.

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Thursday, 13 March 2008

[UPDATE] Haze; Mantel Corp website goes live


Ubisoft have just launched a new website for Haze; a full-blown Mantel Global Industries corporate site detailing their products, services and even a careers page where you can apply for a job!

Of course, applying for a job takes you through to a registration page so you can gain access to further Haze details (which is no bad thing), but the approach to getting you to register is definitely unique and fun.

The detail Ubisoft have gone into on the Mantel Corp. pages is immense and well worth reading through, as they give you lots of extra details on the weapons, the Nectar and the background story.

Check out the new Mantel website and be prepared to spend a while investigating everything...
[UPDATE] This is not quite the same site as Ubisoft launched back in early 2007, although it is on the same domain name. It has had a massive overhaul since then and includes a huge amount of new information. So whilst it's not actually a new site, it is full of completely new info.

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Thursday, 28 February 2008

European PS Store updates for 28th February

It's officially the worst update on the European PS Store ever.

I'm not going to say any more about it right now. The list speaks for itself:

Videos (all free)

Haze - new Boss Speech trailer
Conflict: Denied Ops - Dev Diary #4

We're in a state of shock. Surely this can't be it. More to come on this story later...

[UPDATE]

OK - so we checked and checked and this is really it. Just two videos.

Conflict: Denied Ops is ok as games go, but it just doesn't cut it in a market flooded with FPS titles.

Haze - on the other hand - we care about. We've played it. It's awesome.

We'll save you the bother of actually downloading the trailer they posted on the PS Store today though - you can watch it below.

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Wednesday, 27 February 2008

PS3 announcements-a-plenty, but it's not all good news

Wow. Yesterday was a day for announcements and release dates, wasn't it?!

We announced a rumour that MGS4 finally got a worldwide release date, which has since been confirmed. Hideo Kojima's latest (and last in the series) is being launched on 12th June.

From the same retail conference, we also got word of a US release date for an MGS4 PS3 bundle, the DualShock 3 (April) and the sweet-looking God of War PSP Entertainment Pack (March 4th).

We got word from Ubisoft that Haze is being released in May.

We heard from Sega that the game formerly known as 'Valkyria of the Battlefield: Gallian Chronicles' in Japan will be coming to Europe - exclusively on the PS3 - and will be called 'Valkyria Chronicles'. It will arrive this Autumn.

So what's the bad news?

Looks like the MGS4 bundle and the beautiful GoW PSP are staying US-bound only. SCEE have said there are no plans to bring either to Europe. This - in my opinion - is a mistake on many levels.

By continually launching hardware and software in different forms and guises in different territories, Sony continue the public perception that SCEE, SCEA and SCEJ just don't talk to each other or work as a single unit.

The DualShock 3 has been available in Japan for some time - why wasn't it available everywhere all at once?

Not to mention it was months before us Brits and the rest of Europe got to see the PS3 in the flesh.

And don't get me started on the huge amount of region-free games that have been released elsewhere on the PlayStation Store, but not in Europe.

If Sony want to ride the wave of momentum they have gained from the actual success of the PS3 since launch (reaching 1m units in the UK faster than the PS2, reaching 10m units worldwide faster than the X360 did, the death of HD-DVD) then they need to get rid of the negative things that counteract that success.

So come on Sony - bring the MGS4 packs and the GoW PSP to Europe and show us all that you are a global coordinated organisation, not a group of silo operations.

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Tuesday, 5 February 2008

GameFlirt Most Wanted chart for February

Exclusive to PS3 Attitude, we'll be bringing you the 'most wanted' PS3 charts at GameFlirt

GameFlirt are one of the UK's top games rental companies, and you won't find this information anywhere else - not even at the GameFlirt website.


Like the often seen Netflix charts for US movie titles, it's a great indicator of what's hot in the PS3 community.

This month sees a shift in the year-to-date rentals, with Call of Duty 4 dropping two places. Our guess would be that more people have decided to buy that particular title rather than rent it. That means Assassin's Creed takes the number one slot.

Metal Gear Solid 4 remains the number one pre-rent title with Devil May Cry 4 and Haze holding their positions. Blacksite is a new entry and sneeks into the number four slot.

Top 5 current rentals year-to-date:

1 - Assassin's Creed
2 - Rainbow Six Vegas
3 - Call of Duty 4
4 - Fight Night Round 3
5 - Virtua Tennis


Top 5 pre-ordered games for February:

1 - Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
2 - Devil May Cry 4
3 - Haze

Like last month it is interesting to see Haze above Unreal Tournament III, but Blacksite as well? It would seem that UT III is more likely to be bought by the masses, whereas maybe the jury is still out on Haze and Blacksite - they're more likely to be rented. We might agree regarding Blacksite, but Haze is certainly good enough to gain our £50 when it launches.

Many thanks to GameFlirt for providing the data - look out for next month's chart as we start rolling into a steadier stream of PS3 releases.

Click any of the links to visit GameFlirt for more details. As a thank you to our readers anyone who signs up for the GameFlirt service via these links will receive 10 days free rental.

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Friday, 11 January 2008

GameFlirt Most Wanted Chart for January

Exclusive to PS3 Attitude, we'll be bringing you the 'most wanted' PS3 charts at GameFlirt

GameFlirt are one of the UK's top games rental companies, and you won't find this information anywhere else.

Like the often seen Netflix charts for US movie titles, it's a great indicator of what's hot in the PS3 community.

Top 4 current rentals year-to-date:

1 - Call of Duty 4
2 - Assassin's Creed
3 - Rainbow Six Vegas
4 - Virtua Tennis


It's no great surprise to see MGS4 and DMC4 at the top of the pre-order chart, but it sure is interesting to see Haze above Unreal Tournament III. Is this because the game is already released in the US and we already know so much about it? Maybe the promise of something new and slightly mysterious is stronger than the pull from a game we already know, warts and all...

Many thanks to GameFlirt for providing the data - look out for next month's chart as we start rolling into a steadier stream of PS3 releases.

Click any of the links to visit GameFlirt for more details.

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Friday, 4 January 2008

In the Year of the Rat, will Sony win the race?



It will soon be the Year of the Rat.

In Chinese astrology the Rat is considered a leader and a pioneer. Rats can also be controlling, having their own way whatever the cost. Although Sony were 'born' in 1946 (which makes them a Dog - incidentally the same sign as my good self), you might say there are certain attributes of the Rat that sit well with them.

If you think it is odd to mix Chinese astrology with a Japanese company then bear with us. Although the Japanese celebrate the new year on the 1st January, they send postcards to their family and friends with the relevant animal depicted on the front - harking back to when the lunar calendar and the 12 animal signs were in use throughout Japan.

So what will this year bring, and will Sony win the ratrace against their most fierce of rivals? Just how will the Dog fair against the Rabbit (Microsoft) and the Ox (Nintendo).

Burnout Paradise is our first indication that 2008 is going to be a good one for the PS3. Yes - I know... since it is being released in January it doesn't fall into the Chinese 'lunar year' which starts in February. But since the Japanese start their year in January too, we're going to run with this one!

Then it's the turn of Devil May Cry 4 to hit our screens. There was a time when I was particularly angry with the Sheep (otherwise known as Capcom) for taking DMC to other platforms. But now we've seen it looking particularly spectacular on the PS3 we're not so unhappy. Add to that some exclusive downloadable content and the grass is certainly looking greener on this side of the fence. Maybe we'll hold off on turning Capcom into lamb chops for now.

Haze can't be ignored. Although it is yet another FPS, it is a special one. I don't honestly think that it is going to compare in any way to the Rabbit's best effort (the ever present Halo franchise) but it is truly a much deeper and more involving experience than many of the existing 'shooter' offerings available on the PS3. Call of Duty 4 excepted.

Shortly after you've managed to figure out how to squeeze those three titles into your heavy social calendar, the Tiger of Rockstar will rip your diary apart with the launch of GTA: IV. Once again it is a title that will appear on the Rabbit's platform, but we're not bitter about it. I couldn't care less if it were on every platform - just as long is it rocks our world as much as we think it will!

Around this time in the Year of the Rat, we expect that two amazing innovations will have found their way on to our favourite black monolith. PlayStation Home and LittleBigPlanet.

Home promises to be more than just a 3D lobby, although admittedly the ability to launch you and your newly-made friends into the multiplayer part of any game you own is a great feature. With huge amounts of content promised for launch and throughout the life of Home, plus the 'social networking' abilities available via the web-based portal to your Home space, Home will become many things; a replacement for the XMB, a lobby, a content viewer (both yours and content from Sony and third-parties), a casual games arena, a social networking site, a marketing tool to reach non-PS3 owners, a vanity case of game achievements, a mobile blogging/photo centre and much more.

LittleBigPlanet is surely one of the most anticipated titles of the year with it's innovative mix of gameplay, creation and sharing. If there's one title that is destined to take on the marketing behemoth that is Halo 3, this is it. 'What?', I hear you cry. How can you compare LBP and Halo 3? Think about it.

There's Halo 3 characters, faceplates, headsets, controllers and skins everywhere you look on your favourite retailer's shelves. You can get ringtones, wallpapers and themes for almost any mobile device. If there is one thing I want to see this year it's a Sackboy that I can actually buy, along with fabric pens so I can modify him, just like in the game. And a Sackboy controller. And a Sackboy gift set. Sony should be marketing the crap out of this game. I want to see Sackboy on the shelves of Clinton Cards alongside that ever-present blue-nosed teddy bear. You get the idea.

As the year progresses, we'll be hit with another massive title that is definitely staying on the PS3 only. Metal Gear Solid 4 will arrive. Every indication is that this final chapter in the story of Snake will be monumental in every way. The recent previews we've seen show the game to be something really special and the ending is promising to be as epic as you would expect. Once again you're going to have to figure out how to balance still playing GTA and LBP when this one hits. Who said gaming was easy!

Although Europe will see GT5 Prologue early in the year (February we reckon), there's a good chance the full Gran Turismo 5 experience will hit our shelves in the Year of the Rat. Promising a huge amount of detail, cars, tracks and content, along with realistic damage (hooray!), real-time weather simulation, GT-TV content, My Garage homepages/social networking and - most importantly - the Top Gear Test Track, GT5 will give us petrol-heads something to really get our teeth into once we've completed everything Burnout Paradise can offer.

Finally, we'll be sinking our teeth into the Hellghast scum once again as Killzone 2 comes to the PS3. Whether or not the screenshots you have seen are 'doctored' or not, it doesn't really matter. The fact is that this game is one hell of an FPS. Incredible graphics, amazing character animation, deep storyline, real atmosphere and pixel-perfect shooting mean that this one title may just blow your mind as well as your wallet. Another PS3 exclusive, I predict Killzone 2 will be the biggest selling of them all, which is a risky bet given the massive appeal of the games we've detailed above.

Honourable mentions go to the other games that will hit this year in retail and PS Store form; Tekken 6, SOCOM: Confrontation, Madden 09, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Everyday Shooter and Wipeout HD to name but a few. And we've ignored the possible release of those other exclusives - Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII - because we just don't believe they'll make it onto shelves this year.

And don't forget the additional hardware and PSP interactivity that is due. Soon you'll be able to buy PlayTV in Europe and add a twin-tuner Freeview PVR to the list of incredible things you can do with a PS3, and view live TV or your recorded programmes via Remote Play. There's so much more to come from the PS3 this year and much of it will be delivered, free of charge, via firmware updates and the PS Store.

Simply put, the Year of the Rat will be the best one yet for Sony. The Dog can learn new tricks, it seems.

Check out the gallery below for various screenshots and wallpapers...

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Thursday, 3 January 2008

Happy New Year; PS3 Attitude's Big Three


We're finally back from our extended break (some much needed R&R), and we're starting 2008 with the PS3 Attitude Big Three for January.

As a reminder, the Big Three tells you what you should be spending your hard earned cash on during the coming month. We only cover UK and European release dates, so don't go telling us that the 'big US-only release' is missing from the list! And we only cover games arriving during the month in question.

Picking three titles in January is a little harder than expected since new games will be a little thin on the ground at the start of 2008, but let's give it a go anyhow:

1. Burnout Paradise

There aren't many demos out there that I actually play for as long as a full release, so all the signs are good for the first next-gen Burnout title.

Set in Paradise City, which is much bigger than we expected, this version of Burnout has a number of nice gameplay changes over previous incarnations. For example, you no longer choose from a menu of different races. You simply pull up at the lights and hold down the break and accelerator to signal your intent. Each junction has a different challenge.

The online gaming is sublime and the full game will include over 300 challenges. If you've been playing the demo you will have noticed that they keep adding new challenges, including the 'synchronised barrel roll' task on the beach. It's great fun hooking up your PS Eye or headset to coordinate the drivers into the right locations to ensure everyone completes the challenge, and I can't wait to get my teeth into the full title when it arrives on the 25th.

Not only is this your 'must have' game for January, it will certainly be one of the standout titles for the whole of 2008!

Bonus Material: If you click the title link above to pre-order Burnout Paradise the nice people at GAME will send you a code via email on launch day to unlock an exclusive extra car.

2. Haze

Although no-one has yet confirmed the launch date for Haze, we fully expect it to be available in January. As soon as we get full confirmation, we'll let you know.

As you'll have gathered from our initial impressions of the build we played at GameCity, Haze is a great FPS from the team that brought the world such gems as GoldenEye and TimeSplitters. To say this game has pedigree would be an understatement.

The gameplay by itself is enough to warrant attention, but the storyline and the use of the soldier-enhancing/entrancing drug Nectar take this particular game to another level.

We're sticking our neck out here by putting Haze in the January Big Three when the lainch date hasn't been confirmed, but we're fairly confident. And regardless of which month Haze is released, it would be in our Big Three in any case, so put a few pennies aside for it anyway!

Bonus Material: By clicking the link above you can pre-order Haze and the chaps and chapesses at GAME will send you the product in a nice tin with a free glow stick. Nu Rave!

3. Unknown

Heck - we failed. We couldn't find three titles that were certain to launch in January. Haze isn't even certain to arrive and it still made it onto the list!

The truth is, there's going to be a lot more to talk about in February and beyond with games like Mercenaries 2, Devil May Cry 4, Viking, Army of Two and Brothers in Arms all arriving before the end of March. Along with a whole slew of great PS Store titles that are expected to hit before the end of the quarter we'll all be very busy. Our advice is to save up your pounds or euros in anticipation.

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Friday, 30 November 2007

PS3 exclusive Haze featured on Gamer TV this weekend

Gamer TV, which airs in the UK on Bravo, will be showing a Haze special this weekend.

Tune in at any of the following times to see how Haze is shaping up. As you may know, we think Haze is something special, so it will be good to see what Gamer TV make of it.

  • Saturday 1st December 10.00 am on Bravo 2
  • Sunday 2nd December 11.30 am on Bravo
  • Monday 3rd December 4.30 pm on Bravo

Now that Ubisoft have confirmed to PS3 Attitude that Haze will be a 2008 release, this will help keep us happy until it arrives.

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Tuesday, 27 November 2007

December treats; PS3 Attitude's Big Three



Yes, it's that time of the month when we pick out the three titles you should be buying this coming month. Of course, it's that special time of year when we drink too much, eat too much and pretend we like everything our relatives bought for us...

So what better than earmarking a short list of three great titles you can pass to your nearest and dearest so they know what you really want this Christmas! As ever, we're focusing on UK and European release dates...

1. Uncharted: Drake's Fortune

Without a doubt this is one of the two absolute 'must have' titles for the PS3 this year in my opinion, the other being Ratchet & Clank from last month's Big Three. Sure there's loads of really great games out there now (CoD4, Motorstorm, Resistance, Folklore, Eye of Judgement, Guitar Hero III, Heavenly Sword, Assassin's Creed) but Uncharted and Ratchet are as close to gaming perfection as you'll find on our favourite platform.

Not only are the graphics literally revolutionary (I love the way your clothing changes when you walk in water or under a waterfall) but the gameplay is slick and varied. You have action, gunplay, platforming and puzzle solving all rolled into a great pulp-fiction inspired storyline with excellent characters that have so much detail they move and react fluidly at all times.

This really has to be your number one purchase for the holiday season.

2. SingStar

One of the seminal party games of the last decade, SingStar has had more than a cosmetic makeover for its first appearance on the PS3.

The interface and music are completely customisable through new songs (the SingStore) and new downloadable skins. You can build your own playlists and download the entire back catalogue of 3,000 PS2 SingStar favourites in addition to a continuing list of new material as the months progress.

And in a social network style, you can capture your best performances (with or without using the PS Eye) and upload them for all the world to see, as well as transferring them to your PSP for offline viewing and sharing.

It's the gift that keeps on giving!

3. Half-Life 2: The Orange Box

Much has been written about the woes of the PS3 version of The Orange Box of late. There is the obvious delay between the release of this version and the PC/X360 titles, and there are stories of framerate issues and bugs.

Let's be clear about the reality for a second. Unless you fully expect your games to never, ever drop below 30 fps for even a moment, you will be perfectly happy with The Orange Box on PS3. The issues have been blown out of all proportion.

So what do you get for your money? Five games - HL2, HL2: Episode 1, HL2: Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal. That's great value for money if you're an FPS fan, but the real pull is the non-FPS title - Portal.

Portal is a marvel of three-dimensional puzzle solving and, by all accounts, is the absolute star of the show. Addictive, compelling and mind-altering, Portal will have you fully occupied for hours on end. And then you can go shoot things. What more can you ask for?!

Click the links above to pre-order any of the titles.
As an aside, there's still a chance (despite reports to the contrary) that Haze will be released before Christmas. If it is, then it's worthy of your attention as the build I played was stunning - click to read more about my impressions of Haze.

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Sunday, 28 October 2007

November fireworks; PS3 Attitude's Big Three

The PS3 Attitude Big Three is here, so let's count down the titles we think you should be aiming for this November.

1. Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

Quite simply, this game is close to perfection. We've played the demo and we've had a view of the finished product and I have to tell you, it's superb in every way. Ratchet & Clank have always been favourites of mine, but the PS3 really takes them to the next level in every way. A must for PS3 owners.

2. Assassin's Creed

Whether you buy the regular version, or the special edition, Assassin's Creed should make it's way into your collection without fail. Beautiful graphics and awesome gameplay where everything has a reason. Every crack in the wall is something for Altair to climb up and your actions change the way other characters respond to you, including the crowd. Take a look at the latest trailer to get a feel for the game.

3. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock

It was a hard choice to pick number three, especially with Call of Duty 4 and the possibility of Haze still coming in November (despite the fact that it hasn't yet gone gold). But in the end it had to be Guitar Hero III. It simple. Haze and CoD are both different and yet brilliant FPS titles. CoD was the toast of E3, and Haze looks quite incredible. But since Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero II were incompatible with the PS3 I've been suffering huge withdrawal symptoms! Get your rock god on this coming month.

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GameCity 07; Haze is not 'gold' but still glitters


One of the other big reasons to travel hundreds of miles to Nottingham (instead of going a few miles to London!) was the hands-on Haze demo.

I met David Doak of Free Radical at the event and got my hands dirty with a title that I'm certain will do good business.

Playing initially as one of the 'rebels' on a split screen with another avid gamer, the first thing you notice is that the controls are immediately accessible. Haze doesn't mess with the FPS formula in this respect. Everything you'd expect would be on the buttons and triggers is there, but with a few bells added on.

For example, if you are playing as a rebel you can grab some 'nectar' from any of the Mantel fighters you've despatched and create a nectar grenade. Throwing the grenade at Mantel troops initiates an overdose of the drug in their systems. You can see the individuals who are affected since their armour turns red.

You see, when you have an overdose of nectar as a Mantel soldier you go a bit crazy. You see the Mantel troops going mad and shooting their own people under control of the drug. The nectar grenade also provide cover and, simultaneously, gets in the way of targeting troops on the other side of the fog, so you need to be careful to use effectively.

The controls are fluid, the graphics are gorgeous and the storyline is well-considered. You move seamlessly between action and the occasional story-supporting cut scene but never with that feeling some games offer where the screen goes black and you wait for the FMV to appear. It's all rendered by the PS3, and it all flows.

Playing as the Mantel troops is a lot of fun too. When you administer nectar you have to be careful not to overdose. You also have to be careful not to administer too little either, or the effect won't last long enough for any benefit.

When you are under the spell of the drug, enemies glow. When you're fighting in the jungle and the rebels are using cover, nectar is the only way you can spot them, so it is essential to get the balance of nectar application right. You also run faster under the drug's effects and you gain a slight 'auto-aim' capability which helps with picking off the rebels.

The biggest feeling you walk away with is one of true involvement. The AI is great with enemies taking up good positions and working together (when they're not shooting each other after an overdose) and that helps the atmosphere. The graphics are stunning and the sound seems excellent.

I spent a long time talking with David about the game and the state of video games in general. Some of what David said needs to be in a different story as it relates to the game industry in general. As far as Haze is concerned although the game is slick and plays beautifully, they are still working furiously to give it some extra spit and polish.

Which means to say that the rumours we've all seen about Haze going gold can't be true! However, David was keen to point out that they should still have it ready and available for Christmas. We know from a recent Ubisoft financial report that Haze is one of the three new titles they are to release between now and next March but I personally think we'll see this one hit in late November.

Many thanks to David and Free Radical for a great session with Haze. I for one can't wait to play the final product. Whilst the PS3 has many FPS options, Haze is certainly a stand-out title and deserves it's place in anyone's collection.

[Photo by Jon Jordan - thanks Jon!]

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Thursday, 4 October 2007

US PS Store updates for 4th October

So, what did the US get that we didn't this week?

Here's the list of US PS Store releases, although as of writing this they haven't appeared on the network:

  • Go! Sports Ski Game ($2.99)
  • The Simpsons Demo
  • Bladestorm: The Hundred Years War Demo
  • NBA 08 and Eye of Judgment Video Tutorials
  • Uncharted Behind the Scenes Video
  • Haze developer interview Video
  • Tekkonkinkreet Movie Trailer
  • Surf's Up Movie Trailer

The Go! Sports Ski game is remarkably cheap. I thought LocoRoco Cocoreccho was cheap when it came out in the UK, but $2.99 (£1.46 or so) is amazing. Even if they swap the Dollar sign for a Pound sign when it hits Europe it'll still be good value.

Enjoy!

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European PS Store updates for 4th October

The EU PS Store has been updated and includes the following:

  • SKATE. Demo
  • Bladestorm Download Demo
  • Stuntman:Ignition Demo
  • Jericho Demo
  • Snakeball Trailer
  • HAZE Gameplay Trailer
  • GRAW 2 Trailers (four of them)
  • Blast Factor Wallpapers
  • flOw Wallpaper
It's good to see a number of demos appearing on the EU Store for once. I appreciate not everyone has a US or JP account, but for those of us that have we already splayed Skate, Bladestorm, Stuntman and Jericho. We also already had the wallpapers.

So, four GRAW 2 trailers (well, instructional videos really) and a Haze gameplay video are all that's new if you're a multi-region account user. Still, it's a step in the right direction and if SCEE can keep things moving at this pace we might get a weekly Store update that's somewhere close to the US soon.

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Friday, 31 August 2007

PS3 Exclusive - Haze coming to the Playstation 3 only

After rumour and counter-rumour (and we've learnt not to post those any more!) it's now official.

Haze has become a PS3 exclusive and the Xbox 360 version has been dropped completely. The websites of Free Radical and Ubisoft and the official Haze site all now only list the PS3 version of the game.

Another exclusive in the PS3's cap - that makes 16 by my reckoning between now and March 2008.

Bring on the nectar!

Check out this shaky-cam video of the actual gameplay from Leipzig...

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Monday, 20 August 2007

Latest UK release dates for upcoming PS3 AAA titles

In an attempt to add to the general level of joy that has been created by this week's GRAW 2 release, I thought it would be a good idea to get the latest release dates for the PS3 AAA titles I listed recently to help show how much we've got coming along in the next few months.

I got these by comparing the GAME UK and Amazon UK dates and picking the most pessimistic of the two dates. I've purposefully not gone to the rumour-mill or other news sites to pick up the latest 'guaranteed' dates (which rarely prove to be right, including my own past predictions!).

I'm also not saying these are the final dates for any of these releases. In any case, I still think this list is pretty close to the truth and will help you work out how much overtime you need to clock up to afford your favourite titles!

And in case you're not up to speed on these titles, you'll find video links against all of them - just click the [vid] link. Enjoy!

Army of Two 16 November 2007 [vid]
Assassin's Creed 16 November 2007 [vid]
Call of Duty 4 30 November 2007 [vid]
DiRT 21 September 2007 [vid]
Eye of Judgement (and the PS Eye in general) 30 November 2007 [vid]
GRAW 2 24 August 2007 [vid]
Haze 23 November 2007 [vid]
Heavenly Sword 14 September 2007 [vid]
Jericho 26 October 2007 [vid]
Juiced 2 25 January 2008 [vid]
Kane & Lynch 16 November 2007 [vid]
Lair 26 October 2007 [vid]
Ratchet and Clank Future 30 November 2007 [vid]
Skate 12 October 2007 [vid]
Stranglehold 28 September 2007 [vid]
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune 23 November 2007 [vid]
Unreal Tournament 3 30 November 2007 [vid]
Warhawk* 14 September 2007 [vid]

*Warhawk listing is the retail version - we already covered the supposed date for the download version of Warhawk

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Saturday, 11 August 2007

Haze is two games in one box


The PS3 timed-exclusive, Haze, is shaping up to be one of the big games of the year.

As well as blindingly fast and furious gameplay, Rob Yescombe if Free Radical explains in an interview with Destructiod that Haze is two games in one box, as the two different factions in the game have such different abilities.

Read the full article after the jump to see a complete list of Mantel and Promised Hand skills. The extra good news? All of the listed abilities will be available in multi-player...

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Monday, 6 August 2007

Upcoming PS3 releases for 2007

To help illustrate just how much there is to look forward to I thought I'd dig around and pull out some of the forthcoming joyfulness that will hit the PS3 before the end of the year (in alphabetical order):

Army of Two
Assassin's Creed
Call of Duty 4
DiRT
Eye of Judgement (and the PS Eye in general)
GRAW 2
Guitar Hero III
Haze
Heavenly Sword
Jericho
Juiced 2
Kane & Lynch
Lair
PlayStation Home
Ratchet and Clank Future
Rock Band
SingStar
Skate
Stranglehold
Tiger Woods, Madden and FIFA 08
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
Unreal Tournament 3
Warhawk

Kind of makes the delayed GTA: IV seem like a bit more of a non-issue, don't you think?

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Thursday, 2 August 2007

European premiere of Guitar Hero III in Edinburgh this month

It's been announced that along with two world premieres (Rise of The Argonauts and Turning Point) the Edinburgh Interactive Festival 2007 will see the European premiere of Guitar Hero III.

Taking place during the 13th and 14th August, the Edinburgh Interactive Festival is focussing heavily on the gaming industry and has a full programme of events. The 'screenings' which take place at the Odeon on Lothian Road will also include showings of Unreal Tournament III, DiRT, Haze and Assassin's Creed.

Unfortunately the ticket price to get in to the festival is extortionate. Considering the companies that are shwing up at the event you'd expect that they would have subsidised the cost to make it easier for people to get involved. Because much of the content is geared up for the gaming industry, I'm sure they can cover the cost on their expenses report...

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Saturday, 14 July 2007

E3 2007: 60 fps; now that's a 'quick draw'!


1875. In a small town called Santa Monica the Rapp Saloon saw it's fair share of Wild West action.

132 years later the 'big guns' of the gaming industry took their fight to town. Or so you would think based on all the 'Sony won E3', 'MS won E3' and 'Nintendo won E3' threads that pepper the 'net today.

E3 2007 is now over. And just to make things clear, I've seen all three major keynote speeches (before anyone says I can't be objective!).

I'll be honest, there's only one clear winner - us. Regardless of whether you're a 'fanboy' or someone who buys every console, or even someone just in-between, there's something for everyone.

I already covered the Sony keynote in detail and followed up with my thoughts on why Sony did a fantastic job. I think MS spent too much time talking 'figures', which is what they do best anyway, but we all need to remember they had a year of selling over PS3 and Wii so it's no great surprise they've outsold everyone to date. Nintendo had some fun stuff but personally I still see the Wii as more of a last-gen toy than a next-gen gaming or entertainment centre.

Here's a complete wrap-up of my thoughts about Sony's E3 and what it means for everyone who owns a PS3.

First of all, we need more games for our beloved black monolith. And Sony came with new games. Over the next 'financial year' we're going to see literally hundreds of releases on both Blu-ray disk and via the Playstation Store (that's before March 2008).

PS Store downloads will include the likes of Warhawk (also available on BD), Socom, Wipeout HD and Pain. The new puzzler Echochrome will have user-generated content (but no-one can say what or how yet). We know that via the Store you'll get more and more additional content for your existing games, extending their life and adding new features. We've already had additional game modes for Motorstorm but look out for new tracks and extra levels over the next month or so.

New games coming along this Summer, Autumn and Winter include Heavenly Sword, Assassin's Creed, Haze, Guitar Hero III, Rock Band, Killzone 2, Lair, Eye of Judgement, Skate, GTA: IV and Unreal Tournament III to name just a few. 100s of titles before March next year, 15 of them exclusive to the platform.

Secondly, we needed to see improvements to the Playstation network experience. When I first saw Home at GDC I was blown away. But I wasn't prepared for the vast improvements already when Phil Harrison took the stage at E3 2007.

Now, not only do we get the single best 'network' experience available on any platform, we get to interact with it via our PCs and mobile phones. Thanks goodness I only buy Sony Ericsson phones! And we get to launch games from BD or our hard drives directly from within Home with our friends around the world. The entire Home exprience looks so compelling, and it's still free. No monthly subscriptions for us PS3 owners...

When they do launch video-on-demand for the PS3 and PSP, we'll have everything covered.

Finally, we wanted to see that the pre-rendered 'target renders' we saw at E3 2006 were actually achievable.

And we did. Oh boy, we did.

Killzone 2 looks just incredible. I wasn't a huge fan of the original Killzone - it never really grabbed me. Killzone Liberation on the PSP has been one of the outstanding titles for our mobile brother and that has kept me interested in the Killzone brand since the original PS2 game. Now it looks like the PS3 has yet another stand-out title that will shift units worldwide, and I can't wait to waste some Helghast scum!

And Metal Gear Solid 4? The latest trailer showed that the PS3 is capable of producing, in realtime, the kind of cinematic content that ensure you really feel part of the action. I'll be looking out for that demonstration in Tokyo next week...

There were issues at E3, of course. Assassin's Creed didn't look like it was close to finished by all reports - too many glitches. Some people say that's because they felt pressured to get the demo up regardless, but the issues did create a little extra pressure for the PR machine.

And then there's the whole $100 price drop/60Gb phase out thing. It's all over the 'net as you'd expect and Sony's execs seemed to be tripping up over each other to state and counter-state differing points of view.

But here's the deal. Personally, I could care less about the 80Gb model. I already have a PS3. I can upgrade the hard drive in my PS3 to 160Gb tomorrow for £50 and it will take me 5 minutes. Anyone who is buying a new PS3 may as well have the new one with the larger hard drive, but it they want to buy the smaller one and add in a new hard drive, they can.

That's because Sony made the hard drive a standard SATA unit so it's easy to upgrade. Try doing that in any other console right now.

And the 80Gb version isn't coming to Europe/UK anyway right now. Hate to be all UK-biased, but that means I really couldn't care less about the new SKU!!

There you have it. A brilliant E3 for all of us whether you own a PS3 or any of the other units. I believe that Sony really did bring everything we needed to see from them and more. Don't expect to see a Wild West undertaker coming out of his store to measure Sony up for a box any time soon...

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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

E3 Day 2 Extra: Liveblogging the Sony Keynote Speech

Because sleep is for wimps:

Jack Tretton is on stage. After a couple of PSP announcements Phil Harrison takes the stage.

He shows 'Echochrome' for the PlayStation Store which has the 'least graphics but the most gameplay'. It seems to be a puzzler based on the mind-bending drawings of M.C. Escher. Certainly has the least graphics - it's all black and white line art...

He announces both a 1080p 60 fps version of Wipeout called Wipeout HD with full online multiplayer - Pain (the Jackass-inspired game that's already been covered elsewhere) - Warhawk - and Socom Confrontation, the first next-gen Socom title. All of these titles are for the PlayStation Store. Warhawk and Socom will be available on Blu-ray disk also.

Phil talks about the new additions to Home. He shows Home running on his Sony Ericcson mobile phone!! It doesn't allow 3D but it does allow you to connect to Home to get messages etc. and has a mini-XMB interface. He takes a picture with the phone and puts it in his pocket.

Phil goes on to show a vast array of Home spaces for purchase to show the variety of new properties that will be available. He shows a Singstar video playing on a virtual TV in his virtual house which leads to a video about Singstar on the PS3 and it's downloadable content and PS Eye compatibility. Look at that! The picture he took is in a picture frame on the wall! Home Mobile uploads automatically to your Home space.

He also shows the PC element of Home where it is a full social networking experience linked to the PlayStation Home network. This is almost too much!

Is there any more? Yes - you can also launch any game from BD disk or your HD directly inside Home! He launches Motorstorm which goes straight into a multiplayer game on a NEW track called Eagles Nest that will be available for download next month... It will go straight back to Home wherever you left off when you quit the game. Stunning.

Phil leaves the stage and we go back to the announcement on the 80Gb model of the PS3 at $599 in North America and the $100 price drop on the current version. Sony announce that the PS3 has helped Blu-ray reach a 2:1 sales ratio against HD-DVD.

NC Soft is announced as a new Sony developer! NC Soft is the famous MMO developer and they will be developing MMO titles exclusively for PS3 - excellent announcement.

As expected Haze is announced as a timed exclusive on PS3. Words were chosen very carefully - "if you want to play it this Summer you'll only be able to do that on PS3" - which means it will go to other platforms but not until Autumn/Winter at least. Ensuing Haze video shows features such as vehicle control, gun control on helicopters and the ability to 'play dead' to catch out enemies.

A multi-stage deal with Epic and Midway is announced that allows for a fully optimised version of the Unreal Engine for the PS3. 100 games are in the works for this engine and Unreal Tournament 3 is confirmed as a PS3 exclusive this year! User created mods from the PC version can be brought over to the PS3 version. UTIII is released this November in the US and the video Sony shows looks absolutely stunning.

Sony show other titles that are coming this year. They include Call of Duty 4, Assassin's Creed, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, Resident Evil 5, Burnout Paradise, Madden NFL '08, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix, The Simpsons Game, Guitar Hero III: Legend of Rock, Medal of Honour: Airborne and Rock Band (see, it IS coming for PS3).

One more exclusive is announced. It is available only on PS3. It's Metal Gear Solid 4. Hideo Kojima takes the stage. He says "I safely made it to E3 again! MGS is celebrating it's 20-year anniversary this year. I've been creating this franchise for 20 years but MGS4 will be the FINAL in the series. The story of Snake will end in this game and this will be my last game in the series. So all the story plots and mysteries will be revealed. The game itself will be a stealth game but with new elements in the battlefield. Stealth in the battlefield. I promise you I'm putting all my skills and experience of the last 20 years into MGS4. Today I brought with me the newest trailer. It's not a movie, it is real-time footage from the PS3 so welcome to the premiere".

The trailer is completely outstanding in every way. You'll be able to download it via the US PS Store today. Afterwards Kojima-san asks "How was it!" and gets a big round of applause. He assures everyone that what they saw was real-time footage and you will be able to play in that quality. He says that next week at a show in Tokyo he will show a real demo of the gameplay!

Phil Harrison re-takes the stage. He's back in the Home theatre to show some more exclusives. Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction is the first up. It is said that the level of detail and sophistication is only achievable on the PS3. Next up is Folklore. Folklore looks incredible and seems to have a real mix of action, RPG, beautiful graphics and a 'dark' storyline. Heavenly Sword now features. There's been so much news about this game I need to add nothing extra!

NBA '08 is announced next and looks incredible in 1080p 60 fps with realtime roster updates direct from the real NBA. If a player gets an injury in real life, he gets an injury in your game! One of my personal favourites, LittleBigPlanet, is next. Sony show a video of the 'create' part of the game, with the concentration on the game evolving naturally as players create new levels and share them with the entire PSN. The final game Phil wants to show us from his virtual self in Home is Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Once again we're treated to an awesome video where the lead character has over 3,000 animations alone all seamlessly linking to provide realistic movement, emotion and characterisation.

Next up from the real Phil is Infamous, another exclusive from Sucker Punch. A teaser trailer is shown that gives you a sneak preview of an 'anti-hero' game where you have to decide whether your superpowers save or destroy the world.

GT5 Prologue is announced with full online multiplayer as a stopgap whilst we wait for the full GT5 experience. It looks outstanding and should appease the masses who are always complaining about the delays in the current stock of GT titles.

One more announcement from Phil. A video starts and it's Killzone 2. Everything we are about to see is realtime. They show a video similar to the one I featured earlier in the Day 2 round-up, so go experience it for yourself now. This video shows much more real gameplay and the game looks completely amazing. Imagine everything you wanted Resistance to be and more...

The press are invited to play many of the games in the room next door which of course I can't do because I'm stuck here in the UK watching this all on a live feed. That's it. It's all over. Frankly, it's a great keynote from Sony with lots of brilliant announcements and I can't wait to see what the real writers make of the advancements in Home and the batch of exclusives Sony announced. Goodnight all..

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Saturday, 7 July 2007

New Haze video shows Free Radical have a sense of humour


At 12 minutes 21 seconds it's one of the longer demo videos you'll see pre-E3 but that's because much of the video includes Starsky & Hutch-style music and 'oh so funny' titles.

Once you do get through the opening sequence you'll be treated to some nice footage of how Haze is shaping up. I particularly like the concept of overdosing on the 'nectar' to the point where you can't control your fire or even distinguish foes from friends. Just like being in the real Army.

Of course Free Radical are well known for their sense of humour and have piled it into games like TimeSplitters, TimeSplitters 2 and TimeSplitters Future Perfect. Thank goodness they released Second Sight somewhere in between or else they might have started getting typecast!


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