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Monday, 20 October 2008

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift Demo: Impressions

Title: MotorStorm: Pacific Rift
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Evolution Studios
Demo Release Date: October 16th (Non Qore)
Release Date of final game: October 28th (NA), November 7th (EU)
Size: 617 MB


Introduction: Following up on the flawed (but generally positively received) launch title "MotorStorm", Evolution Studios return to the racing genre with the inevitable sequel, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift. Once again, rather than discussing the virtues of the game itself, we focus on the demo; noting its specific qualities in an attempt to gauge whether or not it has served the collective purpose of not only driving interest in the final product, but being a self-contained unit to be enjoyed and deleted when finished.

Of course this demo is not necessarily something new, considering it was originally available for Qore subscribers back in September but us mere Outer Qore members however now get our chance to race around a tropical setting avoiding pit-falls and the hyper-competitive nature of our fellow racers.

Initial impressions: Of course you can't judge a demo without commenting on the quality of the final game its representing so let's just say that the MotorStorm 2 (easier that writing Pacific Rift all the time) gameplay presented is polished, fun and mighty purty. The graphics have received a noticeable upgrade with frame-rates and effects all appearing smoother and in greater detail respectively. Speaking of upgrades, this author also noticed some considerable tweaks to the bike handling with driving at lower speeds now no longer akin to almost getting trapped in a perpetual circle due to over sensitive controls. It's a small point but it's worth noting as it was a personal peeve from the first game.

From a gameplay perspective we get one track (Rain God Spires) which actually harks back to the original demo course with the twists, turns and dead-falls not a million miles away from how the Mesa track played. We get eight vehicles comprising of a bike, a monster truck, two buggys, two racing trucks and a couple of rally cars for good measure. Most importantly (for some), we get two-player split screen action; a mode long maligned as being painfully absent from the original game. Quite sizeable for a demo but, considering it's just one track, the balance is kept in check. It should be noted however that two laps is noticably short when it comes to actual race-time.

A final nod is given to the music selected for the demo as, once again, the developers have chosen some excellent pounding tracks to keep the adrenaline pulsing. With Pendulum's "Slam" featuring heavily in the first demo, I definitely noticed the heavy riffs of Ministry permeating this outing.

Who's Going To Like This: Fans of the first MotorStorm obviously but also those who enjoy fast-paced racing fun in a bite-sized format. In fact, fans of Burnout should also give it a whirl considering the crashes (to us at least) appear more cinematic in nature than before. Let us know if you agree with this assessment in the comments.

Interest Radar: The MotorStorm 2 demo excels where the Mercenaries 2 demo crashed and burned. There is just enough content here to pique your interest, it shows off the game's qualities without muddying the waters (pun intended) with superfluous game modes, vehicles or objectives and delivers with the "fun" element. Once again, size shouldn't be an issue, but it's nice to note that the moderate download shouldn't cause many people to wait for hours in order to check it out.

The MotorStorm: Pacific Rift demo is rated as a Category 4 storm, missing out on the ultimate classification of a Cat 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale purely because the actual time presented per race is quite short and the track doesn't show off much of the often reported destructive environment factor. Considering a Category 4 will still pick up your house and relocate it to a different country, this demo is highly recommended.

Remember: demo impressions are based on the demo and not on the game. Great games have been known to have lousy demos, with the opposite also holding true.

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Thursday, 16 October 2008

European PS Store update for 16th October

The update has arrived, although a little later than the usual '11:30 on a Thursday' routine.

So what were we waiting for?

Two good demos, some Eye of Judgement goodness, a new golf course and the usual Rock Band/videos/themes mix.

For all your trophy whores, remember the Eye of Judgement set 3 includes some shiny new hardware for you to get your hands on. And yes, I still refuse to spell it without an 'e' - I'm British don't you know.

Demos (all free)

Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway
MotorStorm: Pacific Rift

Add-ons

Eye of Judgement - Biolith Rebellion set 3 (£6.99/€9.99)
Eye of Judgement - Biolith Rebellion set 2 & 3 (£10.49/€14.99)
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 - Firestone County Club (£4.99/€7.49)
Rock Band DLC (check below for track listing)

Videos (all free)

Far Cry 2 - "Bara Bara" trailer
Tom Clancy's Endwar - trailer
PAIN Amusement Park - trailer

Themes (all free)

Killzone 2

Rock Band track listing (£0.99/€1.49 each)

Don't go away Mad (Just go away) - Mötley Crüe
Dr.Feelgood - Mötley Crüe
Kickstart My Heart - Mötley Crüe
Rattlesnake Shake - Mötley Crüe
Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S.) - Mötley Crüe
She Goes Down - Mötley Crüe
Slice of Your Pie - Mötley Crüe
Sticky Sweet - Mötley Crüe
Time for Change - Mötley Crüe
Without You - Mötley Crüe

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Friday, 3 October 2008

Earth, Wind and Fire in Motorstorm: Pacific Rift

Before you get too worried, we're not suggesting that the popular 70's beat combo are making an appearance in the game.

It has been revealed today that Motorstorm: Pacific Rift will feature four zones; Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. Each zone has four tracks, and every track sports the multi-route feature that made the original Motorstorm such a great racer.

Earth Zone is all about the jungle, with peril at every corner (some of it covered in vegetation). Air Zone is where you'll catch the biggest air and, no doubt, fall of a cliff edge or two. Fire Zone takes you through four lava-infused tracks and Water Zone is all about the canyons, waterfalls and coastlines of the island paradise.

Want to see what the tracks look like? You're in luck. Head over to the European Official PlayStation Forum for plan views of every track and much, much more.

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Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Pure Motorstorm Fuel: Off-Road Racing Comes in Threes

In the early PS3 days Motorstorm languished in an unchallenged pole position on the console. With some of the most dazzling graphics to be found anywhere in the current generation of consoles, it earned a deserved following of fans.

Never before had brutal off-road racing been so well executed through the combination of a great physics engine and extremely impressive AI programming.

Baja and Colin McRae: DiRT followed later to a race hungry audience. DiRT was brilliantly designed to build on what had come before in the series, and impressed gamers and critics alike with a mighty Metacritic score of 83. It lacked the open-world feel of Motorstorm, opting instead for a larger number of tracks and a more realistic approach.

It was only a matter of time before the gaming public had confirmation of Evolution Studios’ upcoming sequel, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift. This time things are different though. Whilst the success of Motorstorm was still shining, a couple of developers were squirreling away on new IPs, namely Pure (from Black Rock Studios) and Fuel (from Asobo Studios).

Pure is now available on the high street and has been doing well with a Metacritic score of 83 – beating the lofty heights set by the original Motorstorm by just one point. With some beautiful graphics, clever trick systems and a huge variety of customization options, Pure has clearly been very carefully designed.

Previously, I was rather short with my hands-on with Pure. Having played some more of the game I feel that it is only fair to address this now. Pure is an exceptionally playable game. All the pieces which constitute a “good” racing game are there in spades. It simply comes down to personal taste as to which a player prefers between Pure and Motorstorm.

I maintain that the latter is my first option, but hasten to add that this is only because it released first.

What about Fuel? Four years in the making and not due for a release until 2009, does this extraordinary racer have the drive to throttle the competition?

The game certainly can’t be criticized for a lack of ambition; containing a predicted 5,000 square miles of continuous terrain this is surely the (physically) largest game that has been attempted. With a proprietary engine doing some serious number crunching behind a veil of dazzling graphics the gaming populous is sure to fall over its collective self to get hold of this when it is released next year.

The big question is, will it beat the Evolution powerhouse that has been building up the hype train in recent months?

Set on a Pacific island crammed full of new dangers such as lava and water hazards, Motorstorm: Pacific Rift is the very epitome of brutal off-road racing. With new vehicles, split-screen multiplayer options and a bigger and better overall package than its predecessor, can MSPR pull ahead of the competition in the coming year?

Only time will tell, and we’ll probably have to measure the difference in hundredths of a second.

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Thursday, 11 September 2008

MotorStorm Pacific Rift Gets Release Date, Umbrella in its Drink

Is your motor stormless at the moment? Get your umbrellas ready, MotorStorm Pacific Rift is raining down upon you October 28th.

This sequel gets bonus points for not adding a number to the original title (I'm looking at you Resistance and Killzone), doubling the number of tracks from 8 to 16, adding a new gameplay element (water/lava affects your boost temperature), adding the split-screen mode missing from the original, real time deformation of tracks and those twins. That last one may be wishful thinking though...

You may start your excitement...whenever you want, I don't care. I just started playing the original under this rock I've been living under.


Source [PlayStation.Blog]

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Friday, 5 September 2008

Motorstorm Q&A; lacking Home support, long jump trophies and lava

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift is nearly here.

The follow up to one of the most successful titles on the PlayStation 3, expectations are high for the sequel. When we had a chance to play a 70% complete build of the game recently (video below), those expectations were certainly met.

Nigel Kershaw, Game Director at Evolution Studios, spared us some of his valuable time, giving us more details of what to expect from their new baby. Be prepared for water, lava and... Special Brew?

[PS3A] Why did you decide to host Motorstorm: Pacific Rift on a tropical island, and what different environments can we expect to race in this time around?

[NK] Monument Valley was a fantastic location for the first MotorStorm game but for the second we wanted somewhere where we could really stretch our visual and technology muscles. Picking a tropical island gave us a lot of new interactive technology that we felt we could finally do justice with PlayStation 3. Thus you will find interactive water, interactive vegetation, lava and a whole host of destructible scenery.

[PS3A] We have seen the new Monster Truck vehicle class. In the original Motorstorm, your choice of vehicle determined your route and strategy. What should people be thinking about when choosing to race with these huge vehicles?

[NK] The Monster Truck is designed to be the top of the food chain in the MotorStorm line up; its big wheels makes it capable of running right over opposing vehicles. So when you are racing in one aggression is your main weapon. When you are racing against one stay out of the way! These big wheels also make it a good climber, capable of climbing rough terrain that leave other vehicles as twisted wrecks.

[PS3A] What are the biggest differences in gameplay between Motorstorm and Motorstorm: Pacific Rift?

[NK] Pacific Rift is still MotorStorm but we have enhanced and refined the gameplay in a number of areas, making sure that the player has more decisions to make, more control over his vehicle and a much wider variety of game modes to experience.


[PS3A] We remember the furore around split-screen multiplayer in Motorstorm. What new offline and online multiplayer modes feature this time around, and did bringing split-screen modes compromise the graphics in any way?

[NK] With the technology we had developed for the first MotorStorm split-screen was impossible. When we started Pacific Rift we decided that it had to be a key feature of the game, so we went back to the drawing board and completely re-wrote our rendering technology. In terms of graphical compromise it has not affected the single player or the two player split-screen. We are still working on polishing the four player split-screen, so I can't say whether the tracks will be perfect replicas of the single player ones, but we are aiming to make all modes as fun and enthralling as they can be.

[PS3A] What Trophies can we expect, and will the title be Home-compatible? Are these 'day-one' launch features, or will the game require a future patch?

[NK] Trophies are in day 1 with the usual crop of 'finish the game' and 'progression through the game' awards, but there are also some surprises in here that will really have you hunting out the places to make that perfect long jump, finding a driver to knock over etc. Home support will be along later, but rest assured we have some awesome trophies to really integrate into the game.

[PS3A] We remember all the great DLC you brought to Motorstorm. What plans do you have to extend Motorstorm: Pacific Rift with DLC in the future?

[NK] Sure we have lots of plans for downloadable content for Pacific Rift. We have got some exciting ideas where to extend the game, so keep your eyes on the PlayStation Store in the future.

[PS3A] We've seen people like Criterion almost change their game entirely with DLC, such as the addition of motorbikes and maybe even planes. What do you think of this direction in game design, and is it something we can expect from Evolution?

[NK] We’ve got lots of exciting ideas we are working on, but I wouldn’t want to let the cat out of the bag this soon. DLC does offer us the opportunity to develop the game in many ways. Watch this space!

[PS3A] We were jealous when we saw the 'making of' Motorstorm, and your visits/jollies to Monument Valley. Did you manage to stretch the development budget to a tropical paradise field trip this time?

[NK] The research trip for MotorStorm: Pacific Rift involved us spending three long, gruelling weeks exploring Hawaii on foot, in helicopters and on speedboats. (Ed: nice work if you can get it!)

[PS3A] In honour of the tropical setting, what is your favourite Tiki-bar cocktail? And can you buy one anywhere in Runcorn?

[NK] The Mai-Tai is the perfect drink for the island, but as it doesn’t involve Special Brew, you are unlikely to find one in Runcorn!

Our thanks to Nigel and the team at Evolution Studios.

If you're a US reader and you get Qore, there's a demo of Motorstorm: Pacific Rift scheduled for release on the 11th September, so you don't have long to wait before you can experience a small taste of island paradise.

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Pure 1st Impressions: Should Motorstorm be Worried?

When it comes to looking at the PSN's shiny new Pure demo you first and foremost think it has got to set itself apart from the competiton. Surely that's a given?

In this case said competition is Motorstorm. This game automatically has a lot to live up to.

So here I am. I Fire up the demo, get through the tutorial, and the first song that comes on? Woman, by Wolfmother.

Erm. Is that not a bit familiar Disney? To me that song is an automatic reminder of Motorstorm.

The race is underway and the controls are familiar to a degree. The graphics are pretty enough although they seem to be a bit soft focused; like viewing everything through a greasy lens. Not distracting but certainly noticeable.

Then there's the 'race' part of it. I was so busy doing tricks and working to get my meter up for boosting for the next trick that I wound up finishing 13th. Not that I expected to get into first place or anything but there seems to be a lack of motivation to place well.

Riders seem to lack the interaction that made Motorstorm so personal. This is Disney so no swearing is a given. A shove or two would have been nice though! As a result of the kid-friendly Disney badge, the great time-sapping slo-mo crashes so loved in Motorstorm have been replaced by a wipe screen. Ho hum.

Admittedly it is nice to get straight into the action after a wipe out though it would have been nice to get a bit more grunt out of a fall or collision. Instead you get the Mickey Mouse Magic Wand of Restoration waved over you after every spill.

The full game promises over 40 tracks, 70 tricks, etc. and may well prove to be a real winner, though my gut reaction is that Motorstorm developers Evolution can breathe easy tonight.

Just some initial thoughts on it. This is by no means a review, rather my initial opinion on the demo version publicly available at you ever-so-local PSN.

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Monday, 4 August 2008

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift - split-screen gameplay, controls

Yesterday we had a chance to try out the split-screen gameplay at the Red Bull Air Race in the Motorstorm Tour truck.

The build we played was only 70% complete, but the split-screen was slick, fluid and fast. We noticed the controls have also had a facelift with the addition of features like a bunny-hop. These additional controls have been assigned to the d-pad, which will make for some interesting moments as you align your vehicle before attempting a new trick.

Despite the beta build, everything looked great and the action seemed as smooth as any other title, even in split-screen mode.

Here's our shaky-cam footage of the game along with a couple of photos of the Tour and the new controls... (click the images to zoom)



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Sunday, 3 August 2008

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift at the O2 Arena


Here's a first look at the Motorstorm Tour, located at the O2 as part of the London leg of the Red Bull Air Race.

Check back later for our hands-on and some storming gameplay footage.

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Monday, 28 July 2008

Motorstorm: Pacfic Rift on tour

The guys and gals behind Motorstorm: Pacific Rift are taking the game on tour across the UK over the next few weeks in readiness for the new game's lunch in October.

You can find out more at their official MySpace page.

The tour starts with the Motorstorm entourage hitting the Red Bull Air Race at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, makes it's way across to Cornwall, up to Alton Towers, Leeds and Manchester before heading down to Bluewater Shipping Centre via the Birmingham Bullring.

We'll have more on Motorstorm: Pacific Rift and the tour soon...

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Thursday, 17 July 2008

E3 2008; ThreeSpeech Got (Video)Game

Our friends over at ThreeSpeech have been getting a little frisky with their video posts of late.

You may have already seen some of these via your local PS Store, but if you've not been able to download them, here's a handy link list that will take you to high-quality moving pictures for your favourite upcoming game.


Enjoy!

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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, 3 April 2008

Motorstorm first to hit the 3 million mark

Motorstorm has become the first PS3 game to pass the 3 million sold mark.

Whether it's because it was one of the only two decent games worth having back in the beginning (Resistance being the other), or if it's down to being bundled along with the hardware, it doesn't matter. As long as the ball goes in the back of the net, as pundits might say.

This is a great thing for the guys at Evolution, who are now owned by SCEE and are producing Motorstorm 2 for release later this year.

Close behind Motorstorm are Call of Duty 4, Resistance and Assassin's Creed, all of which are hovering around the 2.5 million mark right now.

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Friday, 21 March 2008

Good Friday news wrap-up

As we're taking a short break for Easter, here's a quick summary of the news:

1. In the comments section of a post on the Official PlayStation Blog, SCEA's Takau Imasaki said of GT5: Prologue "Private races with buddies and in-game chat are all in the works... but will not be ready from day one. Will keep you posted on the progress!"

2. Staying with the PS Blog, the new official logos for Resistance 2 have been posted there as well as concept art for the multiplayer classes.

3. The new maps for Call of Duty 4 will be on the Xbox 360 for 21 days before appearing on the PlayStation 3. There's a chance this exclusivity will backfire on Infinity Ward, since this places the release of the extra four maps close to GTA: IV's arrival - we suspect CoD4 will be put back on many people's shelves for a while around that time.

4. Motorstorm 2 gets a proper name - Motorstorm: Pacifica. We know game developers are fond of their colons (make up your own joke) so it's no surprise to see one appear in the title of the next Motorstorm game.

That's it for today. Have a great long weekend and we'll keep an eye out for the best stories on Easter Monday for you.

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Wednesday, 12 March 2008

New Motorstorm 2 teaser shows an island paradise

A little earlier than expected (we were waiting for 6 p.m. GMT), IGN UK have put the first teaser trailer up for Motorstorm 2.

We'll have our impressions of the video, and we'l have our own version of the trailer 'sans IGN watermark' tomorrow.

For now, enjoy the madness and marvel at the destructable environments, lush tropical rainforest and the sheer scale of the island the new Motorstorm tournament will be set in.

Our favourite part so far? The ending, harking back to the infamous 'target render' video of the original Motorstorm - except this time we know it's for real!

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Friday, 8 February 2008

US PS Store updates for 7th February

Continuing our new format, we'll be discussing the US update each week rather than reporting it due to the time difference.

Looking at the update this week, details of which are available on the Official PlayStation Blog as usual, it seems fairly even-handed versus the European update.

Both sides of the Atlantic got the Sky Diving game, both got the free add-on for Motorstorm and both got a trailer or two.

The US did get the Lost Planet online demo, which we have yet to get to work on our UK machine (we fear it may not have worldwide servers yet). Personally, I'm not that worried about Lost Planet - it didn't excite me when Capcom announced it was coming to the PS3 so I'm not going to feign excitement now.

Other differences include another PS1 game for the US (yet another Crash Bandicoot title) and there was the obligitory Rock Bank DLC as promised by MTV but other than that it seems that we had a week where both the US and Europe got a pretty decent update.

It will be interesting to see what happens as the year progresses, especially with news that Sony are committing to solving the problem of disparate regional releases within six months. There still seems to be a big list of titles available in the US that haven't shown up over here yet (such as PAIN and Everyday Shooter to name just two), and I for one would like to see that fixed sooner rather than later.

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Thursday, 7 February 2008

European PS Store updates for 7th February


Not a bad update today in our opinion.

As well as a full game we get two demos (both of which had appeared in the US already) and two free add-ons.

The game in question is Sky Diving and will also be released in the US today. It's nice to see a game appear in each store at the same time.

On the add-on front, not only is there a Motorstorm skin in honour of the Chinese New Year (The Year of the Rat), but you get the Folklore competition winner's folk (the Malion) to download as well.

I just hope they don't forget to release the two final Folklore add-on packs in Europe, since they're already out in the US.

Here's the full list:

Games

Sky Diving (£3.49)

Demos (all free)

Turok
Conflict: Denied Ops

Add-ons (all free)

Motorstorm - Chinese New Year Gift
Folklore - Malion Pack

Trailers (all free)

Lost Planet

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Friday, 18 January 2008

US PS Store updates for January 17th

Courtesy of a lack of clarification either on our part or on the part of Touchstone, we ended up with a sizeable amount of egg on our faces yesterday when we stated that the Turok demo wasn't coming until February. It still isn't, if you don't have a US account that is.

So whilst European PS Stores lack a Turok demo, it did appear yesterday for our friends in the US.

Here's the list of what else arrived in the US yesterday:

Demos (all free)

Turok
FIFA Street 3

Games

Mesmerize: Trace - requires PlayStation Eye ($1.99)
Tori Emaki - requires PlayStation Eye ($1.99)
Blast Factor bundle ($12.99)

Add-ons

"Double Track" - Motorstorm ($2.99; Eagle's Nest and Diamondback Speedway tracks)
Rock Band tracks ($1.99 each; includes Sweet's "Action", The Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville" and Blink 182's "All the Small Things"

Trailers (all free)

PixelJunk Monsters
Syphon Filter: Combat Ops
Lost Planet
Brother In Arms
: Hell's Highway
Dynasty Warriors 6
Borderlands

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Thursday, 10 January 2008

European PS Store updates for 10th January

Unfortunately no Riff: Everyday Shooter as we might have expected, but we're sure it is just around the corner.

However, if you like PS1 games and add-ons Europe is the place to be.

The Motorstorm track pack we revealed arrived on time and there's a free Folk for you as well.

Here's the list in our handy new 2008 format:

PS1 Games

Hardcore 4x4 (£3.49)
N2O (£3.49)

Add-ons

'Pigly Pack' - Folklore (Free)
Track Pack - Motorstorm (£3.49)

Trailers (all free)

Bionic Commando
PixelJunk Monsters
DMC 4 - TGS 2007 No. 2

Wallpapers (all free)

DMC 4 (4 wallpapers)

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Wednesday, 9 January 2008

New Motorstorm tracks; here are the screenshots

We were quite pleased to beat most people to the punch in announcing the two new tracks for Motorstorm. I think we were even quicker than ThreeSpeech for once!

So it's good to see our friends over there release a bunch of screenshots of the track, due out tomorrow on the PS Store.

We've collected them all together in a PS3 Attitude Photo Gallery below. Download them for your PS3* by hovering over the 'person' icon in the bottom-left corner and clicking through.

*(other supercomputers are available)


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Monday, 7 January 2008

Motorstorm gains two more tracks

Get ready for even more Motorstorm madness!

This week the PS Store will see another great Motostorm update, further extending the appeal of this seminal PS3 title.

The expansion offers up two new tracks - Diamondback Speedway and Eagle's Nest.

Eagle's Nest originally came to out attention during E3 in 2007 when it was revealed during the PSN section of Sony's leynote speech. This track promises a tightly fought race on narrow and precarious cliff-edges.

Diamondback Speedway puts you in a natural ampitheatre for some good ol' fashioned banked speedway racing.

Look out for both tracks this week on the PS Store. More details as we get them...

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Friday, 21 December 2007

US PS Store updates for 20th December

Many of the updates in the US Store mirror what we received in Europe, which is a step in the right direction. And the US finally get some PS Eye love to spread around as well.

Snakeball is one of the titles available in the US that we don't have, and there's a Blacksite: Area 51 demo and a special GH III track too, but otherwise the updates are fairly comparable.

If you own a US account you'll enjoy all the free video, theme and wallpaper content too. I haven't tested whether the High Stakes: Poker Edition add-ons will work with the EU version of the game, but since I only play No Limit Texas Hold'em anyway I'm not too bothered!

Here's the full list:

Games
Toy Home ($9.99)
Snakeball ($9.49; download the free demo, and then purchase in-game)
Trials of Topoq - PS Eye ($4.99)
Mesmerize (Distort) - PS Eye ($1.99)
Warhawk - PS1 game ($5.99)

Demos
Snakeball (Free)
Blacksite: Area 51 (Free)

Add-ons
Guitar Heroes III - Holiday track pack - "We Three Kings" (Free)
MotorStorm - Holiday Paint Job (Free)
Warhawk - Operation Omega Dawn ($7.99)
Folklore - Holiday Pack (Free)
2 x High Stakes: Poker Edition add-ons (extra game modes) (Free)
Rock Band - track packs - "Buddy Holly", "Brass in Pocket" and "My Iron Lung" ($1.99 each)

Videos (all free)
GT 5 Prologue
DMC4 final
Warhawk Omega Dawn
PS3 'Only On'
PS3 Universe of Entertainment
Tony Hawk's Proving Grounds - Mike V's Skater Story
Turok Dino Mauling
PSP Feature
Uncharted Animation - behind the scenes

Wallpapers (all free)
High Stakes: Poker Edition

Themes (all free)
Warhawk
PAIN Cookie
PAIN Santa

Movie Trailers (all free)
Strange Wilderness
Shakira 'Oral Fixation' Tour (Blu-ray)

Another great update.

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European PS Store updates for 20th December

The final update before Christmas, and both SCEE and SCEA are spreading the cheer around.

In this update, you'll find two complete games (including one classic), a demo, some free GH III goodness, a Christmas present for Motorstorm and a stack of wallpapers and themes.

The 'classic' I speak of? Populous makes it's way on to the PS3. I used to play this game to destruction on my Amiga 500 so this is sure to bring back loads of great memories.

Here's the full list:

Games
Toy Home (£4.99)
Populous: The Beginning (£3.49)

Demos
Timeshift MP Demo (Free)

Add-ons
Guitar Heroes III - Boss battle track pack (Free)
MotorStorm Holiday Paint Job (Free)
Warhawk - Operation Omega Dawn (£3.99)

Videos (all free)
DMC4 TGS
Sega Rally - Canyon
Sega Raly - Arctic
Kane & Lynch Fragile Alliance - Walk in the Park Trailer
Kane & Lynch TV AD
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men - Fragile Alliance & Co-op
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men - Insider Video 1
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men - Insider Video 2
MGS4 TGS 2007 Trailer
Assassin’s Creed TV Spot
Sky Diving
GTA IV Trailer 3 Move up ladies

Wallpapers (all free)
High Stakes on the vegas strip: Poker
Uncharted Forum Prize Winner
Pain - Jervis Bowler
Pain - Jervis Rapper
Pain - Jervis Vs Cow
Pain - Wallmime

Themes (all free)
Retro
Nature
Manga
Pixels

Movie Trailer (all free)
CJ7

A great update to take us into the Holidays.

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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Motorstorm 3.1 patch adds to gameplay


Motorstorm receives another patch today. Despite the version number moving up to just 3.1, this patch adds a couple of nice options that will aid gameplay and provide more variety.

Firstly, you can now decide on a 2D car selection grid instead of the traditional 3D view. This is designed to speed up vehicle selection so you can get into your game quicker.

A proximity meter has been included to show where your competitors are, much like the one in Eliminator mode.

The biggest change is the option to reverse the geometry of every track when hosting a game. Now, you'll have to get used to turning left where you once turned right, which will spice things up somewhat.

All-in-all, it's another example of the incredible value for money PS3 games seem to exhibit as developers continue to improve and add features to their games.

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Friday, 7 December 2007

US PS Store updates for 6th December

Wow. What a difference a region makes.

Fipping over to the US store is like a revelation some days. There's new games to play (PS3 and PS1), new add-ons to buy and even a multiplayer demo. If you couldn't watch the GTA: IV trailer due to internet meltdown yesterday, they've even put that up for you.

I didn't realise that by living in Europe I'd be missing out on so much. Maybe I should move to the States.

Here's the list for all you lucky US PS3 owners:

  • High Velocity Bowling - game ($9.99)
  • Wild Arms - PS1 game ($5.99)
  • GTA IV "Move up, ladies" - trailer (free)
  • Timeshift Multiplayer - demo (free)
  • "Falfer Domino" - Motorstorm add-on ($0.99)
  • Folklore - add-on 1 ($3.99)
  • Folklore - add-on 2 ($3.99)
  • Folklore - add-on bundle 1 ($5.99)
  • Rock Band "Black Sabbath" - pack 1 ($5.49) (Also available, the individual tracks "N.I.B", "Sweet Leaf" and "War Pigs" - all at $1.99)
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 TGS 2007 - trailer (free)
  • Uncharted "Environments" - video (free)
  • Timeshift "FPS Video 3" - video (free)
  • Turok interview - trailer 1 (free)
  • Battlefield "Frostbite" - video (free)
  • The Legend of Zorro - Blu-Ray trailer (free)
  • Uncharted - theme (free)
  • Ratchet & Clank - theme (free)

Enjoy your update US of A... we're jealous. Here - we'll let you download the Kane & Lynch demo you didn't get in case it helps redress the balance. It doesn't, but we can pretend it makes a difference...

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European PS Store updates for 6th December

Disappointed.

That's one word to describe this week's European PS Store update.

No Guitar Hero III packs yet, despite them being available in the US.
No Everyday Shooter yet, despite being available almost everywhere else.

What do we get in their place. Themes.

Now whilst we all like customising our PS3 experience, I personally wouldn't mind playing some games instead. I'm not falling in with the 'PS3 has no games' crowd - especially after all the brilliant titles I've bought on Blu-ray lately. It just would have been nice to download some additional content and play something fresh like John Mak's great game. Especially after the US have had all this great stuff for so long now.

We did get some more Motorstorm and Folklore updates, but even they can't brighten my day.

So, here's the list of things you can grab from the Euro Store right now:

  • Kane & Lynch - demo (free)
  • "Domino & Adventure" - Motorstorm vehicle pack (£1.49)
  • "The Origin of Belae" - Folklore add-on pack (£1.49)
  • Blazing Angels 2 Multiplayer - trailer (free)
  • Mesmerize - theme (free)
  • Tori Emaki - theme (free)
  • Heavenly Sword - theme (free)
  • Snakeball - theme (free)
  • Lemmings - theme (free)
  • Killzone 2 - theme (free)
  • Singstar - theme (free)

Remember, if you want lots of great themes that you can download directly from your PS3, click the link in the left sidebar to visit PS3-Themes.com

I'm off to log in to the US Store where, as you'll read in a moment, they faired rather better. What a surprise.

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Friday, 30 November 2007

US PS Store updates for November 29th

The US store received it's weekly update and, as is usual, they faired slightly better than Europe.

Those two weeks where Europe had better updates than the US were just a blip then. Normal business has been resumed.

There's a couple of things to get excited about if you're a US user - PAIN and the Shivering Isles add-on for Oblivion. At one time Bethesda said that the expansion pack would only come on disk, so it is nice to see it appear on the PSN for those of us who shirk exercise.

And while we get zero GH III song packs, the US are in full swing and receive their third. Nice.

Here's the full list:

  • PAIN - full game ($9.99)
  • "Bracknell/Axbridge" - Resistance: Fall of Man map-pack ($4.99)
  • Motorstorm - vehicles and skins pack ($1.99)
  • Guitar Hero III "Boss Battles" - song pack (free)
  • "The Shivering Isles" - Oblivion expansion pack ($29.99)
  • "David Bowie" - Rock Band song pack ($5.49) (also, "Heroes", "Moonage Daydream" and "Queen Bitch" available seperately at $1.99)
  • Ratchet and Clank "Weapons" - video (free)
  • Timeshift - video (free)
  • Stop Loss - movie trailer (free)
  • Resident Evil: Extinction - Blu-Ray movie trailer (free)
  • Memoirs of a Geisha - Blu-Ray movie trailer (free)
  • Aquatopia - wallpaper (free; known as 'Aqua Vita' in Europe)
  • PAIN - 6 wallpapers (free)
  • Resistance - 5 wallpapers (free)
I do hope Europe get PAIN, some GH III song packs and the Oblivion update next week, or I'll have to take things into my own hands. Now, where did I last put my balaclava?

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Thursday, 29 November 2007

European PS Store updates for 29th November

"It's the most wonderful time, of the week"...

Once again the Store has been updated with a bunch of goodies. But it's not what is there that worries me this week - it's what is missing.

Whilst we expect PAIN will arrive on the US Store today, Europe only gets the trailer for PAIN. And in the US they received the first Guitar Hero III expansions a week after the game's release. We, on the other hand, get nothing.

What is good about this week's update is the addition of the new Resistance maps and two addition skin packs for Motorstorm vehicles.

Otherwise if you're a fan of PS1 titles or you don't subscribe to the PS3 Attitude YouTube channel, you might find something else in today's update that will amuse you...

Here's the list:

  • Destruction Derby - PS1 game (£3.49)
  • Kula World - PS1 game (£3.49)
  • Timeshift - demo (free)
  • "Crazy Samurai and Quick Foot" - Motorstorm add-on pack (£1.99)
  • "Bracknell/Axbridge" - Resistance: Fall of Man map pack (£2.99)
  • Sonic The Hedgehog - add-on packs (six in total; £1.99 each)
  • Uncharted "Making the Game" - video (free)
  • Blazing Angels 2 "Racing" - trailer (free)
  • PAIN - trailer (free)
  • WWE 2008 - trailer (free)
  • Assassin's Creed "Altair was here" - trailer (free)
  • Bee Movie - movie trailer (free)
  • PS3 "Blu-Ray" - advert (free)
  • PS3 "Gaming" - advert (free)
  • PS3 "Evolving Entertainment" - advert (free)
  • PS3 "Faster Processing" - advert (free)
  • PS3 adverts "Making of" documentary (free)

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Friday, 23 November 2007

European PS Store updates for November 23

Another week, another update. It's great that SCEE continues to update the store every week and if you don't have a US account, this is a great week for you.

Not only do you get the Uncharted and Blazing Angels 2 demos but there's a PS1 game and some additional content for both Folklore and Motorstorm. In addition there's a bunch of trailers and some wallpapers (at last).

If you do have a US account you've already seen or played pretty much everything here. And that's the big issue with the store in general. If we could get to the point of simultaneous worldwide release of major content and keep the peripheral stuff local then people would be much happier.

Anyhow - here's the list:

  • G-Police - PS1 game (£3.49)
  • Uncharted - demo (free)
  • Blazing Angels 2 - demo (free)
  • "Rascal & Governer" - Motorstorm add-on pack (£1.49)
  • "The Alchemist Pack" - Folklore add-on pack (£1.49)
  • Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection - wallpapers (free)
  • Ratchet & Clank - trailer (free)
  • Motorstorm "Devil's Weekend" - trailer (free)
  • Uncharted "Lifelike Facial Animation" - trailer (free)
  • Uncharted "Hunting El Dorado" - trailer (free)
  • PSN Showcase - trailer (free)
  • Blazing Angels 2 - trailers (free)
  • Battlefield: Bad Company - trailer (free)
  • Beowulf: The Game - trailer (free)

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Friday, 9 November 2007

US PS Store update for 8th November

It was a big day in the US. After so many weeks of waiting, the Uncharted: Drake's Fortune demo finally hit the Store.

So everyone with a US account headed over to download the massive 1.2Gb file only to discover that if you were outside the US and Canada there was a little surprise waiting for you.

That doesn't take away from the awesome update given to the US Store. After two weeks of having better updates than the US, it seems the norm has been restored for the EU PSN.

Here's the full list of what is available:

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune - demo (free; doesn't yet work outside of US and Canada - fix coming apparently)
College Hoops 2K8 - demo (free)
Motorstorm "Devil's Weekend" pack - add-on ($5.99)
Guitar Hero III "Velvet Revolver" pack - add-on($6.25)
Guitar Hero III "Foo Fighters" pack - add-on ($6.25)
Pink, Nature and Pixel - PS3 Themes (free)
Devil May Cry 4 Tokyo Game Show - trailer (free)
Motorstorm "Devil's Weekend" - trailer (free)
Ratchet and Clank launch - trailer (free)
WWE Smackdown vs RAW - trailer (free)
Burnout "Carson GT" - trailer (free)
Burnout "Manhatten" - trailer (free)
One Missed Call - movie trailer (free)
Sweeney Todd - movie trailer (free)
Hostel Part II - Blu-Ray movie trailer (free)
Call of Duty 4 - wallpapers (free)

Given we don't have Guitar Hero III in the UK yet, that doesn't bother me. It would have been nice to be playing the Uncharted demo but since Ratchet & Clank and Call of Duty 4 are released in the UK today, I think I'll be busy anyway.

In addition, the US got the Motorstorm v3.0 patch today as well. Launch Motorstorm's online mode to get it before you go downloading any of the add-ons.

What does still concern me is that content which clearly works everywhere, such as wallpapers, the new PS3 themes and trailers - for example - still arrive on separate stores at separate times (or sometimes not at all). I mean, what mad licensing issues have Sony created for themselves where they can't distribute a bunch of Call of Duty wallpapers worldwide?

If SCEE or SCEA are listening, would you care to explain?

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European PS Store updates for 8th November

Another week, another store update. Will it be 'EU > US' three weeks in a row? No. But still a reasonable update anyhow.

If you're wondering why the US won again, it'll be down to a certain adventure title that just got it's demo début in the States.

Not that I'm complaining about the EU update. Have a look for yourself:

  • Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online - full game (£14.99)
  • Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection Online Upgrade - full game upgrade (£3.49)
  • Cool Boarders - PS1 game (£3.49)
  • NFS: PROSTREET - demo (free)
  • Folklore "Bottom of the sea" pack - add-on (£1.49)
  • Motorstorm "Devil's Weekend" pack - add-on (£3.99)
  • Uncharted "Animation Overview" - trailer (free)
  • PSP Shapes Your World - trailer (free)
A pretty good result I'd say. Highlights for us are the Tekken 5 Online upgrade/game finally, another PS1 title and two great add-ons.

The Motorstorm Devil's Weekend pack includes a new track, nine new races and five new vehicles. The Folklore add-on further extends the game, adds new folks to capture and has a new look for Keats.

The PSP Shapes Your World video is the same brilliant stop-motion piece we featured back in July, but it's great to see it in hi-def.

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Friday, 2 November 2007

European PS Store updates for November 1st

"Two weeks in a row" I hear you cry. "Two weeks in a row and the EU store gets some great content".

Keep this up SCEE and we'll let you have the puppy back. He's safe - don't worry - apart from that one hair we sent you.

Here's the full list of updates for the store:

  • Tori Emaki - PS Eye game (£1.99)
  • Mesmerize - PS Eye game (£1.99)
  • Feel Ski - full game (£4.99)
  • Juiced 2: HIN - demo (free)
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 - demo (free)
  • Motorstorm Revenge Weekend - trailer (free)
  • PS Eye - trailer (free)
  • Lair "Call of the Beast" - trailer (free)
  • Uncharted "Introducing Naughty Dog" - trailer (free)
  • Uncharted "The Characters and Music" -trailer (free)
  • Uncharted - wallpaper (free)
  • Eye of Judgment "How to Play" - trailer (free)
  • Alien Vs Predator Requiem -movie trailer (free)
  • Hitman - movie trailer (free)
I have to say that both the PS Eye titles are strangely captivating. Along with Aqua Vita, they strike me as the kind of 'interactive art' that people have been talking about having in their homes for years. Put one on - get a book out - have a read to the sound of your virtual Japanese painting. Nice.

And Feel Ski is remarkably good fun, especially the online mode. A steal at less than a fiver, if you ask me. I bought two double espresso's in London yesterday and it cost me more than that.

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Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Resistance gets a patch today

All this talk about upgrades and patches.

We've got Firmware 2.00 on the 'incoming' list after the PSP 3.72 update.

There's Warhawk 1.1 any time now and 1.2 coming in December.

Motorstorm 3.0 hit recently.

And now, by this evening/tomorrow morning, we'll have the latest Resistance update.

And some people say games aren't value for money! Even UK launch titles like Resistance and Motorstorm are still getting TLC from their developers.

The latest Resistance update brings:

  • Ability to take screenshots in game using a USB keyboard
  • Weapon balance changes and new round balancing options
  • DualShock 3 support for online and single player games
  • Password protection for custom games
  • Bug fixes galore

Time to go dust off the Resistance disk and rediscover the joy of the PS3's first FPS. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, 16 October 2007

PS3 UK sales jump 178 percent

Whether it's people snapping up the cheaper 60Gb bundle, or the new 40Gb flying out the door, Sony seems to have jumpstarted UK sales of our favourite console by injecting a price drop and a new SKU into the market.

Figures from ChartTrack confirm the 178% spike in sales and it's impressive.

Software sales also spiked with Resistance, Motorstorm and Heavenly Sword all going up or back in to the UK charts.

I still maintain the loss of backwards compatibility is an error without a clear plan to launch a 'premium' model to replace the 60Gb. Sony may, of course, have that clear plan but they're not going to tell anyone since that would halt sales of the 60Gb unit.

With other stories of further SKUs going through the FCC right now, I wouldn't be surprised to see a 120Gb or 160Gb with backwards compatibility next year to help bring the millions of PS2 owners over to the PS3.

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Tuesday, 25 September 2007

BAFTA; Video Games Awards nominees announced

BAFTA have announced the full list of games that will be heralded on the 23rd October in London. Split across 15 different award categories a good number of PS3 titles made it in to the list.

PS3 highlights include Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, Heavenly Sword, skate, flOw, Eye of Judgement, Lair and Motorstorm.

The event will be televised on Channel 4 in the UK.

Here's the full list:

Action and adventure
Crackdown (Realtime Worlds)
Gears of War (Epic Games)
God of War 2 (SCE Santa Monica Studio)
Orange Box (Valve)
Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction (SCE Foster City Studio & Insomniac)
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo)

Artistic achievement
Bioshock (2K Boston/2K Australia)
Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory)
Okami (Clover(Capcom))
Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction (SCE Foster City Studio & Insomniac)
skate (EA Black Box)
Viva Piñata (Rare)

Best game
Bioshock (2K Boston/2K Australia)
Crysis (Crytek)
Gears of War (Epic Games)
Guitar Hero II (Harmonix)
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (Eidos)
Wii Sports (Nintendo)

Casual
Big Brain Academy for Wii (Nintendo)
Cake Mania (Digital Embryo)
Guitar Hero II (Harmonix)
More Brain Training (Nintendo)
SingStar (SCE London Studio)
Wii Sports (Nintendo)

Gameplay
Crackdown (Realtime Worlds)
Gears of War (Epic Games)
Sega Rally (SEGA Racing Studio)
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo)
Warhawk (Incognito)
Wii Sports (Nintendo)

Innovation
fl0w (SCE Santa Monica Studio/Thatgamecompany)
Okami (Clover(Capcom))
Super Paper Mario (Intelligent Systems)
The Eye of Judgement (SCE Japan Studio)
Trauma Center: Second Opinion (Atlus USA)
Wii Sports (Nintendo)

Multiplayer
Battlefield 2142 (EA Dice)
Crackdown (Realtime Worlds)
Guitar Hero II (Harmonix)
Wii Sports (Nintendo)
World in Conflict (Massive Entertainment)
World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (Blizzard Entertainment)

Original score
Final Fantasy XII (Final Fantasy XII Project Team)
God of War 2 (SCE Santa Monica Studio)
Lair (SCE Foster City Studio & Factor 5)
Okami (Clover (Capcom))
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo)
Viva Piñata (Rare)

Sports
Football Manager 2008 (Sports Interactive)
Colin McRae: DiRT (Codemasters)
FIFA 08 (EA Chicago)
MotorStorm (SCE External Development Studio & Evolution)
Virtua Tennis 3 (Sumo Digital)
Wii Sports (Nintendo)

Strategy and simulation
Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars (Electronic Arts LA)
Forza Motorsport 2 (Turn 10) Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms (The Creative Assembly)
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas (Ubisoft Studios (Montreal))
Wii Sports (Nintendo)
World in Conflict (Massive Entertainment)

Story and character
Final Fantasy XII (Final Fantasy XII Project Team)
God of War 2 (SCE Santa Monica Studio)
Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory)
Okami Clover (Capcom))
The Darkness (Starbreeze Studios)
The Simpsons Game (EA)

Technical achievement
Crackdown (Realtime Worlds)
Gears of War Epic Games)
God of War 2 (SCE Santa Monica Studio)
MotorStorm (SCE External Development Studio/Evolution)
Okami (Clover(Capcom))
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (Naughty Dog)

Use of audio
Crackdown (Realtime Worlds)
Elite Beat Agents (iNiS)
Gears of War (Epic Games)
God of War 2 (SCE Santa Monica Studio)
Guitar Hero II (Harmonix)
skate (EA Black Box)

BAFTA One's To Watch Award (in association with Dare to Be Digital)
Ragnarawk (Voodoo Boogy)
ClimbActic (Carebox)
Bear Go Home (Phoenix Seed)

The PC World Gamers Award (voted for by the public)
Dr Kawashima's Brain Training (Nintendo)
FIFA 07 (EA Canada)
Football Manager 2007 (Sports Interactive)
Gears of War (Epic Games)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (Rockstar Leeds)
Resistance: Fall of Man (Insomniac)
Wii Play (Nintendo)

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Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Motorstorm gets patched today

As well as the firmware update today (which is still 'up in the air' as far as the actual details of the upgrade are concerned), Motorstorm is getting a patch to v2.0 in readiness for the Coyote Revenge pack.

Here’s what the patch brings:

Vehicle Select enhancement – your last-used vehicle in each class will now be presented as the default choice during vehicle selection.

Assigned player colours are now displayed in the lobby to make keeping track of your friends and rivals easier during online races and Eliminator matches.

Further Player-Stat Improvements.

Purchasers of ‘Coyote Revenge’ can now race this track in Online and Time Attack.

Purchasers of Eliminator Mode will find results from this mode also contribute to their Fame Ranking.

Track Exploits for Grizzly and Raingod Mesa have been addressed.

Headset support – An occasional firewall conflict with headset communications has been resolved.

Headset support – voice comms output now available exclusively through headset.

Many other improvements and tweaks throughout the game.

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Monday, 3 September 2007

Forthcoming European PSN releases

Whilst we still can't be happy in Europe at the short end of the stick we seem to get when it comes to PSN or even full game releases, it's always welcome getting new content to feast our eyes and ears on.

ThreeSpeech have been good enough to announce a bunch of releases for our viewing pleasure:

  • MotorStorm Coyote Revenge Weekend VIP Pass 06/09
  • MotorStorm Vehicle Set 1 13/09
  • MotorStorm Vehicle Set 2 27/09
  • Heavenly Sword Making of and anime part 4 6/09 (which you should already have downloaded from the US store, frankly)
  • Heavenly Sword Making of and anime part 5 13/09
  • Lair trailer No.3 6/09
  • LocoRoco Cocoreccho trailer 13/09
  • inFamous trailer 13/09
Enjoy!

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Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Motorstorm additional content imminent


Keep your eyes peeled; new tracks, a new 'weekend pass' and new vehicles are on their way for Motorstorm.

Direct from our friends at Evolution Studios comes a scan of the current marketing campaign that SCEE are putting out in the printed media, and the latest UK Playstation Network email update lists Vehicle Packs 1 & 2 plus the Coyote Revenge weekend pass as 'on the horizon'.

Coyote Revenge is a new track that reverses the existing Coyote track. Also rumoured to be in the weekend pass is the Eagle's Nest track, which was shown at E3.

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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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Friday, 13 July 2007

Playstation Store content for Europe in July

Thanks to our friends at PS3 Fanboy you can now get all excited about playing Heavenly Sword before the end of the month in Europe.

The 'Fanboys' report the following list of available content for the Euro Store during this month:

  • Heavenly Sword
  • Crash Bandicoot 2 - PS1 game for PS3/PSP
  • Spyro 2 - PS1 game for PS3/PSP
  • Gateway to Glimmer - PS1 game for PS3/PSP
  • WipEout 2097 - PS1 game for PS3/PSP
  • MediEvil - PS1 game for PS3/PSP

They also report the possibility of a Blast Factor expansion, Snakeball and Feel Ski but aren't certain whether these will be coming to Europe and the UK in July (maybe August instead). Since Snakeball is going to be a PS Eye compatible title it's my guess it will only happen after the UK/Europe release of the hardware and Eye of Judgement.

As we know from the E3 liveblog there will be a new track for Motorstorm (Eagle's Nest) coming soon but PS3 Fanboy think the Coyote Weekend VIP Pass will launch in the not too distant future as well (not necessarily in July or August). With Warhawk, Echochrome, Socom, Pain and Wipeout HD on the way soon it's looking like the PS Store is the place to be...

[via PS3 Fanboy]

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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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