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PS3 Attitude

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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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

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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Tuesday, 17 July 2007

News from the PlayStation Premier event in Tokyo

As we heard from Kojima-san at last week's E3 keynote, he is showing a real demo of MGS4 in Tokyo today.

While we wait for any video footage we can get our hands on let's wrap up the rest of the news from today's PlayStation Premier press event.

First up, we found out after the demo that a new Metal Gear Solid title is coming our way! Kojima-san announced they are producing a PS3 version of the online game that was included in MGS3 Subsistence. It looks like they will show this at the MGS 20th Anniversary Party next week in Tokyo.

Tekken 6 is announced as a full online title. We know that we are going to get an updated Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection title on the PS Store soon that will provide online battles, so this isn't a great shock.

News from the floor is that Final Fantasy XIII is only 13% complete at this time! But that's ok, since Final Fantasy Versus XIII is supposedly less than 2% complete, so in comparison they're storming ahead.

Grand Turismo 5 Prologue, as announced at E3, is supposed to be arriving in October.

White Knight Story will be playable at this year's Tokyo Game Show which is being held in September.

And my favourite news of the day - LocoRoco for the PS3 is on the way. Slated for release via the PS Store in the near future (it is 95% complete) the tentatively titled "Buu Buu Cocoreccho! by LocoRoco" will feature over 200 LocoRoco characters and full use of the SixAxis as its control mechanism.

Check back soon for the MGS4 demo video assuming I can get my grubby mitts on it!

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