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PS3 in July: the summer shutdown (for non-fighters)

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 August 20106 Comments

So far in 2010, we’ve been bombarded with several top quality games and had many interesting topics to discuss. We’ve been very lucky. July was, however, a very humdrum month. Sure, it’s normally dead the month after E3, but we were still looking out for the big releases, but sadly they never came.

Still, we found just enough to keep us interested during the mid-summer shutdown. We digested PlayStation Plus, got to grips with the Medal of Honor Beta and explored Hulu Plus. There were even a few new games announced that left us excited – not to mention an obscene amount of beat ‘em up news. There was also a big announcement here at PS3 Attitude. Here’s the review of the month…

July didn’t exactly start well: we got the Final Fantasy XIV release dates and it seems we  won’t be getting it until March 2011, meaning our wait for a big budget MMO on the PS3 will continue for a while yet. Knowing that the PC version will be getting released in late September only makes it more disappointing. Square Enix are committed to making the game as accessible to console users as possible, and this is likely the reason for the hold up. Good things come to those who wait, they say.

We did get some details on the PC release at least. For $74.99, you can get the Collector’s Edition, which is packed full of fan-pleasing goodies, and for $49.99 you can get the standard edition. This isn’t the last of the spending, there will also be a monthly subscription fee of $12.99 for 30 days’ access. We’re still waiting for conformation of the PS3 prices and bundles but the PC prices are in line with those of Final Fantasy XI on the PC, PS2 and Xbox, so we expect the PS3 version to cost a similar amount. If you’re looking forward to this, expect it to set you back quite a bit. Still, we’ll be on hand to give you a review at the time of its release, so you’ll know whether it’ll be worth your money or not.

Will Final Fantasy XIV be worth the wait or the expense? We certainly hope so

Speaking of subscription services, PlayStation Plus has now been with us for a month and we’ve had time to digest the service. We’ll come clean, We think it’s great value for money and the perfect service for many gamers. Sony say you’ll get over £200 worth of content for your measly £39.99 a month. What’s to complain about that?

So far we’ve had WipEout HD, Killzone 2 DLC, a free digital copy of LittleBigPlanet (for those who signed up quickly) and much more. That’s an outstanding selection of content to get for such a small outlay. However, there was a reason why we said it would be perfect for “many gamers” and not “all gamers”. This will not please everyone. It won’t please those who already own this content and it certainly won’t please those who, heaven forbid, dislikes what’s on offer. If you’re in that category, we suspect PlayStation Plus will leave you feeling short changed.

There is another concern: what if Sony have thrown all the best content at us early doors? We’re all signed up now, so what’s to stop them from thinking they can get away with offering the likes of Rag Doll Kung-Fu for the rest of the year? We have to trust to Sony’s better nature.

To their credit, they appear committed to giving PlayStation Plus owners the content they actually want – that is, within reasonable limits. They have invited you to send in your suggestions for the games, minis, avatars and DLC that you’d like to see included on PlayStation Plus. So make sure your voice is heard because you could help shape PlayStation Plus for the better. Despite our concerns, we can’t wait to see what’s included in the next batch of content.

In Sony’s eyes, PlayStation Plus is an evolving service, it could become a very different service further down the line. We’d like to see more actual services rather than game content being added. All we have right now is automatic downloads. Automatic downloads is a great feature but other features such as access to faster servers. This alone would would make PlayStation Plus a lot more desirable.

DICE are working on the multi-player so expect MoH to have destructible environments, but they're not as impressive as in Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Buildings are impervious to your attacks.

July also saw the continuance of the Medal of Honor Beta, something our man Echo307 has put many hours into. These are his thoughts:

“While it’s very difficult to get an idea of how good a game is going to be by a beta, this one has been good enough to get us excited about the full game.  It’s still missing a lot of polish but the core gameplay is solid and I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve put in to it so far.”

If you’d like to know more about Medal of Honor, Echo has written a lengthy article where he gives a thorough analysis of the game. As it stands, Medal of Honor’s multi-player may struggle to surpass the multi-player of the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises, but we have been impressed enough to think that it could, at the very least, become a credible alternative to these games.

When Echo wasn’t unleashing his inner homicidal self on other poor, unsuspecting players on the Medal of Honor Beta, he was trying to get to grips with Hulu Plus. A preview version of the video streaming software hit the States in July, and Echo has been taking the service through its paces to see how it competes with the mighty Netfix. The verdict wasn’t good:

“I’ve had the chance to check out Hulu Plus, the console/mobile version of Hulu that streams TV shows and Movies right to your PS3 (assuming you live in the States).  Overall, the selection of TV shows was very good, as was the basic layout and functionality of the dashboard.  However, the upside of this app did very little to sway our attention from everything that was wrong it.  Some playback issues, the cost, lots of adverts and a horrible movie selection left a nasty taste in our mouth that won’t soon be forgotten.”

If you are on the fence, make sure you read Echo’s hands on article. We’re hoping Hulu will see some improvements prior to its actual launch, but at this present time we aren’t impressed.

July was a month for new announcements, and possibly the biggest announcement came from Activision, who revealed their new Bond game, due out later this year. Brace yourself, they’ve been indulging in a spot of wordplay. The new Bond game will be called Blood Stone and it’ll feature Joss Stone (the Grammy Award winning singer) as the new Bond girl.

The announcement caught Stefhutch’s interest when it came in. He’s been following the Bond games for years, playing the good ones and the very bad ones, and he is hopeful that Blood Stone will be one of the better games:

“Unfortunately, due to MGM’s financial difficulties, it’s not likely we’ll see a new James Bond film any time soon. Cheer up though, as a new game, James Bond: Blood Stone, was announced a few weeks ago, and is scheduled for release later this year. We’ll have to wait and see if it can compete with the PS3’s biggest third-person shooters, but the overall premise is certainly encouraging.

In recent years, James Bond games have been decent yet failed to make any real impression, but there’s three reasons why you should be excited about Blood Stone: 1) it’s not a movie tie-in; 2) it features the likenesses and voice work of Daniel Craig and Judi Dench; and 3) it’s being developed by Bizarre Creations, the team behind awesome arcade racer, Blur.”

If you’d like to find out more about Blood Stone, then visit here where you’ll find all the details and screenshots that you’ll ever need, you’ll also find an explosive trailer.

RPG fans had reasons to rejoice with 38 Studios finally revealing their secret game that’s been going under the codename Project mercury. It’s called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and it’s an epic open-world RPG. The game is set in the realm of Amalur, a magical world straight from the imagination of R.A. Salvatore, the best-selling fantasy author behind Forgotten Realms and The DemonWars. Todd McFarlane, the man responsible for the iconic Spawn series, is also on board. The signs are good for a rich world complete with a dark and distinctive visual style.

Reckoning's action action scenes look very visceral

Ken Rolston is leading the development. His previous works include The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, both massively popular RPGs. If it’s anything like these games, it will have lots of depth and unlimited scope for customisation. Expect to put in a hundred plus hours of your life only to feel like you’re just starting to scratch the surface.

Rolston has also promised genre-defining fast-paced gameplay, which leaves our mouths watering with excitement. It won’t be ready until late next year but we’ll be keeping an eye on this one. You’ll find the original announcement here and screenshots can be found here.

Were we too premature in writing off July? Sure, it lacked the big release but it still had talking points. In fact, if you’re a beat ’em up fan you probably thought July was Christmas. We saw a flurry of exciting fighting game news in the latter part of the month. Our brawler-mad writer, Delriach, was in heaven, like he just got his first ever Chun-Li avatar:

“This was a huge month for fighting game fans. We had EVO 2010, which is the biggest fighting game tournament in North America, Comic-Con, and BlazBlue: Continuum Shift hit store shelves in NA. The biggest announcements all came from Capcom at Comic-Con. New characters for Marvel vs. Capcom 3 were revealed, new costumes and official online tournaments were announced for Super Street Fighter IV, and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike is coming back with online play.

Capcom and Namco unleashed a huge megaton at the event and announced Street Fighter X Tekken. While it’s not coming out until 2012, nobody can say they ever expected this to happen. Street Fighter and Tekken are the two most popular fighting game franchises developed by two different companies. There’s actually two games coming out. One developed by Capcom (Street Fighter X Tekken) and one developed by Namco (Tekken X Street Fighter). It’ll be interesting to see how different the gameplay mechanics will be since Street Fighter is 2D based and Tekken is 3D. Regardless, it’s great to see that these two companies are working together to bring the ultimate form of fan service to the community.

Seriously, before the success of Street Fighter IV, who would have expected such a resurgence of this magnitude for the genre? This is really the best time to be a fan.”

There you have it. If you’re a fan of fighting games, July would been the best month ever. Well, aside from April – which had the release of Super Street Fighter IV, the God of fighting games.

PS3 Attitude will look back on July for other reasons, as it’s the month that saw us become part of the Shakefire network. We are proud to team up with such a respected site: Shakefire enjoys 2 million readers a month, and sharing this traffic gives PS3 Attitude much more exposure. This means more money for the PS3 Attitude charity fund. We would like to thank everyone who helped us reach our milestone of 3,000 followers on Twitter (@PS3Attitude), the catalyst for releasing this news.

We always strive to bring you the best gaming coverage the net can offer, and we truly value your support. So here’s to a long and bright future together… and to a livelier August!