Articles by Stefan Hutchings
As E3 approaches, there’s nothing like releasing a trailer for one of the most anticipated games of recent memory to increase the already palpable excitement. That’s exactly what Sony and Naughty Dog have done, as over the last couple of days the internet has been going crazy for the new co-op trailer for Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.
There is no denying that the last seven weeks have been disastrous for Sony. The PlayStation brand hasn’t had to deal with such bad press since the shaky launch of the PlayStation 3. It’s been a difficult time for everyone involved, so PS3 Attitude thought we’d take one final look at the extraordinary events of the last month and a half.
Development studio Zoë Mode originally released Chime early last year, but unfortunately the game didn’t ever make its way to the PS3. Don’t worry though, because the PlayStation Network is now the exclusive home of the definitive version of the game, entitled Chime Super Deluxe – yes, good things truly do come to those who wait. Featuring extra levels, updated visuals, and a new multiplayer component, there’s never been a better time to try this game out.
Swarm is the latest game from Canadian developer Hothead Games, and is available now on PSN. The team is also responsible for the Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness and DeathSpank games, all of which have been well received due to their outrageous humour, awesome presentation and fun gameplay; so can Swarm match their quality?
Yes, that’s right; back by popular demand is PS3 Attitude’s PlayTime, in which we reveal what we’ve been up to for the past month. From blockbuster titles to indie games, we’ve been tracking exactly what we’ve been playing throughout March because, believe it or not, we do play games as well as write about them. There’s been a huge amount of highly anticipated games released in the last few weeks, and we’ve played a fair few of them, so let’s get started.
Released a few weeks ago on the PlayStation Network, StarDrone was developed by Beatshapers, a Ukrainian studio based in Kiev. Although this is their first full game release, the team are no strangers to the PSN, having released a number of innovative and original PlayStation minis titles on the PlayStation Store; but how does their latest title fair?
Dragon Age: Origins was released in November 2009 to great critical reviews, and quickly gained an almost fanatic cult following, due to its engaging story, range of interesting characters, and ridiculous amount of choice afforded to the player. However, despite its mostly positive reception, the title also had its fair share of flaws, so the question is, has BioWare successfully rectified these issues with Dragon Age II, or exacerbated them?
This time last year, we’d just seen the releases of high profile titles such as BioShock 2, Dante’s Inferno, Heavy Rain and the North American and European releases of White Knight Chronicles and Star Ocean: The Last Hope International. In 2011, February was just as busy as last year, if not more so, with a huge number of games both released and announced.
This is the first of our revamped weekly FirstPlay articles, detailing the content of each episode of the digital magazine, and what we thought of it. Some episodes are chock-full of great content, whilst others are occasionally lacking, so our intention with this feature is to give our opinion on each episode, so that you can decide whether or not it interests you.
Let’s be honest, a lot of the minis titles on the PlayStation Store are merely ten-minute curiosities that you go on once and then forget about; however, there are of course others that are a joy to play, and offer hours of addictive gameplay. But which of these categories does Aquattack! fall into?
DrinkBox Studios is an independent Toronto-based game developer that was founded in April 2008, following the closure of Pseudo Interactive. The company offers various professional game development and consulting services, and has recently released its first ever original title.
Tales from Space: About a Blob came out yesterday in North America, and is available exclusively on the PlayStation Network. In our review, we described it as ‘a great first title from this promising indie developer’, and we thoroughly recommend you download the demo the next opportunity you get (after you’ve read this interview, of course).
Chris Harvey, lead programmer and CTO at DrinkBox, was kind enough to take some time out to talk to PS3 Attitude about the developer’s first release.
The 2D puzzle platformer Tales from Space: About a Blob releases later today in North America, as part of the first PlayStation Plus update of February, and will release on the Store proper next week. The title is the very first original game developed by Toronto based DrinkBox Studios, and is exclusive to the PlayStation Network. But what did we think of it?
All in all, we’ve got a much more appealing update to look forward to today, with the releases of Spare Parts, Modern Combat: Domination, Costume Quest on Ice, and a massive seven minis.
There’s also lots to get excited about in terms of DLC, including a batch of Mass Effect 2 add-ons, the second free update for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, and (yes, Vicheous!) new content for R.U.S.E..
That leaves the usual episode of FirstPlay, some dynamic themes, and a few videos (including Crysis 2 and Dead Space 2), so there should hopefully be something for everyone.
Anyway, what will you be downloading today?
For some reason FirstPlay have reviewed some of the most disappointing games of last year, with verdicts on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and Tony Hawk: Shred. Thankfully, much more satisfactory are the PSN reviews of Funky Lab Rat and Pac-Man Championship Edition DX.
There’s also footage of the first hour of Dead Space 2, a guide to tuning in Gran Turismo 5, an online review of Call of Duty: Black Ops, an introduction to MUBI, and screenshot galleries of Dungeon Siege III and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine.
To tell the truth, it’s another pretty lacklustre update this week, but it’s just about saved by the minis release of the awesomely addictive puzzler, Angry Birds.
Other content that might be worth a look includes the PSone classic Tomb Raider: Chronicles, the Linkin Park track pack for Rock Band, and it’s also nice to see the DC Universe Online subscriptions (even if they are outrageously priced).
However, the good news is that we’re promised a big January sale later this month (similar to the festive sale a few weeks ago), which should have everyone ‘very happy’.
We’re also told that ‘six highly-requested Sony published PSone titles’ will be coming to the Store soon (we’re just hoping for the three original Spyro games, which still haven’t been released on the European Store), so get speculating now.
So, does anything interest you today?
FirstPlay wish us all a Happy New Year with a feature on OPM readers’ Game of the Year 2010, and a look ahead at the biggest games of 2011. There are also reviews of Castle Crashers and Dead Nation, and previews of Bulletstorm and Final Fantasy XIV.
You’ll also find out what the Best Way to Spend £50 on PSN is, a Blu-Ray review of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and screenshot galleries of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, Fight Night Champion, L.A. Noire and Mindjack, as well as a couple more free avatars.
Evidently SCEE thinks that the PS Store update two weeks ago had enough content, as this week’s update is a bit of a subdued affair. That said, you may still find something you’re after.
There are a few titles coming to the Store today, including the award-winning adventure game Dream Chronicles and a PSN release of the awesome role-playing shooter Borderlands.
There’s also a few demos (Kung-Fu LIVE, MicroBot and TV Superstars), a couple of new minis, UNO for the ridiculously low price of 79p, and the usual downloadable content, themes, and videos.
So, anything for you this week?
If you asked me at the beginning of March what my favourite game of the year was likely to be, without a doubt I would have said Heavy Rain. With its incredible atmosphere, innovative gameplay and compelling story, it kept me engrossed for no less than five full playthroughs. However, on 9th March 2010 along came a game that completely blew me away: Final Fantasy XIII.
FirstPlay has gone all festive this week, with a whole host of holiday-themed content, including a review of the year, a round-up of the best Christmas films, and even some free gifts in the form of a dynamic theme celebrating OPM reaching fifty issues and a couple of free avatars.
However, if you’re one of those people that hate Christmas specials, then there’s plenty of content for you too, including reviews of Tron: Evolution and the Prince of Persia Trilogy, screenshot galleries of Brink and Mass Effect 2, plus much more.