Archives for category: PSP

It’s been a while since I posted about my YouTube channel, A Game with Chums, so I thought I’d throw up a short update.

As Hallowe’en is now upon us, I’d like to point out that we’ve been playing horror games all month on the channel, and tomorrow, October 31st, our final video goes up. We’ve been continuing with our let’s play of Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn on Mondays, and then uploading a random horror game every Wednesday and Friday, until last week when we decided to go all out in the run up to the day itself, and post a new one daily. Here’s our latest one, which went up yesterday.

This was our first time playing Forbidden Siren, so we weren’t great at it. It was pretty tense though! Below you can also find the latest part of out Until Dawn let’s play. Things escalated pretty damn fast.

Here’s the list of all the games we’ve played so far for our month of horror, as well as the platforms we played them on. Why not catch up before our final video goes up tomorrow? I’ll also have a timely review for you tomorrow as well.

Project Zero || OG Xbox
The Evil Within || Xbox One
The Thing || OG Xbox
Yomawari: Night Alone || PSTV
Layers of Fear || Xbox One
The Suffering: Ties That Bind || OG Xbox
Dead Space || Xbox One
Corpse Party || PSTV
Condemned: Criminal Origins || Xbox One
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth || OG Xbox
Resident Evil Revelations 2 || Xbox One
Silent Hill 2 || OG Xbox
Forbidden Siren || PS4

If you happen to check out any of our videos, please do let me know what you think below, and come back tomorrow for that final video and spooky review.

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Final Fantasy Type-0 HD limited edition
Nine years after it was unveiled at E3 2006 and four years after it saw a Japanese release, Final Fantasy Type-0 is finally available outside of the Land of the Rising Sun. Fans have been clamouring for the PSP spin-off, originally called Final Fantasy Agito XIII and conceived as part of Square-Enix’s Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos, ever since it became available for Sony’s PSP in Japan, and for a while it seemed as if it might never come. The PSP was pretty much dead in the west by 2011, and with the Vita stumbling out of the gate, it seemed almost a certainty that the handheld title would never escape its homeland.

Thankfully, Square-Enix thought up another plan: release the game on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as an HD re-release. This may seem a cynical choice, using a much-anticipated handheld title as a means to ensure a decent-sized audience for the real big hitter, Final Fantasy XV – even more so when you consider the free demo of XV that comes with first print copies of Type-0 HD. For my part, I’m just happy we’re getting a game I’ve been thinking about playing for nigh on a decade.

And so, I pre-ordered the limited edition. Because of course I did. The limited edition comes housed in a hard box adorned with gorgeous artwork from series’ veteran Yoshitaka Amano, with a slipcover displaying the game’s logo. So what’s in that box? Well, if you’ve paid any attention to the image at the top of this piece, you’ll have a good idea. There’s a hardbound artbook with tons of colourful art and renders – some of which look a little spoilery, so beware if you’re grabbing a copy this weekend. We also have a 200-page manga, with the first few pages in full colour – again, this looks like it might be a bit spoilery, so it’s going to be set aside until I’ve finished my first run through the game.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD manga

We also have a handful of Ace’s weaponised tarot cards, with art depicting some of the game’s eidolons. These are bigger than your average cards, with a glossy finish to them, and you can see them all in the gallery at the bottom. Last but not least, there’s a beautiful golden steelbook covered in that same Amano artwork that adorns the presentation box. I think it’s probably the nicest steelbook I own, next to the one from the limited edition of The Last Story, and houses both the game and soundtrack selection discs (as well as, of course, a download code for Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae). The latter is reasonably generous for a selection disc, holding fourteen tracks from Takeharu Ishimoto’s remastered soundtrack for Type-0 HD, including the suitably epic new theme, ‘Utakata’. I own the original, three-disc soundtrack, so it’ll be interesting to see how the remastered version stacks up.

I’m pretty chuffed with this limited edition, even if I feel like I have to steer clear of some aspects of it for the time being – I’ve managed to stay relatively spoiler-free with regards to the story of Class Zero, so now would be a bad time to ruin it for myself. So now, all that remains is to get stuck in and play the game. Especially as my Episode Duscae code doesn’t yet work. And if you’re interested in that, come back in a few days, as I’ll have some thoughts (and video!) discussing it.

For more images of the Final Fantasy Type-0 HD limited edition, check out the gallery below.

newvitaSony have this morning announced a new model of their current handheld, the PlayStation Vita. At 15 percent lighter and 20 per cent thinner than the current variant it is impressively svelte, and comes in a range of colours – I must say, I quite like the bright yellow. Set for release in Japan on October 10, there is currently no word whether the new model will see release outside of that territory. You can see a teaser video for it below.

Besides the reduction in dimensions, there are other changes to the system. Perhaps most importantly, the Vita’s much-lauded OLED screen has been replaced by an LCD panel, which has led some fans to decry it as inferior. This seems a bit premature to me; OLED displays are good for deep blacks and vibrant, over-saturated colours, but a good LCD is much better at accurate colour reproduction, so it’s effectively a trade-off. If there’s one thing Sony knows, it’s display technology, so I’m sure it’ll still be a fine screen. The new model’s display will retain its 5-inch size and 960×544 resolution.

Another change is onboard storage, in that the new model actually has some. While the current Vita requires a buyer to also purchase a memory card if they intend to save their games, the new model will have 1GB built in. Ok, so it’s a pretty paltry amount, but it should do for saves. Alongside this, Sony have finally announced that a 64GB memory card is incoming (again, currently Japan-only, also set for an October 10 release), though I shudder at the thought of how much it will cost; I paid around £60 for my 32GB card (which is now nearly full). Even with the recent reduction in the price of the existing cards, I’m sure the new capacity will be very expensive.

The new console also has improved battery life, which is certainly a welcome addition. Rated at six hours gameplay time, the updated Vita should keep running for an hour longer than the current model. Other than memory card prices, battery life is my one niggle with my Vita; while battery life varies depending on what you’re doing (playing a PS1 game will give you quite a lot more play time than a visually impressive Vita title), the machine can burn through a full charge alarmingly quickly. I suppose that’s the price you pay for having games like Killzone: Mercenary on the go.

In aesthetic terms, the new console looks very similar indeed to the original model, retaining the first Vita’s “super oval” design, though the edges seem to have been smoothed off and it appears to have been built with a matte plastic this time. Also worth noting is that the screen is a separate embedded panel now (as you can see in the top image), whereas on the original the entire front of the device is a single piece. I have to say I prefer the original design as it looks a little more ‘premium’ to me, but the new model is close enough to the original that many likely wouldn’t notice the difference. Factor in the slimmer, lighter design, on-board storage and better battery life, and this machine is likely to be the definitive PlayStation Vita for many.

While this announcement came as something of a surprise (no leaks? What a world we live in!), I think most people expected Sony to iterate on the Vita at some point. Less expected is Sony’s other new piece of hardware announced today, the Vita TV. It’s basically a Vita without a screen or controls, a tiny mini-console that hooks up to your TV, pairs with a DualShock 3, and allows you to play Vita, PSP and PS1 titles (via a game card slot, download or memory card) on the big screen. It also has the ability to Remote Play PS4 games, so you could, for instance, have a PS4 hooked up to your living room TV, a Vita TV in the bedroom, and simply stream gameplay from one room to the other. It also has the expected video streaming capabilities (and I’m sure we’ll see the likes of Netflix and Lovefilm on Vita TV), making it a mini-console/set top box. Here’s a video of the diminutive machine in action.

I think this is a bit of a masterstroke for Sony. It simultaneously attacks two market segments; the Apple TV/Roku Box market with it’s streaming video capabilities (and I’m sure it’ll tie into Sony’s own set of services such as Music Unlimited), and the Android console arena championed by the likes of Ouya. Only Sony’s attempt offers a large range of games from across three well-regarded platforms, with streaming gameplay from PS4 also an option. I know which of these I’d choose as a gamer. The Vita TV could serve as both a TV box and a cheap, small console – all for 9480 yen (around £60, though there will also be a 14,994¥ bundle with a DualShock 3 and 8GB card).

Furthermore, it could also lead to additional purchases – say you buy one to stream PS4 games and TV shows and then pick up a couple of Vita games for it; perhaps you’ll be impressed enough with the quality of your Vita titles to pick up a handheld so that you can continue them on the train in the morning. Or maybe you’ll buy one to play Vita games on the TV and the thought of streaming PS4 games to another room will convince you to put down the money for Sony’s new home console. Made widely available (like the new Vita, it’s also currently slated for Japan only) and priced accordingly, Sony could easily have a hit on their hands with the Vita TV. I’m certainly interested.

As we head into the next generation of home console gaming, I have to say that Sony really seem to have an excellent ecosystem coming together. It’s an exciting time to be a gamer.

agito
Back in 2006, Square-Enix introduced us to the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII concept, ostensibly a series of Final Fantasy games that share an overarching mythology, if not setting. This was originally intended to include the numbered series title Final Fantasy XIII, as well as PS3 exclusive Versus XIII and PSP title Final Fantasy Agito XIII.

Now we find ourselves in 2013 and one of those titles is missing in action, (leading many to assume it’ll never see the light of day) while another remains trapped in Japan with no hint that it might one day escape. Instead, we’ve received a sequel to Final Fantasy XIII (which, while I liked it, enjoyed a mixed reception at best), with another, Lightning Returns, on the horizon.

As I mentioned above, Versus XIII seems almost dead in the water; there’s been no word on it for some time now, beyond a rumour last year that it had been repurposed into Final Fantasy XV and would be unveiled at E3 that year. Obviously that didn’t happen, leading some to claim the game had been quietly mothballed. Square-Enix themselves have publically stated that Versus XIII is still in development, but after more than seven years of tinkering, it’s difficult to remain positive.

What makes this situation more aggravating is that the aforementioned PSP game, since renamed to Final Fantasy Type-0, was released in Japan nearly 18 months ago. It provably exists – development is long since finished, yet there has since been no word on a Western localisation, bar a couple of rumours that the Vita may see a port (due to the PSP being more or less a dead platform outside of Japan), leading to some online retailers listing it for pre-order. These listings have since been removed.

Back in September, while I was reporting the weekly DLC updates for 3DS rhythm-action title Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, I noted the release of Type-0‘s opening theme ‘We Have Arrived’ might be a positive sign for localisation. Unfortunately, since that rather epic-sounding track was issued for Theatrythm, we’ve had but one mention of Type-0 from Square; in a November 2012 interview with GameSpot, Director Hajime Tabata had the following to say:

“Due to market reasons, we are taking a clean slate in terms of our plans. We feel strongly about bringing this title to the fans in North America and Europe, so if an opportunity arises that can become a conclusive factor, we are prepared to go into consideration right away.”

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound massively positive to me. He’s basically confirming that no localisation work has even been considered at this stage, let alone begun.

All of which makes the news that dedicated fans are currently working on a Type-0 fan translation patch much more comforting than anything Square-Enix have to say. In the video below, you can see the early fruits of their labours.

Of course, fan translations are nothing new in gaming, certainly when it comes to jRPGs, but I doubt many thought such a high profile game would need such a patch. The legality of such is a little shaky (as you’ll need a ROM of the game to apply the patch to – so get importing if you’re interested), so it remains to be seen whether or not Square-Enix will take any action over these efforts. We can hope not; if Square-Enix won’t allow the vast majority of the world to enjoy this highly-rated and highly-anticipated game, then at least allow fans to translate it so we can import a Japanese version and still understand what’s happening. I’d much, much rather have an official English-language release, but that doesn’t seem likely; we can hope the publicity these fans’ efforts are garnering will prove that there is sufficient demand for Type-0 outside of Japan and the company springs into action. Until then, I’ll be keeping a keen eye on this translation patch, and I shall have to content myself with ‘We Have Arrived’ on Theatrhythm.

Links:
GameSpot’s interview with Hajime Tabata:
http://uk.gamespot.com/features/fantasy-star-talking-to-final-fantasy-scenario-director-hajime-tabata-6399208/
Kotaku’s coverage of the fan-tran patch:
http://kotaku.com/5983342/square-enix-wont-release-final-fantasy-type+0-in-north-america-so-fans-are-taking-over

drippyBy Dan Bushell
The long awaited jRPG Ni No Kuni, which was co-developed by Level-5 and anime powerhouse Studio Ghibli, has finally hit the gaming world, and it’s stormed the charts in style! Many genre fans will agree that jRPGs aren’t as popular as they once were, yet this stunning game has arrived and now sits astride the charts, occupying the top spot against such massive competition as FIFA 13, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Far Cry 3. These titles may have released in the tail-end of 2012, but they’re still selling in high enough numbers to take the following three spots behind our colourful adventure.

I am a huge fan of the genre, so I was always going to buy this (in fact, I pre-ordered the lavish Wizard’s Edition the day it appeared on the net), but Ni No Kuni‘s chart performance has me very excited about how popular it has been, and I’ve been wondering whether it’s been down to pent-up demand from genre fans, or perhaps new fans are being drawn to jRPGs? I hope for it’s latter, and if that’s the case perhaps it’s the presence of Ghibli – often cited as Japan’s answer to Disney – that is what’s drawing new fans in?.

If it’s the former, there’s certainly pent-up demand to be had; this gen has been a bit sparse as far as Japanese role-playing goes. Sure, we’ve had a handful of excellent genre examples this gen – Mistwalker’s Lost Odyssey and The Last Story, Monolith Soft’s Xenoblade Chronicles and Namco-Bandai’s own Tales of series has furnished us with Vesperia and Graces f, and before long we’ll have Xillia to be getting on with. But I don’t think any of these titles have had a massive impact on sales, certainly not doing as well as we would’ve seen last-gen. Final Fantasy XIII sold a lot, as Final Fantasy titles tend to do, but its sequel only managed half the numbers.

As well as lesser sales, we don’t seem to get as many releases as we would have in the past. During the PS1 era, jRPGs were a powerhouse genre, thanks in large part to the success of Final Fantasy VII. The PS2 was rammed with jRPGs, the Dreamcast had the likes of Grandia II and Skies of Arcadia, and the Tales of series graced the GameCube with Symphonia. But this gen there’s not been much. Some titles just don’t seem to leave Japan anymore (even a Final Fantasy spin-off, Type-0, is MIA here); it can be frustrating when titles don’t secure a release over here due to a presumed lack of interest, and it ends up being a vicious cycle; we don’t get the titles, and so demand drops, and then we don’t get the next title, because the demand is too low.

Tying into this thought, I think back to the Eurogamer Expo in London’s Earl’s Court in September. Ni No Kuni was demoed there, but it was plain to see where most attention at the Expo was going. There were a lot of titles on show at Earl’s Court; big, highly-anticipated titles like Assassin’s Creed III, Black Ops II, Halo 4, Far Cry 3 and others. People were going crazy for these games – they’d queue for over an hour to play a game for ten minutes! Many at the Black Ops II demo seemed to be queuing for that one game over and over, all day long! Contrast this with Ni No Kuni‘s demo area, where a fraction of the number of machines were set up, and you could also walk straight up to play the game at pretty much any time of the day. Namco-Bandai had one staffer on duty from what I could see, yet you never had to wait for her to finish helping someone else before she could talk to you. It just didn’t have anywhere near the interest of other games there; nevermind CoDBlOps, the Doom 3 BFG Edition demo area was busier! And yet here, this week, sits Ni No Kuni, at number one.

Perhaps game sales are down across the board so soon after Christmas, meaning it’s easier to gain the number one spot, but I still call this a significant achievement – Black Ops II was actually top last week, proof that it’s still selling well. That Ni No Kuni has managed such a feat while many places have been struggling for stock is both impressive and disappointing – if Namco-Bandai had issued more copies, they surely would have sold more, but that’s the nature of risk/reward for you, and the company seems to have a habit of downplaying demand for their jRPGs (the Tales of series says hi!). But with Ni No Kuni topping the charts, we can certainly hope it has both pulled in a lot of older fans and a newer generation of gamers to the genre who may never have experienced such games. And we can hope, when the time comes to release Tales of Xillia, that Namco-Bandai remembers this week’s chart.

News-FF25-14-5-12
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Square-Enix’s much-loved RPG series (which was actually last year…), the Japanese publisher has teamed up with the chaps over at PlayStation Network to offer a mammoth sale on all things Final Fantasy.

Starting this Wednesday (January 23rd), the sale will run for a week and see discounts of up to 50% applied to the store’s Final Fantasy inventory, which includes almost all of the titles from the 1987 original up to 2000’s Final Fantasy IX. The only gap in the line-up is Final Fantasy III; a PSP port of the Nintendo DS remake has only recently been added to PSN (and currently costs £11.99). I’m guessing Sony didn’t want to discount a new title quite so quickly.

Also in the sale are spin-off titles Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions and Dissidia Final Fantasy, but curiously absent is the latter’s prequel, Duodecim, though it’s prologue/demo Prologus is included. The PlayStation Blog (which lists all the titles in the sale as well as their expected prices) has duplicate links for both Dissidia and Prologus, so perhaps this was a mistake and the newer game will be on sale too. You can find the sale page from the PS Blog linked at the bottom of this piece.
[EDIT – this was indeed an error, and Dissidia Duodecim is now a part of the sale at a price of £7.99]

I’m always excited when I see a Final Fantasy sale on PSN. Then I have to remind myself that I have almost all of the games on offer; the only ones I’m missing are Final Fantasies II, III, and IV Complete Collection, though I own a lovely boxed copy of the latter on PSP. I also do not own Dissidia, but seeing as I have Duodecim (both physical ‘Legacy Edition’ and digital PSN copy), there’s no need – the prequel also includes a reworked version of the original game’s story.

Still, I can’t very well jam the FFIV UMD into my Vita, so I may well grab that on Wednesday for £7.99, along with Final Fantasy II at £3.99. Click through the link below to see the full list of titles and reductions. What, if anything, will you be buying?

PlayStation Blog Final Fantasy Sale:
http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2013/01/21/huge-final-fantasy-sale-starts-on-playstation-store-this-week/