Archives for posts with tag: PlayStation Network

mikuft
The seemingly impossible has happened, as Sega have confirmed that Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone, a previously Japan-only port of the previously Japan-only Hatsune Miku arcade game, will be released in Europe and the Americas early next year.

Coming to the PlayStation Network on January 10th, Future Tone will be made available in the same digital configurations as its Japanese release. There will be two separate song packs, called ‘Future Sound’ and ‘Colourful Tone’, the former focusing on tracks that have appeared in the Project Diva games, the latter being drawn from the Project Mirai and Arcade games. In total, there will be over 200 songs and more than 300 modules to choose from.

We only have prices in USD at the moment, but we can assume Euro and GBP pricing won’t be too far removed. Each pack will cost $29.99, or you can buy a bundle for $53.99 that will contain both packs as well as a couple of bonuses. Here’s an overview from Sega themselves:

About

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone kicks off with a bang by giving players more than 200 songs for Miku and her digital friends to perform. Newcomers and veterans alike will have new controls to master, and tons of customization thanks an unparalleled amount of costume modules to unlock! Releasing on Jan. 10, 2017, players will be able to choose their Future Tone collection – from ‘Future Sound,’ a collection of songs centred around the Project Diva kinship of games or ‘Colourful Tone’ which collects songs related to the Project Mirai games and arcade songs. Lovers of all things Miku who purchase both packs will have both hairstyle customizations and exclusive “survival course” added on! Each package will be available for $29.99 or the entire Future Tone set of both will be at special discount for just $53.99.

Key Features
•Energy to Surpass Miku Herself – As the arcade version of Hatsune Miku, Future Tone amps up the game’s speed and energy, and players will need to master a different style of control, making it the most frenetic Miku rhythm game yet.
•Choose from Hundreds of Songs – With a final tally of 224 songs across both of Future Tone‘s packages, the game features the most expansive collection of songs yet from Hatsune Miku and her friends.
•Set the Stage – Dress up Hatsune Miku and her friends with more 340 unique costume modules and accessories across the Future Tone packages. Players who purchase both packages will get access to an exclusive feature where they can mix and match costumes and hairstyles.
•Bring the House Down –Future Tone takes full advantage of the PlayStation 4 and will present all of the arcade-style action rendered in glorious 1080p/60fps.

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone is a pure arcade experience – players will be able to unlock songs as they play the songs in any of the game’s up to five difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard, Extreme, and Extra Extreme, earning the game’s VP currency commensurate to the challenge level. VP can be used to buy new costume modules and customized items to style Miku and her friends in the manner of players’ choosing.

Pricing

When the game launches, players can find Hatsune Miku: Project Diva Future Tone on the PlayStation Store as a free download that contains two songs. Within the game’s user interface, players will be able to purchase the ‘Colourful Tone’ and/or ‘Future Sound’ packages individually for $29.99 or as a bundle for $53.99.

It’s great to be getting more Miku so soon after the western release of her latest game, Project Diva X. With Future Tone being a digital-only release in Japan, it was a longshot to expect it to make its way over here – especially in Europe where Project Diva X didn’t receive a physical release, leading fans to wonder if Sega was feeling a little hesitant about the series’ future here. It seems we needn’t have worried. Now to put some PSN credit on my Christmas list…

You can see the first English trailer below.

SOURCE: Gematsu

LR1

A demo for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, next month’s conclusion to the Final Fantasy XIII saga, has gone up on Xbox Live today. A demo for PSN will land tomorrow.

The demo, weighing in at 1.13GB, apparently grants players an extra schema (an outfit that Lightning can don in battle) if you “submit your battle score” to the Outerworld service, the functionality that allows players to post to social networks. I’m intrigued to see how this works for myself, and I’m currently downloading the demo on my 360.

Hopefully it’ll be a different playable slice to the one I encountered at Eurogamer Expo a few months back. I’ll still play it if it’s the same (if only to get that extra piece of garb for the full game), but it’d be nice to have a different chunk to play through.

You can find the demo here, and I’ll update this post with some impressions once I’ve given the demo a go.

**UPDATE**

The demo is much the same as the one I played at EGX back in September (my impressions of which are linked above). There are a handful of differences, however.

Firstly, you can engage in a fair amount of customisation over Lightning; you have six schemata to choose from in the demo (including the awesome FFIV Kain-style Dragoon!), and you can choose between a number of weapons and shields for each and even plop some headgear on Lightning’s noggin – rather strangely, the ‘Dark Muse’ build comes preloaded with a beret. You can also change the colours of various elements of each garment too, which I experimented with briefly as you can see in the pic below.

LRgarb

A more minor addition to this demo is the availability of a black market dealer who will sell Lightning a handful of items for her gil. These items include X-potions and other items that confer certain buffs upon use. Curiously, Lightning can only carry five items at any one time, and these slots are likely to be taken up with a handful each of X-potions and phoenix downs now that Light’s health no longer regenerates between battles. I can understand the development team wanting to keep the pace of battle up by discouraging reliance on items, but a total capacity of five seems a bit mean-spirited. Perhaps you can upgrade the number of slots as you move through the game, much as you could gain additional accessory capacity in the previous titles.

LRshop

Finally, the Outerworld service I mentioned above is available in this demo, allowing you to upload screenshots (like the one at the top of this piece) or battle results (like the image below) and post them to Facebook or Twitter. I chose Facebook and experimented with it a little. It takes quite a while to submit something to the Outerworld service (long enough that you might think it’s crashed), but you can add a personalised message and apparently even items to your image posts. Rather annoyingly, images seem to be resized to 640×360, so don’t expect to be making tons of new laptop wallpapers from in-game images, and clicking on the posts on your wall takes you straight to the Lightning Returns website, rather than showing the image. You’ll have to go into your photo albums to get a proper look at them.

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I quite like the idea of the Outerworld service (mainly because many of my Facebook friends play video games and much of my time on there is spent talking about the subject) but the execution seems a bit lacking at the moment. Hopefully with the full release we’ll be able to share larger images and do it much faster so that it doesn’t interrupt gameplay quite so much.

Regarding the game itself, this new demo is bookended by a couple of cutscenes, the first of which is a typically stunning pre-rendered intro which appears to be the opening to the game. The story begins in media res, with Lightning on the trail of Snow before the mysterious Lumina interferes. As we battle our way through Yusnaan’s palace on Snow’s trail, we eventually end up back at that same Zaltys boss battle from the EGX demo. Having dispatched Zaltys, a message appears on stage telling us that we may now encounter the enemy “in the field” and that the demo would end at 6am. Glancing at the game clock, I noticed it was 4.48am, so I wondered if the demo might give me free reign over the rest of Yusnaan for a few minutes.

Unfortunately, I rounded a corner and entered another short cutscene (in-engine this time) in which Lightning and Hope discussed Snow’s state of mind, having been living with the events of XIII-2‘s ending for centuries. Lightning teleports back to the Ark, her base of operations, and the demo comes to an end.

My impressions from EGX still stand: I really quite like it. The schemata system will probably take a few hours to really get used to, and at first I found myself trying to rush through battles without too much thought for strategy beyond spamming attacks, guarding and switching garb sets. I think this is likely down to my recent XIII-2 story run with a powerful team, where every battle was a minor inconvenience rather than a challenge. Once I forced myself to slow down and consider my options, I started to appreciate it much more. Thankfully, the game clock seems to stop while in battle, so there’s no need to feel rushed while fighting.

I also still think the Stagger Wave mechanic could be better communicated. I like that you have to try different things to see what it responds to (whether that be a specific type of magic or physical attacks), but it doesn’t seem to respond to the same things with any kind of consistency. I staggered Zaltys twice in the boss battle, the first time playing it safe, the second time going all out by throwing magic at him almost constantly, and bizarrely he seemed to stagger far slower the second time. Perhaps there’s more to it than the demo can show and more battles will expose some hidden depth in the mechanic. My main issue is that I loved the chain gauge in XIII and XIII-2. That system did the same thing and was far easier to read, so why the change?

One thing that worries me a bit more is the game seemingly beginning with little to no explanation. There is some light narration over that opening cinematic in which Lightning briefly touches on her new role as ‘the saviour’ and that seems to be about it. I’m hopeful that the full game will explain itself a bit more thoroughly, but I worry that the already-disjointed narrative between the XIII games will be taken to it’s logical conclusion here.

I’m still excited to get my hands on it though, and I think at the very least it’ll play very well. So far, all I’ve experienced has been from a single linear area, and I’m looking forward to getting out into the cities and the wilds and exploring those wide open areas. If Lightning Returns can strike a balance somewhere between Final Fantasies XIII and XIV, I’ll be pretty happy.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII hits European shores on February 14th.

beyond
Beyond: Two Souls, the latest from Quantic Dream, releases next week but today a short demo has gone live on PSN. It’s the same one that was on the show floor at last week’s Eurogamer Expo (which I briefly wrote about here), a demo I neglected to play at the time. I was waiting to experience it in the comfort of my own home. I mentioned in my EGX piece that the demo seemed overlong, yet when I sat down and played it on my own PS3, it felt quite short – perhaps it was because I wasn’t standing up, waiting for others to finish…

Read on for some (fairly in-depth) thoughts.

The demo gives you two short segments of gameplay to try: The first part, The Experiment, begins with a young Jodie playing in her room before a friendly chap in a white coat comes to collect her. Gaining control of Jodie, you can interact (using R-stick gestures) with a few things in her room, such as a guitar and a doll, and even watch a very strange cartoon on the TV. The cheerful guy keeps reminding Jodie that it’s time to go, so we head for the door.

It turns out she’s been in an observation room in a hospital, and she’s led to another, smaller room where we first meet Willem Defoe’s character Nathan, the man who will be observing the experiment. Jodie is placed in a room at a table with some cards on it, and in a connected room is a woman who has the same cards. The test is to see if Jodie can guess the card that the woman selects. Of course, Jodie has a trick up her sleeve: her connection to the spectral Aiden.

Controlling Jodie feels very similar to the studio’s past games Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain (at least, what I can remember of the latter game’s demo), but when you switch to Aiden with a tap of the triangle button, things feel a bit different: you can float around and pass through certain walls at will, though just like controlling Jodie, anything Aiden can interact with is clearly signposted.

With the correct cards chosen, Jodie is asked to try and move other things in the adjoining room, such as a stack of wooden blocks, some papers and a water bottle. In control of Aiden, you can then act in a more malevolent manner, cracking the two way mirrors, breaking the lights and even flipping over the desk. When I was watching at EGX, I saw many people also attempting to throttle the poor woman that had been taking part in the experiment, which led to the end of the scene. I wondered at the time whether this was necessary to complete the segment, but I’m glad to see that I didn’t have to do that – switching back to Jodie, I was offered an ‘X’ button prompt to end the experiment. Nathan runs in to comfort Jodie, who sits in tears with blood streaming from her nose. He tells her it’s ok, it’s over. She replies that it will never be over.

After this section ends, we meet an older Jodie in training at the CIA and it’s this section that get us used to the directional gesture-based control method. It’s essentially QTEs without prompts; the game begins an animation – say, a kick to the left – and then drops into slow motion to give you time to input the proper direction to continue. This seems to be the way that action sequences will play out, and it extends into the next segment of the demo, where we find Jodie sleeping on a train. We’re in control of Aiden, and we’re able to float up and down the carriage (and even pop outside to catch some wind and rain in the face). Aiden’s paranormal shenanigans eventually wake up Jodie – just in time for her to see police boarding the train. It’s clear they’re looking for Jodie, and she’s discovered pretty quickly. With a few flicks of the right stick, we manage to evade the officers and make it onto the top of the train, and I have to say, with a great sense of speed and some cool rain and wet clothing effects, it looks excellent.

Jodie begins to clamber along the top of the train, against the wind and stinging rain, but the cops are unwilling to give up the chase quite so easily, following her out. We get into a few scrapes, and again we’re inputting directional commands in bullet time. I’m not entirely sure I like these segments; while they’re a step up from massive prompts appearing on-screen (there are still button prompts elsewhere, but they’re fairly small and unobtrusive), it often feels like you’re hitting a direction on the stick to trigger an animation. If Heavy Rain had press ‘x’ to Jason, Beyond seems to be more move stick to progress. Still, the sequences are nicely choreographed. It just feels like you have little real control.

After escaping the train with Aiden’s help, Jodie has to run through a forest, jumping or ducking over and under tree branches, fighting dogs (with, you guessed it, directional inputs) and finally scaling a cliff. This is where the button prompts crop up, though they are mercifully low-key – small, white labels that don’t stand out too much. Again with Aiden’s help, Jodie manages to steal a police bike and speed away, and here we’re actually given direct control of the bike, with the throttle mapped to R2 and movement on the left stick. Unfortunately, we’re stuck on one road with the occasional wide left or right turn to keep us occupied. It feels a bit unnecessary really, as if the developers felt they needed to give the player full control over something, but then limited it to veering left or right across the screen. It’s like a 20th century version of the original Outrun. The segment ends when a cutscene kicks in: Jodie reaches a town, a special forces soldier shoots out her tire and she comes off the bike, scampering away injured before being surrounded by the military types that have ambushed her.

Again we’re shunted into controlling Aiden, and I’m reminded of something David Cage said during his Eurogamer Expo dev session. He said the player could switch between Jodie and Aiden whenever they want. So I press triangle. Nothing. “Help me, Aiden”, screams Jodie. I guess that’s my role for the time being then. I also recall Cage lamenting gaming’s continued reliance on non-interactive cutscenes, saying that he wanted all of Beyond‘s story to come through in gameplay, rather than have slices of game bookended by slices of video. Yet there are traditional, non-interactive cutscenes in Beyond. Hmm…

Back in the game, and we’re in a very one-sided siege scenario. It’s an injured Jodie versus a heavily-armed, heavily armoured special forces team, backed up by a helicopter. But Aiden has little respect for the laws of physics and the natural world and we quickly find ourselves throttling, possessing and otherwise harrying the assembled soldiers. In a cutscene, I spot a sniper atop a building, so as soon as I’m back in control, I make a beeline for him, hoping to possess the poor sap and take out some of his buddies. Instead, Aiden makes him jump off the roof. I guess that works too. After possessing a few more, blowing up a petrol station with a grenade and tipping some cars over, Jodie manages to use the ensuing chaos to scamper inside a theatre and barricade herself within. “Aiden, they’re coming for me!”, she shouts, so I look down on the scene from above. None of the remaining soldiers have moved. I continue to watch. They remain in position, as if waiting for something, some signal that it’s time to move in. “Aiden! You have to do something!”. I guess I’ll try and take that chopper down, then.

Using R1, I float up to the chopper’s altitude and see that the pilot is surrounded by an orange aura. This means he can be possessed (other colours are available: red means you’ll throttle them, blue means you can’t interact at all), so I hold L1 to lock onto him and move the two sticks inward. Sparks fly, the pilot’s eyes turn white. He’s mine. With a single rotation of the right stick and a press of L2, I bring the helicopter crashing out of the sky. Exploding in a ball of fire right outside Jodie’s hiding place, I manage to take out all but one of the special forces soldiers. Predictably, he’s the leader. Another cutscene. Jodie leaves the theatre and approaches the soldier, grabbing him by the collar. “Tell them to leave me the fuck alone,” she says, “because next time… I’ll kill everyone.”

With that, the demo comes to an end, and as I read back over what I’ve written, it seems like I’ve perhaps been a little harsh. I did actually very much enjoy the demo, though it was more for the characters, their performances and the story premise. I like a bit of supernatural drama, and I’m certainly intrigued to find out more about Jodie, Aiden and the link between them. The facial animation is also very impressive – certainly up there with the excellent work done by LA Noire, though mercifully without the somewhat detached-looking body animation of that game – and character’s eyes look incredibly lifelike. More studios seem to be moving toward full-body performance capture (last year’s Halo 4 used it and upcoming Xbox One exclusive Ryse also does), and it certainly leads to a very cinematic, weighty end result. It also means that the actors really get their performance across, and Beyond shines here, with Ellen Page putting an excellent shift in as Jodie Holmes, and while we don’t see Willem Defoe’s Nathan for more than a handful of seconds, I’m sure he’ll be solid too.

What does give me cause for concern is the player’s level of interaction with the gameworld. I mentioned above that if often feels like you’re simply nudging a stick to trigger the next animation (or continue an admittedly well-shot cutscene), and this is what worries me for the full game. Even when you’re interacting with items in Jodie’s room at the start, it doesn’t really feel like you’re truly interacting, more that you’re triggering little vignettes. This concern will be nothing new to fans of QD’s games of course, and it’s clear that the story and characters will be the driving force behind Beyond: Two Souls. And that’s fine; not every game has to be pure gameplay, and if I want that I’ll put Deathsmiles on. I just hope that the story can carry David Cage’s latest opus, unlike that final third of Fahrenheit. Because if the story fails to hold my interest, there’s not that much meat left on the bones to carry the experience. But so far? I’m cautiously optimistic.

In other HD remaster news, cult favourite Okami is set to release on the PlayStation Network this Autumn.

Originally outed by Famitsu, the PlayStation Blog has since confirmed the HD version will be coming West. Originally released on PS2 to critical acclaim, Okami massively undersold at retail, moving around 600,000 copies worldwide as of March 2009, earning it a Guinness world record for the lowest sales for a Game of the Year-winning title. A subsequent re-release on the Nintendo Wii only garnered Capcom another 280,000 copies. Despite this, a Nintendo DS sequel, Okamiden, arrived last year, and Capcom has previously stated an interest in creating more sequels.

The PlayStation 3 remaster will arrive on PSN as a digital download, and support PlayStation Move controls for sun goddess Amaterasu’s Celestial Brush. It will also include a full suite of trophies.

This is more good news for me, as I’ve never managed to play Okami. I’ve heard a lot about it from friends, with one even describing it as “the best Zelda game not starring Link”. I’ve been planning on picking up the Wii version for well over a year now, but my enormous backlog always brings me crashing back down to Earth. Now, with a beautiful HD remaster (for which you can see the trailer below), I’ll be able to experience Okami at its best, even if I do suspect I’d enjoy it more on the Vita. But still, I’m buying it. Who else is in?