Extra Life: Extra Opportunity to Save Kids, November 9, 2013

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/ by JoshuaWilliams

So after four DDoS attempts to disrupt this event, $3.8 million has been raised and counting. Julie Russon, the Manager of Digital Communication for the the event would like to extend thanks to all participants in all capacities. She also shared that there will be a make-up opportunity on Saturday November 9th to account for lost contributions due to the DDoS attacks.

The original post is as follows:

Extra Life: Play Games. Heal Kids. November 2, 2013

Extra Life is an event for all gamers (table-top, video gamers and so forth) to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Over the past 5 years, thousands of gamers have participated and millions of dollars have been raised for 170 children’s hospitals in North America.extra-life

This year the event takes place on Saturday, November 2, 2013 and because of daylight savings time you’ll be able to play for 25 hours. Participation is as easy following these 3 steps:

1. Sign up online at www.extra-life.org
2. Convince your friends & family to sponsor you for as little as $1/hour
3. Play games for 25 hours on November 2, 2013

The money raised is used to support research and training, to purchase equipment and to pay for uncompensated care. Your contributions support the mission that is to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Visit CMNHospitals.org to learn more.rewards

Killzone Mercenary PS Vita Review

killzone
/ by JoshuaWilliams

The hits keep coming for the most hated little-handheld-that-could. With Killzone Mercenary we have by far the most impressive FPS ever to grace a portable and quite a showcase of what time and polish can produce. True, it might’ve taken a while but this is still early in the Vita’s life cycle and we’re already seeing tittles such as KM. What else will we be in for? Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a look at a review for Killzone Mercenary.

He Did it All for the Money…or Did He?

You play as Arran Danner, a mercenary willing to fight for whoever is paying. This is a first for Killzone title as the player will find himself fighting both for the ISA and at times alongside the Helghast army. The story begins after the first Killzone in the timeline and revisits several events from the latter two titles in the existing trilogy.

When given the task of rescuing the Vektan Ambassador along with his family, things don’t go as planned. Without giving too much away, it appears that the Ambassador’s son Justus has become quite a valuable asset in the war you’re fighting. In the end it’ll come down to whether you have a heart or if you’re just in it for a payday.sights

Beautiful War

KM is technical marvel to say the least. Guerilla Cambridge was able to get the same engine that powered Killzone 3 for the PS3 to run on the Vita. The outcome is a varied visually impressive romp through 9 large campaign missions with a ton of replay value and that’s without mentioning the multiplayer.

A crisp UI presents you with the details of the mission as it loads and does very good job of immersing you into role as mercenary. The weapons vehicles, effects and environments are on par with most of what you would’ve seen midway through the current console generation. The difference though is that this is all in the palm of your hand.

Truthfully I can go on and on about the quality of the visuals but I wouldn’t be able to do any better than the screenshots or letting you play for yourself. On top of that, what would be the point if the gameplay wasn’t half as good as the graphics were? Most would agree that they’d rather sacrifice graphics for gameplay on any day right? Right!?touch

Touch Here for Awesome

You’ll be pleased to know that KM plays as good as it looks. There are way too many weapons for you to use. You can duck in out of cover, run, jump and slide to your heart’s content. Melee is successfully pulled of by swiping the appropriate directions on the touchscreen and to gather intel you’ll have to creep up on your enemies from behind.

Looking back it seems like it should be overwhelming but given that much of the interface is controlled by touch helps to alleviate the learning curve. Add to that the full motion demos for the perk-esque Vanguards and you’ll be killing and collecting dough in a variety of ways. Everything you do in the game earns you money to use at various supply stations where you can change load-outs, resupply ammo and save progress. Various discounts are provided throughout the game to encourage you to try new things as well.

Some may complain about the title being too easy but my suggestion is to always start on the highest difficulty. If you have any experience with shooters then you’ll find a decent amount of difficulty and there are several challenges taking the form of objectives that add replay to every mission. In addition there are about 6 pieces of intel to be collected by either interrogating enemies or playing a puzzle mini-game that also serves as way to hack throughout the game.shot2

Sounds Good to Me

Still not to be outdone by the visuals or the gameplay, the sound in KM is also top notch. The gunfights are explosive, the enemies always have something to say and the production quality hasn’t been spared just because the game fits in your pocket. All-in-all what we have in KM is an experience that is worthy of the spent in development.

If there’s anything I have a problem with though it would have to be the multiplayer. When it works there is fun to be had but there are far too many instances of matches being cut short for various reasons. Then its hard to get over the 8 player limitation that makes this portion always feel second rate compared to consoles. Wasn’t the PSP able to pull off 16 player matches?

The biggest issue with the player gap is that it means you can often find yourself in a match with just one other person which means constantly being taken down by the same person. With a 16 player option I think I’d be satisfied being in a match with 8 people but seeing that as the best it can possibly get is hard to get too excited about.big guns

21 Gun Salute

Even with my issues concerning multiplayer there is still so much KM has to offer. Patches can improve connection issues and landing in a perfect match can easily change my perspective on the player cap. The point is that the title is great and if you have a Vita it is definitely worth adding to your library. We seem to want so badly for our handheld games to be on par with the consoles but we should be content with portable excellence. You’re not going to find a better handheld FPS experience for quite some time so you might as well just enjoy Killzone Mercenary.

Positives

+ Superb visuals
+ Lengthy campaign
+ Lots of replay value

Negatives

- Multiplayer cap
- Online issues

8.5/10

Playstation 4 to Have A Day One Patch

ps4 patch
/ by JoshuaWilliams

That’s right! With the days ticking away we have news of a day one patch (1.50) that will enable many promised features on your new slanty black box. Given that the launch lineup has dwindled it is good to learn that some of the features we’ve been looking forward to will indeed be available after the 300 mb update.

So yes, what this means is that you will be able to play PS4 games on the go using your PS Vita. You will be able to upload game photos and footage to the interwebs. You will be able to…play Blu-Rays and DVDs after the update. Um…I hope the update does allow us to Blu-Rays and DVDs, how could they have overlooked that feature for so long? I guess they weren’t joking when they said they were focusing on making a gaming console.

The full press release detailing all features made available with the patch is as follows:

Sony Computer Entertainment Announces A Variety Of Features Available On PlayStation®4(PS4™) System At Launch

System software update version 1.50 to be released along with the PlayStation®4 system’s North American launch; features include remote play with the PlayStation®Vita system, and game play sharing via the “SHARE” button that enhance game play experience
TOKYO, Oct. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) announced that it will release system software update version 1.50*1 for PlayStation®4 (PS4™) system simultaneously with the official North American launch of the system on November 15, 2013. By updating to the latest system software version, users will be able to enjoy a variety of exciting features from the day of launch.
The PS4 system was designed from the ground up to ensure that the very best games and most immersive experiences reach PlayStation users. It redefines rich and riveting gameplay with powerful graphics and speed, deeply integrated social capabilities, and innovative second-screen features utilizing devices such as the PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita) system. SCE will continue to enhance the PS4 system through future system software updates.

The following features are available on PS4 at North American launch:

Remote Play

Users will be able to access PS4 titles displayed on their living room TVs and play them on a PS Vita system over Wi-Fi networks by using PS4 Link*2*3. SCE anticipates that most PS4 titles will be playable on the PS Vita system through Remote Play*4.

Second Screen

Users can use the PS4 Link*2 application for the PS Vita system, and PlayStation®App for iPhone, iPad, and Android™ based smartphones and tablets*5, to use these devices as second screens in supported titles. PlayStation®App has the ability to enable users to interact with games with their mobiles devices. For example on THE PLAYROOM, a title pre-installed in all PS4 systems that requires PlayStation®Camera, users can draw pictures on their mobile device screens and flick them towards the TV. The images then appear as a 3D object within the game.

Record, take screen shots, and upload gameplay effortlessly

The PS4 system provides dedicated, “always on” video encoding systems that enables seamless uploading of gameplay. Users can share their epic triumphs by simply hitting the “SHARE button” on PS4 Wireless Controller (DUALSHOCK®4), take screenshots or scan through the last 15 minutes of gameplay, tag it and return to the game-the video uploads as the user plays. At the PS4 system’s launch in North America, users will be able to share their images and videos with friends on Facebook and screenshots with followers on Twitter*6.

Broadcast and spectate gameplay

The PS4 system also enhances social spectating by enabling users to broadcast their gameplay in real-time to game fans around the globe, using Ustream and Twitch*7 live internet streaming services. SCE provides two ways for users to view live broadcasts. First, the Live from PlayStation® application on PS4 aggregates streams from all PlayStation® users. Second, users can spectate friends’ PS4 gameplay from PCs, and applications such as Ustream, Twitch, and browsers, which are installed on their mobile devices. These applications can be easily started up via PlayStation®App, and users can also use these applications to post comments to gameplay broadcasts. Furthermore, users with PlayStation®Camera can stream camera images and microphone sounds along with their live gameplay broadcast.

Play as you download

This feature enables users to play supported digital titles as they are being downloaded*8. When a game is purchased, users can start playing after PS4 downloads a portion of the data, while the rest of the game is downloaded in the background during actual gameplay. Games may be downloaded in stand-by mode.

Multi log-in

A maximum of 4 users can log-in to a single PS4 system simultaneously. These players can use their own save data to play games, and also earn trophies on their own Sony Entertainment Network accounts even when playing a multi-player game together on a single PS4 system*9.

Party (Voice chat)

By using the Mono Headset bundled with the PS4 system, users will be able to chat with up to eight friends enjoying different applications or games. Furthermore, users can use Party to chat between PS4 and PS Vita systems.

Face recognition and voice commands

Users with PlayStation®Camera will be able to register their facial image onto their PS4 system, and login to their system using facial recognition instead of DUALSHOCK®4. Furthermore, users can use either the microphone of the Mono Head set connected to DUALSHOCK®4, or PlayStation®Camera to navigate through the PS4 home screen (PlayStation®Dynamic Menu) with voice commands to start up games and shutdown the system, among other features*11.

Background music player

Users can enjoy gameplay while listening to music in the background with Music Unlimited, a cloud-based digital music service*12. Users can also voice chat with friends while listening to music.

Online Multiplayer

PlayStation®Plus (PS Plus) members will be able to play PS4 titles online with other players via the network. PS Plus makes it easy for members to join available online multiplayer matches in a variety of ways, including the ability to easily join a game from a live stream broadcast or Party voice chats.

Blu-ray Disc™ and DVD player

Users can enjoy not only gaming on their PS4 system, but also Blu-ray and DVD video contents*13.
Furthermore, some features will not be available at launch, such as “suspend/resume mode” which is a feature that keeps the PS4 system in a low power state and promptly takes users back to their game. SCE will provide additional information about system software update version 1.50 and features available at the PS4 system’s North America launch, and features that will be available after launch, in the near future.
SCE will continuously enrich services and features of the PS4 system, while striving to further expand the PlayStation platform.

Time and Eternity PS3 Review

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/ by JoshuaWilliams

Its hard being put in a position like this. You sit down to play a new game and you have these high hopes. As you play though, those hopes begin to dwindle and you’re stuck with trying to find some, any way of redeeming your purchase. When with without bias we can see and appreciate the value we get from reviews and hopefully developers will also pay attention. Though it may defeat the purpose that this review comes so late after release, maybe there is a chance that this can do some good. This a review of Time and Eternity for the PS3.toki to towa time and eternity (3)

Story

Toki, the princess of Kamza is preparing to marry her fiance Zack. Let’s stop right there! I enjoy a good wedding JRPG as much as the next man and this is a large part of the problem. We don’t enjoy wedding JRPGs! Surely there must be a plot twist coming, yep here it is. So while getting advice from friends of the bride and indulging in low-brow humor, you get attacked by bandits, Zack tries to be a hero but fails miserably. Toki comes to rescue, not quite looking herself and long story short her body is occupied by two souls. Toki and Towa use their ability to travel back in time before Zack was attacked but for some reason Zack is now occupying the body of Toki/Towa’s pet dragon but he can’t speak so she/they have no idea. The mission now is to find out the reason why anyone would want to interfere with their wedding. Sold yet?screenshot_01

Gameplay

The story could be forgiven if the game was fun but Time and Eternity could have benefitted from time for fine tuning gameplay. Once you’ve made your way beyond the juvenile dialog sequences you get to try your hand at combat. While different then what we’ve become accustomed to, it doesn’t translate to fun or particularly engaging. You can attack from a distance, rush your enemy (or get rushed) and attack up close and you can also dodge. The system is hampered by the fact that started animations prevent you from dodging on time and that most battles are easily one by repeatedly tapping the attack button. Your dragon (or Zack) fights by your side and he’ll heal you in most cases if you’re not paying attention.

Battles occur randomly as you traverse very similar terrains in search of the next marker that’ll progress the story you’ve already lost interest in. What I also found strange is that I’d go out of my way and endure extra battles in order to reach a chest and find equipment but the item would be less useful than what I started with…why? Also the enemies are for the most part just swapped color pallets with different abilities and you always fight them one at a time.chest

Visuals

At first I really liked the art direction. The 2D animation in a 3D world is done in such a way that you feel like you’re in a cartoon. It gets old quickly because you realize the target audience is boys or men for that matter with an affinity for scantily clad cartoon characters. This happens right around the point you’re awarded your first piece of as*…er art. Normally I think this wouldn’t have been an issue, if the game had more positives then this would’ve probably been overlooked or more easy to swallow.

As mentioned before, the animation or lack thereof takes away from the fluidity in combat and is most likely the reason so many assets are re-used. It boils down to, if you like what you see, you’ll probably get tired of seeing it or if you don’t like what you see, too bad, there’s a whole lot more of it.you didn't

Conclusion

I’m not enjoying this, it doesn’t make me feel good to say bad things about something many people put their time into making for others to enjoy. I have the feeling that if I was in junior high then I would give this title a raving review. I am not so I cannot. There really isn’t much more I can say other than buyer beware. If this is what you’re into then apparently you’re the target audience.

Positives

+ Excellent visuals

Negatives

- Juvenile/crude humor
- Stale combat
- Boring story

5/10

Introducing Playstation Vita TV

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/ by JoshuaWilliams

In another surprising TGS announcement, Sony has introduced Playstation Vita TV. Arriving on November 14 in Japan, the PS Vita TV is essentially a PS Vita without a screen that hooks up to your television and is controlled by up to two Dualshock 3 controllers. The price of this little device comes to about $100 without a controller but I’m sure many of us have them already. There will also be a bundle that includes a controller.ps_vita_tv res

Using PS Vita TV you will have access to many video content services such as Hulu, Netflix etc. but you will also have access to PSN and a library of more than 1,300 PS1, PSP and Vita titles. Of course there will some limitations due to the lack of touchscreen, camera and other Vita hardware features not included but the PS Vita TV will also allow users to stream PS4 games much in the way the PS Vita will feature Remote Play. The Remote Play feature using the PS Vita TV will support the use of the Dualshock 4.psvitatv back

What are your thoughts on PS Vita TV? Is this a game changer or further evidence of the Vita’s demise?

Look! A New PS Vita

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/ by JoshuaWilliams

Recently at TGS Sony announced a newly designed PS Vita which is set to arrive in Japan on October 10th. The new design is 20% thinner, 15% lighter and it comes with a built in 1 gb of memory. To the naked eye the design changes are easy to overlook but you can clearly see a change in “start” and “select” buttons, speaker design and then there’s the fact that it now sports a micro usb port.blkvita2

The new system reportedly features a 1 hour extended battery life but at the expense of swapping the bright and vibrant OLED screen in favor of an LCD. It will be available in many colors but there is still no word as to when it will arrive outside of Japan. What do you think of the newly designed Vita?colors1

Official PS Vita and Memory Card Price Drop

vita drop
/ by JoshuaWilliams

It is official! Not only has the Playstation Vita dropped to the price of $199.99 but the memory cards have also been reduced. For quite some time the Vita has been struggling due to its price but as we’ve seen in Japan, this news should cause a turnaround.

The new memory card prices are as follows:

Memory Card for PS Vita 4GB
Was $19.99
Now $14.99

Memory Card for PS Vita 8GB
Was $29.99
Now $19.99

Memory Card for PS Vita 16GB
Was $59.99
Now $39.99

Memory Card for PS Vita 32GB
Was $99.99
Now $79.99

Vita memory cards