SONY HOLIDAY PRESS EVENT 09: A casual analysis.
So then, let’s talk about the Sony holiday press event
You really don’t care about my well being do you? >. < anyways, What did you think?
Where do I begin, I loved the fact that the entire event was held in such an inconspicuous place and just felt like a modern art gallery.
I know! It looked like an empty building and right on the upper floor was the event. Like some secret organization having a meeting or something!!! Read more…
The PSPgo has been available at retailers all across North America since Oct 1 2009.
With its launch Sony has announced that at least 17 new games will go up for digital download. Titles include key franchises such as Gran Turismo, God of War, Tetris, and many more. Read more…
I’m going to stick to drawing using the tablet.. so bare with my shaky messy art.. it will eventually get better.
The idea for this comic came from a recent article I read talking about a game called Invizimals, check out a bit about it here: http://www.joystiq.com/2009/06/08/impressions-invizimals-psp/.
That above is the link to a REAL STORY
As always, click the image for the bigger picture!
It’s not just for boys or the Japanese anymore. Sony Computer Entertainment America has announced a new Limited Edition Hannah Montana PSP Entertainment Pack. Similar to the Madden and Daxter packs that came before it, the Hannah Montana kit will include: a copy of Disney Interactive’s Hannah Montana: Rock Out The Show video game, three episodes of the tv show on UMD, a 2GB Memory Stick Pro DUO and, of course, a lilac-coloured PSP-3000.
Gamers can customize their PSP with fashionable vinyl stickers also included. “The new Limited
Edition Hannah Montana PSP Entertainment Pack plays a central role in SCEA’s larger ‘Girlz Play Too’ initiative and we’re committed to bringing a steady stream of female-friendly content to consumers,” says John Koller, the company’s Director of Hardware Marketing. “While SCEA has a broad range of PSP owners from under 12 to over 45 years old, we saw a tremendous opportunity for us to connect with the female and ‘tween’ demographic and create a PSP system that girls will love.” Sony has certainly been throwing a lot of support at the PSP lately. Some gamers can look forward to portable entries from Ubisoft’s Petz and LittleBigPlanet, while others await the new Assassin’s Creed and Soulcalibur games.
The Hannah Montana Pack has an MSRP of $199.99 and is out now.
MySims Agents was announced by EA today.
The game, for Wii and Nintendo DS, makes players the heroic agents called upon to stop a plot threatening an entire city.
“It’s mystery-meets-adventure theme allows players to hone their problem-solving skills while still enjoying all of the beloved MySims charm, characters, customization and humour.”
The game will be available in the fall and is yet to be rated.
“Rock Band” is coming to PSP. But don’t worry, you won’t have to carry the drum-set, guitar or microphone.
“Your hands are the ‘peripherals’ in ‘Rock Band Unplugged’ allowing you to take direct control of the lead/bass guitars, drums and vocals,” read a press release by EA Games.
Rock Band for PSP will feature over 40 track for gamers to play. Gamers can also download new songs through the Playstation Network store.
I’ll be brutally honest, I’ve been putting off trying out Flatout: Head On for one very poor reason, with the re-release of Final Fantasy 4 every time I reached over to pick up a portable system instead of reaching for the PSP to do some work, I’d pick up the DS to play some FF. Eventually however, I buckled down and got to work and boy did I not realize what I was missing! When I first try a game I like to watch the entire introduction video before pushing start because I feel an intro should get you excited to play and show you what kind of game it is. Flatout did this fantastically as I watched cars crashing left and right and brilliantly detailed explosions occur, granted these were not the in-game graphics, but boy howdy how it got me excited!
Flatout: Head On is the latest of the Flatout series. Published by Empire Interactive and developed by Six By Nine and Bugbear Entertainment, this battle infused racer was released for PSP portable rampaging on March 11th 2008. Based on the bestselling Flatout Ultimate Carnage, Head On takes the same qualities and expands upon them, while making it a portable experience for anyone to enjoy on the go.
While Head On’s graphics did not really impress me (I was a little jaded playing the game to find out that the graphics in the opening sequence weren’t actually what we see while playing), I would be the first to admit that they are great graphics, especially for the PSP. That being said, they are not the best I’ve seen on the system. The physics used within the game are as realistic as you can get while driving 150 kilometres per hour, things like hitting other cars or signs feel pretty realistic from a physics point of view and satisfying from a sadistic point of view, all adding to the general feel of the game, crush or be crushed. Car dents, fire, and explosions all look fairly decent as well; not amazing, but pretty good considering this is a portable title after all. Best of all, with eight cars racing, things exploding all around you and high speed crashing going on all the time, I don’t think I ever noticed a single hint of slowdown, and if I did, it was so small it’s not even worth mentioning. With detail being the only casualty of all this goodness, I am willing to lose texture beauty for physics and carnage.
Now, about your ears… I’m not sure who decided on the sound track for Flatout, but not giving players the option of manipulating the music, or better yet, allowing them to play their own soundtrack using a memory stick was downright mean. The music was alright, generic emo-rock or hard-rock with soul, whatever you want to call it, but aside from the music you’re given at the beginning of each song, you have no control over it. The sound effects were pretty nice, from tires screeching to explosions and people screaming, Flatout makes the best use of those tiny PSP speakers, even more if you have some decent headphones.
Control, I feel, is where this title was the weakest. Basic driving controls such as X for gas, Circle for hand brake, Square for brake/reverse, and left shoulder for rear view are all included. With Flatout Head On, you are also given a couple of other neat tricks, the Triangle button resets your car in case you flip or go off course (a button I use much too often) and right shoulder shoots your nitro, which you build up by smashing cars, blowing objects to smithereens, and getting high air. You can also control your car with the analog nub or the D-pad. For challenges in which you launch your driver into the air, you hold down the right shoulder button to get altitude and release at your leisure, then you can create acrobatic moves using the D-pad to move the ragdoll a little (at a price of speed and height) and give them a one time nudge by pressing the right shoulder button again. The issue I have with the controls are when steering narrow passages become common, the steering, thanks to the realistic physics engine being used in this game are just too… real! In an unrealistic arcade racer I enjoy unrealistically easy steering, or at least an option to choose my type of steering (or transmission for that matter).
This game will keep you busy for a while, with a large number of racing styles, you can play career mode, in which you compete in a number of championship tournaments to become the best racer out there. Within career mode you are given three distinct car styles to choose from, derby, racing, and street, with each type having tougher races and more advanced cars. Earn money by competing in and winning races earn even more money by destroying your competition in both races and demolition derbies, utilize your nitro to make an even larger dent in your opponent’s doors. Players can also utilize Carnage mode in which you perform amazing crashes in 36 quick play challenges. Within these 36 Carnage challenges, there are specific events such as Death match Derby, Beat the Bomb, Ragdoll events and more. My personal favourite are the Ragdoll events in which you catapult your driver through the windshield of your car to do specific tasks like get the highest altitude and stick to a net, or try to bowl a strike in bowling minigames. With 40 cars to choose from, complete with customization of both paint and mechanics, as well as 40 tracks to play on, you won’t run out of things to do in this title any time soon. Up to 8 players race or crash in each event in single player mode, and with multiplayer wireless racing, mini games, and tournaments, up to four drivers can compete for smack talking rights.
Graphics: 3.5 / 5.0
Gameplay 3.5 / 5.0
Sound 2.5 / 5.0
Replay value 4.0 / 5.0
Activision recently released details of its upcoming Spider-Man: Web of Shadows video game, available in retail stores Fall 2008. The game will be compatible with the Xbox 360, PSP, PS2, and PS3 gaming consoles. A version of the game for PCs will also be released.
In Web of Shadows, a deadly symbiote invasion brings devastation to New York City, setting the game in an apocalyptic vision of the city. The game allows players to have complete control over New York City’s salvation and the fate of Spider man, and also features an all new combat system that allows for three-dimensional battles that can start on the street and end up on rooftops. Gamers can also switch between the red and black Spider-Man suits, choose to ally with Marvel’s heroes or villains and decide what missions to undertake to save Manhattan from destruction.
Taking place in ancient Greece, God of War follows the story of a general in the Spartan army turned slave to the gods who is then charged to kill Aires and becomes the new god of war (this is the premise of the first title on the PS2). Wielding the awesome blades of chaos, Kratos kicks some major ass. Just like in the previous games, you battle all sorts of mythical characters including cyclopses, medusas and satyrs. There is lots of action, plenty of combos and gory kill scenes. When slaying a Minotaur, for example, you’ll use your two giant blades to nail its front paws down, then steal its giant sword to decapitate the monster with a truly vicious swipe.
Chains of Olympus is kind of like a side quest to the first game, following Kratos as he performs tasks for the gods as a slave. The story feels a bit weak however, too big for a mission in the PS2 versions, to small to be its own console sequel. It’s never really clear who the antagonist might be until late in the game, and if you haven’t played the original, there is very little character development here to separate Kratos from the other great video game heroes out there. We know he’s angry and that his daughter is dead, but it might be best if he let his actions speak instead of his words, as the few bits of dialogue in the game feel canned and rigid.
The story is not just a little boring – it’s short. Clocking in at approximately six hours, you could probably beat this game in one hardcore session. It does also feel like this game is much easier than the previous ones, I played it on normal, and found real difficulty only on the last boss (Although beating the game does unlock the incredibly tough ‘God Mode’).
The biggest feature that distinguishes Chains of Olympus from its predecessors is the Sun Shield. This item lets you not only block attacks but parry them too. A well-timed block will deflect your enemy’s weapon and allow you to sneak in an extra quick attack (like in the PS3′s God of War like Heavenly Sword). You can also use the shield to deflect projectiles back where they came from – send a flaming arrow right back to the cursed archer who fired it. Along with the blades of chaos and the sun shield, your only other weapon in the game is the Gauntlet of Zeus, a single power glove that sends your opponents flying.
Although the combat may occasionally fall flat, this game still feels quite epic, and a large part of that is due to the environments. It must be said that the graphics here are very impressive, while there are only a few levels in the game; the art direction allows them to spring to life. At one point in the game, you run across a very long bridge towards the Temple of Helios and the camera stays fixed from far away, as Kratos shrinks into the background, I caught myself staring at all the details in the space and I stopped playing for a second. It is a real moment of beauty that stuck out in the video game experience. This is not the only time that we get a sense of the scale of the levels as later in Chains, Kratos travels to Tartarus where the titans are imprisoned. The walls are jagged and massive and as you climb up a rock formation, unwinding the huge chains that surround it. Charging up all his strength, Kratos sends the chains flying away and landing with a very satisfying ‘whomp’ sound. After a while you scale higher and higher until you see a large hand made of rock opening and closing – making a fist. That’s when you realize that you are actually running on top of Atlas, and he’s angry.
Though the lighting is good in most areas, some spots on the map may be tough to get to because the camera control is sometimes weak. Often, pots and other things to smash for experience may be hidden behind corners and off screen. This problem is most apparent early on in the Temple of Helios but eventually, you know where to look because all the hallways seem to be constructed exactly the same. Keeping the level design relatively linear does solve the problem of finding all the bonus treasure chests, but this does come with the price of repetition.
In terms of controls, as there is only one analog stick for movement, they are otherwise almost the same as on the PS2, and where buttons are missing, things are kept efficient. Rather than having to cycle through and choose, you hold the R button bring up you magic, then push any of the face buttons to perform a different spell. Looking to chain together a wicked combo? Hold L and push the face buttons for some of Kratos’ deadliest attacks, pushing both bumper buttons together allows you to dodge and roll.
There are a few last things that should be discussed about this pint sized God of War. The first time you watch an FMV, you cannot skip it. This means that if you get stuck on a boss, you will have to watch the intro video over and over again. I must have watched the final cut scene about a dozen times. This can be extremely frustrating if you are on a bus or subway and need to get off. Also, this is a very dark game. I don’t just mean the content. One plot point sees the sun fall into the underworld, and Morpheus (the god of dreams) takes over as the world plummets into darkness. It becomes so hard to see that you must boost the brightness on your PSP, and if you were thinking of playing outside or somewhere with bright light then think again. Finally, there are often large gaps between save points. If you only had fifteen minutes to kill while waiting at the bus stop, it might not be enough time to advance to the next checkpoint.
There are a few side quests that can keep you busy, however, beating the game will open up the Challenges of Hades. These are simple levels with a single task, like beat twenty bad guys without getting hit once. This is about the only safe bet for God of War players on the go as they are short and usually end within a minute or two. There are a few challenges to unlock, and of course there is other bonus material like new costumes that boost attributes when you’ve beaten the game on that difficulty already, videos, and images.
God of War: Chains of Olympus certainly has its flaws. It follows the tired conventions of puzzle/adventure games that came before it. While this is Kratos as his usual angry self, the short running-time and small screen mean the combat will never be as epic as you remembered it. That being said, this is one of the finest looking games on any handheld platform right now. The presentation is unrivalled. Ready At Dawn Studios have brought the PS2 experience onto the PSP. And yes, this game does have an orgy scene.
Replay Value: 3.5/5
The Pursuit Force is back in this second instalment for the PSP and no doubt they are looking forward to unleashing their brand of extreme justice. The Pursuit Force is a group of officers who specialize in high speed chases and cutthroat action. Already promoted after his victory in the first game, you play as a man only known as ‘The Commander’. Some of the goons you put away last time have sprung out of jail and are planning to destroy Capital City so it’s your job to stop them. In the previous title (this is a sequel), you chose missions based on which gang you wanted to pursue – five in all, now they have all been integrated into one continuous storyline.
Basically, the game is broken down into racing cars, boats and hovercrafts as well as tracking down bad guys and stopping them from reaching their destination. It is a racing-action game similar to games like Driver and Grand Theft Auto. The structure of each mission varies, so you will occasionally get out of the car and man a helicopter-mounted machine gun or a sniper rifle and provide cover for team mates.
The more gang members you kill or arrest, the higher your justice meter grows. Once this meter has peaked, you can jump from car to car in slow motion and shoot the bad guys in mid-air, very cool stuff. Leaping into new cars allows you not just to get a potentially less-damaged vehicle, but also lets you steal the weapons from any bad guys that were inside it. The game has changed a lot, however, since its first version was released a few years ago. This time, the controls are finer-tuned in terms of the justice meter, and can use it to restore lost health and repair damage to your vehicle, rather than using it solely for offensive purposes. The gameplay does suffer from one weakness, and that happens in the melee missions. The controls on the PSP are just not deep enough for these mission types, as the right analog stick being used for aiming is nearly required and missed. Instead of having separate controls to look and move, you are forced to shoot in a relatively straight line going forwards. You can push L to stop running and enter an aiming mode, but it is too blocky to be used effectively. One other control problem is the very timely addition of the God of War style context-sensitive button mashing technique. In the first game, to arrest a perp you had to push R. Now, you must push a randomly generated combination of the triangle, circle, square and x buttons. This same effect is occasionally used during chase missions, and in both cases creates a downturn in the game’s momentum, but at least it keeps players on their feet.
Despite all this, there are enough unique missions to keep the game interesting. As a break from the usual ‘Drive fast and catch this bus’ or ‘Drive fast and ram into that truck’, there are some highlights. Early on, you capture one of the criminal masterminds and probe him for information during a cut-scene. You can look forward to loosening his lips by tying him to the hood of a car and scaring the information out of him by bumping into other cars, swerving left and right, scraping against guard rails and driving into oncoming traffic.
The graphics don’t do much to separate the missions, gangs or locations. Each of the five criminal groups has their own gimmick and their cars are designed to look identifiable from normal traffic on the road. However, it’s just a difference of some orange paint and some protruding spikes, I guess if they wanted to blend in they could have avoided the flame motif and weaponry on the outside. You will find yourself driving through the same indoor shopping mall a few times, as you take familiar corners through the downtown core. Frame rates are fast and graphics clean and adequate – nothing too spectacular.
In terms of sound, you will find a lot more detail involved. In a specific cut-scene, the camera pans across a speeding car on the highway creating a distinguished stereoscopic effect. You can hear the engine hum from your left to right speaker. Some of the smaller effects are more subtle but still appreciated. In one mission you are being tailed by a large tank, and as oncoming cars drive past you, they can be heard getting crushed behind you once they have left the screen, almost like a mini surround sound effect. Finally, as this is a portable title, us gamers do have a tendency to revert to our physical surroundings during the boring parts between missions. If you look up a lot from your PSP in the subway like me, the game will sound a few beeps when the next mission is loaded, bringing you back into its virtual world, perhaps not a big breakthrough in gaming, but appreciated.
The game is a long one, so you will be sure of have plenty of time to enjoy the sound effects, voice acting and generic music of Pursuit Force for many hours. Completing missions allows you to customize your stats and improve your reload times or jump distances. Beat missions a second time, and you can set high scores and unlock cheats, movies and concept art. There is also the Challenge mode, which bubbles each mission down to its core chase dynamic and lets you replay it with extra tough stipulations. Try beating them again while weaponless, with a time limit, or without crashing. There are also a slew of multiplayer modes to keep you and three of your friends busy.
In many ways, Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice on the PSP is better than its 2006 predecessor. It has a more engaging and deliberate storyline. Your character’s stats are upgradeable, which loosens the difficulty setting. There is the occasional unique task to perform in a mission. And there are some finer touches to the sound design. But overall, the game does feel quite generic and uninspired. BigBig Studios really could have heightened the ironic enjoyment to be found in this game by subverting some of the clichéd missions and characters. Instead, you are left with a game that gets by on conventions already established by the Grand Theft Autos and God of Wars of the game world. It might be mindless fun to kill 20 minutes on the bus, but the experience won’t last for much longer than that.
Replay Value: 4.5/5
The PlayStation Portable’s highly anticipated firmware update which will allow users to voice chat via Skype is finally here.
Firmware update 3.90 allows users in Europe and the U.S. with the Slim PSP to talk to other Skype users for free over the internet. Those wishing to talk to landlines and mobiles can do so by paying a monthly fee.
European users downloading the update will also have a Go! Messenger icon appear as well. Go! Messenger will not be functional until an update later in February, but will include instant messaging as well as voice chat and works with both types of PSP’s.
Once downloaded users simply set up their account then use the headset and remote control to operate the service in Wi-Fi hotspots.
Sony has finally put to rest much speculation by announcing that Skype, a Voice over IP service, will be made available on the PSP following an update which is expected later this month.
According to Gamasutra, the new feature will include a contact list manager which will allow users to view existing user and add new ones as well as see which of their PSP contacts are online and available to talk.
Skype users will be able to make free calls to other PSP’s and to PC’s and, for an added cost, will be able to make calls to landlines and mobiles via an assigned phone number. The new feature will only be available on the PSP Slim which was launched in September.
The Simpsons is a franchise familiar to well just about everyone so is it any wonder that EA has finally stepped up to the plate to deliver a truly next-gen Simpsons experience?
The game has everything you’d come to expect from a Simpsons game- the sound bytes recorded by the voice talent from the show and an accurate representation of Springfield and it’s diverse inhabitants.
Having played the demo on Xbox Live I can say that this game is a VAST improvement from the previous mediocre Simpsons games we’ve had to deal with Using a tag-team system you either control Homer or Bart who each have a special power. With EA poking fun at all their hit games (Medal Of Homer, Neverquest) this Simpsons game looks to be a mile above previous incarnations. Although I’ll always have a soft spot for Bart Vs. The World.
The Simpsons Game is out October 30th for all major consoles.
$59.99 for Xbox 360 and PLAYSTATION 3, $49.99 for Wii, $39.99 for PlayStation 2 and PSP, $29.99 for Nintendo DS
Rated T for Teen
Sony is announcing a brand new Playstation Portable (PSP) gaming device sporting a more streamlined form factor and a video out port.
In addition, two new Entertainment Packs will also be released. The PSP Ice Silver model, which will be included in the Limited Edition Daxter pack, available in September, and a collectors edition PSP, Ceramic White model, which will also include a Darth Vader silk-screen on the PSP and an exclusive game, Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron, will be available in October. The entertainment packs will be available for CDN$229.99.
“We are very pleased to be taking part in the global roll out of the newly designed PSP, while providing something unique for users in North America,” said Jack Tretton, president and CEO, SCEA. “In response to consumer interest, we’re offering additional colors as part of this enhanced design to match users’ personal styles and interests. The Star Wars Battlefront bundle in particular is a great opportunity for consumers to get on board with a collector’s edition ‘Ceramic White’ PSP. Also, the new video-out port, which gives consumers the option to enjoy PSP content on the big screen, brings a whole new dimension to the PSP experience.”
More than 140 games will be released this fiscal year for the PSP.
Following the recent second anniversary of PSP (PlayStation®Portable), Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) has announced a reduced price for PSP hardware. Effective today, PSP Core Pack will be available in North America for $199.99 CDN (MSRP), delivering a $30 savings to consumers. SCEA also announced that Daxter™ and Syphon Filter®: Dark Mirror are the newest additions to the PSP “Greatest Hits” collection, enabling PSP users to build up their software library.
“We have always been passionate about making great entertainment accessible to everyone, and the new price for PSP, as well as the continued growth of the ‘Greatest Hits’ library, reflect our ongoing commitment to supporting and expanding the PSP community,” said Jack Tretton, president and CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment America. “We are pleased that we are able to engineer savings for the consumer at this stage of PSP’s lifecycle, allowing more individuals to experience PSP for the first time. In particular, we have recently seen a steady rise in the number of teens adopting PSP as their primary handheld entertainment system, and we expect the new price will accelerate that trend.”
As a part of the “Greatest Hits” collection, Dark Mirror will now retail for $24.99 CDN (MSRP).
This week I?m going to be rambling about Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for PSP. I?m amazed with this title I mean, the concept that you can have a game that is so in-depth yet on a handheld is mightily impressive I?d say. I was expecting that this was actually going to be just a chopped up version of one of the GTA?s for PS2, in fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised if this title was the top-down 2-D view as it was when it first came out. But no, this game has a huge environment as well as a brand new story.
You start off with Toni Cipriani, who is the same thug we met on PS2, and once again you have the choice to roam around and see how long you can survive after creating random chaos for the police or follow the missions and move up in the Italian mafia.
I don’t have any complaints for this title simply because all the same great elements that have made the series a success so far are in there: the freedom of the huge 3-D environment, the grand selection of vehicles, even the loading time is impressive, as it only does so once at the beginning. Needles to say, loading times on PSP games so far has been inconsistent. Some games boot and load up fast while others do take a while, and I am a rather patient man. The graphics obviously don?t come close to compare with what you get on a console but they are still sharp for the most part. Regardless, the gameplay is smooth for the most part and the environments are rich with detail.
I don?t feel like I can say too much about this game simply because if you?ve played any of the GTA titles it?s basically the same deal. There isn?t anything too new that?ll blow your mind with the game itself but with the exception of some new features.
For starters, it actually has a great multiplayer mode. Since it is such a huge world and you?re dealing with real players as opposed to computer A.I., it has the feel of an online adventure. You hunt down your opponent in a huge city scattered with weapons and finding your opponent takes a while sometimes, which is seldom the case for multiplayer modes.
Secondly, you have the option of importing your own music to listen to on the radio stations. To do this you need a USB cable and you need download the software, which takes no time to find. For some reason the software won?t let you just transfer MP3?s from your hard drive, the files have to come from a CD. I suppose record companies, such as I don?t know, Sony, want to make sure people by CD?s. To be honest, the music in the game is fantastic and I often look forward to the music tracks when a new GTA title hits the shelves but man-oh-man is it such a bonus to be able to pump old school DMX and cruise around in a Hummer.
If you?ve never played GTA before I?d recommend playing San Andreas first if you can. That particular title gave you the option of customizing your character and had a much more in-depth storyline. The voice acting in the PSP version is nice, but as far as the story goes, Toni just gets jerked around and that?s basically it.
If you have played GTA before and you?ve come to be a fan now, I don?t think you even need to rent this game, you?re sure to love it. Until I try Battlefront II I?m tempted to say this might very well be the best PSP title out there right now.
A buddy of mine from work let me borrow me his copy of Virtua tennis World Tour for PSP. I was quite excited; this game has always been pure entertainment. I?m talking about way back in the day, as I often do from time to time, when Virtua Tennis came out for arcades and then Dreamcast. However, this modern PSP version comes with some worthy of mention improvements.
In the main one player mode, which is world tour, you start off creating a male and female character. The game gives enough traits to tinker around with, such as skin colour, hairstyle, weight and height ? to name a few ? so that you should be able to make your character look like you, which is always a nice feature.
Both of your characters start off ranked 300 and the goal is to train and compete in enough tournaments to become the champ, but this doesn?t mean you have to defeat 300 people. In order to enter tournaments, which come in the form of both singles and doubles, you have to wait for a week in which you rank high enough to enter. The game defines a week by one or two training levels, or a tournament. You also have the choice to rest for a week if you?re trying to get to a tourney faster or allow your character to regain stamina.
The training levels are sort of silly but enjoyable for the most part. I particularly enjoyed the levels in which you can serve the ball to knock down seven pins in a kind of bowling set-up and another that pits you against a tennis-ball firing tank.
One thing I can say about this game is that it’s quite the challenge. Even the original wasn?t as hard as this one. I found that the computer A.I. absolutely walloped me the first couple of matches I tried it. This is due largely in part to the fact that returning the ball is no simple task. I mean, sure you can simply tap the button when your character is near the ball but there?s much more to it then that. If anyone?s actually ever played the game in real life what I?m trying to explain here should make sense. Basically, to get a nice return you need to position yourself in front of the ball, hold the return button down and then let go at the right moment after the ball bounces. It?s simple physics: if you hit the ball soon after it bounces you really don?t have time to put any power in the shot and if you hit the ball too late you?re likely to loose control and perhaps knock the ball out.
I suppose this is why I enjoyed this game so much, because in essence, the control style mimics the sport in real life. This doesn?t mean that I have an edge or an advantage because most will surely find that the gameplay is comfortable and simple. And once I started to get the rhythm I started to make slow but definite progress in the one player mode and thus, managed to start moving up in the ranks. I said it before and I?ll say it again: this was no simple task because the computer?s A.I., even on normal and even in the very first levels is a forced to be reckoned with. Although you can make your character stronger and faster with the training levels, the real key to making progress comes through getting the hang of strategically placing serves, capitalizing when stuck in a tight rally and especially mastering the art of volleying.
I tried this game online but surprise, surprise there was nobody there! As I mentioned last week, this has been typical of the online experience with the PSP and I still don?t understand it. I?ve spent some time looking for the answer on forums for nerdiest of nerds and I still don?t understand it. Can it really be possible that no one in North America has gotten into the online aspect for PSP games? Anywho, I hope this gets better once the system picks up, which will likely be after December because the idea of being able to play a human player whenever you like would sure make this game better.
For now, I?ll just have to settle for the good ol? invincible A.I.
I haven?t dedicated any time towards talking about the PSP and now that I?ve owned one for a few months, I think it?s a good time for it.
For the most part I have been very happy with my investment in the PSP and most people I know who own one feel the same way. This gadget seemingly does everything: it plays movies, music, games, and on top of all that, with its wi-fi card it becomes a web browser and makes many of its games online compatible. However, to really take advantage of all these features you need really deep pockets.
It comes with a 32MB card and that obviously doesn?t make for holding very much ? especially music and video files. All you need to move files over is a USB cable.
I?ve had a really hard time finding a file converter that can make video files, such as mpegs for example, playable on the PSP. I already had the software to convert music files into the type that Sony favors because I used to own a mini-disc player but this still begs the question as to why Sony would make it a tad tedious to play music and movies. I mean, why not just make PSP compatible with MP3?s and choose a more common video file format? I suppose the developers thought that people were not smart enough to realize that UMD-movie discs are not a worthwhile luxury.
If you don?t have a wireless router at home for your internet connection you won?t be playing any online games, nor will you make use of the web browser. I actually have one and I must say it?s pretty neat being able to stroll wherever I wish at home and surf the net but I?ve been disappointed in the PSP?s online gaming aspect. For some strange reason, for whatever game I want to play online there always seems to be one, or no people in the rooms! It feels like there are two people who own a PSP sometimes!
Despite all these condemnations however, I am still in love with the PSP.
Visually, every game looks amazing with beautifully smooth resolution, colors and graphics. And although I mentioned those UMD-movie discs are expensive, I always notice a look of amazement on the faces of the people leaning over my shoulder on the subway trying to catch a glimpse.
PSP comes with a stylish pair of headphones with remote so that you can listen to music. Now as I mentioned, the memory card it comes with only holds 32MB, which gets used up fast, however if you can afford to shelve out a hundred dollars and hunt a 1GB card off ebay you?ll soon have lots of space. Sure it?s no ipod, but it?s still a great feature.
You can view photos and luckily this doesn?t require any bothersome file converter. I don?t know how much use people in general will put to this feature but I imagine if someone owns a digital camera it?s a nice option. Personally, I like this feature because it makes it so that I can have a wallpaper of my choice at the main menu screen.
Compared to the main competitor, which is Nintendo DS, to me, the PSP stands on top?so far. I am of course fully aware that we?re going to see the release of an online Mario Kart for the DS soon but man-oh-man Nintendo has been taking there sweet time to really take advantage of their hand-held. When Nintendo starts to get the ball rolling with the DS, don?t be surprised if I?ve switched sides ? and, of course ? don?t be surprised if that never happens.
I also chose to talk about PSP is starting to really build up a good selection of titles and I didn?t think it?d be a good idea to start critiquing them unless I put out my two cents with regards to the system itself. If you?re curious, the games I?m talking about are X-men Legends II, Star Wars Battlefront II and Grand Theft Auto; oh yeah, it?s that crazy.
Gaming has become quite the luxury these days. Some people have plenty of money to spare and some people don’t mind skipping meals and cutting down on haircuts but it seems to me that a person invests in only one system. Interestingly enough, rivalries between system owners are as heated as those between the developers themselves.
So now that the consoles of today are just about obsolete and new ones are on the way, who?s side are you going to be on?
Sure, there are people who have been loyal to Nintendo since the first Super Mario Brothers game, thus they are sure to buy their next system. Sure, there are people who love Halo so much they?re going to invest in Xbox 360, heck, I know someone who?s trying to pre-order it.
But for the most part I?m finding that from the people who play video games so much that they should seek medical attention to the people who buy a game once a year ? PS3 is the system of choice.
If you read my column last week about the Xbox 360 you know I went into a lot of detail with regards to its impressive hardware specs and PS3 is no exception. The key to the power of the PS3 is it?s exclusive Cell processor technology developed by IBM. The Cell processor is composed of a PowerPC processing element (PPE) and eight Synergistic Processing Elements (SPEs). Basically, information flows from the PPE to the eight SPEs; as a result the PS3 is capable of concurrently processing eight threads at its full speed of 3.2Ghz.
Similar to the Xbox 360, to truly appreciate this kind of a CPU you?ll need a High Definition television but the PS3 will still operate just fine on any modern TV. The definitive difference between the Xbox 360 and PS3 has to be that while the Xbox 360 is sticking with a DVD drive, PS3 will boast a Blu-ray disc drive.
Blu-ray, which employs a blue-violet laser to read and write data technology, is apparently the format aimed at replacing DVDs. Once again, this all goes back to the push tech-developers are making towards HD television as Blu-ray is hoping to become the standard of high-def DVD flicks and consequently making us all jealous of the bourgeoisie.
A single-layer Blu-ray disc holds 25Gbs and a double-layer disc a whopping 50Gbs. Now first of all, if this is true, for all the people who invested thousands into building DVD collections ? I told you so. Second of all, although this technology will obviously make the PS3 a powerhouse it is still quite the gamble.
Blu-ray discs are very expensive to develop and consequently for this medium to pick up PS3 itself will have to do most of the work and frankly, nobody has been in a rush to buy minidisks so that they can watch movies on their PSPs so far. Sony is hoping that Blu-ray becomes the standard so that buying a PS3 becomes easier but has made sure that its compatible with CR-ROM, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD+R formats
As if the Blu-ray factor wasn?t dubious enough it also looks like you will have to purchase the hard drive separately. Now this right here is what I like to call the low-blow: to buy a system and then more for extras such as memory cards or RF switches is quite the annoyance, but just imagine how much hard drive is going to cost.
Now in terms of connectivity, the PS3 has built in Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet connections. In english, the PS3 will be able to connect at an incredible speed, ten times that of the Xbox 360?s. Speed is not as important to multiplayer gaming as people think so it?s likely PS3 has it?s site of expanding into other markets – rumours have it Sony plans to eventually distribute movies online. There hasn?t been an indication as to how much the online service will cost but I?m betting that it definitely won?t be free.
Making use of Bluetoooth technology the PS3 will have wireless controllers and will be able to interact with the PSP With the six USB ports you?ll be able to plug in anything from a camera to an mp3 player and likely a keyboard; similar to the Xbox 360, PS3 will operate as a multi-media centre.
In the end what really matters are the games and PS3 is going to have a solid selection such as the next instalments of Devil May Cry, Final Fantasy, Killzone, Metal Gear Solid, and Tekken.
Clearly these are examples of what made the PS2 a huge success: the very fact that Sony has always made sure to provide a selection of games that span such a wide range. On the contrary, catering mostly to a younger crowd is what led to the Nintendo Gamecube?s poor success in North America. How fitting it is that the title of their next console is exactly what Nintendo needs – a revolution. Come back next week to find out more.