October 20, 2008

TNA Impact Early Sale Estimates

Posted in General at 5:26 pm by playstation3

Check out our sister website PlayStation4.net!

Early sale estimates from TNA Impact are 100,000 in North America and 200,000 worldwide. Expectations were set higher for TNA’s cornerstone game.

Alone in the Dark renamed for PS3

Posted in General at 5:25 pm by playstation3

Check out our sister website PlayStation4.net!

We weren’t too impressed with the PC and Xbox 360 versions of Alone in the Dark, despite some clever innovations and ideas.

Atari and Eden Games have taken criticism of the game on board and the PlayStation 3 is looking like a more interesting experience.

So much so Atari has decided to call the game Alone in the Dark: Inferno.

Here are the features, explained by Atari, that have been changed for the Sony version of the game.

Full 360 degree camera control: enhanced camera controls allows complete freedom of the camera and better handling of third person movement for even more immersive gameplay enabling players to view the fire and mass destruction they are causing in all of its glory.

Fine-tuned controls: quicker and smoother reactivity of the hero’s movements in third person view increases the pace of the game and makes for faster, reflexive gameplay during tense fighting scenarios;

Inventory system more accessible: more logical jacket inventory system with the ability to scroll rapidly through the inventory with the D-pad or analog stick to combine objects. In addition, gameplay is paused when accessing the inventory system to allow maximum creativity in combining items to create unique flammable weapons;

More tips: additional on-screen tips will help players quickly adapt to controls and easily understand how to overcome tricky situations;

Spectral Vision tuning: a tutorial earlier in the storyline explains the need to burn roots in order to gain spectral vision (a power that grants you the ability to see the unseen) and difficulty tuning means less spectral vision is required to reach the end of the game;

Improved car dynamics and handling: driving has been tuned with increased suspension and reduced drifting giving overall better handling to make driving a fun walk in the park every time;

59th Street level tuning: one of the game’s most exciting sequences just got better. 59th Street has been tweaked for a more satisfying race against the fissure with difficulty tuning, an added checkpoint at Columbus Circle and clear voice directions given by Sarah;

Brand new thrilling action sequence: an exclusive new sequence has been added in Episode 6 for even more excitement and variety of gameplay in the episode.

PS3 Owners Going Home On 10/24?

Posted in General at 5:25 pm by playstation3

Check out our sister website PlayStation4.net!

As of yet, Sony hasn’t released an official launch date for PlayStation Home; all we know is that it should arrive some time “this fall.” Earlier rumors that the open beta would come right along with the new closed Home beta update – 1.00 – proved false. But perhaps now we have a little clue…

Variety’s Ben Fritz got a chance to sample Home with SCEA director Jack Buser, and evidently, he came away mostly impressed with the experience. However, as we know many of our readers are beta testers, we won’t get into specifics (if you like, you can read the entire article over at the Cut-Scene blog). But here’s the interesting bit: when they wandered around Home, the code number to get into “personal space” apartments was “1024.” …we assume we don’t have to spell this out for our intelligent readership, but we’ll explain for the less savvy. We know the open Home beta is set for “fall,” and “1024” can be 10/24, which is October 24. This coincides with some inside rumors we’ve heard in the past few months that say Home will launch some time in October, so it’s certainly feasible. We’re going to contact the SCEA Home team to see if we can get a clarification on this issue, and we don’t want the standard, “we don’t comment on rumor and speculation” reply. It’s only a few weeks off; you guys can tell us whether or not the guess is accurate. C’mon, just a simple yes or no… Anyway, we’ll try.

Along with the big-time exclusives like LittleBigPlanet and Resistance 2, PlayStation Home ought to be a major selling point for the PS3 this holiday season. And given the importance of online functionality for consoles in this generation, the sooner we go Home, the better.

Sony Announces 80 GB PS3 for Japan

Posted in General at 5:24 pm by playstation3

Check out our sister website PlayStation4.net!

Japan is the home turf for Sony’s PlayStation gaming line, so the company has a tendency to introduce new models and hardware in the Japanese market before migrating them overseas to North America and Europe.

But this time, the situation is a little reversed: Sony has announced it will begin offering a new PlayStation 3 model in Japan at the end of October. The unit will feature a 80 GB hard disk drive�and a �39,980 price tag. That puts the new unit at the same price as the currently 40 GB PlayStation 3.

Sony has been offering 80 GB versions of the PlayStation 3 in Europe and North America.

The 80 GB version of the PS3 currently marks the top storage capacity available in the gaming console. Sony launched the PlayStation 3 in late 2006 with two capacities: 20 GB and 60 GB. The company quickly phased out the 20 GB model, claiming the bulk of its sales were for the 60 GB unit. Then, as gamers initially shunned the pricey in favor of the Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360, Sony reduced prices and eventually brought out a 40 GB edition of the PS3. Sony then launched the 80 GB version of the PS3 in North America in mid-2007, at an initial price of $599, phasing out the 60 GB model.

Sony says it hopes to sell 10 million PlayStation 3 consoles during its current fiscal year, which ends in March 2009.

September 3, 2008

Soul Calibur IV Review

Posted in General at 11:46 pm by playstation3

The following review is from PlayStation4.net writer Adam Hanson:

Soul Calibur 4 is the fifth game in the acclaimed fighting game series that started back on the original Playstation with Soul Blade. The series is best known for it’s weapon based combat. The series first appearance on the PS3 is a solid fighting game with plenty of features that will attract both fans of the series and new players alike.

Soul Calibur 4 brings back almost all of the playable characters from past games. The game also introduces a new character, Hilde, who wields a shortsword and a spear. In addition to the Soul Calibur series characters the game lets players play as Darth Vader (a Playstation 3 exclusvie character) and his secret apprentice from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Finally the game features a group of bonus characters designed by Japanese anime artists. There is also an empty character slot that some (including me) will only be filled once a gamesave for Force Unleashed is present on the console. To further add to it’s impressive roster of characters Soul Calibur 4 allows the player to customize a fighters appearance and give them the fighting style of any character in the game.

The single player game in Soul Calibur 4 includes a story mode, an arcade mode, and a new mode called tower of lost souls. Arcade mode is the typical fighting game in that it involves fighting a series of opponents with each fight being best of three. Story mode has fewer battles but each battle may have multiple opponents or allow the player to have an ally character. Despite the designation as “Story” Mode the game is light on story and the story that is there is presented mostly as text. The Tower of Lost Souls mode is a series of battles that get progressively harder as the player ascends the tower. In this mode the player must fight multiple battles against multiple opponents in a row (usually 2 or 3 battles with 2 or 3 opponents each) and the player’s health carries over from one set of battles to the next. This mode allows the player to change his character (or characters since more often than not the player is given two or three characters at a time) after each section. Playing the single player game will allow the player to unlock new characters and find new costume parts for customized characters.

Unless the player is a hardcore completionist the single player experience of Soul Calibur 4 will not last long. At it’s heart Soul Calibur 4 is a multiplayer game and that is where it truly shines. Soul Calibur 4 is at it’s most fun when a group of friends get together for a multiplayer game. The versus mode is divided into a standard and a special mode. Standard mode does not allow for use of optional skills while special mode does. Optional skills are skills that the player equips to a character and they offer abilities like invisibility and protection from being knocked out of the ring. While the game only features one on one battles; each battle is usually short enough to allow new players to switch in without anyone getting too bored. In this generation where fighting game have been hard to come by Soul Calibur 4 will provide a change of pace from the shooters that have been dominating many game nights.

When it comes to the actual fighting Soul Calibur 4 does not disappoint. Each character (with the exception of the bonus anime characters) has a unique fighting style and moveset. The game makes it easy for new players to quickly learn a few moves and execute them in combat but it also has a number of moves that will take time and practice to master. The characters themselves are fairly well balanced though some tend to be “cheaper” than others. Using optional skills can unbalance the game but A new damage system has been put in place where repeated guarding will leave a character open to a “critical finisher” move that will kill them in one blow. The Star Wars characters have the ability to use unique force moves that deplete a force meter. Armor can be destroyed during the battle adding a degree of realism to the game. Ring outs are also more difficult now as many arenas only have one side that is not blocked off by a wall.

The graphics are top notch. Characters and environments are detailed to the point where it’s can be fun just watching as friends fight. The sound effects work with the game but are generally not all that noticeable. The character voices are good but, like in any fighting game, it can get annoying hearing the same one liners before and after battles. The few cutscenes that are in story mode are fully voiced but as I stated before most of the story is presented in a text only form at the beginning and end of the story mode.

In conclusion Soul Calibur 4 is the game that fighting game fans of the genre have been waiting for. It manages to blend simplicity and complexity into a game that players of all skill levels will enjoy. The game looks great and it plays just as good. While the major unlockables such as characters and arenas can be unlocked quickly there is plenty to keep the hardcore completionists playing for a long time. Even after the single player game is done the versus mode will surely be a feature at many game nights. With all of this in mind Soul Calibur 4 recieves. . . .

a 4 out of 5

August 9, 2008

Driver Coming to PS3

Posted in General at 1:44 pm by playstation3

Check out our sister website PlayStation4.net!

Ubisoft has announced that Driver, the racing game developed by Ubisoft Reflections (ex-Reflections Interactive), will be available via PSN on August 14th for €4.99. Driver puts you in the driving shoes of Tanner, an undercover cop tasked with infiltrating an illegal syndicate through his impressive driving skills in a variety of cities across the globe.

PS3 developers only using 30% of the machine’s power says Naughty Dog

Posted in General at 1:42 pm by playstation3

Check out our sister website PlayStation4.net!

Threespeech has just posted an interview with Naughty Dog designer Richard Lemarchand, in which he talks up Sony’s new low-level programming tools, aimed at encouraging coders to employ the machine’s SPUs, or Synergistic Processing Units. This array of mini-RISC processors can be utilised to carry out simultaneous number-crunching tasks – the idea is to provide a more efficient computing architecture, but until recently most developers weren’t touching them. Lemarchand reckons Sony has come up with the answer:

“There’s a set of tools called Edge that were developed on the Naughty Dog premises, actually, by a group of very, very senior games programmers, some from Naughty Dog and some from elsewhere. I think it’s tremendously visionary of Sony to make these tools, which are largely low-level libraries.”

“It’s code that runs on SPUs, and it’s to do with things like animation compression, generalised compression and rendering optimisations. These guys are really old-school programmers: guys who are always looking to shave another cycle off an operation. And part of the skill of developing for the PlayStation 3 is getting the GPU to farm jobs out to the six SPUs – seeing which SPUs are idling and can take up some of the slack in a frame-to-frame kind of way.”

“That’s why we think we’re probably only using 30 or 40 per cent of the power of the PS3 right now, and there’s this great, untapped potential. All third-party developers can get the Edge libraries for free and are going to be able to use them in their own ways, to get more and more and more out of the PS3 over the years.”

It’s interesting that Lemarchand talks about distributing tasks depending on which SPUs are idle. There are two ways to employ the SPU array – lobbing out jobs to whichever unit is free (which is what Lemarchand suggests), or attributing specific tasks to specific SPUs; for example, put one aside for AI, one for physics, another for character animations. It’s the latter that most developers seem to have gone for, despite the possibility that it’s the least efficient method. It’s ironic that, if studios really are only getting at a third of the machine’s power, it’s the parallel processing array designed to speed up calculations that’s holding them back.

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