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Review: Gravity Rush Remastered

Jan 16 // Josh Tolentino
Gravity Rush Remastered (PS4)Developer: SCE Japan Studio and Bluepoint GamesPublisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Japan and AsiaReleased: December 10, 2015 (Japan/Asia), February 2, 2016 (NA/EU)MSRP: $29.99 [Note: This review is based on the English-language version of the game released in Asian regions on December 10, 2015. We expect that there will be few if any significant differences between this release and the upcoming North America/EU releases.] The most striking part of Bluepoint's work on Gravity Rush Remastered is on the technical side. The game runs at a smooth, uninterrupted 60 frames per second, at a native 1080p resolution. Higher-resolution textures sport additional detail and sharpening while improved lighting and antialiasing brings out the color in the game's unique cel-shaded aesthetic. No one's going to mistake Gravity Rush Remastered for a "native" PS4 game, but it does look much like the way I (fondly) remember the Vita original, which is high praise considering that I can compare the two side-by-side and see just how much work went into the porting job.  While Bluepoint has made some considerable improvements to Gravity Rush Remastered's graphical quality and performance, it was more conservative in terms of content, opting just to add the original's three downloadable content packs as standard, and a gallery mode to check out concept art, character designs, and unlocked cutscenes. This may dilute the game's value proposition somewhat for existing Gravity Rush owners on the fence about double-dipping since the game is identical in content and design to the Vita version. [embed]34700:5357:0[/embed] If there's anything about the game that qualifies as "bad news," it's rooted in the fact that the content itself is unchanged. As such, the criticisms raised by Jim Sterling in his review of the original do stand, to an extent. The game's mission design never really lives up to the sheer joy of its central gravity-shifting mechanic, and no amount of frame rate improvement or antialiasing can change that. Combat and control in stressful situations can still be a little squirrely, though the better "feel" of a DualShock 4 controller, combined with the extra awareness afforded by a larger screen, makes it easier to compensate. Even players who enjoyed the tilt- and touchscreen-based features of Gravity Rush are accommodated, thanks to the DualShock 4's own motion sensing and touch panel (though these can be turned off if desired). The narrative is also much more proficient at establishing atmosphere and personality than at answering the questions it raises, and by the end of the campaign it can feel like has read  an incomplete set of obscure foreign comic books, not knowing when or where the next issue will turn up. That said, I'm of the opinion that these rough edges are not nearly as serious in their impact as some may think, and to players in the right mindset, even add to Gravity Rush's considerable charm. The writing, dialog and story all emphasize Kat's character as a somewhat hapless amateur superhero (think "anime Ms. Marvel with a different power set") just getting started in her crime-fighting career, and she's exactly the kind of person who might whiff on landing a gravity kick and go flying into a pile of boxes. Just in the way that deliberately "slow" controls can improve the atmosphere of a horror game like Amnesia,occasional finickiness and flubs reinforce Gravity Rush Remastered's sense of character (albeit unintentionally). In the end, Bluepoint deserves credit for managing to bring out the best in an already-pretty-good game, allowing PS4 owners the chance to experience the charm of Gravity Rush unhampered by the limitations of its original platform.  [This review is based on a retail copy of the game acquired by the reviewer.] [embed]34700:5357:0[/embed]
Gravity Rush Remastered photo
Falling with style
Gravity Rush is and remains one of the coolest games on the PS Vita, even three years after its original 2012 release. Unfortunately for fans of cool games, the PS Vita didn't get into nearly as many hands as Sony was ho...

Destiny photo

Ryo Katsuji knows best how to recruit a Destiny fireteam

With top-tier cosplay
Sep 11
// Josh Tolentino
It's not entirely baseless to say that Japan's gamers haven't been quite as taken with the shooter genre as their comrades in America and Europe, but Glorious Nippon does house a small but dedicated fanbase for the genre. An...
Summer Lesson photo
Summer Lesson

Summer Lesson is everything right about VR

Thanks, Harada!
Jun 16
// Josh Tolentino
Virtual Reality's a thing, right? The prospect of really putting players "somewhere else" in a more substantial way is just too appealing to dismiss completely. That said, for most of the tech demos out there, that "somewher...
Shenmue III photo
Shenmue III

Quick Fund Event: Yu Suzuki's Shenmue III kickstarter already funded

I'm looking for some backers
Jun 16
// Josh Tolentino
E3 usually isn't the biggest thing to look forward to for fans of Japanese games, but there are always exceptions. This year is one of those exceptions, and Nintendo hasn't even begun its broadcast yet! Everyone brought some ...

PSN games photo
PSN games

Japan's PSN users sure love them some western games

Downloads aplenty!
Jan 10
// Josh Tolentino
If there's one stereotype about the Japanese game industry that's more true than not, it's that Glorious Nippon hasn't gotten the hang of The Internet and its many facets quite as quickly or in the same way as the rest of the...
Daily Dose photo
Daily Dose

A Daily Dose of Music: Freedom Wars' Propaganda Idols

Let's Contribute!
Nov 03
// Josh Tolentino
Hey! Are you making a videogame or anime? Then you need idols! That's the hot stuff now, be it an idol character, an idol sequence, or a licensed song from some idols or done in idol style. Idols! And it doesn't matter if yo...
PS4 trailer photo
PS4 trailer

The new Japanese PS4 trailer is super sweet

feeling warm and fuzzy
Oct 29
// Hiroko Yamamura
Sony is readying its new Share Play system for the PS4 system in Japan. Basically, it allows players to allow another player to take over their controls via the Sony Network, similar to passing the controller to someone else...
Sony @ TGS photo
Sony @ TGS

Here's everything you wanted from Sony's TGS presser

And I mean everything!
Sep 02
// Josh Tolentino
It wasn't all about a fifth Persona game, y'know! Quite a bit happened when Sony took the stage just before the Tokyo Game Show opened this year, to barrage our faces with sweet trailers for games known and new, as...
Freedom Wars photo
Freedom Wars

Freedom Wars finally getting its freedom soon

No concerns about recidivism!
Aug 19
// Josh Tolentino
Ah, Freedom Wars. Sony have been teasing this Monster Hunter-alike from the developers of God Eater for what feels like forever, and despite the game coming out in Japan to warm regard, we never got a solid release date....
PS4 photo

Japan's Frozen PS4 would've looked better in white

Step it up, Nippon!
Jul 13
// Josh Tolentino
Frozen may have pretty much taken over the world, but that won't stop companies trying to cash in on its popularity with tacky, cheap branded merchandise. No, that doesn't make sense, because that's exactly why companies...
Freedom Wars photo
Freedom Wars

New Freedom Wars story trailer looks mighty good

Want to get a Vita...rising
Jul 02
// Josh Totman
So the rock that I currently live under doesn't seem to have any connection to what is going on in the video game world. If it did, then I wouldn't just be now finding out about the futuristic co-op action game Freedom Wars ...
Bloodborne photo

E3 2014: From's Project Beast is Bloodborne

Exclusive to PS4
Jun 10
// Josh Tolentino
This isn't to say that Project Beast is a thing you can catch from a blood transfusion gone wrong, mind. Instead, that's the true name of the new, PS4-exclusive action game from, er, From. Software. Y'know, they of Soul...
The Last Guardian photo
The Last Guardian

No, The Last Guardian is NOT cancelled

Falco's still gonna die, though
Jun 08
// Josh Tolentino
This sort of feels like one of those "Did we really even need to refute this?" kind of moments, but I suppose it's understandable, considering we're barely two days away from E3 happening. Rumormongering has hit its peak, and...
Arcana Heart photo
Arcana Heart

Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! coming to PS3/Vita this Fall

That's five exclamation points, remember
Apr 30
// Pedro Cortes
Aksys Games announced that moé fighting game Arcana Heart 3: Love Max!!!!! will be hitting the Playstation 3 and Vita Fall 2014. This version of the series is a revision based off the original Arcana Heart 3, originall...
PSN photo

Sony unleashes JRPG sale on PSN for Golden Week

It's a digital fire sale!
Apr 29
// Pedro Cortes
April 29 is the beginning of Golden Week, a series of holiday over the course of several days that's been converted into a sort of national spring break. In order to celebrate it this year, Sony is discounting a ton of Japane...
Evangelion photo

Sony to release SDAT-styled Evangelion Walkman

Sony still makes the Walkman?
Apr 23
// Pedro Cortes
Sony is releasing a special Neon Genesis Evangelion edition of their F-series Walkman that looks like Shinji's SDAT, along with another version that's branded with a NERV logo. Both versions come with the option to have eithe...
Sony haet Square photo
Sony haet Square

Signs of Doom! Sony sells off its Square Enix stock

Apr 16
// Josh Tolentino
Fanboys and girls rejoice, for the corporations you've pledged your loyalty to have given you some extra ammo to use in your eternal conflict. It seems consumer electronics giant and PlayStation maker Sony has decided to offl...
Persona photo

Persona 4 appears on ESRB for PS3, still rated M

Watch out for "phallic-shaped heads and torsos"
Apr 02
// Pedro Cortes
Here's a quick hit and a no-brainer all in one. A listing for Persona 4 appeared on the ESRB's website recently, indicating some sort of release in the near future for the Playstation 3. No other information was given, but I'...
Video Games photo
Video Games

New story trailer for Freedom Wars brings the drama

Fight for freedom
Mar 04
// Elliot Gay
A joint development product by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, Dimps and God Eater developers Shift, Freedom Wars is one of the biggest upcoming releases for the Vita here in Japan. It takes place in a future where much o...
Video Games photo
Video Games

Soul Sacrifice Delta launch trailer is action packed

What a Grimm world
Mar 01
// Elliot Gay
The first Soul Sacrifice for the Vita was an interesting take on the hunting game genre. Fast paced and a bit more easy to grasp for people new to the house that Monster Hunter built, it was dark, had a fantastic soundtrack,...
PS4 photo

Yay Consumer Electronics: PS4 sells 322,083 in Japan

A good start
Feb 26
// Josh Tolentino
In case you didn't know, the PS4 has just launched in Glorious Nippon, three months after its North American and European debuts, and the numbers are in for the new platform's first two days of Japanese sales: The console ha...
PlayStation 4 CM photo
PlayStation 4 CM

Watch Sony's latest Japanese PlayStation 4 ad

Features cosplay, Metal Gear, Yakuza, and more
Feb 13
// Tim Sheehy
Check out Sony's latest commercial for the PlayStation 4, set to launch in Japan on February 22nd. The ad features a multi-cultural cast of gamers and cosplayers who, rather than actually play anything, jump around and pose ...
Japanese PS4 Trailer photo
Japanese PS4 Trailer

The first Japanese trailer for the PS4 appears

Look at all of these excited people. Please be excited.
Jan 01
// Chris Walden
How's that PS4 of yours treating you? Still trying to get hold of one without having to go all-in on a pricey bundle? Completely uninterested? At least we have the freedom of choice at this point, as poor old Japan still has...
Tearaway photo

So this is how Japan plans to promote Tearaway

But does the game come with one of those hats?
Dec 08
// Josh Tolentino
Hey, have you played Tearaway yet? You should, if you own a PS Vita, as it's pretty great. Media Molecule's papercraft platformer is set to soon charm the people of Japan as it has the rest of the world, and Sony's revv...
Gran Turismo 6 Opening photo
Gran Turismo 6 Opening

The opening video for Gran Turismo 6 is stunning

...and I can't even tell you which end of a car is which
Dec 06
// Chris Walden
Did you know it's been over three years since Gran Turismo 5 was released? Time sure flies, but fortunately for car enthusiasts the waiting is already over. As of today, Gran Turismo 6 is available, marking what'll be the se...
Video game photo
Video game

Soul Sacrifice is free for North American PS+ members

Just a friendly reminder
Nov 27
// Tim Sheehy
Just a friendly reminder for those of you who haven't already purchased a copy, or have yet to check out PlayStation Network this month. For a limited time, the PlayStation Vita action-roleplaying title Soul Sacrifice w...
Freedom Wars photo
Freedom Wars

Freedom Wars being worked on by Dimps and Shift

This is shaping up to be a big deal
Nov 21
// Elliot Gay
Freedom Wars was first revealed for the Vita back in May of this year, and we've had a slow trickle of details come in ever since. We know that it's an action game with some pretty grand social/networking ideas, in which play...
PS Vita sale photo
PS Vita sale

PSA: PlayStation Vita hardware on sale at Radio Shack

All the portable gaming you can eat!
Nov 11
// Josh Tolentino
Hey, North Americans, I hear you're getting a PlayStation 4 soon! You know what would be a good companion machine for that monster? A PlayStation Vita! At least, Sony and Radio Shack seem to think so. Sony's done its part by ...
PS4 unboxing photo
PS4 unboxing

Sony unboxes the PlayStation 4, announces Asia date

Greatness awaits, indeed!
Nov 11
// Josh Tolentino
If you ever thought "unboxing" videos of people opening up packages of cool things weren't "epic" enough, Sony has the video you've always wanted. They're really taking that whole "Greatness Awaits" tagline to heart, what wi...
Nintendo photo

Famitsu reveals top selling games of 21st century

That's a lot of Wii and DS games
Nov 09
// Pedro Cortes
A recent list put up by Famitsu revealed Japan's best-selling games so far in the 21st century. Here are the top ten: NDS - New Super Mario Bros. [6,424,00] NDS - Pokémon Diamond / Pearl [5,827,00] NDS - Pokémo...
Sony ad photo
Sony ad

Water droplets sing in Sony's latest image sensor ad

One of the raddest covers of Canon yet
Oct 23
// Kristina Pino
There are great and/or funny covers of Pachelbel's Canon in D. It's a versatile tune that lends itself to creativity, and I've got a new one to show you. Sony has officially made my list of rad covers of the tune with their ...
PlayStation Vita photo
PlayStation Vita

New super cute Vita commercial hits Japan

Slimmer model debuts on October 10th
Oct 03
// Tim Sheehy
To market the upcoming release of the lighter, slimmer PlayStation Vita 2000, Sony's released a new ad featuring an array of adorable penguins. Each of the birds sporting a different color device, highlighting the variety of...
Saint Seiya photo
Saint Seiya

TGS 2013: Saint Seiya gets a new English trailer

Hades takes a short break from Disney re-releases
Sep 26
// Chris Walden
Want to see some rather fabulous guys with names nabbed from the zodiac beat the stuffing out of each other? Better yet, want to be able to do that yourself come the 22nd of November? Well, you're in luck! Saint Seiya: Brave...

PlayStation 4 gets Japanese date, games, lotsa Vita stuff

Sep 09 // Josh Tolentino
Sony also went in deep on the PS Vita, with the Vita model 2000, a lighter, thinner redesign that trades the OLED screen for an LCD one, adds more battery life, 1GB of built-in storage, and a bunch of games, a bunch of new color op including a new Soul Sacrifice and a (gasp!) single-player Phantasy Star game. But perhaps the most important (and exciting) Vita announcement isn't directly related to the Vita at all - at least not the handheld console we know of. Instead, Sony unveiled PS Vita TV, a "microconsole" not unlike the Kickstarter darling OUYA. Combining the features of the Vita and a streaming box such as an Apple TV or Roku, the PS Vita TV (quickly dubbed "ViTV" by some) can connect to your TV and Vita games, PSP games, and Vita-compatible PSN games (which include PSone classics). The ViTV can also run video-streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, as well as stream PS4 games to remote TVs. Perhaps best of all, it's priced at just about $99 in Japan, though the DualShock 3 controller needed to play games is sold separately (a $150 bundle includes the controller and a Vita memory card). The ViTV sounds incredibly appealing for that segment of the crowd that wants to play Vita games (including the platform's growing indie and cross-platform stable) without having to do it on the "small screen" of a handheld. I'm sure you've met folks like that, the ones that whine mightily whenever a game is announced for handhelds and crow about the virtues of "playing on a big screen in the living room". Those folks can rejoice, I guess.
PS4 Launch Date photo
And a surprise for folks who don't actually want a Vita
Well, that was exciting! TGS is still weeks away, but Sony's already bringing the thunder. The electronics giant has pulled an unprecedented move (for Sony, at least), and officially announced the release date for the PlaySt...

PS4 Launch Date photo
PS4 Launch Date

Sony announces PS4 launch for November 15, 29

Price cuts for the Vita as well
Aug 21
// Josh Tolentino
Well, it's finally happened. We have a date for the beginning of the next generation of consoles, and for Sony, that birthday happens on November 15th, 2013. That's the first launch day for the PlayStation, when the company l...
Japan PS Vita Sale photo
Japan PS Vita Sale

Japanese games star in the next PS Vita sale

Hook some big savings!
Aug 14
// Josh Tolentino
Hey, you know what's cool? Games from Japan for the PS Vita! You know what else is cool? Not paying a lot for videogames! It just so happens that Sony agrees with me, and has decided that for the next fortnight or so, you won...

Japanator Discusses: E3 2013

Jun 19 // Josh Tolentino
  Josh Tolentino:  With Nintendo more or less opting out of a major presence opening E3, it was all about the Big Two, Sony and Microsoft, where they brought out their biggest names and toughest pitches to convince gamers to go in for a new generation of hardware, despite a changing landscape that, from some angles, seems to threaten the very idea of consoles and the triple-A gaming industry that anchors them.  Even a week on, it looks like Sony has the messaging advantage. Despite a presentation weighed down by the uninteresting-but-mandatory corporate talk about media services (which Microsoft got out of the way at its Xbox One reveal weeks ago), the PlayStation 4 captured a lot of goodwill by being cheaper than its competition as well as ostensibly supporting the current status quo with regards to game ownership rights and always-online DRM, which hardcore gamers seem to prefer and Microsoft wants to see annihilated. Only time and games can tell whether Sony's support of the old way will affect how things will shake out with publishers (who theoretically benefit more from Microsoft's scheme) will be a wise step or a mistake. Though they did pull an "Xbox Live" and lock online multiplayer behind the PlayStation Plus paywall, I'd note that so far PS+ has been a much better value proposition in terms of free game downloads and discounts, and if Sony can keep that up into the next-gen, it shouldn't have a problem making the new requirement stick with consumers.  Weirdly enough, despite my being super-ambivalent about the Xbox One back when it was revealed, due to many of its features being irrelevant to the way I enjoy entertainment, in retrospect I wanted to buy the damn thing a lot more back then, during the original reveal, than I do right now now. Maybe it's the combination of the stiffer price tag with the clarification of its DRM and online requirements, but if nothing else, seeing a fellow onstage demonstrating all the cool multitasking and gesture/voice control features incited some of that sweet, nerdy gadget-lust. Ironically, the one time Microsoft opted to focus heavily on games (especially ones that didn't really scream "THE FUTURE!" at me), the more I thought about simply upgrading my computer instead. Salvador G-Rodiles: Sony didn't just hit the ballpark with their conference, they annihilated Microsoft with their Sony Kick and Sony Punch -- especially with their excellent video on how to share games. Even better, in accordance to some info that I encountered through some retweets, the PS4 will be region free! In other words, I'll still be able to import games during the next generation! While it's a bummer that PS+ will be required for online multiplayer, Sony was at least able to give people the ability to use the PS4's video apps (such as Netflix) without having a PS+ subscription -- take that, Xbox Live.  In regards to the PS4 games, Square pulled an interesting move with their trailer for Final Fantasy XV (Previously known as Versus XIII) and the long awaited Kingdom Hearts 3. As one of the people that's been waiting for this game, I liked how FFXV's had  a stage where Leviathan (based on my assumption) is fighting in the middle of a city as you platform and fight your way through the chaos at hand. I mean, it's a fine way to show the environmental damage and calamity that can happen all at once. As for KH3, I'm digging the way how they handled the swarm of Shadows that was chasing Sora throughout the trailer, since it's setting up for some promising improvements to Kingdom Heart's combat system. Hopefully, Square will be able to release the two games during the PS4's first two years. That way we won't have to worry about waiting over a decade to play both titles.  Speaking of the Xbox One, I was surprised that Microsoft failed to address the concerns that people were having with the console. They had their chance to regain the trust of the concerned individuals during their press conference. Instead, they only manage to leave the important questions unanswered (such as the concern over the system becoming obsolete after Microsoft shuts down the console's online servers when the Xbox One's successor appears). At least they were able to confirm that they are abandoning the points system, which is one of the few positive things about their show. But honestly, I think I'm going to agree with Josh's statement about investing money on a stronger PC instead of buying an Xbox One.  If anything, my following tweet sums up my thoughts on the first day of E3 in one sentence. It looks like Sony lost a bit of power in its finishing move, due to Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy XV being announced for the Xbox One as well. In all honesty, it's not too surprising, since Square has taken the multiplatform route with their AAA titles since the 360, PS3, and Wii console generation. Sony's blow may have been severed, but the critical hit they delivered to the Xbox One during their press conference still remains strong.  Next up in the big corner, Nintendo finally shows their hand, and boy did they impress with their showings. Obviously, the big one is with Megaman appearing in the new Smash Bros for the Wii U and 3DS. But in all honesty, it was the Wii Fit Trainer that stole the show, since she's on a similar level to Mr. Game & Watch's debut in Smash Bros Melee. Sakurai really surprised me with his new direction, because I was surprised by the fact that the two versions of Smash Bros were done in two different styles. In fact, I was thinking that they were going to do the same thing that Capcom did with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate where the Wii U version of the game was going to be the 3DS version with an HD coating. Instead, Sakurai put the effort to make sure that both version have their own perks. Heck, he's even went as far to have exclusive stages between both version, so I applaud him for that. With that being said, I was happy to have been proven wrong, and my urge to get a Wii U is rising. Actually, it wasn't just Smash Bros that sold me, since Monolith Soft's new Xeno game got me excited when they showcased more of the mech gameplay throughout the game's vast world. I'm also excited to fight that ginormous creature that was showcased towards the end, due to that feeling that comes from taking down an enemy larger than your robot. Speaking of taking down giant monsters, Platinum's The Wonderful 101 is looking quite nicely with the Sentai-like roll call for the playable heroes, along with showing off more of the giant weapon features. Honestly, I could ramble about the rest of Nintendo's stuff, but that there's a chance that I would take up 90% of the discussion. Long story short, Nintendo's goal is for its player to have fun with their games, and their lineup ensures us that we will have the time of our lives!  But yeah, this year's E3 rocked, and it's one of the few items where I'm super excited for more than 80% of the content shown at the show. As for the victor, that would depend on the specialty. Sony wins the award for ensuring gamers that the PS4's features and pricing, which shows that they have come a long way from the PS3. Unfortunately, I wish I could say the same thing about their Vita stuff for the show, but I'm hoping that 2014 will be the handheld's time to shine. Nintendo wins for their strong lineup of titles, with a good number of them being for the Wii U. As for their faults, I wasn't to keen on the new Yoshi's Island game, since 3D color book style doesn't come close to the crisp 2D crayon colored sprites from the original SNES game. Who knows, the game might be good when it gets released later on. One thing for sure, E3 has dealt a critical hit on my wallet, and I need to save up ASAP. Well done, guys. Well done.   Jeff Chuang The biggest news about Monday's E3 big pressers for me was that the Xbox One doesn't launch in Asia until late 2014. I guess by now we should know better than to expect a healthy game library for any console in the first 12 months of a platform launch, and I can see myself still turning on my PS3 just so I can Produce some idols even well into 2014. After all, that DLC money won't mean a thing on the PS4. I think the time frame of the Asian launch is a big deal because this mean there won't be big-time otaku pandering titles on the One until probably well into 2015, giving the PS4 probably an insurmountable lead, at least in Japan. And even if the official word on Xbox One's Japan launch is still to be determined, and even if Microsoft launches it in Japan much earlier than late 2014, its fate may have already been preordained already.  Of course, given Sony's usual dominance in Japan, Microsoft is likely to again pay for some nice exclusives to promote the Xbox One like how Microsoft did with One's predecessors, targeting the paying otaku. Thankfully we don't have to worry about that for a long while. The way I see it, Xbox One's inclusion with advanced TV features and the accompanying Kinect system is similar to how the PS3 came with Blu-ray. Both are long shots that drive up the cost of the console but may provide some serious value in the long run. But unlike Blu-ray, it's really hard to see right now what those advance motion tracking tools will bring to gamers and non-gamers alike, in a way that justifies that extra $100.  Chris Walden Microsoft obviously had a big hole to dig themselves out of, and while I don't think they'd managed to get their head above the surface with their E3 presentation, I think they did a good job (at the time) convincing gamers that this actually is going to be a games console. Starting with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was a great way to kick everything off, and argue that Microsoft had the strongest start of the three platform owners. Ryse: Son of Rome looked beautiful, but somewhat killed the mood by being infested with quick time events. Killer Instinct snatched people with nostalgia (until we found out that it was free-to-play) and Sunset Overdrive looks to be going somewhere interesting. Project Spark has some interesting uses for people that want to build their own games, Crimson Dragon looks a lot like Panzer Dragoon so that was cool, and Forza was the Xbox One's vehicle-driver of choice. D4 could be good for a laugh, seeing as SWERY65 is behind it, and Dead Rising 3 at the very least looks interesting. There was even a new Halo game and some Titanfall footage, so quite honestly, I think Microsoft did okay on the games front. A lot of people, while still noticeably angry about the DRM issues, walked away from that conference thinking about the games, not the system. The price point was definitely too high, but with no marker set by Sony at this point, it seemed that the PS4 may even go higher. Long and short of it, MS did what they came to E3 to do. Well, besides the new Xbox 360 slim. That seems like a sure-fire way to confuse your market. It was definitely Sony's E3 to lose at this point. I can't say I was expecting much either. The console reveal would be nice, a price would be nicer, and we'd get to see some new games. That Sony were very hush-hush about DRM was extremely worrying going into that conference, but I suppose we know exactly what their reasoning was now.  I was pleasantly surprised at Sony's approach to the PS3. We had a good amount of time dedicated to new trailers of upcoming titles, as well as a nice little nudge towards The Last of Us, for the two people that don't know about that game. Unfortunately, while Sony do like to promote remote play with this nifty little Vita device, they've once again neglected its software. I don't doubt there are some big plans for that handheld, but it would have been nice to be reassured that my investment wasn't premature. Oh hell, who am I kidding, of course it was premature. Moving swiftly along. Around the beginning of the PS4 section of the event, Sony went ahead and revealed what the console would actually look like. Really, there wasn't much they could do at this point to put people off. If it didn't look like a bulky VCR or a toasted sandwich maker, people would be pleased. While it looked deceptively like a squashed Xbox One at the event, a look at the hi-res images show that it's actually more akin to the PS2 slimline console. It's also around 60% smaller than the Xbox One, and it also has the power supply built into the unit itself. Not bad, Sony. Not bad at all.  There was the return of Killzone, Infamous, Knack and DriveClub, all games that look nifty in their own ways and with new trailers to try and reignite the anticipation. I'd say that worked pretty well, and while there'll be few of us interested in picking up all four of them, they cover a lot of interests. It is true that the PS4 doesn't have much in the way of third-party AAA exclusives, but I don't think there's a game developer on the planet that didn't see the reaction from the crowd on the topic of used games and DRM. PS4 will get those exclusives eventually, and in the meantime we have a lot of really neat console debuts from budding indie developers. It was great seeing developers on stage showing off their own games. It not only looks good for Sony, but it drove a big message about Sony and their willingness to snag indie companies.  Exclusive or not, the PS4 has some great games coming to the platform. With better specifications, a cheaper retail price and no DRM/used game shenanigans, it's easy to see who came out on top at E3. Sure, it'll annoy a few people that they have to get PS Plus to play online multiplayer, but at least there are some genuine perks to doing so. Xbox Live certainly hasn't done much to reassure gamers that their £40 a year is actually worthwhile. Whether the new Xbox finds itself in your living room sooner or later as a TV device-come-console for exclusives, that remains to be seen, but the sheer surge of PS4 pre-orders must have Microsoft shitting Xbox Ones.  And then came Nintendo's event, which made their peculiar decision not to do a large event at E3 finally make some sense. Well, sense in that there seemingly wasn't a lot to show off, with their main conference taking a mere 40 minutes. However, there was plenty of news about first-party titles for Nintendo enthusiasts, plus news on The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2. In typical Ninty fashion, the third party titles that are coming to the Wii U were shown in a very brief recap trailer, which doesn't bode well for their thinning relations.  However, you'll find few people who would complain about their presentation as a whole, as they revealed Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Mario Kart 8 will be coming to the struggling console. However, as expected from the start, it was the Super Smash Bros. news that was getting fans excited, reintroducing some familiar faces, alongside the Villager from Animal Crossing and Capcom's Mega Man as new playable characters. This is no doubt the beginning of the latest Smash craze, but Nintendo will be doing well to ride that high along with it's newest first-party titles to try and lure in some more buyers. It was a crazy couple of days, that's for sure. Microsoft hasn't done much to help its current image, Sony have used this to gain an overwhelming advantage, and Nintendo continues doing what it does best by feeding its new console first party titles. This has no doubt been one of the most exciting E3 conferences in recent years, but it's from now until the release of either the PS4 or the Xbox One, whichever comes first, where things will get really interesting. I can't wait!
Japanator Discusses E3 photo
Our takes on the pressers, the trailers, and everything E3
E3's over! Well, it has been for a while, but now we've all had time to digest the news, and this being a "hardware year", there was a lot of news. News of the kind even we at Japanator pay attention to...and talk about!...

PlayStation 4 hardware photo
Black box ahoy!
[Update: Turns out Sony brought a lot more than a pretty box to the stage. It brought a $399 price point, support for used games and offline play, and games like Final Fantasy XV (which was Versus XIII renamed) and...

Freedom Wars photo
Freedom Wars

Freedom Wars might be the PS Vita's next killer app

A million-year sentence...of monster-hunting!
May 27
// Josh Tolentino
I can't believe I let this thing slip under my radar last week, but now that I've seen it, I am pumped. It's called Freedom Wars, and it looks like it'll be trying for the position of lead substitute for Monster Hunter&...

Japanator Discusses: The Xbox One

May 23 // Josh Tolentino
Hiroko Yamamura: I'll be honest, I'm probably going to end up buying both consoles. Gone are the days where you would buy a system based on the kind of games that would be released, as much AAA titles find their way to most systems. What this next generation seems to be about is lifestyle, and HOW you play these titles. I'm a Sony fan-girl through and through. From cameras to TVs, their gear usually hits the right points for me. However, this last generation's Microsoft offering really elevated online play for me, and offered up a level of "non hardcore" gaming I've come to enjoy as well. A few hours here or there blasting my friends heads off, while I spend my marathon gaming on the PS3. I've largely shifted to handheld gaming due to my hectic travel schedule, but still really relish some time in front of my television with a gaming power house. Around the interwebs people still mention how PCs are still top dog as far as power is concerned. This generation may change at that. It boils down to how you want to play. Just because a system can do something doesn't mean it needs to. Heck, I use different computers for different tasks. I can do all my email on my iphone, but I won't be changing my sit down on my desktop to answer long emails anytime soon. I'm excited for this next gen, I love video games, any way I can get em. Keep em coming, there's a lot of room for competition. I'm not buying everyone's prediction of the death of console gaming. If one thing can be sure, I'm going to be very poor this year. Jeff Chuang: Microsoft's Xbox One gets mad props, in my mind, for doing that hypervisor-emulated, triple-OS-swap doohicky, with voice commands. Sony, on the other hand, is riding on a better device ecosystem (ie., handhelds) and is open to gaming on Android, something I'm mildly invested in. I didn't buy both the 360 and PS3 because only one had the games I want to play. Furthermore, the Playstation online systems may be region-segregated, it is still accessible from any PS3 you buy. Not so much with the Xbox ecosystem. And if that's going to be the trend, I think import gamers will have no choice between the two. We might suck it up and import a Japanese Xbox One when the right games hit that market, and long before that pick up a PS4, since that will likely hit Japan first anyway, and much more likely to have quality Japanese games available, ie., that killer app, during the launch window. It's just a replay of the PS3/360 era, except with more social sharing nonsense. I already have a powerful "Microsoft" console in the form of my desktop computer. How is the Xbox One a value-added proposition to someone with a PC is a tad dubious in terms of what we can already do in the living room, no thanks to the countless companies selling us smart TVs and set-top boxes that leverages a PC or laptop and enhance that experience. Unless Microsoft pulls out all the stops on SmartGlass I don't think it can match, say, AirPlay to an Apple TV or something like that. It's a bit like the 360 is a handy entertainment center companion in that if you have one, you can do all kinds of stuff with it. It's just if you didn't have one, there were a million other, arguably better, entertainment center companions. And unlike the PS3 back in the day when it was the best Blu-ray player at the time, I'm not sure how much value it adds for gamers outside of bringing us games. With that we're back to square one: games; and to a lesser extent, pricing. But I guess another way to look at it is that all the TV and Sports business of the Xbox One is merely leveling the playing field with everything else on the market. It had to have those capabilities to some degree. I also have a lot of concern about the whole used game situation--Japan's second-hand market is much larger than the west. If the people can't pawn off expensive Xbox One games, how will they cater to the otaku market over in Japan? I can't see how "no used games" can at all fly with Japan's retail climate if the Xbox One is to even make a dent the size of the 360 over there. In other words, whichever gets Idolm@ster 3 first wins. And if I had my way, it'll come out on both and the world can be all one, suffering at expensive DLC packs every month or two. Looking forward to E3 and all those announcements! Elliot Gay: Their conference was a complete and total train wreck.  Speaking from a Japanese perspective, Xbox One is as good as dead over here. Japan's second-hand market is a huge deal, and in some ways selling and buying used games functions as a sort of rental system to gamers here. Buy back prices have always been pretty fantastic within the first two weeks of a game's release. The functions that Microsoft has detailed essentially cut out this system. One look at Japanese blogs paints a grim picture; nobody here in Japan is happy with this. The TV functions mean nothing to folks here because like the 360, none of those apps actually work in Japan. This system might as well be called 'Merica Box for how little it considers the wider international audience. That being said, I think it even fails at that, seeing as a large portion (more than you'd expect) of American citizens actually lack consistent internet connections. Phil Harrison has noted that you must connect the system to the internet once every 24 hours. They haven't elaborated on what happens if you don't, but it's not hard to draw the conclusion that you won't be able to use 99% of your system's functions. The indie scene is looking grim too, especially now that we know there will be no self publishing on the Xbox One. This lines up nicely with what we've heard from indies too. There's also the fear that Xbox One games will become unplayable in 5-10 years once the system is dead. If it requires an online check-in and working servers, what happens when those shut down for good? Do the games stop working forever? Microsoft had a great opportunity here to dispel some of the bad rumors floating around over the past half year. Instead, they confirmed all of those rumors, and even added more fuel to the fire. I can't think of a way they could have screwed this up more. I can only imagine Shuhei Yoshida laughing hysterically in his office, and Iwata plotting Nintendo's comeback plan. I should also note that the fact that the Kinect is always on and listening is creepy as hell. It's listening to what you're saying at all times, and that kind of makes me feel uncomfortable. Eric Koziol: Do not really have much to add on top of what Elliot said other than I really hope we all can start calling it the P'Xone. I had a strong hunch I would not be buying one and this only reconfirmed it. If they do dare to sell it in Japan it will make the Wii U look like a super success. Josh Tolentino: While I'm not inclined to be as grim as Elliot when it comes to the Xbox One, I will agree that it's not looking great to me, and to be frank, right now it's hard to see how an Xbox One would look good to anyone who lives outside the United States.  Perhaps it's a side effect of the greater context of Microsoft's announcement. Given that it was broadcast on a cable TV channel, it's not surprising that Microsoft would push its TV integration hard, and as a result much of the thrust was simply irrelevant to people who don't (or can't) care about getting American TV. And if they intend to keep pushing that angle, rather than broadening their pitch over the coming weeks, then I seriously doubt the Xbox One's international prospects. Well, at least until it gets cracked for piracy, at any rate. However from the perspective that this is Microsoft's next move not just in the console war, but in its war against Apple and Google, everything makes a little more sense. At that point all the hoo-hah about instant switching and multitasking and Skype feels like it matters a little more. And to be frank, if I were faced with a choice between buying an Xbox One, an Apple TV and a Google TV, I'd choose Microsoft's box, no contest.  But at that point I realize that I personally don't really want any "TV" devices, from Apple, Google, Microsoft, or whomever, because I do all my TV-watching on my PC, a device that does everything the Xbox One can do and more. It comes back to the fact that much of Microsoft's pitch only seems relevant to Americans with big-screen TVs and enough living room space to make a Kinect matter. Simply put, I'm out of that target audience, and without a bunch of cool exclusives, ideally revealed soon, I'll have no reason not to skip an Xbox One and simply upgrade my PC.  In a way, with international viewers it's looking like the PS4 holds the upper hand. Its emphasis on quick and easy video sharing and Sony's friendlier history with import gamers (Vita account shenanigans notwithstanding) have a much more global appeal that "Yay fantasy football!", and Sony was vague enough at its own announcement that it's been coy about just what kind of DRM-style measures its taking, and have wisely let Microsoft absorb the first volley of hate. If we're lucky, come E3 any theoretical plans they have to implement something similar will be scuttled or neutered. Salvador G-Rodiles When it comes to console and handheld gaming, the important factor for me is the software. While a good number of AAA are going to appear on every major console, I'm mostly into the games by small companies and indie developers. That said, the PS4 has ensured me that I will get my fix of next gen Atlus, NIS, and Falcom titles. At the moment, Microsoft hasn't revealed their whole roster of third party companies that will be making games for the Xbox One, so I will wait and see how things unfold during this year's E3. Hopefully, they can increase their number of exclusive titles, since the 360 ended up going through a situation where most of their exclusive titles ended up on the PS3 and/or PC. Otherwise, you might as well stick with a PC, PS4, and/or Wii U for the new generation. In regards to the titles unveiled for the Xbox One, I'm not really into FPS or sports games, so it's going to take a wider software variety to sell me on the system. Then again, the deciding factor for me will be the console that gets the major Super Robot Wars games (e.g., OG, Z, and/or a new installment). Josh Totman: This year marks the 30th year that I have owned and enjoyed home video games. It all started out with the Coleco Gemini that I got for Christmas in 1983. Since then I have enjoyed ever major console that has been release until now including some hand held systems. To say that I have 'grown up' with video game is a small understatement. They have been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Now with the Xbox One just announced, I'm pretty sure that this might be my first skipped console that I won't buy. My decision is 75% based on what I know of the system and 25% on that I have no real time for games anymore. First off, they are really pushing the idea that this is the new cable box of your house. I don't watch much TV these days if at all. I don't even have a cable subscription that could be used with this. Why would I want it? It sounds neat that you can basically not have to move at all from your couch ever again to do anything that deals with the TV, but isn't that what we are trying not to do nowadays? I don't need something that helps me stay on my couch longer. Most of what the Xbox One has in it doesn't intrigue me at all. No switchable hard drive, installed games, coded games that you have to active online to play, Kinect always on to listen for you, can't take physical games to friends houses to try out, and no backward compatibility equals a big no thanks from me. These aren't selling points for most people out there. I'm not sure which market or demographic Microsoft is trying to target with all of these new features. I'm trying to wrap my brain around who would want this that doesn't either play sports titles or Call of Duty. I think Microsoft just looked at some of their best selling titles and said "What can we do to make 'them' happy?" This is not where all your money is coming from guys. They have made an all in one box for only a few people. If E3 doesn't produce something spectacular for them, you can rest assured that this system is going to flop very hard. Sorry Microsoft. Your Xbox ONE is all for ONE, only for certain ONES, and not for this ONE. I'll be using my saved money on more board games that I play with real people that are in front of me, thanks. [embed]28726:2425:0[/embed] Chris Walden: I've just woken up the morning after the One launch, and Twitter still has plenty to say on the subject. I should clarify right now that without a massive reason not to, I'll be getting a PS4 and a One. For better or worse, I already have a Wii U sat next to me, gathering dust until I get hold of Pikmin 3. I own both a PS3 and a 360, and while the latter console probably edges it for me this generation, they've both been great consoles in their own way. First of all, I quite enjoyed the announcement. This may seem like something of a shock considering how many people I'm seeing complain about it, but honestly, there was some exciting stuff. Snaptiles and multi-app loading look really neat, for starters. What if you get stuck in a game and you're the kind of guy or gal that wants an FAQ to read. Boom, you have one. Skype can load up while you're playing. Guaranteed online chat for any game, if you have the friends to do it with. I think Microsoft did themselves a disservice by not selling these features on their specific gaming uses. The biggest complaint I've seen is that we just haven't seen a lot of games. True, we haven't, but then we didn't see much of the PS4 library either. What we did see didn't mention anything of release dates. Microsoft have been pretty good for games on the 360 (with exception to perhaps RPGs) so I'm not exactly sure where the worry is coming from. Publishers will put games on this system until it dies, you don't have to worry about that. E3 will be where they get their chance to show them off, so complain after that if you're still not satisfied with either console. I don't have much of an issue with the required Kinect either, as there are some pretty nifty features built into that little box. I think there's genuine worry that developers will now make all menus motion-operated  or voice-operated, but really, do you honestly think that'll happen? Even if it did, the controller certainly isn't going anywhere, and you can see on one of the new buttons on the pad that you'll be able to swap what program you have active. Actually, I lied. It's probably the whole always-on/second hand games/related stuff that have received the most controversy. I'm right there with you guys, a lot of it seems like a really bad idea. However, we still have no idea whatsoever about what the PS4 does in this regard. EA did do away with ALL of their online pass stuff, so don't be too surprised if this is a PS4 thing as well. I think it was quite easy for Microsoft to gloss over any negatives and ride out of the whole event on a similar level to the PS4, but at least we've been offered transparency. PS4 still hasn't let any of the negatives come through, but at this point, it may very well have been a smart strategy. In summary, I enjoyed what we saw yesterday. The One and the PS4 are going to get games, there should be no concern over that, so while E3 will be used to cater to that, it was nice to get deep down into the unit and its features. However, there are a few more things that need to be confirmed before people should be choosing a console to back. The first is the price, of course. These consoles have a lot of similar features, but if it's a good £100/$150 difference in launch price between the two, more people will jump to the cheaper option, at least at first. Games are obviously the most important thing, and E3 will be the decider for that. I'm glad that Microsoft got a lot of the Fifa/CoD stuff out of the way now, as it means they *should* have the time to focus on new things at E3. Also, I agree with pretty much everyone else, the name is really dumb. It seems they put wordplay above all else in the decision to do it, and that just doesn't sit right with me. "It's all-in-One" "It's the One" "Only One" Blah. It was going to be harder to find a good name after naming the 360, we know that. I wouldn't have been surprised if this was called the Xbox Three, though the three and the 360 would only have confused people. I know it's not all about names, and we'll get used to it, but this is a feeling I've not had since everyone was laughing about the Wii's name.    TL;DR: Both consoles look neat, but we need prices and games before we can properly judge.
Jtor Discusses Xbox One photo
How does Microsoft's new hotness fare?
How about that new Xbox, eh? In case you've been hiding under a rock for the past three days, Microsoft announced its next home console, dubbed the "Xbox One". Equipped with a brand-new Kinect, a new controller, and a heavy l...

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