Posts Tagged ‘Rain’

PS3 Slim news: All they want for Christmas…

The people behind the video games you love tell us what they’re looking forward to playing over the Christmas break.

Draw up a fantasy list of dream careers and the job of video games developer would surely feature. You get to make and play amazing titles all day long, right? Make them, yes, but play them? Not always. That’s why the people involved in creating the biggest video games of 2012 – some of the most passionate fans there are – look forward to the chance to down tools over Christmas and catch up on the games their fellow developers have crafted.

Discover what the talented minds behind the likes of Wonderbook: Book of Spells, Dishonored and Need for Speed Most Wanted are hoping to unwrap on Christmas morning.

“Given all the superb releases in the last few months I wouldn’t normally have any time to leave the house. However, this year I’ve got a few great games to play on my PlayStation Vita, including LittleBigPlanet PlayStation Vita, Assassin’s Creed III Liberation and Need for Speed Most Wanted, while on my PlayStation 3 must-play list this Christmas are Wonderbook: Book of Spells, Sleeping Dogs and Hitman: Absolution.” (Robert Karp, producer, XDev Studio Europe)

“Obviously, Christmas is the season of goodwill, but I also like to think of it as the time when Santa dumps a load of wicked games down the chimney, and I take time off work to blast through them.

“This year, while my family busy themselves exchanging gifts, eating mince pies and enjoying a little quality time together, I’ll be battering my friends’ high scores and driving my way to the top of my Most Wanted List in Need for Speed Most Wanted on PS3. And if my family insist on me making an appearance at the dinner table, I’ll bring my PS Vita version and just keep on scoring.” (Rob O’Farrell, producer, Criterion Games)

“I’m looking forward to playing Dishonored on PS3 and having the time to finally finish Rayman Origins on my PS Vita.” (Warren Spector, vice president, Junction Point Studios)

“I’m way behind so I am looking forward to finally playing Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. I’m also going to be catching up with The Walking Dead on my PS3.” (Paul Weaver, senior director, Junction Point Studios)

“I’ve started playing the adventure game, The Walking Dead, and I really like it. The branching choices are great and make it feel like my experience, my story. Harvey Smith [see below] and I are both playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown, along with people from the Dishonored team in Lyon and in Austin. There’s a good chance we’ll be starting it all over again during the holiday.” (Raphael Colantonio, president and co-creative director, Arkane Studios)

“XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I need to start again because my entire squad, in Iron Man mode, got slaughtered. All of them were named after friends and family. Raphael Colantonio and I died last, at least. Also, my wife is a PS Vita fanatic, so she will be playing LittleBigPlanet PS Vita and Sound Shapes. I love to watch her play and hear her commentary on what she likes in games and in the PS Vita system itself.” (Harvey Smith, co-creative director, Arkane Studios)

“I’ll be replaying Journey, squeezing in some fights on PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale and working my way through Papa & Yo. I love a good beat ‘em up, so I’m playing Double Dragon Neon which I got free through PlayStation Plus. I’m also travelling a lot over the holiday, so I have my PS Vita stocked up. I’m playing through LittleBigPlanet PS Vita, Gravity Rush and also Assassin’s Creed III Liberation.” (Brandon Laurino, executive producer, CCP Games) “My daughter and I have been discussing some themes and ideas for our next LittleBigPlanet PS Vita level. The plan is to get that up and running and play-tested (by Mummy), and then I have some serious catching up to do in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.” (Atli Már Sveinsson, creative director, CCP Games)

“I’m going away for the holidays with my family, so it’s all going to be about PS Vita. LittleBigPlanet PS Vita and Sound Shapes I’ve already started, and Christmas will be the perfect time to play them some more. Plus I’m really looking forward to playing two new exciting games, Surge and Big Sky Infinity, which I’m hoping everyone else picks up so I can challenge them on the leader boards.” (Paul Rustchynsky, design director, Evolution Studios)

“My stack of must-play games grows ever taller. I feel shame. But the annual mini-holiday grants me the opportunity to turn my attention to the pile. Beautiful, shiny, unopened PS3 versions of Far Cry 3, Dishonored and Deus Ex: Human Revolution (I am fully aware how long ago that came out) wait to be enjoyed with eggnog, turkey sandwiches and sometimes cake…in fact, most of the time cake.” (Matt Turner, scriptwriter, Ubisoft Montreal)

“Maybe I’ll put Heavy Rain back in the tray for a replay, or some XCOM: Enemy Unknown. As a lot of us are just taking a break after finishing Assassin’s Creed III, there’s also the threat of some four-player Borderlands 2 action, but the wife is already giving me the death stare and I’ve only just typed this.” (Alex Hutchinson, creative director, Ubisoft Montreal)

“I’ll be playing God of War Collection followed by God of War III as there’s nothing like a bit of Spartan spirit to warm up the festive period.” (Ben Walke, community manager, Codemasters)

“I’m hoping for a few new 3D Blu-ray movies from Santa to watch on my PS3. I’m also looking forward to Ratchet & Clank: QForce as it’s awesome in stereoscopic 3D and is good for all the family – I can buy it for the kids and play it myself when they’re in bed!” (Simon Benson, senior development manager, Evolution Studios)

“I can’t wait to play Assassin’s Creed III and FIFA 13, as well as watch trailers for Dead Space 3 and The Last of Us on my PS3 at home.” (Brian Hayes, creative director, EA SPORTS)

“2012 has been a busy year for London Studio – and this Christmas I fully intend to reap the rewards. My kids love Wonderbook: Book of Spells already and when their cousins are over at Christmas we will definitely be playing it. Let’s face it, everyone loves levitating a jar of eyeballs…

“I know that LittleBigPlanet Karting is on at least one wish list in our house as well as Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and LEGO The Lord of the Rings. And we won’t forget our party favourites: SingStar and DanceStar Party Hits. Doubtless these will be a big part of our post-lunch afternoon. My niece has a grudge match with me on DanceStar Party as I beat her hands down last year. Merry Christmas everyone!” (Dave Ranyard, director, London Studio)

After a certain game yourself this Christmas? Why not head over to Facebook.com/SonyPlayStation and tell us what you’re most looking forward to playing. You never know, someone might spot your comment and take the hint…

Slim PS3 is updated regularly each day with the very latest Slim PS3 news.

Posted on December 17th, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

PlayStation news: New from PlayStation at E3 2012

Wonderbook: Book of Spells revealed, BEYOND: Two Souls unveiled and cross platform features detailed at E3 – find out more here.

New on PlayStation 3

Wonderbook, a brand new peripheral for PS3, will put a physical book into your hands and draw you deeper into a story than ever before thanks to incredible augmented reality features.

Wonderbook: Book of Spells will be the first game to work in tandem with the revolutionary new peripheral. Set to bring wizardry to life in your living room on PS3, the game features exclusive new writing from J.K. Rowling and lets you learn the art of spell-casting using your PlayStation Move motion controller.

New from Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream is BEYOND: Two Souls, an unpredictable, psychological thriller starring Hollywood actress Ellen Page.

Elsewhere, the lid was lifted on God of War: Ascension’s breathless single player campaign, while we caught a new glimpse of the harrowing world of Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us.

Cross platform features outlined

Gamers will be able to share content between Assassin’s Creed III on PS3 and Assassin’s Creed III Liberation on PS Vita by taking advantage of the new Cross-Goods feature.

Cross-Play will let PS3 and PS Vita gamers play against each other no matter where they are. Games to support this feature include WipEout HD on PS3 and WipEout 2048 on PS Vita, and Hustle Kings and MotorStorm RC on both PS3 and PS Vita.

Upcoming games to utilise Cross-Play include STREET FIGHTER X TEKKEN and PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.

The Cross-Controller feature lets gamers use their PS Vita system as a controller in games such as ULTIMATE MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 on both PS3 and PS Vita and LittleBigPlanet 2 on PS3.

PlayStation Mobile to expand

PlayStation Mobile is the new name for PlayStation Suite, the fun, PlayStation-style gaming experiences available on PlayStation Certified mobile devices including PS Vita

It was also announced that powerhouse smartphone manufacturer HTC is to join the PlayStation Certified license programme.

Coming to PlayStation Vita

PlayStation One Classics are set to become available on PS Vita. They include the iconic role-playing game FINAL FANTASY VII from SQUARE ENIX, Capcom’s hair-raising RESIDENT EVIL DIRECTOR’S CUT and the vibrant platform adventure, Crash Bandicoot, from Sony Computer Entertainment.

Make sure you keep an eye on eu.playstation.com for more announcements and features from the world of PlayStation at E3 2012, and head to PlayStation.Blog for news from the show floor.

This blog is updated several times per day with the very latest Slim PS3 news.

Posted on June 6th, 2012 by  |  No Comments »

We Dare: possibly the most ill-advised game ever – Console news

It has sparked controversy but the reality is it’s a terribly boring, mostly broken mini-game collection

It almost made sense. After Heavy Rain was a hit last year, and its quick-time event sex scene wasn’t a humiliation for everyone involved, there was a feeling that games could do adult content now. Maybe that was what inspired Ubisoft to get behind (fnarr) “adult-oriented party game” We Dare – one of the shonkiest, most ill-advised products to be offered to gamers … well, ever.

For most of us, it started with the trailer, which appeared on YouTube on 24 February. (The original link is now marked as private.) Four blandly pretty 20-something models – two men, two women – cavort awkwardly to a clunking sex-funk soundtrack. In just over a minute, every joke you’ve ever heard about motion controllers looking like sex toys was realised, as the cast pulled their most strained smiles to convey the enjoyment they experienced as they took part in We Dare’s cartoon swingers’ game. The girls mashed their faces against either side of a dangling controller, almost as if – ooh! – they might accidentally kiss. A boy spanked a girl in order to propel a cherub flying on screen. Then another girl stepped in. It was horrifyingly awkward and deeply unsexy.

Not unsexy enough to avoid the inevitable act two, of course, in which outraged moral guardians demanded to know why a spanking game was being marketed to children. The Mail even found a red-faced father to say, “This sort of computer game will only serve to fuel sexual tensions and, in a worse-case scenario, sexual touching or assault.” Normally, Gamesblog would be dead against the moral guardians, but in this case they sort of had a point.

Not about We Dare fuelling sexual tensions, of course. I’ve played the game, and I’ve had saucier romps in Green Hill Zone. It’s a terribly boring, mostly broken mini-game collection, squeezed into a leopard-print thong and told to look sexy. By the time you’ve been through the tedious menus (you can’t search for individual games, but have to navigate through mysterious categories such as “Adventurous”) and tolerated the drab bits of smut-related trivia (did you know the first bra was made of hankies and ribbon? Phwoar!), you’ll be seriously looking into celibacy. The bobble-headed cartoon characters who guide you through the awkward gyrations of miming dancing or stripping might as well have your mum’s face on them, for all the encouragement to eroticism they are.

But the marketing was clearly disastrous. Because We Dare’s content is as tame as a neutered puppy, it received child-friendly ratings – PEGI 12 in Europe, and PG in Australia. Which left it in a thoroughly non-erotic bind. People looking for console-based sexytimes (even people who like disgracefully feeble mini-games) aren’t likely to be impressed with a 12 rating, while publishers (even publishers of disgracefully feeble mini-games) would probably rather not be seen to push erotica onto the kid market.

Within weeks, the game’s release was cancelled in the UK (it was never intended for release in the US, according to Ubisoft). After all, this was shortly after Fox News had accused Bulletstorm of inciting rape with sexually suggestive kill names – it’s no surprise if a publisher would rather not be the next target for outrage. Does that and the fiasco of We Dare mean that games should keep their hands clean of the sex stuff from now on? No – and with Rockstar’s grown-up crime drama L.A. Noire and Mass Effect 3 on their way, there’s no likelihood of games putting on a promise ring anytime soon. But hopefully it’ll be a long, long time before anyone tries to foist another tarted up box of Just Dance knock-offs and weak Buzz!-alike quizzes on to easily aroused console owners.

Games

Sex in games

Puzzle games

Sarah Ditum

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Posted on April 18th, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

Bafta game awards: what the celeb gamers said

Dara O Briain and Jason Bradbury reveal they’re fans of Limbo, while Danny Wallace tells us how he got into Assassin’s CreedMass Effect 2 hailed as Call of Duty is snubbedBafta game awards: highlights in pictures

Celebrities are often wheeled out to add appeal to games launches, often without providing any sort of proof that they actually are gamers. However, the Bafta game awards offered a unique assembly of celebs who did have some sort of stake in the games industry.

Dara O Briain, in his third year as presenter, was a particularly safe choice – every year, the man manages to craft a glorious standup routine concentrating solely on games, which would be an impossibility if he was not an enthusiastic gamer.

So, is turning games into comedy difficult? “I find it surprisingly easy to come up with stuff based on games. Last night I had to tell jokes about the TV industry – that was infinitely harder. I’ve played five of the six nominees for best game this year, with the exception of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood.”

So which ones was he rooting for? “Limbo and Heavy Rain. I’m intrigued to see if Heavy Rain will be awarded for the narrative leap it made away from the obvious blockbusters. And it will be interesting to see if Limbo will be awarded for gameplay that you couldn’t sustain over 40 hours of play. I’m a 39-year-old with two kids, and that’s the only sort of game I can play through these days.”

The Gadget Show presenter Jason Bradbury, another noted gamer in the public eye, also lauded Limbo: “I was challenged on The Gadget Show to build a game, and I based it on the Limbo aesthetic.”

But the game he was rooting for most enthusiastically was: “It might surprise you: Dance Central. Things like Call of Duty: Black Ops are such obvious vote-winners with the mass gaming public, but Dance Central does something unique in cahoots with an incredible piece of technology in Kinect.”

Bradbury also singled out Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood: “Assassin’s Creed has really grown over the years, and Brotherhood is fantastic … [while] Halo: Reach [is] almost the perfect multiplayer experience.”

Actor Sir Ben Kingsley proved pleasant and approachable, although he admitted: “I’m not really a gamer. But I have enormously enjoyed being on the creative side, starting off with my voice acting for Fable III. I think being able to get involved with games is very, very good for us actors.”

One attendee, of course, has gone beyond voice acting, by appearing more or less as himself in Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood: Danny Wallace. Indeed, it could be argued that Wallace has conjured an acting career from his Assassin’s Creed appearances – he was fresh back from filming a pilot in LA.

The whole thing, he said, began at a Bafta games awards ceremony a few years ago: “The weird thing is that it was at one of these when a rather drunk man came up to me and said he wanted me to be in his game.”

Actor Robert Llewellyn, known among other things for being Kryten in Red Dwarf, said: “I’m a very late convert to gaming – when I grew up, computers took up entire buildings. But now, I’m obsessed with Angry Birds.”

Llewellyn also confirmed that a new series of Red Dwarf has been commissioned, with Doug Naylor doing the writing, although filming is currently being stymied by the cast’s diverse commitments.

Games

Steve Boxer

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Posted on March 18th, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

PS3 has “many years to come.” Ray Maguire and Ian Livingstone interview – part two

The second part of our chat with the chair and deputy chair of Bafta’s video game committee. Today: is the industry being creative enough?

Yesterday, we talked to Bafta video game committee members Ray Maguire, head of Sony Computer Entertainment UK, and Ian Livingstone, life president of Square Enix, about the state of the games business, the polarisation of the industry and the lack of media attention for interactive entertainment.

Today, a day before the GAME British Academy Video Games Awards, we look at innovation, education and the fragile future of the sector… Where are the interesting things happening in the games industry at the moment? What are the emerging trends? Ian Livingstone: From a purely industry point of view, rather than my personal position, all the excitement seems to be happening in the online space. With the wide penetration of broadband, there’s never been a better time for content creators to reach a large audience. There’s been a major growth in the number of small development teams and with that comes huge creativity, because they don’t have to go through a process – via publishers, via retailers, via people who don’t know as much about games as they do – to get to the public. They can serve the content they want to create, to consumers who are interested. The fact that Minecraft won a lot of rewards at GDC shows what one person can do – it’s a very innovative title and he sold a million copies at ten dollars a piece. Through traditional channels, that wouldn’t have happened. We’re going to see a lot more of that. Even if these people only sell one copy, they have the pride and desire to carry on. There’s never been a better time for creativity to flourish.

RM: At the other end of that spectrum for me, it’s what happens with 3D. We’re seeing 3D as a staple part of the cinema experience now and that will transfer into the home – as it’s already started to do. It’s estimated that by 2014, 40% of homes in the UK will have a 3D-capable device, whether that’s a laptop, a TV or something else. Soon, when people begin to replace their flatscreen televisions, they will probably buy one that just happens to have 3D capabilities built in. That opens up an environment for content providers to invest more money into 3D material. Sony has a lot more games coming in 3D this year, and it does enrich the experience. It’ll be a reasonably long haul to get there, but I think it could become the norm.

Will Sony be looking to encourage indie developers to explore technologies like 3D and Move?RM: There are two ways we interface with people who want to develop. One is through the licensed partnership agreement – via this, we have support systems to impart knowledge and ensure third-parties can create the best content possible. The other side is more of a homebrew-type situation with the PlayStation Minis programme. These are very low budget products by design. It’s an area I’m sure we’re going to develop and make it easier for people to take part. One area that really interests us is tied in with Ian’s report – we need to get people creating something of value, especially at university, and we should give them the ability to publish what they’re doing. That’s something we’re looking into at the moment.

But the process can start with standard retail games that include creation elements. We’re looking at LittleBigPlanet 2 at the moment and how we can use that to encourage creativity. It’s basically an editor, you put levels together, write a story… When you look at the creativity coming out of a million consumers, it’s unbelievable – the stuff they’re coming up with is outrageous. It shows that if you give gamers something that’s easy enough to deal with, you’ll get creativity in abundance.

The area we also need to look at is much deeper, hard coding. We have 5000 secondary schools in the UK, if we put computer clubs into all of those, and we had just one child from each school going to university to study games development, then say we only had one out of every ten of those joining the industry, we’d have 500 people joining the workforce every single year. That would be a great achievement. We also need script writers, fantastic fine artists – we’re reliant on all the other arts to be part of the overall production. But maths, physics and coding are fundamental – games can’t exist without them.

Bafta can help us here. It is a charity and education is a huge part of it. It’s important to reach people through the events we put on throughout the year, and we’re looking to put on more. We also video as many as we can – you can see some great footage on the Bafta website. Bafta is a massive brand, it’s got creativity written through its DNA, it also has access to wonderful people who can bring this stuff to life for kids. There’s a great way we can all interact here – it needs some thinking about, it needs some sorting out, but it will develop over time.

The games being nominated for Bafta awards this year are very much core titles – Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty Halo, etc. In five years time, would you like to see a more diverse range of experiences being put forward for consideration?RM: This is very much a question of push and pull in terms of products and customer demand. Heavy Rain has been successful for us, yet when you look at CoD it’s dwarfed in terms of numbers. Consumers are asking for many different genres, and we will supply according to that demand. We’re looking for a point of difference as well, and the creativity of developers will ensure we’re still pushing in to new areas. But that will be down to consumers – if it’s engaging and appealing, then they’ll buy our product, if not, they’ll reject it and we won’t make any more. I think genres will remain pretty similar but there is potential to tell more and better stories. There is more dialogue, more plot development… we try new genres, some stick, some don’t, that’s just the way of the industry.

And as a console manufacturer, how does the constant evolution of technology affect your business? How will you build PlayStation 4 to allow for the creation of new game types?RM: It’s the same conversation as it was for PlayStation 1, 2 and 3. With the amount of money required nowadays to develop and launch a new platform, you have to have a long lifecycle. With PS1, launched in 1995, we ended up with a seven year active lifecycle and a 10 year overall lifecycle. When we set out to invent a new platform, often it’s something we can’t actually make yet, because technology hasn’t got us into a position where we can make silicon that thin, or where we can manage that amount of heat or power.

PlayStation 3 was the classic example – nobody else could create it for us so we had to build a fabrication plant to make it ourselves. And then there’s a learning curve of how to use the technology to get the most out of it – so classically at the launch you’ll get one or two brilliant games then a lot that struggle to use the power because it’s complicated. Right now, we’re seeing a lot of the power of PS3 being used so the games are looking great, and that’s good for third-party publishers as they start to make good money on the big winners.

Where we go after this is an interesting one. The online side is very interesting and is a big part of our business going forward. But in terms of what sort of technology we’ll be using, it’s far too early to say yet because we’re only half way through the lifecycle of PS3 – there are many years to come on that machine.

Is Britain under threat as a game development nation?IL: I hope not, but there are a lot of urgent issues that have to be addressed to boost the industry. Historically, we are brilliant at creating games – after Sir Clive Sinclair put affordable computing into our hands we had Elite, GTA, Tomb Raider… We got off to a great start, but we didn’t invest in that. It’s a typically British story – we come out of the blocks flying, but then everyone else wakes up to what we’re good at an overtakes us. Foreign publishers see more value in the IP we create in the UK than we do ourselves. So many of our studios are foreign-owned now, and a lot of talent has gone abroad to work in Silicon Valley and Montreal. I would hope that in the indie space there’s an opportunity for the rebirth of UK brilliance.

Do you, as a publisher, have a responsibility toward supporting UK development?IL: I don’t think anyone has a responsibility – even though I’d like to personally. You have to go where the skills are high and the costs are low. As an industry, we’ve lobbied hard for tax credits and have been ignored by the government. So you have to compete with Montreal, which offers 37.5% production tax credits. That’s hard cash in your hands, matched with a very skilled labour force. They’re able to effect a brain drain from the UK because they’re offering very good salaries, a great quality of life and great opportunities.

They’ve achieved in ten years what it took the UK 25 years to achieve, because the Canadian government invested in the industry. They spent half a billion Canadian dollars attracting the likes of Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Eidos to set up shop there – but that in turn has let to $1.5bn of inward investment. They’ve created this fantastic ecosystem for video game development, which we have not done in the UK. You need access to production tax credits to create a level playing field and a skilled workforce, and if the UK can’t match Canada it’s no surprise that publishers will place their development studios elsewhere, which is a tragedy given our heritage.

How about at Sony? Are your development studios in the UK still important?RM: Clearly we’re very proud of the products that are coming out of studios in the UK. We face exactly the same issues – we have to look at staffing costs, the projects, the funding. But we have a responsibility to make sure we’re pushing the boundaries, and we need people who are at the top of their game in terms of R&D. At the moment, Britain is a good place to find them. What would happen if we could no longer find that talent in the UK? I don’t know…

You can watch the Bafta video game awards online via the Bafta site.

Games

Events

Gaming awards

Sony

PlayStation

PS3

Keith Stuart

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Posted on March 16th, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

Gray Matter – review – Console news

Latest games news:

Xbox 360/PC; £29.99; cert 12+; DTP Entertainment

Twenty-odd years ago point and click adventure games offered some of the most enthralling cerebral gaming experiences you could get on the PC (or Amiga). Monkey Island, Beneath a Steel Sky and the rest offered a compelling mix of puzzles, narrative and, in some cases, humour. The late nineties saw the genre submerged as 3D hit the PC and the consoles. Helped by touch screen devices and a growing download market – ie less financially risky for publishers – the genre has seen a resurgence in recent years. Full-price console releases remain a rarity though so Gray Matter certainly has a clear run. The involvement of Jane Jensen – creator of vintage adventure series Gabriel Knight – is another plus point for fans of the genre.

Unfortunately much of this goodwill is lost when you get to play – at least on the 360 version. Things start off promising. The plot is entertaining enough – mysterious house, magic and the like — though it lacks the humorous touch found in the likes of Monkey Island. Players get to control both the main character leads, Dr David Styles and Samantha Everett. Despite Jensen’s involvement the latter still retains the busty design prominence often seen on female gaming characters.

The main problem though is the controls. The lack of a mouse or touchscreen means the interface is clunky. For example you need to hold down a trigger before using the joypad stick to flick through available interactive items. This list varies depending on where you are standing but the controls are a long way from the simplicity of point and click. They do, however, reduce the age-old frustration of scanning the screen for hotspots.

Simplifying some of the genres conventions is a running theme of Gray Matter, with puzzles generally straightforward. There is very little of the “stick pen in pineapple to create a hovercraft” here. Some puzzles can be solved by simply using an object from your inventory with an item. More interestingly there is the chance to flex your magical muscle and use tricks you have learned.

There are other issues too with the 360 version displaying its PC heritage. For example the font is small and would likely be unreadable on a standard definition TV.

Generally though compared to something like Sony’s Heavy Rain – in many ways the natural progression for the genre – Gray Matter feels clunky and dated. However, despite all this there is something warmly nostalgic about Gray Matter. Once you get used to the controls and start working through the story you do start to get intrigued – if not gripped – about what may happen next.

Predicting how your average Call of Duty fan will react to the languid pace and dated visuals on offer here is easy enough. But the 360 needs the change of pace offered by games like Gray Matter and if you can ignore the flaws you may well appreciate it too.

• Game reviewed on Xbox 360

Rating: 3/5

Games

Xbox

PC

Greg Howson

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Posted on February 25th, 2011 by  |  No Comments »

Slim PS3 news: 15 years of PlayStation – the defining moments

Take a journey with eu.playstation.com through 15 years of PlayStation innovations.

PlayStation has helped define an industry since its explosive arrival on the videogames scene 15 years ago. From the birth of the revolutionary PlayStation games console to the advanced technology of PlayStation 3, there’s always been something that has moved your entertainment experiences to the next level… The PlayStation revolution

1995 saw the European arrival of a fresh-faced machine called PlayStation. The games console sported an attractive design and the ability to play audio CDs. This merging of entertainment – music and videogames – in one system was a baton passed down to PlayStation 2 in 2000, which was the first home games console to offer in-built DVD playback, USB support for a range of handy peripherals and full backwards compatibility with its predecessor. PS2 went on to be one of the most popular videogame consoles ever created, shipping over 145 million units worldwide to date – and still going strong. 

With the seeds of multimedia planted, the stage was set for PSP (PlayStation Portable) to dazzle in 2005, thanks to a combination of powerful portable hardware and the ability to play Universal Media Disc movies, as well as MP3 music, photos and games. PSP also boasted a built-in Wireless Internet connection for web browsing and continued to broaden the creative diversity that PlayStation had become famous for.

Further evolution came in the shapely form of PlayStation 3 during 2007. The world’s most powerful entertainment system brought with it a host of new hardware features to once more alter the videogames landscape. PS3 offered things no other system could, with a built-in Blu-ray Disc player for incredible full High Definition picture quality, connectivity with PSP through Remote Play and a unified online platform – PlayStation Network. This paved the way for downloadable games across PS3 and PSP (something especially significant for the pocket sized PSPgo, which features a large amount of internal memory for downloadable content), along with a number of other advantages for music, films and television. Put the power in your hands

Revolutionary hardware is nothing without precise control, and the history of PlayStation is rife with ergonomically-designed controllers that made sure all your entertainment needs were in hand. The roots for the famous DUALSHOCK controller were established by the original PlayStation controller which boasted four buttons on top of the controller instead of the standard two, giving developers the scope to explore more gameplay possibilities in their titles. This was soon followed by the twin analog stick wielding Dual Analog Controller, and then the original Analog Controller (DUALSHOCK). In 2000 the DUALSHOCK 2 for PS2 introduced vibration function features and pressure sensitive buttons which transformed gaming from a visual and aural experience into a tactile one as well.

In 2007, PS3 signalled the arrival of motion control on PlayStation with the SIXAXIS Wireless Controller and later the DUALSHOCK 3. Tilt sensors, Wireless connectivity and the PS button for accessing the XMB™ (XrossMediaBar) user interface became standard, along with all the other advantages of the previous DUALSHOCK controllers.

The simple to use Buzz! Buzzers introduced a brilliantly fun way to play the accompanying quiz series, Buzz!, on PS2 and PS3 in 2005. Featuring big coloured buttons, the controllers make answering quick-fire quiz questions a blast!

In 2010 the latest addition to the PlayStation controller family, the PlayStation Move motion controller, was launched. Placing incredibly accurate motion control technology in the palm of your hand, PS Move changes the way you play games. Working in tandem with the PlayStation Eye camera, PS Move replicates your movements on-screen and puts you right in the action. Suddenly you don’t just have a controller in your hand – you have a mighty sword, a powerful ray gun, a trusty bow and arrow… you have whatever you need for the game you’re playing. Light and Wireless, PlayStation Move represents the epitome of how far PlayStation has progressed when it comes to videogame control.

The birthplace of gaming classics

Many blockbuster franchises started life on PlayStation and have since become household names. Tomb Raider became synonymous with PlayStation thanks to its impressive debut in 1996 which made Lara Croft a lasting and popular videogames figure across the globe. Solid Snake was reborn in the Metal Gear Solid franchise during that same generation, providing a new look for the rugged hero as well as helping popularise stealth based gameplay. And who can forget the birth of the survival horror genre through Resident Evil and Silent Hill, both PlayStation titles originally.

Tried and tested genres also got a welcome shot in the arm with PlayStation systems. Role-playing games found a new way to portray cinematic storytelling thanks to the epic Final Fantasy VII, using the console’s technology to realise narrative techniques which are still used today. Futuristic racing games flew out of the home and into nightclubs with WipEout offering blistering visuals and a dance floor filling soundtrack.

The world-beating likes of Tekken, Ridge Racer, God of War, Jak and Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, Killzone, Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, Kingdom Hearts, MotorStorm, Resistance and so many more all became popular series that took off on PlayStation. And the fresh breath of innovation drifted into videogames through titles such as EyeToy: Play, EyePet, Grand Theft Auto 3 and the emotion driven storytelling of Heavy Rain, ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.

Fans of realistic racing games were put into the driver’s seat with the emergence of Gran Turismo. In 1998, the Real Driving Simulator took Europe by storm by delivering the most stunningly realistic portrayal of racing ever seen in a videogame. Gran Turismo’s sequels on PS2 set the bar even higher, leaving rivals in the dust thanks to a perfect combination of well observed physics, a massive range of selectable cars and a comprehensive career mode.

Critical and commercial acclaim has followed Gran Turismo on the track to success, which looks set to be repeated with the late 2010 arrival of Gran Turismo 5 on PlayStation 3. Over 950 stunningly recreated cars, more than 70 track variations and unparalleled realism await, along with compatibility with another innovation – stereoscopic 3D. With a 3D compatible TV, compatible glasses and the PlayStation Eye camera, you can change your field of view as if you’re actually inside your car by moving your head left or right while driving. No other driving game can offer this sort of realism.

With the arrival of the PlayStation Move motion controller and experiences offered by related titles such as Sports Champions, Heavy Rain Move Edition, The Fight and SingStar Dance, PlayStation continues to be the home of memorable and genre changing fun for all ages.

Step into a wider world online

No glimpse through the defining moments in PlayStation history would be complete without a mention of PlayStation Network (PSN). Released in Europe in 2007, the online service took PSP and PlayStation 3 into the wonderful world of free Internet access, where over 50 million users to date now regularly create their own colourful online IDs, play online at no extra cost, browse their favourite sites and use features such as the ever growing PlayStation Store. Offering a colossal range of downloadable content, PlayStation Store is open 24/7 for you to stock up on games, playable demos, themes, trailers, avatars and game add-ons.

PSN took another defining step with the arrival of premium subscription service PlayStation Plus, in 2010, which introduced exclusive discounts, services and content such as early access to beta trials and demos, and free games and downloads.

Snackable titles on both PS3 and PSP became all the rage with minis on PlayStation Store in 2009. Their bite-sized blast of addictive gameplay meant the range of game types and genres instantly increased on PlayStation.

Demand more from your machineWhen it comes to entertainment services, PlayStation is ahead of the game. PlayTV unlocks the potential of your television by letting you watch, pause and record live TV. Planning television programmes around your life is easy with PlayTV and you can even use Remote Play to organise your viewing schedule on PSP, VAIO laptops or compatible Sony Ericsson phones, meaning you also have access to previously recorded programmes wherever you go. And with an increasing range of TV on-demand services, such as BBC iPlayer also at your command, you don’t have an excuse to miss your favourite shows ever again.

If movie madness is your thing, then you’ll find plenty of opportunities for popcorn viewing on PlayStation with MUBI and the PlayStation Store Video Store. MUBI reels in some of the most treasured film masterpieces and puts them on demand for your PlayStation 3 viewing pleasure, while the Video Store is all about the biggest films and newest releases at the touch of a button.

Music maestros aren’t left out either with VidZone pumping thousands of music videos to your PS3 absolutely free. Redefining your music experiences on PlayStation, VidZone lets you create your own playlists from hundreds of artists, with regular updates to keep your tunes fresh. You can even access the service on the move using Remote Play for PSP.

The world of comic books was also unleashed on PlayStation through Digital Comics on PSP, a service which lets you download some of your favourite comics and take them anywhere you go in the comfort of your own pocket. Be social

Fostering communities is something which has helped define PlayStation throughout the years and PlayStation Home is a large social environment which no home console can compete with. Accessed through the PlayStation 3 XMB, this free to explore world has you creating a custom avatar before decorating your own personal apartment. Then you can venture out into PlayStation Home and interact with other users enjoying the constantly growing environments. Want to watch a trailer? Make new friends? Play games and take part in special events? PlayStation Home brings all these elements together for the perfect blend of videogaming and social fun – and it’s only on PlayStation.

3D: A new dimension to home entertainment

It may be relatively new technology, but stereoscopic 3D is already making waves with PlayStation. Both 3D compatible games and movies are available to change your experience. Arm yourself with a 3D TV, compatible glasses and the 3D game or Blu-ray 3D disc movie of your choice and see the future of home entertainment pop out of the screen. If you already have the equipment you can dive into new depths with titles such as PAIN, MotorStorm 3D Rift and WipEout HD, and 3D movies including Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and Monster House.

Putting you at the forefront of PlayStation

Even before the arrival of stereoscopic 3D, PlayStation has looked at new and inventive ways of playing games. Augmented reality is one such area, showing a live version of the world around you on the screen and overlaying it with computer generated images which you can interact with. You become part of the virtual world and use your body and surroundings to alter the game.

PlayStation explored this exciting concept as early as 1999 with the announcement of the EyeToy USB Camera for PlayStation 2, pushing augmented reality gaming into the mainstream. Games such as EyeToy: Play thrust you on to your TV screen, while other titles like EyeToy: Kinetic Combat offer the opportunity to keep fit or jump into other activities.

With the clear success of these titles, PlayStation took the concept even further with the PSP camera. Games such as Invizimals give you a taste of what it’s like to find and collect hidden creatures around your home, while EyePet lets you rediscover the world around you with an adorable new friend.

On PlayStation 3, augmented reality is in full flow thanks to a combination of the PlayStation Eye camera, PlayStation Move and stereoscopic 3D. Titles that use PS Move and the PlayStation Eye camera give you the chance to be on-screen and in the spotlight – Start the Party! and The Shoot are perfect examples of this magical way to play, while EyePet Move Edition adds stereoscopic 3D to really bring it all to life. Augmented reality is a defining moment happening right now – and you can be a part of it with PlayStation.

During its first 15 years, PlayStation has helped the videogames industry move into the mainstream and brought memorable and engaging entertainment into your homes. Where will the next 15 years take you? The journey starts here…

Slim-PS3.com is updated regularly per day with the very latest Free Sony Slim PS3 news.

Posted on September 29th, 2010 by  |  No Comments »

news: David Cage If Heavy Rain had been a commercial failure I would have left the industry

Latest PS3 news: gamestm: In an exclusive issue 100 interview with games regarding the future of games, Quantic Dream founder David Cage discussed the impact of motion control on the future of the industry, revealing an interesting viewpoint considering the recent integration of Move into Heavy Rain.

For me, emotion is everything. If you can create an experience that is emotionally engaging and though provoking I dont have anything against using motion control, said the game director. But are motion controllers the magic solution to our content issues? I dont think so. Yes, it will be a very useful device for many people who have difficulties using the standard controllers, but if we cannot offer anything more than tennis games we are not going to hold their interest for very long. Content is the key to everything. Once you have the right content, you can make it work with any type of device. Slim PS3 is updated regularly per day with the very latest Free PlayStation news and reviews.

Posted on August 31st, 2010 by  |  No Comments »

news: Put your questions to Andrew House

Find out what’s in store for PlayStation in 2010 and beyond.

It’s been a great year for PlayStation already hasn’t it? As well as huge software releases on PlayStation 3 in the form of MAG, Heavy Rain and God of War III, not to mention SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3 on PSP and a host of great downloads from PlayStation Store, March 2010 saw the unveiling of the PlayStation Move motion controller.

Due in stores towards the end of the year, PS Move will change the way you play games on PS3 and, with 3D gaming coming down the track soon after, who knows how entertainment on PlayStation will continue to develop in the coming months?

Well, one man who’s got a better idea than most is Andrew House, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, and the man responsible for driving the PlayStation business forward in Europe. Starting on 12 April 2010 and running for a week, you can visit the official PlayStation Forums at community.eu.playstation.com and leave your question for Andrew House.

We will then pick the top questions for him to answer and post the results back here on eu.playstation.com. So don’t delay, head over to the Forums now and grab your chance to put your question to the man at the top of the PlayStation tree.

Our blog is updated several times per day with the latest Free PlayStation news and hardware reviews.

Posted on April 14th, 2010 by  |  No Comments »

PS3 news: Heavy Rain Review

Well, I expect to catch flak for this one.
While I willingly admit that Heavy Rain is both beautiful and impressive, I simply don’t think it’s a very good video game. In fact, I’m not sure that was it’s goal.
When the developers start referring to their title more as interactive fiction than a video game, you can see the direction the project is headed.
While there are plenty of reviewers who have Heavy Rain perfect to near perfect scores, I have to ask them what their criteria was. My review of Heavy Rain admits that it is special, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good game.
Heavy Rain Review originally appeared on About.com PlayStation Games on Sunday, March 7th, 2010 at 21:34:19.

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Our blog is updated frequently each day with the latest Free Slim PS3 news and hardware reviews.

Posted on March 13th, 2010 by  |  No Comments »