Gamescom happened this week and there were some announcements made that you can read here if you haven't already heard. Unfortunately, it was not the source of as much groundbreaking news as other events, like E3. I have tons of Sony coverage. That tends to be the stuff that makes its way to me though. (Fair warning, I do have a fan boy shill for Sony a little bit in one item, but I also rip them apart soon after.) In general, most of the games with the highest anticipation levels just had new trailers and screens, as well as demos for those at the event. Still, sometimes new screens can be awesome too.
For example, Mass Effect 3 (March 2012) didn't announce anything, but their new screen shots are mighty nice. Here are two of my favorites, a couple of husk-like batarians and a massive mechanized thing (most likely some sort of reaper):
Those looking forward to Battlefield 3 (October 2011) should be thrilled with EA's announcement at Gamescom: Co-Op missions. It looks like you and a friend can go into battle together, both swearing up a storm at the enemy. But, if you don't have a gaming headset, better get one. Communication will be key and there's no split screen.
Somehow there's news about Batman: Arkham City (October 2011) and I find myself not caring. I didn't think that was possible, but when it's about the game having not one, but two kinds of 3D, it just happens. What can I say, 3D just doesn't appeal to me. The two kinds being included are the old school anaglyphic method (go ask your grandparents for their red and blue glasses kids) and the newer stereoscopic version for people with expensive TVs and fancy glasses. At least it's Batman, meaning gloomy, so you don't have to worry about washed out colors.
For those anticipating, or even considering, the PS Vita you'll want the Gamescom breakdown. Some of this is rehashed, but this is basically a summary of the Vita presser:
- FourSquare, Facebook, and Twitter have been optimized for Vita.
- Trophies for Vita and PS3 are accessible together.
- Resistance: Burning Skies was announced. Ellis Island, 1950s, tap screen for grenades, new cover system, etc.
- Reality Fighters and Little Big Planet Vita were shown but not detailed.
- New game called Escape Plan shown. Cutesy platform puzzler with gruesome deaths. (Think Super Meat Boy and Portal's black and white love child.) Potential!
Outside of the presser, a couple of other announcements were made regarding the Vita. First, because no one cares, FIFA is coming to the device early next year. Next, because this could be huge, Ubisoft announced they are developing six titles for it, including a brand new Assassin's Creed. I doubt many of you remember the Assassin's Creed for PSP, which featured Altair after the events of the first game, but it was pretty good. Not as full featured as the console releases, but still fun. I'm excited to see what this could mean on the next gen handheld.
On a side note, don't believe the rumors. Sony hasn't halved the Vita's memory. It is definitely 512MB RAM and 128MB VRAM.
Another Sony reveal at Gamescom was the announcement of Move Fitness. Apparently, if your grandmother was cool and bought a PS3 instead of a Wii she can get a digital avatar to tell her she's fat now too. If you care, there's something like 25 minigames that let you shadow box, squat, cut things with a digital katana, etc. Nothing new here. And still my Move gathers dust....
But, to soften the blow, grandma can get a new PS3 cheaper now. Effective immediately, the 160GB model is $250US. That really isn't bad, especially if you don't already own a blu-ray player. At that price, if you're only rocking one console, you really should consider diversifying. Add a PS3 to your repoertoire and get yourself a Gamefly subscription and you'll have the most gaming options for the most reasonable price around. If Microsoft follows suit I may actually get myself a 360 just to get more leverage from my Gamefly.
That price release is also compounded with the announcement of a cheaper PSP with no wi-fi. If you're really wanting to go gung-ho Sony, this $99 option is a good opportunity. I guess. You'll miss out on multiplayer, and it has no built-in memory so you'll be wanting a big Pro Duo if you want to play anything other than $5 used UMDs.
Alright, hell with it! I'm ranting! Seriously Sony? You just announced a great price cut for your star console, you've got a viable option for a great handheld coming (even though the market is swiftly being iKilled), you've got a 3D TV bundle coming, you've even got DirecTV's Sunday Ticket coming to PS3 ($339/season). You've got everything going for you and you're building a great line up for the future. Why announce this piece of crap? Why even make it? Why coax your potential Vita buyers into buying this thing only to realize a standard PSP is pretty lackluster in comparison to the DS, let alone this AMC Pacer version? Don't get me wrong, I still love my Vader PSP, and my wife still uses my old one. And I bought them because I'm a miserly bastard and liked that I could get games, movies, music, etc. all by buying one device. So this version should appeal to me. But it's too big to use as an mp3 player, the formatting is a pain in the ass for movies, and the games are about 90% crap. The best thing you can do with the older versions is hack them, and I was too lazy to do anything with it after it was hacked so I ended up restoring it to play newer games. The only thing you'll do with this $99 is convince the buyer that they don't need to spend $250 on the Vita. If anything, you shouldbe bumping the price up on the PSP. If new consumers see that one is $180, they'll think it's a good investment to spend the extra $70 for the new generation upgrade. (Actually, I realize that's a stupid plan too, but no worse than theirs.) Apologies. This rant is complete.
So, back to good news from Sony. Actually, let's just go with potentially good news. They've announced inFamous 2: Festival of Blood. This is not DLC, instead it's a standalone expansion title on PSN. Vampires are running amok in New Marais and Cole has been bitten. He has one night to hunt down the head of the vampires and save himself (and the city, assuming you're positive karma Cole). "New environments and gameplay" will be included. I can't help but feel this is bandwagonning, but it worked with Undead Nightmare, so I'll keep an open mind. I'm about 75% of the way through my first play (evil Cole) of inFamous 2 and I do love the series. As the theme of the game would indicate, look for this one in October.
Another PSN game recently announced, and also coming for PC and iOS, is Worms Crazy Golf. Got to admit, my first instinct was "Why?" But my second was, "Why the hell not?" Worms is fun. If you can use their great game mechanics and turn out a bizarre golf game, I say go for it. Price and release date are unannounced as yet, but I'd expect it soon and probably in the $6-10 range.
If you remember the announcement from E3 about Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon, you're probably wondering why you haven't heard anything since. Turns out it will be available on XBLA and PSN at the end of August. If you don't know what this is, let the press release explain it. “Players must comb the streets of New York City and pacify raving demons, delinquent man birds and zombies by lactating fire or hurling wacky objects like flying demon skulls, fish, baseballs and wrenches.” Umm, yeah. From a gameplay perspective, it's top-down, four-player co-op. I'm intrigued, but I don't know if I'm $9.99 intrigued. Maybe when it drops to $4.99 if the reviews are good.
Last summer's XBLA hit, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair is coming to PSN next month. As is typical with these deals, one console gets it early, the other one gets it with all the DLC. The PSN version comes with the Beauty, Desire, Situation add-on. That means extra levels and playable characters. And don't forget four player split screen and six player online.
Gamescom had plenty more trailers and screen shots. I've also skipped over a few release dates and downloadable games information. This is already a pretty big issue of VGQH. Check back on Tuesday. If the weekend is as slow on news as it has been recently I'll include everything I cut today.