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Previews & Release Schedule

APRIL 2007 NEWS

April 30, 2007

    PS3 News
    The Playstation 3 is a great system, but Blu-Ray is in its infancy still. According to IGN those considering purchasing Dragon's Lair the interactive Laserdisc movie/game may want to be aware of several issues with the PS3 title including incorrect menus and an inability to select 5 lives. The title isn't due out in Australia (as far as we know), but it's something to be aware of. You can read IGN's review including details of the PS3 issues here.

    I've done a bit of an update for our preview of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas which now looks like hitting shelves in late May. This is going to be a stunner.

    PS3 Review
    Motorstorm is (or should that be was?) the must have title at the PS3 launch on March 23rd, and indeed the majority of people buying the system also got this game. We've been playing it and bring you our full review. Is it as good as the hype suggests?

April 29, 2007

    PS3 News
    Conflicting reports are coming out of the UK with one of the largest retailers GAME regarding Ubisoft's recent PS3 release The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion with reports that the game will not be stocked by the retailer - while other online sources are saying it's simply a delay in receiving stock. As yet neither Ubisoft or GAME will comment on the situation which is odd to say the least given the massive potential sales and positive reviews for the title. More news when we get it.

    Ubisoft has announced a new game for next-generation systems called Tom Clancy’s EndWar. The game is being developed at Ubisoft's Shanghai studio and should be released in fiscal year 2007/2008 for the company. The game will be unveiled in the June issue of EGM in North America (available on May 8th).

    Medal of Honor: Airborne will be released in America on August 28th, and in Europe (and possibly Australia) on August 31st. Time will tell if the company has managed to reinvigorate the series.

April 28, 2007

    Industry News
    Ken Kutaragi, the "Father of Playstation" is to step down from his position as SCEI's representative director, chairman and Group CEO on June 19. Kazuo Hirai will take over the position. Kutaragi will continue to act as a senior technology advisor while persuing other interests including that of "his network vision".

    PS3 News
    Well we broke the news months ago, and the title was promptly removed from release schedules but we can now confirm, officially, that Io Interactive's Kane and Lynch: Dead Men is going to be released on the PS3. Expect a late 2007 release.

    While our review of Motorstorm will be with you in the coming days Sony have plenty of new content planned to keep you playing the game. Around mid-May gamers will be able to download new content including an increase to buddy lists to up to 50 players, a fix for the speed boost cheat, stats on the current online game being played including laps remaining and track being raced on, marking the host of the game for identification and a host of other fixes. A time Attack Mode will be released soon after, and some time after that a big pack with new tracks among other updates.

    Activision has confirmed that their next Call of Duty title will not be based in World War II, but something more modern. The game will be called Call of Duty 4: Modern Combat and will be unveiled in detail soon.

    One of the many peripherals we can't wait to see on the Playstation 3 was an improved EyeToy. Well, Sony have officially announced that PlayStation Eye - basically an improved camera and microphone for the system. To be honest we're a bit disappointed by the low resolution - but the frame rate is impressive and it should prove to be a much more accurate device then the current PS2 model. Expect a release in a couple of months. Here's the press release:

      PLAYSTATION Eye Camera Brings Next-generation Communication to PLAYSTATION 3
      Click To Enlarge Image
      The Playstation Eye for PS3.
      Intelligent, motion-sensitive camera and noise cancelling microphone in one sleek package
      London, 26th April 2007. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) today announced the arrival of the next-generation PLAYSTATION Eye camera.

      Scheduled for a Summer release in Europe (Australian Winter), PLAYSTATION Eye is an essential accessory for voice, video chat and online gaming that will enable gamers to enjoy their PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3) experiences like never before.

      Designed specifically for PS3 and featuring huge advances in USB camera and microphone technology, PLAYSTATION Eye is set to revolutionise the experience of online communication on the PLAYSTATION Network. Expanding on the market-leading heritage of the EyeToy USB Camera for PlayStation 2, the sophistication of the PLAYSTATION Eye naturally complements the advanced features and capabilities of PS3 – all in one slickly designed, unobtrusive unit.
      Designed specifically to work with the next generation of social gaming titles and new services being developed for PS3, key features of the PLAYSTATION Eye include:
      • A sophisticated microphone with the ability to reduce background noise and focus on the spoken word for smoother, more accurate speech recognition and transfer
      • The ability to capture videos and audio clips directly to your PS3’s hard disk drive
      • Engineered to perform well even in low-light conditions
      • A range of different capturing modes, including slow motion and time-lapse
      • Faster frame rate for improved tracking, responsiveness and smoothness
      • Two position zoom lens for close-up and full body options
      • A range of eye-catching visual effects to apply to photos and videos
      • Bundled with EyeCreate editing software, which allows users to save and edit photos, video and audio clips
      David Reeves, President of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe said, "PLAYSTATION Eye is a great example of how we have moved forward so significantly with our technology. PLAYSTATION Eye has four times the resolution, twice the framerate and double the sensitivity of its predecessor EyeToy USB Camera. With the technology that we now have at our disposal we will be able to dramatically improve the communications experience enjoyed on PS3".

      EyeCreate software

      EyeCreate editing software, bundled free with PLAYSTATION Eye allows you to save photos, video and audio clips to your PS3 hard disk drive and apply eye-catching visual effects to your images. Different capture modes like time-lapse and slow motion open up a world of possibilities to be explored further in EyeCreate’s editing suite, where you can turn your media into professional looking movies.

      New microphone functions

      An all-new four microphone array, incorporating multidirectional voice location tracking, enhanced echo cancelling and background noise suppression allows for clear audio chat in even the most noisy of environments, without the need to hold or wear a headset.

      Next-generation camera features

      A frame rate of up to 120 frames per second allows for super-smooth video and sophisticated low-light operation means that the room doesn’t have to be brightly lit for the camera to deliver crisp, perfectly exposed video. The adjustable zoom lens features a 56º field of view to capture head and shoulders action for close-in audio-visual chat, and a 75º field of view to capture the whole body for a fully physical gaming experience.

      Technical Specifications:
      • 4 channel audio input:16 bits/channel, 48kHz, SNR 90db
      • 56º to 75º Field of View zoom lens
      • 2.1 F-stop, <1% distortion, fixed focus (25cm to 8 at 75º FOV)
      • 640 x 480 at 60 frames/second
      • 320 x 240 at 120 frames/second
      • USB2 high-speed data transfer
      • Uncompressed video or optional JPEG compression

    April 27, 2007

      Site News
      Well I've just returned from a fantastic week in Melbourne. We saw Essendon beat St Kilda, Essendon lose to Collingwood and also Cirque Du Soleil Varekai which is a pretty awesome event and well worth checking out. Anyway plenty of news will be heading your way tomorrow so get ready.

    April 21, 2007

      Site News
      We're taking a bit of a break for a few days - going to watch Essendon in a couple of footy matches, including the 90,000+ people sellout ANZAC day match against Collingwood! While we'll try to update the site that may not be possible so sit back and enjoy the break with us. When we return expect a tonne of new reviews including World Trade Center on Blu-Ray, Genji and Motostorm on PS3 among others.

    April 20, 2007

      PS3 News
      Semi-offical blog Threespeech has announced some more dates for the next batch of downloadable games on the Playstation Network. The dates (which are most likely for America) are as follows:

        Calling all Cars - May 18th
        Nucleus - May 25th
        Super Stardust HD - June 15th

      Codemasters has revealed three new titles for release on the PC in 2008. The first game is Operation Flashpoint 2 which is the sequel to the hit 2001 game. The game will use Codemasters Neon engine and we can expect some solid online support as well. The second new game is Race Driver One which is the companies next racing series set to expand on the TOCA series. Finally Liquid Games is developing Rise of the Argonauts which is a RPG. As soon as we get more screens and details we'll get them posted.

      PS3 Review
      Formula One Championship Edition is a launch title on the Playstation 2. The new Formula One series is here now, and Sony have the offical game - which is based on last year! Still, this is a very entertaining title with solid online gameplay too. Here's our full review.

    April 19, 2007

      PS3 News
      The big news today is that Sony have just unleashed System Update 1.70 for your PS3. In fact you'll have to update to the lastest version before connecting online again. Unfortunately though, this 110MB download is a bit of an unknown quantity as there is nothing online yet about what the firmware update contains. You would have to suspect improved backwards compatibility or PSOne games playable on PS3, but that's a guess. As soon as we know we'll update the site.
      [Update 3.10pm]: Sony has detailed the enhancements and it does indeed include playing PSOne games on your PS3, Vibration compatibility for older peripherals such as steering wheels, and the ability to move games and save files between the PSP and PS3. The full details are available from Sony Australia here.

      Edios has picked up the rights to publish Tecmo's Ninja Gaiden Sigma in Europe (and we assume Australia). The game is an enhanced port of the XBox 360 title Ninja Gaiden Black. The game is currently scheduled for release in mid-2007.

      Sony chief executive Howard Stringer has confirmed that close to 800,000 PS3 units have been sold in Europe since launch. In the first two days in the UK, £100 million ($AU240 million) in revenue was achieved. You can read the full article here.

      We don't have a release date as yet but Sony has submitted Calling All Cars for review at the OFLC where it was awarded a G rating. This downloadable title is higly anticpated as it from David "God of War" Jaffe and promises to be one of the best downloadable titles on the Playstation Network. It's submission means the game is very close to being completed (indeed the developers are apparently in final Beta testing right now) while rumours currently point to a mid-May release. As yet the price has not been set.

      PSP News
      Square Enix has confirmed that the remixed versions of Final Fantasy I & II will be released in America, but at this stage plans for Europe are still TBD.

    April 18, 2007

      PS3 News
      Electronic Arts Australia has confirmed that Madden NFL '07 will not be released in Australia. Given that Madden NFL '08 is only months away the decision has been made that that will be the first title released in the series.

      Namco Bandai has confirmed that Katamari Damacy will be heading to the Playstation 3. The game, called Beautiful Katamari Damacy will be much larger then previous games and will apparently include online components. The game is currently 50% complete, but Namco Bandai are still to set a release date. Still, exciting news.

      Capcom has confirmed that they have secured the rights to use the MotoGP license on Sony's systems. The license was previously held by Namco. The first game to use the license should be out later this year.

      PSP News
      Square-Enix has confirmed that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII will be released on the PSP in Japan on August 2, 2007. No dates yet for Europe of Australia.

      Blu-Ray Movie Reviews
      The Corpse Bride is a stunning movie with a stunning transfer to Blu-Ray. Tim Burton is one of the best movie directors today. This is his second stop motion animated movie and the Blu-Ray release is certainly well worth checking out. A great movie, and great transfer. Here's our review.

    April 16, 2007

      PS3 Review Note
      It has come to our attention that in recent days (and after we'd finished writing our review for the game) NHL 2K7's servers are offline thereby disabling all online games. We have e-mailed 2K Games Australia for a response on the issue which we will hopefully get tomorrow night and be able to update you all.

      Blu-Ray News
      Congrats must go out to Sony Pictures Australia for their release of Casino Royale on Blu-Ray in Australia. Not only have they (well SCEA) got the discs out to PS3 owners within a very short period of time, but have also not used the US and UK version of the movie on Blu-Ray. Why is that good? Well our version is totally uncut unlike those other two territories. Given low potential retail sales, and that it's a freebie for PS3 owners it's great to see Sony putting this extra effort in for us. Thanks Sony Pictures.

      PS3 Review
      Ridge Racer 7 is another of Sony's big PS3 launch titles and is another spectacular entry in Namco's long running racing series. This game includes impressive 1080p visuals, Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and more nitros then you can poke a stick at. Oh, 14 players online too, don't forget that one. All-in-all this is one of the best launch titles on the system. Here's our full review.

    April 15, 2007

      F.E.A.R. Competition
      See that big nasty-ass animated logo at the top of the page? Well, we hope you saw it. Thanks to Vivendi Games Australia we have three, yes 3, copies of the very kick-ass F.E.A.R. on PS3 to give away. Two simple questions and the game could be yours. Entries close May 9th so get cracking.

      PS3 Review
      NHL 2K7 is a PS3 launch title in Australia. Ice Hockey is a fast an frantic sport which often converts to a brilliant video game. This first outing on PS3 promises a lot - and delivers everything. This is a fantastic title overall and we bring you our full review. (Note: Online gameplay in Australia is currently unavailable - we have contacted 2K Sports to find out why!)

      PS3 News
      Capcom has confirmed a couple of downloadable titles for the Playstation Store. The games, which are only confirmed for America at the moment as far as we can tell, include Super Puzzle Fighter and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo. Best of all the games are being reworked by Udon Comics for 1080p visuals. Two other lesser known titles were also confirmed - Rocketmen: Axis of Evil and Talisman. All titles are due out around Q'3 2007.

      Activision has confirmed that many of the actors in the upcoming Spiderman 3 movie will also lend their voices to the game. Toby Maguire (Peter Parker/Spider-Man) will be joined by James Franco (Harry Osborn/New Goblin), Topher Grace (Eddie Brock/Venom), Thomas Haden Church (Flint Marco/Sandman) and J.K. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson). Bruce Campbell will be back as the narrator however there has been no mention of Kirsten Dunst - perhaps she's a too busy puffing on some of the good stuff!

    April 14, 2007

      PS3 News
      Sony has updated it's Playstation Store - but yet again it's only a single item for the week (C'mon guys, where's all the movie trailers, game demos and PSOne games from the Japanese and American Playstation stores!). The good news though is that this weeks release is the very entertaining Go! Sudoku which sells for $AU13.45 - or, if you're tight on cash - is available as a free demo. Well worth checking out. The full release includes online gameplay for up to 4-players as well!

    April 13, 2007

      PS3 News
      In a move that came along quite a bit quicker then expected Sony America has confirmed they will cease selling the cheaper 20GB Playstation 3. The system is apparently only capturing 10% of the market (although - when you ship a vastly smaller number that is somewhat a given!). Sony Japan has confirmed though that, at this stage, the 20GB unit will be available in that territory. What does this mean for PAL gamers? Well the likelihood of seeing the 20GB version out here is now considerbly smaller.

    April 11, 2007

      PS3 News
      Sony has confirmed that 4,835 PS3 systems were sold in New Zealand between launch on March 23 and April 1st. Given a country of only 3.5 million people that's a pretty impressive start for the system.

      Blu-Ray Movie Reviews
      Syriana is a thought provoking political thriller starring George Clooney and Matt Damon. It's an interesting movie shot in an almost documentary style. We've taken the Blu-Ray version for a spin and give you our thoghts on the movie, the transfer and the extras.

    April 10, 2007

      Blu-Ray Movie Reviews
      The Last Samurai is our very first Blu-Ray movie review. The PS3 is a great games machine, but it also plays Blu-Ray movies and the quality of the format over DVD is unbelievable. We've taken a look at one of the first Blu-Ray releases, and one of Tom Cruises' best movies on the format.

      PS3 News
      Well that didn't take long. Only last week we got the e-mail saying that Casino Royale on Blu-Ray was being sent to us within the next 45 days, and it turned up this morning! Congrats and thanks to Sony for the disc which is absolutely spectacular. Hopefully you all registered your PS3's online as this is one movie that shows off the Blu-Ray format to it's full potential.

    April 9, 2007

      PS3 News
      Did you buy your Playstation 3 already? Did you register the system online? If so, then you should have received an e-mail late last week confirming that Casino Royale on Blu-Ray is headed your way. Given that some 27,000 units were sold in the first week, and there were only 20,000 copies of the movie chances are that all of them are now gone, but it doesn't hurt to keep trying. Check your e-mail though as it does mention that people must have a valid address. Put in an invalid address and, well, yit won't going to make it to your home is it?

      PS2 Preview
      SOCOM: Combined Assault is probably going to be the last hurrah for the series on the PS2. Indeed Zipper Interactive's SOCOM series has been the shining light for online gaming on the PS2, and the old workhorse isn't done yet. We take a look at another very exciting title in the series.

      Everybody's Tennis. If you know Everybody's Golf from Japanese developers Clap Hanz then you'll know how exciting this game is. Cartoon styled graphics hide what should be one of the most enjoyable tennis titles of all time. We've done up the preview for your pleasure.

    April 8, 2007

      PS3 News
      Two days ago Sony put a new game up on the Playstation Store for download. That game is Super Rub A Dub. Priced at only $AU8.45 this game is one for the kids, but at that bargain price can you go wrong? Well, if you're concerned Sony has also put up a demo of the game - it's brief with only 5 levels, but gives you an idea about the gameplay. Unfortunately that is the only new item on the Playstation Store this week. C'mon Sony where's that 1080p trailer for the movie 300 as American's have on their store??

      PSP News
      Well it was kept pretty quiet, with not a press release from Sony to announce it, but the PSP Media Pack bundle in Australia has undergone a price cut. Previously selling for$AU399 the pack now has a RRP of $AU349.

    April 5, 2007

      PS3 News
      Last Week Electronic Arts and Harmonix (creator of Guitar Hero) confirmed a new project called Rock Band for the PS3 (and XBox 360) would be released later this year. The game combines Rhythm and Bass Guitars, Drums and a Microphone for singing with a variety of licensed tracks. It certainly sounds like the next step in the music genre however it also sounds like you'll need to rob a few banks to play it too! According to American Retailer Gamestop you'll be paying $US60 for the game, $US80 for the Drum Kit, $US60 for wired Guitars (you'll need 2 - $US80 for wireless) and $US40 for the microphone. All up that's $US340! Can you justify spending $AU400+ for a single game!!

      Industry News
      Some not so good news for Sony with news that development studio Media Vision is recruiting developers to work on a Nintendo Wii title. The company, which is most well known for its Wild Arms titles, has previously only developed on Sony's systems.

      PS3 Review
      Tony Hawk's Project 8 is certain to be a big title on the PS3. Activision's Tony Hawk titles have a massive following the world over and with the move to next-gen hardware this title is keenly anticipated. We tell you if it's any good.

    April 5, 2007

      PS3 News
      Sony Australia today sent out a press release trumpeting the PS3's success in Australia. Key points include $AU33 million in sales, 27,089 PS3 units sold in the first 10 days, and all 10 titles on the Top 10 Charts being on Sony consoles - 9 on PS3, and one on PS2 (that game being the recently released FFXII). Anyway here's the full press release - well done Sony.

        Consumer Demand for PLAYSTATION 3 Generates $33 Million at Retail

        SYDNEY, 5 April 2007 – Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCE Aust.) today confirmed GfK results, affirming the successful launch of the PLAYSTATION 3 (PS3) which officially went on sale in Australia on Friday 23 March. Since launch, the PS3 has generated over $33 million in hardware and software retail sales, according to analyst group GfK.

        Commenting on the results, Daniel Morse from GfK stated, “Our data revealed that in a matter of just ten days the PLAYSTATION 3 created a spike in retail spending not previously witnessed at the launch of any other console in Australia. This spending continued into the second week of trading, resulting in sales of 27,083 PLAYSTATION 3 consoles in just ten days."

        In addition to the positive hardware results, GfK data from the launch week of PLAYSTATION 3 (w/c 19 March) ranked SCE Australia’s first party software titles, Resistance: Fall of Man, MotorStorm and FORMULA ONE CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION as the three highest selling games. "In the week of launch, PS3 games dominated GfK sales charts consuming nine out of the top ten places (console and handheld). The remaining chart item was also a PlayStation product, Final Fantasy XII on PlayStation 2," stated Mr Morse.

        Michael Ephraim, Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment Australia & New Zealand, said: “Following a great launch for the PS3 across the country, it’s very satisfying for us to see that our close planning with retail and channel partners has ensured that all consumers wanting to get their hands on a PS3, whether they pre-ordered or not, were able to. With the PS3 now realised, the strong consumer support to date indicates that we’ve had a successful platform launch and are at a great starting position for us to grow and develop the PS3 platform. The inclusion of a Blu-ray Disc player in the PS3 has also helped firmly launch the new disc format in Australia, with the install base growing over 40-fold in just three days."

        Not to be outdone by its new sibling, the seven year old PlayStation 2 continues to grow its install base, with the introduction of the popular Pink version in March helping to boost sales. "Our combined data for the weeks commencing 19 and 26 March positions the PlayStation 2 console second to the PS3 as the next highest selling console, achieving sales of 7,954 units," stated Morse.

        "Having three platforms selling strongly in Australia clearly demonstrates that PlayStation products are true category and technology leaders. The continued success of the PlayStation 2 offers an insight into our vision for the PS3; to have a platform that in ten years’ time offers a diverse range of entertainment options enjoyed by the whole family, playing a significant role in the living room and home," said Michael Ephraim.

        In addition to a large scale advertising campaign in popular media, SCE Aust. has concentrated marketing efforts on ensuring customers are able to ‘experience’ the PLAYSTATION 3.

        Ephraim concludes, "At a retail level there has been a significant investment in interactive display units to ensure interested consumers are able to explore the product. Through this interaction and demonstration, people will truly appreciate the value of our product offering . While the PS3 is a fantastic gaming machine, its feature set goes far beyond this, offering broad home entertainment functionality that will be relevant for at least the next ten years."

    April 3, 2007

      PSP News
      Sony America has confirmed that the Core PSP pack will be reduced in price from $US199 to $US169 effective April 3. This price cut has been long awaited by gamers and retailers and should hopefully push the system to some more sales in the coming months as the Nintendo DS continues to dominate sales. As yet there has been no word on a price cut in any other territories, including Australia.

      Some great news for PSP owners with confirmation that Firmware 3.30, which you can now install through the System Update, includes plenty of enhancements including Remote Play to your PS3, but most importantly you can now use full resolution video on the PSP in 480 x 272 (it also supports 720 x 480 for direct from NTSC DVD conversions). In the past Sony have restricted the resolution to force encourage owners to purchase UMD's. If you have the means, certainly get this update.

      PS2 Review
      Ricky Ponting International Cricket 2007 is likely to sell in massive numbers following its release late last week. With the World Cup in full swing at the moment Codemasters title couldn't be released at a better time. We've played the game through and give you our full review. Is it a hit or have Codemasters had a swing and a miss?

    April 2, 2007

      Site News
      Contrats to those who picked the April Fools news yesterday. For those that didn't quite catch on, the news about cutbacks was all fake. Got ya!

      PS3 Review
      flOw was released on March 30, but you won't find it in stores anywhere - I can guarantee you. As one of the first downloadable titles on the PS3 flOw is a unique experience. It's more of an organic life simulation then game, but is controlled with the Sixaxis' tilt abilities. We have the review right here.

    April 1, 2007

      PS3 News
      Due to sales shortages Sony Japan has confirmed cutbacks to staffing in all areas of their corporation. While details are scarce it is know that several development teams have been scaled back to either skeleton staff, or just enough to complete projects, while other projects have been scrapped. The long rumoured Wipeout on PS3 is no longer, Warhawk which no one seems to know if it will be downloadable or on disc has also been scrapped. Lair's release date is still set for May in Europe apparently but the American release scrapped while Singstar has been put 'on hold' due to technical and licensing issues. Not a good day.

      PS3 Review
      Marvel: Ultimate Alliance was a launch title on the PS3 a week ago. The Marvel comic books are among the most popular the world over and Activision's title brings over 140 characters to life in a single video game. We check out the PS3 version and give you our full verdict.


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