April 18, 2008
Been waiting for the Call of Duty 4 Map Pack? Well you're not alone and we can now give you the dates. America will receive the Map Pack on April 24th while Europe and (we presume) Australia will see it a week later on May 1st. As an added Bonus Friday May 2nd to Sunday May 4th will be a Double XP weekend while the developers will be playing the maps on Friday night, from 7pm to 10pm GMT.
Ubisoft has confirmed that Soul Calibur IV will be released in Australia on July 31st. While the XBox 360 version has Yoda as a playable character, PS3 owners will get to play with the Evil one himself, Darth Vader.
The new-look Playstation Store has been updated yet again with several impressive additions. First up the Metal Gear Online Beta is now downloadable, with servers opening for the beta trial on Monday April 21. Other content includes Warhawk: Operation Broken Mirror Add-on (GBP 3.99/EUR 5.99), Lair: Deadly Dragon Pack (Free) and Grand Theft Auto: Everybody’s a Rat Trailer.
British comedian Ricky Gervais (The Office) has confirmed he has recorded 3 minutes of material to appear in Grand Theft Auto IV. Apparently his character will appear in the Comedy Club. Should be a blast.
Well we were pretty close to the mark with that mysterious Sony Japan website we detailed the other day. Sony has just announced that the game is indeed Siren: New Translation which is a remake of the PS2 game(s). While we didn't think that Forbidden Siren or Forbidden Siren 2 were great, it was unique in that you could 'hijack' the enemies sight to see where they are located. Expect more news on the PS3 game soon.
April 17, 2008
1Up has confirmed that there is a small amount of installation required for Grand Theft Auto IV. The installation take approximately 5 minutes, but there is no mention of size in this forum topic - although given 5 minutes, we suspect an installion of around 1GB.
The editing of Grand Theft Auto IV in Australia and New Zealand is one of the hottest topics, and while we don't have details of what has been cut we have finally received the OFLC classification decision which details some of the content in the game for Australia. You can read the full report here. It is rumoured, although not confirmed or mentioned in the report, that the section removed from the Australian game involved an implement, and, ermm, someones rear end (if it is true, it would have been removed prior to submission)! Take Two still aren't commenting on the actual cuts for our release. Some of the main points in the report include:
Namco has confirmed that Soul Calibur IV will be released on the Playstation 3 in America on July 29th. As yet Europe and Australia are only set for mid-2008, but we don't expect our version to be released too far after America.
GamesWarehouse has listed Enemy Territory Quake Wars for release on the PS3 on May 28th. This date is pretty much the same as retailers in Europe, but Activision still haven't officially confirmed the date. Pencil it in though!
April 16, 2008
Well it seems our little birdie was right a couple of weeks ago. Sony Australia has now officially confirmed that the Dual Shock 3 will be released here on April 24th for $AU99.95. While the price is pretty steep we can say for certain that this is a superb controller. Hooray for rumble.
Atari has confirmed that Alone in the Dark will be released on the PS3 during European Autumn (our Spring) 2008 - only a short while after the PC and XBox 360 version is released in June.
Sony Japan seems to have something in store for gamers in a little over 2 days... Something creepy... A new page has been put online with a countdown. What's it about, we have no idea. We're going to guess though that it's something to do with Siren 3 on the PS3. Time will tell. Check out the site here.
2K Games has confirmed that Top Spin 3 won't make the May 23rd release date, but has been pushed back to an unspecified June release.
Patapon is probably a game few of you would have heard much of - indeed it's release sort of crept up on us as well but the resurgence of great PSP titles continues with this rhythm action game. Great graphics, great audio and most importantly great gameplay make this a title well worth checking out. Here's our full review.
April 15, 2008
Booted up your PS3 today? If you have, and you connected online you would have noticed there's a new Firmware update taking the system to 2.30. This update allows you to access the funky new-look Playstation Store which, while a bit slow (we guess due to massive traffic right now) is very swish indeed. Also added in the Firmware is the ability to decode DTS-HD Master Audio to PCM for outputting over HDMI cable - something which has been much sought after by movie buffs. I'll test that one out over the coming days, with any new Blu-Ray reviews giving that format the full test.
Not only have we got a new Firmware but the Playstation Store has also been updated with some new content. First up, for $AU6.95 ($US4.99) you can pick up the Add-on for Super Stardust HD which adds in several new game modes, more asteroids, and remixed music (Note: Sony have fixed the technical issues which occurred in the first few hours of this update being uploaded - a download of the full game to a newer version may be required - only 158MB though). There is a new free track from Dropkick Murphy for Guitar Hero III, a Sega Superstars Tennis demo, and trailers for Bionic Commando and Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Which we just reviewed). Americans also get Gran Turismo 5 Prologue to download - a game which European and Australians have been enjoying for a few weeks now.
So you got pissed off the other week when you learnt that we're getting a cut-down version of Grand Theft Auto IV? I hope you didn't order from New Zealand as it appears they're going to get our version over there! The following e-mail has been sent out from retailer Gameplanet
April 14, 2008
Battlefield: Bad Company is sure to be a massive seller. Time will tell if it can dethrone the current king of online action (that baing Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, but it has a lot of potential. We have just discovered that the game is currently scheduled for release in June, but also that there will be two versions released: Battlefield: Bad Company and Battlefield: Bad Company Gold Edition. While the normal version will retail here for $AU99.95, the Gold Edition will sell for $AU10 more. What do you get for this extra $10? Well how about five exclusive weapons. To be honest this seems quite petty to us, but on the flip side we have to commend Electronic Arts for keeping their pricing below most other companies.
Cars is one of those movies that may not have that 'cute' appeal of many other Pixar movies, but don't be put off as this is every bit as engrossing. Disney's Blu-Ray releases have been nothing short of spectacular to date, and we're pleased to bring you our very first review of one of their Blu-Ray discs. In short, superb.
April 13, 2008
Sony has confirmed that the Playstation Store will be down on Monday April 14th (around Tuesday April 15th) for several hours as they update the store with the new design. We can also expect a new Firmware 2.30 to be released which allows the new store to work (it is no longer browser based), as well as decoding of DTS-HD Master Audio to PCM for those of us who love quality audio from Blu-Ray discs.
April 11, 2008
Rockstar have finally released a statement about the gimped/cut/edited version of Grand Theft Auto IV which will be hitting Australian shelves. Sadly no details about the cuts made are actually detailed - but it's a safe bet to guess that it has to do with the prostitution and drugs - similar to what was cut in previous titles.
The Australian version of Grand Theft Auto IV was rated by the OFLC in December 2007 as MA15+. Unlike the US and Europe, Australia still lacks an R18+ rating for video games and as a result many games are edited for release in Australia, including most previous Grand Theft Auto releases.
While there are some minor differences between the Australian and US/EU versions, they are not significant and we do not believe they take away from the level of scope and detail that make GTA IV such an incredible experience. We would not release the game in Australia if we believed these differences compromised the quality of the game in any way.
We strongly support the OLFC and will continue to work within their guidelines; however we believe the government needs to bring games in line with other media by introducing an R18+ rating, or edits to games will continue to be necessary. We encourage consumers to let their politicians know that they support an R18+ rating for games.
April 10, 2008
WOO HOO! Finally, Sony has confirmed via the American Playstation Blog that DTS-HD Master Audio will be decoded on the PS3 with the new Firmware due in mid-April. This firmware will also prepare your PS3 for the new Playstation Store which will launch around the same time. DTS-HD Master Audio can, at the moment, only be outputted to your receiver as the 'core' DTS 1.5Mbps audio track - still impressive, but not quite the same. Three cheers for Sony!
It seems that not all is rosy for Microsoft in Australia. According to this article on Smarthouse the XBox 360 isn't sitting so well with retailers at the moment with poor sales and a booming PS3 and Wii market. In fact one Melbourne retailer had this to say to Smarthouse
April 9, 2008
Sega has announced that they are closing down Sega Racing Studio. The development team, which has only been in operation for 3 years, released the rather entertaining Sega Rally but with lacklustre sales the parent company decided to close the studio rather then make losses.
Warriors of Heaven and Earth is one of the first Chinese movies to make it out onto Blu-Ray. Given the generally average quality of Asian films, we were very much surprised to see this look and sound so impressive. Here's our review of this action movie from Sony Pictures.
April 8, 2008
It has been a long, painful wait for Electronic Arts to announce Rock Band for release in Europe and Australia, and for PS3 owners the news isn't good as Electronic Arts has confirmed the game will be a timed XBox 360 exclusive with the release on that system set for May 23rd. The Wii and PS3 versions will follow later in the year. Ubelievably while the American version sells for USD$169 ($AU183), the UK version will sell for £180 ($AU383)! I wonder if EA realise April Fool Day was a week ago... sadly, though, this isn't a joke.
Infinity Ward has confirmed that the Map Pack for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is now with Sony for certification. The pack contains 4 new maps and had been announced for release in late April, which now seems likely. Our guess is that Sony will use it as a big 'launch' title for the new look Playstation Store.
According to rumours Sony are set to release a new console bundle which will include a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV. Sony still haven't officially announced anything, but stay tuned. Could it be that we will see the console, with the game and brand new Dual Shock 3 controller which is (also rumoured) to be released in Australia on April 24 - five days before Take Two's title?
While having a look around on Gameswarehouse today we noticed a couple of PS2 games with release dates, but which haven't been announced as yet. Buzz Pop Quiz is due out on May 8th, SingStar Party Hits is due out on May 15th, Pursuit Force Extreme Justice is due out on July 1st, and Tales of the Abyss is also expected on July 1st.
Ubisoft has confirmed three new titles for release on the PSP this year from Square Enix. Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift and Space Invaders Extreme will both be released during Winter 2008 while Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII has also been confirmed for release in 2008.
SOCOM: US Navy Seals Tactical Strike has been out for a few weeks now on the PSP. Sony's SOCOM franchise has a large, and loyal, following and this latest release is another solid title in the series. Michael has played the game and delivered his review. Here it is...
April 7, 2008
LucasArts has confirmed the release dates for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. The game will be released on September 16, 2008 in the United States, September 17 in Southeast Asia and Australia, and September 19 in Europe.
In somewhat sad news developers Pseudo Interactive, makers of the Full Auto series of games, has closed its doors. The company was working on an unnamed title for Eidos, but that game had the pin pulled recently.
Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is an update of the PC/360 release from over a year ago. The game has some impressive set pieces and online modes, but sadly this PS3 port isn't as great as we had hoped. Still if you're after some third person action then this title may fit the bill, and it's pretty cheap too. Here's our full review.
April 6, 2008
We have some sad news today with the announcement that screen legend Charlton Heston has passed away at the age of 84. Not only has he starred in over 100 movies, but some of the most iconic including Ben-Hur, Planet of the Apes, The Ten Commandments, True Lies, Touch of Evil, Tombstone and Wayne's World (OK, so the latter isn't quite as iconic as the others!). Politically he has long been associated with the NRA (National Rifle Association) in America and while we can't agree with his stance on guns, we do admire him for sticking to his beliefs.
Right now I am looking at a personally autographed and letter I received from Charlton Heston just before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2002, and it is something that I will cherish forever. Well, that and over glorious 100 movies. To his wife Lydia and two children we pass on our deepest condolences.
April 4, 2008
Fuck the OFLC! Fuck the OFLC! Fuck the OFLC! According to this article the biggest game of 2008 - Grand Theft Auto IV - will indeed be censored for Australia. The game, as you would be aware, was passed with an MA15+ rating some time ago, but it now appears that despite Rockstar's initial claims (read here) that it would be uncensored, there have been cuts made the Australian version. Sadly, details of these cuts have not been announced as yet. Naturally forums are going wild with people cancelling orders to source an import of the title - the legalities of which are, ermm, let's call them questionable. Fuck the OFLC! Give us our R18+ rating so we, as adults, can play a game aimed at adults.
As we detailed the other day the Playstation Store has not been updated this week, and won't be until the new design goes live in a couple of weeks (see screens and details below). One concern we had was that this 'redesign' will lock us out of Japanese and American stores, but according to this article on Eurogamer that will not be the case and the stores will still be region free. Phew...
God of War: Chains of Olympus is a game PSP owners have been longing for. The two original God of War titles on PS2 remain among the best games on the system, and this third title on the PSP is not going to disappoint either. In fact, it is an essential purchase. Here's our full review.
April 3, 2008
Some interesting news appeared on IGN's site over the last day or so, before promptly disappearing. IGN reported that Pandemic Studios are currently working on a Batman title to tie into the new movie, and with Electronic Arts buying Pandemic recently it will be published by EA as well. That story is now gone, probably put up too early, but we can confirm that Pandemic are indeed working on Batman for unnamed platforms, at least in part at their Brisbane studios. We first picked up the news from a reliable source over a year ago (friend of a friend who happens to work, somewhere, that would happen to know) but have held of publishing the news at their request. We fully expect Electronic Arts to announce the game - which will tie into the new movie - soon.
As most of you would be aware the Dual Shock 3 controller is out this week in America (yes, a little earlier then expected) but we have two bits of news for you. Firstly the Sixaxis (Read gimped Dual Shock 3) is going to be discontinued, so in a couple of months you will only be able to get the Dual Shock 3. As yet there isn't any news about the European release... but you may want to check out the Rumour Mill below...
A little birdie came into our office today, had a bit of a vibration too.. Yes he was, of course, Dual Shock 3 rumbling (or should that be rambling)... How does April 24th sound for Australia? Problem is he has to save up - this sucker is going to set you back one hundred big ones. That's right the RRP is rumoured to be $99.95!
Electronic Arts are a powerhouse developer, and there is no bigger series then Madden NFL. With that in mind it came as an absolute shock to hear that Madden NFL 09 would not be released on the PC meaning gamers wanting to play the game will need to turn to consoles. Let's hope that Electronic Arts learn to program on the PS3 and make the next release 60fps!
Dynasty Warriors 6 could have been a landmark title in the franchise. Koei's much loved large scale battle series has now hit the PS3 and we've taken this latest title for a spin, but does it offer something new, or more of the same? A verdict.
April 2, 2008
Sony has confirmed that there will not be any updates to the Playstation Store for a couple of weeks. No, it is not undergoing a meltdown since the problematic launch of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue (well, a delayed launch at least) but rather Sony are preparing an all-new Playstation Store for us to enjoy in a couple of weeks. Here's the official press release with a couple of screenshots at the end:
This April, PLAYSTATION Store, the online content store on PLAYSTATION Network, is getting a whole new look and feel – and it’s in response to feedback from the millions of PSN registrants in the PAL region.
The revamp comes in response to a survey last year which showed that many PLAYSTATION Store users wanted a better interface and easier navigation. The new design will deliver a hugely improved navigation system, much greater scope for categorisation and a dynamic new user interface.
Content will be suspended for two weeks while the improvements are carried out but users can look forward to a special update in mid-April.
There will be no weekly content updates between now and the re-launch, although users can still download content from the back catalogue, such as Warhawk and Gran Turismo 5 Prologue.
The PLAYSTATION Store revamp will not affect PLAYSTATION Network accounts or the virtual wallet system.
April Fools Day News
Well I had one or two people sucked in at least. That's right folks the news that Polyphony Digital was going to be bought out by Electronic Arts and that Gran Turismo 5 would be going multi-platform was indeed a hoax (the 2009 release date is not, however!). OK so next year I'll put some more effort into my April Fools efforts.
April 1, 2008
Sony America has confirmed that an expansion pack for Pixeljunk Monsters - which includes 15 additional levels, but no new towers or enemies, will be released on the US Playstation Store in April. The expansion pack will also include a couple more tweaks and changes. As yet there is no date for Europe/Australia.
Now this is big news - and we mean BIG! Have you ever heard of Polyphony Digital? Of course you have, and the recent release of Gran Turismo 5 Prologue confirmed the companies pulling power with gamers. Soon, however, that will all be over for Sony - at least as an exclusive series. We can now reveal that while Sony America has confirmed the full Gran Turismo 5 won't be released until 2009, what Sony didn't announce, or confirm for obvious reasons, is that the game has been delayed until 2009 to allow additional development time so the game can appear on other systems - XBox 360 included. This has come about due to as Electronic Arts have announced an aggressive takeover bid for Polyphony Digital following moves to also take over Take Two. This is a bitter blow for Sony who also lost Grand Theft Auto IV exclusivity recently - ironically another game that could be under EA's wing soon.
The Wicker Man is a 2006 remake of a 1970's. This remake stars Nic Cage however it isn't a great movie. Fortunately, and as we expect from Sony Pictures, this is a cracking transfer which offers up a great visual and aural experience. Here's our review of this latest Blu-Ray release.