Unit 13 Review on the PS Vita


Anyone who has read my article on the PS Vita will know that I was very complimentry about the new handheld. But the hardware has to have good software to show it off and the first of these new games is the third person shooter, Unit 13.

Developed by Zipper Interactive, Unit 13 is about a group of hard military types who by the use of stealt, speed and if needed, force, complete their objectives to gather information or take out key targets. This may sound like many other military games, but there are things to be enjoyed that set it apart from the others.

One of the main things is that this is on the PS Vita so it’s portable and also has the social aspect tied in. This is also a portable game that you can really get into and enjoy, the graphics are excellent and the gameplay is smooth and crisp.

Unit 13 is not the type of game that you can simply barge in and shoot everything in sight, this game needs, no expects forward planning. There is a radar map on the left that shows the area as well as any people moving within them. The people are also colour coded depending on their alert level. This is normally white/grey but once you take one of them out with a silent shot to the head, they tend to get quite angry.

As long as you keep your head down, it doesn’t take them long to calm down, of course you are really looking to get in and out as quickly as possible without being seen. You are helped along the way by the communications officer who updates you on the situation and your next objectives. There is also the direction arrow at the top of the screen that tells you the direction you need to be going in. This is not always the direction you are currently taking as obsticles and guards may be in your way.

In terms of the gameplay, Zipper Interactive have worked hard on making Unit 13 as involved and at the same time very playable. They have involved all that the PS Vita has to offer in terms of interactivity and that makes things much more fun. The controls for the touch screen seem a little difficult at times but this doesn’t detract from the overall gameplay too much.


Overall, this is a very absorbing game that tries hard to grab and keep your attention. Though this may be one of many of it’s kind out there, it’s certainly worth a look if you have a PS Vita.

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Sony PS Vita Review: A Handheld Console to be reckoned with

When I first saw the PS Vita on display at the Eurogamer Expo last year, I thought then that this could be a really good piece of kit. Not just that it looked good or had dual analogue sticks or even that it had a touch screen; the main reason was that it was so interactive, more than the PSP. The things I mentioned above as well as the rear touch pad, cameras front and back and the gyroscope all help make the PS Vita a far more immersive experience. I will of course go into greater detail when I write about some of the games now available, for the moment though I will concentrate on what the console has to offer.

Although it resembles the PSP in looks, this is a very different beast. As I mentioned, this has a 5″ OLED capacitive touch screen which is very responsive and a delight to use. I found some sun (not easy I can tell you) to see how much you could see on a sunny day. It was very good, I found a slight amount of reflection but otherwise I was very impressed. It also has dual analogue sticks, which are very smooth and intuitive, I really like to use these over buttons and the addition of them on the PS Vita makes things much more comfortable. You do also get the standard triangle, square, circle and cross buttons, d-pad and shoulder buttons. The buttons are well laid out and feel nice and solid when pressed, although I found that for the most part during navigating and game play, I used the analogue sticks, touch pad and shoulder buttons more than anything else.

The speakers are just to the side of the analogue sticks and the sound that they produce is really very good for a handheld device. The sound is clear and crisp and really does help to add some atmosphere to the games, as opposed to flat, tinny like sounds produced by some other consoles in the past. Using headphones is also a good experience; I tend to use them quite a lot as it gets me into the game and the sound coming through the headphones on the PS Vita certainly does that.

There is of course, no UMD in this console, which many predicted long ago. There is still a memory card slot which takes small specifically designed memory cards and of course WIFI and or 3G depending on the version you buy. As well as a memory card slot, you also have the PS Vita Card Slot which is what you will find inside those shiny new cases in your local game store. There are also downloadable games and content, via the PlayStation Network where you are also able to get movies, music and additional levels as you can with the PlayStation 3 now.

The PS Vita itself feels very solid in the hand which I personally prefer, for me it feels strangely reassuring and less likely to break if I get a bit over zealous. The screen and rear touch pad do suffer a bit from fingerprint marks which for those who find it a irritating will no doubt need a lint free cloth handy.

When you turn on the PS Vita, you are greeted with the initial screen that shows the time and date. The corner is folded down which you use to peel it off the screen using your finger. I liked this way of entering/exiting different apps and games and it is used throughout. You can scroll up and down using the touch screen and each app or game is in its own ‘bubble’. There are apps for Facebook, Google Maps, Music and Videos that you may have on your console and they all sway gently as you move around the screen. Once you have selected the game you want, you are taken to the LiveArea screen. From this area you can see details about the game and also communicate with other players. Again, you can peel it off when you are finished or press start to take you to the game. You will also find a Welcome Pack that will guide you through all aspects of the PS Vita and its controls.

The browser is quite responsive and loads quickly; it loaded all the sites I tried with no issues at all. The LiveTweet and Facebook integration is a nice addition, you can post your progress to all your friends and show them how good you are doing (or not). It also means that you can keep in touch without having to stop and switch devices. There are also other nifty apps like ‘near’ which lets you see what other PS Vita owners in your area are playing and allows you to interact and swap items with them.

If you are a PlayStation 3 owner (unfortunately I’m not) you can benefit from cross-platform play and Remote Play. The former allows you to switch from playing a game on the PS3 to the PS Vita from where you left off and also join multiplayer games as well. Remote Play lets you control your PS3 from your PS Vita, as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection. You can stream movies, music and even play compatible PS3 games using your PS Vita as a controller…now that’s impressive!

As I mentioned earlier, I will go into more depth about each game as I write about them, but the graphics throughout are truly splendid. The shading and 3D effect from the characters and scenery is fabulous and this will only get better as more games come out. This is all thanks to the ARM Cortex A9 MPcore CPU with its four cores (sorry a bit tech there) but in short it makes for stunning graphics that at times made me wish I had a scarf tied around my head like Jacob Marley to stop my jaw from dropping! Game play is smooth and quick once the game loads which can take a few seconds, but it well worth the wait. Sony has always pushed the limits of what is expected of handheld consoles and with smart phones getting faster, this is more relevant than ever. I don’t think they will disappoint many in this respect, it is very impressive and this together with the interactive abilities makes this more of an all round gaming, entertaining and social experience than the Nintendo DSi or 3DS in my opinion.


Overall I was really impressed with the PS Vita; it is all the things I personally think the PSP should have been. In the past, Nintendo have concentrated on the interactive elements of the games in favor of all out graphics power while Sony did the opposite. I think though that with the PS Vita, Sony have combined the two very well and if the games I have played so far are anything to go by, Nintendo may have a serious fight on their hands.

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A little bit of magic coming to the PlayStation Move with Sorcery

Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC and developer The Workshop have announced their newest addition to the software line-up for the PlayStation Move motion controller with Sorcery.

This single player Action Adventure/RPG game sees the Nightmare Queen breaking a pact with mankind and threatening to cover the land in eternal night. The players role as a young sorcerers apprentice is to master the arcane arts, conjure and command powerful magic and fight the fierce creatures that lurk in the realms. The game also involves solving puzzles, casting spells and mixing potions with the help of the in-game alchemy system. There are also various items to discover and collect to help immerse you in the world of magic.

Of course the real magic is that Sorcery utilises the PlayStation Move motion controller which allows you to use it as if it were a real magic wand, casting spells as well as solving puzzles and battling your foe. There is also a unique gesture-based casting system that will allow you to group together spells into powerful combos so you can freeze, electrocute or incinerate your enemies with a wave of your wrist.

There are five realms to explore each with their own enemies and challenges including the kingdom of the dead to battle the Banshee and the Restless Dead warriors, the endless stair where vicious bogies are wreaking havoc, the faerie forest, and the Slumbering Palace.

So if you fancy a little bit of magic and mayhem, you will definitely want to check out what is promising to be a very thrilling and unique action adventure game. Sorcery will be available on the PlayStation 3 for the PlayStation Move motion controller in Spring 2012.

Let us know your thoughts and comments.


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Powerful companion app Halo Waypoint now available on mobile devices


Microsoft have announced that they are porting the powerful Halo Waypoint over to the mobile version of the franchise for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7. Halo Waypoint has been around as a console-based app for a couple of years and provides “near real-time” information on weapons and vehicles for the game you are currently playing as well as birds-eye maps.

Probably the biggest plus though is the ATLAS strategy system developed in association with strategy game maker Brady Games. The feature includes full maps for Halo: Reach with pan and zoom support as well as item locations. In Matchmaking Multiplayer the maps will only show the default spawn locations of weapons, powerups and health packs. However because of the near real-time system, custom games will show the current location of all weapons and powerups including those held by your friends who may be cloaked.

ATLAS will be a paid in-app upgrade priced at $4.99 on most devices in the US. Halo Waypoint was released on iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7 on December 10th.

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Star Supremacy Boldly Going to Open Beta


Barbily Games have just announced that their new free to play strategy war game Star Supremacy is nearly ready for Open Beta. In Star Supremacy you play the role of a colonist who is battling for territories on other planets. This may sound like other on-line games, but the difference is Star Supremacy has a main line throughout the whole universe.

At the beginning, not only do you have to fight for territories, but you also have to try and find new hidden technology that leads to the discovery of a mysterious deep colony ship. Once you have built your ship, you can then start to explore the surronding galaxies.

Some of the other gameplay features include

  •  A new economy system and trade route
  • Overturn the Routine Battle Mode
  • Alliance Interaction
  • Challenging powerful bosses

To get hold of the Open Beta code which starts on November 15th, you need to register at Star Supremacy or on various MMO Gaming sites.

They are also hosting a Facebook Event where three random players will be selected to win a gaming headset once their Facebook page reaches 30,000 likes.

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Your favourite comic book heroes unleashed with DC Universe Online


Sony Online Entertainment have announced that players can now download the very popular massively multiplayer online or MMO action game DC Universe Online. In a press release, they were quoted as saying.
“We are confident that going free-to-play will expand the action combat experience of DC Universe Online by making the game more accessible to every type of player so they can choose to play the game their way,” said John Smedley, President, Sony Online Entertainment. “With a portfolio that includes three successful free-to-play games – EverQuest II: Extended, Free Realms and Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures – we have extensive knowledge and experience to apply to DCUOand are thrilled to be taking the game free-to-play today.”

There are three access levels in DCUO: Free, Premium and Legendary. All three levels will provide access to the game and include all game updates and fixes to the game, with each level offering differing game options and features. DLC content and features will also be included for Legendary players, and can be purchased by Free and Premium players.  The levels include:

  • Free Access: New players now have access to the base game content in DC Universe Online, including Gotham City, Metropolis, and all current raids and alerts outside of DLC packs.  Free Access provides players with the ability to create two characters, join a League and many other benefits. Free level players can also purchase DLC packs, additional character slots, and more in-game.
  • Premium Access: Any player who has spent at least $5 USD (including former paid subscribers and new players who have purchased $5 of in-game items) qualifies for the Premium Access level. Premium level players have more benefits available to them than the Free level player, including additional character slots, additional inventory slots, and higher cash limits. DLC packs, additional character slots, and more can be purchased in-game. All previous subscribers are granted Premium Access automatically.
  • Legendary Access: Legendary Access provides the most content, features and benefits of the three access levels.  Loaded with enhanced features, Legendary Access is available for a $14.99 USD monthly fee (multi-month discounts are available) and includes access to all DLC packs at no cost, more than 16 character slots, over 60 inventory slots, the ability to form Leagues, and many other benefits.
DC Universe Online will enable players to really get into the action, they will be able to pick up objects and throw them at opponents as well as run up the side of buildings and all this while fighting alongside some of the legends of the comic world.
DC Universe Online is licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment on behalf of DC Entertainment. For more information about DC Universe Online, visit www.DCUniverseOnline.com.
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Worms Crazy golf out today on iOS, Playstation Network and Steam


Team 17 have announced that their bunker- busting box of bedlam and birdies, Worms™ Crazy Golf is available from today for download on PlayStation® 3 from PlayStation® Network, PC from Steam and for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch on the App Store!
Worms™ fans and newcomers alike can grab their balls and step up to the tee in this mental mash-up of sports, puzzling
and Worms™! Worms™ Crazy Golf is a brazenly bonkers mixture of classic 2D Worms™ and hilarious eighteen- hole high jinks. Spread across a variety of weird and wonderful courses and featuring some mind- bendingly mental power-ups , this is the craziest golf you’ll ever play. With many fan-favourite features from the Worms™ universe such as the sheep, old woman, mole, magnets, mines and crazy chain reactions making an appearance, it is anything but a straight simulation.

Set across three surreal 18- hole golf courses plus a diverse range of skill- based challenge modes, expect to be challenged by increasingly puzzling hole design and an array of obstacles; from castles that teleport your ball, cannons that shoot it across the landscape and even obstructive comedy bats! Only skilful shot execution and clever use of special powers such as the parachute ball, or the ability to slow time down will see you hit par and progress to the next hole.

Check out some of the seriously skillful shots required to sink a hole-in- one in the new “Graveyard Course” trailer, featuring haunting Halloween hijinks, now on Team 17’ s official YouTube channel:

• http:/ /www.youtube .com/watch? v=X 2Vb 4dnKEbE

Worms™ Crazy Golf is released today for iPad and iPhone/
iPod, PC from Steam™ and for PlayStation®3 from PlayStation® Network in Europe. Worms™ Crazy Golf will be
released for PlayStation®3 in the U.S. on Tuesday 25th October 2011.

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Upcoming inde game Skullgirls – The Ferocious Painwheel pays tribute to comic books and pop culture


Autumn Games & Reverge Labs have revealed their latest character in their upcoming fighting game Skullgirls –the ferocious Painwheel. A tribute to the last 50 years of comic books, animated movies and pop culture with a high class art direction, Skullgirls is set to be the indie gem of 2012.

In the release published today, they discribed the premise of the game.

‘Once a normal schoolgirl named Carol, Painwheel was kidnapped by Valentine and delivered to the Anti-Skullgirls Labs’ secretive Lab Zero. There she was implanted with the synthetic Buer Drive and Gae Bolga parasites and infused with experimental Skullgirl blood, transforming her into the monster she is today. Violent and unstable as a result of these experiments, as a precaution she’s mentally controlled by Lab Zero’s powerful psychic director, Brain Drain. Fueled by rage, she draws her power from her pain and fury. Despite that, the soul of that scared young girl still lives on inside this monstrous body, desperately fighting off the onslaught of voices that would control her. Painwheel is sort of an “aerial dominance” character, and can fly using the Buer Drive blade in her back. Being full of rage, a lot of her normal attacks can be charged up, and damage she receives while charging them will be added to the attack when the button is released. Since she is in constant pain, she has a lot of brutal-looking moves, such as attacking with spikes that painfully erupt from her body or contorting herself in inhuman ways Skullgirls is a new 2D fighting game that puts players in control of fierce female warriors in an extraordinary Dark Deco world. The team is led by renowned fighting game champion Mike “Mike Z” Zaimont and artist Alex “o_8” Ahad, whose work has been featured in many publications, including Lava Punch and Girls of Gaming.’

Skullgirls – The ferocious Painwheel is still in development, but should be released on the major consoles in 2012.

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Onlive puts gaming in the cloud


One of the main attractions at this years Eurogamer Expo was the Onlive stage. Already a hit in the United States, Onlive has now hit the shores of the UK.
I queued for quite a while at the expo to get my hands on one of the micro consoles and while there I was able to try some of the 200 titles already available which include Batman: Arkham Asylum, Warhammer 40.000: Space Marine and Deus Ex: Human Revolution to name a few.

Since the expo I have been trying out the console and its features to see if all the hype is really justified. The box when I got it home included the console (obviously) a network cable to connect it to your broadband connection, a HDMI cable to connect to the TV and a wireless controller with rechargeable battery pack. Once you have registered on the Onlive website you can connect the console and it will update with the latest software. It will also test your internet connection which needs to be at least 1mbps or it won’t connect which may effect some people in slow areas and is something to keep in mind. The PC/MAC version is also a simple set-up, once you have logged in you have to download an app to your computer then that’s it.

There are three ways that you can play the games in the library, you can play a demo of the game to see if you like it first, you can rent the game for 3 or 5 days, or  lastly you can choose the Playpack bundle and pay a set fee each month for access to 100 or more games. This flexibility along with all these games at the touch of a button or click of a mouse really puts this system up there, change isn’t always good, but this is a good one.

But how does it play? well it is very responsive and the best part is you don’t need top range hardware to play these games, they just play. The games themselves are well documented and their playability is not the issue, the issue is if you can play the game in the first place.

So, will this change the face of gaming? Well it is a very good piece of kit and has a good range of games already with the list still growing. To be able to go on-line or fire up the micro console and rent a game and play it there and then or if you have the Playpack to just turn on and play, is a major leap in gaming. Yes there are sites like Steam who offer games on-line, but there is no downloading here, just click and play and this is what will cause people to sit up and take notice. This has already made a big impression both sides of the water, and I think it will continue to do so.

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Burst! lights up the sky on Android

A new game has ‘Burst’ onto the Andriod market, Add-A-Tudez and Team Kaizen announced on the 16th September 2011 that their first stand alone game Burst! is now available in Beta form but will include all future updates automatically.
For those who may not have seen it yet, Burst! is a game of music, fireworks and timing. The object is to prime your fireworks and make sure they are fired in time to the music to create your very own display.
This is a game of course and as such is not as easy as it may appear. The timing as you can imagine is crucial, at the beat of the music, there is an optimum area when you have to fire your fireworks. If you miss too many of these you will fail, this instantly makes Burst! very addictive and pretty soon you’ll be wondering where the time has gone.
Burst! was initially launched with two songs; Bad Battery Door Burst Remix by M-79 and Haya’s Theme by John Secolo. Other songs will follow including Velvet Electricity by DJ Bonseye and works by Steve Keller Band, Joel Corda, The Hope Movement, Ed Worrell and Great Falls Symphony.
The games graphics are very colourful the game has the backdrop of Great Falls 10th Street Bridge whose restoration project will receive 1% of the profit from this game. The controls are also very easy and responsive, if you have an Xperia Play you can use the D-Pad or if not you can use the touch screen controls.
The game is available from the Android Market, but first you will need to install Adobe AIR as this game makes use of its features, follow the link here: Adobe AIR
Next you will need to download the beta version of Burst! a link of which is here: Burst!
Once all is downloaded, you will be able to access video tutorials and guides to help you master the controls. That said, this is very easy to pick up and play and soon you’ll be in the swing of it.
The people at Team Kaizen welcome feedback and in fact they are encouraging it and as Burst! is still in beta, it’s a good opportunity to help them with any bugs or fixes, you can find them at www.teamkaizengames.com as well as a new forum that is being set up to make it easier to contact them and give them your thoughts.
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