Aug 16, 2008

Sony Computer Entertainment is taking another stab at establishing the PlayStation Portable as a film viewing device, by lowering title prices, signing studio deals to license content and making digital copies playable on the handheld system.

When the PSP launched in 2005, all of the major studios were churning out films in the portable console´s Universal Media Disc format. However, games ultimately proved to be far better sellers on PSP, and nearly all the major studios stopped generating UMDs after about one and half years of production. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment was the exception.

Although the new release pipeline substantially dried up, PSP owners were still accessing films. But they were mostly doing so illegally, transferring ripped Web files to their systems. At the same time, studios cannot ignore the PSP´s 13 million U.S. hardware base as the DVD market matures.

"We want to provide a legal offering from the studios, … and it´s an easier conversation to have with them now," said John Koller, director of hardware marketing at Sony Computer Entertainment America. "There´s a lot of positive momentum with the PSP."

To make sure consumers buy UMDs this go around, Sony is shaving new release list prices to $9.99 to $14.99. That is $10 to $25 less than UMD initial pricing a few years ago.

To attract studios, Sony Computer is promising to do the bulk of the work with UMDs. Sony will license, manufacture, distribute, market and sell the studios´ films for them for the PSP.

MTV was the first supplier to agree to these terms, which resulted in the bow earlier this year of nine UMDs, spanning seasons of such shows as Viva La Bam and Jackass. A second wave of MTV UMDs should street by the end of the year. Additional studios are expected to announce UMD licensing deals with Sony in the next several months, added Koller.

Sony´s goal is to distribute five to seven studio-licensed UMDs each quarter, not including movies from its sister studio.

Koller said Sony is pleased with MTV UMD sales, believing consumers are drawn in "because it´s getting close to an impulse purchase" in price.

Additionally, Sony wants to release titles that narrowly appeal to young men, who make up 92% of PSP owners. Its core demographic is the 15- to 17-year-old male teen.

"The biggest issue with UMD was the lack of creating for a targeted demo," said Koller. "When we first launched, it was a difficult sale. I don´t think it´s a big stretch to say that a 16-year-old doesn´t have a lot of discretionary income. … We were offering UMDs that were more expensive than DVDs at the time. And we want content that is in line with what the demo is asking for, action and comedy … not romantic dramas."

SPHE, for instance, has set Prom Night and You Don´t Mess with the Zohan to bow on UMD on Aug. 19 and Oct. 7, respectively.

Best-selling UMDs to date include New Line Home Entertainment´s Wedding Crashers and Sony´s Superbad.

To further enhance PSP´s film capabilities, Sony is courting studios to make DVD digital copies compatible with the handheld system. Today, Sony´s DVD unit is the only studio embedding copies for PSP playback.

"The studios are looking at this and saying, what are the myriad of ways that content can reach all of the various consumer touch points?" said Koller. "They want to grow that consumer base that they have."

At least one studio source indicates they are eager to make its digital copies compatible with PSP so as to prevent Apple from creating a monopoly with its portable media. There is a fear that Apple might grow to be the digital version of Wal-Mart, exerting the same power with studios over downloading/streaming as the bricks-and-mortar chain does with DVD.

Koller is especially confident that studios will sign on to UMD and digital copy because of their recent support of the PlayStation 3 download and streaming service. Since July, most studios have been offering digital film sales and rentals that people can transfer from their PS3 to their PSP. People also can order content directly from PCs at and transfer to a PSP through a USB cable.

Also, Sony licensed Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment´s National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets for a customized hardware/software bundle streeting in October. This Disney UMD will only be available in this bundle, priced at $199, and won´t be sold separately.

"The future of PSP is bright for video because of all the different methods consumers have to enjoy it," Koller said.


The keen eyes at Siliconera have done it yet again! They've spotted Puzzle Quest for the PSN. Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords - Revenge of the Plague Lord is a downloadable PSN game with online play, according to the ratings service. Considering Puzzle Quest successfully launched on pretty every console imaginable, we don't doubt that D3 is looking to expand their fanbase and sell more copies of their addictive puzzle-RPG hybrid.

We've embedded footage of the XBLA version for your reference.


On display at E3 2008 was the multiplayer mode for Resistance 2. I had the opportunity to extensively play the demo, which was a 60-man multiplayer game, full of Sony and Insomniac Games employees. The single player demo was only available in a limited-access Sony meeting room.

The map we played on was pretty large and looked like a destroyed mountain town. There were cars strewn about, large holes and vastly different areas to see. There was a lumberyard as well as cabin houses surrounded by lots of trees and water.

The gameplay itself is largely intact from the original Resistance. There are a few things however that felt downgraded – at least from what the demo gives the impression of so far. The Chimera themselves seem to play more like the Human characters now. The Human side basically has the same benefits as the Chimera. All characters are able to use one of several special Chimera abilities called "Berserk." Berserk powers are different depending on which side you’re on, but you are able to choose your weapon load-out and powers from the get-go. Berserk powers include things like invisibility (while not firing), increased health recovery, more ammo dropped and the like. A Chimera player starts out with one hedgehog grenade this time as well. While this evens the playing field, it feels like it sort of goes against what the first Resistance tried to accomplish.

Some weapons are a little different as well. A few of them got a face-lift, like the Auger and Bullseye. The M5A2 and Rossmore look the same, though. There are also one or two new weapons that are new, namely the Marksman, and the HE Magnum. The Wraith is also allowed for use in multiplayer, which was only available after you completed your primary run-through of Resistance: Fall of Man.

Oddly, I didn’t notice any rocket launchers. It could have just been the game mode, but it seems logical that the Wraith is replacing it. Or perhaps you just don’t start out with a rocket launcher and must find it on the map before you can use it. The Auger makes a bubble shield now instead of a door-shield, which seems weird, but it makes it easier for shooting through at different angles. The handgun is hard to aim precisely with, though adjusting the sensitivity might fix that. The new shotgun feels worthless; even if you’re at point blank range, you’ll have a hard time trying to kill someone.

Something I find very disappointing in contrast to the original Resistance is that you can only hold on to two weapons at a time, meaning you have to switch weapons lying on the floor for the one you’re currently holding. I enjoyed being able to use any weapon I found on the ground, as it was different than what most popular shooters nowadays like to do.

The game seems to emphasize strategy less than the original in this build. I’m hoping that element of the multiplayer isn’t lost when all is said and done. The map we played was just a big open map with a few interesting elements, but in the end it felt like a run-of-the-mill FPS map to me, which is also sort of disappointing considering the first game’s maps all had something unique about them.

Resistance 2 looks good for a third-generation PS3 title. The most obvious comparison I could make was against Killzone 2, which was right around the corner, though the games have vastly differing art styles. Here’s hoping that the single-player mode has some nice things in store as far as level design and character design.

During my play time, I had an unusual seven-kill spree. I was quite an avid Resistance player when I first purchased my PS3, and I’m definitely looking forward to playing Resistance 2’s multiplayer. However, Resistance 2’s single player will be the most compelling aspect when it comes to retail.

The demo didn’t let me customize controls, but one of the exhibitors said they’re still going to add more stuff to the options menu. Pressing R3 for melee was less comfortable than pressing X. You can also now shake the controller to perform a melee attack, which is a fine use for the Sixaxis motion control.

People who liked the first Resistance will probably like Resistance 2. It might appeal to more people because it aligned itself closer to the elements of today’s popular shooters. Since the single-player mode aims to continue the storyline, we can expect to at least learn a little bit more about the world that is created in the Resistance games.


It's tough being a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog, particularly an older one. You've had to see a series you love slide into craziness. Broken cameras, unoptimized code, unnecessary characters, loss of vision and principle, angst and motorcycles … the list of missteps goes on and on.

At the same time, you get to see the series flourish with a brand and style of gaming that no other company on earth has been able to mimic yet. When a Sonic game gets things right, it really gets things right, and there's nothing else like it. One has to only look at last year's Sonic Rush Adventure, a masterpiece of Sonic gaming we haven't had since the days of the Genesis.

Never has the dichotomy of the Sonic series been put more on showcase than in this year's Sonic Unleashed. Take a new development arm of Sonic Team (we can only assume that much of the team behind Sonic 2006 got the boot from the franchise so fast they're still dislodging it), add a game engine that Sega's been developing for over three years (all in their mascot's name, it would seem — it's dubbed the "Hedgehog Engine," of all things), finally ditch a good deal of the gameplay missteps brought about by the series' jump to 3-D, and here we are.

Sega played Unleashed for us — we sadly were not allowed to touch it. It was somewhat understandable — while the Hedgehog Engine is clearly powerful, some optimizations were still needed when it was shown to us. Still, what was shown took this reporter's breath away. High-speed 2.5-D platforming action was the order of the day, and the action never stopped or let up for a second. One minute, Sonic's racing along cobblestone streets, and the next, he's wall-jumping, then loop-de-looping, and then sliding on rails a thousand feet in the air. He's dashing between columns and alleyways, he's navigating moving platforms (the camera shifts to a 3D overhead view for some of these), he's doing so many things that we haven't seen him do in years, but that we should have been. It was fast to begin with, but Sonic Team also cribbed the Boost mechanic from the Sonic Rush games, allowing him to go faster still. It brought a tear to my eye. Finally, Sega had understood what made Sonic fun in the first place, and brought it into the new generation.

Or so we thought.

That was when they showed us the Werehog — for "gameplay variety," Sega said. When the sun goes down, Sonic's new curse inflicted by Robotnik takes effect. Sonic hulks out, grown crazy fur, fangs and claws, and gets to go on rampages. You'd be forgiven for getting indignant upon seeing it. I'm still fighting the urge.

The thing is, the Werehog stuff actually isn't that bad. You fight lots of enemies at once with combo attacks. You do jumping and platforming puzzles. You climb, you punch, and you use brute force. They're one of the few times the game goes into 3-D, but slower action takes place in exchange. It's actually more Mario than anything else, with a tiny bit of Devil May Cry tossed in for good measure. The Werehog's a totally needless venture, seemingly tacked on because Sega may not have been confident that classic Sonic gameplay could stand on its own in the game industry of today, and that's a downright shame. Still, if they have to do it, I'd rather have Werehogs than Silver the Hedgehog any day. It looks like genuine fun. It's just not Sonic.

There you have it, then. This holiday's Sonic Unleashed is the Sonic series in a nutshell. Between this, the Wii/PS2 version developed by Dimps (the same folks who gave us the glorious Sonic Rush Adventure), Sonic Chronicles, and Sonic and the Black Knight (Secret Rings rocked, so I'm giving it a chance), Sonic Unleashed may be the first time in a long time where it's a safe bet to look forward to blue hedgehogs.

After two decades of ridicule and disappointment, to say that it feels good is an understatement.


StreetskaterFU has published a second video of his PS3 backups hack to proof us all that it works. "Proof works online and showing inserted disk is motorstorm as proxy disc. When i eject disc, game quits like normal.", StreetSkaterFU said. The hack has been confirmed working by Mathieulh and Alek from the M33-team.

The latest issue of Famitsu PS3 is all about the recent Square Enix DKΣ3713 event, and has a few juicy scans from the magazine. One of the more interesting things to point about the upcoming FFXIII demo bundled with Advent Children Complete: the demo will be on a separate Blu-ray disc (meaning it will unlikely be region locked), and the amount of gameplay is promised to be longer than the length of Advent Children. That means the FFXIII demo should be at least 90 minutes long, if not longer. That's huge! The demo will supposedly come from the very beginning of the game, so players won't have to worry about spoiling the later parts of the game.


Now that Burnout Paradise is slated to arrive on the PlayStation Store later this fall, everyone is wondering what future titles may appear in downloadable form in addition to the standard Blu-Ray disc release. One of the games that continues to pop up during this discussion is LittleBigPlanet. Considering its multiplayer-oriented structure, perhaps it would make for a perfect Store download.

But Media Molecule has already confirmed the game is only coming to Blu-Ray, and Bits Bytes took it one step further to see what's what. The Canadian PR team simply said the game would "be available at retail" and the "user generated content will be available on the PSN." Then Joystiq spoke to the game's U.S. PR manager, Scott Goryl, who further confirmed the state of LittleBigPlanet this fall.

"LittleBigPlanet is a Blu-ray Disc product exclusively for PS3. LBP will utilize much of PlayStation Network's vast functionality for online and community features, but the game will indeed be distributed as a Blu-ray Disc."

So there you have it. LittleBigPlanet will only be on real, brick and mortar store shelves and will not be coming to the virtual PlayStation Store on the PS3. However, we refuse to rule out the possibility in the future; Burnout Paradise has been out in stores since January, and won't come to the Store until this fall. You just can't predict the future, and if LBP is as popular as we expect it to be, Sony and Media Molecule may want to make the game available in as many ways as possible.


Another week goes by, another video store update. This week's new content is quite a large offering with new episodes for ten TV shows and over 22 new films to choose from. Listed below are the television programs with new episodes. You'll find the movies list after the break.

American Chopper
Criss Angel Mindfreak
Lost in Space
Miami Ink
Most Shocking
Paranormal State
The Riches
Top Tens
The Unit
Xam'd: Lost Memories

Bad Boys
Caddyshack II
Exorcist II: The Heretic
Fun with Dick and Jane
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
National Security
Old Yeller
Saving Silverman
The Good Night
The Holiday (2006)
The Unholy
Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show
The World's Greatest Athlete

Aug 15, 2008

PS3-Sense writes "Yesterday on the forums of PS3Hax a topic was posted with alot of information about loading backups on a PlayStation 3. A german hacker called StreetSkaterFU succeeded in loading backups on his PS3."

Everyone seems to be getting in on the new 80GB SKUs, including the Aussies. These new units, dubbed the new "core pack" set to replace the current 40GB machines, will feature double the storage space at no additional cost. Sony Australia confirms that the core pack is coming to Australia on August 28 and will retail for AUS$699.

The same pack will be available in North America this September and Europe on August 27. As a reminder, the units come with a DualShock 3 and the same functionality as the 40GB units -- namely 2 USB slots, no memory card readers, and no PS2 backwards compatibility.


Although Madden NFL 09 is getting the spotlight for now, the global sport of choice is still soccer, so there are millions of fans anxiously awaiting FIFA 09. And what good is a sports game without a great soundtrack to go along with top-notch gameplay?

According to GameSpot, EA has released the full track list, and fittingly, it's a global assortment. The list consists of 41 songs originating from 21 different nations, and this year, the UK comes in with the most tracks. They'll bring us The Ting Tings, The Kooks, Kasabian and Duffy, and in addition, we'll get a bunch of techno tracks from the likes of Datarock, CSS, Hot Chip and Junkie XL. Here's the full track list:

Dogs from V-Gas--1ne--Italy
Chromeo--Bonafied Lovin' (Yuksek Remix)--Canada
CSS--Jager Yoga--Brazil
Cut Copy--Lights And Music--Australia
Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley--Something For You (One Loaf Of Bread)--Jamaica
Datarock--True Stories--Norway
DJ Bitman--Me Gustan--Chile
Foals--Olympic Airways--England
Gonzales--Working Together (Boys Noize Remix)--France
Hot Chip--Ready For The Floor (Soulwax Remix)--England
Jakobinarina--I'm A Villain--Iceland
Junkie XL feat. Electrocute--Mad Pursuit--Holland
Jupiter One--Platform Moon--USA
Kasabian--Fast Fuse--England
Lykke Li--I'm Good I'm Gone--Sweden
My Federation--What Gods Are These--England
Najwajean--Drive Me--Spain
Plastilina Mosh--Let U Know--Mexico
Reverend And The Makers--Open Your Window--England
Sam Sparro--Black & Gold--USA
Señor Flavio--Lo Mejor Del Mundo--Argentina
The Airborne Toxic Event--Gasoline--USA
The Black Kids--I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You (The Twelves Remix)--USA
The Bloody Beetroots--Butter--Italy
The Fratellis--Tell Me A Lie--Scotland
The Heavy--That Kind Of Man--England
The Kissaway Trail--61--Denmark
The Kooks--Always Where I Need To Be--England
The Pinker Tones--The Whistling Song--Spain
The Script--The End Where I Begin--Ireland
The Ting Tings--Keep Your Head--England
The Veronicas--Untouched--Australia
The Whip--Muzzle #1--England
Tom Jones--Feels Like Music (Junkie XL Remix)--Wales


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Okay, color us confused, but kind of impressed. We were just tipped off that Bionic Commando Rearmed, that awesome current-gen re-imagining of the old Capcom classic, is now available on the European PlayStation Store. "Surely not," we thought. We wrote the European store update up yesterday and BCR was nowhere to be seen.

Nevertheless, the tip was correct. Bionic Commando Rearmed is now available, in both full-game and demo form, on the European PlayStation Store. For UK patrons, you can hookshot the game for £6.99, while those of you who deal in Euros (Brodie-san, we're looking at you) will need to part with €9.99. Nice work SCEE. So, have you bought it yet? Why not? Go get!


Do you have a friend on your XMB playing a game called Girl With a Stick? Well, guess what: it's the Resistance 2 closed beta. While these lucky few can enjoy some hot girl on stick action, the rest of us will have to wait until the public beta in September.


Fancy a trip to Tokyo with five of your friends? Konami has announced that a European Metal Gear Online Tournament will begin very shortly which will allow you to win exactly that. Check out the official website and sign up today and you'll take part in one of the preliminary tournaments over the next few weeks. These will be straight Team Deathmatch games, with the best two teams being flown to Tokyo for the world final (indicating that Japanese and American tournaments should be announced soon) during the Tokyo Game Show.

Tokyo Game Show takes place from the 9th to the 13th of October, so it's probably best that you make sure you're free for those dates before taking part. Over 250 teams will be competing, which sounds a lot, but really you've got a 1-in-125 chance of going through. Pretty good odds, if you ask us. If you play MGO regularly in a team you'd be stupid to pass this opportunity up. So go for it and, if you win, let us know. We'll see you in Tokyo!


Gaming bible Famitsu has revealed a password that allows for Altair's costume without the assassin's emblem. The password is "aottrykmyn" and you can enter it from the camouflage menu after you get the Metal Gear Mk. II. Another password that you can enter in this fashion is "jmsotsynrn" which will yield the Type 17 pistol. Have fun!


Sony may have won the July NPD battle against Microsoft, but things have changed quite a bit in Japan. Shockingly, Microsoft's console has beaten the PS3 across the Pacific -- a strange coup we never saw coming. The wild demand for Tales of Vesperia, an Xbox 360 exclusive (for now) spurred sales of the non-Japanese console, defeating the unusual xenophobic fears of the Japanese gaming public ... if only for this week.

Nintendo DS - 60,434
PSP - 58,501
Wii - 38,506
Xbox 360 - 24,962
PlayStation 3 - 9,673
PlayStation 2 - 8,503

The difference between Xbox 360 and PS3 this week in Japan almost fully negates the one month lead PS3 earned in America. With Microsoft aggressively pursuing other RPG franchises, like Star Ocean and Final Fantasy, it'll be interesting to see how fierce the console wars can get in Sony's home territory.


With the release of the new Home beta, we now have a much clearer idea of how these region restrictions, that we discovered at E3, are being implemented. It seems that the client reacts to your console's native region, locking you out of any Home servers that don't match it. That means that if you're a UK gamer who imported from the US, you'll be spending all of your time with Americans inside Home. If you imported from Japan ... well, you can guess where that's headed.

What we find bizarre is that it's such a strict lock-out, and that you're not given any degree of choice in the matter. It seems so weird that anyone can access any region's PSN Store, but not the online social networking hub. We can only assume that similar restrictions as on the store will be made for purchasing within Home. That is to say, if you're a UK credit card owner you won't be able to spend anything in the US Home without some jiggery pokery.

Obviously, this all makes sense to Sony. Home is meant to be a big income generator for them; mostly through advertising. They want the most appropriate eyes to see these adverts in order to maximise the "click through" rate. There's no point advertising Mountain Dew to a UK citizen, for example. But console-specific region locking is not the answer. At the very least, set up an IP location check or, god forbid, give people a choice.


Aug 14, 2008

SEGA has quite an original, complex, and deep gaming experience with Valkyria Chronicles. If you've read through our hands-on from E3, you probably don't need us to remind you of that. However, when will our fellow North Americans get the chance to play it? The answer to that is: soon, or, November 11 to be exact.

In addition to a release date, Siliconera has spoken with associate producer Christopher Kaminski for some further info on the North American version. The DLC from the original Japanese game won't be on the NA disc; however, that DLC hasn't been denied for future downloads either. For those who like Japanese voice acting, you'll be happy to know that a Japanese audio option is included. With Valkyria Chronicles out this November and Disgaea 3 out later this month, it looks like S-RPG fans will have their hands full this fall.


Leipzig Games Convention is almost upon us and Sony is making sure that their well anticipated game: LittleBigPlanet is the talk of the town. They had covered an entire building with the adorable characters from the PS3 exclusive. This huge tribute to a game might be an eyesore to some people if it were anything else then LittleBigPlanet. This is sure to be a topseller when it is available to the public and the pre-orders for this game are outstanding.

Note: You can always pre-order LittleBigPlanet here at Playstation Access.

There's always stories that circulate the Internet about "stolen PS3s" and there's always one that separates them from all the others; this is that one.

A man stole a PS3 system from a St. Louis EB Games store at gunpoint and told the store clerk that he needed the system to "save his family". According to the KSDK, the theif told the clerk that "his family was being held hostage" and only the PS3 would save them. So now the PS3 is no longer a full-out entertainment system it's a life saver, now can the Xbox 360 do that?

The police arrived at the store when the their had already left. Was this guy a real victim of a henace crime that the PS3 could only undo or was he just a man looking to tell an interesting story the next time someone asks him how he got his PS3; no one will know til the police capture him.

The guys at Criterion love the PS3. Their most recent game, Burnout Paradise was developed first on PS3, and has met a number of free updates that continue to expand the change the gameplay experience. EA has just announced that Burnout Paradise will also be available as a downloadable game from the PS Store this Fall with the standard MSRP of $30. The downloadable version of Burnout Paradise will include all the updates released so far, and will hopefully include Trophies by the time of this digital re-release.

Fiona Sperry, Studio Manager for Criterion Games, said, "Our mission at Criterion is to provide the most entertaining gaming service possible. In order to do that, it's key that we have the ability to deliver content to players in ways that work for them - through quick and easy download or via traditional bricks and mortar. For us, the fun is in playing the game with friends and constantly discovering new surprises in the world. Download packs with meaningful new gameplay are the perfect way for us to keep entertaining fans and keep them playing, even months after launch."


Ben Judd, a producer of Bionic Commando: Rearmed, has revealed to PlayStation.Blog the nature of the "VERY cool surprise" Capcom mentioned early last month for the PSN version of the game. It seems to be "an exclusive challenge room" that will "make for bragging rights" due to the difficult nature of the stage.

The post also unveils another medal, called Faster than a Speeding Bullet. To achieve this medal, the player must block 100 projectiles using the Bionic Arm. Like the last medal revealed, these medals seem to correspond to this list of Achievements. Most likely, when the game is patched with Trophies, that list won't look too different.

Finally, Capcom mentions that Street Fighter Alpha will also be available today on the PSN. For those of you who felt that this wasn't the Street Fighter surprise you were hoping for, there might be something else planned for us. "Some of you may be asking, 'Come on John D, was that's it?' Um, if I say more, the PR team will kick my a$$, so I'll leave it as a definitely, maybe." What could this mean? Oh, Capcom! You are such a tease!


Think you've seen the last of Overlord? Think again. Codemasters has announced that a sequel, Overlord II, is now in development at Triumph Studios. The game will retain the same gameplay of the first title, whilst increasing the scale of the game dramatically. Emphasis seems to be on epic battles between The Overlord and his minions and a new, Roman-esque, civilization that has set out to thwart him.

Minions are now able to ride into battle on various different creatures and the environments are promised to vary far more than in the original. Overlord was a pretty decent title, considering how early in this generation's cycle it was released, so we're looking forward to finding more about Overlord II between now and its 2009 release.


Not a bad wee update today. While there are no full PSN games to grab today, there are a pair of PS1 games and three demos to check out. This should keep you ticking over until next week. Or at least later today when the American PSN update hits. Here's the full release list:

Store Upgrade

A - Z listings in "All Games" section
Playable Content

Driver PS1 game (£3.49/€4.99)
Sheep PS1 game (£3.49/€4.99)
Tiger Woods 09 demo (free)
Facebreaker demo (free)
Monster Madness demo (free)

Add-on Content

NASCAR 09 Car Skin pack 1 (£1.99/€2.99)
NASCAR 09 Car Skin pack 2 (£1.99/€2.99)
NASCAR 09 Car Skin pack 3 (£1.99/€2.99)
NASCAR 09 Montreal (£2.99/€3.99)


E3 - In conversation with Shuhei Yoshida
Fatal Inertia EX trailer


If you're a member of the PlayStation Underground, you might have been selected to join an early private beta for Resistance 2, which -- as we've been told -- many lucky gamers have already downloaded and are currently playing. However, this doesn't mean that everyone who had plans to join the beta can get in at this time.

If your golden ticket is through Qore, you won't be able to join the fight. It looks like you'll still have to wait for the scheduled "late September" date which is for the open beta. In the meantime, you can distract yourself with this new Resistance 2 site. Just don't click on "Beta Info" -- it'll just remind you that you can't get in.


Aug 13, 2008

To people who truly care about movies, the Criterion Collection needs no introduction. The company's deep library of meticulously produced and packaged DVD titles speaks for itself, specializing in art-house fare like Stranger Than Paradise, Mishima, and Au revoir les enfants as well as lesser-known international, documentary, and cult films.

In "Meeting the Criterion," we detailed the company's plans to outfit its new Manhattan screening room/home theater for high-def video and high-rez audio playback while it waited out the Blu-ray Disc/HD DVD format war. When the war ended, Criterion wasted no time pushing forward with Blu-ray (see "Criterion Goes Blu"). And with some guidance from Sound & Vision, it also moved ahead on installing the new screening room.

When we last checked, technical director Lee Kline, video editor Chris Ramey, and director of DVD development David Phillips were scanning a list of equipment recommendations that S&V had made for them following a visit to Criterion's new Park Avenue South digs. Three guidelines had been laid out for the project: 1) The system had to incorporate the latest advances in consumer technology. 2) It couldn't be crazy expensive. 3) It had to be easy enough to use that any employee could bop by, flip in a disc, and instantly start watching a movie. Basically, those guidelines are the same things that anyone would expect from their custom home theater.

Most installation plans begin by choosing a video display, and this one was no exception. Both Chris and I had caught a presentation by all-purpose video guru Joe Kane at the 2007 CEDIA Expo and had come to the same conclusion: The new Kane-designed Samsung SP-A800B 1080p DLP front projector was a must-have.

As DVD collectors well know, the portion of Criterion's catalog that's devoted to classic black-and-white films is unmatched in its scope and quality. This crew sure takes black-and-white seriously! So, apparently, does Joe, who was screening an HD-DVD of Casablanca when I walked into the Samsung room at CEDIA. Black-and-white material can ruthlessly reveal any problems with a video projector or screen, so it's rare to see products demonstrated at trade shows using classic movie discs. But Joe's confidence in his projector's performance was so strong that he had Casablanca in regular rotation.

To make a long story shorter, Joe and Samsung agreed to provide Criterion with one of the first production samples of the SP-A800B for its installation. And Joe, who's also known in A/V circles as the creator of the Digital Video Essentials test disc, signed on to visit Criterion's headquarters after the installation was finished to calibrate and tweak the projector.

At his recommendation, Criterion acquired a 9-foot-wide (123-inch-diagonal) Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek 130 projection screen — yet another product he had a hand in designing. The list of other gear that Criterion selected for its theater includes a Denon AVR-3808CI receiver, an Axiom Epic 80/500 speaker system, an Anchor Bay DVDO VP50 Pro video processor with HD SDI option, and a Sony PlayStation 3 for Blu-ray Disc playback. The whole thing is controlled by a Logitech Harmony 890 remote.


Found on the USK (the German equivalent of America's ESRB) is a brand new PS3 title coming from Sony Computer Entertainment: Savage Moon. There are few details out about this game; however we can except it to be a military strategy game, since it is published by SCE. Look for this as an exclusive PS3 title. The Leipzig Games Convention is not long away, this would be a perfect place to make a few surprise announcements.

Yeah, we all know the story -- Brett Favre pulling a fast one out of retirement and signing up with the Jets. While football fans may have been ecstatic over the news, it was a move that left Maddenites with an outdated cover for Madden NFL 09. However, not wanting fans to remain disappointed, EA has a backup play to counter Favre's surprise blitz.

If you head on over to EA's website, you can download a free, brand new cover for Madden 09 which features Favre sporting a Jets uniform. The covers are high quality PDFs, so you just have to make sure you have a good printer and some glossy paper to make the cover look legit. Might want to stop by Kinkos for that. Download the cover and replace it with the old one if you so desire.


Did you buy NovaStrike only to find yourself stuck on the first or second level? Fret no longer, as the game's massive update is nearly here. We chatted with Kevin McCann of Tiki Games about what to expect from this near redesign of the game.

"I'm really hoping the update helps a lot of existing owners that are frustrated with the difficulty to enjoy the game," he said. "I've spent a *lot* of time on tuning the difficulty (particularly on RECRUIT and SOLDIER), and brought more folks through to play it, so this should be closer to the mark in being accessible from very casual to hardcore gamers (and believe me - I'm still including a challenging mode for those that want it)."

As far as Trophies go, they've been implemented into the game and will activate when the update becomes available. There are 16 Trophies - 12 bronze and four silver. Among the bronze Trophies are three with secret requirements. Be on the lookout for a full Trophy listing later this week.

The update will be submitted to Sony for approval in the very near future. In fact, it may have already been submitted in the 13 hours since I spoke with McCann. Basically, expect to see it live fairly soon.

Here's the complete list of changes that you'll see in the update:

* Difficulty - Tuned to be easier in existing modes while adding a HARDCORE mode for those that really want a challenge
* Fully Customizable Controls - A secondary control layout that has an alternate control mapping scheme will be included, but you'll also be able to customize the controls to your liking -- you can map weapon selection to face buttons and/or the digital pad, put the afterburner on a trigger, etc.
* Trophies - 16 total Trophies, 12 broze and four silver, will be added
* Player ship - The Scythe will be larger in size
* Fine Aim mode - Those having trouble lining up the Shredder and/or Trembler bomb will be able to hold a button down to slow down the Scythe's turning which this makes lining up on ground targets a lot easier
* Megapacks and repair packs - Will now replenish the capacitor bar for the afterburner
* Slight performance increase - Overall game optimized slightly


Way back in mid-April, still several months before The Dark Knight would begin its domination at the box office, we published a report regarding the film's future on Blu-ray Disc. More specifically, the report predicted a December 9 release date.

We've now received word from our trusty friends over at that Warner is indeed planning to release The Dark Knight December 9 on Blu-ray Disc per an early retailer sales sheet.

Obviously Warner has not officially announced The Dark Knight coming Blu-ray and anything can and sometimes does change.

As of right now it's looking pretty good that The Dark Knight is prepared to land on December 9 and cap off what should be a strong holiday sales season for the Blu-ray Disc format.

We'll pass along the official Warner announcement and all related goodies like disc specs and cover art immediately upon receipt.


Aug 12, 2008

The situation regarding a video game based on "The Dark Knight" is slightly confusing: unlike most other games based on movies that release right around the time of the film, we have no game for the latest Batman movie. However, actor Gary Oldman confirmed its existence in an interview last month, and now we're just wondering: what kind of game will this be, and when will it arrive?

We're still not sure about the latter, but rumors are starting to pop up about the type of gameplay we can expect. According to a rumor reported on by Kotaku, the ever-popular Grand Theft Auto sandbox style may be coming our way, as the Dark Knight may seek to take a bite out of crime in a free-roaming city. Batman has plenty of cool gadgets and vehicles at his disposal so the idea should work out just fine, but it's a theme that seems to be popping up in a lot of superhero games... If this information is true, we'll be looking for more in the way of true freedom and yes, if we can use that Batmobile out on the open streets of Gotham, it'll impress us. Hopefully, whoever is handling this game will hand out some details soon, although we may have some time to wait. Oldman hinted that we could probably expect the title to arrive at about the time the movie comes out to buy on Blu-Ray.

Given all this extra time, a GTA-style Batman could be absolutely awesome. Let's just hope that the developers are using the time to make a game that lives up to the quality of the movie.


The upcoming PSN-exclusive follow-up to the successful Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction will be available for the masses soon: August 21st, to be exact. Many have been wondering how large the download would be, considering Tools of Destruction took advantage of the incredible space offered by Blu-ray. Those interested in downloading the upcoming game should know that Quest for Booty clocks in at slightly over 2GB, or 2.3GB to be precise.

While that’s a large download, that’s only slightly larger than most episodes of Qore and a few demos. Hopefully, it’ll take longer to play the game (about 3-4 hours) than it does to download it.

G-Frag: Gaming Protal

Remember that sweet little Kratos SackBoy? It's one of the promotional pieces of virtual merchandise SCEA has planned for the LittleBigPlanet launch in October, and at the time, we were wondering which retailers would be embracing which extras.

Well, GameStop now has pre-order information, and that's where you need to go if you want that Kratos costume for the game's adorable and versatile main character. This isn't an actual SackBoy doll; it's an in-game bonus you will receive by using the downloadable voucher code you get from GameStop. The costume itself has four individual components - a Kratos skin, goatee, clothing, and of course, those deadly Blades of Athena - which can be mixed and match any way you see fit. However, if this doesn't interest you, perhaps you'd like to pre-order from Amazon instead; they're offering a Brady Games strategy guide, which was described at the official PlayStation blog as "a primer for LittleBigPlanet's CREATE tools and provides users with a quick tutorial to begin developing their own levels."

As for the rest of the stuff, like the LittleBigStickerBook or that Nariko costume, we have no details as of yet. They may not come via per-order campaigns from retailers; we'll have to keep an eye on what transpires. LittleBigPlanet mania is already starting!


News has just come in that LucasArts upcoming Star Wars game, The Force Unleashed will not support the Playstation 3’s Trophy system.

We contacted Adam Kahn, LucasArts Senior PR Manager for confirmation and he responded with:

“The Force Unleashed does not support the trophy system on PS3. I can’t speculate about what might happen in the future, though.”

Could we be seeing Trophies in a future update? All we know is that the game won’t support Trophies when it’s released.

That doesn’t give you a reason not to buy the game because it looks brilliant. The game is scheduled to be released in September.

Are you going to buy it? Do Trophies mean a lot to you?

Pre-Order Star Wars Unleashed Here At Playstation Access

Glen Khaner was the unfortunate soul that was selected for this week's injection on the Resistance 2 ARG website Project Abraham. He died a horrific death in the latest video. What separates Khaner death from any other so far is if you examine his dossier, it shows a transcribed conversation he had with Nathan Hale, he admits that he intentionally failed a placement exam in order for him to be sent to Alaska. If you listen closely to Dr. Aklin's recordings she mentions her past relationship she had with Glen where she "broke his heart" and talks about the guilt she is feeling as she falls for Hale. This is when one realizes Khaner entered Project Abraham just so he could be in the proximity of Alkin.

Hale's induction video is now available to view as he is one of the candidates for injection. Currently, he is steady at 76%. Who are you voting for this week? Hale's induction video is now viewable and he is one of the candidates for injection.

America First America Only's (AFAO) weekly newsletter uncovers more secret government plans; the abandonment of US coastlines in the event of an invasion. Schematics of a fortress the government intents on sending people to in the case of an attack are presented to us. Accusations of brainwashing TV signals, as well a list of people who sent in tips last week can be seen on the back of the newsletter. Check it out here.

Despite Mr. Sony Europe, David Reeves, telling the world that PlayTV would be with us as soon as September 10th, Eurogamer has been told by SCEE that the device will now not be available until the 19th. Reeves also stated a price of €99, which has also been confirmed false. PlayTV will now set you back £69.99. A much better price point than the originally rumored £100.

In case you're not aware, PlayTV is an add-on for the PS3 which will allow you to watch and record SD and HD freeview channels. You will be able to watch and record separate channels at the same time and even play games while recording is taking place. This is a Europe-only device, however, thanks to something that involves a lot of very technical TV jargon.


Many of you are antispating the release of LittleBigPlanet, and are discouraged that it keeps on being delayed.

But the title is supposedly coming out this October. And if Sony has their way, Sackboy, the title's star, will be huge.

"We want 'LittleBigPlanet' to lead the charge into a new genre of gaming and turn Sackboy into the next emblematic character for the PS3," said Sony product marketing manager Mark Valledor in an interview with Ad Age.

"We have coined 2008 'the year of the PS3' and are confident that with the launch of "LittleBigPlanet," we will continue to see the momentum build throughout the end of this year and on to the next. ... This is a very big title for us."

Just keep LBP on schedule this time, Sony. That's all we ask
Note: Remember you can pre-order LittleBigPlanet here at Playstation Access.

Aug 11, 2008

Above are 19 new screenshots of the two player co-op mode seen in upcoming World War II game, Call of Duty: World at War. They look quite impressive and are sure to please. The game is scheduled to be released in November 2008.

We can hope no longer. It just hurts too much. As of today, we at PSX Extreme believe the dream is dead: the idea of a Final Fantasy VII remake or sequel for the PlayStation 3 has flat-lined in our minds.

It suffered the biggest blow yet when the supposed "big FFVII-related announcement" at Square-Enix's private party last month turned out to be nothing more than a Final Fantasy XIII demo that will come with next year's Blu-Ray release of "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete." It's good news, but it's hardly what we were looking for. And then there was the uber-lame rumor that Final Fantasy VII for the PS3 mysteriously popped up on Best Buy's computer with a release date of August 16. We heard about it, and told you about it (that's our job), but it was just painful to even acknowledge. Talk about grasping at straws. And it was then that we realized- all we've ever done for years is grasp at straws! Everything we may have heard from Square-Enix regarding the possibility of a remake or sequel was either grossly exaggerated, misinterpreted, or simply false from top to bottom. Over and over, the company has said they have no plans to undertake any such project, and that's where it ends.

Yes, that's where it does end. As much as we want it, we have now resigned ourselves to the fact that it will never happen. We're just sick and tired of getting our hopes up, only to see them dashed, over and over. And in retrospect, those hopes continued to spring from completely unfounded reports; pipe dreams, is really what they were. So no more. Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, gamers of every age and type, we hereby pronounce the Final Fantasy VII remake and/or sequel PS3 rumor to be dead. May it rest in peace. 'sniff'


We all have noticed the lack of PS One games on the North American PS Store and we are all wondering when the rest of them will be available for us to purchase. We are in luck, because the original Street Fighter Alpha will be coming to the PSN this Thursday. For all of you who may not know what Street Fighter Alpha is; it is part of the Street Fighter series and it was the title that prequeled the main Street Fighter game, informing us of the warriors' back stories.

If you didn't get a chance to play this game or just decided not to purchase it for the PS One. This is your chance to give the classic game a try. This Thursday during the weekly scheduled PS Store update, Street Fighter Alpha will be available for download onto your PS3 or your PSP. There hasn't been much word from Capcom in regards to the price for this particular game but I can imagine it is going to be in the same neighbourhood as the rest of the PS One games we have seen on the PSN.

There's one downloadable game that's been the talk of everyone in the industry lately: PixelJunk Eden Braid. Unfortunately, PS3 owners are currently unable to try the XBLA game that has gripped so many gamers. The puzzle-platform game has been praised by critics for its innovative and satisfying puzzles which involve the manipulation of time.

According to GameFocus, Braid may arrive on PSN later on, once a timed exclusivity contract with Microsoft is finished. Johnathan Blow, developer of the game, also added that while a PSN version is possible, a WiiWare version is not, due to the system's limited memory resources. Hopefully, with enough fanfare from PS3 owners, we'll be able to see Braid on our system in the not-too-distant future.


The critically-acclaimed racing game GRID is currently on sale for $39.99 for today only. With a respectable score of 88 over at Metacritic, the game is a must-have if you are a driving-sim fan. With the full version of Gran Turismo 5 supposedly not due till 2010, this game should help tide you over for the time being. Take advantage of this deal here.


While the PlayStation Network cards are indeed available at several relatively obscure retailers around the world, they're not yet on sale at places like GameStop. However, as we gather more evidence of the PSN cards popping up in a variety of new places, it seems obvious that gamers will soon be able to purchase them just about anywhere.

Thanks to one reader, we now know of another store that currently carries the PSN card: AAFES, or Army Air Force Exchange Services. The picture here shows the $20 and $50 PSN cards on sale in just such a location, and it seems we can also expect the cards to be available at NEX (Navy Exchange Services) stores as well. If you are a member of either armed services branch, you have access to such places, or if you know a member, they can get you a visitor's pass. It's good to know that, at the very least, Sony is taking care of the guys in the service, and this should indicate a more widespread distribution of the long-awaited PSN cards. If you're not yet familiar, the cards act very much like a pre-paid telephone card; you simply pay for the amount on the card any way you wish, return home, and dump the money into your PSN Wallet. From there, you can use the funds to purchase whatever you like on the Store.

AAFES and NEX retailers are located throughout the U.S. and in other countries, so if you are in the military or know someone in the military, perhaps you could score a few of these cards right now. But in the meantime, we'll continue to gather up as much information as we can; it shoudn't be much longer before they're commonly sold everywhere.


When Electronic Arts announced the retired Brett Favre as its 20th anniversary cover boy, it looked like the notorious "Madden" curse - which had mangled the careers of Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb and Shaun Alexander - was finally broken.

But when Favre decided to play again and was traded from the Packers to the New York Jets, it looked like the Curse simply reversed onto EA itself.

By the time the dust had settled, "Madden" (EA Sports, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, $59.99; Wii, $49.99; PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, $39.99; Nintendo DS, $29.99), the mega-selling football video-game franchise's latest installment was too far into production to switch Favre's wardrobe. You'll be able to download rosters that feature Favre as Jets quarterback, and Gang Green diehards will be able to download a fresh "Madden" cover that puts the superstar in a New York uniform.

But all this chaos has distracted EA Sports from promoting "Madden 09" the way it would like: as the 20th anniversary edition of the longest-running franchise in sports video games. EA has always delivered new features in each installment, but this year it's going long, stuffing nearly a dozen fresh game modes and gimmicks into the package. (I reviewed the Xbox 360 version; your mileage on other consoles may vary.)

One of the problems in a series with so much history is that it can be somewhat daunting to a newcomer. Many of the new features in "Madden 09" are geared toward helping the novice. For example, play selection can be as simple or as deep as you want it. At the easiest level, the computer will select your plays for you. Later on, you can arrange your playbook by play type (power run, quick pass) rather than by sometimes confusing formations like Z slant wide corner or double Z LB spy.

You start off with the Madden Test, which gauges your skill in passing, running, pass defense and run defense, then adjusts the game's difficulty to your strengths and weaknesses. Each time you play a game, your skill level is adjusted according to your performance. If you're particularly weak in one area, you can go to the Virtual Trainer, a holodeck-like gridiron, and bone up on the necessary skills. I'm hoping all this will put a stop to the 56-7 blowouts my brother's been inflicting on me for the last 10 years.

A few more in-game features let you learn from your mistakes. Instead of kicking yourself over that end zone interception, you can hit the Rewind button and try the play again. Or you can watch a Backtrack video, in which the game shows you how you could have salvaged a botched play. "Madden 09" also does a great job with onscreen menus that provide a helpful guide to all your options at the line of scrimmage.

The Franchise mode, where you lead a team through one season or more, has some nice upgrades as well. In Franchise Rivalry games against division rivals, the pressure is ratcheted up and everything becomes a little more difficult. (Difficulty also gets ramped up in the playoffs and Super Bowl.) For the truly hardcore, the Front Office mode lets you take charge of every aspect of your organization, from salaries to scouting.

I didn't have the chance to check out the online play, which offers one major addition: Online Leagues, which allow up to 32 competitors to create their own league in which they can draft and trade players and play any games on the schedule in any order they like.

Finally, there are Madden Moments, in which you can try to duplicate some of the most memorable events from the 2007-08 NFL season, like Devin Hester's two-touchdown-return game or David Tyree's catch in the Giants' Super Bowl comeback over the Patriots.

"Madden 09" brings back a variety of the more successful innovations of the last few years, such as the Weapons icons that spotlight individual players' unique talents; Ben Roethlisberger, for example, has the Cannon Arm, while Plaxico Burress has the Spectacular Catch. And the Superstar mode, in which you can build your own career from pre-draft workouts to Hall of Fame induction, is one of the most addictive challenges in any sports game.

As you'd expect, "Madden 09" looks better than ever, with high-definition graphics that come awfully close to the level of a network broadcast. The audio has undergone the most jarring change: Al Michaels, the veteran TV broadcaster, is gone, and John Madden himself has been demoted to the halftime show and the training levels. Their replacements in the booth, the bland Tom Hammond and the insufferable Cris Collinsworth, are poor substitutes.

The post-game recap: If you're a longtime "Madden" fan, you don't need me to tell you to buy this. If you're a newcomer, or if you just haven't played "Madden" in a few years, now is a good time to give it a fresh look. Three-and-a-half stars out of four.


NOTE: You can order 20th-anniversary 'Madden NFL' here at Playstation Access.


The PS3 version of Alone in the Dark is going to make it's way onto Playstation 3 in November, but it's August and November is a long time away. The earliest time that gamers will have a chance to get their hands on the game is from August 21st til the 24th when the Games Convention 2008 is held in Leipzif, Germany. It will be the first time that the public will get to try out the newly "enhanced" PS3 version.

Atari is not releasing much on these "enhancements", the enhancements are supposed to clean up the bugs found on the already-released versions of the game that are out on the other major systems. They should also fix the issues with the gameplay and the enhancements are going to add some "enhanced gameplay". To find out if these are true we will have to see how Leipzig plays out.

Dustin Waller fiancee bought him a Playstation 3 at a Cleveland game retailer. The gaming system was used but it was Playstation 3 and he really wanted to get his hands on one for some time. But the Playstation that his wife had purchased for him just happen to be stolen.

Police then appeared on Waller's door step shortly after the purchase and they inquired as to how he had acquired this Playstation system. According to the Salisbury Post, the police tracked the system whether Dustin had turned on the particular playstation because the previous owner had programmed the PS3 to auto login when the system was turned on. By tracking Waller's IP address, they were able to find him.

Waller is not the culprit in this ordeal but the police nonetheless confiscated his system. The police returned the PS3 and are still looking for the culprit that had stolen it in the first place. Waller was given compensation from the store; and out of all things they had offered him an XBOX 360. "Waller is appreciative of the offer from the store but notes the Xbox isn't nearly as expensive or sophisticated as the Playstation"

Copyright and piracy issues are a huge issue at the moment, with people objecting the adoption of what looks like a draconian international copyright regime, ACTA ( the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement).

It was a nice change to see Sony Europe CEO David Reeves speaking out on the tardiness of PSP game releases to even English-speaking countries like the UK and Australia. He was quoted saying "You can wait for it and you can have it in good quality, you know you can get the stuff from Bittorrent if you want to".

It was refreshing to hear that, especially from a person in such high stature, its too bad that Reeves' views are not shared by all at Sony.

Aug 10, 2008

The debut trailer for Star Trek Online was showcased today at the Las Vegas Hilton during the Official Star Trek Convention. It is now available for you to watch from the comfort of your home.

Sony Computer Entertainment is having a event this summer for its well anticipated community game LittleBigPlanet for the Playstation 3 in Odiaba Tokyo. The release date for Japan is October 30th. Remember you can always pre-order LittleBigPlanet here at Playstation Access.

This week's Blu-Ray releases gives the consumer a variety of movie choices.

7 Seconds
The Doors
Half Past Dead
Kiss of the Spider Woman
Maximum Risk
Prison Break - Season Three
Smart People
The Ten Commandments
XXX: State of the Union

Electronic Arts has officially announced this week the development of Godfather II. For those of you that cannot wait for this well anticipated release here are some screenshots to serve that craving for Godfather II.

Playstation Access Diseñado por Wpdesigner y adaptado por Zona Cerebral