Hands-on with Core Blaster & PSN code giveaway

Let’s jump right in, shall we?  Core Blaster is a recently released minis game for both the PSP and PS3.  To celebrate the recent launch of the game, the developers have given me 10 PSN codes to give away to my readers.

Core Blaster can best be described as Zuma-meets-PixelJunk Monsters.  On each level there are incoming waves of radioactive cores that you’ve got to stop reaching the other side, and they travel on rails.  Along these rails you’ve to purchase and build ‘core blasters’.  Cores come in multiple colours, and core blasters can only shoot cores of the same colour.

Later levels see single colour-only rails, and fast rails which speed up the cores.  The trick is that you’ve to carefully manage the location, amount, and type of blasters to ensure that as few cores as possible elude destruction.  Each blaster can only attack one core at once, so you’ve got to choose tactics wisely!

Continue reading Hands-on with Core Blaster & PSN code giveaway

Uncharted universe expands with Eye of Indra

You all (should) know by now that I love the Uncharted series.  So when a new four-part motion comic series called Uncharted: Eye of Indra hit the PlayStation Store, I was all over it.  What’s strange is that apart from a couple of mentions, Eye of Indra has been relatively under-promoted.  Maybe Naughty Dog is just testing the water at this stage?

For Uncharted fans Eye of Indra is a must buy.  The motion comic series is a prequel (note: yes, its canon) to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune containing some enlightening back story for Nathan Drake, a plot twist, and at least one person you’re not going to expect.  Apparently this particular series is just the first of many, which is a decision I applaud.  This means that Uncharted fans can quench their thirst with an Uncharted game every couple of years with extra multiplayer DLC and motion comics to flesh out the Uncharted universe in-between games.

I got the Uncharted: Eye of Indra Multiplayer Skin Pack which includes all four parts of the motion comic and two Uncharted 2 multiplayer skins, although you can get the episodes separately if you really want to. The skins pack contains Rika for the heroes and Pinkerton for the villains.  Go check it out!

I’m not usually one for speculating, but what the heck.  Time to move on to a bit of speculation: maybe all the motion comics will simply fill in the gaps between each Uncharted game?  That leads me to guess that another series could fill in the pieces between Drake’s Fortune and Among Thieves, with another series set after Among Thieves, rather like a sandwich.  A very tasty sandwich.

I’ve dismissed the possibility of Naughty Dog taking the Uncharted series into the ahem, mostly ‘uncharted’ waters of episodic gaming.  Sure, GTA IV’s episodes seem to have worked out all right, Criterion went purely down the DLC route, but Half-Life 2’s episodes are taking a long time to deliver.  I think the DLC/episodic content for Fallout 3 is probably the best example of this sort of idea done right.  However for Uncharted’s linear gameplay, in my personal opinion it isn’t worth Naughty Dog’s time and money to go down this particular route.  Their current setup seems to be working out well so far.

Have you bought any DLC?  If so, was it worth it?

PlayStation Network gets video

It’s here!  It’s finally here!  Video will be available to purchase/rent on the PlayStation Store tomorrow (19th), or as SCEE like to call it: the video delivery service.  I accidentally came across the information just now when reading a SCEE press release on one of my old email accounts.  In the future, I can see myself using this service a lot.  Neat.

Hands-on with Zuma for the PlayStation Network

Zuma is another one of Pop Cap Games’ classics that has made its way on to the PlayStation Store.  In  contrast with Bejeweled 2, I haven’t had previous gaming experience with this strange new animal.  So much so in fact, I discover that this game isn’t new at all, its a few years old, which figures.

The gameplay however, is what I’d like to describe as ‘hardcore classic’.  It’s one of those games where the controls and the gameplay are just so ‘spot on’ that all that’s stopping your progression or high scores is your gaming ability.  This allows for some serious hardcore gaming sessions, the likes of which I don’t think I’ll be able to muster!  Why?  Read on…

The concept of Zuma (like many classic games) is simple.  There are different colured balls following a winding track that eventually leads to a skull where upon arrival at the skull: it’s game over.  Standing between you and almost certain doom is a friendly little frog (which I guess is either Aztec or Mayan in origin, hence the name ‘Zuma’ but that’s not particularly important when considering the merits of the game) which you can spin in any direction, firing out the same coloured balls from it’s mouth.  Match 3 or more of the same coloured balls in a row, and the snaking coloured balls that you matched will disappear whilst the remaining balls making their way to the skull will be pulled backwards to close the gap, giving you precious extra time.

Continue reading Hands-on with Zuma for the PlayStation Network

For all new PS3 owners

Updated 27th June 2009

Want inspiration for what to do initially as a new PS3 owner?  Step right this way… I’ve jotted some points down covering various areas that might be of use, and tips that I’ve found helpful to get up and running quickly, but also to provide the most enjoyment:

  • The first switch-on– immediately get connected to the internet either by a wired or wireless connection.  You might need a system update for a start, and it’s pretty much essential for updating your games with the latest patches/improvements.  (See http://ps3explained.com/ if you want clear and detailed guidance.)
  • Sign up to the PlayStation Network (it’s free!) and get yourself a PlayStation Network ID, which will give you access to the PlayStation Store, the ability to start collecting Trophies, PlayStation Home and most crucially perhaps, the ability to play against other people online.
  • Try a great game– Now is the time to try a great game that will show off what the PS3 is all about: personally, I’d recommend Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, LittleBigPlanet, and Metal Gear Solid 4, to name but a few.  Visuals like you’ve never seen before.  At least rent one of these titles!  If you’d like a wider selection to choose from, and you’re in a bit of a hurry, you can’t go far wrong with No Fuss Reviews.
  • Stay in the loop– If you want the inside scoop straight from the horse’s mouth, than you can do no better than paying PlayStation.Blog.US and PlayStation.Blog.Europe a visit.  For regular news, there’s Joystiq and TheSixthAxis.  Or for a more personal take on everything there’s always good old reliable Los Havros.  Ahem.
  • Go beyond– The beauty about gaming on the PS3 is that the experience is as deep and rich as you want it to be: sample free demos or purchase extra content on the PlayStation Store, mix and mingle with people in PlayStation Home, go it alone in-game, or go out and play on the PlayStation Network.  For those feeling a bit philanthropic, then do some good with your PS3 and number-crunch protein folding for Folding@Home that is contained within Life With PlayStation.
My top tip: Want to chat to other gamers online, but don’t have a PlayStation headset?  If you have a bluetooth headset for your mobile phone lying around, charge it up and sync it with your PS3.  Sorted!

LocoRoco 2 free PlayStation Store Goodies

LocoRoco 2 free PlayStation Store Goodies– Yup, you heard it- free LocoRoco 2 goodies!  They’re starting off with PSP wallpapers, and there might be some other cool stuff on the way.  Just look at that MuiMui on a rocking horse.  Way.  Too.  Freaking.  Cute.

Thoughts on Super Stardust Portable

I don’t really know what I was expecting from the PSP version of this great game, but I fancied killing a few birds with one stone: using the PlayStation Store naitively on the PSP, then buying and running a downloadable game.

Before I get ahead of myself, I’ll just give you the lowdown.  Super Stardust HD was the blockbuster PlayStation Network title of 2007 which attracted plenty of attention in 2008 by being the first game ever on the PS3 to support Trophies by means of a patch.

Super Stardust Portable aims to capture the essence of its bigger brother, and share the magic on the small screen with PSP gamers.  I have to admit that I don’t really see much of what captured my attention with the first game, in this portable version.  Read on, and I’ll tell you why…

Continue reading Thoughts on Super Stardust Portable

Shoot! away

Hello there everyone, I’ve been contacted by the good guys at PlayStation about Shoot!  Without further ado, I present the info straight from the horse’s mouth:

I was just browsing your blog and thought that this would be of interest to you and your readers. It’s an online project for PlayStation 3 called Shoot!.

It brings six of the most promising international directorial talents together with the six of the most respected names in the film industry today, to make six short films commissioned exclusively for PlayStation.

Some of these films are already available and some will be released later this month through the PlayStation Network (available in High Definition through a PS3 or PSP) or 7 days later at www.psshoot.com (in standard definition).

Each week one of the films will be released to download (for free) along with further video content which tells the story of how that film was made, from its pitch to its production and interviews with the respective directors.

This is the kind of rich, value-added content that will entice users to make the most of the PlayStation Network and show that it can provide a wealth of great content, not limited to downloadable games.  I came across Shoot! at the weekend whilst perusing the PlayStation Store, but I didn’t know about this dedicated website.

Aside from the standard ‘this is good for PlayStation’ spiel, the content itself is very interesting and sheds light on how each respective director approached the creative process and the techniques used to achieve their vision.  Even for those who don’t have a PS3, videos are up on www.psshoot.com– well worth a look.

Sony unleashes ‘My PlayStation Network’ on eu.playstation.com

Those of you who visit the European PlayStation site from your home country (in my case, the UK PlayStation site) regularly may have noticed another section of the site that has quietly sneaked its way onto the menu: ‘PSN’.  Quite innocuous you might think, but this new section is quite a significant addition to the site, containing such pages as ‘About’, ‘News’, ‘Events Calendar’, ‘Store’, ‘Community’, ‘Registration’ and ‘My PlayStation Network’.

Whilst some of the above pages I’ve listed had already been tucked away elsewhere on the site, ‘My PlayStation Network’ is a totally new addition.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

My PlayStation Network page
'My PlayStation Network' page

The most exciting feature is the ‘Portable ID‘, a feature that Xbox 360 users have had for a good number of years now in the form of a GamerCard.  This is how Sony describe it:

The Portable ID is your public face in the PlayStation Network community. It contains your PSN avatar, Online ID, current mood, favourite console and more.

Once you have created your Portable ID, you can easily embed the image into forum signatures and websites. We provide you with the code for you to do this.

Over time, the Portable ID will evolve to include Trophies and achievements, so keep an eye on eu.playstation.com for updates.

This is what a Portable ID looks like (you can get your own at http://secure.eu.playstation.com/psn/):

Currently, you can select your favourite game, your preferred console of choice (between PSP, PS2 and PS3), and your current mood.  For now, the list of favourite games to choose from is quite limited for the moment, but it will obviously expand in the coming weeks and months.

Many of you will be disappointed that with the Portable ID you can’t share your trophies and achievements like you can with an Xbox 360 GamerCard, but it is quite exciting that we’ve even got this far.  PS3 gamers have come to expect far less from the PSN than Xbox users might expect from Xbox Live.  However, seen as the PSN is a free service, most PS3 gamers don’t seem to mind.

What is reassuring though, is seeing Sony’s commitment to expanding the features and functionality of the PlayStation Network to rival that of Xbox Live.  We’re getting there, bit by bit.  Gradually, with connectivity such as this, the introduction of Trophies, and the future release of PlayStation Home, the PlayStation Network will take its place amongst the others as being a trully first class online network for gaming.

The Portable ID can be embedded in forum signatures, or any websites and blogs you may have.  I’d love to see what you are doing with your Portable ID- leave a comment with where you’ve put your Portable ID and I’ll take a look!