Tag Archives: PSN Network

An Hour With Gotham City Impostors

The over the top design helps this game from being just another XBLA shooter...

A few days ago, Gotham City Impostors was released as a downloadable title on both Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. You could be forgiven for being unaware of its existence – after all, the invitations to the beta where hidden away in copies of Batman: Arkham City, and I suspect the majority of people forgot about it as they rushed to play through the adventures of the Dark Knight. I downloaded the trial game yesterday, and happily found that it comes with an hour allowance to play against other people online. This is a quick review of what I found the game to be like.

Gotham City Impostors is an online only multiplayer game pitting up to at least eight players against each other. Players are split into two teams; The Bats (a group of vigilantes who fight under Batman’s code – only they use guns instead) & The Jokerz (a gang of crazies who fashion themselves after the Clown Prince Of Crime himself) in a series of game modes, including a traditional Team Deathmatch and Fumigation, which works a bit like Attack/Defend from Team Fortress 2. The game take place from the first person perspective and it is your objective to kill as many of the other guys as possible.

Even from a solitary hour’s gameplay, the influence of titles like the Modern Warfare series stands out. You gain EXP from doing all sorts of stuff including kills, capturing points and winning games, and using a level up system you can unlock new weapons, gadgets and modifications. You can also create custom load-outs and have a customisable ‘calling card’ that your enemies see when you kill them – again think titles and dogtags from MW. Even the control layout is near enough a rip-off of Call Of Duty, right down to using the R3 button to melee and using the bumper buttons to activate special equipment.

What stops Gotham City Impostors from being a complete rip-off is the character the game possesses. It takes a very light hearted approach to the Batman universe – as the gangs can’t afford the money for all the expensive gadgets that Bruce Wayne uses, equipment has a delightfully ‘homemade’ feel to it. You can use a wind up grapple hook to quickly manoeuvre around the maps (which are quite well designed it must be said), and some classes can use roller-skates to launch off ramps and zoom around. Bombs are sticks of dynamite, and to heal team-mates you shout down a microphone. All the while, you exchange hilarious pleasantries with the enemy while you shoot them in the face. It’s all a very fun experience, bound together with a sense of quality and polish you would expect from a game on a disc.

I came away from the trial but a big smile on my face and I must admit I am impressed with Gotham City Impostors – I thought it would be a low effort attempt at a downloadable game when I first heard about it, but Monolith Productions have done a good job. I think it’s a bit pricey at 1200 MS Points, but at least you aren’t getting massively short-changed for the experience. I would very much recommend getting the trial for yourself to test out this crazy little bag of fun.

Mass Effect 3 Gets Confirmed Multiplayer, Skyrim Manual Gets Leaked, And GTAIII Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary

It’s time for another quick update of the biggest news from the game industry, and this week we have hack’s, leaks, and the worst kept secret in gaming to look at, amongst other things:

  • We start with Sony, who have been hit with another batch of rotten luck – because PSN has been hacked again. Even against ridiculous odds, it seems that a group of hackers managed to compromise several thousands of accounts before being locked out by Sony. Credit card details have not been compromised by this hack it seems, which is a relief for those who purchase regularly from PSN. Still, even though this latest event is small fry compared to the debacle of earlier this year, the system (which only last month was proclaimed to be ‘more secure and stronger than ever’ by the CEO) is being compromised again. Stop dropping the ball Sony – do your utter best to keep hackers out of the system
  • Leaks in the industry seem to be commonplace now, and the latest game to have its innards spilt out is The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. The game map has been released across the internet (which looks bloody huge and actually fits in perfectly with the geography of the Cyrodiil map from Oblivion), and someone else has managed to put up a few images of the manual. If nothing else, it confirms my expectations that the game will be massive, and I will have something to read while the disc installs. Good stuff all round
Click for full size image and English names
  • And so about that badly kept secret – Mass Effect 3 is indeed getting multiplayer. Following recent rumours in magazines, Bioware ended the speculation once and for all this week by confirming on its Twitter account that there is a multiplayer component, along with co-op missions. Does the Mass Effect series really need multiplayer? In my opinion, the two games released thus far have been perfectly comfortable as single player instalments, and the addition of multiplayer makes me think that ME3 will be more action orientated than ever, and that it will be even further away from the RPG elements that attracted me to the series in the first place. But I’m just a humble amateur games reviewer, what do I know
  • Twisted Pixel, the studio behind the excellent ‘Splosion Man and The Maw, have been acquired by Microsoft Studios for an undisclosed fee. A wise move on Microsoft’s behalf, because Twisted Pixel are one of the best indie developers around at the moment in my opinion
  • It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years now since the release of GTA3 – a game which turned the sandbox genre on its head. Recently Rockstar announced that it has plans for the tenth anniversary of the game, and surprisingly (given the trend with older games at the moment) it’s NOT a HD remake. Instead, GTA3 will be heading to mobile devices for the first time on October 22nd.
  • Just as I was writing up this article, I came across a new video for Final Fantasy XIII-2, and it might be of interest for those who felt jaded by the first game (you can read my views on the game via my review) – because the new trailer shows a lot of promise for the game. There are open cities full of people, and even some new distractions like gambling on Chocobo races. There is also the chance to get a better look at the enemy of the piece, as well as finding out why Lightning is in new armour for this game.
  • And finally, I leave you with some footage of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Even though I do not own a PS3, I can’t help but be drawn in by this game, and the desert village showed off in the latest video is nothing short of sublime – put the quality to 720p on the link and see just how good it looks. Please Naughty Dog, go back and save Crash Bandicoot when you are done with Uncharted…

I reckon I have had enough hands-on time with FIFA 12 now to get a decent review written up (or in other words, I have played it far too much since its release), so I will hopefully submit that sometime over the weekend. Sadly my dissertation does come first, so please bear with me –any and all support for the blog is very much welcomed.

Happy Birthday For Sonic & Sonic Generations Demo Review

Today marks the day when one of the icons of the gaming industry celebrates its 20th anniversary. Yep, its time to wish a happy 20th birthday to Sonic The Hedgehog; he’s almost as old as me, and a damn sight more successful as well. It seems ridiculous that it was so long ago (June 23rd 1991 to be precise) that gamers were first popping the Sonic The Hedgehog cartridge into their Mega Drive’s and hearing the Green Hill Zone theme for the first time, but time stops for no man…or hedgehog.

One of the true hall of famers in the gaming world

Although I cannot consider myself a true fan of the series (my boyhood mascot was another marsupial, Crash Bandicoot), I can at least appreciate the impact that SEGA’s mascot has had on the gaming world; it was due to the impact of Sonic in 1991 against Nintendo’s Mario that we got the fantastic Mega Drive vs. SNES battle in the early 90’s (which led to the production of some of the finest games ever made and the advancement of the industry as a whole), and over the years he has come to represent all that is good (and bad as well it must be said in recent years) about SEGA. And to celebrate in style, SEGA are giving the world Sonic Generations, a game which aims to recreate the classic Sonic experience and mesh it together with the modern Sonic game that started with Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast.

Now I’ve covered Sonic Generations before on my blog, because it interests me whether or not SEGA can truly bring back the glory days of the franchise; Sonic The Hedgehog 4; which also promised to do the same thing, left a bitter taste in many gamers mouths. Happily, a demo of the first stage (a remake of the iconic Green Hill Zone) was released today for a limited period of 20 days on both Xbox Live Arcade and the PSN Store, and I have had some hands on time with it to see what’s up.

  • First things to notice; the classic menu music is present and accounted for, and there is an option for changing the camera for 3D televisions. Since I still live in the world of 2D, I’ll pass this over for now, but its nice to see they have already incorporated it for a demo. Time to start methinks…
  • The loading screen, which is heavily reminiscent of the original, comes on and boldly states ‘Green Hill’. And we are straight into the action, and they’ve left the classic music! This already improves my opinion of the game (the trailers showed had dance music and stuff).
  • You take control of Classic Sonic for this demo, and the controls are as beautifully simple as they always were: the A button lets you jump, you can spin dash by repeatedly pressing the X button and you move left or right. Everything that was present in the original is here: the rings, the crab and bees that serve as enemies, the bridge with the jumping fish, the spin dash tunnels and those loop-the-loops which stunned people 20 years ago, but then there’s lots more added. There are platforms to jump across which help to break up the level a bit, dynamic camera views on certain parts of the level (including a circular passage of a mountain and a big jump across land), and they even threw in a corkscrew from the Emerald Hill Zone right at the end. If you played the original, I can only think you will be experiencing an acute sense of nostalgia when you play this level.
  • The best thing about the gameplay though is that it feels fast, and that has always been what Sonic should be about. It’s a breakneck run through the level, and at the various checkpoints you get a time for the section that you just passed, encouraging faster runs through the level. If you remain stationary, Sonic will even start looking at the screen and tapping his foot, ready to get going like he did in the originals. A fantastic little touch.
  • There’s only one stage to look at, but my word this game looks good. The backgrounds are fully 3D, and full of colour and animation; you can see the water trickling along in the background as well as the trees swaying in the breeze. The foreground where you do the running also looks pristine as well, the aforementioned dynamic cameras are unobtrusive, and the game manages to keep looking good when Sonic is flying through the tunnels and loop-the-loops. I would be very impressed if the whole game looked like this.
It genuinely looks fantastic in action...perhaps this game can break the 'Sonic Cycle'?

Unfortunately you only get the one stage, but it was enough to leave me coming away with a smile on my face. I went back and played the level a few more times to explore what I had missed, and there’s a lot to look at. I think those who were sceptical of Sonic The Hedgehog 4 will be won over by this. Let’s just hope the rest of the game, and in particular the ‘modern’ stages, don’t let the game down.

So 20 years after its birth, it looks like SEGA have finally got it right again with Sonic Generations. Download the demo now (remember, it’s a limited trial demo) and see for yourself; I would be interested to see what people make of it and you can of course comment on this post to let me know what you think. And if you want more Sonic action, check out my post from yesterday which outlines details of the upcoming deals promotion that will be running on PSN and Xbox Live.

PSN Queries Destroy Google, Buffy Gets Her COD On & Link Gets A 3D Horse

Get ready for another news update from the gaming world: there’s a lot to absorb here.

Strangely, we start with the events of Christmas Day, 2008. How I look back at that day at the moment and thank my lucky stars that I didn’t get a PS3 for a present. Yep, the PSN Network saga is continuing to dominate the headlines everywhere you look at the moment. The main thing to take away is that it is still not working: that makes it six days now that the ‘80710a06’ error code has tormented owners of PS3’s and prevented them from using the online service. Owners are clearly getting frustrated; the error code has become one of the highest searched terms on Google for days now. More worryingly, Sony released a statement today saying that personal details, including credit card details, could have been taken during the furore by hackers. To be honest, there are so many rumours and statements flying around that it has become difficult to keep track of everything. I would recommend the ever competent CVG blog to anyone who wants to know more specifics about what is going down, and the potential ramifications for Sony. My personal view: egg on face is not a strong enough term at the moment.

So about that quick maintenance job Sony...

Its not all doom and gloom for Sony however; the recently released Mortal Kombat and Portal 2 have been a hit with consumers, rising to the top of the PS3 sales charts ahead of Call Of Duty: Black Ops (but more on that game later…). Perhaps surprisingly, the fighter outsold the puzzler on the PS3 this week, whereas on the All Formats chart Portal 2 romped away with the victory, with more than half of its boxed copies being sold on the Xbox 360. Maybe people have been holding off getting Portal 2 on the PS3 because they wish to take advantage of the linkup between Steam and PSN accounts; time (and the recovery of the PSN Network) will tell I suppose.

And on a final note with regards to sales, Nintendo this week announced that their 3DS has shifted over 3.61 million units since its launch in March. It falls short of the estimated 4 million that Nintendo were predicting, but I must say that its still pretty impressive figures that will no doubt have risen even higher by the end of the year, especially if Nintendo can announce some strong titles alongside their new console at E3 in June.

So then, we move to Call Of Duty: Black Ops. There is a new map pack coming out soon. It is called Escalation. Fun

Now I could leave it there, but a video was released today that blew my mind. Activision promised a ‘celebrity’ slant for the new Zombie map, named ‘Call Of The Dead’, and my word they have followed it up. They’ve got the master of the zombie film genre, George Romero, as a super-zombie, and then the four characters you take control of are Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger from the Nightmare On Elm Street series) Michael Rooker (from the Walking Dead), Danny Trejo (from Machete) and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Yep, BUFFY IS KILLING ZOMBIES IN COD. And I thought it couldn’t get any more ridiculous than when JFK and Nixon stuck it to the undead in the White House. Check out the trailer to see for yourselves what carnage they unleash (seriously watch it. It is fantastic). The Escalation Map pack is on sale on May 3rd.

I study History and can confirm this is 100% accurate...

Finally, we move back to the 3DS, and more specifically one game in particular. Do you want a guess? Yep, it’s Ocarina Of Time 3DS. The hype for this game, set for release on June 19th, is immense: a handheld 3D remake of a game that many hold to be the best game of all time; it should be the best thing since whatever came before sliced bread. Anyone who knows me personally however will be aware that I am not a fan of Ocarina Of Time: I prefer A Link To The Past on the SNES. But with each image released I have slowly but surely found myself interested in it, and today we can now see the 3DS version of the famous introduction where Link rides Epona across Hyrule Field, with that wonderful ocarina tune in the background. I will not be getting a 3DS, but I believe that this remake of the Ocarina Of Time may finally change my mind on the game. Maybe.

On a personal note, I have taken a small break over Easter to meet up with old friends, and so my reviews have slowed down a bit. My review of Mother 3 should be up later today or tomorrow, and I will get round to reviewing Metal Gear Solid and Crash Team Racing. It also happens to be the case that my mate has lent me two more games to play on my PS2, in the form of Rogue Galaxy and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. I’ve the first few hours of both and I can report that I am enjoying both, especially Rogue Galaxy which may end up becoming my new favourite RPG.

I’ll catch you all later with more news and reviews. Enjoy the summer weather.

PSN Network Remains Down For A Fourth Day

I do not own a PS3, and so generally I do not follow too much news on the system; every now and again a great PS3 exclusive like Little Big Planet or Uncharted will pique my interest, but usually I tend to focus on news within the world of the Xbox 360. However, over the last few days the news of problems with the PSN network has been too widespread for me to ignore.

From what I can gather, something or someone external to the system has caused the PSN Network to crash, meaning that millions of PS3 owners have been unable to get online for four days and use the many features that the PS3 offers, such as television and film streaming. This is after Sony claimed that the system was undergoing maintenance. The head of communications for Playstation, Patrick Seybold, has recently said that the problem is ‘much more severe’ that initially thought, and that ‘we are working around the clock to bring it back online’. The group of hackers, Anonymous (who have a beef with Sony), have not claimed responsibility for the problems with the network.

I know that several of my friends have a PS3 because of the attraction to what the PSN Network offers: allowing gamers to play online for free, stream the BBC IPlayer and LoveFilm, and download classics from the PSOne store amongst them. The problems with the network must feel like a kick in the balls to them as a result, especially considering a few of them are itching to go online with Portal 2 and try out the co-op mode. It’s not the first time that the PSN Network has gone down as well, and it makes me wonder as someone external to the PS3 community as to how stable a service it is, considering that Xbox Live is for the most part bullet-proof. I also find it ironic that this week Microsoft have offered a free gold upgrade to all its members for a week to experience what their service offers. Sabotage on Microsoft’s behalf perhaps?

Overall, it’s a shame to see PS3 owners suffer from something that is beyond their control, and for their sake I would like to see the PSN Network back up to normal soon. In the meantime, I think I’ll just pop onto Live for an hour or two