Remember Me reviewed

Capcom's game has many memorable moments!

7.1 Surround Sound for the masses

Want cinematic sound quality? Then Mad Catz 720+ may be for you

DayZ: a new approach to survival horror

DayZ, a mod for Arma 2, is unlike any other horror game that came before

Best of the worst bad habits in gaming

Megabits of Gaming takes a look at five of its favourite gaming characters who have bad or slightly seedy habits.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Megabits of News: Weekly Roundup (w/e 28 Sept)

Megabits of Gaming trawls the web for the tastiest morsels of news, so you don't have to... Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and subscribe to Megabits' newsfeed to receive all our latest articles.

Steam gets Castle Crashers
Independently developed four-player co-op beat 'em up Castle Crashes is now available to play on Steam. It was originally released on Xbox 360 in 2008. That’s a long time overdue for a game that already has over 3 million players. VG247

Platinum calls PS3's Bayonetta its biggest failure
Developer Platinum Games has labelled the PS3 version of Bayonetta its “biggest failure” to date. I agree - the version which PS3 owners got was riddled with control issues. Let’s just hope Platinum Games learnt from it. MCV

Fieldrunners 2 hits $1m sales already 
Around a month and half after its launch, Smart phone gaming app Fieldrunners 2 has broken the $1m mark in sales. Subatomic Studios defended the games premium price, stating that it wants to cover costs in order to continue making high quality games. The numbers speak for themselves. joystiq

PS3 owners to get Assassin's Creed Trilogy
An Assassin's Creed Ezio Trilogy collection will be launched in the US on 13 November for the PS3, according to a US PlayStation blog, The trilogy includes Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Great if you need to catch up on the franchise. computerandvideogames

Onimusha revival on the cards - reports
According to reports from UK games magazine PSM3, Capcom’s demon-slaying action-adventure franchise Onimusha could be in line for a revival. It has also been reported that the task of this launch has been handed to developer Spark Unlimited. Let’s hope such news is true. MCV

Two Great Tastes – Narrative and Gameplay

Written by Dave Bowen

Since the dawn of time, mankind has shared stories. No matter the medium - music, plays, movies, photos, paintings or video games - stories have always been shared. Video games are an interactive art form that allows the viewer to take part in the unfolding story.

Although video games possess a unique way in which stories are relayed, some critics continue to complain the narrative should be placed on the back-burners while the focus should be placed more on the gameplay. During the 1980s and a part of the 1990s, the story was often placed in the background mainly as fill-in to give purpose to what was happening in the foreground. Some games such as Street Fighter II didn’t have a story while rarities like Ninja Gaiden had a full narrative. Times have changed. Strong narratives have taken a larger role in enticing the gamer and now a good game has to balance perfectly the story and the gameplay. But there are critics who see the narrative taking a larger role and complain that gameplay is the ultimate purpose. These critics fail to realize the simple fact that games attract a variety of gamers. 

In the gaming world, there are many types of gamers. Two of which I’ll mention here. There are gamers who play only for the sake of the gameplay. They enjoy mulitplayer games which enable them to play against tougher gamers on many levels. Another set of gamers are those whose only interest is high scores. These high-score gamers attempt to increase their online score by hunting for achievements. Some of them will rent a game for a few days just to unlock all of the achievements and then return the game soon after. To most of these players a heavy written story is an afterthought because they only want to, quite simply, play. 

Another draw of criticism towards story-driven games are cutscenes. Either they are too long and slow or simply not exciting enough. Originally, cutscenes were bridged between levels to advance the story while at the same time giving the gamer a break. David Jaffe (creator of God of War and Twisted Metal) is one of those critics against cutscenes. During the DICE Summit, Jaffe expressed that ‘storytelling is going too far for the game industry and it’s giving a negative effect. Studios tend to redistribute resources, time and money from the game design to other aspects such as cutscenes. They are two great tastes (storytelling and gaming) that don’t go together.’ Some fans of Metal Gear Solid praise storytelling no matter the length of the cutscene because they are pulled into the story. 

But not every game needs only a cutscene to tell the story. Some loading screens play motion-comic recaps or dialogue between characters to keep the story moving during the gameplay. Kane and Lynch always expressed their frustration for each other or their situation throughout the stages of the game. Gearbox Software stated that Borderlands 2 will have approximately three cutscenes in the beginning, middle and the end. The plot is still there but it unfolds naturally throughout the environment so gamers will continue to stay in the gameplay. Gearbox is doing this because they want the gameplay to be in the forefront. 

If David Jaffe is against a strong narrative in video games, David Cage (the writer/director behind Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain) is on the opposite side of that argument. As a matter of fact, Cage stated ‘the industry needs a military shooter which shows the complexity of war and the ugliness of war. The only way to express a war shooter on the caliber of Apocalypse Now or Platoon is through narrative.’ 

Sins of a Solar Empire contrasts the story-driven debate successfully. It is entirely focused on an arcade style of gameplay. It does have a back-story explaining the three different alien classes but the buck stops there. There is no story mode to choose. It just contains custom scenarios.

A happy medium of gameplay and story is what most studios try to accomplish. The industry recognizes the writers of games that push for a strong narrative - from Amy Henning who directed and wrote the Uncharted franchise and co-wrote the Legacy of Kain series to Hideo Kojima the father of the Metal Gear series. Narrative should be taken seriously and great gameplay will engage players. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Review

Written by Xav Perez

The original Tekken Tag Tournament debuted in 2000 as a PS2 launch title and whilst it wasn't a numbered title in the series it was very well recieved by fans. Now 12 years later, we find ourselves playing the sequel to that game. After spending some time with Tekken Tag Tournament 2 I can honestly say that I have no interest in playing regular Tekken anymore.

Tekken Tag 2 isn't a main entry in the series, in fact in terms of story it's not even really part of the series cannon but don't be fooled in thinking any less of Tekken Tag 2 because it's actually a better game for it. Tekken Tag 2 isn't here to impress you with it's gimmicky extra modes, its story, unlockables or customizing options but instead with its huge roster of 50 plus characters, tag team element and generally balanced gameplay. 

Upon booting the game and exploring the menus you won't find anything beyond the usual as far as the genre goes; the usual line up of arcade, ghost battle, vs battle, team battle, time attack, survival and practice modes all show up and are all pretty self explanatory. Pair play however is a mode that allows up to four players to get in on the action with teams of two going at it or even two on one matches if someone in the room is feeling brave.

There's also the expected online component to the game and thankfully it's nothing like the horrible one featured in Tekken 6. Instead Tekken Tag 2 borrows the SoulCalibur V netcode to ensure that online battles are as smooth as possible and I'm happy to report that it works just as great as it did in that game. You'll no doubt run into the odd lag-ridden match here and there but generally speaking your online battles won't differ too much from your offline ones. 

Something the Tekken team have added over SoulCalibur V is the ability to do a little sparring whilst the game searches for an oppponent, once it's found someone you'll receive a pop up showing you the opponent's connection strength and disconnect history. 

The game can also linked to the website "World Tekken Federation", which is something similar to the Elite service offered by Call of Duty, it's basically a glorified stat tracking site but only the more hardcore Tekken players will find any use for it.

Perphaps the main new mode of Tekken Tag 2 is the Fight Lab where you play as android robot by the name of Combot and tackle various challenges designed to teach you how to play the game. On paper it sounds like a great tutorial mode to help new players acquaint themselves with the series but in reality it's useless as it's more interested in telling an amusing short story than it is actually teaching the player anything to help improve their game knowledge and skills.

It's a missed oppourtunity as the fighting genre is one that isn't very friendly to newcomers and a mode like Fight Lab done right could of helped remedy that. As far as Tekken Tag 2 is concerned you're better off reading forums, watching YouTube videos and getting your ass handed to you online.

Visually, the game is actually somewhat of a mixed bag at times as image quality hurts what is otherwise a fine looking title. Maybe just a personal opinion but for me the character models in Tekken 6 just looked off, in particular the faces looked a little odd to the point where I actually prefered how they looked in Tekken 5 even if they obviously were not as advanced. Thankfully Tekken Tag 2 "fixes" this issue and now characters actually look how I expect them to look and by that I mean they look much closer to their promotion art renditions.

Tekken 6 vs Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Tekken Tag 2 animates beautifully and unlike Tekken 6 the motion blur effect no longer kills your resolution so you might as well keep it on this time round. What is strange however is during online battles all animated background details are gone instead leaving a static version of what is sometimes a lively environment. If this somehow removes Snoop Dogg from the background then I can't help but think of it as a blessing in disguise.

The technical shortcomings continue revolving around the image quality the game outputs. Any time a character outside the original two joins the fight on screen the resolution drops on the fly to help keep the framerate locked at 60. To be really honest most players won't even notice it intially but once you do it's one of those things that can be a little distracting.
Speaking of distracting Tekken Tag 2 also takes another shortcut when it comes to anti aliasing in that there isn't any. If anything damages the visuals most it's this. There isn't a single fight that goes by where I don't notice my Jun's jagged looking hair, which is a shame because outside the resolution drops and aliasing issues Tekken Tag 2 is a nice looking game.

So what do you do when your engine is already taxing the hardware?, well you add support for 3D TVs of course. Yes, Tekken Tag 2 features a 3D mode which actually looks pretty cool but you lose the motion blur and the framerate likes to hover around the 40-60 range so think of it as nothing more than a peak into the future.

In terms of sound and music Tekken Tag 2 fairs much better than it's visuals though as usual it's the sound effects that steal the show. Outside Dej Jam Fight For New Year you won't find a fighter with more impact than Tekken and that's directly due to the sound effects, moves and strikes just have a very satisfying "smack" sound to them. The music is basically what you've come to expect from Tekken, a couple of catchy tracks but nothing that rivals Tekken 2 & 3. 

This is where Tekken Tunes comes in, it's a mode that allows you to take music stored on your hard drive and select it to play in whatever stage you wish. It's custom soundtracks but embedded directly into the game so it plays in all the right spots rather than constantly over the whole game. The soundtracks to earlier Tekken games are expected to make an appearance via DLC in future so you'll be able to cherry pick all your favourite tunes to make Tekken Tag 2 the ultimate Tekken game as if the 50 plus characters wasn't enough.

By the time all the character DLC is out Tekken Tag 2 will actually feature 60 characters, pretty much everyone outside the stupid Nancy robot and silly dragon no one liked from Tekken 6 return. Well the little dinosaur Gon from Tekken 3 is also missing but if Goldeneye 007 taught us anything it's that no one likes the midget Odd Job characters, besides Gon is a licensed property to those not in the know so it's not worth the effort anyway.

Going all the way back to the start of this review I mentioned that after playing Tekken Tag 2 I don't want to go back to regular Tekken so allow me to tell you why this might be my new favourite entry in the series.

Tekken Tag 2 is a fighting game, you press buttons, cool stuff happens, people get hurt, good times. Tekken Tag 2 sticks to the usual formula of having buttons represent your character's limbs so two buttons are left punch & right punch while the other two represent left kick & right kick. You combine these attacks in certain combinations to create combo strings, ideally whilst your opponent is in the air to create juggles and on a basic level this is how Tekken works.

What Tekken Tag 2 does is make things more interesting by having a tag partner with you meaning you no longer have to master one character but two. In addition you'll also have to learn how make use of the tag system in order to maximum your combo damage potential and this alone will lead to hours of fun just experimenting with all the different possibilities. 

There are some tag features added in such as tag throws which allows you to perform a double team attack on the opponent but if they are fast enough they can call in their partner to make the save which is always entertaining to see. Direct tag assault calls in your partner after performing a bound move which bounces the opponent into the air so they can land a couple of hits before you return in order to land the final blows of the juggle.

Should you decide to dive deeper you'll notice the rage system from Tekken 6 makes a return though it's a little different this time round. Because it's a tag team based game the rage system is now activated at different times depending on what team you've decided to do battle with. If two characters like each other in terms of the story then if one of them is getting damaged badly then rage for the other will kick in sooner. Should two characters hate each other then they will wait until the partner is almost dead before they start to care, it's a little small touch but it's things like these that make Tekken Tag 2 a more interesting game than the regular Tekkens. 

Finally, tag crash allows you to call in your partner at in an attacking state in order to break up the action but both players lose the amount of red health they can recover so obviously only resort to this when you really need it. Basically, when you're getting wall combo-ed to death. As you can see there's just more to consider in Tekken Tag 2 than regular Tekken such as when do you tag in: do your characters get along, what's their combo potential, will the tag crash pay off?

Despite the extra features mentioned above Tekken Tag 2 still plays like Tekken at it's core and if we go by releases rather than names this is actually the 8th Tekken game. One can't help but feel that Tekken Tag 2 is about as good as the current Tekken formula is ever going to get so for the next entry in the series the team should really look into taking some risks and stop playing it safe.

When all is said and done however, your enjoyment of Tekken Tag 2 will be based on how much you like the series. If you're a fan then consider it the ultimate Tekken game. There's so many characters and tag team possibilities that I can see this one being played even after Namco release future Tekken titles. If you're not a fan of the series then it's not going to win you over but even then I doubt you would pass up the chance to play a few casual matches with the 4-player pair play mode.

Reviewed on: Xbox 360

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Megabits of News: Weekly Roundup (w/e 22 Sept)

Megabits of Gaming trawls the web for the tastiest morsels of news, so you don't have to... Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and subscribe to Megabits' newsfeed to receive all our latest articles.

Patience is a virtue for PC Gamers
It looks like PC gamers will have a little waiting to do before they find out when Resident Evil 6 will hit their machines. Capcom has said it will be some time before details of release dates are announced. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 fans will see Resident Evil 6 arrive in October. Via VG24/7.

Slimmer, sexier... cheaper?
A new slimmer PS3 has been announced to try bolster unit sales, and now Sony has released pricing information for the redesigned console. A non-bundled version of the slimmer 250GB model (in black), which is 50% smaller than original PS3, will be available $249. The 500GB model will launch for $299 on 30 October. Via Joystiq.

October launch date for PlayStation Mobile 
Playstation fans who own mobile (smart) phones have much to cheer about. The PlayStation Mobile Store will go live on 3 October, and according to reports, will launch with over 30 games set for tablet and smartphone formats in Japan, the US and Europe. Via CVG.

Konami confirms US Zone of the Enders Collection 
Inter-planetary mech action is back, now better looking than ever - Zone of the Enders HD Collection will be out on in the US on 30 October, Konami has announced. The collection includes re-mastered HD versions of the PS2’s Zone of the Enders and its sequel Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner. If that isn’t enough to entice gamers to buy, the collection will also include a demo of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance. So far no release date has been set for the UK. Via CVG.

Mac owners now able to explore Guild Wars 2 world
Publisher NCsoft has announced a Mac version of massively multiplayer online role-playing game Guild Wars 2 is now available to buy. To put differences aside, Mac players can log on to existing servers and play with PC owners. Game on cyber explorers. Via MCV.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hardware: Saitek Pacific AV8R FlightStick

The collector's edition of Mad Catz's new flight game, Damage Inc Pacific Squadron (see separate review) comes bundled with the Saitek Pacific AV8R (see what they did there?) FlightStick - and it's an admirable addition to the company’s vast arsenal of plastic plug-ins. This particular version of the AV8R has been coated with a 1940s-esque, US Navy colour scheme, as well as coming with a set of stickers. If you’re so inclined.

The AV8R FlightStick adds some realism - and enjoyment - to Damage Inc
The joystick itself is a sturdy beast, consisting of a nice, wide, secure base which clings well to tabletops. It also comes with four plastic ‘legs’ which fit quite nicely over the average thigh, so playing it on your lap without a tray or a table is reasonably easy, if a little fiddly (as console gamers rarely sit at a desk).

The joystick itself seems quite stiff on first use, but once the spring-loaded base pops up, becomes extremely loose. I was concerned that such looseness would be a problem, but once you’ve had a little practice, the delicate moves needed to control your in-game aircraft become second nature.

Alongside the stick itself, the AV8R’s selection of chunky buttons have a nice sturdy feel, and the controller’s face buttons allow easy control in-game and in-menu. I’m a big fan of the free-look mini-stick in the middle of the joystick’s ‘face’.

The base also includes a throttle, which adds to in-game realism, but the bar itself is fused in the middle, which is a shame as I would of liked to control my bomber’s twin engines independently. The primary trigger is also a little too ‘weak’ - as in it doesn’t pull back very far upon squeezing, which robs the moment of unleashing hell of a little drama – but this is, naturally, a very minor point.
The stick itself can be twisted to use the in-game aircraft’s tail rudder, which is a nice touch – it’s also detatchable from the base unit, for ease of storage.

Besides Damage Inc, the AV8R also supports Tom Clancy’s Hawx 1 and 2, along with Birds of Prey, Birds of Steel and the Blazing Angels titles. It also supports the critically unknown Apache Air Assault – and I’d recommend trying this one for sure.

On the whole, the AV8R is a very nice piece of kit, as you’d expect from a Mad Catz product. The design is sleek and ergonomically sound, and easy to plug and play. If you’re a fan of arcade flight simulators, it’s definitely worth a look – but whether there’s much call for such a peripheral on the console market remains to be seen.

Reviewed on PS3

Damage Inc Pacific Squadron Review

‘Must try harder’. This only appeared on my school report once or twice, thank goodness, but it’s a phrase which constantly came to mind when I was testing out Damage Inc – peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz’s recent flight simulator release.

The game, which came packaged with Mad Catz’s latest ‘AV8R’ joystick – this one optimised for use on the PS3 (see separate review), feels rushed, is rough-around-the-edges and falls down in a lot of ways. The singleplayer campaign sees a plucky, all-American hero take to the skies shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in World War Two, and proceeds through a number of very lengthy missions, gradually unlocking new aircraft along the way.

As this is primarily a flight simulator – as it purports to be, at least - the majority of the missions sees the player gunning down enemy aircraft or carrying out strafing runs on ground targets. The first problem, however, is that the missions themselves are too long, and rather boring. Take the attack on Pearl, for example – the mission is a good 30 minutes long, and a lengthy series of dull mission objectives left me wondering A: when the mission would end, and B: why nobody had scratched my paintwork – the enemy AI is poor, and even on the hardest difficulty, I could shoot down Japanese fighter pilots by looking at them funny. Plus, the fact that by the end of the mission I was an ace five times over pretty much killed the ‘simulation’ aspect for me – the game is an arcade shooter at heart, even if it pretends otherwise.

Aside from the glacial pace and poor AI, the game is also let down by poor graphics, abysmal voice acting and a lacklustre score – if I hear my All-American hero shout “Got ‘im!” one more time I may fly into the badly-pixelated buildings at Wake Island’s airfield.

While the game does offer a nice ‘reflex’ mode – which slows the world around you, allowing you to pump your unlimited supply of bullets into Japan’s fighters with ease – the majority of the game is fly to point, shoot, fly home. Rinse and repeat.

While there are a number of aircraft to unlock, including some 30 fighters, dive-bombers, bombers and torpedo bombers – and each one can be upgraded to make it even more deadly, the game relies mostly on its considerable length for replay value.

Outside the singleplayer, Damage Inc does include a fairly strong multiplayer mode, which ups the challenge to a significant degree - human pilots are a lot more wily and less inclined to fly in a straight line... It’s a shame, then, that the multiplayer matchmaking is pretty shoddy, and prone to dropping out mid-dogfight, sucking the fun from the game’s redeeming mode.A personal favourite of mine, however, was the ‘Scratch one flat-top’ mode, which combines dogfighting with having to sink the enemy’s aircraft carrier, forcing your flight to work as a team – clever idea.

Control-wise, I played the majority of my time in the skies using the AV8R, and was pleasantly surprised by how well the peripheral responded to my demands. The joystick’s ergonomic design made playing the game easy, and the big buttons and throttle leavers added a pleasing ‘40s feel’ to the action. The in-game aircraft responded well to the joystick’s control, with no lag that I could see. The game can also be controlled using the joypad, but these controls are a little more clunky and difficult to master.

Overall, Damage Inc tries to be both an arcade shooter and a simulator at the same time, and it doesn’t quite pull it off. While playing with the joystick makes the action more enjoyable, poor graphics, dull mission design and bad voice acting let it down. I’d probably wait for Damage Inc to appear in the bargain bin before I gave it a try – especially when there are so many other flight shooters out there that deserve more time in your drive. Must try harder.

Reviewed on PS3

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Achievements: Sleeping Dogs tipped

The neon-lit streets are but a blur. The target's within sight. Watch the pedestrian! Dammit, another casualty - but it's all in the line of duty. The sound of pistol fire rings through your ears. You've got company. Another car, with a gun-toting triad leaning from the window - he's firing. Again and again. Screw you - a well-placed shot to the front tyre takes him and his cohort out, their car rolling along the highway before bursting into flames. Back to the chase. He's close now. Steel yourself, get ready to jump... SLAM. Slightly winded, you retain your grip on the car's roof despite the speed. A quick transition; slide through the window - a well-placed fist to the jaw and you've got him. Now, you've just got to lose the cops!

It's all just a normal day for Wei but for those of us hooked on Square Enix's Sleeping Dogs, it amounts to perhaps the most fun we've had all year. Much delayed, but well worth the wait, this open world adventure marks the end of a dismal summer for game releases. We've now managed to mop up all the acheivements and return some calm to the wild streets of Hong Kong.

Just in case you need a little help to do the same, take a moment to read up on our tips below (mild spoilers ahead):

10) Dress for the occasion
It may sound boring, and appear little more than a distraction, but it's wise to head to the various clothing stores and buy as much as you can early in the game. Wearing certain garments or entire outfits rewards you with some decent XP boosts - helping you to increase your Face, Triad and Police rankings. Unlock these and more combat moves, missions and bonuses are available - as well as those all important achievements!

9) Vary your combat
Don't just run into each battle and pummel the same old button to dispatch the bad guys. Add a  little variety and your points will stack up. The more you get, the better the XP reward at the end of the mission. Add a few combos, counters and grapples to your technique and within no time you'll gain access to new weapons and moves.

8) Hack and stack
When you're roaming the city and you come across security cameras, hack them after you've cleaned the area but don't be in a rush to return to your aparment to collar the criminals. You can store these and do them all in one go - it will save you bags of time.

7) Simple drug busts
Want to wipe out a group of thugs quickly and easily? Steal a car, drive to their hang out and mow them down - makes each drug bust an absolute cynch.

6) Stay focussed and drive safe
Don't plough through pedestrians and wreck cars for the sake of it when you're on a mission - it can severely hamper your score! When you

5) Don't neglect Events
When you see the little yellow shield pop up on your map, don't leave it. These events are hugely important if you want to be a completionist and go for 1000G or a Platinum trophy. If you drive by and aim to pick them up later, you'll be making a big mistake - some of these appear randomly and only at certain times and are sometimes tricky to find.

4) Prioritise your XP
By the time you're half way through the game, you'll probably have maxed out your Face rank (level 10) - thanks in part to winning road races and completing favors. A short time after that, your cop XP will be full. However, forums are full of people moaning that their Triad XP gets stuck half way through level 9... which I had problems with too.

The key is to earn as many Triad points in the missions as possible - do this by pulling off fighting combos, shooting vehicles repeatedly during chases and killing the guys firing back at you - rather than simply blowing the tyres - and getting as many headshots as possible. The dim mak move and environmental kills are pretty good for points too. If all else fails, and you're sick of replaying the missions at the end of the game, you can always take the easy route and buy the cheap Top Dog DLC to give you a hefty XP boost (although you will feel kind of dirty and cheap if you do).

3) Challenging challenges
If you're going for all the achievements, you'll need to complete loads of challenges hidden away in the Social Hub menu. Most of these are easy to get and they'll pop up without you even trying. There are some, however, that can be a bit of a grind if you don't start them early on.
  • Wreck as many cars as you can while driving about the city - make sure you don't do this while on a mission, however, as you'll lose valuable cop XP. Some missions give access to a grenade launcher, so make sure you nuke any cars in the vicinity... otherwise, grab a vehicle (the slower ones are easier to control) and smash into other traffic at speed. Three hits and they start smoking before blowing up. If they don't explode, it doesn't count.
  • As soon as you buy an A-class car, set it as the default vehicle your valet brings you (do this in the garage menu... it's available after a few Face upgrades). You should ensure you drive this super car at every available opportunity - one of the challenges is driving at full speed for 30 minutes... which takes ages if you have to grind it out later.
  • As mentioned above in point 9, vary your combat - and make sure you carry out loads of disarms and limb breaking moves. You'll need quite a lot of these to complete the challenges!
2) Money, money, money
Besides completing missions - especially the latter ones - the best way of making a quick buck is by stealing armoured cars or cock fighting. If you opt for the former, grab a car, perform an action hijack and jump... the police will soon come after you and you'll quickly see your heat level rise. Best tactic I found is to drive off road - up stairs and across parks! Make sudden changes to direction and go down narrow lanes too. You'll quickly lose your pursuers and can then park in one of the nearby drop off points.

Cock fighting is great for money making too. Head to Kennedy Town and you can play high stakes with 50,000-100,000HKD. Save the game, offer the maximum bet and if you lose, reload... otherwise, save. The fights are fairly random but as a rule, if the win/lose gap is large, go for the bird with more wins, if it's close, go for the bird with fewer wins.

1) Guns, guns, guns... and umbrellas
There are even achievements available for using 10 different melee weapons and 10 different types of guns. These are fairly easy to get during your playthrough - but it can prove tricky to find some of them. For the guns, I personally found the assault rifle most elusive... unless you find the one on the floor of the Golden Koi later in the game or you really p#ss off the police and they send SWAT teams after you. In terms of melee weapons, ensure you use the machete on one of the later missions, as well as meat cleavers, the grinder tool and all those tyre irons - but don't forget you can also use umbrellas, bags and briefcases too.

Don't mess with her...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Risen 2: Dark Waters Review

Written by Debbie Lloyd

It’s always brave to attempt a brand new twist on the traditional RPG. If it’s Japanese, it likely involves saving the world from a magic-wielding lunatic, and if it’s Western it probably involves trolls and mountain demons. Risen 2: Dark Waters has taken the RPG on a different direction though, using pirates as their main focus... with mixed results.

It takes quite a long time for Risen 2 to get going, but once it does it can be quite exciting. It’s not exactly an original story; a sea demon called Mara is wreaking havoc, and she’s trying her best to manipulate the humans into bringing her banished titan friends back to help her. You start off as a member of the Inquisition, and are soon sent to befriend the feared pirates in a bid to gain some powerful weapons from them. Naturally it’s up to you and your crafty crew to defeat her and her rather large companions with these weapons. Obviously there are a few obstacles thrown in the way, but it’s a very basic plotline, only really enhanced by the entertaining characters.

It seems for a long time that you are going to be on your own throughout the game, until you're gradually introduced to each and every member of your crew.  Before you're allowed access to these additional characters, it is very difficult to survive in battles - even on the easiest setting. Food and potions restore your health in battle, but only gradually so if you’re anything like me you will be spending a lot of time healing, running away and then coming back for more when you’ve regained some health. This is only really alleviated when you can take one extra person with you on each island. It seems strange to me that with a full crew of people, you are only allowed one person to assist you in battle when sometimes you are faced with a swarm of enemies and an occasional boss that wants to turn your head into mush.

The loading times of Risen 2 are very slow, even after installing the game. This only really becomes a problem when you have to reload after either making a mistake, or the sudden death of your character. It's also frustrating when the game glitches and freezes, prompting you to reset the console and go through the whole loading process from whenever your last auto save was. I have had my crew members stuck in an endless animation loop as if they are fighting an enemy, forcing me to reload or head back to the ship, losing any progress I'd made. Despite these issues, I was never put off coming back for more and only rage quit a few times when my patience ran short.

Customisation of your main character is basic but engrossing when you actually start building up experience. You do not gain standard experience points, instead receiving glory points for every defeated enemy and completed mission. These glory points are then used to level up certain stats. You can level up blades, guns, cunning, toughness and voodoo. Once you raise a specific stat base, you need an extra 1000 glory points each time you want to level up again. It's a very basic but satisfactory means of levelling your character. It's just a shame that you cannot do this for the members of your crew as well. You cannot even change their appearance, and just hope that they are levelling up with you.

Each crewmember you can take with you also has a certain skillset. One may be able to heal you, while another will cast powerful magic spells to swing the battle in your favour. It can be difficult trying to choose one character however when you have no idea what you will be walking into, so a certain degree of logic and strategy is involved when choosing your crew. Many a time I walked into a new area without a healer only to be completely annihilated by the locals and had to trek back to the ship to swap crew members for round two.

Considering this is a pirate-focused RPG, there is little to no opportunity to actually control your own ship. Every time you set sail for a new island, the game takes over with a cut scene, another loading screen and you don’t actually get to navigate the ship through the dangerous sea at all. That said, it was not an element that I particularly missed. It worked well with the kind of game that Risen 2 is trying to be. The addition of control over your sea journey may have just complicated an otherwise relatively easy game to follow.

Another frustrating issue is that it's not possible to earn skills with glory points, but instead you have to purchase them. You see, the characters of Risen 2 are greedy, and will rarely do anything unless you give them a rather steep amount of cash for it. Even learning new skills requires a hefty amount of gold in order to get anywhere. Want to learn the lock pick skill to get all the loot from that chest? That will be about 1000 gold then. Want to learn how to persuade absolutely anyone to your way of thinking? Then you will have to fork out up to 1500 gold for that privilege.

There was many a mission I was unable to complete until I had made myself 1000 gold or more, and even then I had to decide between missions. Some quests require you to have a certain skill set, and when you don’t have the money available you can find yourself having to have to sell half of your inventory, or travel to another island to see if you can complete another quest first. This also makes it very difficult at times to purchase any new weaponry or armour for your character as you have spent it all on learning how to pick locks. The line between character and story progression is very fine, leaving you to make some very difficult decisions that could leave you having to search around the island for things to sell. It’s a good thing then that new weapons and armour aren’t exactly abundant, so you don’t always find yourself falling behind in terms of skill.

There is no on screen map, which can make for a very difficult time if you lack a sense of direction. All you have is a compass to tell you which direction you are heading in, and that is mostly useless to you unless you have been given a direction in the first place. In each new area you have to purchase a map, but even that is not a simple task sometimes. The thing is, Risen 2 is a game where it certainly doesn’t hold your hand. But a little hint on where to go would be nice! It’s lovely to wander around the different islands meeting new people and discovering new locations, but when I’m on a mission I want to know where I need to go to complete it. It’s more like a guessing game than anything else half the time with some quest givers telling me, ‘It’s just over there’. Despite this, once you find out where you’re meant to be heading, the rest of the missions appear to be fairly easy sailing.

Visually, Risen 2 is far from stunning, but is certainly not the worst looking game out there. The characters mouths move when they should and you don’t experience any awkward walking or bouncing on rough terrain. The landscapes have beautiful colours, and the characters' faces are very detailed. When fast travelling, the game suffers from slow graphic drop-ins however, and occasionally I have been walking up invisible stairs, found myself staring through the back of my characters head during a conversation, and walking through a basic white graphic set before the game remembered textures and colours.

The game also suffers from very small text during conversations, and in menus, making it very difficult to read without being sat very close to the screen, or owning an extremely high definition TV.  Due to the dialogue-heavy nature of Risen 2, this is a major issue as the text can really put a strain on your eyes sometimes. It’s not too bad in conversations as you can simply listen, but when it comes to making dialogue choices you really do have to see exactly what you’re saying.  Unless you have perfect vision, prepare to find yourself sitting close to the TV.

The voice acting of the characters is average, but can sometimes feel a bit awkward. It can sound as though the NPCs are speaking with an almost robotic voice when the main characters emotions come through much stronger. It’s got a very British cast making it a little bit like a Fable game, just with more swearing and slightly less of the silly humour.

The background music is also very well placed, shifting between calming ambience as you wander through a luscious green landscape, and fast-paced dramatic compositions to accompany battles. Not once have I become bored with what Risen 2 has made me listen to, and that is an excellent quality for any game.

All in all, Risen 2 is decent but by no means perfect. I have enjoyed my time with it thoroughly, even struggling to put it down on several occasions because I just wanted to complete one more mission. As long as you can put up with slow loading times and random difficulty curves then Risen 2: Dark Waters is an excellent change of pace from the usual RPGs on the market.

Reviewed on Xbox 360

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Megabits of News: Weekly Roundup (w/e 14 Sep)

Megabits of Gaming trawls the web for the tastiest morsels of news, so you don't have to... Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and subscribe to Megabits' newsfeed to receive all our latest articles.

Apple officially unveils iPhone 5

Bring out the trumpets, the iPhone 5 has been officially announced by Apple. SVP Phil Schiller called it “the most beautiful product” the company has ever made we “bar none.” That’s some statement. The iPhone 5 will launch 21 September with pre-orders starting on Friday 14 September. The device will cost $199 for 16GB; $299 for 32GB; and $399 for 64GB under contract. See VG24/7 for more.

PES to hit fever pitch on 25 September

Much-awaited footballing title PES 2013 will be available to buy on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows on 25 September. Konami has officially announced the release date and for those undecided if they want to part with their cash can play demos of the game now. Joystiq

December Japan release date for Wii U
Nintendo has confirmed the Wii U will be released in Japan on 8 December, just in time for Christmas. The company also announced a price tag of 31,500 yen, around £252 for a premium model and 26,250 yen, around £210, for a basic one, which seems quite good value for money. CVG

Kojima productions sets up LA studio
Kojima Productions, the developer which brought us Metal Gear Solid, has opened a new studio in Los Angeles. It is understood the group are hiring staff to develop a 3D action game. Just putting it out there, if you need a games tester, I’m your man. CVG

EA announces new title for March 2013

EA has announced a new title named Fuse which will be released in March next year. The first quarter in 2012 is already pretty busy but no one will complain of one more, particularly following a disappointing 2012 for new titles. The four-player co-op action game will be developed by Insomniac, which has brought us games Resistance and Ratchet and Clank. MCV

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Riffing on: Star Wars games

Ask any gamer about science fiction games worth playing, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is sure to be mentioned- in fact, it’s still held up as one of the best RPGs of modern times, and certainly one of – if not the – best Star Wars game ever.

That’s not to say that Lucas’s brainchild hasn’t produced other great titles – Empire at War, The Force Unleashed and Battlefront, for three – but for every one of those, there’s been a number of crappy, badly-made, or frankly insulting titles forced into the limelight by greedy shareholders.

Naturally, the reason I’m writing this article at all is twofold – one: Star Wars Kinect was a godawful pile of drek not worthy to be given the Star Wars branding, which very nearly destroyed my faith and love for the series - mostly because of this:

And secondly, because it looks like Star Wars: 1313 – the newly plugged ‘adult’ title Lucasarts are hoping can restore their Kinnect-phobic fanbase - could restore that faith:

In the past, you could group Star Wars games into three broad groups – those made for kids, those made for fans, and those made to make money. Under the current regime, games made for fans have largely gone by the wayside, as developers rape Lucas’s mind to produce crap tie-in titles to the (amazingly) still-running Clone Wars TV series – a series that I, as a fan, have avoided, as it’s basically cocking around with the canon.

It wasn’t always this way, of course – back in the days of Jedi Knight, Super Star Wars, and even the sadly overlooked Force Commander, the games were made for the fans – and it showed. The serious titles took pains to stick to the storyline, expanding and improving the expanded universe of the films with great skill, offering hours of enjoyment.

Then there was Empire at War, which truly captured the strategy gamer fanbase, after Galactic Battlegrounds proved a letdown – all of which culminated in the excellent Battlefront series, which made multiplayer fun again after the Dark Forces 2 servers bit the dust.

Sadly, it was after this triumph that things started to go downhill, in my opinion.

Firstly, Battlefront 3 never materialised – a critical error, as it would of sold millions of copies on the Xbox, PS3 and PC, and made shareholders millions of dollars, which is the whole point of the videogaming industry, right...?

Then, the games turned childish, with endless ‘Clone Wars’-branded nonsense and Wiimote-waving rubbish clogging the shop shelves, and leaving fans like me cold.

While The Force Unleashed took the series in a new direction, and pulled off a coup with a decent story and exciting gameplay – it was then followed by a crappy, rushed sequel which made a mess of the canon (again), and demonstrated that Lucasarts was still happy to take a crap on fan’s aspirations – while mugging their wallets.

This lack of decent Star Wars games has continued for a while now, leaving the hardcore fanbase growing ever angrier at the lip-service given to the series’ games – especially Kinect (did I mention it’s awful?) leaving us with nothing worthwhile to take us back to a Galaxy Far Far Away.

That said, with the advent of 1313, perhaps this exile could finally be at an end, and fans might finally be given something worth playing again. Time will tell – as will whether 1313 manages to avoid being a next-gen title...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten: Videogaming Femme Fatales (part two)

Some of the strongest women in gaming. In a list. Missed the first part, then click here... otherwise, read on. And remember, there may be spoilers:

5) Ada Wong (Resident Evil)
Just who the hell does Ada Wong work for!? That’s a question that’s had many a Resident Evil fan scratching their mutated skulls, as the deadly, beautiful Chinese agent blasts her way through streams of zombies and bioweapons with ease. Does she work for Wesker? Umbrella? One of the many shadow corporations which infest the Resi world? Or is she out for herself? Either way, she’s not to be trifled with.

4) Fortune (MGS2)
“I am Fortune, lucky in war – and nothing else.” Fortune, leader of paramilitary group gone rogue ‘Dead Cell’, is depressed. Her father was killed, her husband was killed – and she herself seems incapable of dying and joining them in whatever lies beyond. Bullets simply won’t touch her, grenades refuse to explode – and she hasn’t met anyone worthy of killing her, until a certain floppy haired weed comes along (he shall remain nameless until he turns into an awesome cyborg ninja in MGS4). So, in the meantime, she blows the crap out of everything with a massive, incredibly powerful railgun, all while wearing skimpy clothing. Hmm.

3) Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
Sure, her cup size may have become markedly more manageable in recent years, but there’s no denying that high-kicking, pistol-whipping adventurer Lara Croft is a woman not to be trifled with. As a millionaire, she has no need to be swanning off to foreign locales, hunting down ancient treasure and taking on T-Rexes with her dual pistols – but she does so anyway, just for the fun of it. ‘Legend’ is right.

2) Samus Aran (Metroid)
Bounty hunter, warrior, anti-hero... Samus Aran’s actions can’t always be considered ‘good’, but she always does what she considers to be right. Armed with a variety of projectile weapons, a powerful battle suit and a killer pink bikini (see the original Metroid for her big reveal – very shocking at the time), Samus is a force to be reckoned with. Though she is on the whole a good guy, she isn’t above brushes with the darker side of the psyche.

1) Princess Peach (Every sodding Mario game)
I’ll be honest. I hate this femme fatale. Somehow managing to get herself kidnapped constantly, Princess Peach is longtime Nintendo hero Mario’s squeeze – and she’s an utter pain in the arse. She’s either crying out for rescue, or running me over in Mario Kart – and all while pretending to be cute. She’s not cute – she’s evil, completely evil. Wake up Mario! “Our Princess is in another castle”? Good! Leave the bitch there and go have a beer!

Honourable mentions:
Elena Fisher (Uncharted)
Meryl (MGS)
Zoey (L4D)
Jade (Beyond Good and Evil)
Bastila Shan (KOTOR)

Top Ten: Videogaming Femme Fatales (part one)

It’s a little saddening that the majority of video game characters are men (even the aliens are usually men), so when a strong female character comes into play, it can make gamers sit up and pay attention. So, here’s our pick of gaming’s femme fatales. You don’t wanna mess with these ladies...

Also, keep your head down – spoilers incoming...

10) Mara Amarov (Syphon Filter)
Ex-KGB agent Mara Amarov turns out to be one of Syphon Filter series hero Gabe Logan’s most deadly foes – but you wouldn’t know it. As skilled an infiltrator and actress as she is a marksman, Amarov leads both Logan and her ‘employers’ on a merry chase for no less that three games – but always from the shadows, manipulating her way to success. As cold a woman as they come, Amarov eventually met her end at the hands of Logan’s agents. Probably.

9) Elaine Marley (Monkey Island series)
While it would be easy to chalk Elaine Marley up as a damsel-in-distress, she’s far from useless – as anyone who has faced her biting tongue and piratical ways can attest. As the love interest for both Guybrush Threepwood and his sinister nemesis, the zombie pirate LeChuck, poor Elaine keeps getting dragged into the Monkey Island adventures – even getting turned to stone at one point – when all she wants is to keep her Caribbean island safe. As the woman who wears the trousers in Guybrush’s life, she deserves a spot in this list – if she doesn’t take it at cutlass-point first...

8) Chloe Frazer (Uncharted)
There was always something ‘off’ about Chloe Fraser. From the first time wisecracking hero Nathan Drake caught up with her in a hotel bedroom, I just knew she couldn’t be trusted. Besides, the first game she appeared in was called ‘among thieves’ - that hardly bodes well, does it... As pretty as she is manipulative, Frazer drags Drake into a heap of trouble, turning traitor, then double-agent – and all with the dulcet tones of a properly voiced English accent. She turns out to be a good guy, sort of.

7) Viola (Zone of the Enders)
Veteran ‘runner’ Viola is one of the main antagonists of the first Zone of the Enders game – Hideo Kojima’s side-project about massive mechs called ‘orbital frames’ – and boy is she a cold-hearted bitch. Despite her incredible skill as a pilot, Viola’s defining personality trait is a cold, hard fury at the world around her – a world which took everything from her, and leaves her nothing but battle. It takes a young boy and a powerful battlesuit to bring her that peace, and she even goes so far as to refuse help after she is defeated. Makes you shiver...

6) Bayonetta (Bayonetta)
Sassy, scary and thoroughly funny, Bayonetta’s dark powers are more than a match for anything she comes across – and it helps that her most powerful attacks are powered by her hair, which also constitutes her form-fitting bodysuit – when it’s not turning into a giant boot, or a dragon. ‘Course, while the fact that her hair forming massive monsters leaves her basically naked is a point to raise, I’m more interested in her four pistols – two in her hands, two on her high-heels – all of which she uses with ease. Limber.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Viva la Vita? Sony's hit-and-miss handheld approach

Written by Xav Perez

When it comes to handheld gaming, it's safe to say that most of you will instantly think of Nintendo; pretty much everyone on the planet knows what a GameBoy or DS is due to Nintendo's incredible success with handhelds. 

Back in 2005 however we had what many would consider to be Nintendo's first real challenge when it came to portable gaming, the Sony PSP. It was an incredible piece of tech that (on paper, at least) smoked the DS - it made Nintendo's latest handheld look like a relic and that's putting it nicely. Even in 2012, seeing a game like Ridge Racer 2 or God of War Ghost of Sparta running on a PSP Go is still impressive sight.

Despite the PSP basically being ahead of its time, it ultimately came second in its battle against the DS. While many things can be said about what determined how that generation played out, one thing was clear: software sells hardware - and Sony found that out the hard way. Selling 70+ million units certainly isn't a failure but it's through software sales that companies make their money until the hardware itself becomes cheap enough that you're no longer selling them at a loss.

Fast forward to today and we have round two of the "DS vs PSP" battle, with Nintendo's 3DS versus Sony's PlayStation Vita - with Apple's iOS devices thrown in to make things a little more interesting this time round. Apple's entry into the portable gaming was largely unintentional, with everything just happening to fall into the right place at the right time.

The iPhone was released in 2007 yet the App store didn't launch until the following year. I'm not suggesting Apple's success was a fluke but it certainly wasn't a device designed with gaming in mind, rather something that could play games in addition to its other features. Apple did its usual great job marketing the iPhone and as far as developers were concerned all they needed was a device with a solid install base, a touch screen and a little imagination to get the ball rolling. It's fair to say that Apple basically continued in the direction Nintendo started in terms of appealing to people who weren't "core gamers".

Much like the generation before it, the Vita is once again far and away technically unmatched and apart from its lack of 3D screens, it was basically in a league of its own. The tech geek inside me just cannot say enough good things about the hardware, from a massive OLED screen to dual analogs, this system has it all. But I don't own one. I don't want one. As far as I'm concerned, Vita thus far mirrors the PSP before it - showcasing how poorly it's been marketed and how its software is more suited to full-blown consoles.

Let's get the obvious out of the way... few people actually seem to know what Vita is. Even worse is the fact that some don't even know it's been released yet! Even when they see one they assume it's just a regular old PSP. Besides gaming websites and forums, I've never even seen or heard anything Vita related anywhere else. Sony has done an awful job of getting the word out there, while Nintendo has ads constantly playing on the TV.

What does Sony have in comparison to spread the word, the PlayStation blog?

In my opinion, the Vita is a great device that if marketed right could appeal to both the core gamer and the more casual player. But, to me, it instead just comes across as a system designed to appeal to the tech geek; only they will of heard about it, only they will know everything the Vita can do and only they will buy it. All of which sadly results in a very limited market share. 

There's just no buzz for the Vita, no word of mouth recommendations, no ads, nothing. Bear in mind, this is the same company that gave us those creepy PS3 baby adverts - so this could be a good thing - but at least they made you aware the PS3 existed!.

The key area that Sony have failed on (again in my opinion) is actually understanding what the handheld market is all about. I believe very few people care about console-quality games on their handhelds. Handheld gaming is all about playing in quick bursts with games that are easy to understand.

I recall the time I played my friend's Vita back when it originally launched and the first thing I did was switch Uncharted Golden Abyss for Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3 simply because I had no interest in a console experience on a handheld. I knew that with UMVC3 I could have a couple of fights and see what it was like, while Uncharted would probably take a while to get going.

One part of the Vita's "console" approach to handheld gaming that I actually do like is the ability to play a game on both the console and on the Vita itself. If the game is something that translates well to handheld play I'd happily spread my playtime across a PS3 and Vita version of a game. The upcoming LittleBigPlanet Karting seems like something that could work on so many levels, just imagine playing the game on the PS3 with progress data syncing to the Vita via cloud storage so you could alternate between both versions easily. The game could take a page out of Nintendo's book when it comes to street pass so when you're carrying the Vita on the streets you could automatically exchange ghost times, track designs and rival data with others.

Sadly there are currently no real plans for a Vita version of LittleBigPlanet Karting, a game that is probably a better fit for the Vita than it is PS3. Don't get me wrong a Vita version is expected eventually but it's not something that Sony is focusing on at the moment and it's this kind of thinking that hurts the handheld. There appears to be no real drive from Sony to give the Vita the support it desperately needs. Sony threw out an amazing piece of hardware, which they expected to sell itself and then assumed Third party developers would come flocking to get in on the action. No one is going to develop for the Vita if Sony is not showing much interest.

Sony needs to support it's poor handheld with games and ideally exclusives ones at that to give the consumer an incentive to buy a Vita. Porting games isn't exactly going to help much and simply bringing an existing IPs over isn't going to shift units be default. Sony's games simply don't have the pulling power of say Nintendo's Mario for that to work so what we need are interesting Vita experiences.

There has been some interesting stuff happening in on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN over the years, so why not bring some of those types of games to the Vita?

Once you have original experiences that you can only find on the Vita then that's when you slowly start to win over the consumer.  Killzone alone isn't going to sell me on a Vita but if you have a slew of other titles that I want to play then there's a good chance I'll pick up Killzone too once I buy the system.

Bringing big name titles to the Vita isn't the clear solution to the problem but rather it's creating system sellers. Sony may think the upcoming Call of Duty on the Vita will be that kind of system seller but from what I see Call of Duty players seem content with playing the game on their console; I don't seem them rushing out to pick a Vita so they can play a watered down Call of Duty anytime soon.

Why not grab some of the Naughty Dog guys and ask them if they would be interested in working on a smaller scale Vita project instead of the usual triple AAA high production value PS3 games. Take a look at all your development groups and create some teams dedicated to working on Vita titles, at least until the system finds it's footing. It's these teams that need to lead the way on the Vita, their titles will help shift Vita units and once that starts to happen then third party developers will take notice. It's all about getting that snowball rolling downhill and it all starts with creating content people want to play.

I can spend all day here telling you about why the Vita is where it is but ultimately, it simply comes to the fact that content is king and no one buys hardware without strong software backing it. The tech wizards over at Sony have done their job so now it's time for the developers and marketing teams to do theirs.

Nintendo's 3DS also got off to a bad start and again it was due to lack of software, price cuts soon followed and free games were given away but none of it really mattered because it was games like Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 that built momentum. You can make all the colours you want, offer smaller or larger versions of the hardware but it's always been software that drives hardware sales.

It's been said before that a company is at it's best when they are in panic mode and Nintendo showed this by quickly asking for the assistance of Retro Studios to help speed up development of Mario Kart 7. You just don't see this level of commitment and drive from Sony to help the remedy the poor Vita sales thus far. In fact they recently closed down Studio Liverpool best known for the WipEout series with 2048 on the Vita being one of the very few reasons to even pick up the console. Release a couple of games with that level of quality and I might not even have written this article!

In the case of WipEout 2048 it's not a failure if it didn't sell millions, you should acknowledge that the game played a part in building the Vita's library. It needs to be a combination of quality titles from across the board that help make the Vita a success, not trying to find that single killer app that boosts hardware sales for a few weeks.

I want to like the Vita, I really do but Sony needs to stop thinking that their handhelds are somehow filling a gap in the market and look to see what has made others successful in the handheld space. Before entering a market you need to research and understand what you're getting yourself into. 

You don't need an expert to tell you that the handheld market is different in 2012 than it was in 2005, so bringing old strategies from the PSP era is laughable. It's a casual gamer-driven market and Sony has done nothing to acknowledge that. Here's a clue Sony, £39.99 for a handheld games in an age of 69p apps on iOS devices isn't a good idea.