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COMMENT | Not for the players, streamers, or newcomers - who the hell is PlayStation TV actually for?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
PlayStation TV, PS Vita TV, PS4, Remote Play, Sony Computer Entertainment

COMMENT | Not for the players, streamers, or newcomers - who the hell is PlayStation TV actually for?

One thing that was missing from our Christmas games console buyer's guides was an in-depth look at PlayStation TV, the little microconsole from Sony that'll allow to play Vita titles on the big screen and dish out some PS4 remote play goodness as well. I'll be the first to admit that generally, when it comes to microconsoles, I've never been the most evangelical supporter of playing mobile games on a big screen. I can, however, see the appeal of multimedia plug-in boxes for consumers without smart TVs, or if you have multiple sets and just want a little media box for secondary televisions.

I was rather eager to investigate PS TV, however, what with already owning a PS4 and having a large Vita library. I have large hands, and I must admit to not finding the Vita's tiny thumbsticks to be all that comfortable. It's a problem that I've mitigated somewhat with third-party attachments that give the Vita gamepad-like handles, but even so, it's not an ideal solution. With that in mind, and considering that I no longer have my PS3 plugged in any more, I quite liked the thought of PS TV as a remote play unit for my PS4, and a little home console equivalent for playing classic PlayStation titles and broader Vita titles more suited to longer periods of play.

The trouble is, given early impressions, I can't work out who PlayStation TV is actually for.

COMMENT | Not for the players, streamers, or newcomers - who the hell is PlayStation TV actually for?

It certainly doesn't seem to be for people like me, eager to use the little box, which is barely larger than a deck of cards, for PS4 Remote Play purposes. After much swearing and getting tangled up in cables, it's become readily apparent that the only way to eliminate the all-too visible lag is to have a house set up with full LAN coverage. This is just fundamentally impractical at best, and downright impossible at worst. Having the PS4 plugged in helped a bit, but even so, the latency was still immersion-breaking. I really hadn't expected that to be an issue -- standard remote play on my Vita, for example, works like a dream.

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COMMENT | Steam's new Early Access guidelines mean nothing without quality control

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Early Access, PC games, Steam

COMMENT | Steam's new Early Access guidelines mean nothing without quality control

I love Early Access in the same way I love DLC, microtransactions and crowd-funding. They're all perfectly legitimate ways to make money -- the likes of Dungeon Of The Endless, Minerva's Den, Zen Pinball and FTL are all prime examples -- but they're also ripe for abuse. Whether from big publishers or tiny studios, willingly or even unwittingly.

We've certainly seen our fair share of Early Access disasters over the last year. From Spacebase DF-9 to The Stomping Land, Earth: Year 2066 and The War Z, developers often promise too much and deliver too little, turn their titles into vapourware, purposefully lie to consumers or just naively launch their game on the service with the best of intentions... only to discover that they can't actually follow through.

Steam recently updated their Early Access guidelines to better forewarn developers against the risks of launching an Early Access, but in this pundit's opinion, it's time they stopped talking tough and started flexing some muscle.

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At A Glance: Roundup 17th - 23rd November 2014

Author:
Brendan Griffiths
Category:
Features
Tags:
At A Glance, Game news, Game previews, Games reviews, News Roundup, Weekly Roundup

At A Glance: Roundup 17th - 23rd November 2014

We've really been putting the Deals into Dealspwn this week. With Christmas and Black Friday fast approaching, we've been working hard with the HotUkDeals community to bring you the hottest cheap game prices and some seriously jaw-dropping console bundle deals. With that in mind, we've put together a range of Buyer's guides for the PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS/2DS and PS Vita telling you all about the consoles and the best bundles we can find. Keep an eye on those, as we'll keep updating them with the latest deals.

With so many great deals, we've had a lot of new visitors to the sight, so we'll take this opportunity to say 'Welcome!' and thanks for coming to take a look at Dealspwn.com. This 'At A glance' feature is where we round up all of our Feature articles and Reviews each week and provide a list of links to each one below. This week, in addition to the Buyer's Guides we have a Black Friday intro guide, year-one reviews of the Xbox One and PS4 and our weekly look at the upcoming releases along with links to the best prices.

There's more. You can find Opening Scenes videos for Far Cry 4 and LittleBigPlanet 3, a preview for Deathtrap, a look at the last minute retraction of Elite: Dangerous' offline mode and Matt asks about the grim prospects of the naughty scenes in GTA V (you know damn well what we're talking about) now that it has a first-person view. Jon's got the lowdown on what the recent Halo Collection patch has fixed and also what it hasn't. More importantly, find out why his Wii U rudely woke him up in the middle of the night to sell him DLC.

We managed to squeeze in a few reviews when not deal hunting this week. Assassin's Creed Unity is going to have get pretty cheap before we start pretending to show any enthusiasm, as it looks like it's beyond a few patches to fix the most disappointing entry to the series yet. Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham shows the series is running out of ideas, but we still can't help but play the pants off the thing, especially in co-op - I'll try again with next year's resolution of not wasting so much time collecting Trophies. Ok, that's the lot, enjoy the links below and be sure to keep an eye on our Deals section next week in the run up to Black Friday.

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From The Vault | The Pokemon Complex

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
From The Vault, JRPGs, Nintendo, Pokémon, RPGs

Every Sunday, we'll be diving into the Dealspwn archives to bring you an article or review from yesteryear. This week, with a new Pokemon game just around the corner, here's Felix's 15th Anniversary Pokemon piece from back in 2010.

How about you, dear reader? What's been your favourite Pokemon game?

*     *     *

From The Vault | The Pokemon Complex

It’s been fifteen years since Pokemon was first released. It introduced a veritable ecosystem of elemental critters, and soon became a phenomenon. It began on the Gameboy as Pocket Monsters, and Pokemon has become not only a force in videogames, but a titan of trading-cards, anime and film. But it is the traditional videogame release fans crave most; Red and BlueGold and SilverRuby andSapphireDiamond and Pearl. Recently, Nintendo announced Black and White, the sixth edition, which promises to deliver a radical overhaul to the series.

But why is the Pokemon formula so endearing? In fifteen years, it's barely evolved beyond the established framework. So why does it continue to be a financial and critical success?

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Happy Birthday New-Gen! | Game Buzz #98

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Game Buzz, Podcast, PS4, PWNCAST, Wii U, Xbox One

Happy Birthday New-Gen! | Game Buzz #98

With the PS4 and Xbox One both one year old, we take a look at this first full year of the new generation, and also ask which console gamers be picking up this Christmas.

Game Buzz | Episode 98 - Happy Birthday New-Gen! Recorded 21st November, 2014.

Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be some instances of strong language

Want more? Check out the rest of our PWNCAST posts onsite, hit us up on iTunes, or subscribe to the PWNCAST Feed here.

Happy Birthday New-Gen! | Game Buzz #98 Happy Birthday New-Gen! | Game Buzz #98Happy Birthday New-Gen! | Game Buzz #98Happy Birthday New-Gen! | Game Buzz #98Happy Birthday New-Gen! | Game Buzz #98

Black Friday: The Ultimate Guide - Console bundle bargains, games deals, and utter retail madness

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Black Friday, Console bundles, Cyber Monday

Black Friday: The Ultimate Guide - Console bundle bargains, games deals, and utter retail madness

Black Friday Week is almost upon us, although with the scorching console bundle deals we've been seeing these past few days, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was already here. The Christmas retail season is about to hit full swing and there'll be games deals aplenty in amongst the retail madness. There'll be lots to get through, but this guide to Black Friday and Cyber Monday should hopefully stand you in good stead.

Black Friday: The Lowdown

If you're not American or directly involved in the retail industry, you might not even have heard of Black Friday, athough you'll probably have heard the stampeding herds of shoppers around this time of year. Here's a quick guide to what Black Friday actually entails:

Black Friday: The Ultimate Guide - Console bundle bargains, games deals, and utter retail madness

What is Black Friday? Black Friday is the first Friday after Thanksgiving (yes, blame the US), and has therefore been a time when many consumers have had the day off and used the freedom to do a spot of Christmas shopping. As a result, many stores began gearing their key sales towards this date, and it's swelled into global retail phenomenon.

Why Black Friday? Perhaps it's because profits start swinging back into the black again around this time of year. Perhaps it's because of the horrors that customer-facing staff see every year as the stampeding hordes approach their doors. Wikipedia posits that the terms originated in Philadelphia, where it was "used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving".

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Nintendo 3DS & 2DS Christmas Buyer's Guide

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
2DS, 3DS, 3DS XL, Buyer's Guide, New 3DS, New 3DS XL, Nintendo

Nintendo 3DS & 2DS Christmas Buyer's Guide

With Christmas and Black Friday fast approaching, it's time for our annual console buyer's guides packed with useful advice, cheap console bundle deals and the best games bargains for the hottest software.

Finally we come to the Nintendo 3DS, which has been our console of the year for two years running. Delivering an utterly superb games lineup, Nintendo's handheld has gone from strength to strength, with its unique Streetpass functionality making even the most boring commute an adventure in and of itself. The 2DS has also been on hand for those with lighter wallets, eschewing stereoscopic 3D to provide a sensationally low price point.

Unfortunately, seeing as a new 3DS model with enhanced functionality and exclusive games is set to release next year, it's also very difficult to recommend buying one this Christmas. Luckily there are plenty of great deals about!

3DS & 2DS Bundle Deals!

Nintendo 3DS & 2DS Christmas Buyer's Guide

We'll get to the differences between the 3DS, 3DS XL and 2DS in the next section, but first let's take a look at the hottest console bundles ahead of Black Friday.

ShopTo will also part with an Ice White 3DS and Professor Layton & The Miracle Mask for £99.99, which is a massive bargain.

Super Smash Bros fans looking for a 3DS XL will currently find Nintendo to be the cheapest place to get the limited edition 3DS XL bundle. You'll also get a free game as per a promotion detailed later in the article, as well as a charger and free carry case.

However, if the less capable yet much cheaper 2DS is more your speed, there are a smorgasbord of options available. For starters, Tesco will sell you one for £89.99 with their TDX-7KPG voucher code bundled with New Super Mario Bros 2. Thanks to GemmaOd and allgonewrong @ HUKD!

Argos are currently charging £99.99 for a 2DS with curious life sim Tomodachi Life and a free copy of Pokemon White for £99.99. Make sure to scroll down for the special offer. Thanks to aing69 @ HUKD!

Alternatively you could get a 2DS with Mario Kart 7 and a Mario-themed carry case for £109.99 at GAME. Thanks to Ninbox4 @ HUKD!

Nintendo are also running their own 2DS deal, which includes Mario Kart 7 and and New Super Mario Bros 2 and a special carry case for £129.99. Arguably more competitive than the two above. Thanks to Melee1012 @ HUKD!

Finally, Nintendo will also sell you a special edition 2DS with Pokemon Alpha Sapphire or Omega Ruby, and a carry case, for £114.99. This will also net you a free game download as per a promotional offer outlined later in the guide. This effectively nets you the carry case for free, since GAME, Amazon and others don't include it!

We expect Black Friday to offer some seriously cheap 3DS deals, so this is the level you'll want to match or ideally beat.

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection update fixes everything... except matchmaking

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
343 Industries, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, multiplayer, Updates, Xbox One Games

Halo: The Master Chief Collection update fixes everything... except matchmaking

Halo: The Master Chief Collection is an incredible package, but like any great hero, it has an Achilles' Heel. Matchmaking. Post-launch, what appeared to be solid and stable matchmaking descended to a mess of interminable wait times, broken parties and hilariously unbalanced teams. 343 Industries were quick to apologies and have been working around the clock to sort things out, culminating in a 1400 MB patch yesterday that promised to address the major issues alongside a host of minor tweaks.

So does it work?

Not really.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection update fixes everything... except matchmaking

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Xbox One: A Year in Review - Spencer the Saviour

Author:
Staff
Category:
Features
Tags:
Microsoft, Phil Spencer, Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall, Xbox One, Xbox One Games

Xbox One: A Year in Review - Spencer the Saviour

The Xbox One has its first birthday tomorrow, and so we took the chance to cast our eyes back over the first twelve months of Microsoft's latest console to reflect on how it's performed after a rocky release, in a year where there's been a personnel change at the top and the competition has raced ahead to an early sales lead. Has the Xbox One managed to turn things around?

Jon

Phil Spencer bared his fangs and proved his mettle this year.

The new head of Xbox inherited a disaster in the making. Don Mattrick had totally sabotaged the Xbox brand, rolling out an insanely expensive media centre with functionality most devices and smart TVs already made obsolete, packing an admittedly excellent peripheral that nobody really wanted, stacked to the gunwhales with microtransactions and controversial  features. The Xbox One sold modestly well on the strength of its fanbase, some decent launch titles and Titanfall, but it soon became apparent that the bloated "entertainment system" was a sitting duck as Sony and even Nintendo started pulling ahead. Spencer faced an impossible situation.

Xbox One: A Year in Review - Spencer the Saviour

There's only one thing you can do in an impossible situation. Triage. Save what you can, then let everything else burn.

What followed was a ruthless, desperate and frankly magnificent campaign of revisions, U-turns and scorched-earth decisions as the new guard dismantled Mattrick's monstrosity into a console that might actually sell. Kinect was thrown under the bus. The RRP was hacked down to undercut the PS4, margins be damned, followed by some ludicrous bundles. Xbox Live Gold was declawed, and permanent free games were rolled out. Firmware updates weren't delivered annually, they were delivered every single month come what may.

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PlayStation Vita Christmas Buyer's Guide

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Buyer's Guide, Christmas Buyer's Guide, PS Vita, Sony

PlayStation Vita Christmas Buyer's Guide

With Christmas and Black Friday fast approaching, it's time for our annual console buyer's guides packed with useful advice, cheap console bundle deals and the best games bargains for the hottest software.

The PS Vita is a premium handheld with incredible specifications and a deceptively deep games library. Despite having an unfair reputation for providing few AAA exclusives, Sony's portable offers some of the best handheld games ever made, on par with home console titles, alongside a thriving g indie scene, excellent localised Japanese games and a back catalogue spanning the PSOne and PSP. Not to mention nifty remote play functionality when twinned with a PlayStation 4.

Put simply it's a must-own device for gaming connoisseurs. In this guide we'll discuss the hardware, software and then the cheapest way to get up and running.

PS Vita Bundle Deals!

PlayStation Vita Christmas Buyer's Guide

PS Vita bundle deals are fairly thin on the ground, but a few spring to mind. The first is the Slim console with an 8GB memory card and the 5-game adventure pack which includes some absolutely astounding games. Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Gravity Rush, TxK, Tearaway and Escape Plan can all be yours for £149.99 from GAME, saving you £5 versus Grainger Games.

Speaking of Grainger Games, they also happen to still be in stock with the 10 game Mega Pack Bundle, which will set you back only £154.99 compared to Amazon's silly £229.

Otherwise you can't go wrong with the action Mega Pack, which will cost you £159.99 pretty much everywhere (including Amazon if you want to try Flubit). I did say it was thin on the ground! It's likely that Sony and retailers want to prioritise the newly-released PS Vita TV, which we haven't yet tested comprehensively enough to recommend one way or the other.

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Bumping Uglies: GTA 5's first-person sex - porn, parody, or a depressing modern parallel?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Grand Theft Auto V, GTA V, Rockstar Games, Sex

Bumping Uglies: GTA 5's first-person sex - porn, parody, or a depressing modern parallel?

Sex in GTA 5, much like most other things in GTA 5, can now be enjoyed/endured in first-person mode. I can't help but find the scandal surrounding it a little wearying to say the least. Just because you're looking out through the eyes of the characters rather than controlling them in the third-person doesn't make the fact that you can have virtual sex with a virtual prostitute and then virtually kill her, if you choose to, any worse than before.

I've played a few hours of the new-gen version of GTA V, and the first-person mode does make a significant difference. Everything is a little more immediate, the painstakingly detailed world, scrubbed up to somehow look even better than it did last year, is more immersive than before. Los Santos fills more alive in this version, and I have to say that I really felt like I was a part of a living, breathing environment far more than I did in the original.

Perhaps it's for these reasons that people are getting uppity about the sex. True to form, the Daily Fail called it "outrageous", the IBTimes wheeled out some "experts" without any links to relative studies. To its credit, though, the Mirror delivered a very carefully-measured piece, highlighting that actually we still have absolutely no clear evidence just how much of an effect games have on real-life situations:

On the violence side, let's remind ourselves of the many studies and meta-analyses that have shown that there is absolutely no clearly defined link between violent video games and aggression in those who play them.

There is no established link between violent video games and real-world violence

In the few studies that do find a weak link between aggressive behaviour and video games, there tends to be little context: do games make you more aggressive that playing or watching a team sport like football, for example?

Now, let's be clear, video games seldom deal with sex particularly well. Part of it, when talking about the act itself, is the animation, of course -- no one wants to see mannequins bumping uglies. Whatever emotional capacity a gaming sex scene might have had is quickly lost when the entire thing disappears off into the uncanny valley like a burning car careening off of a cliff. The alternative is the sort of soft-focus fumbling seen in Mass Effect, which just made me laugh.

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PREVIEW | Deathtrap: Diablo meets Tower Defence in a bloodsoaked gothic romp

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Deathtrap, Early Access, Games previews, Neocore Games, PC games, RPG, Tower Defence games

PREVIEW | Deathtrap: Diablo meets Tower Defence in a bloodsoaked gothic romp

"The Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing 2 punches well above its weight and ends up as a markedly superior game. Seriously, even the optional tower defence sections are good enough to be a standalone game in their own right."

I'm not trying to take credit for Deathtrap -- even I'm not that egotistical -- but I certainly called it in our Incredible Adventures Of Van Helsing II review. NeoCore are already masters at creating rock-solid action RPG gameplay with compelling progression and great combat, so having discovered a knack for tower defence too, they decided to build a brand new game mixing all three elements together.

The result is half Diablo-style dungeon crawler, half tower defender and all delightfully OTT gothic horror romp. With multiple classes, tricky mazes, hordes of enemies, addictive levelling, versatile upgrades, co-op, infinite user-generated content and more besides, Deathtrap expertly blends the strategy of tower defence with the insanely hectic combat of Diablo. It's an example of a tower defence RPG hybrid that actually tries to break the mold, and rise above the pack in an otherwise crowded sub-genre.

PREVIEW | Deathtrap: Diablo meets Tower Defence in a bloodsoaked gothic romp

And because it's built on the dependable Van Helsing foundation, it's also an example of an Early Access game that actually works!

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PlayStation 4 Christmas Buyer's Guide

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Buyer's Guide, Christmas Buyer's Guide, Playstation 4, PS4

PlayStation 4 Christmas Buyer's Guide

With Christmas and Black Friday fast approaching, it's time for our annual console buyer's guides packed with useful advice, cheap console bundle deals and the best games bargains for the hottest software. Now we're ready to give the PS4 its dues.

Sony's console has been flying off the shelves this past year on the strength of its beefy specifications, best-in-class controller, affordable pricing, nifty features and the promise of more quality first-party exclusives. Unfortunately we'll have to wait until next year for big hitters like Bloodborne and Uncharted 4, but the PS4 makes up for it with canny third-party deals, superb indie games and an impressively varied lineup of software big and small.

In this guide we'll discuss the hardware, software and then the cheapest way to get up and running.

PS4 Bundle Deals!

PlayStation 4 Christmas Buyer's Guide

For those who want a taste of both new and old, GAME are currently running a PS4 bundle with The Last Of Us Remastered and either Far Cry 4 OR Grand Theft Auto 5 for £349.99. Bargain. Thanks to preparationiskey @ HUKD!

Argos are also running some straightfoward PS4 bundle deals at the moment, the best of which includes the console with Grand Theft Auto V and Far Cry 4 for £359.99. Scroll down to see the special offers. Thanks to Jabbypans @ HUKD!

If you want to make sure you don't run out of games to play, you can net a PS4 with five decent games for under £400 at ShopTo, including Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Wolfenstein and Minecraft. Thanks to preparationiskey @ HUKD!

Dragon Age fans can also get Dragon Age: Inquisition with a new PS4 console for £329.85 at ShopTo.

Finally, if you're in the market for a standalone glacier white console, you can grab a bargain at Gamestop for £299.97. Note that their customer service leaves much to be desired, though. Thanks to ahmadfirdausazmi @ HUKD!

Naturally we expect Black Friday to be bountiful for cheap PS4 bundle deals, but this is the level you want to match or beat! Also be sure to keep an eye on Amazon, who recently offered several bundles at £329.99 and may do so again come the end of November.

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COMMENT | Frontier's Elite: Dangerous 11th hour offline mode U-turn is an anti-consumer insult

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Always-on internet, Crowd Funding, Elite: Dangerous, Kickstarter, PC games

COMMENT | Frontier's Elite: Dangerous 11th hour offline mode U-turn is an anti-consumer insult

Elite: Dangerous is out in a month. And it was announced over the weekend that it won't have an offline mode.

Understandably, a fair few people have not taken this news too well.

The ideal way of playing Elite: Dangerous, as outlined in the original Kickstarter pitch, was always intended to encourage online connectivity, with Frontier realising right from the start that the only real way to create the vast, expansive vision they had for the game was to create a "living, breathing galaxy" that could be added to long after release:

The galaxy for Elite: Dangerous is a shared universe maintained by a central server. All of the meta data for the galaxy is shared between players. This includes the galaxy itself as well as transient information like economies. The aim here is that a player's actions will influence the development of the galaxy, without necessarily having to play multiplayer.

The other important aspect for us is that we can seed the galaxy with events, often these events will be triggered by player actions. With a living breathing galaxy players can discover new and interesting things long after they have started playing.

Originally, that was that. However, an update to the pitch back in December 2012 saw Frontier reassure backers that there'd also be a dedicated offline mode. It wouldn't have the dynamic perks of the connected galaxy, but players wouldn't need to go online. "It will be possible to have a single player game without connecting to the galaxy server," Frontier wrote. "You won't get the features of the evolving galaxy (although we will investigate minimising those differences) and you probably won't be able to sync between server and non-server (again we'll investigate)."

COMMENT | Frontier's Elite: Dangerous 11th hour offline mode U-turn is an anti-consumer insult

Noting the date is important. Elite: Dangerous was officially crowd-funded on January 3rd, 2013.

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Microsoft started the bloodiest price war in console history

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Microsoft, PS4, Sony, Xbox One

Microsoft started the bloodiest price war in console history

I've never seen a price war like this before.

Sure, console manufacturers and retailers tend to sling together a few bundles ahead of Christmas and Black Friday, but usually it's a token effort intended to make the most money from put-upon parents, Christmas presents and stocking fillers before the big January sales. Often we even see prices go up to grab as much Christmas cash as possible, and false savings instead of real discounts.

Now, however, Microsoft has broken the rules and started a console bundle price war of monstrous proportions, where there's only likely to be one winner.

Us!

Microsoft started the bloodiest price war in console history

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Opening Scenes | LittleBigPlanet 3 (PS4) - First 10 Mins

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
LittleBigPlanet 3, Opening Scenes, Platformers, Play Create Share, PS4 games, Sumo Digital, Videos

Yesterday, I posited that LittleBigPlanet 3 is exactly the sort of game that the PS4 needs right now -- an open-ended, creatively-vibrant titles that an awesome community might be able to form around. Well, our official review is on its way, but in the interim, here's a look at the game's opening scenes.

Don't worry, it's perfectly normal to want to marathon A Bit of Fry and Laurie after this.

Wii U Christmas Buyer's Guide

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Buyer's Guide, Christmas Buyer's Guide, Nintendo, Wii U

Wii U Christmas Buyer's Guide

With Christmas and Black Friday fast approaching, it's time for our annual console buyer's guides packed with useful advice, cheap console bundle deals and the best games bargains for the hottest software. Now we're set to focus on the Wii U, which has become an essential purchase for any serious gamer.

No, really. Nintendo's console spent two years amassing an incredible games library of killer titles, built on exceptional quality and crowned by some of the very best games of 2014. In this guide we'll discuss the hardware, software and then the cheapest place to get up and running.

Wii U Bundle Deals!

Wii U Christmas Buyer's Guide

If you're willing to make do with 8GB of onboard storage (more on that later), there are plenty of smart bargains to be had before Black Friday. ShopTo are running a tasty deal on the Basic White Wii U console with Super Smash Bros, an official GameCube Controller, adaptor, Nintendo Land, Wii Party U and an extra WiiMote+ for £219. Thanks to Gamer_U @ HUKD!

Rakuten's SPEND40 voucher code is still bringing home the bacon, allowing you to grab a basic Wii U with Just Dance 2014 and Nintendo Land for a cheeky £169.99. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!

Well-heeled Mario Kart superfans will probably enjoy Nintendo's Wii U Mario Kart 8 Mega Bundle, containing the Premium Console, Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Special red Mario Wimote Plus, Red Mario steering wheel, red GamePad skin and even a hat for £299.00! Thanks to MadeInBeats @ HUKD!

Bayonetta fans may want to consider getting 2014's potential GOTY, Bayonetta 2, in a bundle with a basic Wii U, Bayonetta 1, Nintendo Land, Wii Party U and a spare WiiMote+ controller for £199.85 from ShopTo (which is sadly no longer discounted as per Wildcrumble's excellent HUKD deal!).

Naturally we expect Black Friday to be bountiful for cheap Wii U bundles, but this is the level you want to match or preferably beat!

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PS4: A Year In Review - Nice Sales, But Where Are The Marquee Games?

Author:
Staff
Category:
Features
Tags:
PS4, PS4 games, Sony Computer Entertainment

PS4: A Year In Review - Nice Sales, But Where Are The Marquee Games?

Update: We've updated the title for the sake of clarity.

The PlayStation 4 recently turned one year old, and we put our heads together to have a look back over the inaugural year of Sony's latest console, and see how the PS4 has fared.

Matt

Sony are clearly winning, at least in terms of numbers.

However, to my mind, the PS4 faces the same questions this Christmas as it did last year, perhaps most chiefly where are the headline games? But really, that's a question born out of the previous generation. Back when the PS3 was lining up against the Xbox One, Microsoft had the headstart, the ease of access, and a flourishing indie initiative. The PS3 did a barnstorming job of playing catch-up largely thanks to Sony unleashing their stable of first-party studios and exclusive partners.

PS4: A Year In Review - Nice Sales, But Where Are The Marquee Games?

But the PS4 isn't in that position, and Sony haven't had to do that. It's even more clear now, writing at the crest of 2014 before we plunge into the craziness of Black Friday and the Christmas retail period, that Sony are playing a long game. Moreover, when Sony said #ThisIsForThePlayers and began heralding the accessibility of their platform, what they really said was "it's not about us", and that's rung true throughout this first year. Third-parties have been given the red carpet treatment, exclusive content deals have been the story of this first year, gaming services have come to the fore more than ever before, and Sony's pricing has been spot on.

Click here to read more...

Xbox One Christmas Buyer's Guide

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Buyer's Guide, Xbox One

Xbox One Christmas Buyer's Guide

With Christmas and Black Friday fast approaching, it's time for our annual console buyer's guides packed with useful advice, cheap console bundle deals and the best games bargains for the hottest software. To kick off: The Xbox One, which has experienced a very interesting twelve months.

What a difference a year makes. A change in leadership and focus saw a £429.99 entertainment centre become a £329.99 console, making the much-vaunted Kinect sensor 2.0 obsolete in the process. More importantly, though, the Xbox One is now a thoroughbred games machine and currently boasts a superior lineup than Sony's contender. This will likely change come Spring 2015, but for now, the best games really are on Xbox One.

Xbox One Bundle Deals!

Xbox One Christmas Buyer's Guide

Let's start strong with the best Xbox One bundle deals, before moving on to buying advice and the game collection. The recent price cut has sparked a massive retailer price war, and even if you want to hold off for some hot Black Friday deals, this is the sort of level you need to match or beat.

For those of you who want to be spoiled for choice on the games front. ShopTo are currently running a great big £400 bundle deal with five big games, including GTA V, Advanced Warfare, Forza 5, Titanfall and Wolfenstein: The New Order. Thanks to oUkTuRkEyIII @ HUKD!

However, Halo fans may be better served with GAME's cheap Xbox One Bundle containing Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Advanced Warfare, Forza 5 and a game of your choice for £359.99, leaving you with a little extra spending money. Thanks to sonic6080 @ HUKD!

Assassin's Creed fans might also want to consider this sneaky stabby alternative from Tesco -- remember to use their TDX-7KPG voucher code and set up a new account if necessary! Thanks to Gooner @ HUKD!

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COMMENT | LittleBigPlanet 3 Is Exactly What The PS4 Needs This Christmas

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
LittleBigPlanet 3, Platformers, Play Create Share, PS4 games, Sumo Digital

COMMENT | LittleBigPlanet 3 Is Exactly What The PS4 Needs This Christmas

LittleBigPlanet 3 review copies have arrived, and we're beavering away on our LBP3 review. It won't be ready for tomorrow's 5am embargo (still got to fully test out the Create mode), but the preview coverage (click here for everything you need to know about LBP 3 ahead of launch) has reinforced a notion that I've held ever since the PS4 launched a year ago -- this is exactly the sort of game that the PS4 needs this Christmas.

A year on from the PS4's launch, and we'll be reflecting more on the first year of Sony and Microsoft's new-gen consoles (the second for the Wii U) over the next week or two, and it's easy to see that Sony got pretty much everything right with their console. The message was bang on, with Sony capitalising massively on Microsoft's U-turns and blustered, botched communication. #ThisIsForThePlayers came the rallying cry from the PlayStation camp, and the consumer audience across the world stood up, took notice, and voted with their wallets.

To look at the bare facts, the PS4 was cheaper, more powerful, and more clearly focused on gaming -- a no-frills games console that wanted to do one thing, and do it well. But in sorting everything out on the console end of things, Sony rather forgot about their own games.

I wrote an article a couple of weeks back saying that, for the second Christmas running, the Xbox One had the more attractive games lineup. I say that as a PS4 owner, jealously appraising the exclusives in Halo: MCC, Sunset Overdrive, and Forza Horizon, having seen that Assassin's Creed: Unity actually runs better on Xbox One (though that's not exactly saying much).

Enter LittleBigPlanet 3.

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