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Sony Computer Entertainment

PS4: Every announced 2014 title so far, but where are the big hitters?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
PS4, PS4 games, Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Worldwide Studios

PS4: Every announced 2014 title so far, but where are the big hitters?

This week, Sony released a list detailing every PlayStation 4 game announced for 2014 so far, along with expected release windows. Still no idea when the hell Driveclub is coming, mind; and there's no sign of The Last Guardian either, unsurprisingly.

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The Last Of Us: Left Behind Review | Friends Until The End

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
DLC, Game reviews, Naughty Dog, Sony Computer Entertainment, The Last Of Us, The Last Of Us: Left Behind

The Last Of Us: Left Behind Review | Friends Until The EndPlatform: PS3

Developer: Naughty Dog

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

As someone who enjoyed The Last Of Us (perhaps significantly more than our on-site review) I was both excited and rather nervous about Left Behind. After all, getting your money’s worth out of DLC has always been a hot topic here on Dealspwn, and buying season passes ahead of time has added further fuel to that fire (and is something we really, really suggest you do not do – wait for the content to be revealed and reviewed first to avoid disappointment.) Thankfully, Left Behind provides a delicate and engrossing look at Ellie’s life before she met Joel in an extra chapter that fans of The Last Of Us should absolutely get hold of.

With that rather stark and quite upfront endorsement, let’s explain why I feel that is the case. It should come as no surprise that the narrative aspects of The Last Of Us are as strong as ever in Left Behind, with the optional environmental interactions once again bringing a very human touch between the traversal and action sequences. This time around, the subject of lost innocence and growing up in a world gone to hell is the main focus, as Ellie’s relationship with her best friend Riley reaches a critical turning point. It should come of no surprise that the script is of a high standard, but it is the performances by Ashley Johnson and Yanni King that make each interaction between the two a highlight of the DLC.

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Beyond: Two Souls only £17.98 with code at The Hut

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Adventure Games, PS3 games, Quantic Dream, Sony Computer Entertainment

Beyond: Two Souls only £17.98 with code at The Hut
Beyond: Two Souls | The Hut | £17.98 with code | Voucher Code: THEHUT
PS3 price comparison | Beyond: Two Souls Review

The price continues to tumble down for Quantic Dream's latest, and thanks to the voucher code above you can get it for below the £20 mark. Overall you'll save £7 over the next best deal elsewhere, although The Hut aren't known for their prompt delivery so bear that in mind before ordering.

Opinion on Beyond was scattered like a buckshot for good reason - player interaction and choice is nowhere near the level found in Heavy Rain, and David Cage has arguably produced better stories in his previous games - but at this price it could be the right time to make up your own mind. Thanks to darioredkin @ HUKD!

LittleBigPlanet Vita only £9.99 at The Game Collection

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Media Molecule, Platform games, PS Vita games, Sony Computer Entertainment

LittleBigPlanet Vita only £9.99 at The Game Collection
LittleBigPlanet Vita | The Game Collection | £9.99
PS Vita price comparison | LittleBigPlanet Review

Here's a great chance to get hold of one of the Vita's standout games for a bargain price. The deal from The Game Collection will save you around a fiver over the next cheapest offer elsewhere.

John has made no secret of his feelings that LBP Vita is the best game available for Sony's handheld, and it's hard to argue with him considering how naturally its Play Create Share mechanics fit with the touchscreen controls and camera functionality. Thanks to bargain76 @ HUKD!

Ratchet & Clank: Nexus Pre-order | £16.99 | Currys | PS3

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Action Games, Insomniac Games, PS3 games, Sony Computer Entertainment

Ratchet & Clank: Nexus Pre-order | £16.99 | Currys | PS3
Ratchet & Clank: Nexus Pre-order | Currys | £16.99 | PS3 price comparison

With the game coming out tomorrow, this is a excellent bargain for the latest Rachet & Clank title. Overall you can save yourself around £3 over the next cheapest listing.

Our review is currently in the works, but it's almost safe to say that if you're a fan of the series you'll no doubt get your money's worth from Insomniac's latest. Thanks to SUPERCOOLWILLOW @ HUKD!

COMMENT | The Crushing Disappointment of Beyond: Two Souls

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Beyond: Two Souls, David Cage, Ellen Page, PS3 games, Quantic Dream, Sony Computer Entertainment

COMMENT | The Crushing Disappointment of Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls has proven to be a divisive and contentious title primarily because many have struggled to find a place for it when it comes to their definitions of what a game should be. When I sat down to write my Beyond review, I had to begin with a caveat because I felt that one's enjoyment of David Cage's latest opus would no doubt depend on whether or not the player was open to Quantic Dream's signature style, though even that might prove to be a fallible basis for investigation:

Your appreciation, or lack thereof, of David Cage and Quantic Dream's latest opus is largely going to be determined by how much you subscribe to many of the controversial statements that Cage has made over the last couple of years, not to mention whether or not you enjoyed his last QTE-'em-up: Heavy Rain.

And even then, given Heavy Rain arguably worked because of its delicately balanced mix of genre, form and function, you might not find Beyond to your liking.

Games are not reviewed in a vacuum, as we've stated many times on this site. Therefore, it's impossible to separate Beyond from the canon of experiential games, large and small, that have surfaced in the wake of Heavy Rain these past three years. The same tricks that worked in 2010 might not prove as effective this time around, and so it seems to have been the case, for this writer anyway.

COMMENT | The Crushing Disappointment of Beyond: Two Souls

I promised I'd go into further detail, expanding upon a few of the points I made in my review, and so here's a more personal, expressive take on some of Beyond's failures (in my eyes) to deliver the emotionally-connected experience that David Cage and his team have constantly espoused, and why I'm not sure if the team at Quantic Dream fully understand the enormous capacity for direct, emotional connection that this interactive medium can offer.

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Beyond: Two Souls Review | Beyond Redemption

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Adventure Games, Beyond: Two Souls, PS3 games, Quantic Dream, Sony Computer Entertainment

Beyond: Two Souls Review | Beyond Redemption

Platforms: PS3

Developers: Quantic Dream

Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment

Let's get one thing straight, right from the start. Your appreciation, or lack thereof, of David Cage and Quantic Dream's latest opus is largely going to be determined by how much you subscribe to many of the controversial statements that Cage has made over the last couple of years, not to mention whether or not you enjoyed his last QTE-'em-up: Heavy Rain.

And even then, given Heavy Rain arguably worked because of its delicately balanced mix of genre, form and function, you might not find Beyond to your liking.

Beyond: Two Souls Review | Beyond Redemption

Let's start with the most important aspect of this game: the story. You play the role of Jodie Holmes -- a young woman reflecting upon a life led constantly in the company of a powerful ethereal entity named Aiden -- stepping into her shoes and going with her on a journey that takes us from birth, through adolescence, and into young adulthood. From an early age, she's placed under the observation of the Department of Paranormal Activities, and cared for by Nathan Dawkins and his assistant Cole Freeman. Cage's narrative hops about Jodie's timeline -- sometimes to great effect, though it is at times slightly overused and feels a little gimmicky at points -- letting us witness her first attempts to play with other kids, go to her first teenage party, and sneak out of the military compound in which she's spent most of her life to grab a quiet drink at a local bar.

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Rain Review | Shallow Water

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Adventure Games, PlayStation C.A.M.P., PS3 games, PSN, Puzzle games, Rain, Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment, Stealth Games

Rain Review | Shallow Water

Platform: PS3 (PSN, £9.99)

Developer: PlayStation CAMP

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony should be congratulated for bringing a diverse and experimental range of gaming experiences to the PlayStation Network, and Rain was set to be their bravest and most innovative yet. This soulful adventure stars an invisible boy alone in a storm-swept world, chasing a mysterious girl who's always just out of reach through a sort-of-stealth puzzler, trying to get back home. As fans of innovative new experiences, suffice to say that we were more than a little excited about PlayStation C.A.M.P.'s latest venture.

So it's galling that Rain falls totally flat because, when it comes right down to brass tacks, it simply isn't brave nor innovative enough. In fact, it has a dirty little secret that undermines almost everything.

Rain Review | Shallow Water

We're getting ahead of ourselves, mind, so let's start by accentuating the positives: Rain is one of the most beautiful games I've played in years. The city, an impossible labyrinth of rain-drenched French architecture, is brought to life with a rich yet muted colour palette, melancholy practically dripping from every gutter and flowing down every drain. A real sense of loneliness and isolation is hammered home by a truly masterful soundtrack that applies the lightest touch: a light piano refrain here, an accordion there, and silence when necessary for maximum impact. It is truly a feast for the senses.

There are moments when you'll just stand staring at your television, gobsmacked and humbled, listening to the rain.

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Killzone: Mercenary | £25.99 | Currys | PS Vita

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Deals
Tags:
FPS games, Guerilla Cambridge, PS Vita games, Sony Computer Entertainment

Killzone: Mercenary | £25.99 | Currys | PS Vita
Killzone: MercenaryCurrys | £25.99 (Save £2)
Price Comparison | Killzone: Mercenary Review

It's a deal we highlighted last month, but it's still remains the best price for the Vita's best FPS offering to date. Thanks to BattleMoose87 @ HUKD!

Puppeteer Review | A Marionette Marvel

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Platformers, PS3 games, Puppeteer, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Japan Studio

Puppeteer Review | A Marionette Marvel

Platforms: PS3

Developers: Sony Japan Studio

Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment

Sony Japan Studio are one of those outfits with an almost absurd excess of creativity. The ideas behind their games are frequently weird and wonderful -- just look at the likes of Tokyo Jungle and Gravity Rush -- but it's also true that quite often the execution doesn't quite match up to the inspiration behind it. So it has been that Japan Studio has created a number of games that we really, really want to love, but have perhaps been a little too fundamentally flawed to achieve those ends.

What's great, of course, is that this clearly hasn't dampened the creative spirit or sense of gumption at the studio, because here comes Puppeteer: a 2D platformer seemingly skewed towards children, but with a dark (and occasionally disturbing) story, narrated by English luvvies, and framed by a constantly shifting stage for a playable slice of marionette theatre. There's an Into The Woods joke in here. I'm not sure there's ever been a game before that's managed to slip in a half-minute musical homage to Sondheim before.

Puppeteer Review | A Marionette Marvel

If there was ever a game that screamed *RISKY SALES PROPOSITION* at first glance, this is probably it. Thank whatever deity or secular object you pray to that there are still people who value creativity up at the higher levels of this industry.

Puppeteer tells the story of Kutaro, a young lad who has his soul stolen by the evil Moon Bear King, a figure who appears to be a gigantic bear made from the pelts of other bears and who wears a crown and lives on the Moon. Our young protagonist finds himself turned into a marionette and swiftly, sadly decapitated. Pushed onwards by the Moon Witch, Kutaro resolves to  steal the Moon Bear King's magical scissors -- named Calibrus -- defeat the Bear's generals and the Bear himself, and restore the Moon to its former glory. It's a darkly, Burton-esque setup, and it sets the stage (quite literally) for an enormously imaginative, rather grim(m) fairytale to follow.

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The Order: 1886 Devs Reveal Their Vision For "Neo-Victorian London"

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Gamescom 2013, PS4 games, Ready at Dawn, Sony Computer Entertainment, The Order: 1886

The Order: 1886 Devs Reveal Their Vision For "Neo-Victorian London"

Despite being notably absent at the Sony Gamescom press conference, Ready At Dawn Studios have outlined their plans for a familiar yet twisted version of Victorian London in The Order: 1886.

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Puppeteer Hands-On Preview | Madcap Marionettes

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games previews, PS3 games, Puppeteer, Sony Computer Entertainment, Sony Japan Studio

Puppeteer Hands-On Preview | Madcap Marionettes

Platforms: PS3

Developers: SCE Japan Studio

Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment

Puppeteer is absolutely bonkers, in pretty much every way, and it's a marketing rep's nightmare. After all, this is a new IP, with nary a gun in sight, no sexualised characters to slap on the front of the box, it's mechanisms can't really be explained in a snappy tagline, and it's a big-budget 2D platformer not made by Nintendo or Media Molecule.

What?

Of course, Sony's Japan Studio is known for taking risks. Just look at Tokyo Jungle, the quirky Darwinian PSN hit that recently made the jump to mobile platforms. These are the folks who made mind-bending Vita exclusive Gravity Rush, who are forging the PS4's legacy from the beginning with Mark Cerny and Knack, and who are also making the Team ICO-esque Rain. Microsoft and Nintendo might be content for their first-party studios to pump out rehashes and sequels, but Japan Studio doesn't fall into that category at all.

Puppeteer Hands-On Preview | Madcap Marionettes

The story is nuts. Puppeteer sees you step into the shoes of Kutaro, a young boy who finds himself transformed into a puppet by the evil Moon Bear King, and quite literally loses his head to the nefarious fiend. The Moon Bear King amuses Himself by stealing the souls of children and then transforming them into His own personal army of bodyguards, so in order to get your head back, you end up having to battle your way through His minions, rescuing your peers, and eventually defeating Him in a quest that ends up seeing the fate of the galaxy come to rest upon your shoulders, much like the head you lost might have done.

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Real Boxing Vita Hands-On Preview | Punching It Up A Notch

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Boxing games, PS Vita games, Real Boxing, Real Boxing Vita, Sony Computer Entertainment, Vivid Games

Real Boxing Vita Hands-On Preview | Punching It Up A Notch

Platform: PS Vita

Developer: Vivid Games

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Real Boxing became an overnight success on iOS and Android. Vivid Games' Unreal-powered punch 'em up was quickly showered in critical praise and user recommendations when it released last year, despite a few bugs, offering an immediately accessible and brutally fun take on boxing with deep character progression. Now, however, Sony has reached out to Vivid in order to get yet another cracking indie game onto the PlayStation Vita.

For starters, an expanded version of the mobile original version is included in its entirety, complete with its simple touchscreen controls, extensive career mode, character customisation, training and online options. Players create an avatar out of a wide selection of cosmetic features (I favour a ridiculous moustache myself) and gradually work their way up the ladder to fame and fortune, learn new skills and improve their avatar over time in a training gym. The Vita hardware allows for a wealth of increased detail and improved fidelity on the graphical side of things, already looking gorgeous on that luscious OLED screen thanks in part to extensive motion capture - a rarity in most handheld games. An entirely new arena, more fighters to battle against, a retooled economy and extra cosmetic features bulk out the content offering.

So far, so good, but Vivid's main focus has been squarely aimed at gameplay. Real Boxing turns into a completely different beast when you switch from the casual touchscreen mode to the brand new Vita controls. At the risk of going a pun too far, it punches up the boxing experience immeasurably, and becomes a totally different game.

Real Boxing Vita Hands-On Preview | Punching It Up A Notch

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Knack Hands-On Preview | Has The PS4 Found Its Mascot?

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games previews, Knack, PS4 games, Sony, Sony Computer Entertainment

Knack Hands-On Preview | Has The PS4 Found Its Mascot?

Platforms: PS4

Developers: SCE Japan Studio

Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment

It was a statement of intent that the first game Sony revealed for their brand spanking new console, the PS4, came in the form of Knack. Here was a next-gen console being introduced with a game that looked -- in terms of form and function rather than aesthetics -- a little bit retro, alluding perhaps to the heyday of the PSOne, and reminding the assembled viewers that gaming is for everyone. The cartoonish platformer seemed like a throwback to the days when Naughty Dog's Playstation mascot was a marsupial rather than a rugged adventurer with perfect stubble. It was a legacy pitch, and a spotlight for the PS4's architect, and the designer of Knack itself -- Mark Cerny.

It looks intriguing -- ooooh, we said, particles! -- and we're always up for new IPs. The coming together of Sony Japan and Cerny himself (who, let's remember, has worked extensively with the likes of Crash, Spyro, and Ratchet) is a little dream team-esque, and in amongst serious, mature, franchise titles such as Infamous: Second Son and Killzone: Shadow Fall there's room  for a newcomer to steal the spotlight for the mass market. The PS4 is going to need a family-friendly pack-in too, and Knack is set to be it.

Knack Hands-On Preview | Has The PS4 Found Its Mascot?

Maybe.

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Beyond: Two Souls Special Edition | £37.98 | Zavvi | PS3

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Adventure Games, Beyond: Two Souls, PS3 games, Quantic Dream, Sony Computer Entertainment

Beyond: Two Souls Special Edition | £37.98 | Zavvi | PS3

Beyond: Two Souls Special Edition | £37.98 | Zavvi
Beyond: Two Souls Preview

Zavvi are currently pricing the Beyond: Two Souls Special Edition at the same price as the standard pre-order. The Special Edition will, a,ongst other things, include a premium steel book case,  an exclusive extra game scene, 'Making Of...' featurettes, and the game's soundtrack.

If you're not too bothered by that, though, and would rather just get the standard edition, Green Man Gaming have it listed for two quid less at £35.99.

Thanks el_capitano.