Want to win a copy of Uncharted 4? Of course you do …

Hopefully,  you’ve read my review by now of Uncharted 4 A Thief’s End, the latest adventure for Nathan Drake.

PS4_UC4_3D_Inlay_R13In the review I said that Naughty Dog had saved the best Uncharted till last – and I stand by that. I loved the game from start to finish and now, thanks to the kind folks at PlayStation NZ, you have the chance to win a copy of Uncharted 4 A Thief’s End and an Uncharted cap.

Entering the competition is simple. All you have to do is tell me what is your favourite moment from an Uncharted game. It could be the opening moments of Uncharted 2 or it could just be some of the amazing locations the game has visited: It’s up to you. To enter, you have to either write a comment on this blog or visit the Gamejunkie 2.0 Facebook page and post a comment there (feel free to like the page as well!)

Like any competition, of course, there are some T&Cs:

  • The competition is only open to people in New Zealand with a New Zealand residential address.
  • The competition runs from 8pm, Tuesday, May 10 until 8pm, Sunday, May 15.
  • You must be aged over 13 to enter the competition.
  • To enter,  you can either post a comment on this blog on your favourite moment from the Uncharted series or on the Gamejunkie NZ Facebook page. One entry per person, please.
  • The prize (1 x Uncharted 4 A Thief’s End game, 1 x Uncharted 4 cap) will be drawn after 8pm, May 15 and the winner notified by email or direct message. The game is PlayStation 4 exclusive so you’ll also need a PS4 to play it on (you’ll have to supply that yourself).
  • The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Cap UC4So, what are you waiting for? Get your entry in!

 

 

 

PlayStation VR pricing announced

At GDC today, PlayStation showed off and announced pricing for its entrant in the Virtual Reality race, the PSVR, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much PlayStation’s entrant is going to cost: $629.95.

Project-Morpheus-GDC-2015I think that price shocked a lot of people, actually. I mean, $629 is still a lot of money but I was expecting it to be around the $900 to $1000 mark, to be honest (and remember how much consoles cost when they first launched).

PlayStation VR is due to launch in October (which is my birthday, by the way, if anyone wants to buy me a present) and for $629.95 you get the VR headset (which offers a resolution of 1920x 1080), the external processor unit, a headset connection cable, an HDMI cable, a USB cable, stereo headphones, an AC power cord and an AC adapter.  What PlayStation hasn’t mentioned (at least, I don’t think made noise about) is that what isn’t included with the PSVR is the PlayStation Eye camera that you’ll need for the VR headset and Move controllers, which will be needed for some games. Expect to spend another $100 or so to pick up those (it goes without saying that you’ll also need a PlayStation 4).

The system will launch with 50 titles, including Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, a VR version of Eve Valkyrie and a special VR version of EA’s Star Wars Battlefront.

I think the price of the PSVR will make many gamers consider Sony’s offering ahead of Oculus and HTC’s VR headsets but while I’d love to be able to convince the Home Office that I need to buy one (that is a mission in itself requiring military precision and when I mentioned it initially she laughed, which, to be fair, is probably fair enough), it’s unlikely that I will at this stage.

I’ve never been one of those people who must have something on the day of launch, especially hardware.  As much as I’d love to have a PSVR sitting in my hands come October, I rather wait to hear feedback from people on how they found the experience using the headset and, importantly, whether they thought it was worth it.

At the end of the day, it isn’t going to make any difference in my life whether I get a PSVR on launch or two, three or six months later.

There’s no doubt that Sony’s pricing of the PSVR is going to appeal to a lot of people but for me, at the moment, I’m just going to watch from the wings and see what others think after it’s hit the market.

Gravity Rush Remastered: When going upside down helps a lot

cutscene09Gravity Rush first appeared on Sony’s PS Vita handheld console and it made great use of the handheld’s touch screen and tilt capabilities to guide the game’s heroine Kat around a city called Hekseville, under siege by an alien race called the Nevi.

Central to the game is Kat’s ability to manipulate gravity – a power that is given to her early in the game by a mysterious black kitten that she comes across while exploring the city. Kat can manipulate gravity to fly through the air, walk on walls and ceilings and do flying attacks against the Nevi.

Gravity Rush was the perfect game for the PS Vita, thanks to its touch screen and on the PS4 it makes the most of that consoles tilt controls and while the move to the PS4 retains the things that made the handheld version good, it still suffers from the repetitive and tedious combat, especially when battling some of the game’s large boss battles. The boss battle against a Nevi that resembles an octopus which spins its tentacles, revealing its weak spot, provide frustrating in the Vita version for me, and it proved as equally frustrating in the PS4 version.

gravity-rush-remastered-screen-11-ps4-eu-26oct15

The magical black cat that gives heroine Kat her ability to manipulate gravity in Gravity Rush.

Bluepoint Games, the development studio that also did the work on the excellent Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection for the PS4, has done an excellent job creating Gravity Rush for the PS4 and this new version comes with all the DLC and extra content of the Vita version.

Despite its charming cel-shaded visuals and repetitive combat, Gravity Rush is a fun game but having played it on the PS Vita first, for me, Gravity Rush remains better suited to the PS Vita than the PS4.

 

 

 

How Mike Bithell’s Volume has made me play my PS Vita more

Fourteen days into 2016 and reckon I’ve already played my PS Vita more this year than I did for much of last year.

I put that down to two things: a) Going on holiday, so my Vita was a nice portable way to replay some of my favourites like Gravity Rush and TxK and b) I bought Mike Bithell’s (@mikeBithell on Twitter) Volume, which came out on the Vita on January 6. I’ve played my PS Vita more because of Volume.

I can’t express enough joy at what a great game Volume is, not only because of its addictive qualities but that it’s also one of PlayStation’s Cross-play buys, which means if you buy it on PS Vita you automatically get to download it for free on the PS4 (and vice versa).

Grab+3840x2160+Friday+May+29+2015+16_17_37The premis of Volume is simple enough: You take the role of burglar Tom who uncovers a plot involving a military coup and device called the Volume. Using the Volume to simulate high-profile heists, Tom must guide his avatar around industrial environments, avoiding patrolling guards, sentry turrets and dogs while collecting gems. The simulations are broadcast to the internet using the Volume, eventually leading to a stand-off between Tom and the evil Gisborne, who has taken over control of England.

Grab+3840x2160+Friday+May+29+2015+16_25_33Volume is very Metal Gear Solid-esque, with an isometric third-person, top-down perspective, in that stealth and creeping around to avoid detection is to the fore. Get spotted by a patrolling guards (each has a vision cone indicating its field of vision), you have to re-start the level. Each level short – some take less than a minute to complete – but they’re so addictive that you’ll find yourself saying “Just one more. Just one more”.

Bithell is a British indie developer who also make the cutesy game Thomas was Alone, which I like a lot, and Volume has all the trademarks of another hit for Bithell and his team. I initially purchased it for my Vita – and being able to play it on my PS4 for no cost is an added bonus – and if I had any gripe it was the size of the text on the PS Vita version: It’s just too small for my ageing eyes.

So, I tweeted that to Bithell, and guess what? He got back to me shortly after, admitting the text was a little small and he would look at fixing things in a patch. In a simple thing like replying to my tweet, Bithell has proven to me that he’s a developer who cares about his fans and those that pay for his games. That’s something I admire in a developer. Thank, you, Mike.

I’m hoping that 2016 is the year that I play my PS Vita more. It’s a fantastic handheld console but I feel disappointed that Sony have pretty much abandoned it by not supporting it like it should have with first party titles, and left any game development up to third parties.

That said, maybe that’s not a bad thing: Sony is clearly focused on the PS4 and PlayStation VR so perhaps doesn’t want to develop for the Vita half-heartedly. It’s sad, though, that the company hasn’t shown the console more love.

Putting Volume aside (briefly), there are some pretty nice games coming out this year. Games I’m looking forward to include Uncharted 4, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Horizon Zero Dawn, Firewatch, Hitman, Quantum Break, Dishonoured 2, Crackdown 3, Mass Effect Andromeda and Unrave.

Sure, some have already been delayed already and I suspect many some of them won’t make 2016 but it’s a pretty great line up already, don’t you think? It’s a great time to be a video gamer.

What are you looking forward to this year?