PlayStation Vitas Are Burning Up!

In shocking news, it appears that there have been thirty-one cases of PlayStation Vita systems burning up when plugged in to charge. In even more disturbing news, Sony have stated that they will not recall any units and claim the fault isn’t there’s. This is ludicrous! Thankfully, the Japanese government are on the case and are investigating these red hot systems!

Just in case you can’t detect sarcasm, this situation is not abnormal at all. When you look at the odds, thirty-one people out of over two million Vita adopters, it makes perfect sense. At the end of the day, there are always consumers who make silly mistakes with their hardware. In this instance, Sony are suggesting that this may be an issue of liquids near the charger slot. Given the length of time that the device has been on sale, and the incredibly low odds of this happening, it’s certainly safe to say that this is a consumer fault rather than Sony’s. 

This post was inspired by the number of trolls making complaints about Sony’s stance on recalling their handheld, just on the off chance that some individuals may believe this. Very few notable posts have pointed out the lack of this being an issue. It’s barely even news (although I’ll admit that today is a bit dry for news).

Also, whilst we’re at it, watch out for those “black spots on the screen” complaints going around. That’s normal for an OLED Screen when it’s pitch black. Although if you spot black spots on the screen during brighter scenes, I would get that inspected.

(Eurogamer – Japanese government to investigate reports of PlayStation Vitas burning up)

Surprise Surprise: Final Fantasy Versus XIII Not Cancelled

‘lo and behold, Yoichi Wada of Square-Enix posted on Twitter that Final Fantasy Versus XIII is actually still in development. It seems the Japanese action role-playing game is still due to be launched… some day. Whether we’ll see it before the turn of the century is yet to be seen, but at the very least the title is still alive and kicking. I told you so.

(Joystiq: Square reaffirms existence of Versus XIII, continues not to show it)

Bargain Exchange: Steam Summer Sale Day 10

As the minutes count down to the final hour of the sale, just before Valve “surprise” us with their bonus sale day featuring all the highlights of the sale, here I am writing this bargain exchange on the sale. Let’s get this over and done with, I’m supposed to get excited.

Biggest title on sale today is also the cause of the most disappointment I’ve had for the past few days. Batman: Arkham City (as well as Arkham Asylum and Gotham City Imposters) are on sale with a 66% discount. That’s actually pretty good, so what’s the problem? The problem is that it brings Arkham City to £6.74. I only have £5 left in my bank. If the title was 75% off, I could afford it! For those of you with money, however, this is a must have. I also definitely stand by you picking up Arkham Asylum and all the DLC for both titles, but make sure to avoid Gotham City Imposters. It’s not worth your time. And, if you’re feeling nice, do me a favour and gift me Arkham City too, can you? Sniff. You can read an Arkham City review here, Arkham Asylum review here and Gotham City Imposters review here.

Fable III is back on sale, and this time Fable: The Lost Chapter is not on sale with it. With the 75% discount, Fable III is nearly worth it, but frankly I’d still avoid the game. While it delivers an action role-playing game experience, it also delivers a lesser experience than the original Fable and its sequel. Give this one a miss and pick it up when the full price has also been reduced, because frankly, you’ll be wasting your time right now. You can read a review here

Torchlight is on sale with a 75% discount, but despite the incredible quality and the fun experience that this game delivers, don’t do what I did and purchase it. Instead, avoid this game. You can do yourself one better by pre-ordering Torchlight 2, which will also snag you a free copy of Torchlight. I’d recommend you do that instead. Torchlight is an action role-playing game with an isometric view. You can read a review for the title here

Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II is a pretty good real-time strategy game set in the Warhammer 40k universe that boasts a non-linear single player campaign. The game is on sale with a 75% discount, including the wide range of DLC that’s available. I’d recommend this, especially if you’re a Warhammer fan. You can read a review on this title here

We also have Arma II available with a 75% discount. The thing about this title is that the experience you get with the game isn’t why people are buying it. This is sought after for a very special reason, and that’s a pretty famous mod named DayZ. It’s so popular, in fact, that the Steam store page Arma II informs the reader that DayZ is not playable without it. This isn’t even done for popular DLC on other games and it’s a testament to the mod’s value. I’d definitely recommend this for DayZ, but on it’s own I’d avoid and wait for another sale. You can read the review on Arma II here

As per usual, the Indie Bundle is absolutely worth it. Indie Bundle X is on sale with a 75% discount and is, unsurprisingly, a must have. The bundle contains personal favourite Beat Hazard – a brilliant audiovisual game in the style of a birds-eye view and bullet-hell arcade shooter, as well as other fantastic titles such as the likes of All Zombies Must Die! and BIT.TRIP Runner. You have no excuse for not picking this bundle up. 

As for the rest? Prince of Persia dumbed down the franchise a bit, but it’s still well received. It’s worth looking at, but I can’t really recommend it too much. The other titles would be much better. Quantum Conundrum is an interesting puzzle game, but only boasts a 40% discount. Lastly Evochron Mercenary is an indie title that wasn’t so greatly received. These are titles I’d personally avoid. 

Rumour: Final Fantasy Versus XIII Cancelled

After recently being put into full development after six long years; it appears that Final Fantasy Versus XIII has been cancelled. A source told Kotaku that it was cancelled just recently. Apparently, Square-Enix intend to keep this quiet as an announcement of this move would result in implications towards their stock prices. Of course, this only benefits the “source” and their tale as well.

The title – announced back in 2006 – was to be set in the same universe as Final Fantasy XIII, but was not intended to be a proper sequel. It was being developed by the Kingdom Hearts development team and was to be an action role-playing game. It featured day/night cycles, real-time battles, third person shooter elements, a realistic world, an expansive world map, summoned beings are unlocked through beating them, and so on. The game sounded absolutely fantastic, and it’s a great shame to hear that it’s cancelled. But… I’ll take that news with a grain of salt.

Putting aside Kotaku’s not exactly stellar reputation, the website for the title is still available. It also only recently went into full development, and we were told not so long ago to expect big news on the title. And then consider that this is a source that Kotaku consider reliable enough to deem their very own article a rumour. I’d rather wait until the Tokyo Game Show later this year before I write this title off.

At any rate, Versus has been in development during this entire console generation with no signs of being launched any time soon. I’m just hoping this ‘news’ is a case of the content being lost in translation, and we can expect this title in another version on the next-generation platforms. It is getting a bit late to produce something so ambitious on the PlayStation 3 platform after all. Fingers crossed on that one.

Edit: Apparently I was right on the ball. Square-Enix confirmed that it’s not cancelled.

(Kotaku – Final Fantasy Versus XIII Is Dead)

Bargain Exchange: Steam Summer Sale Day 9

I missed a day, but that’s okay. The Steam sale is getting to a stage where the only things going on sale have already been on sale during the flash sales. Some of them have even been the community’s choice as well. The Witcher franchise was on sale, the Fallout franchise was on sale, and Alan Wake was on sale. These were the best items and only ones I would have considered yesterday. Now, let’s move on to today.

Our first title is Civilization V, a turn-based strategy game. This is the latest in a very popular PC gaming franchise, and a must have. The game focuses on building a Civilization from all sorts of eras – from the very beginning of mankind’s history to the space age, our future. If that’s not enough, the title has a 75% discount. You can read a review here. Of course, it’s not only this title that’s available. If your machine isn’t capable of running Civilization V, try picking up the third or fourth title, as they’re also on sale with Civilization V. The fan favourite is widely considered to be the fourth title.

Similar to previous daily deal title ‘Orcs Must Die!’ we have Dungeon Defenders, another tower defence game. While I did bring up Orcs Must Die! as a superior single player experience, Dungeon Defenders really shines with its multiplayer. The game features multiple classes, a large variety of tiered equipment, character progression, and loot which makes for a compelling co-op experience. Up to four players can participate together. The game is a must have for anyone who enjoys playing with friends, and the 75% discount gives you little excuse not to pick it up. Here is a review.

Another indie title stealing the highlight; we have Magicka on sale with a 75% discount, making it one cheap computer game. Magicka brings with it to the table an incredible system where players can discover their own spells by mixing elements and methods of casting. It has an insane variety and is an absolute blast. One downside is that the game is pretty glitchy at times and requires a lot more power than it should to run, but it’s an absolutely fantastic experience. If it weren’t for the issues, it’d be a must have. Instead, I’ll recommend it to you. Take a look at a review here.

The Deus Ex franchise returns in the form of Deus Ex Human Revolution. This title is an action role-playing game. It’s a pretty nice looking game, and particularly well developed. Unfortunately, it’s held back by its poor bosses and locked content for downloadable content. The game is on sale with a 75% discount, as we’ve come to expect from Steam sales, and I totally recommend you pick it up. To help your decision, here‘s a review.

For some reason, whilst Driver San Francisco was well received by critics, it was pretty poorly received by the common gamer. I genuinely don’t understand this, because the experience I had with this title was incredible fun. Driver San Francisco ditches reality to make a game that’s ultimately focused entirely around having a good time. It’s whacky at times, but this just adds to its charm. Honestly, especially as a result of that 75% discount, I have to recommend that you give this game a shot. You can watch a WTF is on Driver here. And here‘s a review for the extra push.

The entire Crysis franchise has a 70% discount and the series is widely regarded as a must have for PC gamers. This seems to be particularly focused on the sheer power behind its graphics as it is absolutely beautiful – especially the first title. I must say that I’m not a fan, however. The first game felt a bit weak, despite the stellar reception the game received. The series is good, but at the end of the day it’s another first person shooter. If you’re really into that, then I recommend this title, but it isn’t enough for me to get excited. You can read a review of the most first title here, Crysis Warhead here, and Crysis 2 here.

Lastly we have the ninth indie bundle, and it’s a brilliant one. Every single game is a hit, and with the 75% discount, this bundle is an absolute must have. My personal favourite here is Jamestown, a bullet-hell styled arcade shooter set in an alternative history where we’re attacked by aliens in one of the British colonies… on Mars. It’s colourful, beautiful, stylish, fast paced, and incredibly fun – and that’s just one of the titles in this bundle. Seriously, purchase this bundle.

And that pretty much wraps up today’s deals. F3AR is a major disappointment and not worth talking about, and Red Orchestra was a poorly received and buggy messy. In all fairness, you could do worse than these two games. Red Orchestra apparently runs far better now; but I hear F3AR is still a bad game. In any case, I’d consider F3AR a solid avoid, whilst Red Orchestra is one to contemplate. I’m personally still avoiding it though.

Jet Set Radio Coming to Android and iOS

Jet Set Radio Running on Mobile

SEGA have unveiled that their HD remake of the highly anticipated title, Jet Set Radio, will be making its way to the iOS and Android platforms. This brings the title to being supported by… just about anything really.

The mobile versions of the game will contain new features; one new feature includes the ability to take photos with your phone to be used as graffiti in the game itself. 

The game is due to be released on Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network, PlayStation Vita, and on Windows, as well as on Android and iOS platforms, sometime this Summer. 

Review: Saints Row The Third

There are developers that thrive to design their games to create an immersing and epic climactic piece of art. Saints Row The Third’s intention is to make the biggest, and baddest beast of a game that aims to offer non-stop over-the-top crazy action inspired by the craziness and immaturity of the likes of Grand Theft Auto and Japanese television. They do this by incorporating blow-up visuals, addicting yet simple gameplay, and a lot of eye candy. Volition continues the adrenaline-pumping action from its popular predecessor, Saints Row 2, by layering a continuing spread of excitement like butter over bread to keep you hooked to the game like a fish to a hook.
Saints Row The Third is open to any type of person to pick-up, play and just have fun. This is evident as you do not need previous knowledge of any other Saints Row games in order to understand the events that transpire in this game. You will miss out on an “inside” joke or two, but fans of the Saints Row series will know that the story is not the strength that super glues your eyes to the screen.
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Volition
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows (Reviewed)
Release Date: November 15th 2011
Rating: 18 (BBFC), 18+ (PEGI)

Starting with the story, well, the lack-of; the Street Saints gang travel from Stillwater city to Steelport after a failed bank heist where they are captured and thrown in to jail by the police. The player assumes the role of the appointed leader of your gang where you may be messing around with lots of sliders and options when you’re asked to create your own character; which is one of the most innovative and advanced aspects of the title. I feel the direction of The Third (from Volition’s point of view) is to hammer quality on top of quantity, expanding and augmenting the features that made Saints Row 2 enjoyable and, in contrast, cut or not work-on those that player feedback were mostly negative on. Sure, there are fewer activities to do in both the character creator and within elements of the game itself, but what actually exists is filled with plethora detail. Actually, one of the main reasons why I love Saints Row games is because of the level of customisation there is and the fact that you play your own character; not some clown I don’t care for.
Your time in Steelport city will be filled with completing a variety of different mission archetypes, advancing your character’s stats and abilities with the cash you earn from creating mass havoc, and meeting funny and funny (yes, Pierce, you) characters that you may or may not like. The missions here are structured differently to Saints Row 2 in that, thankfully, the Respect requirement needed to start the next mission is removed. Instead, you can freely pick your next mission at any time, and each mission acts as a progression bar until you play a storyline mission; which advances the storyline and world events. These progressive missions tend to become boring after you’ve completed them as they’re repetitive and seem to serve entirely as padding.
You can whack out a taunt, or compliment, at any time.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any fun missions either. In particular, I love when I have to storm through the city in a tank, destroying everything in your path. Everything.  Buildings, fences, trash bins, cars, people, you name it. It’s a lot of fun and it also feels very good when you hear that cha-ching sound as you receive cash at the end of the mission. This serves as a cool reminder that you’ve earned your right to enhance your character’s abilities.

What I think Volition has done right is allowing the player to advance their character through the cash they earn; it’s an almost self-balancing system where the more fun you have; the more you’re rewarded. These abilities range from allocating more health, stamina, ammunition, more homies to serve as reinforcements, vehicle drop-offs and unlocking cars and aircrafts. This allows you to specialise yourself and set a line between you and other people who you may decide to play co-op with and gives you the choice to improve in what you love doing most. Superior abilities cost more so naturally you’ll need to bugger up the city some more! Money can also be spent on what you love most: weapons, vehicle upgrades (they make a substantial return) and clothes (which unfortunately does not).
There’s a large variety of side missions that serve as a break from the madness of the story, or a diversion from it. There are outright hilarious and silly infinite tasks for you like streaking in-front of as many people as possible within a set time limit, vehicle surfing, driving through opposite traffic and performing nose-stops on bikes. Beating each of these amusing diversions will also earn you respect, and respect lets you unlock more abilities; given you have the cash for it – and you will have by the end of all these! Of course, what open world game is not without its diddles and doodles? There are, I shall say, interesting secrets to find around the world space. If you do not have prior knowledge as to what these actually are and understand the sense of humour works in Steelport, you’ll be in for a giggle or two. The power-hungry players can purchase property throughout the city in order to increase their overall revenue that gradually builds up with time; you can purchase buildings from weapons and clothing shops, to factories, to towers and even mansions. Purchased property will act as a safe haven and you may store vehicles in their corresponding garage, change clothes in the wardrobe, and if allowed, access helipads for aircraft spawning. All items and vehicles are stored globally, meaning no matter where you are wreaking havoc, you can jump in to anything and everything you’ve collected. In addition, you may wish to upgrade property to reap its benefit: mainly being that of earning more money. More benefits include being able to hire more homies, and if you have the correct ability, you can call in your customised homies as reinforcements.
Yes… revival needed.

As you might have guessed, weapons can be bought and can be upgraded in linear stages, but it’s vehicles and clothing I want to talk about for just a minute. Fully customisable options throw themselves at you when you drive your car in a garage, you’re able to change, add and re-colour many parts of the car so much that it becomes totally unique to your personal taste. Those looking for a role-play experience or like the way their avatar look may be disappointed to learn that clothing for The Third makes a weak comeback, in comparison to Saints Row 2. The quantity of items to buy have been sucked dry and you’re limited to only wearing one item per body part, for example, one type of shoes, one type of legs, one type of torso clothing; and with limited options to choose from, you may be put-off if you like to dress your character in ridiculous ways. Even the over-the-top wacky costumes do not look exceptionally dissimilar, in a strange way, they seem to “fit in” with the world and characters rather than have them “stick out” and make you wonder what kind of artist could imagine something like that up.

So, the story isn’t very well told ‘nor is it even remotely interesting to me, but there are a couple of characters that try to stick to the railroads. And I emphasise “try to”, because most of the jokes and skits become boring very fast. And even when the story is being progressed it still feels as if it’s going nowhere due to the lack of character depth and development. The game features a myriad of celebrity voice actors. It’s just unfortunate that the characters they are assigned to are as wooden as my back garden fence. Voice actors can only do so much with the script handed to them. In the end, I felt more compelled to skip the occasional cutscene to avoid falling asleep on my chair. This is much unlike Saints Row 2 which had more tolerable characters, better storytelling, and even the tiniest bit of character development. However, the story does have its moments. In particular, I enjoyed one of the two endings in the last mission which involves invading an airship with your aircraft to rescue your gang.  It’s just unfortunate that you cannot replay the good missions or cutscenes.   Otherwise, the story isn’t Saints Row The Third’s strong point, but that’s because the game focuses far more heavily on a more fun player experience within gameplay.
Playing the PC version, I must say that I’m impressed. Volition dedicated their development team to work for the Windows version of the title. This is a huge contrast to their previous lack-lustre attempt with Saints Row 2, which was a pretty poor port. Graphical options are as you’d expect from a DirectX 11.0 game. There’s a large variety of high end graphic options. Furthermore, motion blur can be switched off – a rare feature that I highly appreciate. The Third is well optimised for Windows and, in particular, ATI graphic cards. ATI cards aren’t often as well supported as Nvidia’s selection; however, I only ever experienced one crash and freeze – both of which were a result of online co-op. Saints Row is known to have a “realistic cartoony” style to its graphics: properly formed and correctly anatomically-figured people, but used in conjunction with a cartoon-style pallet. The Third continues this; Volition has made it look explosive!
Feel free to run up to any bystander and kick their teeth to the back of their throats or punch their head-in, all in the name of fun.

To sum up this bloody great game, in every meaningful output of the meaning, I can’t deny the amount of entertainment The Third offer. It sure has built-up and improved on many aspects from Saints Row 2 but the drawbacks are that of cut content that fans miss, such as the poop-shooting mini-game in which you fire poop on anything that exists to earn cash and respect. Sounds fun, right? The sense of direction I feel Volition went with their latest game is that of quality over quantity, putting the concrete between the bricks, whilst removing the loose and crumbled ones. Casual players and newcomers to the series will appreciate the attempted humour and the effort the developers put in to this beauty, but may feel disappointed if returning to Saints Row 2 to learn that that offers more on the table.

Saints Row the Third was beaten with 100% completion achieved on Normal difficulty. The Team Fortress 2 and Genki pre-order bonus were installed. For those who regard score as an important factor to a review, Saints Row the Third receives a 7/10. Whilst the game is most definitely good, it does have a number of imperfections that hold this title back.
Guru Meditation is a regular author for GamingAdvance. You may contact Guru Meditation through the email address: