Category Archives: Thoughts

My PlayStation Vita – Top 13 Games in 13 Months (Part 2)

With 6 months behind us (see part 1) let’s have a look at what kept me coming back to the PlayStation Vita since May.

May – Sound Shapes

OK, so maybe I was almost a year late to the Sound Shapes party but it wasn’t over by the time I got there. Not only that, there’s new content coming out for it even now, especially with the PS4 launch just behind us. The game is as simple as they get – you roll around as a small ball that can stick to some surfaces and is harmed by red elements in the environment and the goal is to reach the end of the stage. A very basic platformer game, it would seem. What lifts Sound Shapes beyond such a simple premise is its music design. With tracks composed by artists such as Deadmau5 or Beck, the songs become richer and richer with every note our little protagonist collects on its jumpy merry way. All this adds a rhythm element to the game and makes it that much more fun to play. There are several quite distinct worlds (records) to visit, each one with a unique visual and audio style, and all of them are worth exploring.

The features of Sound Shapes don’t end here, however. Beating the game unlocks the Death Mode, which introduces much harder levels that can sometimes be challenging even for platforming savants. We are also offered a channel editor with sounds and shapes (ha!) unlocked throughout the campaign. Similarly to LittleBigPlanet, the amount of user-generated content is staggering. And last but not least, the Beat School mode asks the player to recreate a sample loop prepared by the game designers. I spent most of my time solving those little puzzles. Not only do I like a musical challenge, all those silver trophies are worth going through the levels and the game awards a single trophy per challenge.

In summary, Sound Shapes is another game that offers almost unlimited content with several interesting modes and tons of trophies for the hunters out there. Even though it is also available on PS3 and PS4, I liked it best as a portable experience, playing a level or two whenever I had some time.

Continue reading My PlayStation Vita – Top 13 Games in 13 Months (Part 2)


My PlayStation Vita – Top 13 Games in 13 Months (Part 1)

I was rummaging through some of my old papers while cleaning up before Christmas when an Amazon receipt found its way into my hands. The receipt was from November 23rd and the only item on it was a PlayStation Vita console I had ordered taking advantage of one of the blitz deals Amazon Germany had to offer several days earlier. I had been wondering if the Vita was worth getting but being able to buy one for 25% less was a deal I couldn’t have refused. It’s now been over a year since I got it and I have to say it had been a very good choice. I already put up a post explaining why I think the Vita is worth having but for those who still say that there are no games to play on Sony’s handheld, let’s have a look back at the last 13 months and see what titles I got to enjoy on PlayStation Vita. I’ve been jumping from game to game, especially for the first couple of months when I wanted to try everything out, but I decided to pick one title for each month I had my Vita starting from November 2012.

November – Gravity Rush

Even though the Vita I got from Amazon came bundled with Little Big Planet, it wasn’t the first ‘big’ game that I decided to focus on on the handheld. I decided to quickly grab the free PlayStation Plus titles, which were Gravity Rush and Uncharted. I knew what to expect from the latter and that’s probably why I went with Kat first, choosing her over Drake. I had heard about Gravity Rush in PlayStation podcasts and it got good reviews so why not give it a try?

The gravity shifting mechanic and the tilt controls took some time getting used to but after a while it was smooth sailing. It feels much longer now but I got the Platinum trophy in just 10 days. The game wasn’t especially difficult but some of the challenges, especially the ones involving throwing objects, weren’t something I completed on my first try. Also, I had to look online for help to find all the rare Nevi that had to be defeated for three of the trophies.

I liked the comic book style of the cut scenes in the game and the graphics and audio quality were amazing. I did not expect that a handheld machine was able to produce such images and sounds. There were some frame drops when Kat used her ultimate attacks and there were many enemies on the screen but that was expected and didn’t take away from the experience much.

As a first experience with a complete system that is only slightly bigger than a DualShock 3 controller, playing Gravity Rush was really something else. Having completed Kat’s adventure, I had no doubt that buying a Vita was a good choice and it would bring me many hours of fun and entertainment for months, and hopefully years, to come.

Continue reading My PlayStation Vita – Top 13 Games in 13 Months (Part 1)

5 Reasons Why You Should Get a PlayStation Vita

We’re literally hours away from the official launch of PlayStation 4 in North America. Some of the luckier players have already been able to put their hands on their own console and those excellent DualShock 4 controllers. Although it is possible that many of the day-1 crowd, the ‘hardcore gamers’,  also own the PlayStation Vita and are familiar with all the great stuff it brings, some of the more casual players may not even know that a de-facto companion console to the PS4 exists.

In this post I would like to give five reasons why I think buying a PS Vita is worth it. There’s obviously more but we have to start somewhere, don’t we? How do you feel about the console. Do you have one? Will you get one with the new PS4? Let me know in the comments below the post!

1. PlayStation 4 connectivity / Remote Play


OK, so the delivery guy has just left the new console at your doorstep and you can’t wait to put that Killzone: Shadow Fall Blu-Ray in the system and boot it up. Not so fast. The wife wants to watch the new episode of whatever it is that wives are watching now. Do you see the problem here? PlayStation Vita comes to the rescue with the Remote Play functionality. Sony tried this idea previously with the PSP and PS3 and also the Vita and the PS3, with very poor results. Only few titles supported this feature and the quality of gameplay was less than acceptable in most cases. All this changes now. In just a few simple steps, explained in one of Sony’s pre-launch videos, you are able to continue playing on the handheld device, sitting next to the lady who is happy that you’re spending quality time together. The minute the show ends you can go back to playing the game on the big screen and feast your eyes on the next gen (should we start calling it current gen already?) graphics. The Vita can also be used as an additional controller, even providing some extra gameplay options, Wii-U style. Although currently  the connectivity range is realistically limited to your local area network, with the increase in the quality of general Internet availability, it might be possible, in the future, to take your PS4 games on the road, and that’s something else.

Continue reading 5 Reasons Why You Should Get a PlayStation Vita

PlayStation 4 Getting Close – Video roundup

We’re just 24 days removed from the launch of the PS4 (yes, I’m sticking with my European bias, you lucky Americans…) and Sony flooded us today with four new YouTube propaganda videos praising the greatness that awaits us with the new system. Let’s have a quick look at them and see if they add to the excitement about the next-gen revolution. Don’t hesitate to add your own opinions in the comments below the post. Are you cancelling your pre-orders? Are you getting two more units? How many DUALSHOCK 4 controller will you get day one? My answers are no, no and two, respectively. Now, onto the videos!

A New Age for Games on PS4 System

The video starts with a blurb from TechRadar which can be interpreted in many ways. “This is a new age for Sony and its games”. Well, obviously a new console is coming so we might as well call it a ‘new age’. The literal meaning is not too exciting, as you see, but that’s obviously not what Sony means by that statement. You might have noticed that I’m not a fan of marketing-speak and I don’t (want to) believe that lines such as this one really influence people’s consumer habits. I know they have to do it in an advertisement video but I would rather they didn’t. Anyway, let’s move on to a more exciting part of the clip where we’re shown a reel of all the games we’re patiently waiting for and are excited for on PS4. FIFA14 is also there. All the usual suspects are present including NFL Madden 25, inFamous: Second Son, Battlefield 4, Killzone: Shadow Fall, WatchDogs. To emphasize that PlayStation 4 is THE console to buy, Sony then proceeds to boast all the timed exclusives they got. Still nothing new.

In the ‘Discover future hits on PS4’ we come across a couple of titles that I haven’t heard of until today. The first one is Warframe, which is a free-to-play cooperative third-person shooter (useful abbreviation: FTPCTPS) that apparently has been available on PC since March and is going to debut on consoles with the PS4. It’s Metacritic score is not too exciting at 67 but the users seem to like it with an 8.0 average. I’m not too pumped up about this one since I don’t play online too much but a game with so many genre descriptions could be interesting and develop a small but devoted group of followers.

Continue reading PlayStation 4 Getting Close – Video roundup

Beyond: Los Santos – the choice

In just about half an hour the Beyond: Two Souls premiere event will take place in Paris. The new game from Quantic Dream is, arguably, the biggest PS3 title to be released before PS4 comes out in less than two months, alongside Grand Theft Auto 5, which premiered two weeks ago. The Rockstar blockbuster has gotten excellent reviews, with the Metacritic score of 97. Earning more than $1 billion in less than 72 hours it’s also the fastest selling entertainment product in history. Still, I haven’t bought it yet and I seriously doubt I will play it on PS3. It might sound outrageous but I have my reasons to hold out on it and make B:TS my priority, so let me explain.

Continue reading Beyond: Los Santos – the choice

(Not) just another PlayStation blog

There are many blog and news sites out there that give you all the latest scoops on one of the most popular entertainment platforms in the world. However, it’s not always the raw news that are interesting to gamers. What matters a lot is a sense of community with other players, the ability to exchange gaming stories that we experience through games. I do not have access to industry insiders, I will not be able to play games before they come out, I will not even be able to play most of the hot new games.

What I will share with you, however, are experiences that will feel familiar to most gamers out there. Endless hours trying to complete all the quests in that RPG (when, not if, another Fallout game comes out), struggling to get that final star in an arcade-style game, missing a critical jump in that platformer. We’ve all been that, we’ve done that. With the help of PlayStation’s trophies I want to relate what I’m going through in the many games I play on both the Sony’s Big Daddies PS3 and PS4 as well as the Little Sister PS Vita.

Come back every week for a fresh supply of the bronze, silver, gold and the rare platinum trophies. Behind every one is a story that I want to share.