EA Skimps On FIFA 14 PS4 Features

I’m not sure that EA is really the worst company in America, but they are sure doing their best to alienate long time FIFA fans by removing traditional and dare I say, common features from their newest versions of the next generation releases of FIFA.

According to EA, Tournament Mode just wasn’t that popular …

“For the new generation of FIFA 14 on Xbox One and PS4, we decided not to include Tournament Mode, which accounted for a very small percentage of games played in FIFA 13, in order to focus on the most important areas and modes in the game. We took those resources and budget, and focused on many other new areas of the game, including Living Worlds and Stadiums, Career Mode, and expanded Online Seasons.”

Strangely enough, it was popular enough to offer in the FIFA 14 releases for the 360 and PS3. There is a very outspoken vocal minority that is crying foul, but only time will tell if EA will actually listen, or if they are gunning to get their status as worst company in America.

FIFA 14 Next Gen – Exclusion of current features! MUST READ!

No tournament mode on PS4 fifa 14? Also, there is no way to play 2v2/3v3/4v4/ online with my guests?

REPLY from EA Sports regarding the removal of Guest Play on all online modes


PS4 Day One (Reinventing The Vita)

The wait was long, but once the UPS guy arrived a little after 2PM, the unboxing begun. I’m not going to upload pictures or video, or give impressions of the packaging, system or Dual Shock 4; plenty of that to be found on YouTube and elsewhere.

Sony decided to include a threefold day-one pack-in for early PS4 adopters: one free month of PS+, one free month of Music Unlimited, and a $10 PSN voucher. It was nice getting the vouchers for 1 month of PS+ and Music Unlimited, but since I already subscribe to both, and Sony’s official’ish PlayStation blog said they don’t stack, they are not much use to me. I understand Sony wants to help hook new subscribers, but a +1 month add-on for current Sony services subscribers would have been very well received. I did appreciate the $10 PSN voucher; that was a very nice throw-in by the Sony brass.

My TV has two HDMI ports; I forgot that the one not reserved for my PS3 is used for cable. So for now, I have to manually switch my PS3 and brand spanking new PS4. I have a Portta 3:1 HDMI Switcher from Amazon and an extra 6 ft. HDMI cable via Amazon; both are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday and only set me back an additional $15.25 including tax.

Before I could jump into any of that Greatness that Sony promised the whole damn lot of us, I had to download the firmware update. ~53 minutes to download, which as I understand it, was lucky for me because a lot of users were having problems getting the update file to download. So I switched over to the U.S. vs. Scotland friendly, putting Greatness on-hold until my new PS4 system could do its thing.

I should add that my internet connection is wireless, not overly fast, and not too terribly slow. I have noticed that my PS3 always seems to download a little faster than my kids’ PS3, but that could be proximity to the wireless router. At any rate, I don’t have a base point to compare my ~53 minutes download against; would love for someone to post their experience with their firmware download time.

PSN Goes Down
After getting my firmware updated, it was time to hook up my jcalvert PSN account to my new PS4. No go. Errors, timeouts, you name it. The PSN was hosed. Sony should be embarrassed and appalled. Apparently the final folks at PlayStation network services were not actually expecting the volume and onslaught of the new PS4 traffic to impact their now paid for (via PS+ online experience) server farm. Funny since the day-one patch was pretty much mandatory. It took ~3-4 hours to actually get my PSN info setup; ouch.

PS+ Resogun and Contrast
Once I got connected, I quickly jumped into the Store to pick up my free games. There was also some DLC for another game – Warframe or some such. I haven’t read anything about this one, but it looks like a free to play title. It may or may not be a beta, but still something else free to mess around with (as if I have time).

I started the download process for Resogun and Contrast, then left the store to start some gaming fun …

FIFA 14 and Need For Speed: Rivals
My boys and I actually played these games before getting our PSN info setup on the PS4; we just couldn’t wait. I’m going to save any serious impressions for latter … I want to get in some gaming this morning!

I took a spin with Need For Speed first. My oldest son and I took turns doing the racer and cop tutorials, which opened up the wider game. My oldest son and I each earned a trophy; the trophies did sync correctly to our accounts, once we were able to get our PSN info sorted out correctly.

My son and I both had the same observation – there is a lot going on at one time, and it gets confusing on what missing you are doing. This was especially apparent once I was on the PSN. Connected to a group of 8 (I think) gamers, and trying to do race missions while a human cop is doing their own copy missions was fun but disconcerting trying to figure out what I was actually supposed to be doing. If there is a way to connect to a group of friends, this one could be a lot of fun.

I didn’t dive into it deeply to see how Music Unlimited is integrated with the PS4, but it was nice being able to stream some playlist instead of listening to the Need For Speed default music.

I watched my 11 year old and 6 year old play FIFA 14. On the surface it looks like the same game as the PS3 version, only it is more polished. I’ll play some this morning and see if I can carry over some of my PS3 FIFA 14 info.

My one observation was that it was neat seeing real people in the crowd. This may sound stupid, but everyone watching thought it actually added to the game atmosphere.

At some point while we were doing something else on the PS4 – either poking around, deciding what to play next, or setting up our PSN accounts, I received notice that Resogun was ready to install and that a FIFA 14 patch had been downloaded.

Music Unlimited
I mentioned playing my Music Unlimited playlist while playing Need For Speed. Last November, Sony ran a PS+ special. 1 year of Music Unlimited for $12; this was an exceptional deal. I have been debating renewing my subscription, but not at the full price. Last week I received some sort of sale offer; I was able to stack another 3 months for $3. So I am good for another few months.

Because of current MP3 and media server limitations with the PS4, Music Unlimited may become a must have service, which is probably part of Sony’s strategy. See how many folks they can pull in as new subscribers.

Remote Play
I’m only going to touch on this briefly … want to get back to PS4 gaming goodness. I have posted in the past about the black magic associated with Remote Play. It never really worked well for me on the PS3 with my PSP or Vita; it was an interesting concept, but there was always too much lag or my PS3 would randomly turn on or off. It looks like Remote Play is purpose built into the PS4 with the Vita, so hopefully this time is the real deal.

Getting Remote Play up and running was a snap. My Vita already had the PS4 Link app via the most recent firmware update. The PS4 (or Vita – I can’t remember which one) provides step-by-step instructions. Once I entered a code on my Vita, I was connected to my PS4. This whole setup process took all of 2-3 minutes.

It was an amazing experience listening to my Van Halen playlist, on my Vita (via my PS4) while playing Need for Speed. I’ll have to play around some to see if I am better off playing music directly from my Vita or streaming from the PS4 during Remote Play.

When playing Need For Speed, it was hard to keep up with what was going on, which wasn’t any different than my PS4 experience. There were some slight framerate issues here and there, but nothing really game breaking. The controls were awkward controls, but manageable. The rear touch pad was used to accept missions, while the shoulder buttons were used for acceleration and braking. I would have rather used the right analog stick; maybe there is an option to change controls, but in my limited time, I didn’t see where controls could be mapped differently.

Think about this for a minute. Remote Play of Need For Speed, while online playing other PS4 gamers, so of which may have also been using their Vitas, while streaming Music Unlimited. That is balls out cool with tons of possibilities.

Nightcap Resogun (via Remote Play)
As a final night cap, from the comforts of the bed room, while my better half was fast asleep, I connected to the PS4 and played Resogun. Minimal slowdown, but I was really too tired to beat the final boss. I know, excuses, excuses.

The new PS4 trophy system was nice enough to show me that my “How do I stop this thing?!” (Kill 50 enemies with one boost) was ‘ultra rare’ at the time it was earned, but is now ‘very rare.’

What’s Next?
For starters, I haven’t opened Killzone or Assassin’s Creed. My 15-year old and 11-year old boys are dying to play both, but my wife and I are usually pretty restrictive when it comes to games where people kill people, but that is a story for another day. So I need to check out both games and besides playing for my own benefit, I need to do the parental guidance thing.

I have only barely touched Need for Speed; same for FIFA and Resogun. Haven’t look at Contrast, and I should be able to get Flower and Soundshapes for free, since I have previously purchased each. Same for flow, once it is released.

Thanks to the PSN problems, I didn’t really have time to dive into any of the new PS4 features, so between gaming, and today’s slate of college football, I’m sure I will be doing some of that as well. I also play to explore Remote Play more over the weekend so see what sort of limitations and boundaries are in place.

Greatness Awaits …


NCAA Football Goes Code Blue

We already knew EA Sports’ NCAA Football franchise was code blue; now it is officially done unless you believe in reincarnation or some other form pagan-like rituals:

Shortly after Electronic Arts announced it would stop producing a college football game beginning next year, the video game company — together with Collegiate Licensing Company, which holds the licensing rights to the trademarks to the majority of the colleges and universities — filed papers to the U.S. District Court in Northern California that it had settled its case brought by former players.

This once proud franchise had grown stale in recent years, so while a part of me is sad to see it go, the gamer in me thinks the series needs a break and hopefully a reimaging in the not too distance future.


Madden 25 – Saying No … Maybe Wait and See

I cannot recall the last time that I didn’t purchase the yearly Madden roster update; I’m certain it has been forever and a day! Two weeks and a day into the release of the 25th anniversary release of Madden, I feel no remorse for not shelling out a few duckets to EA Sports; not even a twinge of doubt or uncertainty about missing out on a new football game.

A few years ago (back in 2009 to be exact) I famously decided to pass on NCAA Football 10. Surprisingly it was actually a difficult decision. Not to trivialize people with serious addictions, but purchasing the annual EA Sports franchise updates is an illness. I survived, which probably allowed me to enjoy NCAA Football 12 and to a lesser extent, NCAA Football 13.

In my opinion NCAA Football 13 was only marginally more interesting than the previous year’s update, so once again I decided to sit on the sidelines. I cannot imagine that EA Sports went all out making their newest PS3 version of NCAA Football compelling when they could be working their way out of various lawsuits.

Not to digress too much, but enough is pretty much enough, which has carried over into Madden. I may look towards a PS4 Madden 25 purchase, but that is still in the air. As it stands now, I can still play last year’s Madden 13 and be perfectly content. For now … until the PS4 Madden itch kicks in …


Madden 13

Times have changed. Many moons ago I would have written a few pre anticipating Madden release articles, and of course the obligatory “it’s shipped!” an “it’s out of delivery!” and a “Madden has arrived” articles. Then I would have put in a few games and posted some early impressions.

First of all, Madden 13 (PS3) arrived late in the day; in fact I was out at the soccer fields coaching my 10 year-old son’s team when UPS or FedEx (I didn’t bother to check which one; yet again another sign of the times) threw the package along with the Ratchet & Clank Collection on the front door.

For now I decided to pass on the Vita game. I’m sure I will enjoy it, but honestly there is only a limited amount of time I have for gaming, much less playing football games. Case in point, I’m actually putting NCAA 13 up on eBay this weekend. I figure the Vita version can wait.

I sent a few minutes with Madden Ultimate Team (MUT), which is sort of my hidden passion, which I try to avoid as much as possible so I do not inadvertently throw chunks of money at virtual football cards. Unless I am missing something, it looks like EA has decided to start your team anew. I had a couple of rookie cards carry over from MUT 12 based on preordering Madden 13. And I have 5 rewards packs. I was too tired to see if my coins carried over, and I didn’t open the packs because I know my boys would like to see what cards I received.

I jumped back to the main menu and I played one quick game; first impressions were that graphics look much better and the new physics engine was convincing.

For anyone interested, I setup a calvertgames community (search calvertgames or CG). Feel free to join. I’m not really much of an online gamer which means I will probably not push for the Platinum this year, but at least wanted to create a community for my boys and their friends.

More to come later; just in time for Labor Day weekend.


Vita Sunday Brunch

Lots of random stuff, most centered around Gamescom 2012 news and announcements, so let’s get started straight away …

PSOne Compatibility in Sight
Finally! The long awaited feature to play PSOne games on our Vita is almost launched. No idea what took so long, but hopefully Sony pulls this off without a hitch.

Why play 15+ year old games on the Vita? Why not – there are a ton of classics just waiting to be found and enjoyed. As part of the launch, it would be nice if Sony features some sort of PSN PSOne sale to coincide with the firmware update, and certainly throwing in a couple of classics as part of the PS+ update would be appreciated.

Vita Gets PS+
Speaking of PS+, the Vita finally gets some love.

We will also deliver PlayStation Plus, which is currently available for PS3 users, to PS Vita users this year. By purchasing a membership to PlayStation Plus, PS Vita users will be able to enjoy various services which will become available exclusively for members.

I really expected Sony to push PS+ as part of E3, but they waited until Gamescon to final admit they have a wonderful system that needs some TLC. Depending on how they position PS+ for the Vita (hopefully not just the “services” part), Sony should have a compelling offering on their hands. Even if Sony only provides occasional PSOne, PSP, and minis (OK, I don’t really care about the Minis), PS+ on the Vita should be well received.

If nothing else, precious memory card space could be freed up by transferring occasionally played game saves to the Cloud Game Save service.

I love the stylistic look of Tearaway; fantastic looking game.

Hopefully this one progresses nicely, and the Vita’s features do not get in the way of the fun or come across as mere gimmicks.

Gravity Rush DLC Articles
I’m not very far into Gravity Rush, but at some point I intend to pick up the Maid Pack and Special Forces Pack DLC. One of these days. At any rate, I thought the reviewer did a good job of providing some decent commentary on the merits of the DLC.

COD: Black Ops Declassified
I’m not a fan of military shooters so I don’t intend to pick up COD: Black Ops Declassified. According to EDGE, it looks to be a train-wreck, while the official’ish Sony Blog makes it sound spectacular. Unless the release is delayed, I see this one falling flat and living COD fans disappointed; not the system seller Sony needs to push the Vita.

Ragnarok Odyssey Gets Delayed
Technically it’s not a delay if a release date was never set for August 21, which was the case at the time of my original pre-order. Amazon now estimated an October 19 arrival date, which may or may not be “official” but certainly this could be too close to the November 20 P4G release.

Ragnarok Odyssey has been on my radar for a while; starved JRPG fans get sort of desperate that way.

Speaking Of JRPGs
Ys Celceta: Sea of Trees [There is no way that title doesn’t get changed in the localization process; assuming the game makes it to NA.] continues to look impressive, but P4G is the real prize and now you can get a preorder bonus. I don’t really care for the skin, but I’m sure some Persona nuts will get all teary eyed over for this one.

Vita Should Go Digital Only?
I don’t think so, but this article from Game Insider makes a case for revamping the Vita to include physical memory, digital only gaming (even though the PSP Go was a miserable failure), and removing 3G support. I disagree with these points, but physical memory is an issue. The article is well written and worth a read.

Cross Buy
Sony looks to be pushing Cross Buy with games like Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault.

Not only will the game feature cross-play and cross-save, but it’s also part of a super-cool promotional offer where anyone who purchases Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault for PS3 via PlayStation Network will be able to download the PS Vita version of the game from PSN at no additional cost and vice versa.

No complaints from this gamer. This approach can only help the Vita. It should be interesting to see if any Third Party partners offer something similar; doubtful, but worth watching.

Happy Sunday!


NCAA Football 13 – Read and React Trophy

What a joke of a luck Trophy. I hate it when developers put in nonsense Trophies, and the NCAA guys are really doing a job on us in consecutive years.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the Read and React trophy is total garbage BS. Using some tips in this thread, I willfully did the needful a few minutes ago!

This is a great tip. I used it this morning to get this stupid f’ing Trophy. Had my INT within the first 5 plays, but it was a fluke. I missed the ball, but because of the various edits, the receiver dropped the pass, and I caught it before it hit the ground for a nice Pick-6.

I kept squeezing that L2 reaction button for all it was worth (20 seconds is a lot of time) and on my way to the House I received the coveted ding.

Only Trophies I have left are some of the Heisman ones … so well on my way to Platinum goodness thanks to this tip!

If it helps anyone else, I uploaded the edited roster to my locker. One or two other teams may be jacked up, but for this Trophy you are playing with Texas Tech, so you should be good to go if you download my file.

One thing I did that was not mentioned in the original tip thread, was to lower the minimum speed threshold setting to 0, to help showcase J Man’s amazing speed (99 rated, all the other DBs and WRs were edited to 0).

I’m posting this reference for anyone else needlessly struggling with this Read and React Trophy crap. If you decide to follow this tip, hopefully my contribution of the pre-edited Texas Tech in my PSN jcalvert EA Sports NCAA Football locker will help ease your pain and suffering.


RPG Heaven? Ni no Kuni and Tales of Xillia

It has been forever and a day since I last posted RPG’ish type updates on consecutive days.

First, Namco has an interesting preorder for Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – something called the Wizard’s Edition.

The Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Wizard’s Edition will include:

300+ page hardback physical copy of the Wizard’s Companion, the spellbook Oliver uses throughout his journey in the game. The full-color Wizard’s Companion contains a bestiary of all the creatures found in the game along with in-depth item descriptions, spells and history of the other world.

The limited-run Wizard’s Edition will also contain a plush doll of Drippy, Oliver’s guide through his adventures, as well as exclusive “golden mite” and “golden drongo” DLC familiars.

I don’t care that much for the plush doll, but the Wizard’s Companion looks to be pretty special coming in at 300+ pages. $108.89 ($99.99 + shipping) is a pretty steep hill to climb, but the game does look very charming. Not sure if this limited edition will hold its value; really depends on if it is original print Demon’s Souls with mini strategy guide (the one that wore out with little use) limited, or more widely available.

Tales of Xillia
I really don’t know that much about Tales of Xillia, but I say the more JRPGs the better. Hopefully it does well enough for Namco Bandai to continue localization efforts for future JRPG goodness.


RPG Madness? Mugen Souls (PS3) – Preorder Goodness

Thanks to the fine folks at NIS America, I now have the Mugen Souls Limited Edition with Figure Set on preorder.

What do you get for $99.99 (or less if you have NIS America store coupons – price also includes free shipping and no sales tax)?

This Limited Edition plus Figure Set features Mugen Souls for PS3, a hardcover art book, a Mugen Souls OST, a Shampuru Bath Set (hand towel + sponge), and Nendoroid Petite Figures.

Why did I make this preorder sight unseen? Three reasons. First, I really enjoy JRPG style games. Second, in order to get more off the beaten path JRPG style games, I support the fine folks at NIS America. Third and final reason, these sort of collectable editions always hold their weight (and then some) for later resell, as supplies are limited and these games are super collectable. In fact, when funds allow, I normally buy two copies – one to keep, and one for future profits. This helps me and also awards NIS America with (hopefully) great profits.

Mugen Souls looks crazy fun. We should find out more info in the lead up to its September 18th release. Oh, and don’t ask me what do you do with the Shampuru body sponge and hand towel!


NCAA Football 12 – Platinum at Last

My 4th of July celebration activities included some quality time with Kate, a family trip to Buffalo Wild Wings, plenty of beer and a final go at earning the NCAA Football 12 Platinum.

To be honest I had all, but given up. The final 3-4 trophies just seemed to be too much trouble, but I hated seeing the game at 92 (or whatever) percent complete. Just a little higher …

In between delicious pints of Sweetwater 420 (the nectar of the gods) I spent some quality time in the PS3Trophies.org NCAA Football 12 board looking for some advice, help, cheats; anything to get me over the hump.

I went with a 6 [my Platinum trophy difficulty rating]. For the most part, even with a Trophy guide, the game was fairly straight forward. In Your Crosshairs, Lock and Load, and Ironman (the one which requires you to score an offensive and defensive TD) were a total PITA to me.

I decided that I would finish off the game today. I sat it aside a while back because I was totally PO’ed over these trophies. Finally, decided to proclaim my Independence, and get the Platinum today. After trying to gimp the system with my 13 year old (Crosshairs and Lock and Load) I decided to do it own my own. Took a while, but finally pulled it off doing what others mentioned in various threads. Use a curl pattern and have your CB jump the route. Actually had to do it twice because I didn’t get a TD the first time.

Ironman actually came pretty easy today. I did the 7′ OLB/HB route, and got a defensive TD by stripping the ball on a punt. I gave up trying to block it, so started going for a strip, which actually worked. I thought I wasn’t going to get an offensive TD, but managed one with under a minute to play.

Ding – NCAA Football 12 Platinum goodness with less than a week to spare before I get to take on Herschel Walker’s records in NCAA Football 13. The demo was OK, and I know I will spend more time with Madden 13, but I can’t help myself …


Madden 13 – EA Skimps On Vita Release

A few weeks ago I wrote about my disappointment in EA not supporting Cross Play Madden franchise saves; I know take a number, and go to the back of the bus. The problem here is that we are in a classic chicken and egg dilemma. Without strong sales numbers, EA will not invest in the Madden Vita franchise, and without solid features, gamers may decide to take a pass on the Vita version.

While I’m still very much on the fence about purchasing Madden for the Vita, I have (as usual) taken the plunge on a PS3 Madden 13 preorder. When it comes to the Vita, articles like this one cause me pause:

But from my conversation with Baker this week, I got the sense that Electronic Arts may be unwilling at this point to extend that investment to the Vita. Tiburon is heavily focused on delivering innovation in Madden’s console versions, and “there’s just no way,” Baker told me, for the handheld game to “keep total lockstep” with them.

“Unless you’re gonna throw, like, a tremendous amount of resources at (the handheld version) and try to keep them in sync,” he said, “it’s just not a realistic possibility at this point.”

It is great that the Vita is receiving a Madden 12.5 release, which will be the best version of Madden 12, but in the end, the Vita release is still best version of last year’s game. EA’s Vita Madden maiden voyage could be so much more if only EA was willing to take a little financial risk (easy for me to say) and properly invest in the franchise.

I could understand some of the physics constraints, or maybe even some franchise mode limitations, but I have to believe that with a proper budget and willingness on the part of EA to push the Vita forward, Madden could be a potential system seller for Sony’s fledgling handheld wonder. I also understand the pressure to have a Madden on the Vita, but shouldn’t it be done the right way? Even if that means delaying the release, skipping a year, or Sony providing some sort of R&D assistance. If there has to be an August release, God forbid going the FIFA route and just titling the first Vita release with a simple Madden moniker.

I’ll probably end up with the Vita version to help get the point across to EA that a proper football title will be supported by the Vita user base, but more importantly, I want to play Madden on the go. Somehow I managed to show some restraint with FIFA; so maybe that will also happen with Madden. Probably not …


WipEout 2048 – Vita DLC Packs

A couple of weeks ago I picked up WipEout 2048 (Vita) after passing on the latest iteration of WipEout during the February Vita launch. It’s not as if I don’t like WipEout – the series has an awesome pedigree which originated on the PSOne (I still own the first two releases).

More recently, I played WipEout Pure extensively on my PSP; after trying several different flavors of portable racing, Pure ended up being my racing game in my PSP library and remains in my collection today.

With all that said, I had no intentions of picking up WipEout 2048. I figured that I already had too many games in my Vita library, albeit none of which were racing games. Then something crazy and unexpected happened. Sony provided some Cross Play action that pushed me over the edge.

Almost two years ago (June 28, 2010), initial PS+ subscribers were treated with WipEout HD (PS3) as part of their day one PS+ subscription. A year or so later, I picked up full digital ownership of the game as part of Sony’s “Welcome Back” package. WipEout HD + Fury DLC to be more precise.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t spent more than 10 minutes with the WipEout HD. I just have too many other gaming distractions. So what happened?

As I said, Cross Play arrived.

To make this deal even sweeter, we’ve got a special promotion that will let you experience WipEout’s exhilarating crossplay action on both PS3 and PS Vita. For those of you who already own WipEout HD or WipEout HD Fury on your PS3, you can automatically download the PS Vita versions for free! And the same works vice-versa as well: Anyone who purchases these new WipEout HD expansion packs from PlayStation Store on their PS Vita can download the packs for free on their PS3.

I decided to pick up WipEout 2048 because it was discounted, and because of the added value of getting WipEout HD + Fury DLCs for “free” – Sony really needs to push this sort of Cross Play connectivity across more titles.

WipEout 2048 is great on the Vita; I’ve played a couple of rounds of online multiplayer, which was OK – no lag or the like. I have also finished up the 2048 single player campaign mode, although I haven’t earned Elite passes in everything. WipEout 2048 has a ton of replay value, and when you add in the bonus HD + Fury DLC, I can see 2048 carrying my Vita racing needs forward for a long time to come.


I’m Turning Japanese …

I finally decided to get off my duff and setup a Japanese PSN account. Mostly because I was curious, partly because I wanted to download some specific demos, PSOne Classics, avatars and themes that are not available in the US, and finally just because I wanted to give it a go.

It was actually pretty straight forward, with my biggest questions being if I could re-use my current US PSN registered email account, and how the heck to navigate the Japanese store.

Now my biggest issue is that I need to spend $50 or so to buy a Japanese 3,000 YEN PSN card that is only worth about $35 (after the exchange rate). I did manage to pull down a couple of JP PSN themes that are unavailable in the US, so I guess that was worth the trivial effort involved to setup the Japanese PSN account.


PS+ Saves The World, One Publisher At A Time

OK, not really, but the new E3 announced Instant Game Collection should help the credibility and perceived value of the PS+ program. I doubt that Sony will every offer up numbers, however I expect that the PS+ subscription numbers received a substantial boost after the Instant Game Collection was announced.

Speaking of PS+ and perceived value, thesixthaxis has an interesting article about the value going both ways. Not only do subscribers get “free” games and discounts, but companies with featured PS+ content are using the PS+ program as a marketing vehicle.

Mike Kebby, Digital Campaigns Manager at SEGA Europe, only has great things to say about the way PlayStation Plus-promoted games can reach a wider audience.
“With Virtua Fighter we know we have a franchise with an extremely hardcore following, but we really wanted to ensure that we introduced the latest iteration [VF5: Final Showdown] to as many new players as possible,” he told us.

“We’ve found that PlayStation Plus was a perfect way to do this, as well as ensure we made a big noise about the title’s release, it’s great to reach out to lots of potential new fans,” he continued.

“VF5: Final Showdown has done very well for us since launch, and we’re glad to have continued our strong relationship with SCE by offering it to PS Plus subscribers for free.”

While the VF5 Trophy whoring was great, I would have actually purchased some of the DLC if it as cheaper. Even with the PS+ discount, I thought it was way too much ($14.99 or something similar) just to see some of the characters in different outfits with some different items and maybe an extra trinket or two. I admit that I’m not a huge fighting game fan, and while Sarah Bryant is hot and all (in a virtual video game character sort of way), Sarah Bryant is just not $15 DLC hot.


This Week In Video Game Sex

According to FoxNews, a segment of gamers are going berserk over the sexualization Laura Croft because of an E3 promo video that shows an implied almost rape scene.

Whether the scene is playable or not, gamers were adamant that using violence as titillation was offensive, sexist and unnecessary.

In general, I enjoy FoxNews; in fact, I read the site daily. With that said – WTF? What part of this video was titillating? Maybe for gamers with offbeat fetishes or younger gamers that hope and pray for a glimpse of a digital tit.

Is the scene Unnecessary? Yes. Offensive? I’m not so easily offended.

Crystal Dynamics has said they want gamers to protect a vulnerable Miss. Croft. Whatever. I just hope the game is decent. In the meantime, I got a kick out of reading all the comments on the GameTrailers forum.

Atelier and Neptunia
[Adult Content Warning – The next few links are NOT safe for work, and probably not anywhere else for that matter. You have been warned!]

Now if you really want to talk about the sexualization of female gaming characters, meet Atelier Meruru. Not that I’m complaining; I like the series for what it is, and I don’t think playing it makes me a pervert. Who am I to judge myself?

Keeping with the theme of sexualized girls, for your amusement, according to the unwashed masses, the Hyperdimension Neptunia series is all about the sexualization of young girls. In face, some would say Neptunia is too over the top, solely concentrating on the ogling of the lolita characters, and to be honest … well, play Neptunia or Neptunia mk2 and judge for yourself …

Neptunia’s premise is a thin excuse for a role-playing game that revolves around hypersexualized young girls.

Apparently Neptunia V is more over the top that ever, but at least one of the girls will be more, how shall I say it, endowed than previous characters, perhaps making the game more accessible.

You really have to take the Neptunia series with a grain of salt – you either “get it” and enjoy playing this sort of JRPG, you “get it” but realize that the gameplay mechanics are not on par with other JRPGs, or you just don’t get it.

I pick up pretty much all manner of JRPGs, especially collector and premium editions. If nothing else, I can always flip them on eBay down the road for a nice profit. I would be remiss to not point out that the production values from NIS America for their Atelier and Neptunia releases are second to none, which at least shows that video game sexualization of young girls can be done in style.