Aug 20, 2011

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PlayStation Week in Review: 8/20/11

PlayStation Week in Review: 8/20/11

Gamescom 2011 has come and gone, but Germany’s flagship video game event left us with plenty to talk about and report this week. The approaching holiday season may just be the busiest the industry has ever seen. As if that weren’t enough, we’ve got a heap of info on upcoming PlayStation Vita titles and DLC for two of the PlayStation 3′s biggest exclusives. Time to dive in:

  • The PlayStation 3 has received a price cut from $299 to $249 for the 160 GB model. Meanwhile the 320 GB system has been reduced to $299. This news was one of Sony’s biggest reveals at their Gamescom 2011 press conference. First-time PS3 buyers ready to join the action may want to look into the inFAMOUS 2 bundle debuting alongside the price cut. Detailed by SCEA President and CEO Jack Tretton via the official PlayStation Blog, the inFAMOUS 2 bundle will feature the 320 GB model PS3, a copy of inFAMOUS 2, and a 30-day PlayStation Plus membership for $299 at participating retailers. Make sure to look into the bundle if you’re now in the market for PS3.
  • A host of new PlayStation Vita games were revealed at Gamescom 2011, including the next installment in the Resistance franchise. Resistance: Burning Skies will follow new hero Tom Riley in New York City and is penned by William C. Dietz, author of both Resistance novels. The game will make full use of the system’s dual analog sticks, and will offer intuitive uses for the touchscreen and touchpad. Ubisoft also announced that a new Assassin’s Creed game will be coming to Vita, while EA Sports confirmed the same for its FIFA franchise. The reveal of social networking apps for Vita topped off these game announcements. Gamers will be able to access Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and foursquare free of charge with the device. You can read more about these announcements – and catch some gameplay of Resistance: Burning Skies - here on Vivid Gamer.

  • Fans of inFAMOUS 2 may have a ton of user-generated content to play with, but that hasn’t stopped developer Sucker Punch Productions from putting together some DLC of its own. inFAMOUS 2: Festival of Blood will send protagonist Cole MacGrath on a quest to rid New Marais of an army of vampires, lest he become one himself. This standalone expansion will not require any previous inFAMOUS game to play. Players can get their hands on Cole’s latest adventure sometime in October, just in time for Halloween. You can check out the official Festival of Blood trailer here on Vivid Gamer.
  • Proponents of cross-game voice chat have been chomping at the bit for Sony to bring the feature to the PlayStation 3 for years. Unfortunately, Shuhei Yoshida of Sony Worldwide Studios has confirmed that this will never happen. However, there’s a reason for it. In an interview with Eurogamer, Yoshida stated that a large portion of PS3 system RAM is designated for use by the game it’s running. This means that while individual games can run their own voice chat lines using system RAM, there is not enough left over for voice chat to run through the system in the background. Because allocating less system RAM to games would cause serious compatibility issues and limit the hardware’s potential, gamers are stuck without cross-game voice chat until Vita arrives bearing “Party chat”. Vita contains twice as much system RAM as the PS3.

 

  • The upcoming PlayStation Move content pack for LittleBigPlanet 2 has been given a release date. LittleBigPlanet 2: Move Pack: Rise of the Cakeling will launch on September 14 and will add a bevy of Move functionality to creation tools and gameplay alike. The massive update will also feature new levels, costumes, decorations, and objects. New creation tools will allow to implement Move control in clever ways, like as a reticle for on-rails shooting. You can read more about the upcoming content pack in our preview.
  • Virtua Tennis 4 was also among the Vita games revealed at Gamescom. Jeff Rubenstein of the official PlayStation Blog went hands-on with the game and revealed plenty of interesting details on the game’s controls and features. Virtua Tennis 4 will allow any combination of analog stick and touchscreen control while playing. For example, players can move anywhere on the court by tapping that spot with their finger or simply moving the analog stick. Then, their next shot is only a button press or finger swipe away. Different gestures can add topspin or create lobs. The game will also feature “VT apps” and other game modes that make use of Vita’s gyroscopic capability, while Sega has promised that augmented reality will also be used to some degree. Check out the full story over at the official PlayStation Blog.

  • Finally, the official technical specs of the PlayStation Vita have been confirmed, debunking rumors that the system’s RAM would be halved to decrease production costs. It appears that graphical performance won’t be compromised after all. The device will feature 128 MB of video RAM and 512 MB of general RAM, twice as much as the PlayStation 3. Meanwhile the front and rear camera specs have also been detailed. Both cameras will feature a pixel resolution of 640×480, and can record video at 120 frames-per-second at 320×240 or 60 frames-per-second at 640×480.

That’s all for this week’s review! While no cross-game voice chat is definitely bad news, the PS3 simply wasn’t built to handle the feature, and to implement it now would be at the cost of its games. That said, it’s great to see Sony handling the PlayStation Vita so well. A full suite of technical features, and third-party app support right out of the gate is a surefire way to satisfy your gaming audience. Despite no cross-game voice chat, the PS3 price cut should still draw hesitant buyers to the system, and with big DLC coming, it’s never been a better time.

Thanks for reading PlayStation Week in Review. Let us know what you think of these headlines, and any headlines we missed, in the comments below. Be sure to come back this time next week for another recap!