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This Week's Top Stories: April 18 - 24, 2011

on 24 April 2011

Welcome to another instalment in our weekly news digest where the team at PSU Towers picks our favourite slices of gaming gossip from the past seven days, before proceeding to offer our two cents on each story for good measure.

Dino Crisis 2 heading to U.S. PSN

Who needs an official press blurb when you’ve got the ESRB? Indeed, the U.S. ratings body has been responsible for outing countless releases in the PSOne Classics range over the past few years, the latest of which is Capcom’s Dino Crisis 2. Those of you who haven’t played the inaugural dino blaster may want to pop on over to the PS Store and plonk down the cash now, as it’s well worth the investment – plus, it’ll give you an excuse to play the sequel. Still, it’s worth pointing out both games are quite disparate in terms of fundamental gameplay mechanics go; DC1 is pure survival horror, while the follow-up is very much an all-out action affair. Think Resident Evil 1-3 vs. Resident Evil 4-5 and you should have an idea of what to expect. I haven’t actually played the original game, though I picked up the sequel back in 2000 and can confirm it's bloody good stuff.

Crysis 2 dev says PS3/360 memory is ‘way too low’

There’s many things we all want to see from next-gen platforms, but for Crysis 2 developers Crytek, its more memory – the PS3 and Xbox 360’s is ‘way too low’ apparently. Ordinarily this would raise eyebrows, but when it’s coming from the likes of Crytek – a studio that up until now has been exclusively working on PC content – it’s slightly easier to digest. That’s not to say I’m a little surprised by the comments, as 512MB in console terms is pretty meaty, and the results speak for themselves; Crysis 2 looks bloody gorgeous, after all. However, for Crytek, 16 times that amount would be just dandy - that's about 8GB, for the record.

Uncharted 3 beta kicks off July 5, Naughty Dog unleashes new screens and trailer

Naughty Dog isn’t mucking about when it comes to Uncharted 3’s multiplayer component. The esteemed studio lifted the lid on a heap of fresh details on the feature this week, including confirmation of the long-rumored sprint button, plus a selection of fresh game modes to boot. If that wasn’t enough, it also confirmed the beta will kick off on July 5 and treated us to a brand-spanking new video. Needless to say, it’s all looking mighty fine indeed, with the video in particular showcasing tons of new moves, customisation options and sprawling gun battles – all accompanied by a wonderful ditty that includes the lyrics ‘I want to kill everyone in the world.’ Very fitting, no?

Sonic Generations speeding into stores this holiday season

Ah, Sonic. Not exactly the success story of the decade is he? Nonetheless, having been a fan for almost twenty years, I’ve always hung on to the belief that SEGA’s speedy anthromophoric hedgehog will one day recapture his 16-bit glory days despite recent atrocities such as Sonic Unleashed and Sonic and the Black Knight. And what better time to grasp that goal with both white gloves than the blue mascot’s 20th anniversary? That’s what SEGA’s got in mind with Sonic Generations, a promising looking title that seems to perfectly encapsulate the old-school retro Sonic paradigm, both in terms of aesthetics and gameplay. Ok, so you play as 90s Sonic and his modern day equivalent, which might irk some fans for being a little too ‘gimmicky’ but at least it’s not as daft as the speedy hero transforming into a werehog or making out with human princesses. Bottom line, it’s looking like the best Sonic game for years (Sonic 4 was a fine effort but only touched the surfaced in all honesty, and felt like a tease more than an actual game). As such, I wouldn’t be surprised if, like me, many fans are seeing this as the last chance saloon for the spiky speedster to revitalize his career. Don’t muck it up, SEGA.

Sony ceases PSPgo production

I think it’s widely known that PSPgo hasn’t been quite the runaway success Sony bigwigs were hoping for. Even in Japan, where the bread-and-butter PSP model continues to sell like hotcakes, the pint-sized digital platform has been continually bested by almost every other piece of kit on the market. A pity too, since it’s actually a fine machine; sleekly designed, easy to use and most of all, no pesky UMDs to worry about. But alas, it seems Sony’s bringing down the curtains on PSPgo’s career, with the electronics giant confirming the handheld is on its last legs as the company seeks to focus on Next-Generation Portable (NGP). Hardly a surprise to be honest, and it’s all building up to the inevitable clash between Sony’s swanky new handheld and 3DS in the next-gen portable punch-up. It's not all bad news, though -- PSPgo is is still alive and well in the U.S.

Shadow of the Colossus/ICO, The Last Guardian delayed

Shadow of the Colossus/ICO being delayed is one thing – painful, but bearable – however when stacked alongside future PlayStation 3 powerhouse The Last Guardian being postponed, it’s like having our teeth smashed out with a sledgehammer and being forced to drink salt water. Utterly, utterly painful stuff. Originally pegged for a spring/winter release respectively, the Team ICO titles had looked set to supplement an already sumptuous software line-up for Sony’s 2011 push, though I suppose the silver lining here is at least 2012 should be off to a cracking start – after all, there’s no way The Last Guardian is going to see the light of day this year. Hopefully SotC/ICO will make it into a holiday season slot, though this remains to be seen.

Resident Evil 6 will be ‘totally different,’ says Capcom

These days, Resident Evil is a bit like marmite – you either love it or hate it. Some folk prefer the stylish action-orientated antics of RE4/5, while purists – yours truly included – are longing for a return to the classic Survival Horror formula of old. With two core action games in the series under its belt, not to mention a squad-based shooter on the horizon, I think the time has come to inject some much-needed life into the series by offering amalgamation of both new and old – think RE5's Lost in Nightmares or 3DS outing RE: Revelations. Oh, and zombies. Yes, whatever Capcom decides to do, our decomposing friends must shamble back into the limelight as the bread-and-butter RE adversary. I for one have had enough of the decidedly unscary, pitchfork-wielding village nut jobs to last a lifetime thank you very much.

Rumor: God of War 4 due in 2012

No doubt every man and his dog would love to have another God of War game on shelves by late 2012, and to be honest, it isn’t that inconceivable. Sure, Kratos’ tale may have come to an end with the stonking God of War III, but developer Sony Santa Monica has gone on record to say that they still plan on churning out future games in the monster PlayStation franchise. And, if it does make September 2012, then next year is already shaping up to be a killer follow-up to what has been described as one of the best gaming years of recent memory. Nonetheless, as with all rumors, I’ll be digesting this tantalizing tidbit with the obligatory pinch of salt – better safe than sorry, eh? Still, fingers crossed.

No More Heroes ‘Moves’ into the Red Zone this summer

I wouldn’t blame anyone who gave this story a fleeting glimpse to accuse Grass Hopper Manufacturer of shamelessly milking the No More Heroes brand, but in this case, it actually sounds worth it. Red Zone isn’t just a quick cash-in of the existing PS3 blood fest No More Heroes Paradise, it’s actually a full-on Blu-ray bonanza packed with extra goodies, including PlayStation Move support, new bosses, stages and online rankings. Not too shabby, eh? Of course, it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth for those who already plonked down the cash for Paradise, but a sweet deal for punters still on the fence. Let’s hope it makes it to western shores, something that, ironically, Paradise has still yet to do at the time of writing.

PSN exclusive Under Siege takes “maximum advantage” of PS3 feature set, says dev

With Under Siege finally invading PlayStation Network next month in the U.S. (late April for PAL gamers), PSU’s Eric Blattberg recently had the opportunity to indulge in a friendly natter with producer Filipe Pina, learning more than a few tantalizing tidbits on the RTS. For one, the game was tailored specifically with PlayStation 3 in mind, and as such takes “full advantage” of the platform’s substantial horse power. Lovely jubbly. Click the link in the heading above for the full scoop.

No PS4 or Xbox 720 until 2014, says report

DICE and Crytek may have gone on record to say they’re ready to embrace the next-generation of consoles, but the general consensus around the web is that they might be in for a bit of wait. That’s the viewpoint shared by a variety of unnamed “sources” anyway, who have claimed that Microsoft and Sony won’t be releasing any new formats until the year 2014. There’s a chance that the former may consider churning out a Kinect-enabled 360 by 2013, but a brand-spanking new console is out of the question for a good couple of years. Of course, rumors have been rife as of late that Nintendo is ready to pull the curtains back on a new console – dubbed Project Café – at E3 in June, though considering the Wii isn’t HD-enabled, lacks the visual prowess of its competitors and can’t even play DVDs to boot means the House of Miyamoto and co would be wise to get a fresh console out the door sharpish. Personally, I think 2014 for PS4/Xbox 720 sounds bang on the money. Originally I thought there would be a smidgen of a chance we might get them by 2013 (after all, sources also noted that Sony and Microsoft may ‘feel pushed’ to release new hardware earlier than anticipated) but going by how much leg room there is for the current generation still, 2014 sounds like the best bet. Still, you can bet Nintendo will be the first to release new hardware out of the Big Three.

Michael Pachter: PSPgo was a complete flop

Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter’s not known for mincing his words, a trait he exemplifies perfectly in his scathing dissection of PSPgo. I’ll admit he’s got a point; the beleaguered portable didn’t exactly set the world on fire, and found itself continually trounced in the weekly hardware race by just about every other piece of kit on the market. Nonetheless, its concept – namely, that of a digital-only platform – was way ahead of its time, and offered ample opportunity for Sony to dip its toes in the art of digital distribution in preparation for the Next-Generation Portable (NGP). Providing they can iron out all the creases, then there’s every chance the successor to PSP will have a solid business model from which to launch on. Still, one of the PSPgo’s key failings was the tumultuous relationship it caused Sony to share with physical retailers. After all, they’re asking folk to stock a piece of kit that shops aren’t able to actually sell any software for. Not exactly the stepping stones for a healthy relationship, is it? Unsurprisingly, while NGP is tailored for digital-based content, it’s also going to have its own physical releases on store shelves, which will hopefully help patch things up between Sony and disgruntled retailers.

PSN hacked

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, let's just say this week hasn’t exactly been a barrel of laughs for Sony. Wednesday night saw PlayStation Network fall offline, with the service taken down completely in North America and European territories. Why you ask? Hackers. While it was abundantly clear to most people this was the case, Sony kept mum on the reasons behind PSN’s downtime until Saturday morning, where it was forced to admit that the service was pulled due to an ‘external intrusion.’ Naturally, the first culprits that sprung to mind was the chaps at Anonymous, a notorious group of hackers who had previously targeted Sony due to the legal action the hardware manufacturer had taken over numerous individuals as of late. And by ‘individuals,’ yes, we mean other hackers. However, Anonymous insists it had nothing to do with the whole affair, and even accused Sony of taking advantage of the group’s prior ill-feelings towards the electronics giant to divert attention away from the real reason behind PSN’s outage – internal problems. Lord only knows who is responsible, but needless to say, Sony must be livid right about now. Nonetheless, the company announced this weekend that the service should be back up and running in the next day or two.We'll be sure to keep you in the loop on all major developments regarding the situation as it breaks.