Sony Reveals PS4 Exclusives

Sony have unveiled Natural Doctrine, Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign and Dynasty Warriors 8 for the PS4.

During their press conference held in Japan, Sony have unveiled a number of exclusives for the PS4, some of which will also be coming to the PS3 and PS Vita.

One of those games that will be coming to the PS4, PS3 and the PS Vita, is Kadokawa Game Studio’s Natural Doctrine.

Check out the videos below:




Former Steam boss Jason Holtman lands at Microsoft

Valve veteran will be focused on “making Windows a great platform for gaming”

Jason Holtman lands at Microsoft

Jason Holtman, who spearheaded Valve’s Steam business for eight years before leaving the company in February, has a new job.

The former lawyer has taken a job with Microsoft, with a focus on PC gaming and entertainment strategy. Because he has just started at the position, Holtman declined an interview request, but confirmed the move.

“Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment,” he said. “I think there is a lot of opportunity for Microsoft to deliver the games and entertainment customers want and to work with developers to make that happen, so I’m excited to be here.”

Holtman’s departure from Valve after an eight-year tenure came cloaked in mystery. He left the company at the same time as several high-profile employees were reportedly laid off. Valve did not address the reasons behind the staff reductions, with founder Gabe Newell telling Engadget “We’re not going to discuss why anyone in particular is or isn’t working here.”

At Valve, Holtman was the primary point of contact for developers that distributed games on Steam – and, to many in the gaming world, was the service’s driving force. While he certainly wasn’t the sole reason for its success, he was its biggest cheerleader and an even bigger proponent of digital distribution.

As a result, his move to Microsoft has raised many questions about the Redmond-based company’s plans in the PC gaming space.

With the Xbox One launch looming, Microsoft has greatly de-emphasized PC gaming of late. Some developer sources tell GamesIndustry International they were under the impression the company had largely given up on the Games for Windows initiative.

Holtman’s hiring could signal a renewed emphasis on the computer, though.

“It seems like a guy who comes from Valve who has no peer, in my mind, in the gaming space relative to really strong B-to-C [business to consumer] relations could indicate a ramp up in the importance of that space,” says John Taylor, managing director at Arcadia Investment Corp.

A skilled dealmaker, Holtman is largely credited with convincing third party publishers such as EA, Activision and more to sell their games directly on Steam – as well as recruiting many smaller companies who might otherwise have vanished by now.

He’s also credited with steering Steam through the DRM controversies it encountered and calming publisher fears that the annual Steam Summer and holiday sales would devalue their intellectual properties.

The respect he has earned in leading digital distribution could be invaluable to Microsoft, which has not had a lot of success in that world. Though available in 41 countries, the Games for Windows Live service is currently not viewed as a strong player in the PC gaming world.

It’s not just his relationship with publishers and developers that’s valuable, though. Holtman also knows how to connect with customers – something Microsoft has been lacking so far in its digital distribution efforts.

Of course, Holtman’s duties could expand beyond just PC gaming as well. Digital distribution is expected to be a major component of the eighth generation of consoles. And while his experience so far has been on the PC side, Microsoft may be looking for Holtman to drive adoption and consumer loyalty of online purchases on the Xbox One in the years to come.

“[Business to consumer] is not just having someone’s credit card number,” says Taylor. “It’s how you use that handshake to maximize satisfaction for the vendor and maximize satisfaction for the customers. This kind of direct relationship is the next stage in the evolution of the games business. Valve is already there on the PC side and I think Microsoft would be very happy to have some sort of Valve template to lay on top of the Xbox.”



The Amazing Spider-Man on PlayStation Vita Outed by Amazon


If we were lesser men, we could have tried to put something hopeful in the title to this story like ‘Amazon France Outs a New Retail PlayStation Vita Game’, or if we weren’t as kind, something along the lines of ‘The PlayStation Vita is Getting a New Game…It’s a Port of a Port’.

No matter which way you look at this though, it isn’t very exciting news, with Amazon France outing The Amazing Spider-Man for PlayStation Vita. They give it a full price and October 30th release date (meaning North America might see it on October 29th), with a logical guess having the extra content found within the Wii U port being included in this port:

  • Stan Lee Adventure Pack
  • Lizard Rampage Pack
  • Rhino Challenge
  • Oscorp Search and Destroy Pack
  • New suits

We’ve reached out to Activision about The Amazing Spider-Man on PlayStation Vita and we’ll let you know if we hear anything back.



PS Vita REVIEW: Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland

Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland

Worthy for play on the go.

I’ve always appreciated what the Atelier roleplaying series strives to do, even if I haven’t always been thrilled with the ways in which it’s done it. Though the dialogue and voice work have never been terribly effective, many of these games’ characters still beg to be remembered, and few more than one Totooria Helmold, the star of Atelier Totori Plus. Earnest and open-hearted to a fault, her deeply personal motivation is the glue that, along with an intensive crafting element, holds this laid-back RPG together. And thanks to the Vita’s beautiful screen, the world around her looks better here than ever before.

Atelier Totori Plus is a Vita port of Atelier Totori that doesn’t disappoint in the least. It brings all the content of the original to gamers on the go, along with a few bonuses to sweeten the pot. Among other things: all the DLC characters from the PS3 incarnation, and more excitingly, a new post-game dungeon that Atelier Rorona fans will no doubt recognize. None of theses extras are game-changers mind you, but they do add an appreciated splash of extra variety whether you’re a new or returning player.

Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland


Totori’s technically simple, artistically intricate graphics really come to life on the Vita, as its sharp display brings out all the loving details in the characters’ designs. If you somehow failed to recognize how well-conceived Totori’s artwork is on the PS3, it’ll certainly come out and smack you in the eyeballs this time around. If you’re looking for it, you might spot an extra second of loading here, or a drop in framerate there, but none of it impacts gameplay. In fact, it inexplicably runs better than the PS3 version of Totori’s sequel, Atelier Meruru.

Still, this is a port, which naturally means it’s inherited the faults of its original. Totori’s flaws are few in number, but deep in severity, with the voice acting on the male side of the cast being the worst offense. Gino’s nasally delivery constantly grates, and the ever-whiny Peter proves to be just as rage-inducing on a small Vita screen as he is on a big one. The voice actor playing Totori’s widower father acquits himself reasonably well, but only to the extent that the clumsily wrought script allows him to. While the female performances are stronger on the whole, they aren’t enough to save the day. Given that Totori relies even more heavily upon dialogue than your average RPG, this sub-standard level of craft will be a sizable problem for many.

Of course, just as a port brings its big brother’s baggage along with it, so too does it bring the good stuff. Despite the writing and acting issues, I still find Totori and her quest to discover the true fate of her missing mother to be a suitable, if unlikely motivation to push through. Unlike Meruru and Ayesha after her, Totori has genuine bonds, either by blood or by history, with the people around her. This lends her interactions with them significance, especially where her family and her presumably deceased mother are concerned. Even amidst the airy, care-free atmosphere, there’s a heartfelt tale here about a young girl who refuses to accept the loss of her parent, and challenges herself to discover the truth. As someone who’s been slaying dragons and confronting world-ending evils since Dragon Warrior, it’s a refreshing change of pace.

Atelier Totori Plus: The Adventurer of Arland

Fishcraft? I don’t know what that is.

Having reviewed the PS3 version of Totori last year, coming back to it after moving on to Meruru and Ayesha really drove home why it’s my favorite of the PS3 Atelier games. Of all the main characters, Totori’s tale mattered most to me, and the cast surrounding her finds a comfortable sweet spot between light-hearted fun and believability. In terms of gameplay, Totori packs all of the franchise-signature crafting depth, and marries it to a well-tuned, free-form quest structure that’s rife with resource management. You can check my original review for all the sordid details, but in short, it’s less restrictive than Meruru’s system, but more open and challenging than the spoon-fed quest track that Ayesha runs you through. Striking such a balance in a system with so many moving parts is really quite commendable, especially given that neither of its successors could truly manage it.

The Verdict

Atelier Totori was a very good RPG to begin with, but its stylish, technically modest graphics, and focus on bite-sized quests make it an ideal candidate for handheld gaming. Everything that made the original what it is, for better or worse, is here on the Vita – including the near-constant interruptions by poorly executed dialogue which still bar it from greatness. But its additional content and small-screen visual presence make Atelier Totori Plus the definitive version, and an easy recommendation for franchise fans and RPG buffs in general.




Review: DeadPool


As a longtime comic book fan, you can understand why someone like me – who loves and appreciates games as much as his other passions – gets absolutely frightened when the two are brought together. Licensed games are generally the scourge of the industry, a type of game that through name alone sends chills down the spines of gamers everywhere. As DualShockers’ resident “X” fan, I’ve been waiting for the Deadpool game to release with both bated breath and utter terror. Now, after getting my hands on the game and going on a full ride with the Merc With A Mouth, I can relax a little. While not a perfect video game, Deadpool is certainly a perfect Deadpool game.

Leading up to Deadpool‘s release, the one thing going through every DP-fan’s mind was probably “Are they going to capture the essence of Deadpool correctly?” “Is this really going to be the Deadpool game we deserve?” “Can they nail Deadpool’s crazy humor just the right way?” Yes, because the “right way” turns out to be Daniel Way, longtime writer of the Deadpool comics, and writer of the Deadpool the video game script. Everything about this game oozes the pure essence of Deadpool in the comics, and no doubt Way had a large part to do with that. In fact, the entire premise of Deadpool involves  our favorite anti-hero contacting High Moon Studios to make his own video game (after sending in a proposal written in crayon). So the same way Deadpool is one of the few characters in comics to know he’s actually a comic book character, he’s also the only person in the game to know that this whole adventure is being designed and developed by other people. This often includes some funny moments throughout the game, like “going over budget” (which gives way to a cool retro take later) or playing on normal gaming conventions.

Funny moments are abundant in this game: there’s plenty of comedy to be found in Deadpool, from simple “har har” moments, to hysterical segways that really make you appreciate how well Deadpool’s humor was infused into every aspect of the game. Every. Single. Part.


Take, for example, how I left the menu screen idle for a while, only to find a typically relaxed Deadpool teleporting out of his seat to go prancing and frolicking about his room. Later he dressed in his faux-X-Men costume while trying to look into my room (through the TV screen) for babes, and finally he turned into his “D. Pooly” hip hop look (from J. Scott Campbell’s variant Siege #3 cover) while a scantily clad woman walked on and off the screen at random. Or take a look at the trophies/achievements to find that his Platinum trophy says “Okay, you can sell the game now.”

While playing, the dialogue is one of the strongest points of the game, whether it’s between Deadpool and his guest stars/allies (several X-Men characters), his enemies (Mr. Sinister and his Marauders), or even with himself, as Deadpool has two inner-voices that he’s constantly conversing with. While playing, Deadpool and the other characters have a ton of great sound bites, some of my favorite including:

“Did that hit you the chest? I’m sorry, I was aiming for you crotch!” (Deadpool)

“Sometimes I let my guns do the talking… and boy are they chatty.” (Deadpool)

“You think I’m scared of a mercenary? I work in television!” (Chance White)

Sometimes these sound bites are aimed at poking fun at common game design choices, like a moment where Deadpool shouts (to no one in particular, but obviously aimed at the player), “More people who want us dead! In games, that means we’re headed in the right direction!”


Any Deadpool-fan will also appreciate the occasional balance of good ol’ crazy comedy with the rare, deep and dark moments that are at the core of Deadpool’s character, and how, at times, he shows he’s not crazy at all, but incredibly intelligent. When his first target, Chance White, calls him crazy early in the game, he very darkly responds “Not as much as you think…” and you find out that some random off-the-wall thing you did and forgot earlier was actually important to Deadpool accomplishing his mission. It’s moments like these that should please both fans and non-fans alike. There’s another great moment later on in the game that takes a surprisingly deep, disturbing, and visceral look into Deadpool’s head, something players won’t see coming.  How it’s seamlessly implemented into the game was so unexpected that it, too, perfectly parallels Deadpool’s random descents into sanity, and just how seriously messed up Deadpool is inside his head.

But if you’re worried this is a grim and gritty Christopher Nolan-esque re-imagining of Deadpool, don’t fret: these few moments are expertly and sparingly used during the game, with the majority of your time enjoying Deadpool’s random observations and thoughts, from Cable’s theme song, to Genosha being called a “time share for mutants,” to a slap-happy moment with Wolverine, to a fantastic “D. Pooly” dream sequence, all the way to the blaxploitation like end-credits.

Deadpool - Siege 3 cover by J Scott Campbell

I’d be remiss in failing to mention just how great Nolan North is as Deadpool:  but if you’ve ever seen the Wolverine portion of the Hulk VS animated-movie, then you probably already know how well North nails the character. In fact, it sounds like North is having pure fun as Deadpool, with equal parts comical, cooky, and crazy, and again, an occasional downright sinister edge that shows the kind of mean streak Deadpool has locked and hidden away beneath his mask of frivolity. The other voice actors, for the limited time they appear in the game, also are fantastic: notably Steve Blum as Wolverine and Fred Tatasciore as Cable make for some fantastic moments with Deadpool, especially playing the straight man to his eccentric tantrums.

Of course, while I’ve been gushing about how much Daniel Way and High Moon Studios got the personality of the game right, its the gameplay that also determines how good of a video game Deadpool actually is, and for the most part, it’s very good indeed. Unfortunately, though, it’s not as fantastic as the writing: but it works. Where in most games the story serves as a way to take the player from one section of gameplay to another, Deadpool almost works in an inverse matter, where the gameplay feels like its serving as filler to get you to the next part of the script. Still, there’s much to enjoy in Deadpool if you like action games, with the complexity of the gameplay opening up over time. In the beginning, I found the gameplay a bare skeleton of what most games offer, but I definitely found myself liking it more as time went on. Deadpool isn’t as tight and technical as the Batman: Arkham series or as stylish as the Devil May Cry or Bayonetta series, but it does manage to find a decent middle-ground.


Deadpool is a combo-based game, where the higher your combo goes, the more “DP” points you earn: taking too long to continue attacking or getting hit disrupts the combo. DP points can be used to unlock upgrades, new weapons, new attacks, and better stats. To build these combos, Deadpool has in his arsenal light and heavy attacks, a teleport-evade button, and can “interact” with certain objects and weapons. When prompted, he can counter attacking enemies with good timing, and pull off instant-kills.

With his guns, Deadpool can go into an “aiming” mode where he can shoot enemies from far away, but the “snap to” aiming is merely serviceable at best, and shouldn’t be completely relied on for kills unless facing aerial enemies (I should mention that Deadpool can shoot behind him while he runs, which is really awesome). Later Deadpool can incorporate “Gun-Kata” moves into his combos (think the movies Equilibrium and Ultraviolet), which are far more useful. Deadpool also has a range of crowd control weapons at his disposal, including flashbangs, grenades, mines, and even bear traps (which were one of the most useful tools I had against boss enemies). Finally, all of these together can help Deadpool build up “Momentum,” which unlock special attacks that can be used against groups of enemies.

Speaking of enemies, there’s certainly a wide, wide range of them. The majority of your white-skinned enemies are clones created by Mr. Sinister, all genetically infused with the powers of various X-Men characters. You’ll fight “Titan”-sized enemies with Fire and Ice gatling guns/grenade launchers (which you can use after their death), Blob-characters who can do major damage by belly-flopping onto you, Storm-like weather casters who can do major ranged-damage, and, most hilarious of them all, defective and explosive Gambit clones that shout in high pitched voices “Mon Ami! Mon Ami! Mon Ami!” while running up on you suicide bomber-style. While the diversity of these enemies are appreciated, you will be fighting tons and tons of these disposable henchmen, which can be both fun and frustrating depending on how many types are being thrown at you at once. The end of the game is virtually an endless barrage of clone battles, so be prepared for the long haul.


Visually, Deadpool falls between mediocre and good, but when you take into consideration the amount of things going on on-screen sometimes, and that both Deadpool and some of his enemies take on real-time damage as they get hurt, there’s some leeway to be given for the sometimes lackluster graphics. There’s also a lot of great sequences that break out of the typical gameplay to give players top-down action sequences, 2D platforming sequences, rail-shooter sequences, and more, so there’s a constant stream of variety to keep your attention. Deadpool is like an old black and white film or a retro video game: it may not always be as pretty as its peers, but the experience more than outweighs what it lacks visually.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: whether you’re a Deadpool fan or not, Deadpool the game is definitely worth trying. It won’t appeal to everyone, for sure, but for those of you who enjoy 4th wall jokes, references to everything from Marvel Comics to Star Trek, quirky and random segments, and little things littered throughout the game like Deadpool’s box of “Not Porn,” then you’ll love Deadpool.