This Week in Gaming: August 26, 2013 – Sony on the Offensive

Xbox 360

With only a few more months until the new console launches from Sony and Microsoft, I think my seventh generation consoles sensed the writing on the wall. First my PS3 decided to die on me with a optical drive failure last spring. Now it seems my Xbox 360 is joining my PS3 in the ward for partially crippled consoles. My 360, the longest tenured and steadfast of my entertainment setup, suffered incapacitation at the hands of a eject function failure. Both consoles still effectively function, but the loss of my entire physical collection of games is too much to handle, especially with the massive lineup for Fall (and a little game called GTAV).

I guess I can play the Wii to tide me over.

Sony launches an offensive volley from GamesCom

PS4: Greatness Awaits

Although I speculated last week that Sony would sit on the launch date for their PS4, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Sony will begin sales on the PS4 November 15th in North America (Nov 29 for Europe). The date comes at a time where Microsoft is expected to have a late November launch, giving Sony at least two weeks alone in stores. Not that it matters, with Sony PS4s being reportedly pre-ordered at a higher rate than the Xbox One.

In fact, it appeared that Sony is sticking with the battle strategy of “we’re not Microsoft,” despite Microsoft’s change in attitude and improved public reception. Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO Andrew House took the stage at GamesCom and said, “While others have shifted their message and changed their story, we were consistent in maintaining a message that is fair and in tune with consumer desires.” I can’t fault Sony from taking the approach because it so far has masked their weaker initial software lineup and put them in a position of advantage while Microsoft scrambled to regain its footing.

Andrew House

I hope for both Sony’s and the overall growth of the industry that they strive to be more than just not being Microsoft because ultimately, there will be a push for more digital content. Ideally there will be tools created that can accomplish both a reasonable amount of things gamers desire like game sharing and purchasing options while allowing manufacturers to find success in new technologies in digital delivery and ownership rights. We might be a ways off from that but it won’t be because it was better to play it safe.

Oh yeah, the PS Vita is now $199

Also at GamesCom, Sony seems to be making a push to make the PS Vita relevant, despite being dominated by Nintendo’s technologically weaker 3DS. Now priced at a reasonable $199 (with cheaper memory cards as well) the only remaining question is whether the PS Vita still has a chance to move units.

PS Vita

From my few times testing the PS Vita out, I am fascinated by the potential of the system in seeing the fantastic power behind it. But like the PSP before it, it just does not have the software lineup that Nintendo does. There are a few solid games out for the PS Vita and it is becoming a potential hot spot for JRPGs and under powered indie games to be run on, but I see the 3DS gaining far more momentum over the coming year. The Vita will never die so long as Sony keeps on making PS3/Vita dual compatible titles and they flesh out their second screen options for the PS4/Vita (making it Sony’s version of a Wii U). Maybe at a less daunting price point more adopters will come but I just don’t see the value yet.

Blizzard announces first expansion for Diablo III

Titled Reaper of Souls, Blizzard unveiled Diablo’s new chapter in the best way they know how, through their spectacular cinematics. Featuring a new class (The Crusader), a level cap of 70 and a seemingly darker chapter following the events of Diablo III that has you squaring off against the Angel of Death Malthael. With new zones, enemies and a new endgame feature called Loot Runs, I am at least a little curious to revisit Diablo III.

Noteworthy Releases

The elephant in the building this week is EA’s juggernaut sports game Madden 25 which is skipping the annual subtitle and honoring the game’s 25th anniversary. I dabbled in the demo slightly but will put the game through its paces as soon as my 360 returns to form.

Also marking its (second) launch is Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. As a longtime Square Enix supporter and a devoted former player of Final Fantasy XI, not many games have caused me much heartache than FFXIV. I hope dearly that it succeeds but I have severely sinking feeling that I will touch more upon later.

Also out this week is Luigi’s chance to star in a game not featuring a ghost vacuum in New Super Luigi U (Wii U), Suda 51’s typical mature fare Killer is Dead (360, PS3), Hatsune Miku’s western debut in Project Diva F (PS3) and the practically forgotten about Lost Planet 3 (360, PS3, PC).

What’cha Playin’?

Because of the untimely deaths of both my main consoles I find myself in a conundrum. Saints Row IV should be arriving at my doorstep in the coming days but I will be without consoles to play on. I was previously playing Madden 13 in anticipation of Madden 25’s launch but that is strictly a console only affair.

Until I get my 360 and PS3 back I will most likely be occupying my gaming time with Plants vs Zombies 2, whittling at my Steam backlog and finally giving Skyward Sword a go.

Cool Guys Don’t Look At Explosions

Obvious spoilers if you haven’t seen.

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