Follow us on:

2014's Box Art: The Year in Review

Gaming is as deeply entrenched in the online age as it's ever been, with more downloadable games hitting storefronts than ever before. So there's no better time than now, while we still can, to commemorate the year through the lens of box art.

So many hours and so much thought goes into creating box art, with designers working their utmost to grab consumer attention at ground level. That makes for a curious mix of designs, turning the average store shelf into a kaleidoscope of logos, familiar faces, and occasionally glittering artwork. That very much remain the case this year.

We've taken 50 of 2014's retail releases - we've restricted it to games that hit physical store shelves (sorry, Shovel Knight) - and compiled them into a gallery to chronicle the year. As for which box art stood out from the rest, we welcome you to illuminate us in the comments.

What was your favorite video game box art of 2014? Which of the covers we didn't include were ones you really liked? And what about the coulda-shoulda-done-betters? Let us know!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is UK's Christmas No. 1

Ding dong merrily on high / In the UK CoD is winning
Ding dong verily the sky / In LA Kotick's grinning
Spa-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-aycey
Kevin in excelsis!

Like an exosuit-clad soldier sneaking stealthily down the chimney, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sneaks up on FIFA 15 to nick the UK Christmas No. 1. Activision's shooter usurped EA's kicker with a last-minute promotion, which according to Chart Track makes it the fifth CoD ever to claim the top spot in merrytime.

Outside of that excitement, the UK charts are getting into the holiday spirit by barely moving an inch. Nonetheless, if you jingle below the break you'll find the full top ten, and this week a very festive edition of the customary music video - sort of.

Continue Reading

Claire goes back to work in Resident Evil Revelations 2 opening

It's hard to imagine why Claire Redfield of Capcom's Resident Evil universe would put anything other than "I saved you from becoming zombie food" on her resume, but we suppose that's a pretty good attribute when you work for a human rights organization that unravels the schemes of/cleans up the damage made by terrorists using bio-weapons. Unfortunately, being such a high-profile figure also makes you a target, as evidenced by the opening scene of Resident Evil Revelations 2, which you can watch after the break.

Historically, Claire has fared well against both helicopters and men with guns, but age catches up to all of us it seems, and the lady Redfield is unable to save her place of business from attack. Community Manager Brelston writes on the Capcom Unity blog that after this scene, Claire and company wake up on a prison island with "little information, no weapons and no clear way home."

Well, at least our heroine will be in familiar circumstances when Resident Evil Revelations 2 begins its episodic tale on February 17, 2015.

Continue Reading

Touhou Project games coming to PlayStation 4, PS Vita

The Touhou Project will make its console and portable debut in Japan starting next year with the launch of a series of officially licensed, fan-made games for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, series creator ZUN revealed this week (via Siliconera).

Named as the "most prolific fan-made shooter series" by Guinness World Records, the Touhou Project is a long-running, single-developer franchise helmed by its pseudonymous creator ZUN. Initially a hobbyist project, Touhou evolved to encompass a multitude of commercially produced spinoff games and media works from indie creators worldwide. Previous Touhou games include the acclaimed freeware PC bullet-hell shooters Imperishable Night and Perfect Cherry Blossom.

Upcoming Touhou releases for PlayStation platforms include the roguelike Mystery Gensokyo and RPG Genius of Sappheiros for the PS Vita. The PlayStation 4 will host Touhou's bullet hell shooter Gensou no Rondo. An additional game, Touhou Sky Arena Matsuri, is also in development for an unnamed platform.

Release dates for the announced games are not yet known. A series of Touhou PlayStation Vita system themes will premiere throughout next year in Japan, priced at 432 yen each.

[Image: Touhou Project)

I only play Hotline Miami 2 on vinyl

There's this game coming out called Hotline Miami 2. You probably haven't heard of it. Anyway, I found out you can get this sweet collector's edition with the soundtrack on vinyl. It's, like, sixty bucks and comes with three discs – all of them 180 gram, colored vinyl, of course – and it features 28 different tracks from the game. You also get a Steam download code for the game, printed on a special "phone card," which is, like, what old people used before smartphones or something.

You probably haven't pre-ordered it yet. I mean, I heard about it months ago, but it's cool if you like it now, or whatever.
[image: Devolver Digital]

Continue Reading

PSN Store Update: Damn it Otacon, Get a Grip

Some six years after it hit retail shelves, you can now download Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots from the PlayStation Store. As such, you can now sort of ruin one of the game's most memorable moments. We're of course talking about that tongue-in-cheek bit about the PS3's Blu-Ray capabilities, which arguably loses its edge when you're not playing from a disc. So, it's another Metal Gear Solid moment that only really works when playing the game in its original form. Not that that's a bad thing.

If you don't fancy shelling out $20 on a 30GB-ish download, there is other, fresher stuff on the PS Store. Guilty Gear Xrd Sign is the major new release of the week, and you can grab the fighter for $60 on PS4 and $50 on PS3. Also new on PS4 this week are free-to-play shooter Loadout, Tetris Ultimate ($10), and Super Mega Baseball ($20, cross-buy with PS3)

Continue Reading

Nostalgia attacks first in new Cosmic Star Heroine video

Image Maybe this footage of Zeboyd Games' upcoming PS4 and Vita roleplaying game Cosmic Star Heroine could look more like a time-displaced refugee from the dawn of the 32-bit era if its first moments featured the classic Square logo and Chrono Trigger theme song. But that's a big maybe. [Image: Zebo... Continue Reading

Landmark visual novel Steins;Gate heads west on PS3, Vita next year

Acclaimed Japanese visual novel Steins;Gate will be localized and released in North America and Europe next year for the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, publisher PQube announced today.

Taking place on the streets of Japanese electronics shopping district Akihabara, Steins;Gate tells a sci-fi tale in which its characters can change past events by sending text messages through time. The mystery deepens when the cast receives replies from a dystopian future hinting at a world-changing conspiracy revolving around the Large Hadron Collider.

Steins;Gate topped PC sales charts in Japan for many consecutive months following its initial release in 2010, spawning multiple spinoffs and ports for the Xbox 360, PSP, and mobile platforms. While an English-language PC version premiered earlier this year via JAST USA, PQube's upcoming localization will mark Steins;Gate's first appearance on consoles in North America and Europe.

Speaking to Siliconera, PQube head of marketing Geraint Evans revealed that the company is pursuing a retail launch in addition to a digital release via the PlayStation Network. "I'm personally against digital-only releases, so I will do my very best to ensure a physical release happens," Evans stated.

[Image: PQube]

Continue Reading

This week's UK charts are last week's UK charts

It's nearly the time for merriment, which means it's nearly time for the Christmas Doctor Who special. The UK gaming chart is already getting into the festive mood by re-enacting the "Blink" episode. The chart managed to keep its eyes wide open for the whole week, meaning the top five games have stayed in exactly the same position, and nobody's going to get eaten and sent back to the 1920s by sharp-toothed gargoyles. For now.

So, it's (gasp) FIFA 15 on top for the second week running, followed by Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Grand Theft Auto 5, Far Cry 4 and Lego Batman 3. There aren't even any new releases to holler about, so the only real action comes courtesy of Destiny. Bungie's shooter planet-hopped seven places into ninth, no doubt boosted by the new Dark Below expansion.

The top ten below the break may be almost the same, but the customary (and lovably roguish) music video isn't! Don't worry, it's not at all festive; we'll save that ear-bomb for next week.

Continue Reading

New entry in the SaGa series to reach Vita in 2015

RPG fans enamored with the Vita, get to work on your Suidoken ports – Gematsu reports that a new entry in the SaGa series will launch on the Vita within 2015, as was announced during Square Enix's presentation that recognized the series' 25th anniversary. Details are largely absent from the announcing trailer, with concept art from SaGa series character illustrator Tomomi Kobayashi serving as our only real clue as for what to expect.

As far as the event's other announcements, a browser-based PC game called Imperial SaGa was announced for Japan, which will build a new story from worlds featured in previous SaGa games. Romancing SaGa: Minstrel Song, the Japanese PS2 remake of the original Romancing SaGa, will also be brought to Japan's PlayStation Store as a PS2 Classic, but plans to offer either Imperial SaGa or Minstrel Song to Western audiences have not been announced.
[Image: Square Enix]

PlayStation Plus' free games totaled more than $1,300 in value per subscription this year

Sony would, of course, like you to see its PlayStation Plus service as a bargain, but how much value does it really add to your gaming life? Well, according to data compiled by UK publication Push Square, quite a lot, actually. After combing through the 2014 selection of games offered as part of the service's Instant Game Collection, Push Square reports that Sony offered $1,349.29 worth of games in North America, and £960.64 worth of games in Europe.

Now, there are some caveats to this data. While the games themselves are free to add to your collection and free to play while you have a current PS Plus subscription ($50 for a year in the US), once your subscription lapses you'll lose access to said games. Push Square's numbers also do not separate games by system, so you only got the full, $1,349.29 value of games if you owned a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and a PlayStation Vita.

Still, considering that the average monthly Metacritic score (factoring in all games) was 79 for the US and 78 in Europe, as well as the fact that PS Plus also grants subscribers access to discounts, giveaways, Share Play and online multiplayer on PS4, it's not a bad deal. And that's how you (possibly) saved more than $1,200 in 12 months on your game collection.
[Image: Sony]

The Banner Saga hitches a trailer to Vita

Image A Vita version of Stoic Studio's viking RPG The Banner Saga was revealed at Sony's PlayStation Experience event earlier this month, just after the game's sequel was announced. To celebrate the game's forthcoming PlayStation ports, the developer offered a new trailer to reintroduce its story.... Continue Reading

Watch every panel from PlayStation Experience 2014

For those who couldn't make it to Las Vegas this weekend and have a few dozen hours free, Sony has compiled footage of every panel hosted at the recent PlayStation Experience event.

It's not surprising to see that most of the panels focus on flagship PlayStation franchises, but there's still quite a bit of variety available. Retrospectives on both LittleBigPlanet and God of War are hosted by the series' respective development teams, while this discussion on the future of VR technology in gaming features numerous developers discussing their experiences and plans for Sony's Project Morpheus VR initiative. A full list of all 29 panels available can be found at the PlayStation.blog, and you can find the PlayStation Experience keynote embedded beyond the break.

For more from PlayStation Experience, have a look at our full rundown of coverage from the event.
[Image: Sony]

Continue Reading

PS Vita Borderlands 2 bundle $170 at GameStop, Amazon

Christmas is fast approaching, and if you're looking to pick up a PlayStation Vita for a pal (or for yourself, if the Grinch in you overtakes your giving spirit), GameStop and Amazon are both offering a solid discount on a Borderlands 2-bundled limited edition unit.

Normally priced at $199.99, the Borderlands 2 Vita bundle is now up for grabs at both retailers for $169.99. The package includes a slim-model Vita, a voucher code for a downloadable copy of Borderlands 2, and an 8 GB memory card. There's no word on when the package will return to full price, so make sure to pick one up soon if you're in the market for a solid stocking stuffer.

[Image: Sony]

One Final Fantasy X PS4, please! When do you re-purchase a game?

A common lament circled around the Joystiq crew this week, echoing from staffer to staffer like a particularly winsome bird call: "Great! Now I'm going to buy Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster again!" Roughly one year after Square-Enix brought Yoshinori Kitase's freaky love-and-water-basketball story to PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, the package is making the jump to PlayStation 4. Sure it's got "system exclusive" features, but realistically this is the exact same package that came out in 2013. Excusing the thorough and comely graphical makeover, they're also pretty much the exact same games some of us already have for our perfectly functional PlayStation 2s.

This impulse is all part of the plan, of course. Game makers want games on as many platforms as possible to maximize their potential audience, but they also know that their most devoted fans will repeatedly return to the well. Square-Enix happens to be notorious for re-releasing and remaking its games - Final Fantasy IV has been re-released nine times since first coming out not counting digital re-releases of that SNES original - but they're hardly alone in the practice.

The question is: Why do we do it? Sometimes a remaster or re-release represents a significant upgrade or a move to portability, a la The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. Other times, though, it's just the same game on a different machine. Let's pick this one apart together. Take our poll and discuss in the comments.

Featured Vita Stories

Engadget

Engadget

TUAW

TUAW

Massively

Massively

WoW

WoW