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PlayStation Store Play event offers pre-order discounts, bonus PSN credit


Throughout the next month, Sony is launching a selection of new cross-platform games at a discount for PlayStation Plus members as part of its annual PlayStation Store Play event, with cash-back credit offered for buying multiple titles.

Featured games include Cellar Door's roguelike platformer Rogue Legacy (premiering July 29), Facepalm Games' side-scrolling puzzler The Swapper (August 5), Honeyslug's fanciful exploration game Hohokum (August 12), and Dynamighty's espionage-themed CounterSpy (August 19). All games are available as Cross-Buy releases, and are playable on the PlayStation 4, PS3, and PS Vita.

PS Store Play games are available for pre-order at a 20 percent discount for PlayStation Plus subscribers. PSN members are eligible to receive $3 in store credit for buying two featured games, $6 for three, or $10 for all four between July 22 and August 25.

[Image: Sony]

PSN Tuesday: Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty, Superhero Sales

This week's PlayStation Store update features a host of games ... you can pre-order! Downloadable PS3 and PS4 exclusives CounterSpy – launching August 19 – and Hohokum – coming August 12 – are both available to pre-purchase ($14.99 each) today. Pre-orders for PS3 and PS4 versions of popular PC titles Rogue Legacy – arriving July 29 for $16.99 – and The Swapper – recently delayed to August 5 for $19.99 – are also available. Plus members can enjoy a 20 percent discount on advanced orders of each title.

As for actual releases, the PlayStation 4 welcomes Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty today. The game, a "re-crafted take" on Abe's Oddysee from the original PlayStation, is available for $29.99.

PSN also features a slew of discounts on superhero games. Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3, PS4), for example, is down to $27.99 or a staggering $8.40 for Plus members. Never has punching Lex Luthor in his dumb, bald head been so cheap! The sale includes everything from Batman: Arkham Origins ($27.99, $8.40 for Plus members) to Lego Marvel Super Heroes (PS4) ($34.99, $10.50 for Plus members).

For the complete listing of superhero-sized sales, check out the PlayStation Blog.

[Image: Oddworld Inhabitants]

Entwined tunnels to PS3 and Vita today

Entwined is now available on PS3 and Vita in North America, and will float to Europe tomorrow. The game launched on PS4 in June on the same day it was announced during Sony's E3 2014 press conference. Developed by a group of Carnegie Mellon University graduates, Entwined has players controlling two characters at once - a fish and a bird - flying through a colorful tunnel and collecting memories.

The brief getaway elicits "a sense of serenity and peace," according to our review, and is also easy on the checkbook: The $10 game is Cross-Buy compatible, so those that own the game on PS4 can download it for free on PS3 and Vita. It's also Cross-Save capable, so Entwined veterans will be able to carry their progress across the three consoles.
[Image: Sony]

The Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 4 review: Life and Death

This review covers the latest episode in an ongoing season, and may contain minor spoilers.
Death is better than zombification, but life is the best option of all. Even in a hellhole of a world; even with rotting corpses hunting you down every path, salivating for your flesh; even when you have to kill your friends every day – life is the better option.

That's what "Amid the Ruins" teaches us. More than any previous episode of The Walking Dead, it throws the importance of life in our faces – the fragility of breathing, the futility of fighting, the need to do it anyway – and it makes us wish for life harder than we ever have. Not necessarily our own lives, either. Clementine, for her part, is capable and in charge in this episode. She's rarely in direct danger herself (at least not in any way she hasn't already conquered 50 times before), but she bears witness to the potential deaths of many others, multiple times over. She saves some people. She kills some people. And she survives.

She lives.

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Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty launch trailer is making its escape

Image Just Add Water's remake of Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee will launch tomorrow in North America, Wednesday in SCEE regions. Those awaiting their pre-ordered costumes can check out Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty's launch trailer ahead of the PSOne remake's Cross Buy-enabled arrival on PS4, PS3 and Vita for $30.... Continue Reading

UK charts: Watch Dogs stands guard, market melts in heat


Watch Dogs notched its fifth UK number one this week, the most for any game in 2014, and that's all well and good. Frankly, the entire country is just too exhausted from the relentless summer heat to notice. Brits are so used to rain, clouds, rain and more rain, so prolonged heatwaves like this one tend to take their toll.

Maybe the heat's even affected games retail in the country, with nationwide sales enduring a 14 percent drop in revenue from the week before as the heat ramped up. Then again, it really doesn't help when you're having a summer drought of new releases.

Since the UK charts refuse to play - it's another week of tiny changes - we're continuing our run of music below the break. In the words of Avicii, wake us up when it's all over.

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Ratchet & Clank Collection brings lombax memories to Vita [update]

Sony quietly announced the Ratchet & Clank Collection is coming to Vita tomorrow, July 22, as a PSN downloadable. The publisher unveiled Insomniac's compilation for European and Australian Vitas in May before finally ending the radio silence over North America.

Over on PSN Europe the Ratchet & Clank Collection is cross-buy, meaning if you buy either the new Vita version or the original PS3 compilation, you'll get the other for free. There's no word yet if the same deal is coming to North America, though. As for a physical release, the PlayStation Blog only denotes the game as "digital."

Update: The PS Blog has updated its post, saying Ratchet & Clank Collection will in fact not launch on July 22. According to the update it's now scheduled for release on July 29.

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Korean rating board lists The Unfinished Swan for PS4, Vita

Korea's Game Rating Board has issued content ratings for unannounced PlayStation 4 and PS Vita versions of The Unfinished Swan according to a Gematsu report, suggesting that the 2012 first-person puzzler is due for a cross-platform release.

Currently available exclusively for the PlayStation 3, The Unfinished Swan is a (mostly) monochromatic adventure game in which players splatter their solid-white surroundings with black paint in order to reveal environmental clues and hidden passages. Joystiq's Richard Mitchell awarded The Unfinished Swan four stars in his review, recommending it for players who are looking for "a little less logic and a little more fascination" in their puzzlers.

Neither publisher Sony nor developer Giant Sparrow has issued a statement regarding new ports for The Unfinished Swan.

[Image: Giant Sparrow]

June NPD: Hardware sales up, Watch Dogs and Mario Kart top games

June was a big month for the gaming industry, according to the NPD, as hardware sales shot up by more than 100 percent, and collective sales of hardware, software and accessories grew by 24 percent.

"The 106 percent increase in hardware sales was lifted entirely by console hardware sales, which were up by over 200 percent," notes NPD analyst Liam Callahan. Sony claims the PlayStation 4 was yet again the highest-selling console (for the sixth consecutive month), and Microsoft says that the Kinect-less Xbox One doubled its sales in June. Nintendo's Wii U has experienced a 48 percent growth in hardware sales for the first half of 2014, a feat the company attributes primarily to the success of Mario Kart 8. Despite a decline in overall portable console sales, the 3DS saw a 55 percent increase in sales over May, according to Nintendo.

Though Mario Kart 8 has been very successful, it did not take the top software sales spot for June.

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PSN service 'intermittent' during Destiny beta launch

Sony warns that the PlayStation Network is "intermittently available" as Bungie prepares to launch its Destiny public beta for registered users.

"The PlayStation Network is currently experiencing high volume and users may experience issues when connecting to the service," Sony's PlayStation Knowledge Center reports. "We will update you with any changes that may occur in regards to this issue. Thank you for your patience."

Destiny beta keys are now being sent out to players who redeemed early access codes. Destiny's beta launches for PlayStation platforms today. Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners will receive beta access on July 23.

[Image: Bungie]

Walking Dead S2 Episode 4 gets release dates, trailer

Telltale Games revealed this morning that the snuggle-huggle fest known as The Walking Dead: Season 2 will return later this month with episode four.

The current release schedule:
PC and Mac worldwide, PlayStation 3 and Vita in North America: July 22
Xbox 360 worldwide and PlayStation Europe: July 23
iOS: July 24

We've placed the spoiler-containing trailer for the latest comforting episode after the break.

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Infographics platformer Metrico charts a PS Vita release next month


The world's first and so far only "infographics action game," Metrico, is gearing up for a PS Vita launch in August, developer Digital Dreams revealed today.

Metrico is a minimalist side-scrolling platformer in which players navigate mazes of bar graphs, pie charts, and other statistics that form level layouts. The game's starring characters can change the world around them by running and leaping at specific moments, and more complex elements like percentage indicators and jarring angles are introduced as gameplay progresses.

Metrico will premiere for the PS Vita via the PlayStation Network on August 5 in North America.

[Video: Digital Dreams]

Joystiq Deals: Phantom FC40 drone, PSN 2-for-1 sale

Today on Joystiq Deals, we're giving you the chance to take your outdoor summer adventures to the next level with the DJI Phantom FC40, an advanced drone that can soar hundreds of feet in the air and beam live HD footage directly to your smartphone via a 2.4G Wi-Fi connection. Retailing at $769, the Phantom FC40 is available through Joystiq Deals today for only $449. Make sure to use the code "phantom50" at checkout to claim our special discounted price.

The PlayStation Network, meanwhile, is hosting a two-for-one sale on select games, bundling together featured titles like Red Dead Redemption, Brothers, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, and Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, among others. These bundles will only be available through July 21, so snap them up quickly before they disappear.
Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

Muramasa Rebirth cursed with third DLC chapter, is pretty sickle of it

The third piece of story DLC for Muramasa Rebirth is now available to download for $4.99. Titled "A Spirited Seven Nights' Haunting," the chapter stars the ninja Arashimaru, who is on a quest to survive after receiving a curse that limits his life to seven days. Armed with a sickle and kunai, players can tackle both new and old enemies as Arashimaru and also summon the snake-like spirit threatening to kill him in order to overwhelm enemies.

The Genroku Legends series of four downloadable episodes for Muramasa Rebirth was announced in November and features new characters and stories with each entry. The first chapter, "Fishy Tales of the Nekomata" arrived in January followed by the second episode, "A Cause to Daikon For," in February. Muramasa Rebirth launched in June 2013 as the Vita port of Vanillaware's original Wii game, Muramasa: The Demon Blade. The game is free for PlayStation Plus subscribers to download this month.
[Image: Aksys Games]

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4-player Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds beats up Vita this month


Retro-styled beat-em-up Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds hits Western Vitas for the first time on July 29, both in North America and Europe. 5pb plans to release details on pricing and DLC soon, though it did confirm - no surprises - a PSN release only.

Xbox 360 owners may already be familiar with the four-player chibi-fied spinoff of fighter Phantom Breaker. Oddly, that game is still limited to Japan, yet Battle Grounds will soon be in the West on two separate platforms. As for new content, in Japan the game received new modes and characters as DLC, but we'll have to see how much 5pb has brought across.
[Image: 5pb Games]

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