Monday, August 20, 2012

Galaxy Tab 10.1/8.9 Gets ICS in September

Loyal Samsung Galaxy Tab users have finally received details on when their precious devices will get the much-needed Ice Cream Sandwich update.

According to AndroidCentral, the Galaxy Tab 8.9/10.1 will be updated to ICS in "Early September".  I really like ICS on my RAZR MAXX, so I'm definitely looking forward to the same on our 8.9.

Here are the other devices scheduled for update:

  • HTC Raider - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Now available
  • HTC EVO 3D - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Now available
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Early September
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Early September
  • Samsung Galaxy Note - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Now available
  • Sony Xperia Arc S (LT18a) - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Early September
  • Sony Xperia Arc (LT15a) - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Early September
  • Sony Xperia Mini Pro (SK17a) - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Early September
  • Motorola Razr (XT910) - Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) - Late August

Dust 514 Neocom Vita App Looks Fantastic!

The Playstation blog has a post on their upcoming Neocom App for the Playstation Vita.  According to the blog post, 

“You can interact with battles, purchase items on the market, play around with your dropsuit or vehicle and then save it so you can use it on PS3.”

I've been looking for MMO companion apps for quite some time and we should all expect this sort of functionality to be the norm in the future.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

IGN Puts Forth More Declassified Failure Evidence

IGN posted an article yesterday with many similar points that I put forth in my 8/16 post.  The comments (or lack thereof) from Activition Community Manager Dan Amrich were pretty striking.

Worth a read.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Black Ops Declassified Previews Reveal Abomination

Black Ops Declassified, formally announced at E3 2012, is easily one of the most anticipated Playstation Vita games on the horizon.  After the initial announcement, hardcore Vita gamers had dreams of fast-paced, extreme competitive gameplay that they can take with them on the go.  During Gamescom in Germany this month, actual gameplay was finally shown off to the press in a preview trailer shown below and during some hands-on time.

Immediate reaction to this trailer and observed gameplay from the press has been far from kind.  While most understand that a handheld version of COD will have to be scaled down from its home console counterparts, few are able to gloss over the fact that this not-so early preview of Declassified just looks terrible right now.  Compounded onto that is the fact that we finally have a confirmation on the rumored developer, Nihilistic; the team behind the lackluster Resistance: Burning Skies Vita title.

This comment from Martin Robinson over at has summed up industry-wide impressions quite well.

The scrappy, lo-fi nature seems more fitting of throwaway entries such as the PSP's Road to Victory than the slick action of the core series. With Nihilistic, the team behind the mediocre Vita shooter Resistance: Burning Skies, on development duties, that impression isn't really alleviated in any way.
I'm pretty sure "scrappy," "lo-fi," and "throw away" aren't the kind of comments Activision is used to hearing about their beloved COD cash cow.  Declassified looks to be, based on the trailer and from the overwhelmingly negative responses thus far, a failure months prior to it's November release.

Here are a few other comments worth noting out there.

...the pace, movement, and interface look just like developer Nihilistic Software’s upsetting last game.....Seeing it in action did nothing to excite me. - Mitch Dyer IGN
Already, Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified sends worrying messages about quality, content and the true ability of Vita as a shooter platform. - Dave Cook
...multiplayer on the Vita didn't look anywhere near as exciting as the PC or console versions of the games...Hamza CTZ Aziz - Destructoid 
As I mentioned earlier, these previews shouldn't come as a surprise when you take Declassified's developer Nihilistic's most-recent FPS release of Resistance: Burning Skies into consideration.  Burning Skies was deemed lackluster at best by critics, ending with a Metacritic score of 60.  Many Vita gamers, including myself, had hoped we'd seen the last of Nihilistic's shoddy workmanship on the Vita.  After finding out that they've been given the opportunity to ruin COD, I'm convinced that there's at least one more multi-million selling IP out there for them to destroy.

Even more concerning for Vita owners, below is a quick look at Nihilistic's release history and corresponding Metacritic scores.  Based on their 12 year history, we shouldn't expect a Metacritic score above 60 for Declassified.  Further, Declassified will be the first time that Nihilistic has ever reased more than one game in a single calendar year.  This further confirms the likelihood that Declassified will simply be a pieced together monstrosity of old Black Ops assets on a rusty Burning Skies framework.

Game Title
Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption
Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh
Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects
PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube
53/100 (PS2),
58/100 (Xbox),
54/100 (GameCube)
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Zombie Apocalypse
PlayStation Network, Xbox Live
61/100 (PSN),
66/100 (XBLA)
PlayStation Move Heroes
PlayStation Move (PlayStation 3)
Resistance: Burning Skies
PlayStation Vita
Call of Duty: Black Ops – Declassified
PlayStation Vita
Metacrtic Average:  60

Any self-respecting Vita gamer might be wondering why Sony and/or Activision would even consider a historically mediocre developer such as Nihilistic to develop a game using a AAA IP such as Call of Duty?
"We're having a more difficult time than we had anticipated in terms of getting support from third-party publishers..." - Shuhei Yoshida, Sony Worldwide
Based on that comment, it's likely no one else volunteered to develop Declassified for a struggling Vita platform.  It may seem strange for this to be the case considering Activision's other Vita title scheduled for release this fall, Assassin's Creed III: Liberation, is looking fantastic.  It's possible the prospect of developing two Vita games that will probably never be profitable at the same time was too much to stomach for a mega-release company like Activision.

Obviously, this is all based on previews of a game scheduled for release in November but I can't recall such an underwhelming response to a preview build of a AAA franchise.  The articles linked above all seem to be crying out for someone at Sony or Activision to take notice.    Declassified looks like a Frankenstein's Monster of FPS titles slapped together by whoever had nothing else to do.  

Fix it, delay it or even cancel it, just do something to correct this game before...releasing it.