One thing that makes the Sony Xperia Z3 unique compared to other phones out there is its ability to record in 4K. Having a computer that’s capable of editing 4K, I wanted to put the Z3’s powerful camera to the test and so I headed down to Santa Monica to shoot some footage. My goal throughout this was to treat the phone and in turn the produced footage as if I was an everyday consumer. That means despite being edited together, none of the footage, video or audio, has been altered in any shape.
If you have a TV or computer that’s capable of viewing 4K footage, be sure to click the settings button on the video and select 4K. For everyone else, you can still view the above video in 1080p.
Sony has always been, at its heart, a hardware company. During the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s when the Japanese giant ruled the consumer industry, it was because of their amazing hardware which defined the analog world. After all, we all had access to the same TV feed or cassette tape but it was the hardware that gave your unit a design that begged to be shown off or the extra clarity during the World Cup. In the early 2000’s, much of this began to change as the world shifted away from hardware at the forefront to software being the key differentiator. After all, Apple was not the first to the MP3 market, but thanks to the integration of iTunes, they were able to create a device far more compelling than their competitors.
Fast forward to today and many of the well-known and multi-billion dollar tech companies that we know of, like Facebook and Netflix, don’t even make a single piece of hardware yet they’re with us at all times. With Sony unable to adapt to a software-driven world, the company began to fall behind well over a decade ago, which is coincidentally the last time they were properly profitable. In that time, we’ve seen Sony’s dominance in tech (excluding PlayStation) fade all but away. So what does this have to do with the SmartWatch 3? Quite simply everything. Imagine a modern product in a hot and growing market that Sony could develop and solely focus on the hardware while a company known for their software could develop the UI that makes the essence of that product.
The Sony SmartWatch 3 is that device. Hardware that is pure Sony and software that is totally Google in the ever-growing wearable category.
Last month at CES 2015, we perused the case section of the convention – with rows and rows of phone case companies, we had access to a dizzying selection of cases for every phone on the market. Yet, with all the choices available, there was a singular company that stood out in form, function, and lifestyle: Bumpies. We met up with company founders Michael Chapp and Victor Chung to chat about the product, the company, and their dedication to the community surrounding them.
Bumpies are not your typical phone case. Most phone cases protect your device by covering up the very thing that drew you to the phone in the first place – the design. If you have invested your hard-earned money in a beautiful phone that you’d love to show off, then why should you have to cover it up? Bumpies set out to solve this problem with minimal square footage. Covering just the four corners of your device, Bumpies give you the best bang for your buck – offering a unique and eye-catching design that doesn’t take away from the beauty of your phone despite its better-than-military grade shock absorption tech with ProDyn.
Join us after the jump to learn what makes this company and their product unique.
The original Danganronpa was published by NIS America and originally released here in North America on February 11, 2014. It is easily one of my favorite games of the year (Check out my review here). Shortly after its release, it was announced that its sequel would be coming out a short seven months later.
Just like the original game, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is a visual novel with a murder mystery twist. Unlike the first game where the characters are trapped in a high school, this time all of the characters (again a set of students from Hope’s Peak Academy) are trapped on the tropical Jabberwock Island. Does Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair live up to the high quality of the original? Keep reading to find out!
Kung Fu Rabbit is a platformer that first premiered on iOS and Android devices in 2012. Since then it has released on the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, and most recently on the PlayStation Vita. Next week it will come to the PlayStation 3 as a digital title. This title from Neko Entertainment was highly acclaimed and received several awards as a mobile title. Does Kung Fu Rabbit maintain this quality as it jumps to the PlayStation 3? Keep reading to find out!
Since the release of the PlayStation 4 (and even before, with the PlayStation 3), Sony has made it clear that they want more indie developers and games on their console. I personally enjoy these smaller game experiences and as I play more of them I am finding myself drawn to them as much if not more than the standard AAA title. Having said that, I was very excited to get my hands on the space shooter Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut. Strike Suit Zero was originally funded through Kickstarter in 2012 and released on PC in 2013. The game comes to PlayStation 4 in Director’s Cut form with new features and updates. Does Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut shine on the PlayStation 4? Keep reading to find out!
I have been a fan of the Deception franchise since Tecmo’s Deception: Invitation to Darkness released for the original PlayStation in 1996. In that game you play as a servant of the devil and are tasked with defending ‘The Castle of the Damned’ from all manner of heroes and adventurers who are unfortunate enough to enter. The gameplay was in the 1st person perspective and to defeat the enemies the player had to set traps to either stun, kill, or capture the intruders. My preteen self enjoyed the dark story and unique (at-the-time) concept of playing as the ‘bad guy’. Fast forward to today and it has been 9 years since the last Deception game. This week Deception IV: Blood Ties released here in the United States and became the newest entry in the franchise. Does Deception IV: Blood Ties stack up to its predecessors? Keep reading our full review to find out!
The first time I heard about the concept for the Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, I was immediately intrigued. The game has elements of many other games including Persona 4, Ace Attorney, and Virtue’s Last Reward. As a fan of all of these games, I was excited at the prospect of playing Danganronpa, especially on a portable console like the PS Vita.
In Danganronpa, the player controls Makoto Naegi who, along with 14 other students, was recently accepted into the highly elite high school Hope’s Peak Academy. Hope’s Peak only accepts students who are considered the best or “ultimate” in their respective field. Examples of some of the others students include: the Ultimate Baseball Star, the Ultimate Fan Fiction Creator, the Ultimate Fashionista, and the Ultimate Moral Compass. Makoto, on the other hand, does not have a specific talent or skill. Instead, he won a raffle and was accepted into the school as the winner making him the Ultimate Lucky Student. Everything quickly takes a turn for the worst as the students realize they have been trapped in the school by an evil remote-controlled teddy bear named Monokuma.
Is Danganronpa truly a mix of Persona 4, Ace Attorney, and Virtue’s Last Reward and does it work? Keep reading and find out in our official review.
Her is so complex in simple ways, it’s hard to keep my thoughts brief and confined to a normal sized review. But I’ll try. This gem of a film by the gem of a director Spike Jonze dishes up two hours of quirky, heart breaking, humorous goodness in ways that are both familiar and uncomfortable. Her tells the story of Theodore Twombly, a man who makes his living writing personal letters for people who are otherwise too busy or too out of touch to express their emotions themselves. His skill at tapping into the most touching thoughts of his clients, whom he gets to know over years of working with them, contrasts with his own inability to express himself. A quality which led to his divorce from the woman he obviously loves. Jonze fills the spaces in the back story by showing silent flashbacks, underscored by the dialogue of the current moment. In this way the present and the past collide in the same space.
There’s something to be said for trying something different. Taking a chance, bucking the trend, eschewing the conventional. Unfortunately, that’s not something said too often about the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Since the seminal Assassin’s Creed II in 2009, Ubisoft Montreal’s tentpole franchise has been reliant upon building on what worked, little by little, while letting some mechanics idle and age with each passing release. With Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, the follow up–and partial prequel–to last year’s Assassin’s Creed III, Ubisoft has pushed forward a little bit more, maybe enough to be something that’s a must-buy for any PlayStation 4 owners.
Strength of the Sword 3 is a recently-released PlayStation 3 exclusive sword fighting game from the two-man studio Ivent Games. If you are anything like me, you might be curious as to how you missed the release of Strength of the Sword 1 and Strength of the Sword 2. The reason you haven’t heard of the first two games is quite simple; they do not exist. The creators have jokingly said that they do not believe in creating sequels to their games, so they have jumped to the conclusion of the trilogy right away. The humor of the developer is apparent throughout this very challenging game. Keep reading to see what I thought about the marriage of challenge and humor in my complete review.
My friend GI Joe described All Is Lost this way: “it’s Gravity on a boat.” And to that extent he’s not wrong. Hollywood often copies itself. Two different volcano disaster movies came out at the same time. Two different meteor from space will crush the earth movies showed up simultaneously. And now, two different I’m alone In the middle of nowhere movies are out. But given how risky, groundbreaking, and otherworldly Gravity was, it’s hard to imagine Hollywood knew they needed to throw out another lone survivor movie to compete. So I like a different way to compare them. Which is to say both films have been brought to this world via bold and visionary directors with a singularly different way to tell stories.
Here’s my safety suit. It doesn’t float.
For me, it’s getting to the point where we can take David O’Russel, Wes Anderson, P.T. Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Alfonso Cuarón, throw in All Is Lost’s J.C. Chandor, and basically the rest of us can go home. Notice that every single one of these people write and direct their own films.
There’s not a lot to explain. Robert Redford plays a man, who’s name you never learn. It’s not important because he’s the only person in the entire film and says about one paragraph of words throughout, most of which come in the opening stanza: a letter he is writing explaining that he tried his hardest to survive but seems to have failed. At which point the movie jumps eight days into the past to show us what happened. I’m generally not a fan of flashbacks. They seem like a cheap trick to make us interested in a story as we try to piece together how it leads back to the beginning. It also generally implies that a story isn’t interesting enough to just start without that trick. And in this case I would have loved to know whether that was true or not. It certainly was okay for Gravity not to flashback, which is a faster paced and probably a better movie. However All Is Lost holds it’s own in comparison.
Nearing the end of my time with A-Men 2, my PlayStation Vita was kind enough to inform me of two stats:
1. captubaplayer (My PlayStation Network ID feel free to add me!) spent in total over 20 hours playing!
2. captubaplayer died in total 200 times trying to beat records in A-men 2!
These two facts serve to illustrate my time with the puzzle platformer A-Men 2 which is a follow-up to the PlayStation Vita launch title A-Men. According to the developer, Bloober Team, A-Men 2 is “arguably the most punishing game on PSN and Vita to date”. While I am not sure I can agree with that assessment, I will say that this it is a very challenging (oftentimes frustrating) game to work your way through. Does this level of difficulty still lend to an enjoyable experience? Keep reading to find out and see our complete review.
Now that Sound Shapes has been out for just over a year, I’ve finally purchased the game and completed the campaign (all in 1-2 weeks of casual yet addicted gameplay). “Good for you, Allegra,” you might be thinking. “Way to be A YEAR TOO LATE.” Yeah, well, you’d be right. I am late. But, with the revived love for the game that comes with the one-year anniversary, I write to you as a big fan who can’t help but sing praises for this simple and deceiving (read: not actually simple) game. I am here to remind you how amazing of a game Sound Shapes is, especially a year after its release.
If you’re a music person like I am, buy this game. The team at Queasy Games (and Sony Santa Monica) pulled out all the stops with this one. They start you off with some fantastic beats that get you dancing, and your successful gameplay enhances the music throughout each level. If you miss just one note, you are missing out on a part of the music that makes it that much cooler, and it gives you a reason to want to go back for another round. Not that you need one. I played some of the levels over and over again just to listen to the music and to see if I could do it just a little faster. At this point you might be thinking, “What the heck is Sound Shapes?”
The JRPG Dragon Fantasy Book II continues the story started in Dragon Fantasy Book I which came out on both PlayStation 3 and PS Vita in April of this year. Unlike the first game, which was done in an 8-bit graphic style and paid homage to the Nintendo era, Dragon Fantasy Book II instead focuses on imitating the graphics and game-play mechanics the great RPGs from the time of the Super Nintendo. While there are many enjoyable and positive things to say about The Muteki Corporation’s latest offering, there are a few things that keep the experience from being everything it could be. Keep reading to see our full review.
Fuse is the first multi-platform (PS3, Xbox 360) game from Insomniac Games, the long time PlayStation exclusive developer. Known previously for their more lighthearted Ratchet & Clank franchise and post-WWII sci-fi Resistance trilogy, Fuse is another take on the shooter genre. Previously titled Overstrike, Fuse tells the story of four agents known as Overstrike 9 and their mission is to stop Raven, an evil corporation, from gaining an alien substance called Fuse.
Like previous Insomniac Games, Fuse incorporates fantastical weapons, features local and split-screen online/campaign co-op, and humor that will bring you back for more. But chances are that the reviews you’ve read for Fuse paint a more bland and forgetful experience. While some have complained about yet another shooter, others have collectively predicted that the sky is falling and that Insomniac Games has lost their touch. Is Fuse truly a lackluster experience or is this a misunderstood game that’s worthy of your purchase? I’m here to tell you that it’s most definitely the latter and here is why.
So you might be wondering to yourself, why are we just now giving a God of War: Ascension a review. To better answer that, I’ll first give you a bit of a back story. Most websites tend to receive titles for review weeks before the game’s release date so they can spend proper time with the title and comply with any given embargoes out there. While our site wasn’t in line to get a review unit way in advance, we were still going to receive a unit for review a week prior to the game’s release. Long story short, due to a shipping mishap, we were not able to get our unit for review till 10 days after the game’s release. By then of course, every major and minor site had shared their take on the game. Soon, the game’s first week and second week sales, which are highly important and often based on the surrounding reviews, were to be announced as well. At this point, I had an important decision to make. Do I release our review and just follow the pack or hold off and find a more meaningful time to share our God of War: Ascension review?
As you can tell, I opted for the latter scenario. Despite a large part of a game’s sales taking place during the first month, a great many of gamers tend to not be able to play a given title till months down the line. Be it bad timing with their lives or the holdouts who want to get in on the action at a better price and that’s who I want to talk with. This means that while the hype for God of War: Ascension might be done by now, there are still thousands of holdouts who have not purchased and played the game. With the summer gaming lull soon to kick into full affect (minus The Last of Us), it’s time to answer the question. Should you buy God of War: Ascension for its single player campaign?
Let’s get one thing out of the way; if you’re looking for the most in depth Sony RX100 review, then the following isn’t probably going to fit the bill for you. There are lots of review sites who will break down this and other cameras ISO by ISO and compare them against 10 other models. While that is a wonderful and perfectly acceptable way to approach things, chances are, that’s not how you shop for most things. Comparison is good and understanding a devices feature are smart but the reality of it is, most don’t utilize their cameras full potential. This is especially true when it comes to point-and-shoot cameras which are often just left on automatic. With our review, we set out with that criteria in mind. How good of a camera is the RX100 when all we want it to be able to pull the camera out and start capturing.
I’ve long been the family and friends memory keeper by being the person who’s always has had the camera with him, be it a party, movie night, or vacation. It’s just too bad that not all my photos are worth posting on Facebook, let alone printing them out and/or creating a booklet from like you can from iPhoto or Shutterfly. This problem will continue to manifest itself with the advent of Retina displays on all of our devices and eventual transition to 4k televisions. With the right camera at your side though, not only will your pictures turn out great for your personal viewing pleasure, but you can also be sure that their quality meets the upcoming technological changes that are either around the corner or have already happened. I’m here to tell you that the Sony RX100 is the best point-and-shoot camera I’ve ever used. After the jump, our RX100 review breaks down the super-camera’s photo/video capabilities and its retro design.
Welcome to The Grid, a digital utopia filled with infinite possibilities. A digital world designed for games, but it became so much more. However, due to his thirst for power, Clu, a powerful program based off of the creator, betrayed his creator and all other programs in this utopia. The only program who had the power to stop Clu, named Tron, was defeated by Clu and left for dead. With no one to stop him, Clu seized control of The Grid and has become a malevolent dictator. However, one program, named Beck, has the ability to surpass his own programming and take over the role of Tron, to try and overthrow Clu’s Empire.
The TRON: Uprising soundtrack is scored by Mr. Joseph Trapanese, who also arranged the music of Daft Punk for TRON: Legacy. To portray the digital and somewhat foreign atmosphere of The Grid, Trapanese uses extremely interesting digital and electronic sounds along side an orchestral sound. His mix of the acoustic orchestral instruments and the electronic sounds makes an extremely interesting sound that sounds like a foreign electro-orchestral type instrument, which is extremely successful in portraying the digital word of Tron. After the jump, we load deeper into the TRON: Uprising soundtrack.
This week we will begin bringing you guys a new feature called PlayStaion Mobile App of the Week. It’s pretty self explanatory, we look over some games we think are cool on PlayStation Mobile and then pick what we think is the best one and tell you guys a little about it. We will do this weekly for you guys, every Saturday.
This week’s app of the week is created by d3t Ltd, it’s called Lemmings. Now I know the name sounds weird but trust me when I say this game is a little gem. The objective of Lemmings is to get your little creatures called “Lemmings”, hence the name, from one point in the level to another without getting them killed. As you can see from the screenshots below you keep them alive by giving them powerups that you can see at the bottom of the screens. As you get into the game you notice that it becomes very tactical. You have to be very careful with which powerups you give and when you give them so that you don’t end up with a group of dead Lemmings on your hands.
Skylanders Giants is a game where you physically place action figures into a platform to transport them into the colorful world in your television screen. While a unique and neat concept that warrants a review, let’s forgo that and take an in-depth look at the game’s soundtrack. I believe the soundtrack to a game can be an important part of the experience and its success. We’ve come a long way from the monophonic 8-bit synthesized sounds to using full blown orchestras all in order to help make games that much more exciting.
Skylanders Giants’ soundtrack is composed by Mr. Lorne Balfe, whose mastery of music composition was seen in another big title, Assassin’s Creed 3. Now that we’ve seen Mr. Balfe’s compositions in a very serious game setting, how will his music be on a completely different game with a different drive and a different audience? Our Skylanders Giants soundtrack review, after the jump.