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Final Muramasa Rebirth DLC drags players to hell Sept. 2

Vanillaware will wrap up its DLC plans for the PS Vita brawler Muramasa Rebirth early next month with the launch of "Hell's Where the Heart Is," the fourth and last entry in the "Genroku Legends" expanded storyline.

Muramasa's final DLC chapter stars the Lord of Hell's daughter Rajyaki, who must shift between three playable forms as she hacks away at demonic creatures and confronts classic bosses featured in the game's core campaign. Previous Vita-exclusive DLC releases include "A Cause to Daikon for" and last month's "A Spirited Seven Nights' Haunting."

"Hell's Where the Heart Is" launches digitally via the PlayStation Network on September 2 in North America and September 3 in Europe.

[Image: Vanillaware]

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Vita looking for someone to share in Europe's Adventure bundles

Did you follow the Adventure Line all the way to the end, Stanley? Did you? Because if you had, we wouldn't be stuck here telling you about the new Vita Adventure Mega Pack that's coming to Europe this fall, now would we? You silly goose.

Anyway, it bundles in voucher codes for five games including Uncharted: Golden Abyss, TxK, Tearway, Gravity Rush and Escape Plan. It also chucks in a 8GB memory card for good measure, and wraps up the lot in a 40 euro bow - that's normally the cost of a single new Vita game, Stanley. There's a new 200 euro Vita bundle that includes the handheld too.

So onwards, Stanley! To destiny!
[Image: Sony]

CounterSpy review: That slinking feeling

CounterSpy has a lot going for it: a slick visual style filled with bright colors and distinctive silhouettes, a handful of interesting gameplay ideas, a lovely Mancini-esque soundtrack and an opening sequence that would make James Bond blush. For fans of an older era of espionage – when microfilm was king and USB was still decades away – it's very promising.

Like a lesser Bond film, however, these polished elements never quite come together.

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In the garden of Eden Hazard, don't you know that I love FIFA 15?

Belgium and Chelsea superstar Eden Hazard is the new face-next-to-Messi's-face for FIFA 15, at least in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Voted the best young player in the English Premier League last year, Hazard is also a less hazardous proposition to have on the cover than last year's choice, Gareth Bale. If you'll remember, Bale left for Real Madrid after appearing on the FIFA 14 cover in a Tottenham shirt, leaving EA Sports in a bit of a pickle. No such fun, sadly, is on the cards for Hazard this year.

To see the full box art, dribble below the break and remember to wipe.

EA's sportsball sim will once again grace a myriad of platforms starting September 23 in North America. Three days later it'll come to Europe, where Microsoft's once again offering it as part of a Xbox One bundle, priced 400 euros or £350.

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Minecraft PS4 fails certification as August creeps to a close

It's looking unlikely Minecraft will meets its August release window on PS4 after it failed Sony's certification tests. So it's back to the fixing board for 4J Studios, and the team will have to re-submit the game for certification before it can be released.

4J's been busy fixing issues and squishing bugs throughout the month, and not just in the PS4 version but in the upcoming Xbox One and Vita releases too. We've reached out to the studio to confirm a delay, and whether that'll affect just the PS4 version or other platforms too. All three ports are currently due for release this month.

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PSN Store Update: El Diablo

Video games! They've been hibernating through the summer, but this week's PlayStation Store update brings plenty of the blighters onto PS4, PS3 and Vita. Let's start with the biggie, Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, which brings Reaper of Souls to the action-RPG on PS3 ($40) and debuts the game itself on PS4 ($60). It's also out on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

The two other cross-platform releases are Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, which'll eat up 40 of your greenbacks on PS4 and 30 on PS3, and the stealthy CounterSpy, a $15 cross-buy purchase that unlocks the game ons PS4, PS3 and Vita. PS4 players also have a choice between the hyperviolent $10 Hotline Miami - also cross-buy - the somewhat less violent The Last Tinker: City of Colors ($20) and the retro Arcade Archives Rygar ($8).

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Hotline Miami 2 footage leaks, action figure nears funding goal

Two big pieces of news for Hotline Miami fans: Not only has nearly an hour and a half of footage from Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number appeared on the 'net, but a 12" action figure based on Hotline Miami protagonist Jacket is currently nearing its crowdfunding goal.

The figure, a collaboration between ESC Toy, Dennaton Games, and Devolver Digital, is a 1/6 replica of its murderous virtual source material and includes the character's trademark letterman jacket, interchangeable heads featuring a number of the game's more popular masks, and a complement of weaponry taken from the top-down action gorefest. This figure was only posted to Kickstarter earlier today, but there should be no doubts about its success. Of the $60,000 the toy makers were seeking, the figure has already attracted just over $53,000 and there are 31 days remaining in its fundraiser.

On the opposite side of things, a YouTube user under the name "LennyReviews" has uploaded the first two acts of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number to the ubiquitous video sharing service. Hotline Miami 2 won't officially debut until later this year, so if you're allergic to spoilers you should probably avoid the clip past the break.
[Image: Devolver Digital]

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Freedom Wars does battle in NA, Europe on October 29

Freedom Wars is coming to the PlayStation Vita on October 29 in North America and Europe and on October 31 in the UK. The action role-playing game is a collaboration between God Eater creators Shift, Street Fighter X Tekken co-developer Dimps and Sony's Japanese Studio.

Participating retailers are offering "the same pre-order DLC as the original Japan release," a post on the PlayStation Blog announced. Ordering the game gives players access to a limited edition costume, powerful starter weapons, limited edition in-game sticker set and a combat pack item. Digital purchases between October 28 and November 11 will include the bonuses.

When Freedom Wars found its way to stores in Japan this past June, the game climbed to the second-highest debut for the PlayStation Vita in the region, selling over 188,000 copies. Not a complete shock for a Monster Hunter-style game in the region where Capcom's franchise is king.

Freedom Wars is priced at $29.99/ €29.99/ £24.99.

The Last of Us still the remaster of the UK house

Apparently not contented by its six-week run as the UK No. 1 last year, The Last of Us is now halfway to repeating that success in its PS4 guise. Again, in terms of new releases there's little opposition to really strain The Last of Us: Remastered, but three weeks on the trot isn't to be sneezed at, particularly with all those spores about

Despite the quiet state of the summer, fantasy action-RPG Risen 3 failed to break the top 40 in its debut week. As such, this week's UK top ten is a very familiar read for regular purveyors of the charts, with Lego, FIFA, Minecraft, Call of Duty, GTA and Battlefield all in the mix. That said, we may see a new No. 1 next week if Diablo 3 catches hellfire on PS4 and Xbox One in the new Ultimate Evil Edition.

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Titan Souls: One hit point, one bow, one arrow, lots of deaths

Of the three key influences in Acid Nerve's Titan Souls, From Software's Souls series is the least obvious. The PS4, Vita and PC game is an immediate callback to top-down Zeldas like A Link to the Past, with its pixelated bow-wielding hero dueling with boss after boss hidden in room-like caverns. The bosses themselves are huge, powerful and varied, and the very nature of a game in which you only take on bosses clearly takes inspiration from Shadow of the Colossus. These influences aren't hard to spot.

Your hero only has one hit point and a single weapon, the bow and arrow. It's a formula which on paper presents a challenge that doesn't have much to do with the Souls games at all. Yet there is a key similarity, and it's what makes Titan Souls shine with so much potential. If you love a good challenge, Titan Souls should definitely be on your radar.

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Gamescom Awards evolve, favor 2K's monstrous game

The votes are in, and the winner of the Gamescom 2014 Awards is ... *drumroll* Oh, you saw the headline and figured out the pun already? Well, you're right; it's Evolve, the 4v1 monster-on-human huntfest from Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock Studios. The game took home not only the award for "Best of Gamescom," but also the awards for "Best Console Game Microsoft Xbox," "Best PC Game," "Best Action Game" and "Best Online Multiplayer Game."

Other highlights include Super Smash Bros. taking home the "Best Mobile Game" award for its 3DS iteration, while its console counterpart took home the "Most Wanted Consumer Award," a title that premiered at this year's ceremony. LittleBigPlanet 3 also won multiple awards, specifically the "Best Social / Casual / Online Game" award and the "Best Family Game" award.

We're relatively sure that Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call won the award for "Best Simulation Game" due to its simulation of music, but we can pretend it won because it simulates being an adorable JRPG character singing along to catchy tunes, too. Check out the full list of winners after the break.

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Hohokum review: Not hokum, just ho-hum

Hohokum is essentially a playable cartoon. Minutes after starting it up, I was reminded of Pinball Number Count, Yellow Submarine, and other animated works from the '60s and '70s in the way Hohokum overloads the senses with contrasting imagery tied to a unifying theme. Like Sesame Street's interstitial cartoons in particular, Hohokum often feels like it was made not because it's trying to say something important, but simply because it looks cool.

There isn't much gameplay or challenge beneath its beautiful exterior, though. Hohokum's audiovisual splendor is irresistible and you won't regret the time you spend with it, but the end result can't quite gel into a complete and fulfilling experience.

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July NPD: PS4 leads hardware, Last of Us returns to top software

July 2014 continues the trend of rising hardware sales and declining software sales, according to the NPD, though the software sales charts have seen a shakeup thanks to Sony's Last of Us re-release.

"Hardware sales doubled in July 2014 (vs. July 2013), stemming from growth in eighth generation console sales which offset declines in seventh generation console and portable hardware," states analyst Liam Callahan in the latest NPD report. Callahan adds that combined sales of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 after nine months of availability are now nearly 80 percent higher than prior generation consoles. The PlayStation 4 continues to be the top-selling new-generation console for the seventh month in a row.
[Image: Sony]

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New discounts join EU PSN Summer Sale: FIFA 14, Just Cause 2

Sony's European division has rolled out a swath of new discounts now available from the ongoing PlayStation Network Summer Sale including a massive price cut on FIFA 14 and lesser but still impressive discounts on Just Cause 2, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and 1942: Joint Strike.

The aforementioned FIFA 14 discount is the highlight of the sale, as the PlayStation 3 soccer simulation's price has dropped from £59.99 to £19.99. Meanwhile, retro-futuristic shooter Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has gone from £11.99 to £6.49, open-world action adventure Just Cause 2 has been reduced from £10.99 to £3.99 and arcade shoot 'em up 1942: Joint Strike now bears a £1.69 price in lieu of its previous £7.99 tag. With the exception of FIFA 14, each of these games also receives an additional 10 percent discount for anyone with a valid PlayStation Plus subscription.

Though no PlayStation 4 games are included in this swath of new bargains, there are a massive number of discounts available for the PlayStation 3, Vita and PSP handhelds. Pay a visit to the European PlayStation.blog for a full rundown and regional pricing details.

Joystiq Deals: VPN Unlimited, PSN Anime Sale

Today, Joystiq Deals is giving your online security a boost with a three-year subscription to VPN Unlimited. When you're connected to a virtual private network on a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine or an iOS or Android mobile device, your Internet traffic is encrypted and anonymous, keeping you safe from hackers and other online threats. A $65 value, VPN's three-year package can be yours today for just $19 through Joystiq Deals.

If you're on the lookout for under-the-radar hits on the PlayStation Network, you can score some sweet deals during this week's Anime Sale. Featured games include the manga-based beat-'em-up One Piece: Pirate Warriors for $10, RPG dual-pack Tales of Symphonia Chronicles for $14.99, and action-RPG compilation Ys: I & II Chronicles for $10.79. PlayStation Plus members get an additional discount on top of listed sale prices through August 18.


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.

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