The reviews have been coming in for a week now, and they have been phenomenal. Consider that according to GameRankings.com, BioShock is the 4th best game of all time. On Metacritic, BioShock has received more perfect 100 scores than even The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, usually the game cited as the best of all time. Clearly, 2K‘s Mature-rated, failed utopia FPS is a critical smash hit.
Perhaps then there is little need for another glowing review of the game. Except this is not a glowing review in the strictest sense, because BioShock is not exactly the masterpiece of perfection indicated by these scores. Instead, BioShock is a wonderful game that happens to draw to light the inadequacies of the way games are typically reviewed and the inherent inconsistencies of how games are judged.
This week on XBox Live Arcade comes the anticipated and graphically enhanced arcade cult classic Super Street Fighter Puzzle HD Remix. In addition to upping the graphical fidelity on the game, Capcom has also rebalanced the game with the new X’ mode, although the original version will also be available. The game will cost 800 Microsoft Points.
On Wii‘s Virtual Console this week seems to be sequel week, with the Contra sequel Super C (previously available on XBox Live Arcade) for 500 Wii Points, the SNES role-playing classic Breath of Fire II for 800 Wii Points and the Sega Genesis version of Ghouls n’ Ghosts, the follow-up to Ghosts n’ Goblins for another 800 Wii Points.
According to the latest NPD report, the video game industry generated almost a billion dollars of sales in the month of July. Nintendo’s Wii led the charge with an absolutely astounding 425,000 units sold. The Wii was followed by the PS2, which sold 220,000 units. The Xbox 360 sold 170,000 units, once again beating the PS3, which sold 159,000 units. On the portable side of things, the Nintendo DS sold a whopping 405,000 units, while the PSP moved 214,000 units. Overall console sales are up almost 43% from this period last year.
All of this begs the question: Where are people finding the Wii in such great numbers? I haven’t seen one in a store since the beginning of the year, but somehow Nintendo keeps selling hundreds of thousands of them every month.
Read More | Next Generation
Sony has examined the most recent NPD numbers and, happy with what they saw, are attributing their 61% jump from the previous month’s numbers to the PlayStation 3 price drop they announced just prior to E3. They are quick to point out that anticipation for some actual exclusive titles like Heavenly Sword and Warhawk may have helped drive interest in their slow-out-of-the-gate console.
Despite the predictably upbeat tone of Sony’s blog post, some have had a less than enthusiastic response to July’s NPD numbers since many analysts predicted that Sony was going to beat the Xbox 360‘s sales in July largely because of the price drop. That the PS3 was still unable to overtake the 360 in sales in spite of a comparatively more affordable price has some worrying that Sony just doesn’t have enough market draw to convince consumers to take the plunge. What is plainly obvious now is that Sony drastically overestimated the price the market would bear: It’s wallet-busting PS3 has lagged in sales from the beginning while Nintendo’s $250 Wii has flown off store shelves consistently for almost a year and as soon as the price went down on the PlayStation, it saw an improvement in units moved.
Read More | PlayStation Blog
Everybody loves BioShock. From the whale-like moans of the Big Daddy to the thrill of smashing a frozen Splicer into little bits, the game is quality. However, one aspect of the game that isn’t thrilling everyone is its hacking mechanism; if you want to break into a safe or turn enemy turrets into your own mechanized defense force, you first must succeed at a hacking minigame that plays a lot like the Lucasfilm Games classic, Pipe Dream. Well, as it turns out, BioShock’s own big daddy, Ken Levine, is also not in love with the mechanic. Shacknews sat down with Levine for an interview and got his take on it.
It’s a little out there. That’s why it was important that you could bypass it in two ways; you can buy it out or you can use the hack tools—or you can just ignore it. There’s only one hack you have to do in the game.
But I think if we could go back and do it again, we would have maybe rethought that a little bit. I think it was more a function of our limitations at the beginning of the project when we had a very limited budget, and then we zoomed in so many other areas that we sort of forgot to go back to that area.
The purely non-spoiler interview, linked below, goes on to cover all things BioShock and is well worth reading.
Read More | Shacknews
Bizarre Creations’ Project Gotham Racing series has always masterfully toed the line between out-and-out arcade racing and actual driving simulations. And now, with the fourth installment in the series and second for the Xbox 360, Bizarre is adding motorcycles to the mix. Yes, the road isn’t just for four-wheelers anymore, as the scruffier set can now take to the streets of St. Petersburg, Shanghai, and Macao (to name a few cities) and snatch up those elusive Kudos. Throw in dynamic weather effects and a revamped career mode, and you’ve got the 360 PGR that we should have gotten the first time around. Better late than never, I suppose.
PGR 4 speeds onto the Xbox 360 in North America on October 2nd, and in Europe on October 12th.
Read More | Xbox.com
Capcom has just released a new trailer for its highly anticipated action game sequel. The clip runs about two minutes and contains no actual gameplay footage. Strangely, it does show cinematic footage of our hero Dante getting thrown, punched, and kicked in the face over and over again in what appears to be a training exercise. Devil May Cry 4 hits next year, with this and lots of other bits of weirdness, on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
Read More | Capcom
With Halo 3 just a month away, its promotion and hype engines are running at an almost deafening volume. The buzz has been so loud that Bioshock, an Xbox 360 and PC shooter set amidst the ruins of a rapidly declining utopia, snuck up on us more or less under the radar. Now that it’s here, though, it looks like a sure winner, featuring a compelling story, unmatched graphics, and a fantastic overall experience.
Bioshock takes place in the underwater colony known as Rapture. Built as a haven for the best and the brightest members of society, Rapture has become a cesspool of insane former virtuosos who are all hopelessly addicted to a DNA-altering drug called Adam. Apparently not satisfied with their natural gifts, the denizens of Rapture used Adam to supercharge their intellects and multiply their talents. Unfortunately, everyone became dependent on the substance, and if one doesn’t get enough, he loses his mind and his face falls off. Sounds quaint, doesn’t it? As your character explores Rapture, he’ll run across a variety of violent junkies called splicers, as well as enormous armored supersoldiers called Big Daddies. While standard weaponry can hold off splicers, fighting Big Daddies is a strategic affair. Attempting a frontal assault is suicide, so your character needs to get smart and use the supernatural powers granted by Adam to take them down. Yep, you’re using Adam, too. Are you going to end up a hopeless, addicted mess like everyone else? Who knows, but the engrossing storyline has a fair share of twists that could lead you anywhere.
Bioshock hits stores everywhere tomorrow, so be ready. It looks to be one of the season’s best buys.
Read More | GamePro
After postponing the demo for their upcoming skateboarding game skate—originally scheduled for August 15—publisher EA has settled on Tuesday, August 21st as a new release date. One of the anticipated features of the game that was to be available on the demo is the video capture and upload capabilities. It was reportedly technical problems with this functionality that delayed the demo’s release in the first place, but EA believes they have hammered out the issues. This allows players to make video clips of their game play and upload them to share with other players online.
Skate is challenging the long-running and popular Tony Hawk skateboard series and is scheduled for release on September 12.
Read More | IGN
President of Tri-Crescendo, Hiroya Hatsushiba, based the curious concept of upcoming 360 role-playing game Eternal Sonata on a desire to bring the music of Frederic Chopin to a wider audience—in this case, gamers.
In the game, players exist in a dream world concocted by the composer as he lies on his death bed suffering from tuberculosis which took the life of the famed Polish composer at the age of 39. This dream world grants magical powers to those suffering from incurable illnesses. Chopin’s music is incorporated into the game as unlockable rewards for completing side quests.
Considering the recent “are games art?” debate being held publicly between the likes of Roger Ebert and Clive Barker, perhaps the inclusion of already established artistic work can help lend some weight to Baker’s pro-art arguments.
Read More | Silicon Era