This week’s glance into the world of gaming:
The biggest news of the week is Bioshock. Actually, Bioshock by its mere release would have been the story of the week, but instead, the Bioshock launch has been a big story in and of itself. 2K, with this launch, has dodged more time wasting obstacles than Steve Perry in Journey: Escape for the 2600.
First, there was the hiccup of some Toy "R" Us stores (despite my best efforts, none by me), selling copies of Bioshock days before to the official release date. Actually, early reports that the game lived up to prior billing most likely aided sales.
Next, there were the many reports that Collectors Edition sets, which included a pleasantly hefty replica of the Big Daddy, were arriving with the replica in pieces. 2K quickly offered replacement figurines and complimentary art books to those affected, thus saving the gaming world.
Even after those events, some gamers, and by gamers I mean the posters of Widescreen Gaming Forum, which may be the fourth circle of hell (the seventh, of course, being the cosplay panel at BlizzCon) were upset that the game, when played in widescreen, appeared to cut-off part of the screen. After a lengthy explanation, which is pointless to go into, it turned out that widescreen didn’t cut-off anything.
Finally, the PC launch of Bioshock has been met with reports of crashing PCs and worries regarding copy protection and multiple installations. But even with those concerns there hasn’t been a major outcry over the incidents, just disappointment.
The moral is that it’s amazing how amenable gamers are when given quality.*
And trust me, Bioshock is quality. If you own a 360 and haven’t played this game yet, why not? Usual hyperbole aside, the game is a must-own and people who don’t play this are missing out on something truly special.
After weeding through of all that can go wrong in gaming from shitty hardware, double, triple and Madden dipping, lazy sequels, nightmarish online gamers, ignorance of women, Bioshock is a beacon to those who sometimes question why they love the craft of video games. A story with layers, beautiful graphics, funny physics, intuitive gameplay, Bioshock is by far the best I’ve seen in a long time.
In a year, where almost the first three quarters were marred by defective consoles, recalls and price reductions, Bioshock may be the first in a late year blitz of awesomeness. And even if the rest of the year is a shitstorm, we still had Bioshock.
Mini-Review: Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia
Every-so-often I’m going to include a mini-review of a game that otherwise wouldn’t be reviewed. This week’s mini-review Monster Madness: Battle for Suburbia.
I first came across this while at the New York ComicCon and only the multiplayer Deathmatch mode was available for demonstration. Unfortunately, as I was the only one trying out the game, I couldn’t get a feel for the game.
Based on my curiosity of how the game turned out, I gave it another chance. When the cookie-cutter opening sequence is the highlight of the game, there are some serious problems. The biggest problem is that the game’s controls are about as heavy as Mr. Creosote. It’s reminiscent of an unlicensed third party NES cart. Add in the monotone gameplay of walk, shoot incredibly lame weapon, repeat, it’s about as much fun as Anne Frank’s birthday. For what is supposed to be a horror-comedy game, there is no horror, there is no comedy and there barely is a game.
As for the multiplayer, its broken. It took countless times to connect and multiplayer matches were more like quick co-op scenarios rather than anything competitive.
This game wasn’t worth the weeks worth of rental time, let alone $60. Whoever approved charging it for the premium 360 price should be banished to video game jail to spend their days with Kid Nikki. An utter and complete failure.
Wheel of Fire
Microsoft, earlier this week, offered to retrofit its Wireless Racing Wheel after receiveing reports of the wheel overheating and releasing smoke. The problem (other than calling it a retrofit, instead of recall) appears to be that a component inside the wheel overheats, when it is plugged into the AC adaptor. Microsoft, however, stated that they have not received any reports of fire, personal injury or property damage resulting from the overheating.
Miscrosoft hasn’t revealed if there were any reports people shitting themselves, which is exactly what I’d do if I saw that giant piece of plastic sitting on my lap go up in smoke. Frankly, whoever manufactures the hardware for Microsoft makes the Mainway Toy company look like the Consumer Protection Bureau. At this rate, the Xbox 720 is just going to explode when taken out of the box.
Upon viewing what shockingly has become a useless collection of old consoles and games, none of which I would ever revisit, and my blind admiration of the PS3, I decided to take the Spiderman-font-plunge.
Set-up was easy, and unlike my first 360 experience, the system didn’t immediately crash. After spending a few days with the system here are my initial thoughts:
For those with a PSP, Remote Play is awesome. Being able to take the PSP in another room and play music or videos or even perform console “housekeeping” is a real advantage. Not as fast as I hoped, but it’s a great start and once I can link up with my PS3, without having the PS3 on, I’ll be hooked. Also the option of using my old Bluetooth headset has me quite pleased.
I still can’t get over how much I like the SIXAXIS, light, durable and familiar. Just perfect.
Finally, Super Stardust HD is spectacular arcade game. Worth every penny.
On the negative side, the time it takes to download anything is ridiculous. I have the same connection as my 360 and it takes five to six times longer to download something of the same size. Just unacceptable.
The first demo I tried out, Heavenly Sword, was piss poor. The controls were sluggish, the screen looked cluttered and it lasted somewhere between three and four minutes (actually, that’s a perfect description of me in the sack).
I have no real opinion on the online multiplayer aspects (I haven’t tried any out), but with five consoles, two TiVos and two computers all wirelessly connected, its time for me to upgrade the old wireless router.
Despite being nickel and dimed by GameStop on trade-ins (and that was at the “good” one), overall, I’m very pleased with the purchase.
Maybe Phil Harrison isn’t that bad after all.
That’s all for now.
* Screw gamers over, on the other hand, and watch them throw a tantrum like one guy did, when he found out that Two Worlds wasn’t released on Tuesday, as previously scheduled.