PS3 BioShock Release Date 21 October

BioShock’s release on the PS3 has finally been dated for October 21st in the US, and 24th the rest of the world.

The PS3 version of the game is being touted as an enhanced package containing features exclusive to the platform, such as a new ‘Survivor’ difficulty mode, support for the new PSN Trophies, and a new game mode titled ‘Challenge Rooms’.

As IGN reports, the Survivor difficulty mode aims to introduce an even more challenging experience by means of making the world a tougher place to survive in; resources scattered around the levels are scarcer now, and the player will have to make do with less than ever. It’s bringing back what most System Shock fans were expecting from the outset – a gameplay experience that sees you hungering for resources at every step, needing to scavenge for and carefully ration every item you come across, making “every bullet count”.

The Challenge Rooms feature is a whole new game mode available to players from the main menu, and consists of a series of areas that each pose a discrete challenge for players to overcome. I’m picturing Portal-like puzzles that pit players against the clock to complete; it could be a feature that proves popular as the community strives to compete for best times, and could be supported for some time down the line.


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A Braid Backlash?

Everyone’s talking Braid, huh? Incredible, incredible praise has been heaped upon the game, and even before its release, the game and its maker were often both heralded as the Indie Saviour (if you don’t mind the term): Two years before its release(!), Braid received the IGF 2006 “Innovation in Game Design” award.

Braid was a long time coming, and when it came, it was nothing short of veni, vidi and vici – Braid delivered. But even the best of games sometimes receive an ounce of backlash – remember the Gears of War commentary from Mike Capps or Alain Tascan? – It’s as though all memetic excellent games receive a hint of backlash sooner or later, just like all good memes turn sour with overexposure, and begs, in my mind, to be presented by applying Leigh Alexander’s (of Sexy Videogameland and Gamasutra) four-month bell curve: “fever-backlash-bottom-out”. The timeframe remains to be seen and discovered, of course…

If you’re interested in analysis on the design of the game, you could take a gander at a very thoughtfully analytic discussion over at The Brainy Gamer. But what about the merits of the game – outside the box? (more…)

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“Parents More Concerned About Video Games than Alcohol or Pornography”

Via the “What They Play Blog”

Bruce Everiss aptly dissected the recent media hootennany (as exhibited by The Sun and The Daily Mail in the UK) with Sega’s upcoming Wii title, MadWorld, and in the progress pretty much gave us viable answers to why we gamers are so off-put by the recent results in the headline poll carried out by What They Play.

I feel we can easily combine the factors here, as parents seem to be afraid of, generally, sex and violence. To adapt his message for this post, I’ve exchanged any specific statements for more generic ones (changes in bold):

  • If games are family friendly then presumably a DVD player is. And you can play totally execrably disgusting content on a DVD player.
  • Game content is mild compared to film and book content. Games just pale into insignificance compared to what is on these other media.
  • Games are age rated with the excellent PEGI system. Every parent can clearly see this on the front of the packaging. Books are not age rated and any child can buy the most horrifically violent and graphically sexual book with no hindrance. Why doesn’t the Mail campaign against books?

Check out the rest of his post here, and for an opinion on What They Play’s poll, check out Ars Technica’s view.

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Insecticide Review

Over the course of the last few months we’ve found ourselves marvelling how very little press (apart from a slew of niche sites we frequent) and attention Crackpot Entertainment’s Insecticide has garnered.

Talk Talk

The developers, after all, consist of several nigh-luminaries of yore, responsible for much of the heyday of LucasArts Entertainment Company: Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, Day of the Tentacle, that sort of stuff, and with LEC now a mere shadow of its former shelf, we might quite possibly have our next best thing in the form of Insecticide.

Here’s hoping the absence of press is not a prophetic sign, as Crackpot was solely founded with the intention of developing this film noir -tinged “bi-sodic” bugfest: In a GamaSutra interview, developer Larry Ahern indeed notes that Crackpot currently has no other products in the pipeline.

The game then! What we have here is an action-adventure – 50/50 split – and seen from the 3rd person perspective, over the small shoulders of the streetsmart rookie bug-cop Chrys Liszt and narrated by the hard-boiled sleuth Roachy Caruthers. The partners are called in to investigate a murder at the Nectarola Soft Drink Company – a corporation that has an exhaustive monopoly over the city’s soft drink manufacture. As the mystery begins to unravel, these hard-shelled investigators delve deeper and deeper into the seething underbelly of the city of Troi.


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