Eurogamer


The widely pilloried ending to Mass Effect 3 may constitute false advertising on the part of developer BioWare, according to US trading standards group the Better Business Bureau.


A new blog post from its communications director Marjorie Stephens today directly answered complaints to that effect made by gamers to the US Federal Trade Commission.


According to Stephens, the offending statements are two pieces of marketing blurb from the game's official website:

  • "Experience the beginning, middle, and end of an emotional story unlike any other, where the decisions you make completely shape your experience and outcome."
  • "Along the way, your choices drive powerful outcomes, including relationships with key characters, the fate of entire civilizations, and even radically different ending scenarios."


"Did BioWare falsely advertise?" asked Stephens.


"Technically, yes, they did. In the first bullet point, where it states 'the decisions you make completely shape your experience', there is no indecision in that statement. It is an absolute."


However, she went on to argue that the case against the second sentence is not quite so clear cut.


"The next statement is not so absolute. It states 'your choices drive powerful outcomes'. A consumer would have to very carefully analyse this statement to come to a conclusion that the game's outcome is not 'wholly' determined by one's choices. This statement, really though, is very subject to interpretation."


Though just a blog post and not an official judgment from the organisation, Stephens did call on publishers to take more care when crafting marketing soundbites.


"The lesson to be learned here is companies should give careful consideration to how they word their advertisements. Otherwise, there could be detrimental effects, especially in the era of social media and online forums," she wrote.


Following widespread fan outcry at the game's controversial denouement, BioWare has announced a free DLC expansion that will add clarity to the story.

Eurogamer


Weekly Vita sales have plummeted to an all-time low in Japan, with Sony's new handheld dropping below 10,000 for the first time since launch.


The system managed to shift just 8931 units in the country last week, down from 12,105.


How much lower can it go? The next software launch of any consequence is a remake of PlayStation 2 favourite Persona 4 due on 14th June. That should offer a bit of a spike, but it's hardly Mario Kart.


Elsewhere on the hardware chart, 3DS dominated as usual. Nintendo's system sold 72,115, down from 121,921 the week prior.


The only console to see a sales increase was the Xbox 360, which shot up nearly 300 per cent to 3764 off the back of Kinect Star Wars. Stop laughing at the back.


Here's the full chart, as seen on Andriasang:

  1. 3DS: 72,115 (Last week: 121,921)
  2. PlayStation 3: 19,370 (23,771)
  3. PSP: 14,804 (18,356)
  4. Vita: 8931 (12,105)
  5. Wii: 7099 (9292)
  6. Xbox 360: 3,764 (1317)
  7. PlayStation 2: 1355 (1374)
  8. DSi XL: 793 (941)
  9. DSi: 743 (771)


It was a relatively quiet week for new software releases, with new PSP effort 2nd Super Robot Wars Z: Saisei-hen debuting at number one with 265,439 sales.

Last week's chart topper, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance fell to two with a massive 80 per cent sales drop-off.


The only other new entry worthy of note was the aforementioned Kinect Star Wars at 12, which managed to sell 6010 in its first week.


The full top 20 lined up as follows:

  1. 2nd Super Robot Wars Z Saisei Volume (Namco Bandai, PSP): 265,439 - NEW
  2. Kingdom Hearts 3D (Square Enix, 3DS): 42,231 (Life to date: 255,810)
  3. Pro Baseball Spirits 2012 (Konami, PSP): 26,908 (87,049)
  4. Pro Baseball Spirits 2012 (Konami, PS3): 26,886 (117,319)
  5. Kid Icarus: Uprising (Nintendo, 3DS): 25,710 (205,415)
  6. Super Mario 3D Land (Nintendo, 3DS): 21,996 (1,486,692)
  7. Pokemon Conquest (The Pokemon Company, DS): 17,989 (285,597)
  8. Monster Hunter 3G (Capcom, 3DS): 16,770 (1,375,179)
  9. Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo, 3DS): 16,024 (1,637,655)
  10. Mario & Sonic at the London Olympics (Nintendo, 3DS): 10,364 (122,967)
  11. Yakuza: Black Panther 2 (Sega, PSP): 10,356 (141,948)
  12. Kinect Star Wars (Microsoft, Xbox 360): 6010 - NEW
  13. Devil May Cry HD Collection (Capcom, PS3): 5887 (61,604)
  14. Harvest Moon: Land of Origin (Marvelous AQL, 3DS): 5844 (160,607)
  15. Mahjong Dream Club (D3 Publisher, PS3): 5701 - NEW
  16. Wii Sports Resort Wiimote Plus Pack (Nintendo, Wii): 4810 (910,448)
  17. Hatsune Miku and Future Stars: Project Mirai (Sega, 3DS): 4679 (129,297)
  18. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo, Wii): 4622 (3,543,434)
  19. Monster Hunter Portable 3rd PSP the Best (Capcom, PSP): 4387 (232,809)
  20. Nintendogs + Cats (Nintendo, 3DS): 4299 (533,026)
Eurogamer


The Australian Classification Board has rated a previously unannounced game called Joy Ride Turbo for release.


As reported by CVG, Microsoft is listed as publisher for the title and it's classified G - "Caution: Gaming experience may change online".


There's no further information included in the listing, though some kind of follow-up to widely unloved Kinect racer Joy Ride seems like a safe bet. We're chasing Microsoft for clarification now.


"It's not that Joy Ride doesn't work - it works perfectly well, within its own clear limitations - it's just that it's not something you'll want to play more than once or twice, with or without a pad in your hands," read Eurogamer's 5/10 Joy Ride review back in November 2010.

Eurogamer


1992 was the year Bill Clinton became US President, Charles and Di split and, on the 11th April, when Nintendo launched its new console in the UK. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System cost £150.


UK Nintendo fans had been waiting nearly a year-and-a-half for the console's launch (nothing unusual at the time) ever since the Super Famicom first released in Japan in November 1990.


The SNES would go on to sell over 49 million units: less than its predecessor, but enough to make it the clear winner of the generation. The Sega Mega Drive, its main competitor, sold 39 million, the TurboGrafx-16 sold 10 million.


The SNES provided a fine home for some of Nintendo's much-loved classics, with the developer's most high-profile franchise represented from the off in the excellent Super Mario World.


But the SNES would also become a birthing ground for other standout series. Futuristic racer F-Zero quickly flew the flag for new Nintendo franchises, while Pilotwings, Star Fox and Super Mario Kart followed.


Nintendo also stunned with strong continuations to existing series, such as Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.


It was a system that saw plenty of success from non-Nintendo developers too. Capcom's various Street Fighter 2 versions sold over 10 million combined units, Killer Instinct helped put an increasingly-impressive British developer named Rare on the map, while Japanese RPG powerhouse Square was busy pumping out classics such as Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana.


It was Rare that would provide one of the SNES' best-loved and graphically most stunning titles in the console's autumn years: Donkey Kong Country. It had the looks of 32-bit and CD-ROM based consoles and the second-best sales of any SNES game, behind only Mario himself.

Eurogamer


Long-time Massive Attack producer Neil Davidge is composing the score for Halo 4, developer 343 Industries has announced.


The Bristol-born musician is the first new composer to work on the series since the first game launched back in 2001.


Davidge has enlisted a 16 man tenor/bass choir, 10 female Bulgarian vocalists and a full 50 piece orchestra to help him realise his vision, and is currently recording at London's famous Abbey Road Studios and Angel Studios. See them all in action in the clip below.


As well as being a key creative force in the last three albums from veteran trip-hop outfit Massive Attack, Davidge has also done film score work, including contributions to the Clash of the Titans soundtrack.


"As a passionate Halo fan, I'm incredibly honored and thrilled to have the opportunity to compose the score for Halo 4," commented Davidge.


"Music has always been at the heart of what makes Halo so captivating and iconic. With Halo 4, we want to build upon the franchise's amazing legacy and create a score that captures the awe and wonder of the Halo universe, and reinforces the deeper and more emotionally impactful journey Master Chief will embark on."


343 Industries' first proper entry in the Halo series is due out on Xbox 360 later this year. Take a look at our recent Halo 4 preview for more on how it's shaping up.

Apr 11, 2012
Eurogamer


It was all going so well for HTC. Having helped Google make its Android dream a reality with the appropriately named HTC Dream (the first mobile to feature the friendly green robot), the Taiwanese company enjoyed a string of hardware hits - such as the HTC Hero and HTC Desire - which saw it assume pole position in a rapidly expanding marketplace. Then Samsung happened.


The Galaxy S became a million-seller and HTC's challenge faltered. 2011's phone releases only provided disappointment, and the company has recently gone as far as to admit that "our product offering...could have been better", after posting its biggest profit fall in a decade. Clearly, it's going to take something special to dig HTC out of this particular rut, and if you're going to use one word to sum up the One X, 'special' is a pretty apt choice - thanks in no small part to the introduction of NVIDIA's quad core Tegra 3 processor.


Having sampled the blistering speed and responsiveness of the Asus Transformer Prime, it's relatively easy to be seduced by the power of quad core technology. While most dual core devices offer more than enough processing muscle for everyday use, there's always that desire to have as much capability under the hood as is possible. As one of the first ever quad core phones, the HTC One X represents a significant forward-step in the world of mobile technology.


Simply put, the 1.5GHz Tegra 3 chipset is a beast: the One X barely stuttered when dealing with tasks that would bring other Android handsets to their knees. Multi-tasking is swift, 3D games run silky-smooth and HD video playback is entirely stutter-free.


We wouldn't want you to just take our word for it, though. When put through the usual benchmark tests, the One X smoked the competition with truly startling regularity. Quadrant rates HTC's phone above the likes of the Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Galaxy S2 (hardly a shock when you consider both are dual core handsets), and even places it above the mighty Transformer Prime.


AnTuTu offers similar results, although it still has Asus' tablet sitting pretty at the top of the pile. The One X is without a doubt the most technically adept phone that money can buy right now - but such astonishing power comes at a considerable cost.