Ironic Commando: Is Japan the last hope for Bionic Commando?

[Destructoid’s Japanese correspondent, 50ft. Samurai, reports in on how Capcom’s Bionic Commando is faring in Japan.]

Bionic Commando, as you have heard, did not exactly set the world on fire. Despite a lengthy development process and a good deal of publicity, the game tanked and the reviews were mediocre at best. Capcom probably wasn’t pleased that one of their games — aimed squarely at a Western audience — was so coolly received.

However, last week’s issue of Famitsu gives both versions of the game a 34/40, beating out all other games reviewed in the same issue! Three of the reviewers even gave the game a 9, with one dissenting opinion scoring it a 7.  Those that praised the game were impressed with its “excellent swinging action” and the fact that it made the player “feel like a Hollywood movie hero.” One reviewer even pointed out that while the game “has the freedom of a modern 3D game, the careful layout and fact that you can expect to die quickly makes it feel like an older classic.” Another even praised the story and its ability to “present continuous thrills.”

This pretty much flies in face of reviews of the game until now, which thought the story was crap and the game too constricting.  These sentiments are echoed by the Famitsu reviewer who scored it a 7, along with a jab at its disappointing multiplayer. Nonetheless, Famitsu’s score is equivalent to an 85, which is considerably higher than its current average in the English-speaking world.

Which makes this samurai wonder: Has Capcom achieved some sort of reverse alchemical miracle with Bionic Commando? Has it, in the attempt to appeal to western tastes created a game that the Japanese will love? Has this freaky experiment, this melding of cultures created something unexpected? And will it destroy us all? You can follow Capcom Japan’s tie-up with Japanese singer Ichirou Mizuki here and stay tuned to Destructoid for how the game sells.

Nick Chester