So I just finished playing it, rather annoyingly I also don’t have internet at the moment, so this probably won’t go up for a while. Anyways, here be spoilers, so don’t read if you don’t want to know.
So I played through Bioshock the other day and I was going to post up my thoughts, but heck, like most things I plan to do, it didn’t really happen. In fact so little has happened this holiday that I haven’t written a blog entry for over a month, which frankly just Isn’t Good Enough.
In summary of what I can remember, I lazed about a worryingly large amount, did no work, earned no money, went out a few times, but otherwise wasted weeks of my precious youth. Urgh, sounds worse when I say it like that.
Anyways, I played through Bioshock, and some of my thoughts are vaguely congruent with this here video, which is just too funny for words to quite capture:
He is quite right. Bioshock is probably going to be one of the best games of the year, a few other ones not withstanding. This isn’t a reflection so much on the quality of Bioshock per se, and more on the fact that practically nothing good has come out for ages. Seriously, can you remember the last really awesome game that came out? I sure as hell can’t.
It’s overly heavy on exposition, the AI isn’t that good, the ghost sequences make no kind of logical sense, the Vitachambers (think instant respawn) make whupping the hell out of everything too easy. It picks up towards the end though, where you start to get a bit more variety into your powers. I’m not full of hate – the art direction is stunning, and some of the individual set-pieces are breathtaking. The concept of the Little Sister / Big Daddy is wonderful, and something I would love to see more of in games.
Little Sisters are little girls who have been turned into monsters; they prowl Rapture extracting Adam (the resource needed to hop yourself up on genetic goodies like fireballs) from the bodies of dead enemies. This makes them somewhat of a target, as they carry lots and lots of Adam, so they’re protected by the huge Big Daddies. Anyways, as long as you don’t attack them, they are neutral to you, and you get lots of interesting behaviours, like the Little Sister pointing at you in fear if you get too close, that kind of thing.
In those details, it’s a good game, but the number of niggling complaints just stacks up. Each weapon has a stupid number of additional ammo types, and couple this with all your plasmid (basically magical powers) types it gets really hard to manage. The slavish devotion to the System Shock 2 archetype is justifiably mocked, it’s harmed what this game could have been.
Anyways, Bioshock is a game that’s worth getting, assuming that its monstrous system requirements don’t melt your PC into a foul smelling pool of ruined electronics.
In other news… (as promised)
- Went for a trip up to Liverpool way to see Niro for his B’day BBQ and met up with the Uni people. It was awesometastic, and therefore deserves its own entry. All in good time, my pretties.
- And next week I’m going on holiday to Majorca with Uni people. Again, probably going to rock.
- The Orange Box has been released for purchase on Steam. It’s about £25, and comes with Half-Life 2, Episode One, Episode Two, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. It’s scarily good value, and all the games in it look brilliant. I’ve already cracked and bought it. Shame I’m on holiday next week when the TF2 beta starts. Anyways, anyone want a spare copy of HL2 and Ep1 on the 9th of October? They’re up for grabs.
Now, I shall retire to my bed to contemplate deeper mysteries, and let Sleep overtake my weary eyes. Until we meet again.
So, I went on holiday, it was pretty dull. Not much to say about that.
What I actually want to write about is how the next few months is looking really awesome for games.
- Bioshock. It hits our noble shores on August 24th, and it’s looking eyeball-meltingly good. PC Gamer gave it 95%, which makes it the best game released since Half-Life 2 rocked our collective socks. It looks gorgeous, the gameplay sounds amazing, and the story is apparently so good, you absolutely must not let anyone spoil you on pain of death. I absolutely can’t wait.
- Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Strogg vs. Human in gigantic futuristic vehicular warfare. I’m absolutely gutted I’ve missed a slot on the open beta. Apparently the full game will arrive come September.
- The Orange Box. Valve’s cluster-bomb of game-wonder, due for October 12th. HL2: Episode 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2. Each one of these is worthy of intense anticipation individually. The fact that they’re dropping on the same day as part of the same package is breathtaking. The mind-bending Euclid-defying puzzleness of Portal, the beautifully insane stylisation of TF2’s multiplayer mayhem, and the continuation of the epic HL2 story. It’s going to be good. It’s Valve.
- Crysis. Have you seen how beautiful this game is? Destructible trees. You can blow up trees. On a tropical island.
- Left 4 Dead. Another game from the Valve stable, as it were. Zombie co-op mayhem with persistent stats. This is the game LAN parties were made for. All 4 (human team) players in a single room, yelling at each other, freaking out at an unexpected ambush, rescuing downed comrades. Working together and staying alive.
In other news, iD have released practically every game they’ve ever made on Steam. It’s pretty bonkers. Valve are also releasing the Steam Community beta next week. By the use of some judicious hackery, some people have gotten an early sneak peak. Looks like interesting stuff, adding non-Steam games to your list, using Steam Community features in all games – nuts. Could put a dent into Xfire, this lot.
And my sleeping patterns are already messed up. It’s 6am, and I haven’t actually been to bed yet. I had dinner at 3 in the morning while watching A Scanner Darkly, which I borrowed from Duncan. It’s not healthy, I tell you.
Defeated all the gang bosses on Crackdown, and even though a logical part of my brain knows that there’s still, in theory, quite a lot to do… the experience suddenly feels a lot emptier than it did. That’s the problem with sandbox-type freeform games; whilst in theory they can last forever, once you run off the end of the linear storyline that the developers have provided you with, the game suddenly stops making sense, your sense of immersion is shattered and the world feels just a little bit more hollow than it did.
Possibly it’s just the existential dilemma pervading the virtual world that we’ve entered to escape the real one – suddenly you realise the tasks which you are so diligently performing (like committing crime in GTA, stopping crime in Crackdown, doing whatever the heck you like in Oblivion) are absolutely without any meaning or higher purpose. You are simply performing them for the sake of performing them. Heck, worse on the Xbox 360 you find yourself doing boring shit just because you’re going to get an achievement for it that will sit in perpetuity upon your Xbox Live profile. I know I’m guilty of that!
At least I got out of halls today, even for a little bit. Quick walk down to the pub, which makes me once more appreciate the brilliance of the British institution which is the pub. Although it’s worrying when you start recognising some of the regulars, like this guy with the most awesome muttonchops I have possibly ever seen. They were astonishing.
So I bought and enjoyed Crackdown on my 360, it’s a big ol’ barrel of fun. You’re a genetically engineered super-man, let loose to bring “justice” to a city full of gangs by a futuristic law enforcement Agency.
You have 5 major skills: agility, driving, explosives, strength, and firearms. Agility makes you faster and lets you jump higher, driving lets you drive faster and with better control and causes some vehicles to get upgrades, explosives make explody things more potent, strength lets you beat people up with greater effectiveness, pick up and throw heavier objects, and have more health, and firearms enables you to shoot more accurately.
Rather worryingly, you level up most of these skills my killing gang members. For some inexplicable reason, running people over makes you a better driver. I don’t even pretend to understand. I mean, I can understand blowing people up or shooting them makes you better at exploding or shooting… Agility makes far more sense, because you level that up by collecting green Agility orbs which tend to be found on the roofs of buildings and the like.
Anyways, it comes with access to the Halo 3 Multiplayer beta, and I was going to play some tomorrow. Except the beta ends today. Oh well.
In other news, I watched the new episode of Doctor Who that I managed to miss by going to Sarah & Sarah’s party. It’s called “Blink” and it’s astonishingly good. For a series about a time traveler Doctor Who has surprisingly few stories in which time travel is a critical element; this episode has a healthily non-linear storyline and monsters which were terrifying not because they were revolting or exploited cheap shots like being alien or murderers or the like, but by playing on a very primal fear of malign entities moving out of sight. I can see this being horribly frightening for children, this could make a lot of them afraid of the dark. Along with the last two-parter the quality of the writing has been phenomenal.
And the actress who played the lead part isn’t half bad looking neither, which helps.