Archive for Bioshock

Bioshock 2 (Xbox 360)

Posted in Games, Review with tags , , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by randomintermissions

... no caption required ...

I deliberately kept my mouth shut after completing the original Bioshock. I am known amongst my friends for accidentally giving away spoilers, and although this has not occurred in a long time, and the fact that I played Bioshock long after realise, it was a risk I was not willing to take.

Therefore reviewing Bioshock 2 is a bit of a logistical nightmare. I want to rant, rave and scream about it for various reasons (pros and cons) but shall have to stick to a ‘broad’ overview without getting down to the nitty-gritty through fear of letting some small detail slip. However, be warned that some links may (and some certainly do) contain spoliers.

So, without further ado, here is a roundabout review of Bioshock 2:

The first and most important thing to note (and this should be common knowledge by now!) is that this time, you play a Big Daddy; not just any Big Daddy, but the original. This in itself brings a whole new feel to your movement through Rapture and the designers have done well to not only slap on a nice frame to represent your helmet, but also added a real sense of weight to the characters movements, most notably whilst jumping. Thrown in to boot are a host of different weapons, amongst which there is the iconic (and possibly my personal favourite) drill. Get a couple of upgrades on this bad boy and no splicers are going to want to mess with you, although they will probably give it a go just for kicks!

However, don’t expect it all to be roses. Even with all of this thrown in the game play still very much resembles that of the original game. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just be wary not to expect too much.

... Daddy's Home ...

Graphically, Bioshock 2 is not too dissimilar from its predecessor. A few updated character modules (a few of which look considerably better in my humble opinion), but the environment itself remains in the most part untouched. Again I tread on uneven ground making reference to another “common knowledge” fact, but there are underwater sections that you must transverse to see you safely between certain areas. These in themselves are not added anything hugely exciting in terms of game play, but change your perspective of Rapture and give a scale for the shear size of this under-water ‘utopia’.

... Say What Now? ...

One vital thing that I must call to everyone’s attention is the change in transport system in the game. Bioshock gave us biospheres that allowed a user not only to travel forward to a new area, but also to back-track and re-explore certain areas for missed items (the franchise being all about exploration and discovering the world you have been thrust into). This is not the case for Bioshock 2, and although I will not revel the method of transportation, you will find it very liner, once you leave a level, there is no returning. This not a game for anyone hoping to blap through the story quickly and drop back in later to mop up the bits they have missed. So many of the pickups and audio logs (again a feature from the original game) reveal vital clues to the plot, characters, areas and the world of Rapture, truly immersing the player in the environment. Miss them and a key aspect of the games intention could potential be lost.

As if I haven’t gone on enough, there is also a multiplayer mode to discuss. Don’t expect anything fantastic here but it’s a nice little touch featuring the usual game play modes (all with rather clever names) and a very simplistic levelling up system. The most notable feature I have found to date is the pre-lobby section which sees you in your apartment in Rapture and allows you to customise your character and load-out before bloody battle.

... Just a Teaser ...

In terms of plot, there is very little I can say without giving away potential spoilers so again I am going to stick to generalities. I enjoyedthe game a lot; a small criticism being that, although many aspects have changed and there being a new plot (obviously) this does feel rather like Bioshock 1.5. The story is solid, with a host of new characters / enemies, developments, history lessons on Rapture, its people and progress since the first game. To top it off, some interesting elements are thrown in throughout that mix-up the game play and cement the developing plot throughout both games.

And my final thought? Well worth buying as it is going to take a couple of play throughs to truly appreciate everything that has been built in to drive the story along, but don’t expect anything hugely spectacular in terms of new game play style.

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8.5 / 10. (Two thumbs fresh seal of approval).

Initial Reactions…

Posted in Games, Review with tags , , , , , , , on June 12, 2009 by randomintermissions
...is exactly how it sounds...

...is exactly how it sounds...

Prototype is the first of my “eagerly awaited games” of ’09, in fact I was so keen to pick it up and start playing that I didn’t even return home to pick up any old games to trade in, choosing instead to simple pay the £39.99 retail price.With glittering reviews flooding in left, right an centre I could sense a chill of excitement flood through my as I placed the scratch-less disc into my XBOX 360.

Please bear in mind that what follows are my initial reactions after 2 and 1/2 hours of game play, there will no doubt be another review upon completion of the game.

The reality of Prototype is sadly rather disappointing. Imagine GTA4 (without the complex and immersing story-line) crossed with one of the Spiderman games and you will have a close approximation of the generalised game play. Maneuver around the city using an incredibly familiar “running up the side of buildings” move (Spiderman: Web of Shadows) and a little bit of hovering before descending on an in-progress battle or being spotted and subsequently shot at. That’s not to say this is necessarily bad; I enjoyed the Spiderman games for sheer “running around a city and hurting people” funability, and it did keep my playing solidly for two and a half hours, but already I am beginning to sense the “once I have completed this, I should trade it in” feeling.

This feeling is intensified by the incredibly well thought out, but poorly executed plot [spoiler warning]. Without giving too much away; you are a prototype (shock horror) genetic experiment with crazy super human abilities including hovering, changing your hands into a variety of weapons and the ability to absorb / clone pedestrians / the military / other characters to gain knowledge and experience (known as EP) and as a disguise. Oh, and you have no memory, so you are piecing together how you came to be by absorbing peoples memories and putting together a “Web” of events. All sounds pretty fun right? Wrong. The in game cut scenes flow with all the grace and style of a a drowning cow with very little continuity and weak voice acting.

This may sound condemning, but so far Prototype has failed to live up expectations. Yes it’s fun, and yes I want to complete the game, smashing and bashing my way around, defeating foes, but it just doesn’t feel as immersing as the likes of GTA, COD or Bioshock had (and from initial reports, should have had). In fact it feels more like a prototype (pun almost intended) released for testing and to gage public reaction.

I aim to follow this up with another review once the game has been completed, so check back… but my current rating is as follows:

*** out of five, recommend rental (at least initially)

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Additional:

Modern Warfare 2 (COD4 2, sort of) 10/11/09

Bioshock 2, Sea of Dreams 30/10/09

GTA (DLC) The Ballad of Gay Tony Coming Soon