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No GravatarWhen I first began playing BioShock Infinite, I had a tough time getting into it.  Not because the game isn’t interesting.  It pulls you in pretty quickly with its beautiful graphics and fascinating storyline.  I was just mad that the game was vastly different in setting and tone then the original BioShock, which is one of my favorite games of all time.  I wanted BioShock Infinite to be in Rapture or somewhere like Rapture.  I actually stopped playing the game and went back to play the original several times before I finally forced myself to play Infinite.  It was a good thing that I did too.  Infinite is an absolutely amazing game, and I shouldn’t have compared it to the original.  Trying to make a game too much like the original BioShock only ends in mediocre sequels (BioShock 2).  I think that Irrational HAD to pick a different setting in order to have an effective story.  So, after getting over that self-imposed hurdle, I found that Infinite is actually one of my favorite games ever.

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Overview

BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter game developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K in 2013 for PS3, XBox360, and PC.  Is it is the second sequel of the much loved original BioShock.  It uses a modified version of Unreal Engine 3 and has also been praised for its graphics, setting, and story.  Despite being a BioShock game, it departs from the Rapture-setting and instead focuses on its own dystopia of Columbia. BioShock: The Collection comes out in September, which is a remastered version for the current generation of all three BioShock games.  For the purpose of this review, I will be concentrating on the PS3 version only.

Story

The original BioShock had an amazingly intricate story that made several play-throughs enjoyable because of all of the little details.  BioShock Infinite steps it up to a completely different level.  The story is absolutely amazing.  It follows Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton and Battle of Wounded Knee vet, who has acquired a massive amount of debt.  To repay this debt, he is hired to rescue, Elizabeth, a woman who has been imprisoned since childhood in a city called Columbia.

Columbia is not a normal city, though.  The place floats in the sky (don’t worry if it sounds ridiculous; it’s very well explained) and is run by the prophet Zachary Comstock, a religious fantastic.  Like the original BioShock, Columbia is a city that has gone wrong, but it also highlights issues such as: racism, religious extremism, socio-economic struggles, American exceptionalism, the corruption of power, and dealing with past mistakes.  As you can see, Infinite is not a one-trick pony when it comes to thematic elements.  I am not even sure what part is better: the story or the setting.  The story is amazing, don’t get me wrong.  Elizabeth is probably one of the best, well-thought out, well-developed female characters ever done in a video game.  However, I also find myself playing Infinite just to explore Columbia (it is really that cool).  I love the early 1900s/steampunk style to it as well.  It’s just overall very well done.  There aren’t many games like it, especially in the first-person shooter style.

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Game Play

If you have been following me for awhile, you know that I’m pretty picky about my first-person shooters.  I’m not really that into most multi-player games, and I hate fps campaign modes that are too short and without substance.  BioShock Infinite, first of all, is worth the price  (I think it may be on PlayStation Plus now, though) because of its length, which is perfect for a fps game.

The game play, however, is also amazingly well-done.  With Infinite, you get a fun, smooth-flowing fps game with a few added elements that push this game up to a 10.  First, there is the use of plasmas…um, I mean vigors, which gives the “BioShock” power.  Then there is also the use of infusions and gear, which give some added elements of game play, such as more health, shields, and salts as well as some special “perks” from the gear.  Second, there is the use of the sky-line hooks and open-environment that make this game incredibly fun to play.  The first time I got on a sky-line, it felt like I was on a freaking roller-coaster.  You can zip around and melee enemies from above, jump on floating air ships, and fire your weapon while swinging around.  Third, you get Elizabeth as a sidekick, who helps out Booker during battles.  The AI for her is absolutely brilliant.  It really is a new way to play an fps.

These added elements make the game so much fun.  The game never felt repetitive.  I never got bored with the game either, especially with all of the fun vigors I got to use.  Overall, I have not seen many single-player fps games out on the market quite like this.

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Graphics

This game highlights the pinnacle of what the PS3 can handle graphics-wise and was pretty much one of the best-looking games for the PS3 (if not the best).  When I got my first glimpse of Columbia, all I could do was go, “WOW!”  After I picked my jaw up off of the floor, I began really enjoy how amazing the setting really is.  Even if you don’t like first-person shooters, the game is worth seeing just for how truly beautiful it looks.

Voice Acting

As you might have known, Troy Baker is my favorite voice actor.  What you might not have known, is that I had no freaking clue who the man was before I played this game (*gasps can be heard from across the Internet*).  Yep, that’s right.  No clue.  But I enjoyed listening to Booker DeWitt so much that decided to look Troy up and the rest is pretty much history.  In seriousness, though, the voice acting is top notch.  From Troy who plays the quiet, soft-spoken but flawed Booker to the very-talented Courtnee Draper, who does Elizabeth’s voice, the actors make the game that much more enjoyable.  Even the Lutece twins are pretty awesome and give some added humor to the game.  By the way, this game is still my favorite Troy Baker game.

Music

I usually do not include a game’s musical score in my reviews, but I decided to add it to this one because the music in Infinite is so great.  Besides having a great score for battles and exploring, you have the added bonus of all sorts of popular songs being done in an early 20th-century style.  There are a lot of Easter-egg tunes to hear, but I don’t want to go into it because I don’t want to give anything away if you haven’t played the game yet (you should).

Overall

There really isn’t anything that I can knock this game on, and trust me, if I see something wrong, I will say something.  BioShock Infinite is just an amazing game.  I know this review is very glowing, and I can’t find anything to complain about.  For the most part, the complaints that I have seen about this game are a little unfounded.  Here are some and my response to them:

Complaint: The story is too complicated, especially the ending.

Response: Sorry, it’s not the game’s fault that you can’t figure it out.

Complaint: The game should have been third-person not first-person, since it has a lot of narration from Booker.  You are the character when you inhabit a first-person perspective, hence there should be no narration.

Response: That’s like saying if you read a book that is in first-person narration that YOU are the character.  Not so.  You are just getting it from the first-person perspective.  Even though you control Booker from the first person, you are not Booker. Sorry.

Complaint: It’s not enough like the original BioShock. (This was my original complaint.)

Response: If you want to play the original BioShock, play the original.  If the game was too much like the original, we’d get a mediocre re-hash like BioShock 2.  The game plays tribute enough to the original but is still it’s own game.

Complaint: I didn’t like the hordes of people coming at you in battle.  It felt like filler.

Response: Um, if you don’t like fighting in a first-person shooter game, then you probably shouldn’t be playing these types of games.  Just saying.

Complaint: It’s too gory.

Response: Uh, last time I checked, it was a BioShock game AND a first-person shooter.  Considering that the original had tinge of the horror-genre to it, Infinite holds up to the franchise.  If it’s too gory, may I suggest a game like Little Big Planet, instead?

Complaint: Elizabeth is too much like a damsel in distress.

Response: I think that she takes care of herself just fine, but apparently you must have missed those parts of the game.  Sure she’s trapped at the beginning, but there is a reason she can’t get out herself, and she also takes charge for a lot of the game.  May I suggest that you replay it and pay attention?

I think the biggest issue is that some of these critics want this game to not be a first-person shooter, BioShock game.  I think they are looking for something that they were never going to find and never should find in this game.  I don’t even know what to tell them there.  I enjoyed the heck out of it.  Infinite will be one of those games I will replay many, many times.  In my humble opinion, it is just that good.

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Puzzle Games are one of the oldest gaming genres around and have always been there in some form or another. And now the genre has become dominated by match 3 games which are becoming increasingly stale. So how do you do something new with something that has worn out its stay? By playing Tumblestone, that’s how.

Tumblestone does the unthinkable and actually makes the format fun again. . You must match 3 Tumblestones of the same colour without being blocked by a Tumblestone of a different colour. This may seem simple, by as this is a puzzle game from the developers that brought us, The Bridge, this won’t be as easy as you might think. To help you get started, the game starts out with easy levels then gradually ramps up the difficulty. Don’t worry about high scores or running out of moves here. The goal isn’t to play this like you would Candy Crush, but rather think the solutions through. This is a thinking person’s match 3 game and wants you not to rush through it. There is a solution to each puzzle and finding it is extremely satisfying. The game slowly introduces new elements that force you to change your strategy and learn and adapt. That may seem annoying and difficult, but is actually one of the more appealing aspects of the games. The changes Tumblestone throws at you, do not cause annoyance but rather are more thought provoking. The game has taken what is thought of as a throwaway genre and made it a fun game that requires effort and gives satisfaction.

Tumblestone has an excellent story mode as well. You play as Queens and Kings based on historical figures and literary figures, and other assorted unique characters, and the story mode is excellent. The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild did a great job and made me laugh several times. It’s cute and charming and not at all what you would expect from a match 3 game.

The last two things to discuss are the multiplayer mode and the music. The music is catchy and stands out and I know I keep saying that, but it’s so true in this case. The music is nothing like the disposable tunes you often here in simple puzzle games but rather full on music that you can truly enjoy listening to. It really helps bring the fun of the game back to forefront and just make you smile while playing.

The multiplayer is one of the best I’ve seen in a puzzle game in years. This is a truly competitive multiplayer and I had some great games playing with others. There are different modes like Tug-of-war, Battle Mode and Race Mode, all of which give a lot of diversity to the gameplay. Playing with others really opened my eyes to what can be done with this genre of games.

All in all, this is a great puzzle game and I highly recommend it!

Disclaimer: I was provided a code for this game

 

 

DOOM

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Doom is an iconic game. There is no disputing that. Doom, its expansions and Doom II ( and its expansions) influenced all of gaming for decades now.  So much of modern gaming draws on Doom, even games which seemingly are the anti Doom. Then we have games like Doom 3, which while not bad, are quite controversial. Its remake, Doom 3 BFG Edition was better but still didn’t have that classic Doom feel. So when the new DOOM was announced, I was hesitant. It had gone through a lengthy period of Development Hell and some of the things I had been hearing made me nervous. Then the game was shown off at E3 2015 and I was blown away. Aside from it seeming a little too slow, it looked like classic Doom in HD, albeit with elements of the mod Brutal Doom and other improvements. Snapmap stood out to me from the reveal as it was a form of bridging PC game modding with the console version. And while multiplayer seemed like it would be underwhelming, I was still excited about what I saw. A lot of people were skeptical about DOOM for a number of reasons, such as an underwhelming Beta and no review versions before launch. Many were bracing for the worst, but it was not to be.

DOOM is absolutely amazing. It’s campaign is exactly what many have wanted in a first person shooter. A modern FPS that truly hearkens back to the original days. The campaign is gory and violent and over the top and done in a way that feels right. The glory kill mechanic is great and gives an extra oomph to the experience.  While many FPS games get bogged down with story, DOOM keeps it simple and allows you to learn more at your own pace. And the story that is there is excellent. The protagonist is a great character with a great backstory ( no spoilers here) that makes me want a DLC prequel campaign to help set up the events of the game. The way the environments interacted all felt well done and the secrets were a nice touch.

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I am not really that great at console FPS games, but playing on the PS4 had me feeling right at home. Nothing felt awkward or out of place and I appreciate that in a game. I did not have any trouble getting used to the controls and was able to enjoy the game as it should be enjoyed. I understand that some have played the game and complained about controls while playing, but it was fine for me. The weapons are all excellent, with the different control scheme for the chainsaw being a great choice. I think Bethesda and ID Software did a great job with that.

Now for the downside: The multiplayer component. This was pitched as being Quake style arena deathmatch gameplay, but it falls short of the promise. Maybe  it is because it is still early on in the game’s life, but it feels sterile and tame. It is far too reminiscent of modern FPS multiplayer games for my liking and I cannot bring myself to enjoy it. It is not bad, but there are other games that are far better choices for multiplayer. The game is still worth getting for the campaign though, and in fact the campaign alone would be enough, but there is one more reason the game is great.

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Snapmap: This is a great feature. I have seen some amazing maps and levels from players that have wowed me. From levels that are based off Metroid to multiplayer levels based off Evolve. I’ve played levels as a Baron of Hell, levels that replicate the original Doom, and levels that are just brief experiences where you mow everything down with the BFG.  Almost all are great. The issue here is that snapmap seems to have been designed with multiplayer in mind, not single player, with weapons being handled the way they are in multiplayer. That said, Bethesda and ID Software have announced at this past E3 that Snapmap will be updated for more single player level options which is great.

All in all, aside from the multiplayer, this is an amazing game. The single player campaign alone is enough to warrant a purchase, but snapmap makes it even more worth it. This is an experience all need to play!

 

 

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No GravatarKerbal Space Program , which was first published and developed for PC by Squad in 2011, has had a massive following in the PC gaming community ever since. This week, Squad released the game for consoles; Playstation 4 on July 12, Xbox One on July 15, witha version on Wii U set to release this winter. The game lets you build spaceships ranging from scientifically accurate ones to the down right ridiculous and lets you launch them into space. Your astronauts are called Kerbals – who resemble tiny green space men. The far reaching goal for the game is to land on the moon, or “mun,” in Kerbal speak, but most players are doing well to get off of the ground.

When you launch the game for the first time, it can be very intimidating. The tutorials are a rather long read and show you what an extreme amount of customizing goes in to a successful launch of your vessel into space. It can be a lot to take in and it may seem like the game wouldn’t be fun unless you have a degree in aerodynamics, but that’s where you would be wrong. There are gamers out there who play this game for hours on end and make correct rockets that accomplish the missions they set out to do. Then there are gamers who spend the same amount of time building basic spaceships that crash and burn on every mission. Both types of gamers enjoy this game just as much. Never has there been a game where most of the fun comes from failing miserably.

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The console version of this game is pretty much an exact port from the PC version which is only played with mouse and keyboard. On the console version, the left stick controls the mouse pointer. This makes lining up the parts of your spaceships difficult and setting numerical parameters difficult as well. With a mouse and keyboard, you get much more control over lining up the parts exactly where they need to go. Another downside to the console version is the amount of reading for the tutorial section. The font size is very small and I had to sit right up against the TV in order to see it. I would have recommended to split up the instructions into more steps to click through so the font size could be larger on the screen and the game can be played from further away. Kerbal Space Program is not really the type of game where you want to skip the tutorial, so I think the tutorial section could have been configured better for consoles.

Even though the console version of the game does have some control scheme issues, Kerbal Space Program is not a game to miss out on. I put off playing it for a long time because I thought it looked too difficult for someone like myself who has no background in space travel outside of Star Wars. However, when I saw how happy my Kerbal astronaut looked as I was launching him to his death, I knew this game would break me of my perfectionist thinking that I had to understand all the ins and outs of space travel in order to enjoy this game.

Kerbal Space Program is $40 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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Fantasy games and point and click games are a match made in heaven. I do not mean stuff like Telltale’s Game of Thrones, but rather high fantasy. That said, a humorous take on the genre is also good.  The book of Unwritten tales was a great game that took the fantasy genre on its head and made it a fun experience.  It had well developed characters and plots and great interactivity that allowed for a unique gaming experience.

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Now years later, Nordic Games has brought The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 to Wii U and the result is amazing. The game improves on the original in almost every way. The graphics are better, the controls are more intuitive and the story is just bonkers. Imagine the most epic story, worthy of Lord of the Rings, then imagine it turned on its head and mocked to hell and back. That comes somewhat close. The protagonists have new goals to achieve and while this is a parody of fantasy games, their journeys are worth following. The game is extremely well written and plotted and the characters are believable despite the setting. The game is hilarious and I have to admit that I laughed out loud so many times that I lost count.

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The game controls well and is much more intuitive than the first game was. The visuals shine far better as well and the result is amazing. We have a game that is a big improvement on an already great original. The music is also great and really helps get you into the game. I would say that this game has some of the best video game music that I have heard all year.

Nordic Games has done a great job with bringing this game to Wii U and they deserve a lot of praise for that. This is a great port and plays to the Wii U’s strengths. All in all, I have to recommend this game for anyone with a Wii U, who enjoys point and click games. You will not regret getting it.

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First Person Shooters have evolved a lot as a genre. From their beginnings with games like Wolfenstein 3D to modern games like Call of Duty and Halo, the genre has seen a lot of change. When Doom was big in the 90’s, there were many games that tried to ride its popularity but with characters who had more personality. From this we gained Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior, the latter being heavily based on the former, but with melee weapons as well. Both had characters spouting one liners and jokes that would not be acceptable today and had humor no longer seen as okay.

When Duke Nukem Forever finally launched after so many years of development, it was given a mixed reception in part because it was felt the game could not decide if it wanted to be a modern or retro style shooter. It tried to be both and didn’t succeed, so when a Shadow Warrior reboot was announced, many felt worried that the same would happen. However something else occurred in this instance and instead of making the same mistakes, they went in another direction.

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Shadow Warrior knows full well what it wants to be. It wants to be a modern take on the retro shooter while playing up what made the game awesome in the past.  The humor is offensive and crosses the line, but then it just crosses it again and again to the point of actually being funny. The game has classic ideas of how to use weapons and ammo but successfully integrates it with modern game mechanics.

You have regenerating health but there is a storyline explanation and it isn’t automatic, you have to manually activate it. That can be difficult in the heat of battle but you can also pick up health packs to heal like in classic games.  You can find money to upgrade your weapons as well and this will assist you in progressing in ways not done in most modern FPS games.

It isn’t perfect and there are issues in the game. The aiming is not perfect and can be off at times, the textures are abysmal in several areas and there is a lot of screen tearing and frame drops.  Some of the combat is just off as well as the game tries to encourage Melee Combat at times by not having enough ammo available. As well, the movement and jumping just seems to be programmed with mistimed jumps in mind. Still these faults ate not enough to make the game unplayable. There is enough fun to be had, especially with finding secrets the way you did in the original and other 90’s FPS games.

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I would be remiss if I did not mention that the story, while utterly ridiculous, is ridiculous in an amazing way. Its clichéd and stupid but extremely fun and is an enjoyable time. Lo Wang and his adventures are full of blood and gore but also humor and it’s a story that has consistency

Like I said, the game is not perfect but it knows full well what it wants to be and how to achieve that goal. I had fun playing this game and even with the issues it had, I felt like it was an awesome throwback to an older era. More importantly it was a throwback to an older era done right, and now with the upcoming sequel, I am even happier. The sequel looks to have fixed most of the issues I had with the game, including a rebalanced focus on weapons mechanics and new abilities.

Overall, while this is not perfect, it is a remake done the right way and I look forward to seeing what Devolver Digital has in store with the sequel beyond what they have already shown off.

 

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No GravatarAs some of you might know, Mass Effect is one of my favorite gaming franchises.  Of course, when I say that, I am looking at the franchise as  a whole (I will not dwell on what happened to ME 3).  However, for those gamers who primarily play on PlayStation consoles, playing the original Mass Effect was not in the cards.  This changed once the game was finally released for PlayStation 3 at the end of 2012.  Finally, PlayStation fans were able to play the whole series through.  I  was one of those fans who got the original for digital download.  Here is what I thought:

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Mass Effect is a science fiction third-person RPG developed by Bioware and published by Microsoft originally, but is now being published by EA.  It originally was released for XBox 360 only, but eventually was released for PC and then Playstation 3.  It uses the Unreal 3 engine.  The game was applauded for its in-depth universe.  To me, the game is the Holy Grail of RPGs, since most do not have the Science fiction twist that Mass Effect does.

The setting puts the game far into the future where the human race discovers alien technology that allows them to travel faster than light (the “mass effect” field).  They have also found mass relays that allow them to travel significant distances in space in short amounts of time.  The human race expands throughout the galaxy, meeting other alien races.  They create the Human Systems Alliance that becomes a rising power among the other, older races.

The game follows Commander Shepard, an elite soldier who is picked to head a secret mission on a experimental ship, the SSV Normandy.  He is also in the running to become the first human Spectre, a black-ops division of the Citadel counsel, a governing body of the “civilized” parts of the galaxy.  As the story continues, the player begins to delve into the richly-designed universe that is Mass Effect and discovers that there are some very sinister things lurking in the galaxy.

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One of the fun things about this game is the ability of the player to go where they want to go in the galaxy.  Sure, there are some parts that you don’t get to decide, but there is a lot of freedom in traveling, allowing the player to go to some really cool planets.  Another interesting aspect (that I’m sure you may have heard about) is the ability to have Commander Shepard have a relationship with some of the characters.  You only get a few options in this game, but it still keeps things kind of interesting.

There’s a lot going on in Mass Effect.  It’s an RPG with XP, leveling up, and different skill-sets you can go through.  However, it is also a third-person action adventure shooter.  It employs a duck and cover system of fighting but also incorporates vehicle battle as well.  It SHOULD be a very diverse game play.  For the main missions, that is correct; the actual main quests are a ton of fun.  It’s the side quests that are a complete bear to play.  They are tedious and difficult in some spots, something that I wasn’t used to from playing Mass Effect 2 and 3 originally.  Because of this, I will have to knock the game play down quite a bit.

There are other aspects of the game play that I would like to cover, however.  The first being the class system.  Players get to choose at the beginning the type of class they want their character to be.  This also includes being able to fully customize the Shepard character: male or female, default or customize completely.  I recommend being on male default because Shepard is sexy.  Besides customizing the character in that way, there are six classes to choose from: Soldier, Engineer, Adept, Infiltrator, Sentinel, and Vanguard.  Each class has its own special perks.  I typically play as soldier.  Each of the classes also have their own special combat abilities.

Another interesting aspect of game play is dialogue and morality system.  As the story unfolds, the player is given options for dialogue.  One is typically the “good” option.  Another is the “neutral” option.  And the third is the “bad” option.  Depending on how good or bad you want Shepard to be will depend on how you answer.  However, sticking with one side opens up special dialogue conversations not available otherwise.

This particular Mass Effect game focuses very heavily on upgrading weapons.  The player can upgrade pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, as well as grenades and armor.  Mods to weapons and armor can also be found as well.  Upgrades are collected while exploring and in battle when an enemy is killed, but it can be a pain keep track of all of them.  Many times, I would have to stop game play because I had accumulated too many upgrades and had to either apply them or convert them into omni-gel (an all-purpose tool that helps with everything for fixing damage on vehicles to hacking locks).  This did get a bit annoying at times.

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For the time that the game came out, the graphics were pretty darned slick.  And not only that, but the game has actually aged well.  It is still playable without the graphics seeming to be annoying.  They certainly do not cause me headaches like Final Fantasy VII, for instance.  The in-game graphics are great, but the cut-scenes are really were the money is.

Unfortunately, even though the main parts of the game are a lot of fun, all of the side quests are a pain.  They are such a pain that I almost stopped playing the game.  They are tedious and repetitive.  Technically, I would give the fun-factor of the main game a 10, but I would give the side quests a 1.  Also because of this, I will probably not be revisiting the game, despite the awesome storyline.

As a whole, this game is great.  It’s got some issues; however, if the player just focuses on the main mission, the game is a lot of fun to play.  I’m also a bit picky because I feel Mass Effect 2 is a much better game overall.  Then again, considering that you can get the whole trilogy pretty cheaply and just the original even more cheaply, it’s definitely worth your time.

 

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No GravatarBioShock is a first-person shooter released in 2007 for XBox 360 and PC. It was later ported for PS3 in 2008.  It was developed by Irrational Games (they were calling themselves 2K Boston back in the day) and published by 2K.  The game uses a modified version of the Unreal engine with Havok for the physics side.  It was highly praised for its story, setting, and thematic elements.  It later spawned two sequels: BioShock 2 and BioShock Infinite.

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As the player, you take on the character of Jack, a man who survives a plane crash into the middle of the ocean.  Upon swimming to safety, you find a lighthouse.  However, this is more than meets the eye.  After getting into a device called a bathysphere, a type of submersible, you are transported underneath the ocean and are introduced to Rapture, a huge underwater city.

However, there is something completely wrong with Rapture.  Upon arrival, you discover that the once utopian city is now in a state of disarray with roaming “splicers,” creepy little girls called “Little Sisters,” and huge robotic bosses called “Big Daddies.”  I don’t want to get into the story too much because I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but I will tell you that the story is top-notch.  To me, the best part of BioShock is the setting.  I could just walk around in Rapture all day and be as happy as can be.  I know it’s a really creepy place, but it’s also a really interesting place, especially since you have to dig around a bit to figure out what went wrong.  I loved that the game was kind of scary, but not so scary that I wanted to stop playing it.

One of the other great things about the story of BioShock was a lot of really good and really interesting thematic elements of the game.  Rapture’s creator, Andrew Ryan, designed the city to be free of government and free of religion (a nod to Ayn Rand’s Objectivism).  However, without some constraint of morality, the city quickly crumbles into chaos after some bio-engineering and experimentation gone really wrong.  It’s a really interesting and engrossing game.  It’s one of my favorite video game stories of all time.

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BioShock is first and foremost a first-person shooter.  It’s a rather good one at that, especially for the time that it came out.  As an FPS, it plays smoothly and adds some interesting game play elements.  It has a typical style of ever-increasingly fun weapons to play with, but it also adds the “bio” element to it by creating the use of plasmids (a type of genetic alteration involving needles–I told you the game is a bit creepy).  With your left hand, you control your plasmids, which can vary from shooting fire, ice, and even bees out of your fingertips.  With your right hand, you control your primary weapon.  This is a really, really fun combination, and it makes for  some interesting game play.  However, it gets annoying switching back and forth between shooting plasmids and shooting your weapon, since you can only have one or the other at a time.  This glaring issue was later fixed in BioShock 2.

Besides the use of plasmids, the game play also adds some role-playing and stealth elements as well.  The player has options for stealth around security, including cameras and auto-turrets.  Collecting money in the game gives the player options for upgrading weapons, buying new plasmids, or gaining additional ammo or health.  You may also collect gene tonics that give you special abilities.  One of the more annoying parts of the game was the ability to hack certain things like cameras and vending machines.  Although this sounds like a great idea, to hack something, you get pushed into this mini-game, similar to Pipe Dream.  The first ten or so times you do it isn’t bad, but it gets annoying after twenty, thirty, or forty times.

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One of the unique game play aspects of BioShock is fairly original concept of “roaming boss battles.”  In order to gain more power, the player must take on Big Daddies in order to get to the Little Sisters.  There are a set amount of Big Daddies in each level that will appear in various places (but sometimes can feel like at random).

The graphics were very good for the time that it came out.  It has still held up well for an older game.  In fact, it has held up much better than games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and even the original Infamous.  Even going back and playing it now, I don’t get headaches from playing a game with crazy old graphics.

One really enjoyable thing about the graphics (and the setting) is how it highlights the amazing Art Deco designs of Rapture.  This is one of the reasons why I will actually play the game just to wander around and explore (I can’t say that for many other games).

I don’t care if the game play is perfect.  I don’t care if the graphics are perfect.  BioShock will always be one of my most favorite games of all time.  It is probably my favorite first-person shooter.  This game is just plain fun.  It has been the most fun that I have had in a game in a long, long time.  It is the reason why I have been so backlogged on so many games: I keep wanting to play this game over and over again.  BioShock made me expect more out of my first-person shooters.  It is a complete must-play, trust me.

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Paranautical Activity is a rather infamous game for reasons known to many in the PC Gaming community. But beyond the infamy, I needed to ask, is it actually a good game?

PA is a first person shooter that uses randomly generated levels similar to rougelike games. Its a neat take and the gameplay itself is rather interesting. The FPS elements take inspiration from games like Quake but can be done fast paced or slow paced and the controls are very intuitive, at least as far as I played. The graphics feel like an HD version of a mid 90’s PC first person shooter, if that makes sense, and actually look really good on a big screen TV.  The enemies, while not the most diverse, are serviceable but the bosses leave a lot to be desired. I don’t know what it was, but it just felt like the bosses were lacking for some reason. It felt like they could have been done a lot better.

The game did not have any frame drops that I noticed, or any screen tearing, but the audio was no the best. I felt the soundtrack just didn’t fit the game properly and that was a bit distracting.

But now the question is, is the game fun? Yes and no is the answer. The game fills a niche, of both classic FPS games and games that are similar to rougelikes, while many will be turned off by it. The truth is, it took me several days to get any idea of what I felt about the game and I’m still unsure really. I do like what I played and did enjoy it at times, but other times it just felt flat. However,  the times I did enjoy it, I enjoyed it a great deal and thus I’m unsure what to say now. I think this game is worth checking out and give it a slight recommendation, but be warned that it might not be for you. This game definitely is not lacking for content though and there won’t be boredom here,

IR

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Imprisoned on the Infinity, the largest space ship ever built by mankind, you are set free by a mysterious woman who has taken it upon herself to guide you on your escape for unknown reasons. As you make your way deeper and deeper into the ship, you’ll slowly learn more about the Infinity’s purpose and where you fit in amongst all the chaos. It is a different approach in the Runner genre since most games are mainy focused on the high scores. Plus you are a werewolf running in space, so enough said.

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Infinity Runner’s greatest strength is how unique it is, with a sci-fi story that plays out like a movie. You awaken on a ship, naked and confused, with the voice of a woman telling you to run. And run you must, because everything is trying to kill you. You will soon learn more about your character, the ship, and your strange ability to turn into a werewolf as you go. The game plays like any endless runner would: your character never stops moving. You are restricted primarily to close corridors, and have to make split-second decisions. Most of these decisions involve things like turning before running into a wall, and attacking enemies. Attacking enemies is simple enough; a button prompt appears on screen and you have to press them before a brief timer runs out. These are more deviations than the main gameplay, but they blend in well with the experience. Another important aspect of the gameplay are the “action” sequences. These are usually “Hollywood” style action scenes that once again require quick reflexes. These also help break up the narrow corridor running, and although some scenes get repetitive, it is not something particularly game breaking. Graphically the game looks great. the corridors of the ship and all the elements create a great atmosphere which sets up Infinity Runner as something else among runners.The music also plays an important role, with having a good soundtrack and the voices are acceptable for this.

Bottom Line Infinity Runner is a good endless runner. It does something different with the way it tells its story, has some collectibles to unlock, and the sci-fi vibe creates something different. If you are a fan of the genre, or are into sci-fi stories this is for you, the gameplay is solid and can be fun playing it.

 

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