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By Kira Nance On 27 Feb, 2017 At 02:37 AM | Categorized As International News, News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarChange is essential for forward progress. What better way to usher in that change than with a rebranding. Enter Ghost Story Games. In 2014, to the dismay of fans and staff alike, Irrational Games, the studio responsible for titles such as BioShock, BioShock Infinite, SWAT 4 and System Shock 2 announced it would be “winding down”. Consequently, Co-founder Ken Levine would leave us with a glimmer of hope, a new studio and new project were on the horizon.

“While I’m deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished together, my passion has turned to making a different kind of game than we’ve done before. To meet the challenge ahead, I need to refocus my energy on a smaller team with a flatter structure and a more direct relationship with gamers. In many ways, it will be a return to how we started: a small team making games for the core gaming audience. I am winding down Irrational Games as you know it. I’ll be starting a smaller, more entrepreneurial endeavor at Take-Two. That is going to mean parting ways with all but about fifteen members of the Irrational team.”

Fast forward three years and welcome Ghost Story Games. Ghost Story released a short but sweet introduction on their new website,

“Ghost Story was founded by twelve former Irrational Games developers and our mission is simple: to create immersive, story-driven games for people who love games that ask something of them. While we believe our new games will have strong appeal to fans of BioShock, our new focus allows us to craft experiences where the gameplay is as challenging as the stories.

 We are not yet ready to share any more on our new game, but we invite you to join us and take part in our community”

Ghost Story did not take its renaming lightly, it’s meant to be a reminder of the studios mission, to be “immersive, exciting, and steeped in community”. Quite fittingly it also conveys a sense of mystery, as details regarding the studios maiden game have not yet been released. However, in a 2015 interview with Game Informer, Levine dropped a few hints. The new title would be a science-fiction themed, first-person RPG, exploring the boundaries between artificial intelligence and its programming. Levine stressed this examination of “what it means to be programmed, that you are a thing that was created by programming. That’s a big theme in the new game. And how much agency you have outside of what you are as a piece of programming instructions.” Ghost Story currently boasts a team of 25 industrious members, with two positions still available.

 

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.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 30 Jun, 2016 At 08:41 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar2K games has unveiled the BioShock collection. A remastering of the games for current gen consoles and PC. This will include all the games and DLC and new commentary from Ken Levine. Check out the information below.

 

‘Introducing BioShock: The Collection! Relive the depths of Rapture and sail through Columbia in this remastered edition including all three ??BioShock? games, complete with all single-player DLC and a never-before-seen video series with commentary from Ken Levine. Coming September 13, 2016 to PS4, Xbox One, and PC.’

BioShock

The video series, “Director’s Commentary: Imagining BioShock,” featuring Ken Levine, creative director on BioShock and BioShock Infinite and Shawn Robertson, animation lead on BioShock and animation director on BioShock Infinite.
Museum of Orphaned Concepts: Walk through a Rapture-inspired virtual museum that gives you a behind-the-scenes look at discarded concepts that never made it into the original game.
Challenge Rooms: Outside the story of BioShock, tackle puzzles, splicers and Big Daddies. And achievements, of course.

BioShock 2 (**Multiplayer will not be included)

Minerva’s Den: A self-contained BioShock story, presenting a side of Rapture you’ve never seen before. Use expanded combat abilities with the experimental Ion Laser and chaotic Gravity Well Plasmid, unique to Minerva’s Den, as you face off against the Lancer Big Daddy.
Protector Trials: Take control of an Alpha Series Big Daddy woken out of hibernation just before the events of BioShock 2.

BioShock Infinite

Burial at Sea – Episode 1 & 2 Add-On Packs: This major two-part DLC pack completes the BioShock trilogy by taking the series back to where it all began. Return to Rapture just before the events of the original BioShock!
Clash in the Clouds Add-On Pack: Face 60 waves of challenges across four additional maps for leaderboard glory and unlock areas to explore in The Columbian Archaeological Society hub museum.
Columbia’s Finest Pack: Combines the contents of the Industrial Revolution Pack and the Upgrade Pack and includes 500 Silver Eagles, five Lock Picks, six unique Gear items, and two weapon upgrades: Comstock’s China Broom Shotgun and Comstock’s Eagle Eye Sniper Rifle.

*BioShock Infinite is not being remastered on PC because it already meets current-gen console standards and runs smoothly on high visual settings.

1080p/60fps on consoles

Free PC upgrades for owners of Bioshock 1,2 and Minerva’s Den

 

 

Source

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.

By otakuman5000 On 30 Jul, 2013 At 11:45 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, Previews, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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1361226210-timed-exclusive-lizI can say for everyone who has finished the game that the ending was nothing but a series of mind-blowing, awe-striking, pure amazing-ness. I can also say that 99% of those who have finished the game, we wanted to play it again immediately.

Folks, I have some wonderful news for you. The new Bioshock Infinite DLC, Burial At Sea, is the first of a two part story featuring all
new environments, and all new interactions between Booker and – yes, a playable Elizabeth. This adventure will take us back to Rapture, where all the mindblowing originated from, however you will be  in a way that will fulfill all your hopes and dreams for the game. Booker and Elizabeth’s relationship will be on an entirely new level, and I can’t express how excited I truly am. I promised myself I wouldn’t insert any spoilers, so I can’t reveal much about the why’s and what’s. You can, however, safely watch the trailer with no spoilers. For the rest of us, we will squeal with utter excitement.

Although there is no release date, there is, however, a new DLC that was dropped today called Clash in the Clouds, featuring an arena type of fighting, priced at $5, there is a season pass priced at $20 which includes Clash in the Clouds, and episodes 1 and 2 of Burial at Sea. Yes, 3 DLCs for $20, whereas each episode is priced at $14.99 each.

If you purchase the season pass, you’ll also get the Early Bird Special Pack. Included in it is a machine gun and pistol damage upgrade, gold skins for both weapons, five infusion bottles, and four pieces of gear. Soooooo.. if I wasn’t stoked about it before, my interested is definitely piqued now.

As a special treat for you all, here is some input from our very beautiful, lovely, and talented Sofie Sheik:

I share Heather’s previous sentiments about being excited for the upcoming Bioshock Infinite Burial At Sea DLC. I have been staunchly anti-DLC since the introduction of the concept, making very few exceptions. I’m so anti-DLC that I am surprised that I even wanted to comment on its release, to be honest, but I believe that the Burial at Sea DLC is important. In the trailer for the DLC, we see Elizabeth, the Artificial Sidekick Intelligence of Bioshock Infinite, as a smouldering femme fatale type character, instead of the youthful, innocent Elizabeth we became acqainted with in Bioshock Infinite.

I find the transition between archetypes fascinating, mostly because it doesn’t happen often, especially when video games are involved. Most of the type, video game characters are static in their personalities, because it’s hard enough to establish the personality of multiple characters through a medium like a video game, especially early on in the game itself. The exception to the rule seems to be the innocent, naive hero/best friend turned dark, anti-social and brooding type (also known as paladins), but most of the time, the hero is a male. Perhaps I am showing my age, but the last major female character I can recall that changed so quickly (I say quickly because in this example, we do not have the information of the circumstance of Elizabeth’s purported change) is Olivia Newton John’s character in Grease, a change so memorable that to this day, I copied her “cigarette on the floor” signature move and still use it.

A lot of people had issues with the original Elizabeth because they felt that she was very wooden, so perhaps they will like playing as the femme fatale version of Elizabeth more – I know I (probably!) will. I’m just very excited to see the elements of Americana noir permeate pre-destroyed Rapture just in general. One of my qualms with Bioshock Infinite was that it was a complete departure stylistically from the original Bioshock (as Bioshock 2 doesn’t exist right? ) and that was incredibly disappointing. I also hope that this creates a flood of noir-inspired artworks and cosplays and all of the other things that people are so wonderfully inventive about.

Irrational Games has been quiet about the exact release date, so hopefully if we cross our fingers and wish on enough stars, the release date for Burial At Sea will be tomorrow.

No GravatarThe mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist…” – Rosalind Lutece, Barriers to Trans-Dimensional Travel, 1889

Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt. As you soar into the floating city of Columbia for the first time you see exactly where Irrational Games’ ambitions lie; Amongst the clouds with this incredible city. The game manages to achieve all of it’s ambitions and more, with a story the likes of which we haven’t seen since the original Bioshock, varied and new first person gameplay and a stunning, truly realised world for the player to explore. This game does what it’s predecessor did in 2007; it changes and challenges the gameplay and story of this console generation and reinvents them to become a truly incredible experience.

The game world is in almost direct contrast to that of Irrational Games’ original Bioshock, we see a rich and colourful city in the prime of it’s existence  whilst also involving the player in Columbia’s breathtaking descent. Columbia has it’s own set of rules, it is a fully realised world with a vibrant cast of characters that really make the world feel real. People walk around, reacting both to the player and surrounding events, with clever and involving conversations that reflect the world around them. The game is set in alternate reality 1912 and shows off the views and values of an America steeped in religious rule, patriotism and severe xenophobia. The content in game is quite harsh in contrast to the vibrant city and challenges the player to look at society today with reference to the game. Every area of the game feels different and diverse, from the squalid Shantytown to the opulence of the streets above and then into the skies of Columbia aboard the many airships and floating platforms, never ceasing to pull the extraordinary narrative along with each detailed environment.

The streets of Columbia

The streets of Columbia

As the player enters Columbia they are introduced to the basic gameplay elements of Vigors (akin to the original Bioshock’s Plasmids) and the variety of weapons through a carnival, set up as part of the celebrations for Comstock, the game’s antagonist. In your first hour you will experience combat with some basic guns, vigors and the transport method doubling as a melee weapon; the skyhook. The skyhook allows for some incredible firefights and a new mobility unseen in gaming. Just hop aboard a skyline and you can drop behind enemies, into cover or zip around the area quickly all the while returning fire from attackers. The game’s AI is also quite clever, with enemies and “Hard Hitters” (different, more tough enemies such as the handyman and motorized patriots) able to use the skylines and move around like the player. Then the game takes it up a notch, in story, gameplay and emotion with the introduction of Elizabeth.

Elizabeth. This one character serves as the core of the story and gameplay. From the moment you meet her she barely leaves your side, constantly adding to the game. In combat she will help you by finding health, salts and ammo and also cash outside of combat. She also has the ability to open ‘tears’ in the environment, pulling items from other worlds and reality into being in the locale. She also adds real emotion to the gameplay. You begin to rely on her and think about combat situations with her abilities in mind. In the few short absences she has from the player you genuinely miss the character. Her powers and dialogue always make the player feel more invested in the story, her presence never once takes anything away from the experience. Her AI is also incredibly well done, she will explore and interact with the environment, once again bringing areas of the game to life and you will want to sit in one spot and see all the animations and dialogue the developers have crammed into each of the game’s areas.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth

I have talked about the story a lot so far, the narrative really pulls the whole experience together. The story crafted by Irrational Games masterfully weaves the setting, values and original story together into a story that will keep the player invested in the game’s fifteen plus hours of gameplay. Without revealing too much, the story centres around the protagonist, Booker Dewitt, tasked with travelling to Columbia to rescue Elizabeth to pay off his gambling debt. The city is ruled by “The Prophet” Comstock, who has kept Elizabeth locked away for years. Bring in the Vox Populi, a resistance movement of the lower classes and racial outcasts, fighting against Comstock’s extremely one sided rule.  The story has the occasional lull in sections, but they always followed by something amazing soon after, only increasing the effect of the succeeding event. Once you dive into the narrative the tale morphs and evolves at a cracking pace up to the jaw dropping finale, where players will be left thinking long after the credits roll.

Overall the game is an amazing experience. Irrational Games have done an amazing job of bringing the world of Columbia to life. The story, gameplay and above all the work that went into Elizabeth help this game to exceed all expectations and in turn reinvent the FPS genre amongst it’s many more stale counterparts. The game is incredible in scope and story, well worthy of any gamers time, earning it’s well deserved place amongst some of the finest games of the generation.

In my mind, this game deserves no other score than, Go and Buy it NOW!