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BioShock

Shooting and missing

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

The discussion around BioShock Infinite's combat doesn't just involve the question of whether its quantity of violence is essential to the story (yes), or whether telling a story where its quantity of violence is essential is interesting or worthwhile (no). Some of the discussion has centered around the question of whether the combat mechanics are any good. Eric Schwarz has written a fantastic post that describes most of the combat mechanics, and I want to expand on it a little. Even though I think violence helps to express the kind of character Booker is, I don't think the combat systems of BioShock Infinite do much to help characterize him, and in some ways actively oppose that characterization.

The Constant Monster

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

BioShock Infinite is a violent game, and it has to be. That's a contrast to BioShock, an equally violent game where combat conveyed nothing about its main character and had little to do with the game's themes other than spurring the player to engage in its various economies. Any stimulus—using plasmids to solve environmental puzzles, for instance—would have sufficed. That's not so in Columbia. Violence is essential to who Booker DeWitt is, and what Columbia is. Their story cannot be told without it.

Nobody at the tower

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

One of the things I found most striking about BioShock Infinite is how sloppy it was. The ending, as I already discussed, is a self-contradicting mess held together only by sharply-timed revelations and plonky piano music. The quantum morass of its final moments is only one of the game's problems, though.

Only one of Infinite Endings

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

One of the problems with stories that use the concept of multiple universes is that the word "multiple" doesn't even begin to describe the scale of existence. Consider, for instance, the universes in which I just reached through the internet and handed you a cookie (hope you like pistachio sandies!). Now, in the context of known physical laws, this is an extremely unlikely event, so much so that if you were to try to write out the probability by putting down a 1 and writing zeroes in front of it, you could go the whole lifetime of our universe without ever reaching the decimal point.

BioShock Infinite Review

Schrödinger's Dunk

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

HIGH The classic revisionism of the Hall of Heroes.

LOW The lazy, pointless, and offensive "equivalence" narrative that opens the second half of the game.

WTF I've been finding machine-gun rounds in pickle barrels the whole game, but there's no ammo in this armament crate?

Armchair Analysis: Three possible causes for BioShock Infinite's delay to February 2013

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

The announcement of the BioShock Infinite delay to late February of 2013 doesn't surprise me in the slightest. The original October 2012 release date seemed a bit risky, given the already-impressive lineup of software that is slated to ship near the same time. Assassin's Creed III, Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Wii U hardware, and other games would likely have eaten into potential sales for BioShock Infinite. Would these other software releases have led to disappointing sales for Infinite?

BioShock 2: Minerva's Den has much-needed human element

BioShock 2: Minerva's Den Screenshot

Just finished the recent BioShock 2 DLC, Minerva's Den. In an interesting turn of events, I think the final scenes of this DLC are probably some of the best to be found in the series, and it got me thinking... if there was one thing missing from both of the BioShock games, it was that there was not enough of the human element.

A few quick thoughts on BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite Screenshot

Today was a bit of an unusual day in that I was actually near a computer with a few free minutes while a big games reveal was happening. Of course, that game was Irrational's BioShock Infinite. (The timing was fairly ironic since I just finished BioShock 2 and turned in a review, but that was sheer coincidence.)

BioShock 2 would have made great DLC

BioShock 2 Screenshot

Thanks to the current lull in big releases (thank goodness!!) I had enough time to start and finish BioShock 2 without putting my review schedule in jeopardy.

If you missed it, here's my review of the original BioShock. As heretical as it may seem to some, I wasn't completely in love with the game. Don't get me wrong—it was certainly an enjoyable experience that I don't regret, but it didn't impact me or make the same impression that it apparently did for the majority of people who played it. As a result, I didn't have very high expectations for the sequel, and I didn't feel very disappointed when credits rolled.

I think I'm going to actually pen a Second Opinion on it so I won't spill all my thoughts here, but I think in a nutshell it would have been the world’s best DLC if it had been half as long and had increased the role of some of the peripheral characters. Being a Big Daddy was a great idea, but it didn't feel very different from being the main character of the first game. In fact, the game suffers from a feeling of sameness overall, with the few creatively bright spots going mostly unexploited.

It certainly wasn't bad, I just think the developers' sights were set a bit low.

BioShock 2 Review

The Waves are Many, but the Sea is One

BioShock 2 Screenshot

HIGH Sloshing through the darkness at the end of Siren Alley.

LOW The unimaginative construction, storyline, and objectives in Dionysus Park.

WTF Doesn't it matter to you that I killed all those innocent men?

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