(SPOILERS) Why I'm disappointed with Bioshock Infinite's ending

Let me first state that I thoroughly enjoyed the game. I started on Hard difficulty and was challenged in all of the places that you would think. Despite the title of this post I am ok with the fiction that is presented at the end of Infinite. Going through the game a second time and listening to the spoilercast gave me a few extra things to think about and the concept of an infinite number of stories works for me.

My disappointment in the ending of the game comes from a compliment I want to give the rest of the game. They did an excellent job of making me emotionally invested in the relationship between DeWitt and Elizabeth. I have tried to think of other times that I was so invested in a character or even the events of a story. Shadow of the Colossus comes to mind, but I'm confident there are better examples. Elizabeth never was a burden, and they did such a fantastic job moving her emotionally from the girl who twirls at the thought of a Paris to the woman who wants to end suffering that I jumped on that wagon as well. Towards the end of the game, after all of the savage Vox Populi attacks on the city, after they tortured Elizabeth and I rescued her again, all I wanted to do was get her to safety. I wanted to end the Chaos that the game had clearly descended into with the Founder-headed people in the asylum. I felt like the game had built to a wonderful crescendo.

But then the story took a turn and changed the meaning of the game to the metaverse and broad concepts of what "Bioshock" is as a story. I found that interesting, and although it felt like a distraction from the broader story I thought we were moving in the right (for me) when we learned that Anna/Elizabeth was DeWitt's child. The broad story arc of protecting and saving Elizabeth fit well into that. Then it became about how DeWitt is Comstock just before the game ended.

Playing the original Bioshock was about Rapture (at least to me). Trying to understand the city, it's players and how everything went down. Infinite stopped being about Columbia as soon as you go through the first tear (I believe Brad pointed out this in the spoilercast) your understanding of what makes Columbia interesting fades. You struggle to understand how this Columbia is different from the last but then you jump again and at that point it is no longer about the city. That works just fine, because (unlike the original Bioshock) it is now about the girl. But then at the very end the story doesn't deliver on the new paradigm.

So my beef with the ending is that while Bioshock was about a man and a city (that lighthouse thing is bullshit in my opinion), Infinite was about a man and a woman. At least it was through all of the game, but then in the end it decides to be about a commentary on infinite possibilities and doesn't close the chapter opened by your journey with Elizabeth.

Great game. Good mechanics. Fucking excellent story, but while the ending closes the story told by the Bioshock franchise (I agree they can't really make another one that is a worthy heir) it doesn't close the story presented in the game.



Backtracking through a dungeon.

I was running through Valthume a few nights ago getting some vials. Everything seemed to be going well except for the spiders. As an arachnophobe I don't like it when the spiders show up. I know this is silly, but I usually have to pause the game and resort to everything I have to be destroy them from a distance. (Seriously, I used to use the rocket launcher to kill spiders back in Resident Evil because I wanted them to die immediately) Some of the Draughs were tough, but I think I have killed all of them. Alas, there seems to be one problem: one of the vials has ended up on top of a vertical tomb and I can't reach it. I've tried shooting it to get it to move, but that doesn't work. I've tried shouting at it, but that hasn't worked either. I'm out of options that I can think of. I know there is a telekinesis spell out there, but it is an adept level spell and I am a melee user. So it seems like it would take me a long time to get the spell, and it still might not work.

Which means I am entertaining the idea of redoing the entire dungeon (spiders and all!) in order to get the one vial. It kind of feels silly, and I'm not usually one who has to do everything in the game. I am avoiding the thieve's guild stuff because my character doesn't really sneak well. He just wants to run in and bash things. But for some reason I am having a hard time walking away from the quest, knowing that the vial is right there.

Thoughts? Should I redo the dungeon? Move on? Is there an option to get the vial I haven't thought of yet? We'll see what the internet has to say. Until then I'm going to have to do something else with my spart time other that Skyrim.


My Game of the year 2011 (not really worth reading)

Looking back at the year I played more than I thought I would. Much of it was between the hours of 10pm and midnight. There were some good games in there and there were some bad games. So here is my list of the games I played in 2011. Not all of them are represented on the site, but most of them were so we will limit it to those available. This is in no way meant to reflect the accomplishments of each of these games. I DO NOT think that Mario & Luigi is a better game than L.A. Noire. I just had more fun playing one than I did the other.

No. 1

Portal 2: I got this game twice. Once on steam and then again on the Xbox for my birthday. Unlike other games, I wasn't late to this party. After having so much fun with the original game I was confident that I wanted to play this immediately. After running through the story (which was both better than Portal's and worse?) I coerced a friend to come over and play through all of the coop stages. I know there is DLC out there that I need to get to, and I am looking forward to picking it back up. Let me explain my "better and worse" comment. I think the story of Cave Johnson and the story of Wheatley are stellar. The thing that I didn't like as much as Portal was how direct the game was in telling you the story. That really isn't a very good complaint, but that is how it felt.

No. 2

Skyrim: I really, really loved Fallout 3. I bought all of the DLC and got my S rank in that game. Skyrim has been more of the same. I feel like the world is organic, even though I know it isn't. I have by no means finished this game, but I cas easily see myself playing for the better part of the next year. This game is amazing. Last night I jumped a little when I saw a dragon's shadow race across the ground in front of me. The dragon didn't engage, and there was this moment of "do I take a shot or not" that makes that game so wonderful. I'm confident I will play again with a different style of character.

No. 3

Bioshock 2: I got to this game really late, and with an amount of skepticism due to other people's comments about the game. But I absolutely loved Bioshock, so I had to give it a shot. I was disappointed. While the parts that people bashed about the game weren't that great, Bioshock 2 was a fun and atmosphere-rich shooter. I didn't get all of the DLC (only Minerva's Den), but I played through the game twice to get all of the achievements. Like Portal, the sequel didn't match to the first, but it was still better than the average #2.

No. 4

Borderlands: One great thing about being late to games is getting GOTY editions with all of the DLC included. This game was a lot of fun. It was easy to not pay attention to the story and just go through killing things. I spent a lot of time with this, but never really got to the DLC. I'm sure I will in the future, but for now I have gotten my fix.

No. 5

Halo: Reach: I was very pleasantly surprised by this game. being underpowered (compared to Master Chief) felt good. The story kept me going pretty well. I even played it twice (again on legendary? or maybe it was heroic). This was a game where I kept the volume up so I could hear the dialogue. Arguably the best Halo game I've played (keep in mind I don't play multiplayer).

No. 6

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: This was the reason I played AC2. I'm not sure if this was significantly better than AC2. Many of the systems felt better, and the story felt better (at least the non-Desmond story). The downside was that I had played AC2 so recently I think I got burned out on the whole Assassin's Creed concept. I did a lot of the side missions, and all of the Borgia towers, but I didn't get as into the town or the shops as I thought I would.

No. 7

Civilization IV: On ridiculous sale from steam at the end of last year, I kept playing it as 2011 rolled in. It is a Civ game, which is praise enough for this game. I got deep enough where I was figuring out how to determine optimum paths for a cultural victory. This game was great . . . so great that I have yet to buy Civ V.

No. 8

Pac Man CE: DX: this game was great. It was a suck a wonderful thing to play for just a few minutes before I started to go to bed. It was easy to get the achievements, but hard to do well in. I never watched any youTube videos, but I have no idea how some of those high scores are even possible. As a kid who grew up in the arcade, this was an awesome experience.

No. 9

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story: This is the type of game that I would start and never finish. But somehow I was able to make it all the way through this interesting romp of a M&L game. The story was interesting, although lapses in play meant I had to look at FAQs sometimes. All in all a great experience, but I don't know if I would go do it again.

No. 10

Etrian Odyssey III: I started playing this game as a group that was determined to finish the game and chat about it in order to figure it out. That went well until I realized that most other people had finished the game and I was stuck on the 18th floor. I really did enjoy the game, however. The grinding wasn't terrible, and I was able to stay engaged with the story. Being on the DS I was able to play it literally before I fell asleep and also when I traveled. In the end it was the loss of compatriots that made me stop playing the game.

The Rest:

Assassin's Creed 2: I got Brotherhood for Christmas last year, and I figured that I would want to play #2 before I got to it. I'll say that I enjoyed this game for the game play, which was greatly improved from AC1. But I didn't really pay attention to the story. This is probably the result of playing late at night with the volume down, but it meant I never really knew what was going on. That was fine, because the collectable components of the game kept me going and I finished the whole thing.

Civ: Colonization: At the end of last year I got Civ IV and three expansions for something like $10 on steam. I played a lot of Civ IV, but also messed around with Colonization. It is a very different game than Civ, with a complete economy section that made the game very interesting. I never really won, but I don't really know what that would even mean.

L.A. Noire: I got this game for my birthday and was super excited about it. I was behind the curve a little, so I knew most of what the game was about (adventure game with face reading). I started the game with all good intentions, but had a hard time keeping it going due to the pace. Most likely it was due to the way in which I am able to play games, but I had a hard time keeping my interest up for the game. I'm sure I will go back and finish it since one of my friends works for Rockstar, but I don't know when.

MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012: Yeah, I jumped back into this habit for a little while. It was fun, but the online and deck management still aren't where I would like them to be.

Crysis 2: This game was sensory overload. I was all prepared to sit down and play it for a long time, but as soon as I got to the first real combat section I was overwhelmed. I'm going to go back to it, because I know the combat system is worth it, but for now it is on the back burner.

DQ9: I'm still in the middle of this game, but it has been fine so far. I have always wanted to finish a Dragon's Quest game, which led me to DQ8 on the PS2. never got far in that one, but have done better in this one. I doubt I'll be able to stick it through to the end, but I have enjoyed the silly story telling in the game. I haven't enjoyed the leveling system. Spending points to get towards a skill that I don't understand only to get no real gain this level feels odd.

Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box: A christmas present that I started playing in the last week. It is just like every other Layton game so far. If there are subtle differences . . . I don't know what they are.

Alan Wake: I started this game and then almost immediately stopped it. I couldn't get past the combat mechanics at a time when my game time is so valuable. Oh well.


Remember that sick daughter comment

It isn't as helpful as you might think. Mads ended up heading to the ER and then over night observation. Having a daughter really sick does help you play games at all. I made a little progress before then, finally beating the Wight Knight and continuing the story. I realize now that I haven't even gotten to the part where I can alter my profession (I can't remember what the game calls it). Square does like to spread things out, so I'm sure that will be coming soon. Grinding is turning into a bit of a bore, but that is the nature of these games so I can't really complain. I'm glad I have my martial artist.


DQ9: A sick daughter really helps

I had pretty much put the game down and hadn't made progress in a while. Playing for 10 minutes every now and again wasn't conducive to getting things done. Although I was able to get through the first quest where you help out the inn keepers daughter (Patty), things started to stall after I tried to head to Stormway (?). Well, nothing gives you more time to play like being sick, or in my case having to stay home with a sick toddler. All she wanted to do all day was watch Yo Gabba Gabba while sitting on my lap in bed. That still left me with 2 hands so I could try to start up again.

The sad thing is that I didn't make much progress from a story perspective. I was already in Stormway, but hadn't talked to the king about the Wight Night. So I had that conversation and they went to go tackle the Knight. (Maybe I'll make a page about him). That fight didn't go well. So I ended up back in the city, tried it again and failed. Then I leved up for a bit (11, I think) and we for it again . . . still no luck. Defeated, I headed back to the king to let him know. I thought my losing might have been part of the story line (something square has done in the past). This idea was helped by the fact that the "story up to now" noted that I had lost to the Wight Knight. The king let me on to the idea of having more people in my party (did I just miss this the first time?). So I headed to the pub and got three more people for my party. I'm rolling as a Minstrel, a Mage, a Martial Artist and a Thief. The big problem was their low level, so I went around leveling them up until they were about level 4. At that point I decided to go for and takle the Wight Knight again. I lasted longer this fight, but that might have been just because there were more targets for the knight (none of which help up very long).

I'll keep knocking at that door today since my Daughter is still sick, but my wife is going to take over 1/2 of the day so I doubt I'll get much farther. I think I need to just keep grinding until I can finally beat that SOB.


DQ9: Day 2 - Out of the Clouds

I figured I woud go to be around 10pm last night in order to get some time in, but by the time I was done getting the house ready and stuff ready for today it was 10:30. So I got in bed, with the lights on, in order play a little bit. I think the most frustrating thing about games like this at my current station in life is that I need to talk to everyone. I don't feel compelled to out of completion sake, but rather because I'm worried that I'm going to miss some plot point that will keep me from getting stuck. I do like that the game has a "Story so far" button. I'm not sure how useful it is going to be, but I can imagine that after a week or so I might need it in order to pick the game back up.

Last night I got out of the clouds and became the Guardian of the town. Some people noticed a difference, but most didn't. Walking around the town I met some people. It seems like Erinn and Ivon (?) are going to be the most important for now. The rest of my time was spent walking around doing nice things for people. Maybe I'll get out of the town today.


DQ9L: What am I thinking?

My "just before" bedtime has been crosswords and reading on my kindle. While looking at my backlog I realized I was still sitting on Dragon Quest 9, so I figured I would start playing that. Lords knows what I am thinking. I am more and more tired everyday and can barely stay awake for the Daily Show. How I am going to make any progress on a JRPG is beyond me. I'm confident I will lose my place quickly or run out of steam like my last endeavor. But until then I think I will try to keep up with a weekly blog citing my progress. As an attempt to keep up with the story I'm going to run through brief story notes as well. Hopefully when I get lost later in the game I'll be able to look back at this and figure out what the fuck is going on.

So far I have played around 10 minutes and haven't made it through the tutorial. The character I created is apparently some sort of Guardian. I've fought in the tutorial combat and it is exactly what I would have expected.


Darksiders Playthrough - Round 1

I managed to put in about 45 minutes last night  before bed.  I'm making sure that I watch all of the cut scenes, because I hear the story is decent.  So far I haven't been disappointed.  It is super metal, which, while not my thing entirely, is kind of fun.  The camera controls feel a little loose, and I find myself over rotating the camera often.  I also am having a hard time getting into the combat.  I feel like it is easy for me to start a combo that is going the wrong direction and become open to attack.  Perhaps that is related to the camera, but it is a little frustrating.  I also encountered on example of an invisible barrier preventing me from jumping off of a wall to the platform beside me.  It was clear that was where I needed to go, but it felt like I needed to be in a super-specific place to make the jump. 
I don't want to complain too much, however, because I am having a fun time with the game, and the story is really paying off.  I imagine it wont take me too long to get through the whole game, but you can never tell with a wife, baby and job.


Next on the list: Darksiders

So I finally got this in the mail, and it seems like a good candidate for getting an S rank.  I don't think there is any multiplayer, which is pretty much my only criteria.  With Shadow Complex, Braid and Portal really close (1-2 achievements), adding Darksiders and one more will get me my 10 S ranks.  Yay!


No special moves?

I finally got Super Street Fighter IV.  I enjoy games, and I really enjoy Street Fighter.  I haven't played significantly since Street Fighter II, but I still enjoy the game.   The struggle to get "better" has been a fun but slow process.   I have done a bit of reading, and have played a decent amount of SFIV, but I didn't feel like I was making progress.  
So yesterday I decided to try an interesting experiment.  I am trying to play without using any special moves.  I'm a Ryu player, so it feels incredibly weird not throwing fireballs to manage distance and not pushing jumpers with DPs.  But I feel like I am getting a better sense of the difference between the close ranges and recognizing whiffs.  I'm curious if this will be the onset of become a better player.  I think the plan is to slowly try to add specials, supers and etc. to the mix so that I use them well and not just spam fireballs over and over.   We'll see where this goes.

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