By Video_Game_King 6 Comments
Borderlands( I'm just glad that I've been getting all the big games out of the way now.) The After Years, No More Heroes 2, and (I hope very soon) BioShock 2 will all give way to time murdering games like Final Fantasy XIII, Fragile Dreams, and Infinite Space. Keep in mind I still have to deal with a bunch of old PS1 games and some very Japanese RPGs on the Wii. I'd have added Borderlands to that list, but there's this blog. Sources tell me that only one can be true. My sources also tell me to stop being such a fucking idiot and write the blog already.
Alright, Jesus. I came into this game looking at it as a colorful, more refined Fallout 3 with an annoyinger version of R2D2. As such, I decided it was time to summon the sexy wrath of Bushwald Sexyface and watch him sexy up the land yet again. However, as the game opened, I found myself on a bus staring at four characters. It soon became obvious that I had to play as them and only them. Besides preventing the land from seeing the greatness that is and always shall be Bushwald Sexyface, it also limits your play style, since each character plays very differently and stubbornly refuses to try out another skill set. Whatever, I chose the sniper, jumped off the bus like I was in Speed, and was presented with the story: I have landed in Pandora, an Apocalypse-stricken Connecticut (this is what happens when George Bush decides to go to a college reunion/revisit his birthplace). A hotter version of Miranda Lawson tells me of the Vault, a special place that only opens once every 200 years. I assume "Vault" is code for "bunker to protect us from George Bush." It is now my job to find the key to this bunker and get away from the wasteland that the Bush Administration has created.
But just because I have to find Bush-free paradise doesn't mean everything I do is towards the goal of escaping...whatever the hell you guys called most of the last decade. In fact, there's a lot of room to dick around in the game, as I was taking every job I could get my hands on, from feeding somebody's pet monstrosity to adding a new layer of paint to their shit-shack. This was probably because I had no idea which missions were and were not directly related to the story. This is something I blame the game for, since unless it directly says, "Go find the Vault, you moron.", you're not going to know whether or not what you're doing directly relates to the story at all. What's that? Tiny little paragraphs for each mission? What are you talking about, voices in my mind? Oh, with each mission, I get an explanation as to what I'm doing and how it contributes to my overall goals and stuff? Fuck that, I just want to shoot the piss out of things!
And this game does a decent job of letting me do that. There's.....holy shit, about a jillion guns? Well, it certainly feels like that, given that I was constantly tripping over guns. (See? This is what happens when you cater to right wing gun nuts.) Several problems, though. First, you'll never be able to carry every single gun you find, meaning you'll have to leave them lying around, waiting for some other insane weirdo to come along and be insane with them. "But w-" STOP INTERRUPTING MY BLOGS! Look, I know you could, in theory, just pick up the better guns, upgrading yourself constantly on your adventures while pawning the guns at the nearest shop. Again, several problems: most of the guns you find do less damage than a leaking Super Soaker, and, more often than not, the guns you do find that are better are usually of a higher level requirement than you have. Granted, it's always something manageable, like one level, but I still don't like the developers purposefully taunting me like that. So here's what I did: instead of using any of the jillion guns, I stuck with about 1 or 2 guns at any given time. OK, I didn't do that on purpose, but I may as well have; things like corrosive damage and elemental bonuses didn't really matter when I found myself either shooting people in the head from 5 feet away or just giving them a third eye from an inch away.
Now that I've absolutely destroyed the main feature of this game, what else can I desecrate? Oh, how about the skill system? Wait, no, I can't, since it's actually kind of OK. Sure, the freedom's limited, but I touched on that before, didn't I? Really, the only problem I have is that some of the skills are clearly meant for multiplayer. You don't have to get them, but they do take up space that could've been used for single player skills. I'd go into detail about the multiplayer, but being the Howard Hughes type that I am, I'm afraid that's just impossible. Yet from what I've gathered (IE what the loading screens have told me from time to time), it's actually pretty decent, since the difficulty ADAPTS TO THE AMOUNT OF PLAYERS. TAKE HINTS, OTHER SHOOTERS. And not just in the co-op department; try taking notes on the regenerating health aspect, as well. I know what you're thinking, so tell yourself to shut up and listen to me, crazy person. You have two types of health: a nice, regenerating outer layer and a meaty inner layer that won't grow back. Best of both worlds, right? Then wait, where does this next feature come from? Should my meat suddenly run out, I have an opportunity to kill somebody else before "dying." Kill somebody (and it's easy, try it yourself), and you magically grow back all your health, recklessly ready to stab people in the head again. Fail, and you regenerate nearby for a minimal cost, which has to be more of an insult to the Grim Reaper than Devil Survivor ever was.
Crap! This cannot end well.....um.....Look! Owls! There, that should have distracted you from this; it certainly distracted me. What the hell was I talking about? Oh, right, vehicles. Or, rather, vehicle, since there's pretty much only one in the entire game. Oh, sure, you get to paint it different colors and outfit it with one of two weapons, but you already have one of them anyway, so what's the point of doubling up? Just in case you don't want things to explode? You're playing a first person shooter, that's what they're for! If you don't want things exploding in explodey explosions of death, stick to adventure games or something! If you want decent vehicle controls where aiming doesn't involve driving in circles and hoping whatever you're shooting dies, this isn't the game. If you're looking for a game where vehicles are largely necessary, again, this isn't the game. Provided you're near a warp post, you can just warp to your objective, objectify the hell out of it, warp back, and repeat. Sure, it can get a bit repetitive, but not having it would artificially lengthen the hell out of the game. As you guys should know (you do know, don't you?), I'm not into that kinda crap.
Which is odd, since I've kept this thing going for an unnecessary six paragraphs. Last one, I promise: the graphics are a bit disappointing. Sure, the box art looks decent both inside and out (weird, I know), and I previously said that it's more colorful and stuff, but from a technical level, this game needs some serious refinement. Like what, you say? Well, how about blurry textures? Every time I entered a new area, it looked as though I entered the Land of the Anti Alias. Only after a few minutes of yelling at the TV did the textures load properly. What my rage could not fix was the character looks. I know this is incredibly petty, but they simply don't emote. They all seem to have that Metal Gear Solid quality about them, where their lips don't move at all, but without the bobble-head part that I liked in Metal Gear Solid. Even more petty is the fact that I'm blaming this on George Bush, somehow. So, in conclusion, George Bush is the Apocalypse Award.
- Wow, lots and lots of guns!.....That I won't use, because these 3 work just fine!
- Quite a bit of focus on multiplayer, for good reasons I won't embrace.
- Vehicles that handle like crap and contain absolutely no variety whatsoever.
He forgot the part where they begin with a commercial that addresses some ambiguous fear.
BioShock 2 ( .....Well, shit.) Here I was, thinking that this next game was going to be an old school game you guys have never heard of and that I didn't like. But what I didn't realize is that my return trip to Rapture would only take up a weekend at best. What's worse, there was no killing of hippies whatsoever in this new Rapture. "Why the hippies", you ask? Well, the new game takes place in 1968, which is close enough to Woodstock to allow me to shoot hippies.
But no hippies were present. Instead, we've returned to the underwater city (eh, what the hell *posts Under Da Sea with regards to Ryan's messages*) and we have a new leader. She (yes, she) has changed gears entirely, going from Ryan's state of neglect to more of a state of Nazi. OK, not Nazi, but it's Orwellian, so close enough, right? Personally, I was expecting them maybe to go with Nietzsche, given the whole master/slave thing, or maybe even J.D. Salinger's vision of Holden Caulfield exploring the sunken city in search of the ducks. Wait, what the hell am I talking about? Here we have a story that's actually decent (if a bit derivative), with some sort of symbolism, meaning, message, and all that. As I hinted at earlier, it serves as a decent counterpoint to Ryan's Rapture, showing that unlimited freedom which reveals the natural limits of man is just as bad as an authoritarian state where people forget their humanity, that an inflated ego is the same as blind subservience. Hell, they're pretty much the same thing, aren't they?
I'd say the same about the actual gameplay, given how so much feels so exactly the same, but BioShock 2 seems to be following the current sequel fad of taking the same game, repairing the gutters, painting it a slightly different color, and then making sure the buyers don't notice the high count on the odometer. For example, remember that leaking gutter in the original BioShock? You know, how you could only play as a Big Daddy for one level, and it featured none of the pimp techniques you saw defending Little Sisters before? Guess what? 2K seems to have apologized for that, since now the entire game focuses on a revived Big Daddy roaming the halls for his now grown-up bitch. As if the pedo vibe hasn't sunk in just yet, let me add this: there's a new focus on the girls growing up, and apparently, puberty turns the girls into overly protective bitches who will destroy your eardrums if you touch their shit. Doesn't matter if you're rescuing it through your unexplained Jesus touch powers or harvesting their slimy insides; they'll tear you to shreds, regardless.
Chris Hansen has entered my castle and warned me that one more pedophile reference will summon the fury of his tree-police force. OK, fine, I'll move onto the Big Daddies. Yep, they're back, but they're not too threatening; you can walk right up to them and give them high fives if you want to. It makes sense, but removes a bit of the tension from the game, since seeing their shadows no longer means you're fucked. Instead, high fiving with your left hand leads you down Buttfuck Boulevard. Or not. They're a bit on the easy side, this time, but it may have been the ammo I was using: just rip them to pieces with the machine gun, raid their corpse, and watch as the game presents you with the new morality system. Given that you're now a Big Daddy, it actually takes on a more personal tone than the last game, since these girls now see you as capable of saving them. That's one of the reasons I decided to rescue each one, others including "I was evil last time" and "being evil now is not worth the hassle." If you actually want to be a total prick, now you have to adopt them, make them suck the life out of nearby corpses, and THEN rip the slug out of their backs. It seems like a lot of effort for what will inevitably be less reward than just rescuing the little bitches, and either way, you summon the wrath of the shrieking monstrosity that is middle school. I know, Big Sister is always watching you, feeling of ever-present monitoring, but it feels somewhat moot if all my actions result in the wrath of deafening anger. Wait, OK, that's actually a good point.
Wow, I feel as though I'm giving this game too little credit. It's still BioShock, you're still swapping between shooting spikes into people's jaws (always satisfying) and hitting them with your plasmid wrath....even if it is useless. Wait a minute, this is why I was giving the game less credit than I intended! I still see leaks on that houseboat's gutters! You still have plasmids that are completely useless, like sneaking and drill-only ones! You also didn't bother changing the arrow....mainly because that still works as a good guide. But how do you explain....um.....damn it, this is a really good game. It's hard to find flaws in this game. Hell, even the minor stuff that doesn't serve any practical purpose in the game, like the tiny underwater portions and the Quick-Time-Event-esque hacking bits, still win me over somehow (in these cases, their beauty and the sense of urgency that now comes with hacking).
What I can criticize is the end portion of the game. I'm not going to spoil anything, I still find it rather meaningful and complex in its own right, but I can sum it up as "BioShock with tits." Does that count as a spoiler? Yes? Screw you, here's a major spoiler: you never get to enter the Vault. Wait, wrong game. I meant to say, "the game is very, very short." I was able to finish it in a few days, as I mentioned before, and I guess I can blame that on one major leak in this houseboat: dying holds no consequence. I know I should've expected that after the intro, but hell, you have Big Sisters now! Aren't they supposed to suck out ADAM? Take a bit of my ADAM away each time, that'd be fair, right? Not that you'll die much in their presence, given that you can pause the game to heal. Again, lack of tension. Still a decent game, it just suffers from the same problems that most sequels today exhibit: lack of creativity. Remember the likes of Final Fantasy VI and Yoshi's Island, when they were very different from their predecessors? Why couldn't BioShock 2 introduce a major new gameplay feature?...............Fuck, I just remembered: it does, in the form of multiplayer. I haven't played it, but given the Team Fortress 2 comparisons I've heard, I feel as though I have. If that's not enough, I have seen somebody playing it. Oh, shut up, I don't have anything mean to say about the multiplayer. I can't comment on how Plasmids affect it, but I can say that it recreates the chaos and desperation of Rapture. Hold on a minute! Is the multiplayer.....contributing to the story? *backs self into corner, rocks in fetal position*
- Hooray for deep stories that sate my intellectual appetite as of late! That alone gets it the That Pimply Nerd Award for the One Thing Which All Games Should Copy Notes from in Class!
- Boo for semi-minimal upgrades!
- Hooray for it still being BioShock!