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Wrapping up Rapture: Finally Finished Bioshock and S-Rank

 *might contain spoilers for Bioshock*

Well, I've finally got into my Bioshock copy and pounded it out and easily got all the achievements for the S-Rank.
It took me awhile to get around to it. Unfortunately Bioshock was the game that I had to scratch in order to learn not to move the 360 while it was reading from a disk, way back in 2008 when the game was released. I did find another copy of the game later in early 2009, but by then I had lost my save files (On my first run through of the game, prior to destroying the disk, I had gotten up to just before killing Andrew Ryan and leaning the truth about Atlas) and the gameplay aside from the exploration and discovery was not compelling enough for me to break through until that point. I tried again almost exactly a year ago (about a week off, according to my save file dates) but by then I had already had the storyline spoiled for me and, due to other games to play, was unable to get farther than Fort Frolic, where I had already been.
My Bioshock copy has been taunting me since then. Always it lies there among my game cases and I leave it there, unable to get back into the game. For whatever reason though I decided to play through it again and pound through the game. I checked the achievements, having had gotten into them because of Giantbomb primarily, and decided to S-Rank the game as a motivation, considering that I could do it all on one playthrough. I downloaded the DLC for the new tonics and achievement, turned off the Vita Chambers, checked which achievements were potentially miss-able, and played through the game on Hard, beating it and getting all of the achievements.
My thoughts on the game now that it is finished: The vita chambers were done poorly. When I played the game in 2008 they made the game much too easy to exploit and offered little reason not to. Now, playing it with the Vita Chamber off, the game still didn't seem challenging, since, instead of having respawn points at certain points, you would restart where you saved last, making it necessary to save often. Upon death, you were not presented with a clean option to load the last save, instead you were unceremoniously booted from the game to the main menu where you could choose to reload. Had there been a game over/death screen with a quick load option it would have been much better. Or, preferably, the Vita Chambers could have been done better in the first place and served as auto saves where you would respawn while losing progress beyond that point. Combat was difficult in the beginning, especially in regards to taking down Big Daddys, but became much easier as I upgraded weapons/plasmids/etc. Also, there was no incentive to use anything beyond Lightning, Fire, Ice, and Telekenisis as these were always helpful instead of the others which were extremely situational and not particularly better in those situations. With the weapons I used little other than the wrench and shotgun for the splicers, and included the grenade launcher in the fights against the Big Daddys.  I did very much enjoy the atmosphere when I first played through the game circa 2008 and did get a certain amount of chills when seeing the confrontation with Ryan this time around, but the staggered way in which I played the game took a lot of it out for me. I'm not a great reviewer however, and others have elaborated on these points more succinctly than I have. 
Maybe in the future I will play some more Bioshock. I am now curious about Bioshock 2, but I have heard less than impressive things about it, and will definitely be looking forward to Infinite (though it is debatable as a Bioshock game). The game was good but it was unfortunately ruined for me to ever place it on a personal favourites list.


Achievements and Me: Babies First S Rank

I never used to be terribly interested in Achievements. My friends were into them and occasionally played games in order to get the achievements, not to have fun. The obvious games that showed this were Avatar, Terminator, and other miscellaneous children's games of children's movies. I believe this is what originally put me off of the idea as well as my involvement in another forum community that generally looked down upon achievements in games. 
Recently, this has begun to change. I blame it on joining Giantbomb and how achievements are often discussed and linked to one's profile. I have begun to chase after achievements in games after I would usually have put it down and it has added some needed replayability to what would otherwise resemble someone suffering from ADD's playing habits. And so, tonight I have achieved my first S Rank. 
Bull: Scholarship Edition. I saw it on the Xbox marketplace for 360 games and, since I had a Visa giftcard, as well as having originally played it on the PS2 without finishing it, I decided to shell out the $20 for it and have a good time. It was not as good as I remembered but it was still fun enough for me to play through it to get all of the achievements, one of which was to get 100% in the game. That particular achievement was the most painful due to the Errand glitch (errands, which add towards the 100% can stop showing up and the console needs to be reset a couple of time until they start showing up again, only for a couple of them though and the loop restarts) as well as one of the jobs I completed not adding it's percentage to the total and I had to redo that job. The final time count came out to 20-25 hours in my estimation. 
What was your first S Rank?


Silly Little Thing: #1337 to Follow the Intern

Now, this is incredibly silly and very lame but I need to get it out, damn it. Just now I wandered over to Kessler's profile, and noticed that it was sitting at 1336 followers. My right hand to whichever god you believe in that I did not plan this out. I obviously took screenshots and posted them on my blog.


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So yeah, I claim #1337.

XBLA Indie Games on a Hungover Sunday

Today is a day to close the curtains, self medicate, and then find something to amuse myself with. While it is a nice day outside, I am hungover and my friends are as well and not interested in doing anything. We also range from non-religious (myself) to full blown atheistic blasphemers, so there is no church for myself or for them to attend. And so I have decided to spend an hour or two playing some indie games found on the XBLA. I never have tried games from this section before and the poor art in the game "covers" frightens me. For now, I have just downloaded the trials of games that looked interesting the main categories (Top Rated, Top Downloads, New Arrivals, Contest Finalists, and Top Picks) and I feel that I have gotten a fair sampling. Here goes nothing:

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Aah Little Atlantis (80msp)

This is how the game describes itself in it's games description. "Don your thinking cap to save the Atlanteans from their sinking islands! Grab a life jacket in sympathy to those chucked in the sea! Put on climbing gear to help them to the highest mountains! Now take all those props off, as they just get in the way of the TV. Aah Little Atlantis is a quick-to-play strategy game made for competition in 48 hours, and then spruced up for your console enjoyment." So, it should be some sort of strategy puzzle game with an Atlantis theme. 
I started to play through the tutorials but once I got near the end I ran out of time for the trial. What I got from the time that I had was that the idea is that Atlantis is drowning and you get points from saving people on the islands. You do this by flooding specific areas to influence the population movements towards high areas and boats. It's a grid based thing and there are different kinds of terrain. Shallow water, beach, grassland, mountains, meteors, trees, etc. Every 5 turns a certain terrains gets flooded. First shallow, beach, grassland, and so on. I didn't get how you used specific flooding and meteors to save people but it seemed interesting. Not interesting enough to buy though. 

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Arkedo Series - 01 JUMP! (240msp)

 "A giant Iron Crab appeared, dropping bombs everywhere it goes. What is this all about? Do something, Jumpboy!" It appears to be a platformer. 
So, it is a platformer and a very pleasant one. The art style works well and the sounds are quite pleasant. Nicely polished. Not a whole lot to say about it but it was fun. The idea is that you must go around and collect the bombs before they explode, each having a timer. There are also extra objects to get in order to increase your score like coins, treasure, lives. Enemies to avoid of course. Well crafted levels and it was becoming interestingly complex as I got further into the levels. I didn't buy it as the price is a bit steep for me right now (240 MS points) but it may be a future purchase for me in the future. It's worth downloading the trial. 

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Arkedo Series - 02 SWAP! (240msp)

 I enjoyed the last game so I decided to download a couple other Arkedo games. I was expecting more platforming, but from the description: "Help the King Hat get his castle back in this dual stick action puzzle!" I am in for a puzzle game. 
Well, it's a well polished gem matching style puzzle game. I'm not sober enough to be able to understand the mechanics or play it properly but it seemed like it could be worth another look later on. You can swap around gems and they don't revert if it doesn't make a match. There are different modifiers you can get from coin, lightning, time tiles, and likely others. It's a very vivid game. I suggest looking at the game if it is your sort of thing.

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Arkedo Series - 03 PIXEL! (240msp)

I have no idea on what to expect. ""MORE BLUE" : Arkedo/Pastagames' answer to Avatar." Let's find out.
It's another platforming game and it seems to be fairly decent. The art is pixel based and has a well animated pixel cat as character. The point is to find the end of the level. There are enemies that you can jump on to fill a meter that allows for a meow attack to destroy more enemies. There's also an investigation skill to progress in the levels (in one level I had to use it to investigate a log to cut through it in order to progress. It seems well done and could have some interesting puzzles. Very nice art style and it deserves to be looked into at the very least. I will likely buy this one in the future, though we'll see.

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Baby Maker Extreme (80msp)

You just know that I had to download this game. I have no idea what expect and the description doesn't help much in any real way. "Are you extreme enough for Baby Maker Extreme? Experience the most extreme embryonic event enhanced by your electronic entertainment equipment. Simulate the miracle of life in a way only video games can. Download Baby Maker Extreme and be prepared to be blown away." I am ready 'Baby Maker Extreme', I am ready.
I was not expecting what this game delivered. It's one of those games where you are flung from something and then you have minimal control on the projectile to collect items along your path. Eventually you will hit the ground and stop moving. The twist? The projectile is a baby, or a curled up avatar, flung from the proud mother's womb. You smash into medical equipment and themed stuff like that to get points. You can occasional dive to go down or boost to get a vertical boost. This was an experience. There was no exit button in the game so I had to go to the dashboard from the guide button. No, it is not worth buying. 

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Beat Hazard (400msp)

Well this is a game that I hadn't realized was on the Indie XBLA marketplace. It was an indie game that was on steam that people were raving about. Well, I'll try it out now. Unfortunately I don't have any music on my xbox right now I will have to use the sample tracks included. "Experience YOUR music collection like never before with this intense arcade shooter. Includes 10 kicking tracks to get you started." 
Incredibly, this game was very trippy for me in my state of mind. I would have bought it if I had ever figured out how to stream music to my 360. I was getting very involved in it when the trial abruptly ended. It's a space shooter that is like an intense asteroids game. The powerups, shooting, and stuff is effected by the music that is playing. It's kind of simple but could be considered as an intense visualizer. 

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bricks4ever (80msp)

"A whole new light on the breakout style games world. Play with the double stick mode, enjoy the coop modes and the 50 levels. Play for ever with the neverending mode and the relaxing Zen mode; hours of fun for all the blocks/bricks games fan! Read for t" Yes, that last bit in the description is there an makes no sense. Anyways, it's a brick breaker game obviously. I'm not a fan of these games but will briefly play it due to my duty. 
Yeah. It's a brickbreaker game. Not much else to say. Neon coloured bricks and upgrades. Seizure inducing and not for me. Next.

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Chemical Chaos (80mps)

"Dr. Ludacki tried to engineer a crop that replicates the flavor of bacon dubbed "Facon", Scientists and bacon enthusiasts worldwide ridiculed him. Ludacki vowed revenge. He would create a steak sauce that when released into society would turn any who are it into mutants. Help the mad scientist by carefully blending chemicals to create his evil concoction and destroy mankind." I have no idea on what to expect. I enjoyed chemistry during high school but will I enjoy this? 
Odd little puzzle game. There is a grid of different "molecules" of 5 different colours. The top left one is "activated". You choose a colour by pressing a corresponding button and all adjacent molecules to activated molecules become activated as well. You continue to do this 30 times and the goal is to activate the the entire grid. It's pretty simple and I can't see myself playing it more than a couple of times. It would also be nice to be have some sort of visual cue to differentiate between activated molecules and inactive ones.

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Creed Arena (240msp)

It's some sort of shooter. "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED? Become a futuristic gladiator and impress the crowds with your skills. Feed off the spectator's cheers to unleash your CROWD RAGE! Switch between top-down and over-the-shoulder camera modes. Compete in unique challenges like Collect the Kegs, and Survival. Play the campaign in solo or co-op, or go online and fight your way up the popularity chart. Gladiator, I salute you!" So some sort of mediocre third person shooter with a futuristic gladiator theme. I doubt anyone is playing online. 
Yes, it's a mediocre third person shooter with a futuristic gladiator theme. Not much else to add, really.

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Fishing Girl (80msp)

"A game about a girl,a boy, and an ocean full of fish. Fishing girl is an arcade fishing game with over 10 different fish to catch and 8 rod and lure upgrade." 
It's an interesting game. You have a rod which you hold down A to control how far you cast the bait. You catch fish to gain money and then use money to upgrade your lure and bait. It's a simple idea and based upon how there are only 10 fish and 8 upgrade, it likely wouldn't last very long. Relaxing though and at 80 points, someone might enjoy it for what it is. 

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GET TO THA CHOPPA!!1 (80msp)

"Zombie apocalypse has come!!1 Can you survive zombie hordes, mines and heat seeking missiles to safely get to tha choppa in this twisted and addictive reaction game? Global high scores will put your skill to the ultimate test!" I hate memes.
It's a sidescrolling type game. You have to jump over mines with A, shoot zombies with X, and duck under missiles with the stick. You get points for how long you survive and it gets quicker and more difficult. It's a simple idea and well executed. Buying it however seems to only add leaderboards and allows you to play longer. I'll pass but for 80msp some people might enjoy it.

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Halfbrick Echoes (80msp)

This game claims powerful influences for the game. "Pac-man meets Briad in this surreal arcade game where every step counts! Race to grab crystals while dodging the deadly Echoes stalking your footsteps" We'll see 'Halfbrick Echoes', we'll see.
Interesting premise. You go around an collect gems. Each time you collect a gem the game records your movements from the last time you collected a gem to this one. That record creates an echo, a copy of what you did. If you run into a echo, the copy is destroyed and you lose a life. The idea is to collect gems as quickly as possible and without losing too many lives. Meh, I'll pass. 

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I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB13S!!!1 (80msp)

"This video game product represents a culmination of years of intensive psychological research, bleeding edge engineering, and artistic collaboration by over two dozen internationally recognized art houses, using such technologies as the HYPERMAGIC 3.0 engine to power never-before-seen eye candy with the MEGACORE X parallelization processor for smooth-as-glass presentation." This is a top down shooter where you try and survive as long as possible against massive waves of zombies, isn't it?
Yes, it is a top down shooter. You can grab different weapons to use (lasers, missiles, scatterguns, etc.) against the waves. It's not just zombies however, I ran across zombies, smiley face caterpillars, slimes, etc. It was simple but fun while the trial lasted. Try it out if you feel like it. You have my blessing. 

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Johnny Platform Saves Xmas! (240msp)

"As usual Christmas needs saving, and only Johnny Platform can do it! Take on upgraded evil robots across 100 levels using Johnny's new rolling skill, bombs, presents, flaming Christmas pudding and lots more coffee." Some sort of platformer of course.
Well yeah. It's a simple platformer with a Christmas theme. There are robots to avoid and to also kill, by jumping untop of. Killing all of the robots will unlock the door to the next level. There are also coffee mugs to collect in order to gain lives. It's a bit too simple of a platformer to interest me, but some people might like it. 

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Kaleidoscope (240msp)

"The world of Kaleidoscope has been shrouded in darkness! All that was once lush and colourful is now dreary and colourless. Take on the role of Tint, an unusual inhabitant of Kaleidoscope, and traverse the surreal enviroments in search of the lost colors!" I'm not really sure on what to expect. 
It's a platforming game where everything starts black and somewhat dull. By running around basically, you return colour to the world. You grab the coloured orbs in order to fill your powers (floating, shielding, and running). It's not particularly difficult but it is a very nice looking game. There art is great and is vivid. A very relaxing cathartic game. You should look into the game, probably. 

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Kong360: Gorilla Warfare (240msp)

"Kong360: Gorilla Warfare is a top-down shooter game featuring monkeys with a thirst for blood ina  full 3D environment. The rules are simple. pick up as many health/armor packs and weapons as you can before blowing your enemies to smithereens. Computer controlled bots are provided as target practice but the real fun comes from playing in multiplayer split screen, system link or Xbox LIVE." I expect a top down 3D shooter with monkeys. Yes.
Well the game description describes it as well as I could. It was better than I expected but it is not interesting battling against enemy AI. I would have to buy the game to play online and I doubt many people are. So, that ends my experience with the game. Kind of cool.

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Megalopolis (400msp)

"What reviewers wrote: "Megalopolis offers fast-paced and simple city-building strategy that you could lose hours to, "This week's game of the week medal is proudly worn by Megalopolis", "Interesting city-building game. Very nice presentation and it has a great tutorial", "You do not really get a feel for the game from the trial so be sure to try it a couple of times because it is a decent game." I expect a decent, interesting city building game.
Egh, hard to describe and I don't feel like it. Independant "journalism" at its finest. It's a city building game where you have to try and get a large population. You achieve this by building houses and providing them with energy, water, and luxury items. You also have to maintain C02 levels to avoid distasters. It's alright but not worth the cost in my opinion, though I'm not a fan of the genre.

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Miner Dig Deep (80msp)

"Dig and expand your mine to find greater treasures from the depths. Build the deepest mine so you can make your fortune in rare gems and metals from the earth below." Now, a friend suggested this game to me and it sounds interesting.
The graphics are simple and idea is as well. You dig down and collect resources to buy upgrades for your inventory and tools. This allows you to dig deeper and get more resources. It's fairly simple but is quite addictive and allows for quite  alot of playing. I very much enjoyed this one and bought it. Look into it, it's great.

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Missile Escape (80msp)

 Wow, there are alot of games I downloaded. I must plow through this pile though. "Missile Escape is simple : go flying, evade many missiles and unlock new fighters along the way ! Warning : Fighter pilot spirit required." 
Well, it is simple. You control a plane and it's direction. There are missiles that follow you. At the edges of the "map" the planes and missile appear on the opposite side. If you survive for a certain amount of time another missile is added and the timer begins again. Quite simple and not particularly interesting.

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PLATFORMANCE: Castle Pain (80msp)

I'll guess platforming, but now I'm half-assing it.  "Can you save the princess ? Will you get to the end of Castle Pain ? As an heavily armoured knight you must succeed in various challenging platform goodness: Slalom between bird droppings, avoid giant fireballs, flee from the ghost, escape a giant octopus, brave blood thirsty bats and much more... Let the quest begin!"
Interesting platforming game. You are a knight in a castle and are jumping around to get to the end of the levels. The trial was incredibly short but it seems similiar to 'I Wanna Be The Guy". I'm going to look into this game to see if its interesting. Promising.


Well, that's that, an afternoon spent. My conclusion? Most of the games on the Indie marketplace are not worth much time. There are a couple of gems and ones worth looking into.