Sunday, November 28, 2010

I talks about da gamez!

Over the semester I played Bioshock, Bioshock 2, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Starcraft 2...why yes, there are a lot of twos in there...

Ok, so I have decided to give you a...well...kind of review of all of these games, the problem is that I'm not that spectacular at this shit and I don't really care about it so you're probably gonna hate it, and more over, if you don't like the games I like, you probably won't agree. Allow me to present *points to face* man not caring.

Well, I'm not going to cover them all right now, but I will do Bioshock and Bioshock 2, why both you ask? Because Bioshock 2 was honestly so god awful that I didn't play all the way through. It just wasn't worth my time to venture into Rapture one more time in an effort to grind through the city once more to perform more mundane fucking tasks that reward you with a storyline that is weak at best. Honestly, after 15 minutes, I was literally so bored that I felt like shutting the game off would save lives considering that I probably would have gone on a killing rampage from the sheer shit that was the game I was playing. Now assuming you are a massive fan of Bioshock 2, its probably a good idea that you reassess your values in a game, this game lacks story...completely...(End of Bioshock 2)

Moving on, before I start ripping on Bioshock, I'd like to point out that Bioshock,itself, is a DECENT game but its no where NEAR as good as the hype would have you believe. And for all of you people that are about to say that it had one of the most entertaining multiplayer components of all time...shut the fuck up! That doesn't matter, what matters is the game and the story...and none of that story makes any sense...

A lot of people will say that Bioshock was a great game because of the retro feel and the atmosphere along with the fact that it can scare you. Well my lovelies, I'm here to tell you that Bioshock, does all of those things well but doesn't provide a lasting satisfied feeling.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of negatives and positives, let me explain what Bioshock is all about. You are a passenger on a plane and the plane crashes, you make your way to the only visible structure and then make it inside. The door locks! Oh no! You find an elevator which takes you deep undersea and to a city called Rapture. On the way into the city viewed from the elevator Rapture looks fantastic, a 60's style city with neon and pastel lighting, this is where my expectations were raised a lot for this game. This opening shot was actually so beautiful that I needed to change my underwear after...

This is where the plane crash happens and your adventure begins,
I would have just drown myself if I knew what was ahead.

Unfortunately, that tone doesn't last, the moment you arrive you notice someone being ripped apart by a 'splicer', the most commonplace enemies in the game. After the victims blood splatters on the elevators door, you here the splicer trying to claw its way in. At this point, the first person survival shooter mode kicks in, and that, itself is OK with me. But, shortly after you are contacted by a man who becomes known to you as Atlas. He tells you to take a deep breath and step into Rapture. Sorry mate, but that doesn't seem like a fucking good idea, the city is a shambles and there are people killing each other left and right here...I don't think inhaling is gonna save me from being stabbed...Anyway, we step out of the elevator because we're stupid and we might as well because we're too early on in the game to know just how fucking awful this is going to get. While here we lose consciousness, probably from boredom, and hear splicers talking, we awaken and are told by Atlas, that these are the residents of Rapture whom after splicing and shit have gone all nuts and murder like...OK...

After this peachy story we learn about how to splice up and get our own plasmids. The same things that made these fuckers go insane...sounds like a wonderful idea, right? It's assumed that we won't abuse the technology like they did but...seriously? Anyway, plasmids are these things that give us the ability to shoot fire, ice, and electricity at enemies, sounds cool right? And it is...until it isn't...Now, call me hard to please but the combat in this game is beyond repetitive, but we'll come back to that. After this we find out that Atlas has a wife and kid and they are being held hostage inside a submarine and you're the only one who can save them. Ok, I'm cool with that! So far, this isn't actually that bad, right? Anyway, you make it to the submarine by making it through areas, side stepping the traps set by Andrew Ryan (the leader of Rapture and the man holding Atlas' family hostage). Despite your best effort the submarine is destroyed and Atlas' family is killed. At this juncture, everyone can see where the story is gonna go, Atlas in anger swears to kill Ryan, and by swearing to kill him, he means that he'll use us to do it. So, you make your way through more nondescript locations blasting either with plasmids or a shotgun, whichever. Eventually, in this city FILLED with psychos, you find Ryan...playing what seems like the only safe place left in the city. But after the confrontation, I looked around and I wondered how he ate, or slept, there was no kitchen, no bed...where's the shitter? Like, I'm assuming he spent a lot of time here or he'd be fucking dead, so how did he survive? Anyway, Ryan reveals that you were actually born in Rapture and were genetically altered to age quickly and are, in fact, Ryan's illegitimate son(still with me?) and that you were programed to respond as a slave to the phrase "would you kindly", at this point, a montage of Atlas asking you to do things with the phrase "would you kindly" ensues, revealing that you were in fact a slave this whole time. Now you kill Ryan, were commanded to...then Atlas reveals himself to be Frank Fontaine...whoever the fuck that this point the whole "slave" and "Fontaine" thing is meant to be a shock but I was left blankly staring at the fucking screen, maybe I just missed the point, or maybe I noticed a massive plot hole. Whichever...

Anyway, Fontaine says he's gonna kill us and we are saved by the Little Sisters (earlier on in the game you must extract a substance called Adam from these little girls to buy more plasmids, you can save them and get less Adam or kill them and get more, your choice) Anyway, Tannenbaum saves you and lets you know that she stopped the phrase Fontaine was using from controlling you. Unfortunately, Fontaine uses more phrases that lower your health, you need to find a cure and all that good you do. After finding a cure you have to get to Fontaine and kill him because he is planning to inject himself full of Adam and become a superbeing to rule Rapture for some reason that is never explained. At this point in the game it has shifted gears from telling a story to trying to fit all the fucking scares it missed out on into the last bit of the game and totally destroying the continuity of the story all in one shot. It's almost like two different people wrote the script and they just decided to put them together without editing, just sat down and said "let's go with it". Anyway, you disguise yourself as a Big Daddy (massive little sister protectors), and you must protect a Little Sister so she can open doors for you because she can access them and you cannot (there are spaces for them to get in, tiny ones). After coming to the end you come to a confrontation with Fontaine, you kill him with the help of the Little Sisters, and you get one of two endings depending on your decision to kill the Little Sisters or leave them alive.
This is a Big Daddy
They are threatening
Too bad they only attack you when you attack them.

That's the whole fucking story....

Ok, the positives...The atmosphere isn't absent, the game does a good job at being creepy.
The game uses great in game music and voice acting which saves it from me just wanting destroy it (it was close though).
The game's story isn't uninteresting but its not the best it could be either.
The game has a TON of potential.
The graphics aren't bad.
Game takes its time and lets the story tell itself.

Unfortunately, this is about all the good things I have to say.

1.The game's story/plot doesn't make sense, the whole idea that you were this slave totally ruins the plot and any sense it made. The whole Atlas trying to save his family thing goes right out the window. If you're a slave, then you'd obey the phrase "would you kindly" regardless, so why bother staging the whole fucking wife and kids thing? Putting you and Fontaine at risk, after all, if you died Altas/Fontaine's plan is pretty well fucked right? So, for putting you and him in mortal danger, even though he has control of makes no sense, it's needless. And why the need for the disguise? If we're going to mindlessly obey, why would he have to disguise himself? Why not just come right out and demand that we kill Andrew Ryan? Would have saved a lot of time. See what I mean? This sounds like an eight year old wrote it...Finally we have the whole thing where Altas reveals that he's Frank Fontaine...and before this point no one knows who the fuck that is! So...a tense scene all...

2. Ammo and plasmid purchasing doesn't make any fucking sense! Seriously, you buy your guns and ammo, AND your genetic upgrades from fucking vending machines! Rapture was depicted to be this ideal city, and while I get the need for security and you really need vending machines of them? If people were really free then why would you need to sell them on the fucking sidewalk? Also, the plasmid classes don't make no sense! Incinerate, the ability to burn people, Frost, ability to freeze people, Shock, ability to shock people to death! Do these sound like things you should be selling on the sidewalk? Do these sound like genetic upgrades you should have to live in society? Some seem to make sense and would be useful in the real world, like telekinetics, I can see a use for that but...seriously? Incinerate? Here's an idea, why not have a science lab on every sector, Rapture seems to be involved in that kind of stuff, and you just break in and steal it? And for the weapons, how about a police station of every level? You could rearm there! And it would make fucking sense!

To think you see this...

And end up with this!
3. No one has any goal! Fontaine wants to rule Rapture for some unknown reason and meanwhile Andrew Ryan won't leave for...some unknown reason...So, you, Ryan and Fontaine are all in this game and no one has any idea what the fuck they are supposed to be doing...The city is a goddamn shambles, this is a mess that no french maid would ever go near! Who would want this fucking place? Seriously? You are just the moron who was born in Rapture and sent away in a submarine and now you're back...and...stuff...(still awake?). I mean you could make the argument that Ryan wants to protect the city because it was his and that he's just too fucking crazy to know the difference between a working city and a broken one. And you could even make the case that Fontaine wants to use the technology in Rapture to become an industry tycoon, but seriously? Does this place contain any real industrial power? Not anymore!

 4. The levels all the look the fucking same, regardless of where you are everything looks like some basement out of a Dracula flick, at this point you might think it forgivable, but it really isn't, if I wanted to play through the same shit 30 times, I'd just start up Tetris for fucksakes. This is especially disappointing considering the opening graphics (see left).

5. Combat, Weapons and no SEEEENSE
The problem with Bioshock is that it it's combat is repetitive, you either burn them, shock them, or freeze them, or you use a shotgun...woo! You can also get Grenade Launchers too... but nothing has a particular weakness to anything else, and all the enemies seem the same, you just blast everything with whatever you have, you can use shock in the water to kill multiple enemies, fire in the ice areas to melt it etc. But this isn't clever just, intuitive...Finally, in the bit where you are guarding the Little Sister, why are you doing this? Don't you think a grenade launcher would destroy the fucking doors just fine? So why bother protecting her? Who decided this was a better plan? Why not just blast through, I mean time is of the essence here...and its not like you'll need ammo in a bit because this is the end of the why not? Because the story wants to use this point to be convenient and make us waste more of our life on this game. So it decides that the best course of action would be to take the slowest character in the game and make you guard it...

People seem to make the claim that Bioshock is a good game that forces you to see into politics and philosophy, and while I would say its deeper than your average shooter, there are many games that have done this better and did it before Bioshock ever did, remember in 2000, remember Deus Ex? Remember how in Deus Ex the endings were all about what you thought was right for humanity, these endings were all better done than in Bioshock. In the end of Deus Ex, you're presented with a dilemma, because you have to make a decision for all of humanity but you don't know who to trust, the characters in the game are well developed and rich, and you know that they all have the potential to allow the power you'd give them to corrupt them. This works because you're attached to all the characters, you know the strengths and weakness and the pros and cons by the end of the game. By the time you figure out what's going on in Rapture you are done the game and blogging about it. And I know what you're thinking, "Neal, you just said you liked that the game took it's time", well, I did, but there needs to be a point when the clouds fall away just a little, there is never a point in time while you are playing Bioshock that it feels like you're actually in the drivers seat and making the decisions. The pacing of the game is good but it's got holes bigger than those in torn underwear and just as disturbing.

All that said, with Rapture being left pretty much as it is, a better story could have been created. The whole multiplayer "Atlas vs Ryan" storyline could have been the single player campaign, now that would have made for an epic fucking game. You would eventually have to make a decision between who you thought was right and it would have pulled you in from a moral and philosophical stand point, not to mention that you would have gotten to see Rapture and its citizens fall apart from the inside out. There could have been decent character development and more of that great voice acting. You could have kept the majority of the horror and the characters but it would have been so much better. But who the hell am I to have an opinion, its not like I have to play it or anything...right? Oh wait...

See, where most games are unappreciated because of their lack of supporting details, like voice acting and graphics and gameplay, Shadow Madness comes to mind, they save themselves by having a good story. Shadow Madness had rich characters, a compelling story and a very strong atmospheric musical score, but the graphics were shit, I mean this was after FFVII and they looked worse than that. Despite this, I recommend Shadow Madness to people, its a good fucking game, worth at least a play through, with a smart, witty script, it can make you laugh.

Bioshock is a lot like this game but completely opposite, it has all the extras, good graphics, great music, great voice acting, the atmosphere isn't bad, but the lacking component here is the story itself. When I say the game has potential, I mean it, its just unfortunate that they didn't take the time to make sure the story was compelling and made sense.

In the end, Bioshock looks good, sounds good and is a decent story, but the HYPE killed this one. People lauding it as the "revolutionary shooter" or a "breakthrough for shooters" clearly have no fucking idea about other shooters. You want a break through shooter? One word, mother fucker; "Portal!". A shooter that doesn't command that you kill everything in sight, in fact, you don't kill anything, unless you count the companion cube (poor companion cube(yes, Laura, I know you like this bit)). A shooter that makes you laugh and doesn't try to be something it isn't.

William Shakespeare once said, "brevity is the essence of wit", I understand that the irony of me bringing this quote up after typing such a long review might be lost on some of you who may have blown your fucking brains out while reading this, but basically the objective of a shooter is to not make the plot too complicated or you end up fucking doing shit for convenience purposes like the whole "genetically modified to age" bit, which made no fucking sense, was Andrew Ryan looking for a successor? But...wouldn't you die at like the same time as him considering how fast you age? Wha? I digress to prove my point, 'member Half Life? Simple plot: You are in a GIANT science lab, aliens have made their way in, they will kill you, GET OUT OF THERE! This is arguably one of the greatest games of all time...and look how fucking simple the plot is...I just explained it to you in 21 words, without any boring mumbo jumbo about someone being someone's son or whatever!

Bioshock is a decent 7.5/10, worth a play but it's not something you should run out and buy for over 40$. At the end of the day Bioshock simply suffers from trying to do too much, it doesn't know what the fuck it is, a sci-fi shooter, a survival horror, or just a dumb down...dumb action game. Without the identity crisis, it could have been so much more than it was.

"I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No!' says the man in Washington, 'It belongs to the poor.' 'No!' says the man in the Vatican, 'It belongs to God.' 'No!' says the man in Moscow, 'It belongs to everyone.' I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... Rapture..."

I choose never to play this game again...I'd rather watch Bambi II.