Bioshock Infinite: The Complete Edition PS3 Video Game Review

BioshockInfiniteTheCompleteEditionPS3VideoGameReview

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS

You are Booker DeWitt a private investigator for hire. You’ve been sent to a city in the sky called Columbia that has succeeded from the United States of America and is run by a man named Zachary Hale Comstock. Somewhere in the city he’s holding a woman named Elizabeth. The mysterious client states that if you bring her back, he’ll wipe away all of your gambling debt.

I originally didn’t want to review this game because it has been done to death. Everyone who hasn’t lived under a rock, or granite like substance, has noticed this game and give it perfect score. I liked the first one and is probably one of the better FPSs of its time. The originals story stood out as being completely depressing and at that time it was different because it didn’t make you a completely infallible person. Also its gripping seeing as you’re trapped between two douches fighting for a city in total chaos and all you’re trying to do is figure out why you’re there and how to freaking get out alive. The continued mystery and noir themes would build tension throughout the game without making it feel suffocating.

This takes the same premise as the first one. You’re some average bloke who can’t remember anything and goes to a mysterious place to look for answers. Sound familiar!? Good, because there are very few changes. They have their wacky characters that are entertaining, possibly incestual, but most either not explored enough or you end up killing them. This, like the previous one, has a lot of gray characters instead of being absolute good or bad, like most FPSs. This one takes a bit of a chipper tone since its colored as a racist southern version of Disneyland. It was neat to walk amongst the city, and it’s citizens, before everything was thrown into pure anarchy mostly due to their own stupidity.

The beginning was good. It took the ‘damsel in distress’ story and warped it to make her more then just a powerless girl. In fact it alluded that she might be some kind of God-like creature. Anyway, it blunders about and introduces allies and villains in awkward ways. Like I had to look for a power up in one location that was ruled over by a local gang. The only option was to go in and kill them all. So the only purpose for them to be in the story was to guard that single power up. I thought this was a bit of a waste since they were a kinda gray group (morality wise) who only wanted to be recognized for their deeds. So much more could have been developed with them and instead they were killed off really early. Then one group was introduced, they steal your stuff, and then try to kill you later despite helping them out. This irritated me because they knew you had a time traveling girl on your side. It shouldn’t surprise them if you ‘come back from the dead.’ Also they seem to flip flop on agreements with little to no warning. It’s just stupid plot twists that had me rolling my eyes a lot.

I really don’t like that I have to give this game a low score because everything was going swimmingly up until the games ending. The ending really ruined it for me. It reminded me of several 1970s sci-fi films where the good guy is somehow a alternate time version of the bad guy. In this case DeWitt if he seeks forgiveness in one reality he becomes a racist stereotype of the south and builds Columbia. If he doesn’t, in some alternate universe, he does fuck all till he gets a invitation from someone to go find Elizabeth. So in other words he becomes the villain in one universe and in the other he’s a completely depressed alcoholic in another. I don’t have any problem with the second outcome. However our wondrous dumbfuck Elizabeth does.

So as the ending roles it’s kinda open to interpretation so I can only tell you what I got from it. She basically explains that’s shes a time traveling omnipotent God like entity who can see different universes, times, and can see how everything happens. She basically leads DeWitt in believing everything happens the exact same way, in every universe, and he has no choice but to do the same stuff over and over again. This is bullshit if you’ve read anything about time travel EVER! She says everything repeats itself until he figures out what needs to be done. Eventually it strikes him that in order to prevent all the future tragedies he needs to kill Comstock at birth. So he asks her to help him kill the guy. She brings him back to some open void in time and lets him know he’s Comstock and DeWitt and in order to destroy a possible bad future she has to kill him.

I thought this ending was total and utter crap. If she wanted to prevent a ‘bad future,’ for other people, that meant she would eventually have to kill everyone else too to stop them from possibly becoming corrupt power hungry maniacs. Also if she is some kind of time traveling entity then she could have easily manipulated any instance in time to her, or societies, advantage. NOPE! Instead she, and her very narrow perspective on it all, choses to jump through time and universes to kill this same guy over and over again, regardless if he turns out to be a good guy or not. This is pretty much is what’s theorized at the end when multiple versions of herself show up. Instead of going through time, or other universes, and fixing things she has a fetish for killing this one guy over and over again.

On top of that it’s the most drawn out and pretentious thing imaginable. Instead of doing the simple thing and putting a bullet in his head and moving on, tear a spot in time and turning his brain into pudding, or letting him get killed by someone in Columbia, but she doesn’t. She instead goes all out theatrical and drags everything out so long that it makes the player wonder if everything, even Columbia, was intentionally setup to trap this one guy. She has him relive everything in Columbia (all the fighting, clue finding, tragedy, etc.) and holds this long elaborate plot to show him how guilty he should feel. In turn this makes him feel bad and she opts to kill him. She’s a fucking sadist in my opinion. If you download the DLC Burial At Sea then you’ll see that she jumps into another dimension and goes out of her way to kill him all over again. So not only does she lack a moral compass, but she lacks common sense, is exceedingly lacking self control, but on top of all that she has no fucking clue what she’s doing.

The only good things about this game is the gameplay and graphics. The gameplay is just like the last and has a lot of features added to it. It’s taken the FPS format and added battlemage capabilities. This means you basically play as mixture of warrior and wizard style of combat. You have a gun in your right hand and use your left to cast spells. This adds some great combos and make some of the tougher battles a little more strategic.

There’s a lot of variety in both strategy and kill combos. Everything can be upgraded, except DeWitt and Elizabeth. The only addition that is noteworthy is the clothing. Some areas have clothes that can give you special abilities. It’s a nice perk, but unless it’s something outside normal gameplay (like the shield) then most aren’t noticeable when being worn. Like one piece of clothing lets you run super fast after you lose 50% of your life for about 5 seconds. The only added ability that I didn’t care for was the shield. It seems to be gone after 2 hits most of the time and then health, ammo, and salts are nearly everywhere you turn so if they are going to try to make things so piss easy why bother with a shield at all, especially if it’s gone after a few hits? Also there is a hook rail system that you can jump on to run away from enemies. I found this obnoxious because it made it difficult to aim at anyone and other then some linear story progression it’s mostly useless.

Another bonus is Elizabeth acts as a companion that actually does something, other then die or get in the way. In combat she’ll throw you health, ammo, and salts to help keep you alive. The odd thing is that th AI completely ignores her. There were many times when she was crouched down behind a crate and the enemies went around her side to get to me. I thought that it was strange that there wasn’t any interaction her since the whole town was seeking me out to A) kill me and B) return the girl to her tower. Even if I did die in a heated battle she’d somehow drag me to the side and revive me, for a price. Again, she either did this ‘unnoticed’ or the enemies ignored her.

The graphics are probably a example of the best the PS3 can offer. The bloom is proportioned nicely throughout the game, it gives characters shadows on their face, and adjusts as characters walk. The animations break some of the immersion because they really aren’t expressive outside of cut scenes and give some dramatic dialog a jejune delivery. There were rarely any hangups while rendering the game. The few that did seem to glitch were light rendering errors. Other times it would seem to want to freeze the screen and load for no apparent reason. For example: it would take only a short time to load the game and then when you moved to another area on the same map it sometimes would popup saying it was loading, but not show the stagnate loading screen. Other then that they did a great job making the characters both look kinda cartoonie and lifelike.

This is probably the worst of the series to me. It takes old sci-fi stories from the 1970s and beats it like a dead horse till you see it’s bones. The cliché contrived betrayals happen, the good guy is secretly the bad guy or the other way around, blatant bad guy stereotypes are used a lot, and then it has you reflect on the previous two Bioshock games. Sure it’s fun, fast paced, and has a lot of the game play elements, and more, of the previous two for everyone to enjoy, but I hate this story.

If you want something that has good gameplay then buy this, just try your best to ignore the story.

3.0/10

 

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Home PC Video Game Review

Home-title

Warning Some Spoilers

Home is psychological thriller about a man with sever amnesia who wakes up in a house full of dead bodies. He stumbles around and has the choice to interact with various clues. The foreboding atmosphere continues to drive him towards answers, but they are muddled due to the answers he finds seems to only open about a million more questions. At each site he discovers more dead bodies while try to piece together the past. Finally he slowly gathers enough evidence and that he has memories to remember who he is and what he needs to do: go home and check on the safety of his wife.

This is a strangely dark and a completely creepy chose-your-own-adventure game. It slowly draws you in with every creek from the house you wake up in to the narrowed visibility provided by the flash light you find. Even the muddled pixels add some fright to the game due to their crude art stile and seems to compliment the confusing situation. The creepiest thing about this game it places ‘what if’ ideas in your head while you stumble about and find clues amongst the derelict town. Also some of the timing of certain events will give you a quick jump scare. It even excels at giving really high quality background noise that is just creepy and could mimic any walk in the woods at night.

However it has a few draw back. Like the main character seems rather daft. Like he’ll continually complain that he feels like he’s being followed, paranoid or whatever and then everything possible just makes his statements creepier. Despite this, he doesn’t walk faster after this. Sure he complains about his hurt leg, thus a reason not to run, but there doesn’t seem to be anything in the game to fix it or shut him up about it. So despite being scared shitless he doesn’t show much signs of emotion. He doesn’t begin to visually sweat, jitters, or anything.

I know it’s hard to pixelate characters faces, but dozens of other artists have been doing this for years. So due to that lack of detail/art the text narrative takes away from the moment because there isn’t any follow up action. Its like you’re reading a internal monologue but he just seems to poker face his way past a entire town full of dead bodies. This is unrealistic. Also some of the shading is bland. There’s a few areas that are identical to one another leaving a few areas boring just to look at. Then there are a few larger areas that have no interactive objects nor areas to enter and serve no purpose to the story at hand.

Other times, the in story character development is a little wonky. Like despite how completely scared out of his mind he claims to be, he stops the player from telling him to leave a area and states something like he needs to ‘settle the issues’ or whatever. If he was really that scared he’d be hauling ass to the nearest town/hotel/anything to get away from it all. The character will even encourage the player to explore the area more by saying certain hints a key times. This completely takes away from the mystery element of the game because he’s so BLUNT about it. A few times it said something along the lines of “I wonder if I should have picked up [x-item].” It’s like “really game?”

Meanwhile I’m sitting there thinking he has no purpose to encourage the user to stick around. He has no recollection of who he is, no memory of a good bit of his life, and the place is filled with dead bodies. The issues are settled because EVERYONE IS DEAD and the dipwad should run before he winds up dead too. He even mentions this at the camp site, but he still waddles about in the dark woods in the middle of the night while stumbling over more dead bodies. So it’s counter productive to basically tell the gamer what to do when the whole purpose of the game is to explore.

Despite these complaints it really is OK, but not great. Its really different play a game that lets you decide just about every action of the character, but makes it tedious. The mood is completely dreary and everything does it’s best to enhance that experience, with few exceptions. I wouldn’t pick it up for more then $5 due to how short it is and it won’t scare most people. Its more along the lines of a ‘thinking mans’ horror game, but I found it obnoxious since it leaves a lot of unanswered questions due to its too broad of a ‘chose your story’ approach.

This is entertaining in the end, but is short lived.

5.0/10

Cat: Horror, Adventure, Mystery

Tags: Benjamin Rivers

Gone Home PC Game Review

gonehome_titlescreen

Warning: Mild Spoilers

Gone Home is about a story of a sister two sisters. Samantha is stuck at home while her sister, Katie, is off traveling the world. So she writes down her every thought to share with her sister when she gets back. However when Kate arrives home the house is empty. There’s note on the front door stating that Sam left for some unknown reason.

This is a touching story. It purely represents how people can’t ever really go home again and expect life to be the exact same as when they left. It slowly, but bluntly, tells you how time changes everything and pushes people forward, or even away from each other. The game is every blatant about this with the many clues it leaves around. However it is the very definition of first world problems and is slightly riddled with stereotypical teen angst groaning you’d find in any American’s 1980s teen movies, but without any actual reason for conflict.

At first I was intrigued because it gives a somewhat approving approach to letting me be a completely voyeur into someone’s family. As I wondered around I would get to read into each persons life and their problems. This ability only poked at my curiosity to go further. Even the storm outside the house made the dark hallways seem somber rather then creepy. With a few steps here and there it opens up other parts of the house and even shows you secret entrances and old remnants of the previous owner of the house. This was only intriguing to only a limited extent.

Then there are other parts of the story that are just completely bland. There’s multiple clues lying around that would have suggested a troubled marriage or the parents having trouble dealing with their more rebellious daughter. However I found myself not caring, because I would only be able to find 1 or 2 notes on what one parent thought about the situation. The other parent (most of the time this was the father) would be completely left out by the fact that there wouldn’t be anything of his to read or analyze.

Other times the clues were handwritten notes that were completely illegible. Want to find out about the house and why it’s nicknamed? Well guess what? You probably won’t be able to read what happened since it looks like a small gerbil had a seizure while holding a pen on one of the only notes from the owner. This only left me frustrated and I ended up not caring at all about what happened. So this made it feel like half of the story was incomplete.

This was followed by the continued girl-to-woman story of Sam. While this was cute and heart warming to reading about a girl finding herself, it left me wondering if I should have just read a book instead. Whatever item you pick up plays a diary page of Sam’s and it belts out over the soft music in the background and the occasional thunder. None of it was too interesting, and as said before: it is riddled with clichés. The 90’s punk and girl grunge references even come off as cliché due to the same standard writing all over the posters of ‘fighting the man’ and what not. It’s like they rebel against a establishment without any clear reason to do so.

It lacks basic game play mechanics and good exploring rewards. Like with most games it might have clues as to what to do next that are clear and help continue the story. Yes, this was partly my fault, but after having such limited interaction with items I started looking less and less for items to fiddle with. It doesn’t interest me to pick up a 3d plate, or 3d tooth brush, and spin it around. The 3d books serve little to no purpose, except for one. Then the story items are so blatantly obvious they aren’t misable or they look so generic that I didn’t bother picking it up considering it was only the 900 th random piece of paper strung about in the house.

In the end Gone Home is another video game experiment that doesn’t feel complete. Many gamers, including myself, will be greatly disappointed with this. This is due to the lack of just about everything that makes video games playable. Yes it’s filled with every artistic metaphors and emotional impact that would be in most video games. Although for me the story was lost due to the stereotypical storyline of the subject matter, plot holes, and illegible clues. If it went on for a few more hours and explained everyone else’s view point I would have probably enjoyed it a lot more.

Either skip this or get it on the cheap (i.e. below $10). It’s only 2 hours worth of gameplay and has ZERO replay value.

5.0/10