Bioshock Infinite Complete

Over the weekend I was able to put a few more hours into the final entry of the Bioshock series, and can finally strike another game off the backlog list! I started the trilogy back at the end of October, finishing each in about a month’s time and I’m finally done. I have to say that it was a fantastic series, and I’m glad that the third game finally swung around and linked itself to the first two. While the second game ended up being a more direct continuation of the original, this game didn’t really seem related except for the base concepts. Rapture was underwater and created by someone who fancied himself better that the society on Earth. Columbia was floating in the sky and created by someone who fancied himself a God. Both were unique yet similar scenarios. Where Infinite set itself apart was through the main character who actually held an identity and throughout the story twists into something different. I won’t spoil anything (though the pictures I’m about to share might be spoilery!) but you aren’t who you think you are and the ending was similar to the ending of the second game — but a bit of a shock.

Overall I really enjoyed the series, and despite the sequel being the weakest of the bunch, they were all fantastic games played in fairly rapid succession. Here’s some screens from the end of my playthrough:

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Columbia was a bit of a different beast from Rapture, but it was beautiful. I loved the graphic design and character of the game. Having a partner to help you out through your fights was a boon as well, and something sorely missed in past titles. It’s a shame we won’t be seeing more of this multiverse, as co-op was the next logical step and would have been a blast! If you haven’t played these titles (or it’s been a long time) I’d recommend running through the remastered versions of the series — it was very enjoyable.

Next up on the list: The Order 1886!

Bioshock: Infinite

Well folks, we’ve made it. I’m beginning my trek into the sky-city of Columbia, and finally completing the last Bioshock game. The first two games were pretty good in their own right, but I’ve heard this can arguably be considered the best entry. I will save my judgement until I’ve completed the trilogy, but I can already tell you that this entry is right up my alley. The graphics are excellent on Ultra, the animations smooth, and the gore is on point. The themes I’m seeing at this point are painting the city and its inhabitants in a negative light, but I concur with some of the underlying social commentary. I do remember playing this game briefly when it was offered as a Playstation Plus title, so I knew a little of what to expect, yet it feels like that was long ago. The imagery brings some of those memories back and I do recall commenting on it a bit way back when, but having it fresh in my mind means I can properly analyze it. Two things stick out as subtext – Racism and Fanatical Religion suck —  yet they seem to go hand in hand.

In our alternate reality, Abraham Lincoln was viewed as a devil and John Wilkes Booth a hero. The founder of the city is revered as a God, and the people devote followers, despite the clear message that other races are inferior. The city of Columbia ascended into the clouds so they could take their religious bigotry with them. Or so it seems. Bioshock has a way of painting you the bad guy, despite the evil that other men do. Perhaps there will be some incident that will come to light and make our hero seem like a tool. Time will tell, but for now I’m intrigued to learn more about Columbia and its inhabitants.

It is curious, that the game starts out much like its predecessors. Coming to a lighthouse (or the game ending there) has become something of a signature plot device for the series, and though this one starts out similarly, instead of sinking down into the ocean this time you are propelled into the sky. Very creative world-building to say the least. It’s a shame it’s been 5 years since we’ve seen another entry, or another series that comes even close to it. But I digress. I wanted to share some screenshots with you for now, and I will return once I’ve completed the game.

Here’s my journey so far, in picture form:

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The State of the Game #13

Here were are again, this time falling on lucky number 13. I had another busy week, not really even having time to post anything since last Tuesday. Part of the reason for this is that it was a Finals week (new class started up today), and I worked a few extra hours as well. But, that’s not going to affect the content of this week’s column, because I have a lot to talk about! As I mentioned last week, Bioshock: Infinite was the new free game via Playstation Plus, and that did consume some of my time, but I have decided to bookmark my progress in that game until I manage to go back and play the first two. I realize that the storylines aren’t really even relative, but I still feel like I should experience those two games first. I will come back to those games at a later date, though I do have some further commentary on B:I later in the post. I also spent a fair bit of time with both Awesomenauts and League of Legends this week, and have one other surprise game that I pulled out of the archive. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

I am nearing my final prestige level, finally. I am rank 35 or so (of 45) and then I will prestige for the tenth and final time. Once I have all of the high rank abilities, all of the time, it’s going to be over for the competition! I have also almost broken into the 16k tier of the rating system, and am nearly in the top 1600 players in the world (on the PS3 that is). I’m not sure how that would rate me compared to Xbox 360 players or the PC players, but I feel pretty good about being that close to the top. My 1615 or so rank on the leaderboards is the best I have accomplished thus far, and that’s good for a 15900~ rating, but it is increasingly difficult to get that number to go up. I have been floating around 15800-15900 for the last month. I believe by this time next week if I keep doing well I should be able to best 16000 rating, and drop below 1600 on the leaderboard.

League of Legends:
I was still going along with my playing-nothing-but-ARAM pattern at the beginning of the week, until one day I was contacted by one of my friends online who wanted to play some Classic with me. We hadn’t played together since last season, and I really haven’t played with anyone at all since then, so I jumped at the opportunity. Since I hadn’t played any Summoner’s Rift since all of the preseason changes went in, or the even more recent changes with patch 4.1, I was showing a bit of rust when the game began. My friend ran Hecarim in the jungle, we had a Jax up top, Katarina in mid lane, and I was supporting a Jayce carry as Sona. I was worried about the Jayce pick to begin with, as I usually see him used in a Bruiser role on top lane, but it turns out I was worrying for nothing. My early rust turned into a dominant game. We were smart and didn’t feed, I kept wards up at all times, I really fell in love with the support buffs, as I was never wanting for gold (and I was always gold starved before, even with all of my extra gold earned from Runes/Masteries — these are even better than before along with the new gold earning items and extra help for the vision war with the trinkets), and later on we were completely destroying the enemy team. We managed to destroy all three outer turrets by the twenty minute mark, and the enemy team surrendered. Check my final score:

The 5th game down is highlighted at right

Another fun story from a game of ARAM: I was playing Ezreal and one of my teammates was Varus. We were facing an enemy Ziggs that really wasn’t all that skilled, but still managed to poke the hell out of us anyway. At one point Varus was gravely wounded and he was attempting to outrun one of Ziggs’ bouncing bombs, but was clearly not going to make it. At the last possible second, I used my E to teleport into the path of the bomb and save Varus. We both retreated to the nearby bush, and I typed in “All for you!”. He responded “I love you <3”, while Ziggs dropped his ultimate right on our heads. It was a good laugh.

Bioshock: Infinite:
I really look forward to playing through this game. As I mentioned before, I have put a bookmark in this game as of now, but I played through quite a bit of the beginning of the game in a couple of evenings. I really am tempted to just run through the game, but I have that completionist spirit in me that wants to play through the whole series first. This isn’t a game like Call of Duty where the multiplayer is exactly the same every game, and for the most part so is the story line. This is a game where the story is the best part of the game and the combat is only a small portion of it. The story for Infinite is seemingly similar to the original Bioshock in that some nut job created a city in an unlikely place. In #1, the city was under the sea, whereas in Infinite the city is in the sky. Entrance to the city is interesting enough in that you are launched in a pod from a light house, but you land smack dab in some sort of temple where the cult-like assembly wants you to assimilate to their viewpoint. The religious cult undertones in this game are something that I can appreciate, because as an Atheist I feel that all religions are cult-like (yes, that probably includes yours). Some examples of the dogma of this fictional world:

Haven't figured out if this is an "emaculate conception"
Haven’t figured out if this is an “emaculate conception”
This "false shepard" sounds like "satan"
This “false shepard” sounds like “satan”
"Mark of the Beast" anyone?
“Mark of the Beast” anyone?

Oh yes, all of Christianity’s tired cliches are present. During this portion of the game, a fair is going on in the city, and there is a parade float going through that has the story of Columbia depicted. The other mumbo jumbo propaganda is littered throughout the city, though I really appreciated the latter picture. When you come upon this sign for the first time you actually raise your hand in front of you and see the “AD” mark on your hand, knowing that you are playing the so-called “villain” of the story. I’m not sure if the creators were aiming to make fun of religion in general, or if they were just using the same ideas to make some new thing to be hated, but either way I like where it’s going so far. I will come back to this game and speak more of this when I get to it.

Now for the surprise game:

Battlefield 3:
Late to the party, yeah I know. Still, I haven’t really ever given the Battlefield series a chance. When people were playing the original Battlefield 1942, I was playing Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat (both Half-life 2 mods if you didn’t already know). I tried it and wasn’t as thrilled with it. I also tried Battlefield 2 at a friend’s house later on, and still wasn’t impressed. I had become a Call of Duty player by that point, and CoD held my interest up until Modern Warfare 3. At that point, I become disenfranchised with Call of Duty altogether, and boycotted the series. I have stayed true to that sentiment through two installments of the game, having avoided Black Ops 2 and Ghosts altogether. Lately though, I have been feeling that crave for competitive gameplay (this should be obvious with all my talk about LoL and Awesomenauts) that falls outside of the MOBA genre. I love my MOBAs, but I wanted some first person action that wasn’t all story-line intensive. Yes, Battlefield does have a single player campaign, but as of right now all I want to play is the multiplayer component.

I realize that Battlefield 3 is something like 2 1/2 years old and that Battlefield 4 released at the end of last year, so I am definitely far behind and it’s probably not the best time to jump into a shooter like this (populations die out when new titles are released). I’d also have to pay $50 to get all of the DLC for the game, which at this point seems like a joke. I have no intentions of doing so, because if I had $50 to throw away, I might as well just get a copy of the newest release, regardless of if it doesn’t have DLC yet. I actually don’t want to get caught in that DLC trap again, but I do crave an awesome multiplayer experience. That’s one thing I can’t fault CoD on, regardless of if it was nearly the same thing over and over again, it was always fun when I did play it. So, with all that said, BF3 was free for plus members a while back and I had skipped over it, but I decided the other night to go back and play it. I had a lot of fun blasting people and it didn’t feel like I was at a huge disadvantage even lacking all of the stuff you unlock as you progress through the multiplayer portion. I ended up only playing on maps that were designated as Team Deathmatch, so it was basically the same experience as one would have playing CoD, as there weren’t vehicles to control. That is a portion of the game that I want to try out, along with any other game modes. If I do all of that and I end up enjoying myself, I just might get a copy of BF4 at some point down the line. One good thing is that all of the controversy about the game’s stability has made DICE fix the problems it’s had since launch (or so I’ve read elsewhere), and I can get a copy of the game for PS3 and later upgrade it to a PS4 edition if I so choose. We’ll see what happens.

This week the Plus game is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. It looks interesting enough and I’ll give it a whirl. I’ve heard good things. Til next week.

January IGC

January is shaping up to be one of the best Playstation Plus months in recent memory. There hasn’t been any AAA titles that came out in the last couple of months that I didn’t already own — these are the types of months being a member is a drag, but it is still required to play already acquired games. This is fine. There were months where I payed a sub for an MMO and didn’t really get my money’s worth, this is par for the course. But I digress. The upcoming month sees not one, but two AAA titles that I really wanted to play, but never got around to buying. Both were on sale recently and I still avoided buying them, and I’m happy for it now. What are the games you ask? Here’s the preview if you prefer watching your content:

For those of you who are still with me, the games I’m really looking forward to are Bioshock: Infinite and DmC: Devil May Cry. I was a fan of the original DMC and it’s sequel, though I never played any of the other games of the series. I heard both good and bad things about the reboot, but you can’t go wrong with free. On the Bioshock side, I tried the first game a long time ago, but never finished it. The sequel was free last year, and I still have access to that, but never played it as I’d prefer to play the series in sequence, so I have asked a friend to borrow the original. I’m going to try and play through the first two before jumping into the newest iteration.

Other games on offer:

PS4: Don’t Starve.
PS3: Brothers.
Vita: Worms Battle Island and Smart as.

I don’t have commentary on these games, as I don’t own the other two systems. Brothers seemed an interesting Indie, but I won’t know until I try it. As always, commentary will come about these games as I play them. Stay tuned.