Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It's never too late to talk about Bioshock

This has been my first post in ages and, while I type this, I'm having flashbacks to that one time where Bioshock 2 was all I could think about. My love for the Bioshock franchise (Irrational or no Irrational) is strong. But let's be real: Irrational knows what's up.

 Did I ever mention that I played the entirety of Bioshock 2 in one sitting? Like, I bought it in the middle of the morning and played it until I finished it later that night. That's the first time I've done that. That's the last time I'll ever do that. And when you have a city like Columbia... must spend time to bask in its glory. Which I did. Well, it took me about five days. Each night I would come home from work and spend anywhere between 1 to 4 hours playing. (As a side note, I had just picked Dishonored back up before Bioshock Infinite came out, which I had already neglected previously and have still not managed to get back to it - but I really want to!) I can say, experiences like ones had with Bioshock Infinite are few and far between. This is a game of a generation. Really. 

Remember when Cary said she had a hard time writing about Tomb Raider because she loved it so much? That's about where I sit with Bioshock Infinite. So what I think will work best for this review would be to talk about the mechanics, and some things that struck me along the way. Either good or bad, just thoughts thrown down on the (web)page.

Elizabeth! Such a great companion throughout. I think GameInformer's article on "How Bioshock Infinite's Elizabeth Makes Her Mark" really hit it on the head for me. Elizabeth never hurt me in combat, only helped. And it was kind of funny during combat to see her huddled behind a wall while a bad guy was shooting mercilessly at me all the while walking right past her. Escort missions are things I often find truly detestable and I was waiting for one to crop up at some point - never have I been so happy to be wrong. There was only one time Elizabeth bothered me and that was at one point during combat, she and I tried to hide behind the same planter and I couldn't see anything. Not really a big deal, although it felt a bit at the time.

Now, I played on Xbox. I happened to be side-by-side with someone who was playing it on PC and I can tell you the reviews were right. The textures on the PC were absolutely incredible. Even something as simple as a lamppost, where you could see inside the lamp where the lightbulb was attached. They were pretty sizable, the differences in graphics, but if you're never given the chance to compare, you can be happy to live in ignorance.

The story is monumental within itself, and one that many gamers will talk about until the end of gaming (never, I hope), so what does that say? It is on par with fine literature when you finish playing a game going, "wait... what? Okay... I think I get tha- I have to look this up." The first thing I did when I finished the game was look for articles "explaining" the end - articles that journeyed toward finding some sort of absolute truth. Ken Levine has said, I believe it was on Twitter, that the story didn't finish the way it was originally intended. That is to say, that the story evolved over time into something that was unexpected. And, as a creative writer, this is often how I've experienced my own journey through a good piece of writing. It feels natural and it evolves into a beast larger than you set it out to be. And that's what Bioshock is all about.

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