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  1. solid-alchemist

    BioShock Infinite Review

    BioShock Infinite (PS3) Developed by Irrational Games Published by 2K Games Released March 26, 2013 Review Written April 12, 2014 Originally Posted on The Time Heist Blog For years I had been closely eyeing this title since its 2010 reveal from Irrational Games. As a fan of the original BioShock and its sequel, I anticipated an amazing rollercoaster that would possibly trump the original BioShock. With Irrational Games and Ken Levine regaining the creative reigns for BioShock Infinite, will this title bring the same magic displayed in the city of Rapture or should the floating city of Columbia just drift into oblivion like a meandering balloon? In short, yes BioShock Infinite captures similar values from the original BioShock but in itself is an entirely different experience. Although my timing for finally getting around to this game is fairly horrible in light of the recent news of Irrational Games being shutdown and dispersed, I“m glad I finally took the time to experience what I had been fawning over for years. BioShock Infinite is a great game in my opinion and in the twenty-three hours it took me to complete the campaign I enjoyed it to its entirety. Though the game can be completed in less than fifteen hours, I spent many moments gazing about the environments or searching for secrets strewn within the levels out of habit. As opposed to the dark beauty that was Rapture, the floating city of Columbia explodes with wonderfully bright colored hues. The floating city just looks so clean and vivid. BioShock Infinite utilizes a range of bright color schemes throughout each of the levels, and similar to the original Bioshock the structured tonality matches the transpiring situations. To add to this, the talking NPC“s and soft musical tones make this floating isle feel realistic, like I“m watching an adventure film about a lively civilization in the sky. Though with beauty comes an underlying horror as I would find myself witnessing screen tearing during certain climactic parts of the game. At first it was distracting but it completely disappears from annoyance as its appearances were minimal. Story-wise, in BioShock Infinite you take on the role of Booker DeWitt who has been tasked with finding a girl named Elizabeth to erase all of his gambling debts in the year 1912. Very much different from BioShock“s Jack, Booker actually has dialogue and interacts with the locals of Columbia. Not being a muted puppet controlled by the player, Booker has personality. Elizabeth also has a great personality and easily meshes with Booker creating an entertaining ride to the viewers. I“m Commander False Shepard, and this is my favorite tattoo on my body. BioShock Infinite dabbles in previously viewed ideals of choice but mixing it with American history, quantum physics, and ideals of destiny. More of a science fictional action-adventure than its horror focused predecessors, BioShock Infinite“s story resembles that of a Hollywood blockbuster. I found myself glued to my seat enjoying what developments were thrown at me and often anticipated what twists and turns were to come. Even though the ending left my head spinning and required me to replay the campaign a second time to grasp what was unfolded, I thoroughly enjoyed the story within BioShock Infinite. The gameplay is what ties the story and the visuals all together, and the BioShock formula still hasn“t really changed since the previous games. I“m not complaining though as I enjoyed the numerous shootouts throughout the game and believe the style worked with how the story flowed. I“ve heard a few mention they didn“t feel that the firefights didn“t fit within the game, but I believe it fit perfectly with Columbia“s very own Civil War brewing. These firefights were made more interesting when a robotic replica of an American Founding Father walks towards you with a gatling gun. There“s nothing like that surprise factor that leaves you open for attack as you try to configure what the hell is actually going on, and I“m talking about you robotic Abe Lincoln. Whoa! The Be Sharps reunited to perform their hit, “Baby On Boardâ€. As the gameplay formula hasn“t changed, the controls are still as smooth as the previous BioShocks. The only differing mechanics are the skylines and having Elizabeth tagging along. The skylines act as a fancy transition between locals while mixing in strategic combat. I often found myself riding the lines to investigate possible secret areas or to get a quick jump on unsuspecting enemies. The other change was having a sidekick along for the long journey. I actually feared a little that the game would end up being one long escort mission with Elizabeth constantly getting in the way or getting killed. This isn“t the case as Elizabeth can“t be injured by enemies and will actually hide during firefights. She even plays the role of helper throughout each area by throwing items your way that she“s found. Set in the same way that Ellie was mechanically just Joel“s shadow in The Last of Us, Elizabeth is there for the fight but doesn“t interfere with the flow of it. Although the game is damn near perfect in my book I still longed for one feature that was available in the first BioShock, hacking minigames. For some strange reason I loved the hacking minigames in the previous installments, and in BioShock Infinite they are missing. All of the locks are either opened via a keycode or through Elizabeth“s amazing lock picking skills that could quite possibly put Jill “The Master of Lock Picking†Valentine to shame. Although it was missing from the game, it is quite possible Irrational Games deemed it unnecessary or something that would ruin the current flow of the adventure. HIGH FIVE!!!!!!!! In conclusion, even though Bioshock Infinite strays away from the former“s horror focused design, the science fictional action is a welcome sight. The cast of characters all play a prominent role and will be easily remembered in days past. Easily noted, the Lutice twins and their banter similar to that of a 1940“s comedic duo will always come to mind when looking back at what could be the final BioShock game. So in turn, if you enjoyed the previous BioShock games or enjoy FPS games that have an interesting story to follow, then BioShock Infinite is definitely a game you should buy. So wipe away the debt, bring them the girl… Review Written by Solid-Alchemist If you enjoyed this review and would like to check out some other opinion pieces, come on over to The Time Heist. Any critique's or recommendations are welcome!
  2. It's not the deal of the Century or anything, but $15 for all three BioShocks isn't too bad... http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DOD0TZG?tag=cheapassgam08-20&pf_rd_p=1670590282&pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-3&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=7266959011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1H9HECKVFJATF5SYT81S
  3. gaiages


    From the album: The Dusty Photo Album

  4. Marcus Estrada

    Re/Action Zine Article

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  5. Note: This editorial discusses aspects of Bioshock Infinite that include spoilers. Bioshock Infinite is a game about a man, city, and a lighthouse. As the game says, there always is. It is also about racism and revolution. Racism is a very heavy theme in the game and one which appears integral to the overall narrative. Columbia stands as a beautiful dystopia which weds success with slavery. As modern viewers, we recognize this from the moment a character refers to a woman as the “prettiest white girl” and see what comes a second later. Can a game with its eye squarely on racism actually become racist itself though? I think so, and that is the most striking problem with the title considering it is otherwise a sound technical and visual achievement. In Infinite, Columbia seems like it should be a marvelous place. It“s Heaven, or the closest thing to it according to a worshiper at the start. This city in the clouds is clean (disregarding food and coins everywhere), bright, and a shining beacon of odd scientific and religious harmony. Washington and other important men of America are practically deified, as is the religious figure of Father Comstock. Everyone appears happy, except of course for the slaves stuck serving the White populous. Derogatory phrases are slung freely at any and all non-White races. Stereotypical visual depictions which have probably never been seen by some are plastered on propaganda posters as well as within the Hall of Heroes. Irrational Games does not appear to have held back their vision at all, despite the uncomfortable depictions of racism. This is actually a very brave thing for a game to try and take on, and that is an amicable thing for a studio to attempt. As the story progresses, you first feel that the African and other races deserve to rise up, but then, they become just as evil as Comstock. Alternate realities or not, this is a point where the game disturbingly takes on its own racist storytelling motives. The Vox Populi are a group so named because the Latin translates to “voice of the people”. These are the poor and working class people of Columbia who intend to rise up. The group is comprised primarily of minority individuals and is led by Daisy Fitzroy, who is strongly opposed the inequality she sees. She appears extremely intelligent and passionate, although you don“t get to see much of her before venturing through the first tear. Afterwards, she is still an incredibly strong individual but is now leading the Vox to do far more than protest. They have brought terror and death to Colombia“s citizens and continue to storm their way toward victory. Yes, rebellions and uprisings have a history of being violent. When tensions and stakes are so high, it seems to be the inevitable outcome many times. However, the game seems to push very heavily on the idea that both sides are equally detestable. Booker muses that Comstock and Fitzroy are the same, just spelled differently. But why is this the immediate assumption? Comstock was perpetuating inequality on a vast scale, as well as racist ideologies. Even with the Vox killing many innocent people in their aims, it is hard to come up with reasons that they are not warranted in their anger. It seems that the way Irrational “solved” equalizing the two groups was by having the Vox become a highly stereotypical and obviously evil group. They are seen at times with red paint smeared across their face. The mark of a revolution, sure, but it also starts the racist correlation that African people are wild, or tribe-like. If that“s too much a stretch, then simply look at what Fitzroy does later. She has the opponents of her heads skinned as a sign of success. If that doesn“t say “tribal” then I hardly know what does. Similarly, Fitzroy is later seen holding young White child with a gun in her hand. What purpose does this serve, honestly? Because it was too hard to equate Comstock“s evils to the oppressed people having a valid need to rise up, they were treated with cartoonishly evil and hurtful depictions. None of this even touches on the outfits of the Vox Populi, which in combat can include red masks with devil horns. There appears to have been some desperate need within development to make the two groups equivalent, but there is no need for that to be the case. Elizabeth thinks on the Vox and states their uprising would be “just like Les Mis”. That tale of the French June Rebellion paints the poor as desperate but also as people we should feel compassion for. Although initially players have compassion for the mistreated populous in Columbia, they are told by the game they should not anymore. After all, they have had their uprising and gone completely off the deep end into moustache twirling villain territory. I don“t feel there was any need for the story to have gone in that direction. Why were they unable to simply show the rebellion as going too far without the ridiculous characterizations? Beyond this forced equivalence of the Comstock and Fitzroy groups, we are shown Booker as the martyr for the Vox Populi rebellion. There is a trend in media to portray Black and other minority groups as unable to advocate or create change for themselves. Instead, many times historical or fictional events have portrayed white people as saviors to these groups. Yes, there are times that so called “majority voices” are important in enacting change, but showing it in this manner only serves to perpetuate racist ideals. Fitzroy appears as a wholly competent woman and yet uses a white man as the hallmark of the revolution she put her life into. Booker may or may not be deserving of this attribution but it is not the way to present racial uprisings to an audience who probably has paid little attention to them. Bioshock Infinite is a game with two layers of racism. The first is explicit and purposefully honed for the narrative. The other half, however, is submerged. Those who have any knowledge of racism in America will still be able to see it clearly, though. This is shocking as you would think any company taking on the task of a narrative infused with racism would be acutely aware of many facets of racism. Instead, they bring it into the game itself unintentionally to frame important game events. We as players are meant to recognize that Comstock having a city full of slaves is bad, but why then is a group filled with minorities allowed to be portrayed unflinchingly as ridiculous, cruel, and monstrous enemies? These are questions only Irrational Games can answer, and it“s unlikely they ever will.
  6. If Bioshock: Ultimate Rapture Edition sounds familiar, it may be due to the fact that it was discovered earlier last year. Back then the set was absentmindedly announced before being taken down. Today, 2K Games made the official announcement for the product and lets us know it is actually coming really soon. As you might expect, the Edition is a collection of both Bioshock and Bioshock 2. As no collection of a big game is complete without DLC, it also includes a whole bunch of that. Specifically, it includes Minerva's Den, Plasmid Packs, The Protector Trials, Rapture Metro, Sinclair Solutions Tester, and Challenge Rooms Pack which had actually been a PS3 exclusive. Of course, as this collection is on sale for PS3 and 360, Xbox owners will finally gain access to said DLC. Finally, also included is the "Museum of Orphaned Concepts". With it players will be able to check out concept art, character models, and the like. Bioshock: Ultimate Rapture Edition is $30 and will be available on January 14th. It is out so soon to prepare gamers for the upcoming release of Bioshock Infinite. Therefore, anyone who still hasn't played the games may find this pack of use when it arrives for PS3 and 360.
  7. Marcus Estrada

    Bioshock Infinite Delayed into March

    It seems that if a game is worth wanting or owning that it must be delayed at least once before launch. Well, not really, but it happens quite often anyway with highly-anticipated titles. Case in point, this is not the first time Bioshock Infinite has been delayed, but now it is being pushed further away from everyone's eager hands. Before this delay, it was set to come out on February 26th (itself a delayed date). Now, CEO of Irrational Games, Ken Levine has shared news of the newest delay which has pushed it back another month. Now, barring a last minute delay, Bioshock Infinite will launch on March 26th. What is the point of this delay? The game is being held back to allow for more bug-fixing and polish. Although players will not be happy to see the game delayed, they should appreciate the extra effort being put into it. Sure, the game may still be great without this extra work, but developers should not feel complacent to release bug-riddled messes. Whenever Bioshock Infinite is finally out it will be available on PC, PS3, and 360.
  8. http://www.gamesradar.com/bioshock-infinite-will-not-feature-multiplayer-developer-confirms/ It has been confirmed that BioShock Infinite will not feature multiplayer. While this may upset some, I am actually very excited about the news. Too many developers waste a lot of time on multiplayer while neglecting the single-player experience. At least we now know that most of their resources have gone into single-player action with this one and hopefully it will show when the game releases.
  9. By now, we've all seen the Bioshock Infinite Special Edition and all of the neat goodies it comes with. I'm still bummed out that they didn't include the murder of crows bottle with it, but what good is moping around about it? Instead, I thought we should discuss the statue that does come included with the game. Namely, why I'm frightened by it. As I'm sure you're all aware, the original Bioshock had a similar statue included with its special edition. Let's just say things didn't go quite as planned when it hit store shelves. Read on to find out why you should be weary when purchasing this neat collectible. The History Of Bioshock Special Editions First of all, the original Bioshock special edition did something most game companies just don't seem to be capable of doing with their own special editions. It became rare. You couldn't find a cheaply-priced complete special edition to save your life. Immediately after the game's release, the special edition shot up in price to upwards of $100 and stayed there for years. Usually this is a good thing... unless you happened to be one of the many people who ordered your special edition from an online retailer. As snug as a smashed up bug in a rug! You see, the figures included with each special edition of the game had a tendency to be broken upon arrival. The main problem being that the Big Daddy's drill would be snapped off inside the box. If you were buying it in store you could look in the box and see if your figure was complete or not. Of course, people ordering online didn't have this same luxury. You pretty much just had to hope the one you got was complete. If not, you were just out of luck seeing as the special edition was long out of stock by that point. However, there was a reprieve for those who were patient. After all of the complaints about broken figures came out, 2KGames started a replacement program for customers. It only took nearly three months to get your product replaced. And people got a nice hardcover artbook for their troubles. The Possible Future Of Bioshock Special Editions This leads us to today and the announcement of the Bioshock Infinite special edition. I'm sure you've all seen the giant winged statue of awesomeness. Yeah, well think about those nice thin wings sitting in that special collector's case. Look! The wings already have holes in them! (this is a joke) The drill bit on the original Bioshock's Big Daddy figurine was attached to what I would believe was a pretty bulky part of the figure and it still managed to break off. These huge wings are supported by nothing. They're just out there. I'd like to think that they've learned their lesson with collector's edition statues after what happened with the original Bioshock, but every time I look at that statue, all I see is cracked wings and customer complaints. There has been word that the statue itself will be contained in it's own special box so all of this worry might be for nothing, but you should always take the company's past into consideration when spending upwards of a $150. Do you think we could be facing some trouble with these new Bioshock Infinite statues? They certainly look like they could be trouble with those fully spread-out wings. I might be hesitant because of past events, but I am tempted to take a chance and buy one myself. As always, thanks for reading.
  10. Playstation All Stars Battle Royale's release date is coming up fast. As we approach closer and closer to the release date, more details about the game's story and characters are being revealed. While I'm eagerly anticipating the game's release, I've started to wonder something- just what is this game going to be rated? We've gotten characters from games ranging from E for Everyone all the way up to M for Mature. If it was just the character's themselves then this wouldn't be a problem, but as we all know Playstation All-Stars will have a story mode to worry about. How will some of the more mature characters handle the transition to a more family friendly setting? Out of the twelve characters announced so far, four of them are from M rated games. Sweet Tooth, Kratos, the Big Daddy and Colonel Radec. I'm sure we'll see a few more M-rated characters before the game's release this October, but we'll focus on these ones for now. Colonel Radec probably won't be that big of a deal going into All-Stars seeing as he's just a war nut who will stop at nothing to win. Sweet Tooth Things get more complicated when you get to Sweet Tooth. One of the main characters in the Twisted Metal series, Sweet Tooth was an ice cream truck driver who snapped and murdered most of his family while dressed as a clown. It then became his mission to find his surviving children and kill them too. While dropping him into a T-rated game should work, they'll have to seriously nerf his story if they expect to keep their rating at a T or lower. Kratos Then we have Kratos, killer of Gods, layer of women. Each sequel he starred in was pretty much just an exercise to see how brutally he can kill someone given the newest leaps in technology available to the team that created him. As we've seen from the gameplay trailers, Kratos has been tamed down considerably. At no point will he be pulling off Nathan Drake's head. In fact his story will probably just be about him finding whoever forced him into these fights so he can rip them in half off screen. The Big Daddy Finally we have the Big Daddy. A character who's soul mission in life is to stop people from murdering the children they protect. As far as I know, they don't really do much else other than that. Will the Big Daddy be fighting off Heihachi and Parappa from trying to kill a child? Doubtful, but I'm interested to see how they'll possibly involve that in the story. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale will not get an M-rating. There's no way it could become Sony's answer to Smash Brothers if it did! But just how will these characters work in a T rated setting? And what if Superbot decides to goes for an E-rating? Only time will tell, but until then I'll be looking forward to even more character reveals. ---------------------------- How do you think Superbot will handle these rather violent characters in a game geared more towards a family friendly crowd? Do you think they'll be pulling punches when it comes to the stories of some of the more insane characters? Why not tell us what you think in the comments below? As always, thanks for reading.