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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, â€œBaby 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 â€œThe Master of Lock Pickingâ€ 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 girlâ€¦ 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!
Lone Survivor: The Director“s Cut (PS3) Developed by Superflat Games Published by Curve Studios Released September 24, 2013 Review Written March 22, 2014 Originally Posted on The Time Heist Blog Another game from my Christmas sale binge, Lone Survivor is another recent title that I pursued without knowing any prior information about the game. Created by Jasper Byrne of Superflat Games, Lone Survivor: The Director“s Cut is an atmospheric survival horror game reminiscent of the Silent Hill Series. Taking a different route visually, Lone Survivor is a 16-bit side-scroller that still manages to bring the fear. Though it may look like an odd SNES released twenty years too late, this indie title has much to offer once you leap into the rabbit hole. Throughout the six hour campaign, this indie title has little nuances that just grow on you the more you play it. Even though it doesn“t redefine the survival horror genre, Lone Survivor captures certain elements of popular survival horror games to lend an enjoyable experience. The first hour of the game is possibly the most intense as you don“t have any equipment except for a flashlight and a few pills. Adding that to roaming around a mysterious apartment complex without a sense of direction built my expectations as well as the foundation of how I would play the entire game; slowly walking and stealthing around to avoid all enemies. Although I say the first hour of the game felt the most intense, there is a level entirely within a basement that almost required me to bring a spare change of pants. Old age had caught up to Snake as he“d forgotten how to properly stealth. As mentioned, the game really relies on its eerie ambiance and without it Lone Survivor wouldn“t be nearly as enjoyable. Before even starting the game, the introductory screen dictates that a horrifyingly immersive experience is gained through following the game“s â€œritualâ€. The â€œritualâ€ is more about the player“s mindset than the game“s adjustments, basically instructing the users to play in the dark with loud volume and away from distractions. I played using their instructed â€œritualâ€ and did feel a bit more immersed but this came at the price of feeling very paranoid at times. The sounds from within the game would often be a bit too ominous and any quick movements would instantly set off mental alarms. In a way the game“s â€œritualâ€ was very helpful in getting the correct mentality while playing and as the game is called Lone Survivor I“d imagine that mindset would be that of fear and paranoia. Touching more on the atmosphere of the game, the audio is very impressive. Clear sound effects and music help add to the game whether it being soft melodies while in safe havens, staticky undertones when enemies are near, and any sound effects for surfaces walked on or items used. Visually the game isn“t too bad either. By being 16-bit, Lone Survivor has the ability to play on nostalgia factor from those who love that art style or gaming era. Using mostly a dark selection of colors it really sets the tone that this world you“re playing in is in such a bleak, disturbing state. Yet, even in a gloomy world you have to strive for survival. That was the moment I realized I should have never left James Franco“s house. With such a bleak situation you come to learn that the character you play as is an unknown man who is just labeled as the Lone Survivor. Being one of the few characters still alive in the apartment complex, this man definitely has his own personal demons, and as you progress in the main story many of them come to light. Interestingly the more you play, the more he begins to delve into the insanity of his own situation and with such he progressively becomes more self-abhorrent as he pursues his goal for escape. In attempts to maintain your characters sanity you have to feed him and let him rest when he requests such or else his sanity fleets even more so. This feature within the game was interesting at first, but over time the main character started sounding more like a broken tamagachi, constantly complaining about needing food or sleep. But following suit with the theme of survivor horror, there“s always never enough food to satiate his ever-growing appetite. Give us your lunch money!!! The controls for the game are very simplistic in that you only move left and right and have a scatter of buttons to use specific items. There is also a quick-use wheel you can bring up to avoid diving into your inventory when very dire situations arise against the several enemy types within the game. Sometimes having the extra healing items or weapons still can“t save you from the stronger enemies. Though don“t fret if your character dies a good handful of times as the game can be a bit unforgiving in terms of difficulty the deeper you get into it. Lone Survivor is an interesting tale of a man“s attempt to escape reality and death. Almost like being lost in a corn maze, the more you attempt to understand what“s going on you become even more disoriented with no ability of reversing. The perplexing story becomes even more fragmented as there are a total of six endings to the game, and only two of them, I believe, reveal the truth about the game“s happenings. Although the game can often be very slow paced, the hunger to find answers really drove me to finish. With this all said, I would definitely recommend purchasing this game on Steam or PSN. It may not be overly scary as a survival horror game, but it does offer an interesting experience worth a playthrough or two. 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! Editorial Note: