Friday, November 09, 2007

Tis the Season to Prioritise

So Bioshock didn't slip down then, but became lodged in my throat somewhere in the second chapter. The problem was that despite the rich environment, the plot, the plasmids, all the innovative ways to kill Splicers, Bioshock is a not-very-good First Person Shooter with a not-very-good version of PipeMania sellotaped to it.

Rapture may be lush, but it sure hasn't been designed for gun combat. The Splicer AI may be clever, but it isn't fun to fight. That graphical blurring effect that it covers the screen with may be pretty, but it pretty much breaks the firefights, along with its pal, 'realistic kickback'. The damage model is broken too (I can shoot a boss in the head at point blank range over 10 times to kill them, or just throw a piece of furniture at them? Whoops).

It's a shame, because I dearly wanted to be immersed in the game, and I love exploring the wide maps to find new diary entries, but when you're constantly under attack by Splicers chattering over the voice acting, it rather spoils the effect. Can someone release a mod that removes them from the game, leaving only the Big Daddies and Little Sisters please.

Oh, and about *that* 'interesting moral decision'. Come ON. Is this really the best example of we've seen yet in games? If so, we should definitely stop going on about it. Anyway, which characters to take to level 80 in FFXII was easily more interesting (Balthier and Fran ftw!)

It's that time of year - and this year especially - when all the big publishers prepare their marketing goons with the finest marching powder, take out their giant cocks and start swinging them around. It started with the aforementioned Bioshock, which I abandoned just in time for the Orange Box. Finished Episode 2, enjoyed being rubbish at TF2, but haven't quite finished Portal (I know, I know). Then Metroid 3 comes out, but I still haven't finished Phantom Hourglass on the DS. Now it's my birthday, and I'm 'looking forward' to Mario Galaxy, Crysis, Call of Duty 4, Assassin's Creed. Plus I just got a 360 (thanks mum n dad!) so there's a giant backlog of other stuff to play, to say nothing of little snacky oddities like Rockstar's Table Tennis on the Wii, or Geometry Wars Galaxies.

It isn't good for the gamer, all this. Nothing to play but World of Warcraft for months on end, and then waaaay too much at once. I understand that the industry has locked itself into this Q4 feedback loop over the years, but the sense of magic you used to get back in the day when a new game came out that everyone had been waiting for, and every gamer friend you knew would be playing it at the same time has been lost. I've no idea in what order to tackle the seasonal releases this year, or which consoles to plug into which tellies to best share out the experience between Nikki and myself (adhering strictly to the no spoilers rule, where every time you enter a room, you daren't look at the screen for fear of seeing a boss fight before you've reached that bit).

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