0028 – Games of 2013 Review


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The Games of 2013


Another year down, another year closer to death, and another year spent ignoring those facts by playing video games and watching movies.  2013 was an interesting year for gaming.  A lot of great games were released this year, leaving me fully confident that I’d be able to pull a top 5 and maybe even a top 10.  As usual, I’m not that confident about being able to find enough games for the bottom half of my list because I didn’t really make good use of my Gamefly this year.  But this was also an interesting year for video games because we got some brand spankin’ new consoles in the Xbox One and the PS4 … that brought nothing significant for games.  I only bought the Xbox One, but none of the games for that system would come close to my top 5 for the year.  And I didn’t buy the PS4 because its games were even worse.  But there’s still plenty enough to talk about for this year as I present my review for the Games of 2013.

JANUARY

DMC: DEVIL MAY CRY

This game was okay.  The series had gotten a little stale so they decided to try to sexy it up a little bit and change Dante’s look.  Some people got mad about that.  I didn’t care.  I meant about the game.  It was a standard Devil May Cry game, and I’ve not been that interested in those in any of their incarnations.  Beat the shit out of your X button until all the enemies on screen are dead.  A nice enough way to kill time, but certainly not a must have title.

FEBRUARY

FIRE EMBLEM AWAKENING

This game was actually the very first game I played on the 3DS that I purchased some months later.  I finally decide to purchase a 3DS because of the Pokémon release, and this game seemed to be the most interesting.  And it was.  The gameplay was enjoyable turn-based strategy stuff, but I found myself completely obsessed with the romance system in the game.  I tried to get everyone in my team to fuck everyone else in my team.  And then when they did and their children came back from the future to join my team (this actually happens!), I tried to get the kids from the different families together.  I would talk more about the satisfying gameplay or the nice graphics, but I really spent all my time playing matchmaker in this game, and I still enjoyed it.

DEAD SPACE 3

I’ve liked the Dead Space series in the past, and technically I’d say I enjoyed this game as well.  The problem is that I no longer remember it.  It was just like the other Dead Space games but with more snow.  I do remember liking the story, the graphics, and the gameplay, so I’d still say I’d recommend playing it even if it is somewhat forgettable.  It’s probably only $20 by now, and it’s definitely worth that.

CRYSIS 3

This is another game that I entirely forgot existed.  If you’ve ever played a Crysis game, well this is another one.  It’s really pretty, it does nothing to advance the genre of the first-person shooter, and the story is never anything special.  And neither are the games.  They’re fun enough, but not spectacular.

MARCH

GOD OF WAR: ASCENSION

I’ve owned this game since I got it as a gift for my birthday in June.  I still have not felt any reason to play it.  I guess I kind of assumed that the game got shitty reviews, but as I look it up to write this it turns out that it’s been generally favorable.  I will need to find out where I put my copy and get around to it now, I suppose.

GEARS OF WAR: JUDGMENT

Now this game I did play.  I’m not sure why.  It wasn’t bad, but it was Gears of War as all the secondary characters I never cared about.  Except Cole-Train-Baby-Woo, whose name I will not say any other way.  There’s nothing wrong with this game, but there’s nothing special or significant about it either.  Have you played Gears of War before?  Well this looks and plays exactly like that.  That’s not a bad thing, but you’re not going to get anywhere near the top of my lists by rehashing.

APRIL

STAR TREK

Ooooo, I wish I had played you!  I saw some game footage.  This game looks stupid and broken as shit.  WHY DID I NOT PLAY YOU?!  Gamefly!  Get me Star Trek on the phone, stat!

MAY

METRO: LAST LIGHT

I just recently started playing this game.  I felt like I wanted to get this game all year, and it was eating at me every time I saw it on the shelf.  I saw it go on sale numerous times, but never went low enough that I felt I should take the risk.  But it finally reached the price I needed it to be: Free!  My sister gave me this game for Christmas, so I’ve only been playing it a little.  The game could complain that it wasn’t given the best chance to make it into my top games because I haven’t even beaten it yet, but I think I’ve played enough to be able to say it was in no danger of that anyway.  It’s good, but you came out in the same year as GTAV, BioShock Infinite, and Tomb Raider.  You’re going to have to step your game up for that.  The story is forgettable so far, but the graphics are nice and the gameplay is fun.  Just not really exceptional in any way that I’ve yet found.

FAST & FURIOUS: SHOWDOWN

Remember what I said about the Star Trek game.  Same goes for this one.  I didn’t play it, and I think we all know exactly why.

FUSE

I played a demo of this game and found it to be acceptable.  I would totally play this game when it dropped down to $20.  But they don’t usually release games that aren’t total garbage at $20, and when they finally dropped the price to around that low, I was no longer interested.  I’ll probably get it eventually, so you can call this a recommendation if the game is already $20.  But I know that I’ve definitely given better recommendations before.

JUNE

DEADPOOL

I have been (and still remain) very interested in playing this game.  Deadpool is one of my favorite comic book characters and is one of the few comic books that I read regularly anymore.  Sadly, it did not appear that Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan (writers of the Deadpool comics and stars of one of my favorite podcasts, Nerd Poker) had anything to do with this game.  If I couldn’t even rely on the comedy of the story to keep my interest in this game, it would have to come down the gameplay.  And the gameplay just seemed too standard.  I will eventually play this game, but it’s going to need to be much cheaper than I’ve managed to find it yet.  $20 range sounds about right.

MURAMASA REBIRTH

My roommate got me really excited to play this game.  I had played Muramasa: The Demon Blade on the Wii a few years back (which was around the last time I played anything on the Wii), and I really enjoyed it.  It was super basic gameplay, but I thought the art style was pretty interesting and captivating.  When I heard about Muramasa Rebirth, I was excited at the idea of a sequel.  Then I found out it was just another time that Sony decided that porting things and making them HD was a good enough reason to release a game.  They added some new levels and a few new levels, but I still feel that I’ve already played this and have no reason to do it again.

JULY

NOTHING

AUGUST

PIKMIN 3

I’ve really liked the Pikmin games in the past, but there was one big complication keeping me from getting into this version of the game: the fact that I down own a Wii U.  I’m still waiting for a game to come out that makes the Wii U worth purchasing, and Pikmin just isn’t generally good enough to be that game.

SEPTEMBER

DIABLO III

I was relatively satisfied with my time with Diablo.  My past with Diablo never quite matched up with the series.  I never played the first one and I played the second one at the behest of a friend some years after it came out.  It never impressed me because I was always a few years removed from the time when it was supposed to impress me.  Realizing that, I felt the need to get into Diablo as soon as I could.  When it finally came out, I waited another year to get to it.  NOT MY FAULT!  At first, my computer simply could not handle the game.  When I finally got to build a new computer that was capable of running games, I was aware that they would be putting the game out on console.  Thankfully, I was still able to play the console version in the time where I would still appreciate it.  There’s nothing much to the story of the game, but for someone like me that is completely comfortable with grinding and leveling and dungeon-crawling for the best gear, this game can easily suck hours out of your life.  And that’s basically all you can expect of some games.

OCTOBER

BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS

I was nervous about this game going into it.  I loved the other two games in the Arkham series, but Arkham Origins was not going to be in the hands of Rocksteady Studios, the group that finally figured out the formula for making a good Batman game.  In this games’ defense, they did just steal the formula wholesale from Rocksteady, but you could see the lack of love in it.  It felt ALMOST right, but lacked the polish of a Rocksteady game in the fluidity of the controls.  The story was interesting as an origin story, but also felt like fan appeasement in just trying to throw as many famous enemies in as possible.  Also, you should probably barely bother acting like we’re not going to know who these enemies are because most people playing are fans.  Thought Batman might not know them yet, we know who the Riddler and the Joker are.  But the game was pretty good, it just felt like Rocksteady loved it more and did it better.

ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG

My mind wasn’t blow, but I was pretty well-satisfied with this game.  I was curious how they would handle the dead Desmond in the room for this game, but was hoping they would go with the “Who cares?  You don’t want to play that side of the game anyway!” approach instead of what they did, but the story of the part of the game I care about was interesting.  Who doesn’t on some level want to be a pirate?  Especially if it means that I’ll get to play an entire game of the best part of the last game: the nautical battles!  I spent most of my time in this game sailing around and exploring, occasionally putting that on pause to advance the story a bit.  I wanted it to continue so much that I even got that DLC for it already.  What was it called?  Adéwalé Unchained?

BATTLEFIELD 4

I was on the fence about purchasing one of the big shooters this year.  I invested in an Xbone this year, and I would not be purchasing a game in the past when I had already moved into the future.  But not all of my friends were ready to move into the future, and I have no desire to play multiplayer games with people I don’t know.  This may be a bit of a spoiler for the next review, but I finally decided to buy one of these games and I went with this one.  Battlefield is typically a much better game, it has vehicles, and it is not Call of Duty.  How did I like it?  We’ll find that later … when I play it …

NOVEMBER

CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS

This was finally the year when I stopped allowing myself to be tricked into Call of Duty, even though this year was one made by my preferred publisher: Infinity Ward.  I’m just sick of Call of Duty.  Every year these people put out a game, every year it seems like the same old stuff, and every year my friends tell me to buy it ‘cause we’ll totally play together … and then we don’t.  No more!  If Activision seems like they allowed for some innovation and these game stop seeming like the same old thing, maybe I’ll come back.  For now, I’ve checked out.  I’ll be on Battlefield.

KNACK

One of two exclusive games boasted by the PS4, and the deciding factor for me deciding not to buy it.  I played the demo.  It wasn’t bad, but it just seemed like a rip off of Ratchet and Clank with an added desire to jerk off and show the world how powerful their physics engine could be.

DEAD RISING 3

Dead Rising 3 is the best exclusive game I’ve played.  It also does not have a lot of competition.  But the game is a lot of fun; it’s just not very special.  It’s almost identical to the other Dead Rising games but it looks a little prettier and has a lot of zombies on the screen at the same time.  It could be compared to Knack in that way because both of them just seem to want to show off the power of their system without focusing on much else, but Dead Rising was much more fun than Knack was.  It’s mindless, hack-and-slash fun, but it’s fun nonetheless.

RYSE: SON OF ROME

I haven’t managed to play this game just yet, but it will be played eventually.  It looks visually spectacular, but if I’m going to invest $60 into you, you’re going to need a little more, such as a good story or some good gameplay.  Everything I’ve heard from this game indicates it has barely any story and the gameplay is super repetitive.  That being said, it’s just a matter of time before I buy this game.  As they say, beggars can’t be choosers, and I am desperate for another game for my Xbone.  If I catch wind of this game on sale for even $15 off, I’m probably buying it.

LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK BETWEEN WORLDS

This game wasn’t really given its fair shake because of Pokémon.  I bought it as soon as it came out, but didn’t start playing it until about a week ago because I just had to catch ‘em all.  Now that I’ve been playing it, I’ve been loving it.  It feels almost identical to A Link to the Past, and that’s one of the best Zelda games ever.  I can’t really talk about the story of the game very much yet as I doubt I’m remotely close to beating it, but it seems mostly like the average story of a Zelda game.  Ganon’s coming back, Zelda is in trouble, and the legendary hero is a small elven boy that finds a cool sword.  That’s the usual stuff, but they also now have a Hyrule and a Lorule.  Get it?!  HIGH-RULE and LOW-RULE!  These people are the cleverest!  But the game has changed because now I can turn into a painting to solve puzzles.  It’s a fun mechanic, but it doesn’t seem like the game has been revolutionized.  Of course, when you’re a Zelda game, you don’t really need to revolutionize.  You just need to recapture, and this game does that.

DECEMBER

GRAN TURISMO 6

I haven’t played this game and I never will, but the reason I felt I needed to put it on my list is because this game is just a stupid idea.  And it also exemplifies the reason I am nervous about buying Sony consoles in the future: they make terrible decisions.  They put out the PSP as the most impressive handheld system to date … and put no games on it.  Years later they learned from their mistakes.  They made the PS Vita, which was the most powerful handheld system to date AND had two analog sticks … and have not yet put games out for it.  Then they put out the PS4 with no games.  Then they release the newest version of their flagship racing franchise … exclusively for the last generation of their system.  How long were you aware that you’d be making a new console, Sony?  About as long as Microsoft?  And where did they put their flagship racing franchise?  Exclusively on the Xbox One, was it?  You make me anxious pulling shit like this, Sony.  Knock it off.

THE WORST GAMES OF 2013

FIFTH WORST

Beyond: Two Souls (2013)BEYOND: TWO SOULS

I had a great experience with this title.  I thought the story was super interesting and the performances by people like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe were just fantastic.  That all sounds like a positive, so what was my problem?  My problem was that I played a really good movie … but I was playing a video game.  Quantic Dream, I know this is how you roll … your thumbstick to make your character turn her head to look over her shoulder …  You make games that are basically really long quick time events and I realize that.  But that is lame.  Can we not just assume my character knows how to get out of bed without my assistance?  Must I hold L1 and R1 to have her put her feet on the floor?  I don’t have to think that much to accomplish that task in real life, so you can go ahead and do that one for me.  But I really liked the story and the graphics, and the actors did pretty great jobs, so I’m going to recommend that you play this movie.

FOURTH WORST

The Last of Us (2013)THE LAST OF US

My problem with The Last of Us was mostly with the hype.  This was a good game that was talked up so hard that it seemed impossible for it to do anything but disappoint.  My roommate and I were still some of the few people that seemed let down by this game.  The story was pretty good and it elicited some emotional responses from me, and the game looked as good as you could in a game with about 50% bland cities.  Maybe it was the gameplay that turned me off because it was thoroughly average, but I think it’s just that the propaganda machine set the expectations too high.

THIRD WORST

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Ultimate Edition (2013)INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US – ULTIMATE EDITION

I took my time getting around to this game because it was a fighting game.  Fighting games hold my attention for a matter of hours and when they hit the interest wall, they hit it hard.  I’m not competitive enough to play a fighting game until I get good at it, nor do I intend to analyze frame rates to be really good at them.  I basically just beat the story and then fall asleep.  But I got the ULTIMATE EDITION!!  And that meant I had a few more characters to get bored with quickly.

RUNNER UP

Saints Row IV (2013)SAINTS ROW IV

This game created an unnatural amount of anger in me.  They’re just trying to hard now.  This game always seemed to be a blatant GTA rip off that didn’t take itself seriously.  I respected that.  I was never as big of a fan of GTA as everyone else was, and injecting a little more comedy into the equation worked for me on occasion.  This game seemed to indicate that the series was bored ripping off GTA and wanted to go off on their own … and rip off Crackdown.  That’s a great idea!  Rip off a far lesser game instead!  The story was nothing special and the comedy was mostly lost on me, seeming at times that their equation for comedy was just to have regular things happen, but this time make the character naked or holding a dildo.  And if you really want to blow the audiences minds, both.  The game was also somewhat glitchy when I played it, and the game also seemed to embrace glitches and make them part of the game since you were supposed to be inside a video game anyway.  And why not?  Gamers love glitches!  I was so irritated and deflated by this game that I was never able to beat it.  I just got bored one day and wandered off into the living room with the game still on, never to play it again.

THE LOSER

Aliens: Colonial Marines (2013)ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES

Now this here game was a terrible piece of shit.  It demanded to set itself in the world of the Aliens movies, but the story it decided on was going to go ahead and ignore all of that.  Hicks is alive!  He managed to get off the escape vessel, but didn’t care enough to rescue Newt or Ripley so they could go on to die in Alien 3.  He had time to save them too, since he obviously had time to dump a decoy body in his place.  But why would he do that?  This game explains it with, “Long story.”  Great.  So Michael Biehn agreed to do the game so you just decided to make up whatever bullshit to fit him in.  You certainly didn’t need him as you were never able to make his character look like him, or anything in your game look good for that matter.  At first blush, this game is a standard first-person shooter, but when you play it more you realize it’s actually a shitty first-person shooter.  There’s nothing in this game worth its existence.

 

THE BEST GAMES OF 2013

FIFTH BEST

Grand Theft Auto V (2013)GRAND THEFT AUTO V

I’m never going to be able to please the part of my audience that adores the Grand Theft Auto series, just as the Grand Theft Auto series seems unlikely to ever be able to please me.  I’ve never been able to find the same level of enjoyment in these games as they do.  I’ve even tried to study how these people play the game in hopes of finding that I’ve been doing it wrong.  Apparently I have been because I tend to try to complete the story and do all the side missions while these people play the game online (when Rockstar gets around to releasing it) or run around the city with no objective save for collecting wanted levels until they get killed and start it all over again.  How is that fun?  How is it possible to spend hours shooting random civilians and cops until you finally succumb to bullets, and then starting the cycle anew?  I don’t know, but they do.  I don’t really attempt to argue with people about the fun factor involved in this game, but I need a little more out of a game to put it in a “Best Of” list.  The story in this game is okay, but it is highly unlikely that this game will inspire me to come back to it.  Of course I’ll recommend this game, but I’m not going to act like it’s the best game of the year as many others might.

FOURTH BEST

Pokemon X and Y (2013)POKÉMON X AND Y

I love this game far more than I should, and I know I have a problem.  I can’t help but catch ‘em all!  I buy both games so that I can truly catch ‘em all and send ‘em to myself so that I may be Lord Almighty of Pokémon!  The reason I rate these games so highly is that, if you’re into these kinds of games at all, then a mere investment of $40 can get you hundreds of hours of play.  Since I don’t go for first-person shooters online that much anymore, I can find no better way to get more bang for my buck than a Pokémon game.  This game was a pretty large graphical improvement from other Pokémon games because they now had 3D to play with, but not a whole lot else has changed.  The story might not involve Team Rocket in this one, but it might as well have.  Bad team is causing trouble, but you’ll always win because you’re better friends with your captive animals than they are.  They also added some new Pokémon somehow.  You’d think they’d have run out of ideas by now.  But this game is just another Pokémon game, and that’s all it really needs to be for me.

THIRD BEST

Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (2013)NI NO KUNI: WRATH OF THE WHITE WITCH

WRITTENVIDEO

This is a very notable game because of its beautiful Studio Ghibli artistic presentation, but I found myself confused by the story.  It could never decide if it was for adults or for children.  The story was very touching, but got pretty adult with the heavy messages, the death of your main character’s mother, and spousal abuse.  But the game also wanted to be for children and knew that children would need to have very simple game mechanics (the likes of which you have played before if you’ve played Pokémon) still being taught to you 4 hours into the game.  But the gameplay is fun, the game is gloriously beautiful, and I played this game for 237 hours.  Since you can get this game for $20 now, you’ll probably have a hard time getting a better value for the buck.

RUNNER UP

Tomb Raider (2013)TOMB RAIDER

The Tomb Raider series was mostly okay, but sometimes terrible.  They had all but fallen off the map until they put this game out.  This game actually has a story (which the other ones barely did), and they filled that story with some surprisingly emotional moments.  And they actually made Lara Croft an interesting person, while still keeping everything that made us like her in the first place.  Well, except her ridiculously sized boobs.  Now she looked like a real person instead of freakish Barbie doll person.  The game also looks beautiful, and the gameplay was fantastic.  The gameplay wasn’t revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s not a requirement for me.  It’s basically Uncharted with the option for a bow and arrow.  But Uncharted was great.  If you’re going to steal from something, steal from the best.  And everything they brought on their own helped this game come a lot closer to being the best.

THE WINNER

BioShock Infinite (2013)BIOSHOCK INFINITE

My mind was literally blown by this game.  It did everything right.  It was a beautiful game to look upon, for one thing.  It’s true that it’s not photorealistic, but that’s also not what it was going for.  It was going for an artistic style, and it was equally as impressive to enter Columbia as it was to enter Rapture for the first time, and they made both of those worlds come to life.  The gameplay wasn’t drastically different from the other BioShock games, but it didn’t really need to be.  You’ve got your guns and you’ve got your plasmids (or as this game calls them, Vigors), but that felt pretty standard.  You could combine those Vigors in some interesting ways, and you also had the Sky-Line thing to use, but I found myself more than comfortable sticking to guns.  One of the big things that makes the game special is Elizabeth.  You have to drag her around throughout the game, but unlike Ico, it’s nothing but a pleasure.  Elizabeth is hot, adorable, amusing, and helpful.  You don’t have to protect her; she can’t die.  In fact, she’ll just throw you things to help you while you continue to ignore her in combat.  But the real thing that makes this game special to me is the story.  The story of this game took my brain, rattled it around in my head, and fired it out my ass.  It’s amazing that I’ve gotten around as well as I have since March with my brain destroyed, but it was still worth it.

As always, these are only my opinions, and a few of them were specifically designed to make some of you angry.  Feel free to tell my why I’m wrong and I promise to read them while probably not paying attention to them.  More importantly, I want to hear what you guys think were the best and worst games of 2013.  Leave your list in the comments below!

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BioShock Infinite (2013)


The Seed of the Prophet Shall Sit the Throne, and Drown in Flame the Mountains of Man.

BioShock Infinite (2013)I generally try not to review two games back to back, but this review simply could not wait. Not only did I talk about it in my previous review, but I just beat it and simply had to tell people about it. I don’t really know anyone that’s played this game but me, but I’ve seen lots of talk about how amazing it was before I finally purchased it. And I didn’t wait to purchase it because I didn’t expect much out of it. I waited because I had other games that I should finally play and knew that my drive to play this game would not wait. I loved the first game in this series, and I was even fond of the sequel, but now the game has been returned to the hands that treated it so well originally. And so let’s talk about BioShock Infinite, designed by Ken Levine, developed by Irrational Games, 2K Marin, Human Head Studios, and Darkside Game Studios, published by 2K Games, and including the voices of Troy Baker, Courtnee Draper, Kiff VandenHeuvel, Kimberly Brooks, Jennifer Hale, Oliver Vaquer, Bill Lobley, and Keith Szarabajka.

In 1912, Booker DeWitt (Troy Baker) is taken to an island lighthouse off the coast of Maine. Inside, he finds a rocket silo that transports him to his destination, the floating city of Columbia. His mission here is to find a girl named Elizabeth (Courtnee Draper), daughter of the revered Prophet of Columbia, Father Zachary Hale Comstock (Kiff VandenHeuvel). If he’s able to find this girl and return her to New York, he can wipe away his massive debt. But Elizabeth is not a normal girl; she’s able to tear holes in reality that go to either parallel universes or through time. And, quite frankly, this game is far too complicated for me to tell without spoilers, and I wouldn’t dare. Here’s a spoiler: go buy this game right now!

Damnit. I just ruined my whole review. I guess you can close out this review now… Okay, I’ll tell you why this game is amazing: because it is! It’s smart, it’s deep, it’s vaguely confusing, and it’s amazing. I doubt it was because of this, but the game I played right before this game was Duke Nukem Forever. Very similar games, though. Both first person shooters, both have some form of everlasting in their title, but only one of them you will wish will last forever. The other one will welcome you into eternity by making you want to kill yourself. But we’ll discuss the Duke later. The story of this game is better than any game I can currently think of. BioShock was already a brilliant story by having deeper messages within, but this one jumps past that one by also being mind-bending in all the best ways. People talked a lot about the racism in this game – as they talked about the “rape scene” in Tomb Raider – but I have the same reaction to both: get off their nuts. This game is like a snapshot of that time, and people were racist back then. But what I loved about the depth of their story was the hidden messages, the ones that were confusing at the time but (as I make my way through my second playthrough) actually hide messages that you only see once you’ve beaten the game, which leads to it being a total mind-fuck. I won’t spoil it, but the ending was amazing. It was even better for me because nobody ruined it for me beforehand. I would say that I kind of had an idea of what was about to happen – or at least one part of it – but explaining that too much would ruin it. In fact, I liked it so much that I won’t even put it in spoiler alerts here. Go play it and find out for yourself. But, during my second playthrough, strange things are starting to make sense, mostly dealing with the Lutece twins, or when they dropped hints that you were about to be ambushed at one point with things like a violin player that couldn’t play violin. I would say that I wish the ending were happier, but it’s what helps set the game apart as artwork and not just giving me what I want. And I do think this game would be my leading argument for games as artwork, and probably as my favorite game of this year.

We could use this time to go through the whole process of me saying that the game wasn’t perfect and that there were things that didn’t sit right with me, but let’s face it. This is all just an excuse for me to fit jokes I thought of into a review. There were a few things that popped into my head while playing, but I wouldn’t dare say they took away from the quality of the game. One thing I thought that could’ve been done better was how surprised Booker and Elizabeth seemed to be when they found out that she was Comstock’s daughter. I thought we knew that from the beginning! Was that supposed to be a Shyamalan twist on the story, because I thought everyone was just aware of it. It’s revealed at one point that Comstock was taking credit for things that Booker actually did at Wounded Knee, but Booker won’t tell Elizabeth what he did. Why be so shy about it? You’re walking around a city that worships the guy that says he did those things, so why should you assume someone would judge you for being the one that actually did it? Well, she probably would have though… What you can’t judge me for is my reaction to the Vox Populi. (Good transition, Robert!) These guys want me to help them out right? Shouldn’t they start by trying to endear themselves to me? Y’know, instead of throwing me out of an airship when I already have a head injury? The other thing was one I had heard complained about before, but the items you find when searching things was sometimes odd, like finding a pineapple on a dead body, or coffee in a mailbox. Even stranger that I would eat a hotdog I just found by searching a trash can.

The only thing that I would say seemed problematic about the story to me was that I never really felt the impact of the choices I made. As best I can tell, there’s no good or bad ending to the game, but there are choices that make it seem as if you’ll have an impact on the game. I’m okay with both existing, but not really okay with them existing together. Why bother making me choose whether or not to throw a rock at a guy that was fraternizing with a black lady if the only thing that happens because of it is that later the show up and say thanks for not throwing a rock at me. I haven’t beaten the game twice yet, but my investigation on the internet leads me to believe that there’s only one ending to the game, which I’m torn about. Part of me says that I should have more control over a video game and be able to make choices that end me up in different places, but the other part of me appreciates that the game makers decided that this was the ending they wanted to represent their art. I guess I really just wanted a happily ever after…

Since I mentioned it in my review of Tomb Raider, I feel like I have to close it out here. My friend Phil was complaining that he had heard people talking about how spectacular the look of BioShock was when Tomb Raider existed, whose visual style was far superior in his mind. Now that I’ve beaten BioShock, I have to disagree. I wouldn’t say either game is far superior to the other visually, but I thought of a comparison to describe my feelings about the look. Both games are beautiful in their own ways, but I don’t feel that they should even be compared to each other. The difference to me would be like comparing the Mona Lisa to some beautiful photograph (I admittedly don’t pay attention to photography as an art form). Tomb Raider is photorealistic and an impressive work of art in that sense, where BioShock doesn’t try to be photorealistic and instead goes for an artistic style all of its own. Both beautiful in their own way. Going to Columbia is as spectacular as going to Rapture was, and similar in feel even though it’s much brighter and sunnier in contrast. Two issues with the look though. Why does everyone have to look at their wrists when they’ve been released from shackles? Can you not just feel that they’re off? And there’s one scene shortly after that where you walk down stairs that have water rolling over the steps. Very pretty, but pretty impractical. You must have people breaking their necks all day long.

Speaking of beautiful, I think the thing that made me get into the game most of all is that I fell in love with Elizabeth. No girl will ever live up to Elizabeth. No girl is as innocent, as adorable, as pretty, and as able to tear reality asunder. It was clear to me that they spent a lot of time giving Elizabeth such life in the game. Her expression always matches her situation. She explores the environment when nothing else is going on, she’ll have a seat on a bench when she’s been walking too long, she’ll buy cotton candy, she won’t go into the men’s restroom when you do and she’ll criticize you for going into the women’s restroom. She’s like a real person. And she only gets cuter when she changes her clothes into the gear that she’s wearing in most of the promotional stuff for the game. And the best part about her is that she’s always an asset and never a burden. Most people figured that you would have to drag her ass around, trying desperately to keep both you and her alive, like a new version of Ico. But in combat, she can’t be damaged. She just hides in the corner and occasionally throws you something you need, like ammo, health, and salt (that’ll make more sense when you play the game, which you should be doing already). You can even have her tear reality and bring a turret in to assist you. Even when not in combat, she’ll throw you money, unlock doors, and point out items you should pick up. She is a pleasure to have around in every way.

Not much to say about the gameplay here. It’s not really revolutionary to me because it’s not far removed from a regular first person shooter. And at first, I was resentful that the right trigger was fire and the left trigger was for your Vigors. The left trigger should always be aim. How many times did I use some ability when I was just trying to aim, having forgotten that that is done by the R3 button? …Eleven. But I got used to it pretty quickly … especially when I realized I rarely felt the need to aim. I just think that shooters need to get on the same page and the big things – like shoot, aim, melee – on the same buttons, and then the rest can be used for the stuff that makes your game special. I also took issue with the fact that I could only carry two guns at a time. That felt a little low for me. The big thing that set this game apart from other shooters was the Skylines, that you could jump on to for travel, shoot from them, and jump off to kill enemies. I was unimpressed by Skylines. They were fine, but I could’ve done without them just as much as I enjoyed them. It seemed more appropriate for the game just as a method of transport than something I ever cared to use in battle. Also, the Handymen in the game were not nearly as cool as the Big Daddy. Just as difficult, but not as cool.

The achievements are roughly the same as I remember from the other BioShock games. The greater majority of them are not insurmountable. You have some collectables that you actually want to get because they make you better in a fight or give you insight to the story behind the story. A couple of easy to get combat related ones too. The only one that seems to be a problem is getting through the game on 1999 mode (which is what they called Very Hard for some reason). Getting started is very rough on this mode before you get the shield, and then it’s more about playing it safe. Also, you can’t use a vending machine that I never used because I saved my money to buy upgrades to weapons, so that was much easier.

BioShock Infinite is amazing. It’s not only the best game I’ve played this year, but it’s the best I’ve played in some time. I would expect to see this game again when the end of the year reviews come up. The story is great, deep, and mind-bending, and the combination of the great story and the fantastic visual style of this game makes it lean closer to a work of art than simply a video game. I don’t only want my readers to play this game; I demand it. Seriously, I need someone to talk about this game with without spoiling it. Get this game now! BioShock gets “You’re still fuckin’ reading? Go buy this game!” out of “…No seriously.”

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