Every time there’s a pristine birthday cake in the break room, waiting to be devoured during some god-awful work birthday party, I wonder what people would say if I secretly cut out and ate the name from the cake and left the rest for the party later on.
There’s so much to say about Bioshock 2, much like its precursor. It deserves a thorough dismantling of its use of rhetoric and gameplay. Like Delta in the watery ecosystem of rapture, Bioshock 2 makes you part of its systems, and the result is wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that when it becomes necessary to end the game (and the story of Delta), and the experience becomes much more linear and teeters at the gulf between styles, it’s hard not to feel dissapointed.
Linear corridors are really not what the system is made for. Maybe this is the gnarled, misanthropic PC gamer inside me, but I want Bioshock 2 to be bigger and more expansive: more options; more types of enemies; a more thorough geography. Maybe next time.
Also, make sure you turn off the vita chambers.
It’s kind of amusing that having fun with a game requires this much prior knowledge. Or that anyone thinks you need to know all this to enjoy Just Cause 2, which to me has seemed nothing if not boredom-proof.
At first, it doesn’t seem at all like Halo, much the same way that eating a Reeses peanut butter cup in the shape of the bat signal doesn’t remind you of Batman.
Later, you realize that Halo doesn’t signify all that much anyways, at least not anymore. But that doesn’t stop Halo Wars from being a shapeless, uninspired mess.
In what has been a fairly surprising experience, I’ve recently spent some time going back through the Warcraft games, with the most emphasis on Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne and World of Warcraft. It’s been surprising because my memories of these two games are different - Warcraft III, which dropped while I was in college and which I put an enormous amount of time into, remains a cherished favorite. On the other hand, World of Warcraft was a game that never really sucked me in, even though I appreciated its myriad achievements.
WOW is just as I remembered it: unsatisfying, boring, yet addictive. When I first played WOW I got a troll priest up to level 42 or so, far enough to get a taste for the game but without reaching the endgame which is vastly different from the rest of the game. This time I played until level 9, and decided that was the end for me. Again.
Warcraft III is another matter. When I first played it it seemed like the pinnacle of RTS design, but now I find its lack of strategic and tactical options frustrating. I didn’t delve into the multiplayer (not for lack of trying, but I couldn’t get past DOTA, a mod with a learning curve just as brutal) but the singleplayer is an unending exercise in making as many guys as possible and forcing them down your enemy’s throat. It’s not CIV 4 - in fact, it seems more akin to Spore. That’s a rough comparison indeed.
What’s the point here? I’m not sure. But it’s useful to go back and play games to see how they’ve changed, and perhaps more importantly how you’ve changed.
I’m not a big fan of Zombies. Vampires I like. Werewolves? Fucking awesome. I can even get into mummies every once in awhile. And I liked that one Unicorns album about being a ghost (you know, the only they ever made). But zombies never did anything for me. Maybe it’s that they have always been an excuse for the horror genre to play with allegory and social commentary, both of which are fine things on their own but maybe not as cool as Vampires fighting Werewolves with giants swords, glowing whips and shurikens made of silver.
Along with refined sugar and the inevitable news story about 50 year-old pedophiles putting rufies in Haloween candy, zombies infecting other mediums is a natural by-product of the holiday (holinight? Halliwnight?). And so it is with games.
I don’t get all the brouhaha over zombies in games. Tom Chick likes the new Spiderman game mostly because it simulates a zombie breakout in an open world and does a good job of it. And far be it for me to take umbrage when one of my favorite game writers puts digital ink to page. Me, I couldn’t care less. Sure I liked Dead Rising. But shooting slow-moving undead husks? Just doesn’t do that much for me. Frankly, it sounds like a lot of games I’ve already played.