Sunday, September 16, 2007

BioShocked

Yes yes, I know. Another BioShock post? Haven't we had enough? Well, it's my report and I'll gush if I want to.

I just wrapped up BioShock tonight, having the sudden urge to pick it up again after my brother-in-law told me he'd finished it. And in just a few days, no less. I gave myself a deadline of 10 o'clock, knowing that the only way I'd be able to watch Larry David's hijinks on the latest Curb Your Enthusiasm would be if I'd escaped the underwater city of Rapture. And escape it I did. What a ride.

The great thing about BioShock is not necessarily the customization of your character's abilities or the awesome firepower at your disposal, but the way in which the story unravels. No flashy CGI cutscenes or long stretches of dialogue. You're completely immersed in the narrative. You find an audio recording on a table? You listen to it. Or you don't. How much of what is explained is largely left up to you. And that brings with it a unique sense of accomplishment. When I was able to walk away from the game tonight, having clocked in over 10 hours of gameplay, I felt satisfied in having uncovered all of these intricate story points that a more hurried gamer might have missed.

I did, however, get the "evil" ending. Apparently, when I'm wandering around underwater cities shooting bees out of my hands, I can be kind of a dick. I'm working on it, I swear. I wouldn't be surprised if I give this game another run-through before the Halo 3 launch date.

Did I have problems with the game? Absolutely. While it's beautiful, with every inch of every area rendered to near-perfection, the normal difficulty level is a bit on the easy side. As your character gets more powerful, the enemies never seem to get more challenging. And without spoiling anything, I totally destroyed the final boss without breaking a virtual sweat. It's never dull, but omnipotence can get a little tiresome.

Also, I should warn anyone thinking about picking up this game to avoid the patch available on XBox Live however possible. Having downloaded it, my game became prone to freezing up every minute or so during the final few stages. I have since cleared my cache (by holding the left and right bumpers while the game boots up) and it seems to run fine right now, but online complaints seem to indicate that this patch is the problem. Why would 2K Games release a patch that makes their otherwise must-have game near-unplayable?

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