BioShock Infinite is the third installment in the BioShock series and although it is not an extension of the story told by the two earlier titles it does have much content that is thematically and conceptually similar.
The story is set in North America in 1912 and most of the action takes place in the 'floating' city of Columbia, whose very name is the personification of American maternal aspect, and whose location is in stark contrast to that of the city of Rapture which, as devotees of the series will know, is underwater. The city was founded as a Nativist ideal and is governed by The Founders a Nativist and Elitist political grouping. The Vox Populi. or the voice of the people, as the name suggests, are a populist grouping who support the poor but are regarded as something of a revolutionary movement. As expected the two sides do not see eye to eye and are in open conflict.
The other problem that the city faces, and perhaps more interesting from a gaming point of view, is the tearing of the spacetime continuum leading to momentary but meaningful glimpses, relative to, and suggestive of other eras.
So much for the overview. What about the specifics? Well, for one thing, the story, though not overly complex, does contain a great deal of character interaction and knowing references, but in outline deals with the rescue by Booker DeWitt of Elizabeth. However, there is much greater depth and meaning woven around this simple story and the characters themselves and their backgrounds are detailed and complicated.
The dramatic hero is Booker DeWitt, and it is he who the player controls. He is a disgraced former Pinkerton National Detective Agency investigator thrown out for his fondness of drink and gambling, but now working as an independent agent. Elizabeth is a highly educated young lady who has been held against her will for most of her life in Columbia. She is controlled by the game's AI, and crucially, can manipulate to some degree the spacetime continuum. Her rescue results in her and Dewitt being pursued by both political factions.
The other main characters are:-
The baddie, Father Zachary Hale Comstock, a religious fanatic and founder of Columbia and hence the Founders. To make things a little more complicated he claims to be Elizabeth's father as the result of the seven day pregnancy of his wife.
The leader of the Vox Populi and servant to Comstock is Daisy Fitzroy, an African American who came to Columbia to start a new life. Given the political orientation of the city, and the political views of her employer, this would seem to be a pretty stupid move.
Robert and Rosalind Lutece, mistakenly thought to be twins but who turn out be two sides of the same persona, pop up constantly throughout the story and are behind some of the city's technology, but are mostly in a sort of unrealized quantum state. They sort of are and then they sort of aren't.
Then there is Cornelius Slate a former soldier and fighting comrade of DeWitt, once a follower of Comstock, who became aware of his underhand dealings and converted to Vox Populi.
There are also many and various enemies in the shape of hard hitting heavies with names like the Handymen, so called because of their immense hands made for throwing things, including their enemies, over long distances. Others are the Boys of Silence, the Motorized Patriots and the Siren, each imaginatively designed and with powerful abilities.
But of course all this is of little worth if the game does not play well or the graphic and audio presentation is poor. So how does it fare?
As with previous BioShock titles it is a first person shooter with some degree of role playing, a wise choice given the popularity of the earlier games. DeWitt moves around Columbia mostly on foot or using a grappling hook and rope to traverse the main arterial routes which connect the city's main buildings which are composed of a system called the Skyline which is a futuristic type rail line in the sky. He is limited to carrying only two weapons at any one time, but these can consist of many different wisely chosen combinations.
Greater powers such as those of telekinesis and controlled use of electricity can be obtained by collecting 'vigors' found in various locations around Columbia. These are attacking abilities and strengths but defensive and damage limiting capabilities are also on offer. Both rely on collection, purchase or other upgrade methods for their accumulation and again require a conscious choice of combination to optimize their effectiveness for a particular task. Once Elizabeth has been rescued her time warping abilities can be used to open up access to ammunition, health packs and the like, not forgetting the all important Salt on which 'Vigors' rely.
Following the general trend of serious gaming, the year by year improvement of graphical presentation, the visual presentation of BioShock Infinite is outstanding in all aspects. The background and incidental music are equal in quality to the graphics, the voice acting being particularly fitting.
BioShock fans will certainly buy the game on the strength of previous titles alone, and newcomers, after playing Infinite will want to take a look at BioShock's other offerings.
Aliens was an iconic movie that remains an industry classic, and Aliens Colonial Marines was designed and intended as a direct sequel to the film. For how long the game was in development, fans expected a pretty good game to come from the classic James Cameron film. In retrospect, maybe they should have worked on it a bit longer. Instead of giving a feeling of terror, of being hunted, the game feels like every other shooter you've ever played, except that you're way overpowered, turning combat into a shooting gallery. The only possible saving grace are the multiplayer modes; unfortunately, these won't be fleshed out until a DLC package is released with more maps. The graphics are pretty bad as well, and the game is marred by a number of technical issues.
The story mode in a game that is supposed to come as a sequel to the horror/action film Aliens should impart some kind of sense of fear or anxiety while playing. At the very least, you should feel rushed and harried. Aliens Colonial Marines completely fails on this point. Instead, you get a game that simply feels like most other shooters, with some notable, and negative, exceptions to the rule. First of all, the AI is absolutely terrible. Both your teammates and the enemies are unintelligent and predictable. Also, you can carry as many guns as you want, and the weapons you have are overpowered, making the game feel much too easy. The campaign playthrough lasts around six hours, and you probably won't ever play it again. You'll feel a sense of elation and nostalgia at first (if you're a fan of the movies), but that's about it, and that feeling quickly wears off when faced with the frustrating gameplay.
Multiplayer isn't so bad. The best mode that the game has is called escape, which is eerily reminiscent of a Left 4 Dead mission. You run along with a team of marines, rushing to weld doors shut behind you as you fight off Aliens and try to escape. If that's all the game has to offer, you're better off spending your money elsewhere.
Some of the biggest complaints about the game come from its graphical quality. Problems run rampant, with everything from aliasing and low resolution to world objects (like your gun) simply disappearing from view for a while. Critical reviews of the game were mostly negative. IGN rated the game a rarely-seen 4.5/10, and aggregate scorer Metacritic scored it at 49/100. User reviews on Metacritic rated it even lower, with an average score of 4/10. Players mostly complain about the poor graphical quality and stunningly horrid AI, with hordes of Aliens simply charging you from the front with no intelligence whatsoever.
It's very difficult to put a positive spin on this game at all. If you're a diehard fan and want the game for that reason, wait a month and get it on sale. Until then, don't waste your money.
Thanks to a series of terrible policies and decisions, Ubisoft's PC ports of their big-budget titles have been something to avoid for quite a while now. Thankfully, FarCry 3 manages to break this trend by being the best version of the game available on any platform. That said, is FarCry 3 a game worth buying at all?
Unlike most big-budget releases this year, the aspect of the game that UbiSoft pushed the most before its release was the story. To be sure, the story is very unique, particularly for a first person shooter. You play a rich young playboy who is on a vacation in the tropics when he parachutes into an island that turns out to be inhabited with pirates. From there, he joins a tribe of natives and goes on a quest to rescue his friends.
The part of this plot that Ubisoft spent so much time playing up was the head of the pirates, Vaas Montenegro, and his insanity. Vaas is certainly the best villain of the year, but FarCry 3 doesn't use him nearly as much as they should. While his specter is always looming above you as you make your way thorough the early parts of the game, about halfway through the campaign he dies, and the story stops being anywhere near interesting. In addition to the failure of this core point, the game also creates several threads that they never bother to touch again, making the story seem like it was written in vertical slices that were never meant to come together.
The game has been called "Skyrim with Guns" more times than I can count, and it is certainly an appropriate moniker. The most fun to be have in the game is just driving around the island and checking out every interesting point on the map. There are multiple different kinds of collectibles to get, radio towers to climb, and camps to liberate.
The game also features an in-depth crafting system that lets you kill the animals that are found all over the island and create upgrades using the skins that allow you to equip more weapons, hold more healing items, and carry more weapons, which contributes the most to the game's Skyrim-esque feel.
When you get bored of the open world and decide to do the actual campaign, that's when it truly gets dull. More campaign missions than not are either poorly designed or incredibly boring shoot-fests. For example, there are several missions that require you to stealth your way through a camp full of guards without alerting anyone, which is very apparent this game was not designed to do well.
FarCry 3 is a great open world game with a sub-par campaign, but just the open world by itself is more than enough to justify the ticket price. The PC version of this game features incredible looking graphics and a bevy of settings to make it look as good as it can, easily making it the best version of the game.
In a year full of reboots, SSX ended up getting buried beneath the weight of other more popular games. Unlike most of this year's reboots that ignored their fans and tried to sniff out fresh blood, SSX tries to walk the thin line between appealing to fans of the franchise and luring in new players with updated mechanics.
I imagine that it helped significantly that there has not been a "proper" SSX game in a while, and most people have not played one in far longer than that. In fact, before playing this latest SSX game, the last one I had played was SSX 3 on the PS2 in 2003, making this game more or less a fresh start.
The first place that EA clearly attempts to walk the line is the control scheme options. By default, the game allows you to pull off tricks by using the right analog stick, a concept that EA's other trick-based boarding game, Skate, made extensive use of. Here, the system is truly pushed to its limits, and can often make pulling off specific tricks difficult. You can certainly get results by slamming the stick in every imaginable direction, but thankfully EA has included the ability to use the face buttons (Triangle, X, Square, Circle) to perform tricks as well.
The environments in SSX look absolutely fantastic, but what makes so many of these new courses interesting is their inherent danger. In SSX's campaign, winning is not anywhere near as important as making sure you get to the end of the course alive. In fact, one of the new course types in the campaign is simply called "Survival", and requires you to use some sort of specialized equipment like a flashlight to find your way through dark tunnels.
The most important piece of new equipment that SSX introduces to the series is the wingsuit, which more or less serves as SSX's mid-air version of the manual from skateboarding. Using the wingsuit to link combos between not only feels like it belongs in SSX, but its a great and creative way to mix up the gameplay.
When SSX launched, the only multiplayer to speak of was an asynchronous system that allows you to compete with hundreds of other people in single events for score or time. As time went on, fewer and few people played this mode though, and what was once a fun way to spend a few hours is now a ghost town. EA did eventually add a head-to-head multiplayer mode in a patch, but it feels extremely tacked on and generally worthless.
Overall, SSX is an excellent reboot of a franchise that has sat around in EA's warehouse for far too long. The single player campaign feels like a slog at time, and the asynchronous multiplayer is completely dead, but if you can get some friends together to compete on leaderboards, this is a great title for some friendly competition, particularly now when you can get it for a relatively low price.
Nintendo is well known for creating perhaps the greatest platforming series the video game industry has ever seen in Super Mario. So it goes without saying that any other company's platformer has a lot to live up to on a Nintendo console. Despite the extra pressure, Raymnan Origins delivers in spades. The game is one of the most beautiful on Wii, the soundtrack matches up with the game's environment's perfectly, the game's controls are just as good as Super Mario Galaxy or another Nintendo first party title, and the game's co op mode provides hours of entertainment.
Game director Michael Ancel is known for creating beautiful game worlds, see the previous generation's Beyond Good and Evil for reference. Rayman delivers in this department unlike any other non Nintendo developed title on the console. The game is simply vibrant and gorgeous. There's luminous fire, lush plant life and crystal clear water that all unfolds nearly pixel perfect on your screen. Perhaps the only negative thing that could be said is that Rayman is so beautiful it might actually distract you from the gameplay as you stop and stare at your screen in wonder.
The gameplay features all of the power ups and antics the Rayman series is known for. The boss fights are truly epic and there are hidden areas to explore. The game can be challenging at times but if you fail it's your fault, not the controls. The game is spot on in this department, with precision rivaling a Super Mario game.
Perhaps the highlight of the gameplay and maybe even the game itself is Rayman's exciting and zany co op game play. A second player can play along side you but the game has a mischievous side as well. The second player is allowed to slap the first player around and generally just create a nuisance, all in the name of good fun. Playing this game with your sibling might tempers flaring enough to lead to some fisticuffs out in the real world. When the second player actually decides to be helpful however, the control is just as spot on and the gameplay feels incredibly smooth.
Perhaps the only disappointment here is that Nintendo did not make the co op playable online. You'll have to have someone sitting next to you in front of the TV to join in on the fun.
The game's soundtrack is also a treat and can at times match the zany action on screen. Some of the secondary characters could use a little work on their voice acting, but all in all the audio compliments the game perfectly.
If nothing else, Rayman succeeds in being a terrific throwback to a more innocent time in the video game industry. We live in a world where 12 years old curse at each other as they trade headshots in mature titles like Call of Duty. Rayman reminds us just how much fun classic platforming in a beautiful world can be, just like a classic Nintendo title.
When it comes to popular fitness games Just Dance 4 for the Wii must rate as pretty average among a pretty bad bunch. The basic recipe is simple and is used by many titles, you get some exercise and hopefully keep fit by dancing to music, its not rocket science.
The immediate aim of the game is to copy the moves of the dancer on the screen, with the Wii control in hand to sense your movements. Your accuracy in following the on screen dance moves is measured by signals sent back to the game by your in hand Wii controller. The game is so simple that an explanation here is really not needed.
Each song has a different backdrop and this is supposed reflect the mood of the song and to some little extent it does so, with a little imagination on the player's part. Flashing lights recreate a club atmosphere and each attempt of the dancer is met by a round of applause at the end.
Perhaps the most important and entertaining part of the game is the song selection. This offers some of the best choices from recent top ten charts, but then so do most other games in this genre.
The only saving grace of this type of game is the element of competition which has been introduced, giving some incentive to the players to make some sort of effort, and creating some sort of party atmosphere, but I think that the party atmosphere needs to be there in the first place before anyone is likely to want to take part. Without the element of competition you might just as well turn on your radio of CD player and dance along.
I am sure these games are aimed at teenage or pre-teen girls, and there is nothing wrong in that, and so perhaps I am not the best person to commentate on this particular game, being neither teen, pre-teen or female, so I will give a rating from the perspective of its target audience, who will almost certainly mark it higher than me, and doing so, I think it is probably worth a seven from ten.
The Adventures of Tintin is an action/adventure game released and developed by Ubisoft, and is based on the film of the same name. The game is mainly a platform title.
You get to play as Tintin, Snowy, and in the final battle, Captain Haddock. The game offers a third person view, and not a side scrolling perspective as most platformers do.
Playing as Tintin, a young reporter/journalist who will stop at nothing to get a break on a tasty story, despite the huge amounts of trouble it may cause him. One day he buys a model ship Unicorn on a whim, and shortly after you discover that there is a lot more to this ship than meets the eye, and it is your job to unravel the mystery, as well as to fend off multitudes of bad guys while doing so. Most of the action takes place in mansions, underground caverns, and the deep in bowels of ships.
Tintin's wide array of skills make all these tasks seem simple. Wall climbing, jumping, running, and getting over and around obstacles, are way too smooth and easy, and it never feels like there is an ounce of skill involved in doing so. Some of your movements are automated making it kid friendly, and a breeze for anyone with skills at gaming. This also applies to combat. Pressing one button lets you sail through most enemies without much difficulty, and when tough enemies do arise, you just sneak past them. The Adventures of Tintin tries to shake things up with a few puzzles, but these are also so simplistic! Some of the puzzles include searching for levers to open different pathways, or using weights to get the correct balance on seesaw machines.
In this game you get access to vehicles, but the parts you play with them are too easy as well. You get to pilot a plane through a storm, where you avoid tornadoes and attack other aircraft, but you can do each action with the push of just one button. They also give you a bike, but when you ride on it, it is also very easy to catch other bikes and hit them with your slingshot. And after a couple of hours of playing you will soon start to realize that everything feels familiar. Repetition is huge in this game, and lots of puzzles and vehicle scenes are constantly repeated, making the game very boring.
The Adventures of Tintin is just an average family game, and if you're a serious gamer looking for a challenge you should certainly skip this one. There are plenty of more challenging platform games out there to test your mettle.
If what Darksiders says is to be believed, then the end of the world isn't necessarily going to happen by a strange burst of burning white light. Rather, it will be signalled by the arrival of very angry winged angels and some arbiters or doom, wearing really heavy armour, that signal the doom of mankind and the world as you know it.
This may seem like an unoriginal amalgam of so many elements that you may have encountered in other games before, it may be unoriginal but it does bring about a whole lot of hilarity with it. However unoriginal it may seem, that really is of little consequence. In this game you play the character of war, who is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. He may not be the most engaging character that you will ever meet but that isn't really a very big deal in this game seeing as its main concern is brutality and some flashy combat rather than good story telling. You get to ride a steed that looks otherworldly as you fight a ferocious and ravenous worm. You also go around beating the crap out of demons with your colourful collection of blades.
Oh yes, you know when you are for some campy good times when you spot otherworldly horses and ravenous worms on the screen. But in addition to the demon carving and the like, you also get to enjoy some very tricky but ultimately satisfying puzzles of the environmental kind. This is a great game for those people who just really are in the mood for some straight out combat and melodramatic fights. It is very fast paced and a very colourful romp as well. While the end of the world may be a very depressing thing to think about, this games makes it rather enjoyable. That may sound freaky but when you think about it, there have been plenty of games that play at the end of the world.But while this story does make for a rocking good time, the story doesn't take very long to descend into absurd territories.
The tale may seem too simple at times but it is also sincere so it does seem like you are indeed playing a hodgepodge of games. You will like this game if you take this game for what it is. It is nothing too serious. It does not have a very concrete story line but that is not its main concern at all. It aims to give you funny looking characters and some really violent battles that will leave your heart pumping. Never mind if the story sort of sucks, but when you play games like these, you cannot really expect too much from the story line.
So if you buy this game, do not expect too much from the story; and yet, just sit back and just enjoy the game play. There is nothing more fun than slashing some works and some strange looking demons to death right? You can really get your blood pumping with this game.
Have you ever had those moments that you see a title and a description of a game and you think that you know deep within your heart that it will suck like anything?
Well, that may just be your first thought when you first start see this particular game; that is pretty much a given and really, it makes sense because just how much fun can a game about bus driving really be? It is not even like that other game, what is it called? Oh yeah, crazy taxi where you get rewarded for doing some crazy ass stunts. No, the main objective for this game is not to do crazy stunts but rather to make sure that you get to bring your passengers from one place to another as safely as possible.
This game will seem very basic and complicated at the same time. After all, your goals are very basic indeed. How hard can it really be to deliver your passengers to their destination in one piece? Well in this game, it gets a bit complicated because you are driving a bus and face it, driving a bus is not like driving a car at all! Its so much more complicated since your vehicles is bulkier and that makes even the most simple manoeuvres a lot harder to do. You will find that you will crash into all sorts of things like picket fences, posts and even other cars.
Oh another thing that you may hate about this game is how whiney your passengers get when you hit the brakes too fast. They will whine and grumble every chance that they get and you can't even tell them to shut up. Besides your passengers whining, there really isnt much in the way of a soundtrack here except the pleasant sounds of cars zooming past and other traffic noises that are really quite pleasant once you get used to them.
All in all, this is a very good casual game that you can play when you have some free time. The more hardcore gamers out there may not find it too exciting but rest assured that everyone else will have some fun playing. If you have kids, you can get them to play this as well as it has a rating that makes it ok for kids to play. You may be alarmed at how they will try to run over everything but once they get over the bloodlust, you will see that they actually are trying to drive safely and getting quite competitive over who gets the higher or even the highest score in the game.
All in all, its a nice little game that you can turn to for an easy good time. It is not overly complicated and yet, it is not something that is so simple it will lull you to sleep either. If it can keep you and your kids occupied for two hours even, then it is well worth the price that you paid for it.
Marcus Fenix, Delta Squad leader is back with his team of COG soldiers and this time they have to fight for their lives to try and save the remnants of the human race from old threats, and new ones that come from within the planet itself. The campaign within the game is set over five acts, split into smaller chapters, and the controls have been kept pretty much like they were in Gears of War 2 so fans of the previous game should have no problems settling in.
Gears of War 3 also has a split screen option so you can play with a friend and for the first time you can now go with a team of four players. You also get the option to play other skins, so you are not always limited to playing Marcus Fenix. The game also has new abilities by which you are able to tag opponents, the only problem with this is that it is of little use in single co-op mode and is more use in the multiplayer campaigns when playing in teams.
Overall this third installment is way better than its previous two counterparts and the story overall, which I will not spoil, adds to the overall flavor and gameplay. This is a gem of a game and has won multiple awards from numerous top gaming sites. The gameplay can last for around 10-12 hours but the online play will last a lot longer than this.
The graphic background to the action is stunning and the designers have paid great attention to detail with each campaign. All in all Gears of War 3 has leveled the series with what is truly a peach of a game, it is way up there with the top games on the Xbox 360.