I've just completed Bioshock. I find myself feeling completely underwhelmed. I know Bioshock has been blogged to death here but I'm not keeping this to myself.
I saw review after review proclaiming it the finest game ever. Right now Metacritic has it listed as the 11th best reviewed game on their books. I, like everyone else on here, downloaded the demo and, like everyone else on here, thought "Game of the Year, easy".
It isn't. Sorry, but it really isn't. It's good but it's not great.
The problem is that the game doesn't extend too far beyond the demo. I don't meant that the demo shows you all of the levels and the story, I just mean that all of the "WOW, THAT'S SO FUCKING COOL!" is shown in the demo. I didn't experience that same "WOW, THAT'S SO FUCKING COOL!" again.
The graphics are excellent. The art direction offers a relatively unique experience. Not since 'The Untouchables' on the C64 can I remember a game utilising the 1930s Art Deco style (I could be wrong. I've taken a lot of drugs). It all feels pretty fresh until you realise that all of the levels essentially look the same. There's a level with some trees but not a great deal else.
How about Little Sisters? They're supposed to be the children of Rapture's residents. As a father of none, kids tend to look exactly the same to me, but I can at least recognise the fat ones from the spotty ones and the smelly ones. All of these 'Little Sisters' look exactly the same. What went on here? Did one woman think her vagina was a clown car and give birth to every little girl in Rapture? Or has plasmids and splicing been used to cover up the massive incestuous gang-bang that resulted in the deformed enemies with sub-normal intelligence currently trying to eat your face? Or could the developers just not be arsed with creating more than one character model? Dare I suggest it, maybe the lack of space on the DVD was a factor in reusing the same character model again and again but sometimes changing the hair colour.
Enemies are also pretty much the same. There's a man, a woman, a guy in a raincoat and that's about it. Some carry guns, some carry bombs, some crawl on the ceiling and some disappear. It doesn't take much to work out the best way of killing them and you've seen them all by the second or third level. Big Daddies are a masterstroke, but you already knew that.
As far as the so-called moral choices go, they add nothing. Kill the little girl or don't. Hmm, let me think. Would it be morally wrong of me to murder a child? Oh, the dilemma. It's not exactly Sophie's fucking Choice is it? That said, once you've played through the level where you escort one of the little cunts to the end of the game, and you've heard her three sentences twenty five times, and you've taken damage after she just stopped still for no reason, replaying the game and wasting every one of them is a lot more attractive.
Don't get me wrong, there's plenty to enjoy in here. The story is above-par. The visuals are exceptional. But it's not re-writing what can be done with an FPS. If you really love the demo and just want to continue that experience then you'll probably feel this is money well spent. If, like me, you thought "If this is just the demo, the full game must be amazing" then you'll be disappointed. It's just the demo but longer.
I recently joined the Cult of Facebook. As a self-confessed enemy of all things social networking, I'm not proud to admit that. But to it's credit, it's awfully slick, clean and I've managed to get in touch with people I haven't seen for years.
One of these friends was exceptional at college. She breezed through sixth form, went to Oxford university and now she travels the world trying to cure AIDS.
I just checked my Facebook news-feed. One thing I don't like is that when people exchange messages between each other, you get to see them. They're rarely interesting and, when they're from your two friends who are a couple, pelvis-twistingly embarrassing. "i wuv you kitten xxx. i dedicated "everything i do" by Bryan Adams to you 'cos you're the wind beneath my win...*pukes on laptop*
Today there was a message my borderline genius friend had sent to her boyfriend (another friend of mine) and I must confess to feeling genuine pity for her.
"You mocked my 0 on Tetris..."
You read that correctly. An Oxford graduate, one of this country's best and brightest, possible saviour of millions living with HIV and AIDs somehow managed to get a 0 on Tetris. That's like fucking up making a bowl of cornflakes ("Bowl, cornflakes, milk, lead paint...WHOOOPSIE!!!!") or putting a pair of flip flops on.
I'm only two months off being 28 years old so I've been gaming for quite a while. I remember thinking River Raid was the greatest game ever. When I first saw Super Mario Kart, I really didn't think graphics could get any better. Of course I was young, naive and thick as fuck.
But the thing about nostagia is it's a dirty liar. Nothing is ever as good as you remember it (except the movie Commando, which is even better now than it was when I was eight).
This is my long-winded, barely relevant way of making the point that we gamers have never had it as good as we do now. We really haven't. You can complain about a lack of originality, movie tie-ins always being shite and annual sports sims that offer no more than a roster update (I'm looking at you Madden, FIFA and PES) and you are absolutely right. But overall games are fucking amazing in this day and age. I never imagined that I'd playing what I'm playing now when I first picked up my joystick *insert double entendre*.
I remember promotional screenshots looking fuck all like the actual game back in the day but you could forgive it then because all the games looked shit. But now? When in-game graphics look this glorious do you really need to doctor them to sell them?
I dunno. Maybe I'm getting wound up over fuck all but it just seems like such needless dishonesty.
Tattoo's are great. Video games are great too. With that in mind, you'd expect a video game tattoo to be 2,000,000%, blow-job-from-a-girl-with-a-pierced-tongue, super fucking awesome. But are they really?
My first thought was "What a dick", just as it was when I saw the guy with the Halo Legendary tattoo. Now I'm not so sure. It's a nice piece of work and, unlike Master Chief*, Mario is a timeless character that will probably be around for as long as Mickey Mouse. Also, I can relate to his motivation for getting it. I am an only child and British so spent a lot of rainy days in front of my computers and consoles playing games. Surely that has shaped me in some way and, for better or worse, made me the man I am now.
So has anyone else got a video game tattoo? Would you get one, and what did you/would you get? What was your motivation and, most importantly of all, are you a twat?
*I'm not saying Master Chief isn't cool. It's just that stylistically he's just a generic super-soldier that won't be around in 20 years. Not that I'd say that to his face.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Stranglehold demo. When I saw that John Woo was connected I was worried that it might end up being an 'Enter The Matrix'-esque abomination. Just because you can direct a film, doesn't mean you can direct a video game.
But now that I've played through the demo, I'm a bit more hopeful. It's hardly ground-breaking. The graphics are a bit ropey in places. But it's a lot of fun. Stuff explodes in a satisfying way. You can do some cool Max Payne, bullet-time moves while popping caps into fools.
However, the best part is the accurate-targeting special move. It's awesome. Pick a spot, fire and you get a graphic closeup of the victim's death. That sounds shit in principle but the animation you get depends on the spot you hit. So shoot the guy in the head and he grabs his eye before collapsing. Shoot him in the neck and he grabs his throat and makes a 'my neck is missing'-gurgling scream.
Obviously it was only a matter of time before I went for his knads. And what can I say? Wow! I didn't get excited by the Gears of War chainsaw death but after shooting this guy in the love spuds I laughed so hard I thought my intestine was going to prolapse. So I did it again and again and again...and again. In fact, once I finish typing this, I'm going to shoot more bad guys in the bollocks.
Grand Theft Anal 10 - Obviously NSFW but safer than the Fleshbot article that brought it to my attention.
Nothing amuses me more than a decent porn title. Let Them Eat Cock, Edward Penishands, Shaving Ryan's Privates, Catch Her In The Eye, and my own invention (and possibly the funniest thing ever to leave my mind) One Came Over A Hooker's Chest are all guaranteed to brighten up a boring day at work.
And while no-one can claim that "Grand Theft Anal 10" is particularly witty, it's nice to know that our hobby is branching out into other artistic arenas.