I picked up my copy of Infinite earlier today and have been playing it pretty much since. It's fantastic. Bioshock created a flooded cavern of love in my heart and I have to admit that I was a little worried the sequel wouldn't measure up. Great news, I was wrong!
Elizabeth is great. Hands-down the best AI partner I've ever seen in a game. If every AI tag-along could be as unobtrusive, handy, and touching I don't think I'd complain about an escort mission ever again. The number of things they got right with her is simply staggering. From the important story elements of being a character you care about and actually enjoy spending about 80% of your time with, to the neat game-mechanic stuff of her tossing you weapons or tonics when you run dry, to the little tiny details. There has never been a time I've noticed yet of Elizabeth blocking my path, or getting stuck on a rock, or pulling some creepy ass Watson teleporting shit.
- Seriously dude, you're creeping me out.
It's an amazing technical and artistic accomplishment, and you can feel it reverberate through the entire game. One thing I think Elizabeth allowed them to do was make the game MUCH harder. I'm playing through on the default difficulty and the enemies have not hesitated to mess me up. While the original Bioshock hesitated to send more than three goon at you at a time, that's the norm with Infinite, often times more. Mix in some nasty heavy dudes or one of those jerk-ass motor launching guys, add the much more expansive and complicated terrain that doesn't just funnel guys down a corridor at you but lets them intelligently move and take cover, and things get out of control fast. Despite that, I haven't died too often, a result that is largely due to Elizabeth pulling my ass out of the fire with a last-second med-pack or reload, time and time again. It's a pretty neat trick – the action gets crazy hairy, but you have a reliable helping hand to make sure you don't die too often.
To me, the slickest part of this new Bioshock adventure might be Levine's ability to resist the temptation to try for another "would you kindly" moment. Rather than betting the narrative on one big crazy plot twist that makes you reevaluate the entire concept of the game, Infinite starts weird and builds from there. From the opening quote to the frequent reappearance of a pair of character who clearly have no business showing up everywhere they do, down to the uncertain nature of Elizabeth's powers, it is very clear that not everything is as it seems from the get-go.
I think it was a very smart piece of writing. You just couldn't shock people again like the original Bioshock, it's expected now. People would be looking for it. Any big single twist would have been inseparably compared to Bioshock and probably unable to live up to the hype. Instead, Infinite has a very groovy story steeped in weirdness that lets its mysteries and twists unfold one at a time at their own pace.
Some things don't belong in this world and yet they are conjured time and again by humans that wish to pay them tribute. A video game, book, comic or TV show becomes popular and later becomes adapted to another medium entirely or, worse, a mobile phone spin-off.
Sometimes you get Telltale's The Walking Dead and other times you get Super Mario Bros.: The Movie -- one a great tribute to the comics and TV shows and the other had its soul stolen and made a '90s movie executive's slave.
And here comes another classic game series with hopes of becoming a Netflix hit as I brace myself and hope it doesn't turn out to be a miserable pile of secrets.
Castlevania is a beloved series and with Konami it's sort of a surprise they'd do anything with it at all after running out the people that made their games good and running the franchise into the ground soon after. Yet here we are with an anime series debuting this week and I'm kind of excited for it.
History should leave me a bit more cynical, sure. I remember the Street Fighter live-action movie, the Zelda cartoon and much more, but Mortal Kombat was perfect in its camp and The Witcher games are pretty faithful to their source material. We even have games being adapted into other kinds of games by different developers. Borderlands is now a looter-shooter and a point-and-click adeventure and that works really well, actually.
So for this month's "Bloggers wanted," we want you head over to the community blogs and tell us about your favorite adaptations of games to other mediums or even your favorite adaptation of another medium to games. Use "The Adaptation: [Your game/title here]" in the title and place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags.
Enough talk, have at you!
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