Archive for the ‘ Multi-Platform ’ Category

Assassin’s Creed 2: Revenge of the Guido

Assassin’s Creed 2

Because of some outcry from my previous post, due to the fact that I had the audacity to put AC2 on a worst sequel list, I thought I’d give the game another chance and play it a touch more. Having endured the game from start to finish I look back and wish I’d had something better to do during my weekend. There are a very few moments that I can look back and think “Well…that was fun.” And the few there were the game was quick to make me forget. But, I digress.

Look Familiar?

Assassin’s Creed 2 and I had a gentleman’s understanding: I would do what I wanted to and enjoy myself a little bit and would then, on occasion, acquiesce and do what the game wanted me to, an act much akin to torture. You play as Ezio, the hero assassin from Midwestern Italy, who happens to be a Guido a bit ahead of his time. Seriously, a bad Italian accent, double popped collar, gold chain and, eventually, a goatee! Doesn’t he just belong on Jersey Shore? Add this trailblazer to the otherwise sub-par acting from the rest of the cast to get a truly unpleasant experience. Why everyone talks in English throwing in bits of Italian at random is beyond me. I would have much preferred if it had been spoken entirely in Italian or no attempts at all were made to insert it so that I could at least know what language they were supposed to be speaking. Acting aside, I find the story to be horrendously boring. There’s nothing to congeal the entire affair into a single cohesive story. Instead, Ezio just kinda runs around killing people, never with a clear goal besides sweet Italian revenge on his mind.

I'm a bad mother-SHUT YO MOUTH

On top of that, AC2 feels poorly shoehorned in to fit the already awkward Assassin’ Creed storyline. I suppose that’s why the Desmond sequences are few and far between (read 3). Those were one of my favorite parts about the original game, running around, stealing pens, finding creepy writing on the wall, fun times. In the second, you get a face full of Ezio and his time consuming side quests. There’s no point to doing any of the optional things, unless you’re into watching some creepy naked people run around…weirdo. I suppose you could do the quests if you wanted the sweet payday, but that is pretty much pointless. Once Ezio arrives at his uncles Villa money becomes utterly meaningless. You’ve got so much of the stuff you’re practically throwing it away, which is coincidentally a pretty effective distraction. Don’t have enough for that sword? Just wait 20 minutes for the money to come rolling in. I like the idea of resource systems as long as they remain relevant after you gain access to them. And make sure you renovate the brothel first.

Graphics wise, it doesn’t look much better than its predecessor. Yes, the faces have been significantly improved but the effects and everything else have not. In a game where killing people in dramatic close ups is a feature I’d expect blood to have better splatter effects than a watermelon at a Gallagher show. The sound effects are really disappointing as well. I am unsure what the issue was, but there were so many missed cues for sounds, from sword clanks to hearty cheers of victory. Sound is normally something that should not be noticed unless it’s done poorly, so I guess that’s one place AC2 succeeds.

PWNED

Speaking of things that haven’t been improved, the combat is still ridiculously simple to win at. Forever. You can still get through every single fight in the game by defending until you can counter. There aren’t even tricky counters to pull off like in the previous game. At least until you get to the enemies that simply cannot be countered, Ubisoft’s fix to the combat system. This can be solved by dropping your weapons and taking theirs. Same principle, easier execution *ba dum tish*. Similarly, there seems to also be a downgrade to the free running parkour controls. I can’t place the blame squarely on Ezio, but sometimes I really don’t want to jump into the river.

Zoom zoom ZOOOOM

And the flying sequence…I don’t get it. I’ve heard through the grapevine that it was the funnest thing in the game and I only found it boring. Sure, he’s flying in a thingy created by Leonardo Da Vinci, but it’s trivial and unchallenging, something which can be applied to most of the rest of the game. There’s no challenge to any of it. At best it can be infuriatingly frustrating but nothing else. And it’s never the player’s fault that something is difficult, it’s the wonky camera or funky controls that are the culprit.

Overall, I leave Assassin’s Creed 2 in its place at 3rd worst sequel as previously stated. It wasn’t fun and I wish I had had something better to do with my weekend. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be getting back to my E3 coverage.

Top five worst sequels, here’s some wet water.

Top Five Worst Sequels
By personal request from my good friend Brett, I’ll be giving a rundown of the five worst sequels made. This is to be restricted to video games, not movies. Five is not enough for the badness of the matrices. Anyway, moving on.
5. Deus EX: Invisible War

So, I’ll be honest, I’ve never played any of the Deus Ex games, but I’m told the first at least is quite good. Normally, I don’t take word of mouth on games until I’ve played them at least a little bit, but I feel like the Deus Ex saga may be a special case. I’ve never found a game more widely accepted as being good as the first Deus Ex, so I assume it’s pretty good. So why hate on the second? Well, I’ve never heard another game called a letdown as much as Deus Ex: Invisible War. If you don’t believe me, go find someone, a friend, relative, loved one, guy on the street with a giant beard, and ask them their thoughts on the entire Deus Ex series. I guarantee, on my right knee, that they will agree with me. That was a bit more rhyming than I intended.

4. Bioshock 2


As far as games I’ve played go, Bioshock 2, The Bioshocker, makes the bottom of my worsts list. I’ve had a few words on BS2 so I shant go into much detail as to why it’s here, but it is. Accept it. Anyway, on its own BS2 is not a bad game. It’s cool and, dare I say it, enjoyable but it has the unfortunate quality of having been a sequel to Bioshock. Being the child of this super awesome game, it has some big shoes to fill and, like a small child parading around in their father’s Crocs, it just doesn’t quite fit.

3. Assassin’s Creed 2

At first I was a bit hesitant to put Assassin’s Creed 2on this list, I just recently started playing through it last week, but then I kept playing it. Yes, it is a bit cleaner looking than the first game, but honestly I’m disappointed in the boring content in this game. I had problems with the first Creed due to its repetitive nature and the sequel failed to improve upon this fault. As much as I love fetch quests, oh wait, I don’t. Why can’t people go get their own stuff? I’m not even a blade for hire anymore, I’m a messenger boy. I’m only surprised that the developers didn’t dress Enzio up in brown short shorts to resemble his UPS descendants. I haven’t quite made my way through the entirety of the game yet, nor can I be sure that I ever will, so someday I might rescind this idea but I find this unlikely as I doubt they had sweet UPS trucks back in the day.

Da Vinci would be proud.

2. Metal Gear Solid 2

Oh Kojima. You so silly.

Now, I’m a huge fan of the Metal Gear Solid series. Yes, the long winded cutscenes of Hideo Kojima can get a bit dull at times, but they make up for it with good writing and a great sense of humor. Except the second. Well, at least a large portion of it. The parts with Raiden were really unpleasant, to say the least. I really don’t care if you’re having relationship issues with your girlfriend, Raiden, take care of that at home, not the office. This is a place for work, not your personal problems. The other elements of the game are fine, so I suppose if you played it muted and skipped every cutscene MGS2 would probably get a lot better, but then it wouldn’t have the same charm that makes MGS games great.

1. Legend of Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link
This one’s a bit of a stretch back in time, but still a goodie. Everyone remembers the good ol’e days of the original Legend of Zelda. Runnin’ around, pew pewing with your sword, killing Gannon. Fun times. Then, for some reason, they threw all of that away and made The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. Right off the bat you can see a problem with this game: It’s about Link. No one really cares about him, he’s just the mute hero who happens to repeatedly save the world. This game doesn’t even fit into the otherwise “solid” Legend of Zelda mythos, which we all know is near flawless. Second only to the TV series, the adventure of Link is one of the biggest WTF’s of the franchise. It has a weird 2d slash 3d combat system and a wonky RPG style leveling system, which is frankly out of place in a Zelda game.

WHAT IS THIS!

That, and it’s hard. Unnecessarily so. I’ve seldom found a game that I just could not beat, but this is one of them. Yes, I should probably go grind more before I hit that second temple, but that’s just bad design and out of place in a Zelda game. If I was going to go run up a grind fest I’d play a good game, like Final Fantasy, that way I might feel sad when my Nintendo cartridge accidentally erases my save data.

And there you have it. My top 5 worst sequels. I hope this has been insightful, if nothing else. I’m still taking suggestions for future content, so please feel free to chime in with your two cents.

Portal 2

Portal 2
Still thinking with portals

The sequel to the highly acclaimed 2007 Orange Box physics puzzler, Portal, Portal 2, released April 18th, 2011, offers a continuation of the original. Yup, that’s basically the game. Yes there are a lot more features and “modes” than offered in the original, but I’ll get to that later. Portal 2 is more of the fun portal hopping puzzle platforming that everyone loved in the original. That being said, if you thought the original was good, then the second will not disappoint. If you, on the other hand, never played the first, then I would like to know what rock you were living under for the past 4 years, what with the game’s relative cheapness and free giveaways. Anyway, I digress.

Bidness time.

One big addition in the sequel is that of a story. As simple as it is, the story in Portal 2 is far better than some that I’ve seen in more than a few high budget games of recent release. Yes, there is still plenty of that dark humor that everyone loved in the original, but you also get more of the history of Aperture and everything else involved for a far more lasting and enjoyable experience. I can’t say much more than that in order to avoid spoilers for those who have yet to finish the game, but the ending is absolutely worth the hours you put into the game. Seriously though, Cave Johnson is one of the best parts of this game.

Speaking of time, Portal 2 is about three times as long as the original Portal. So, if you thought 2 hours for Portal was worth it then 3x$20 = $60 should also seem appropriate. The problem is, where Portal was “The perfect length” for a game of its type, Portal 2 seems to drag on forever in certain places and, dare I say it, may be too long. I’m not saying that it gets boring and unplayable, just that the game can be repetitive after solving similar puzzles repeatedly, and with only 3 new mechanics to add to your portal shooting repertoire. Though, once you get past those few dull humps the game quickly picks back up and refuses to let you stop playing.

Graphics-wise, Portal 2 looks much much much better than the original ever did, which is to be expected with Valve updating their Source engine for 4 years. The environments are exquisite and highly varied, but not too busy like some other games.

Really, the only thing I can hold against Portal 2 are the loading screens. Late game they become less intrusive, but early game the screens manage to jar me out of the experience and remind me that I’m playing a video game. I thought loading screens were relics of the past to be forgotten. In the original Valve didn’t have any, why put them in the second? I can understand why certain parts didn’t have screens but I could have gone without being interrupted every minute to be shown a loading screen. Like I said, though, as the challenges become harder this isn’t as much of a problem or a problem at all once you are forced to spend time on puzzles, but early game it is very distracting.

Guess who's about to die

Single player aside, Portal 2 also includes robot controlled co-op mode, where two players cooperate to complete challenging portal based puzzles, at least in theory anyway. If you ever played The New Super Mario Bros then you will know exactly why this style of play can be the most fun and infuriating thing ever created. If you ever die in co-op it’s probably because your teammate shot a portal under your feet leading into a deathtrap of some kind. Now, while this kind of behavior between friends is fun and the novelty wears off quickly in that case, Portal 2 co-op allows you to venture into the internet to enlist help. This is a bad idea. Do you know who is on the internet? Because I do. It’s the kind of people who tend to live under bridges and eat goats. You probably won’t run into these kinds of people, but when you do…remember that I warned you.

Overall, I’d give Portal 29 homicidal robots out of 10 homicidal robots because one of them is broken and the other 9 are homicidal robots and going to kill me if I speak badly about OH NO! NOT THE CLAMPS!

Portal 2 is the best game that will be released this year. You should buy it immediately, [subject name here].

Killer7 is killer…awesome.

Killer7


If you, like me, have been stuck inside by the recent Snowgnarok, the end of days predicted by Norse mythology where the gods of old fight to the death and snow rains down upon the Earth, then you’ve probably been playing video games for the past week. Aside from the Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Dungeons and Dragons I’ve been playing, I felt it time to pick up my old copy of Killer7 again and see if I could beat it on one of the harder difficulties. Suffice it to say I didn’t get too far, but I thought I would share with you, the people of the internet, why, in my humble opinion, Killer7 is one of the best games of all time.

Personal favorite

When it was released for the PS2 and GameCube back in the day of 2005, Killer7 was one of those games no one had ever heard of that, while receiving both good and bad reviews from critics, flopped by its publisher Capcom’s standards and fell to the wayside of modern gaming culture. Yes, it was not one of the best looking games around, but it had and still has one of the best storylines ever put into a video game. Newer games do not even begin to compare to the depth of story held by this now five year old game, leaving me with the feeling that, possibly because of how Killer7 turned out, no one wanted to put good story in games because developers believed they would flop.

The crew. They bad.

A large part of Killer7‘s appeal comes from the relative simplicity of its gameplay. It is an action-adventure first-person rail shooter. This means that the player moves throughout each labyrinthine level on a line, with a few forks in the road to choose from now and then, and whenever an enemy appears they can go into first person view to aim and fire their weapon at the enemy. Killing enemies lets you collect blood which can be used to either power attacks or buy upgrades. Simple enough to let the story take main stage and allow the gameplay to help convey that story without being cluttered with extraneous details. Anyway, I digress. The players takes the role of one of 7 characters, members of the elite assassin’s gang Killer7 with the last name Smith, to go throughout the level, each with their own talents, weapons, and personalities. Should one of them fall in battle, Garcian “The Cleaner” Smith, the weakest character by far at the close of the game, must be sent out if you wish to retrieve the brown paper bag containing their remains and revive your fallen comrade. If Garcian should be killed then it’s game over since there is no one to pick up his kibbles ‘n’ bits.

So what’s so great about the Killer7 story. Well, for starters, it has one, something modern games can barely boast. There is even a surprise twist at the end that even M. Night Shyamarmalade wouldn’t see coming. The game starts out in the not too distant 21st century after the world has signed a non-aggression pact and destroyed its entire nuclear stockpile (by shooting the missiles and the launching more missiles at them). But, there are members of Japan’s political system which want to separate from the rest of the world (mainly the US). The separatists, calling themselves the Heaven’s Smile are taking drastic measures to ensure that they gain control over the Japanese political giant. That’s where the Killer7 assassin’s come in. BTW, this is all on the inner cover of the instruction booklet, the story just gets better as you go on and I’d hate to spoil any of it for anyone, so just go play it yourself and get the big picture.

This guy is your main contact...yea

Anyway, so what exactly are you fighting? Every level, the Killer7 assassins have been tasked with a mission to kill some member of the Heaven’s Smile gang, of which belong some of the creepiest enemies I have ever seen in a video game. The Heaven’s Smile lackeys are created via a virus which increases the human desire to kill and have been equipped with a “bomb organ” which allows them to explode at will, totally not like anything else in the world. This is frightening. At first Heaven’s Smiles will shamble forward like Resident Evil zombies, slowly walking at you, and one on one they aren’t that hard to kill, but when half a dozen are sprinting at you and you have to land 6 precisely aimed shots before you have to reload which takes forever and then they explode on your face and you die it can be fairly intense and, after the first few levels anyway, this doesn’t happen often. The standard Heaven’s Smiles get quickly replaced bigger and badder ones, which are out for blood. Granted you are also out for their blood (you get extra blood for pro-shooting), but that’s beside the point.

Pretty much looks like this

One of the main failing points for Killer7 was that the graphics were considered subpar. Initially the game was designed to be GameCube exclusive, back when the GC was losing to the video game giants, the Xbox and PS2, and was forced to have a very limited budget, both monetarily and memory wise, concerning graphics. Also, Cel-shading was, for whatever reason, really popular in game development at the time, especially on the GameCube, which was often looked down upon by gamers if not done exceptionally well. Killer7 comes off as heavily monotone and blocky and can be, and is quite often, visually uninteresting to the average player. That isn’t to say that the people at Grasshopper Manufacture, the team who went on to make No More Heroes, did a poor job. The main characters are incredibly well done and do not suffer the same block shaped downfalls as many of the Heaven’s Smiles and other characters face. The game also switches animation style in a few places that look incredible, but, as I wish not to spoil anything, you’ll just have to play it yourself to see.

If you have ever complained about a video games story for being bad, then Killer7 is the game for you. It has a story that, like a good book, will make you keep playing until you reach the end which, unlike in so many other games today, will not leave you disappointed. Granted obtaining a copy may be a little difficult given your current situation, Amazon has it for around ten bucks which is very worth it. If you are not big into story games and want to just kill stuff there are plenty of other games out there to fulfill your violent needs, but for a unique and truly delightful experience, Killer7 is a classic and absolutely fantastic choice.

FREE WALLPAPER

Call of Duty: African American Ops

Released November 9, 2010 for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and PC by Treyarch studios, the group responsible for Call of Duty 2 and 3, and recently condemned by the Cuban government for being too violent is the newest game in the Call of Duty series Call of Duty: Black Ops. Personally, I believe that this game has, thus far, been a little too well received. I have heard reports that there was literal dancing in the streets (and laser tag) to celebrate the release of this game as well as an average Xbox Live population of over 5 million. Just let it sink in that, right now, there are more people playing Black Ops on Xbox Live than live in the state of Oklahoma. Frankly, I don’t understand this but I suppose it can’t be helped, but I digress. As COD:BO is similar in form to Halo: Reach, this review will be split into 3 separate parts, each being rated on their own merit: Single Player, Multiplayer, and Zombies.

Single Player

The first thing you notice while playing the campaign portion of Black Ops is that you, Alex Mason, are strapped to a chair and being tortured for information about the Russians or something. This is where most of the campaign’s story originates from, most of the missions being Mason’s flashbacks. The flashbacks are of your adventures during the Cold War. The missions involve all kinds of neat gimmicks, from flying a spy plane to running through poison gas in a hazmat suit, but all eventually devolve into kill the Russian/Viet Cong/Nazi/British enemies rushing at you with whatever gun Mason can get his hands on. Normally, this would be fine, but after you assassinate Fidel Castro,

You also get an achievement for headshotting Castro.

the first mission and the scene that caused Black Ops to be condemned in Cuba, the game becomes highly repetitive. Run into room, shoot enemies in front of brown border, and repeat ad nauseum. A few hours in and the player starts feeling tortured. The campaign does, however, pick up during the infrequent vehicle based sections. These are the more fun and intense sequences that kept me playing but were often over as quickly as they started, possibly because you don’t die as much, something you do a lot of when on foot.

Outside of the flashbacks, the game feels like it was made exclusively for people suffering from ADD. Flashing lights and constant camera cuts to nothing in particular make the scene incredibly hard to focus on, possibly because someone told the game industry that’s what the people wanted. The story, once you can find it, is childlike in its simplicity. There are two major plot twists at the end, one of which is spoiled by the third mission (if you’re paying attention) and the other seems tacked on to the end out of nowhere. I won’t spoil anything, but let’s just say that Oswald couldn’t have done it better.

Black Ops also suffers from somewhat lackluster acting, which is surprising given the cavalcade of stars brought in to voice the game. The two main characters, voiced by Sam Worthington and Gary Oldman, are more annoying than anything else. The voices are backed by a very impressive soundtrack, featuring selections from Credence Clearwater Revival and other original compositions that are quite good. Especially for a shoot ‘me up video game.
Realistically, the single player is not why anyone will purchase Black Ops, as it is far too weak to stand on its own and is just bad in its execution. The online multiplayer is what the Call of Duty series is known for and what is selling Black Ops.

Multi Player

Nice Dog-OH MY FACE!

The meat and potatoes of the Call of Duty franchise is the online multi player, and Black Ops expertly implements its version. At its heart, the multi-player is just like that of its predecessors but there are a few important differences from the previous Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Firstly, Black Ops is more balanced as many of the weapons and perks that were before considered unreasonably overpowered and easily abusable have been neutered or cut entirely from the game giving a more entertaining and fun experience for everyone involved.

Outside of the core gameplay a few new game types have been added (including wager matches which are always fun) and the weapon upgrade system differs slightly from COD:MW2. Players still level up to unlock weapons, but everything (except the starting set) is truly unlocked by purchasing it with COD cash (also known

Stick and Stones: Best MP mode ever.

as space bucks). Each piece of equipment for each gun comes at the price of 2,000 space bucks (average earning for a match), as do as the guns after you unlock them. This system is more flexible than the achievement based system from before, except for unlocking guns, which are, oddly enough, still level based. It just seems like an odd system when you have to unlock a gun and then buy it, even if it is for a relatively small amount.

Overall, the multi-player aspect of Black Ops is very fun to play. The new maps are very clean and nice looking. There is enough balance for even new players to have a chance at winning. As far as multiplayer games go, Black Ops isn’t a bad choice.

Zombies

A staple of Treyarch’s Call of Duty: World at War, Black Ops ships with the much anticipated Zombies mode. Here, four friends can pit themselves against undead Nazis as historical figures John F. Kennedy, “Tricky Dick” Nixon, Fidel Castro, and Robert McNamara (no one cares about him) in the Pentagon. Why are they there? Who cares!? It’s time to kill Zombies. There are a few other maps with different characters but they all follow the same high-concept, just with less historical relevance (I think one is about time travelling communists?).

World leaders at work.

 

Megaman 10: GUAHHHHH!

Oh MegaMan box art…

Recently released for download on the Wii’s virtual console and for PS3 (360 owners will have to wait until the end of the month), MegaMan 10 is a veritable blast from the past. Like something ripped straight from an old NES cartridge, this sidescrolling platformer stays true to its classic roots.

MegaMan 10 looks and works very much the same as the originals (after the first) did. The story is negligible, something about Roboenza, but is otherwise the same.

How do robots even get sick?

You are still the Blue Bomber with your trusty arm gun ready to fight your way to the eight robot masters and give them what for, after which you viciously rip off and cannibalize their weaponry for your own use.

Traversing the levels in 10 is, by far, the most difficult part. The difficulty curve, like many MegaMan games, is incredibly varied. Some levels are incredibly easy to travers while a select few (notably Strike Man’s) will leavy you screaming at the TV for hours on end. Unlike its predecessor from 2009, MegaMan 9, the game is doable and offers some chance of seeing the end credits.

Also of note is the reintroduction of Protoman, MegaMan’s longtime counterpart, as a playable character something unheard of in the previous installation. Playing as the mysterious android leaves something to be desired though. Protoman is exactly like Mega Man, except that he is red, wears a scarf, and brandishes a shield in addition to his arm cannon. The shield allows Protoman to block projectiles while jumping but at the cost of a slightly slower fire rate and a high pitched whilstling that you get to hear every time you die, which will happen.

Since the advent of full 3d game environments, the classic 2-d sidescrolling platformers fell to the wayside, with development studios preferring to make their games with a more realistic tone. After that the almost primitive 2-d games were tossed aside for their more valued upgrades. Recently, though, downloadable gaming has enabled 2-d games to flourish amongst the 3-d behemoths. Games like MegaMan 9 and 10, the nostalgic return to the Final Fantasy universe FFIV: The After years, and the incredibly artistic Braid, each of which are only available via online download, have tapped the growing generations of gamers childhood memories and continued to make something worth buying that anyone can enjoy. Hopefully, this reestablishment of 2-d gaming will continue on for many years to come.

Protip: Beat Pump Man first.

BioShock 2: More of the Same

Before installing BioShock 2, I had only played a tiny portion of the original BioShock but I had enjoyed what little I had and only stopped to do bad computer technology. The whole plasmid, shooting not-magic stuff from your hands was always an entertaining idea, not to mention shooting up Rapture’s various shooters up, so I decided to give the sequel a try.

The BioShocker

From what I have gathered thus far the 2 games are linked only by title and location, so no need to read the Wikipedia article for the first just yet.

BioShock 2’s intro cinematic is, behind only the F.E.A.R. franchise, the creepiest thing in a game I have ever seen. It starts out with you looking into a vent shaped peculiarly like an eye (some kind of symbolism, perhaps, that goes right over my head) out of which crawls Eleanor, a little girl with incredibly vivid glowing yellow eyes. After you get her out of the vent she runs off and you chase after her to discover that she is draining what looks like blood (which I now know to be ADAM) from a corpse and then drinking it from her giant syringe.

Seriously, what are they teaching kids in school these days?

She then climbs on your back and you walk through a party. After you frighten most of the party-goers you rough up some guys with your giant drill arm. Did I forget to mention that you play as a Big Daddy? The Alpha series model, to be precise, the first Big Daddy to be bonded with a Little Sister (The girl you just watched drink a man).

That’s you, on the right. With the drill.

After you drill through a man you are hit with some green glob which freezes your monstrous form. Then you are introduced to Sophia Lamb, the girl you’ve been spending your time with’s mother and defacto leader of Rapture, who informs you that the girl is her daughter and she will not let you have her. Sophia then orders you to shoot yourself in the head, to which you agree and do. Normally, this would permanently put someone out of commission but you only take a ten year nap. After that, it’s time to get up and get back to work in a now ruined rapture. Why no one threw you out with the garbage rather than save you in a closet for sentimental value is beyond me, but I’ll ignore this plot hole, the only hole not caused by the drill on your arm.

The rest of the story, or at least as much as I have seen, if fairly straightforward. Eleanor is trapped by her mother and misses you so you need to spring her but to do that you need ADAM which you can only get by stealing another, modern Big Daddy’s Little Sister, which leads to the awkward line: “New Goal: Pick up little Sister”, which is probably why the newly introduced Big Sister’s are after you.

BTW, the cake is a lie.

The Big Sisters (formed from a discarded Little Sister) are just like you except smaller, faster, and harder to kill. Really it’s only the helmet that’s the same, so expect to get punched in the faceplate more than a few times by these clever girls.

Honestly, I would expect someone covered in metal to be better equipped to take a hit than the protagonist from the previous game, a mere human (with some gene implants), but you to go down after a few taps with a crowbar. In fact, very little has changed from the previous BioShock. You still have EVE powered lightning shooting plasmids (and presumably bee shooting ones as well), still fight the same drug addicted splicers in the ruins of Rapture, and are still drenched in neat water effects and too many religious references. Even the Ammo Bandito and Carnival of Value are still there to comfort the weary fighter in the night. The only real difference I’ve found thus far are that you now lack a right hand and, like a 50s era machine girl, you strap guns and drills to your right arm to kill everything.

Bioshock 3: Under the mask.

One real thing the developers did change was the “hacking” system. In BioShock, there was a neat pipe laying mini-game where you lined up pipes to flow the hacking fluid from the in port to the out port which resulted in control of the system. In BioShock 2, hacking has been reduced to a reflex based “land the arrow in the green part” task. Hacking is no longer a challenge because anyone with any timing can complete them, rather than the minor puzzle of old. I will miss that viscous blue fluid that flowed through the machines.

Now to take a step back for a moment, the two most annoying qualities of BioShock are things not attributes of the gameplay. The first, and the lesser, is a minor glitch that I hope will be fixed in updates that causes a remapped use key to be displayed incorrectly. At first this doesn’t seem like a major flaw but when spending ten minutes trying to hack a door when the on screen text tells me to press ‘F’ when I should have been pressing my remapped ‘E’ can be frustrating. The second, and by far the worst, is the Games for Windows/Xbox Live integration. I realize that Microsoft wants to extend their Xbox Live system to computers and not just their consoles but I don’t want that, that’s what Steam is for. Having to jump through hoops (including entering the product key repeatedly and signing up for Xbox Live) just to start the game, not to mention the drama ruining achievements. The new overlay may be fine for some but I do wish that I could not have to deal with it.

Overall, if you beat the first BioShock and enjoyed it you probably will enjoy the sequel. If you haven’t, play the original BioShock instead. It’s cheaper and more or less the same, but doesn’t have the clanking of your giant metal feet. If you do plan to get it, I would suggest obtaining a copy for console so that you can play it even when you don’t have an internet connection, otherwise you’ll have to stop the next time the network goes down.

Totally NOT a spoiler.
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