Tag Archives: PS3

Bioshock Infinite (PS3 – 2013)

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Our ruggedly handsome protagonist, Booker DeWitt

Man, Bioshock Infinite was surely one hell of an experience. It was nothing short of a brilliant story, with incredibly written characters of both good and evil affiliations. It was a game that didn’t fear reprisal, and included some themes that you wouldn’t normally find in a first person shooter or video games of any kind for that matter. It tugged at the heartstrings, frightened you and intrigued you every second of gameplay. With favourable combat dynamics, breathtaking visuals and loads and loads to find; Bioshock Infinite is one game you’ll play through again and again.

The main setting of the game is Columbia, a floating city in the sky that has seceded from the United States. I cannot imagine the amount of work that went into creating this setting, but the culmination leads to one of the most stunning locales I’ve ever seen in video game history. From the Comstock Center Rooftops to the Hall of Heroes and leading to the Sea of Doors, you will never tire of the ever changing scenery. Obviously the most intense visuals in the game come when you are hanging from the Skylines in combat, or traveling through different areas. The setting also contains reactive materials such as puddles of water to shock and oil slicks to burn which adds to the already high octane action.

If you like the sights, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the sounds. Surprisingly enough this soundtrack contains recorded versions of songs released in the latter half of the twentieth century. My favourite being “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, which they have remade into a lovely barbershop along with other hits like “Fortunate Son”, “God Only Knows” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. Along with the edge of your seat combat music, this game couples some interesting covers with an enticing array  of music.

Swapping Plasmids out for Vigors, Bioshock Infinite offers some interesting powers to overcome obsticles and dole out punishment to your enemies. Firery “Devil’s Kiss” grenades, a deadly “Murder of Crows” and a bulletproof shield from “Return to Sender” are among the deadly choices you have in the way of ingested abilities. That isn’t all these provide. For extra combat bonuses, some of these vigors can be used in tandem to create some killer combinations. For example, using the Bucking Bronco alongside Devil’s Kiss causes damage to all those you have suspended in the air or shocking a person in a group being attacked by your Murder of Crows causes the crows to shock and stun the enemy. These combos can be very useful in a pinch.

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Burn baby burn!

Then there is the story and oh man, what a story it is. You are Booker DeWitt, former Pinketon Employee who has become a man in debt, working as a Private Investigator in New York. Your task is to retrieve a young woman, Elizabeth, from the flying city of Columbia. Along the way, you find clues to her mysterious power, your connection with her and the enigmatic religious leader Comstock, and the lives that you and the people of Columbia lead in different universes.

This game introduced themes and touched upon topics you don’t see within gaming frequently. These include blatant racism against multiple cultures and religion. Even some racial slurs appear in the game. This was actually kind of refreshing. I was impressed that this game wasn’t afraid to touch upon some of the more antiquated views of the early 20th century. The heavily Christian tones are incredibly apparent, with numerous references to baptisms, prophets and saviours. Again, something you don’t see, but glad it was in the game.

Each game is not without its problem, but they pale in comparison to the amazing pros. The guns leave nothing to the imagination; they are very simple styled weapons you can find in any first person shooter with the exception of the Skyhook. You have your pistol, rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle. They are very vanilla weapons and I was disappointed as each have their drawbacks and never seem to do much damage near the end of the game causing you to frantically find ammo just to finish an enemy you spent an entire clip on already.

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Ra-tat-tat…

Final Word: Get this. Get this now and enjoy the hell out of it. If you had any interest in playing it even in passing, you have a duty to buy and play this ultimately fulfilling game. It follows in the series of thinking games where your actions have consequences, in a world where you really begin to care about the characters and their personality and plight. Bioshock Infinite was nothing short of amazing.

Final Grade: A

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A Third Skyrim DLC (and should I care?)

Just recently, as I scrolled through my newsfeed, I noticed that Bethesda had announced their third downloadable content “Dragonborn” for the award winning and reviewed by me ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’. At this I let out a deep sigh; for as a Playstation 3 owner I am still waiting to play the first downloadable content that Bethesda shipped out to the Xbox 360 on June 26, 2012 and shortly later to the other Microsoft dominated console, PC, only a week later. This comes shortly after their plans for The Elder Scrolls Online release were posted. One full MMO, and three DLC later, we PS3 players are still waiting. This raises a few questions which I will attempt to ask and answer at the same time. You may dismiss this as the rantings of another “PS3 fanboy”, but I’m not, I’m only a PS3 owner who believes that he and the other players are due their DLC.

Coming to PS3… whenever.

1)      If Microsoft can pay for scattered releases, why can’t Sony?

Sony darling, it’s not like you’re hurting in cash.  Sony Computer Entertainment is a division of a much larger company that creates household items of an everyday sort.  It would not be too much of a stretch to put a little money into your coffer and outbid Microsoft. This is a good hint that either Microsoft loves their fans, or they’re just too rich to be outbid. What does this say of Bethesda though?

2)      Consider this.

Consider that between posts about DLC for Skyrim, I practically forget the game exists. I’ve been busy playing Borderlands 2, Pokemon Black 2, and an admittedly Bethesda game called Dishonored. People have moved on from Skyrim, especially people on the PS3, who beat it long ago. If people forget about your game, when you release the DLC a year or more, no one will care. I’m more than willing to pay and play, but get a bloody move on.

It is apparent that they create the game for Xbox and port it over to the Playstation, which is why the myriad of bugs is constantly more prevalent on PS3 versions than they are on the Xbox/PC versions of Skyrim. This is something that should be worked on while the game is in development. If you know you’re going to port something over, can you please for god sake work on it while on the fly? It is the equivalent of developing two games at once, sure, but you’re going to be in a position where you won’t have to say to the customers “We are not satisfied yet with Dawnguard‘s performance on the PS3. We would like for every to have a chance to play Dawnguard, but we aren’t going to release it for PS3 knowing that some people’s experience in Skyrim will be worse.” Wait, so if you make the game for Xbox, wouldn’t the same problems be on that version?

3)      Bethesda, can we believe you?

It is incredibly hard to buy the “game isn’t performing well enough” excuse that Bethesda shoved down our throats almost four months ago. However this might just be part of the excuse that Microsoft has asked them to fabricate in order to cover up their buyout of Bethesda’s scattering releases. What worries me even more is that this will make it the third DLC directly available for Microsoft and none for the Playstation. If you have a deal where Microsoft has bought the rights to your content and it is to be released first for that system, don’t fuck around; be honest and let people know. It has never been this brutal, we’ve never had to wait this long to be appeased. This leads me to my next question;

4)      How long before we can sue for false advertising?

It clearly states on the back of my copy of Skyrim, “Add-On Content”. How long before the statement becomes a fabrication and we have the right to say “There is an inherent expectation that we are able to get the content in a timely fashion or we have the right to some kind of compensation.” What I fear is that the Playstation 3 users will likely never get this content in the form of a downloadable content and what will happen is that Bethesda will release “The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Game of the Year Edition” and we will be forced to shill out another sixty plus dollars for what will likely be an even buggier version of the game that we have come to know and love.. as pretty goddamned buggy. So finally;

5)      What can Bethesda do to keep its PS3 player fan base?

Stop doing this to your fans. You cannot imagine the frustration we are enduring when we are promised something, it is given to someone else and for months we have no news on progress to remedy the issue. So I have a few suggestions:

–          The DLC should be available at a discount price.

–          It should be released all at once.

–          PS3 players would be appreciative if they got something Xbox didn’t.

–          Do not add them as part of a GOTY; if you do drop the price in half.

–          Give the next game to Sony and the PS3, let them have the timed exclusive DLC first.

As a person who stood outside in the blistering cold suffering from bronchitis to get this game almost one year ago; this is a big kick in the nuggets. Right now, you have a good chance of losing me. Suck up to me Bethesda; suck up to all of us. Post-haste!

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (PS3 – 2011)

Worth it.

 

I waited out in the blistering cold on 11-11-11 for this game. At the time I had bronchitis for about two or three weeks. It was literally the most uncomfortable line I had ever been in. After one-hundred sixty-five hours and fifteen minutes, I finally achieved what I set out to do months ago; I completed The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I did everything from the main quest to the Thieves Guild and I did so many other tasks in between. If the Elder Scrolls franchise has taught me anything, it is that games with immersion tend to be the ones you’re going to remember most. I will remember Skyrim for a very long time.

You are Dragonborn, the Dovahkiin, you can speak the words of the ancient language of the Dragon and use it to your advantage through-out the game, a feature I will delve into later. Beginning the game as, you guessed it, a prisoner, you are quickly thrown onto the chopping block only to be saved by the return of the Dovah. While a secondary plot revolves around the war between the Stormcloak Rebellion, lead by Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak and the Imperial Army lead by General Tullius, the primary focus is on the Dragonborn’s journey to return the Dragons to their slumber, especially the most powerful one of them all, Alduin.

The game itself is a significant improvement over its predecessor in numerous ways. The character models are much more animated than the ones in Oblivion, always moving and countering what you say. The combat animations are much more fluid and what I would most enjoy about the movement and character models in this game is that when you get hit while running, you stumble and look to the ground while running. It may be something completely trivial, but it certainly made an impression on me.

The second-most impressive feature in the game are the Radiant Storytelling and A.I. allowing the computer engine to determine new locations for you to explore, populate those areas with enemies who would provide you and interesting or difficult challenge and base the characters interactions with the A.I. off of his or her experiences. The most recent example of this in memory is when I successfully restored the Thieves Guild to its former glory, later a guard in Whiterun commented that the guild’s presence in the Hold had increased, and that the guild had people under their thumb. Radiant A.I. is a fantastic feature, reminding the character that their actions in the world do matter. It will make people angry and vengeful to the point they send thugs after you, or grateful enough that they will follow you through the nearest dungeon.

Or to their death in the Boethiah's Calling quest.

Quite a few skills have popped up or have been removed entirely from the franchise. We’ve seen the removal of Blade, Blunt and Hand to Hand and the inclusion of One-Handed and Two-Handed weapons skills, allowing for use of all three former while categorizing them under the latter two. Acrobatics and Athletics have been nixed, meaning you can no longer scale the most impossible mountains or traverse a town in a single leap; instead relying on the Stamina system to determine your running time. Mercantile and Speechcraft have been combined to create one skill, Speechcraft, which governs the options you have in conversation and the coin it will cost you to buy your most precious items. Removing Security, Lockpicking and Pickpocketing will govern your ability to steal effectively outside of your sneak skill. Mysticism has been replaced by Enchanting, the ability to make your weapons even more powerful by putting one, perhaps two, enchantments on them. Potential for increasing damage output is extreme. My personal two-handed Battle Axe outputs 335 damage with 38 frost and fire damage complimenting that. How did it get that high? Well the addition of the Smithing skill, coupled with Enchanting, increases the potential of weapons until even Dragons dare face you. I personally like the addition of the new skills, although I do miss Acrobatics, it was simple fun.

You may have thought I was done praising the skill system, but I must go further. Accompanying the skill system are the perks, an upgradable skill tree allowing the player to do all sorts of things with their abilities. This is including, but not limited to, removing all weight from your light armor, causing lockpicks to never break, allowing a kill with an enchanted weapon to recharge the item and one of my personal favorites, moving faster with a drawn bow. That perk alone has allowed me to become an evil marksman, bent on using arrows in close quarters and from afar. These perks allow for enhanced customization of the player character, enabling them to be an expert magician, conniving thief or a jack of all trades employing skills of all kinds. If it wasn’t for this screen, you may miss the most impressive art in the game.

This art.

For the things I thought were okay. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t much care for the main quest line. With the Companions, College of Winterhold, Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild quest lines providing the most interesting characters, compelling plot twists and comprehensive and interesting dialogue; the story seemed to come from Skyrim as a whole and not just the journey of the Dragonborn. After a while it just became boring. My favorite quests in the game came from the Dark Brotherhood, for the insanity and for some of the more colourful NPC’s in the game such as Babette, the 300 year old vampire in the body of a ten year old, using her innocent look to ensnare her victims. The Dark Brotherhood line was dark indeed and offered substance, while the main quest line became dull. This goes for the same as the Companions and Thieves Guild, giving the character a full and rich experience at the expense of exposition or filler.

As always, the score is one of the most brilliant parts of the entire game, with the music being pleasant at one moment and straying into a battle-frenzied piece in another. This seamless transition between tracks is what gives the game its most stimulating experiences, again bringing up immersion, the fighting is epic, the dungeons are gloomy and the music just makes the experience all the more intense and immersive. There is no particular piece of the score I would like to point out. We all know the epic Skyrim opening theme and it is truly one of the best pieces.

And what would be a popular game if it didn’t create a popular meme. Although becoming increasingly tiresome because of it’s overuse; the arrow to the knee meme caused some minor amusement and to me is actually still pretty funny for its complete interchangeability with anything. To me, that is something spectacular. It is ultimately funny, but has recently grown tiresome.

The are only two problems that I had with this game. Every Bethesda game fails to address this one for the Playstation 3. The save files get big, the games get slow. I do know that it has to do with the way the PS3 processes visuals and data, but I was hoping this would not happen as the game is truly great, but the file size gets large as you get more into it.  The second is that one-handed combat is not exactly perfected. You can only swing one weapon at a time unless you’re doing a power attack; to me that doesn’t feel like you’re dual wielding at all.

Final Word: I’m running out of praise for the game. You may find your experience to be entirely different than mine. I am sure I will give it another playthrough, but for now there are other games to chronicle.

Final Grade: A+

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