Late to the Party | BioShock

Welcome to Late to the Party, a new feature where one of our team sits down with a much-hyped game from yesteryear to see what all the fuss was about. This week, Content Editor Dom delves face-first into the murky, depths of Irrational Games’ masterpiece BioShock.

[Disclaimer: This feature contains some serious spoilerage for the first BioShock]

“Would you kindly?”

Three words that shook gamers around the world when they played through the first BioShock back in 2007. Three words that formed the crux of a narrative twist that’s still revered as one of gamings best curveballs. Three words, sadly, I already knew about when I first entered Rapture. But we’ll get to that later.

BioShock: Round One

Wind back time to 2007 and you’ll find me playing BioShock for the first time. The art deco design style and the charming pre-war soundtrack instantly attracted me to it. It was something that practically radiated style in a genre full of grey super-soldiers and camouflaged killers.

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The wicked web of Fontaine.

Then I started playing it. The plane crash into the ocean; the burning waters; the lighthouse, a beacon of hope in the fog; the first glimpse of the Rand-esque sentiment “No gods or kings, only man”; that descent into Rapture in the bathosphere. I was enthralled, immediately gripped by this utopia beneath the waves. The first encounter with a splicer; the warm tones of Atlas; my first taste of plasmid – all of these things were beats perfectly formed to evoke wonder and tension. It also scared the bejeezus out of me.

I’m not one for horror. I just don’t get a buzz out of being scared s**tless, so such-themed films and games tend to pass me by. I wanted to descend further into BioShock, but it freaked me out and it was soon discarded to the pile of shame, soon traded and forgotten.

A return to Rapture

Then came 2013; the year of BioShock Infinite. The magnus opus of Ken Levine and Irrational Games wormed its way into my consciousness with it’s mesmerising setting and promises of a truly dynamic story. It was the kind of thing I wanted to play, a break from the run and gun mediocrity many other games took as gospel. And so here I was again, with another copy of BioShock, reluctantly ready to try Rapture one last time.

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Rapture’s lovely inhabitants.

So, before I forget: “Would you kindly?”

I’d heard a buzz surrounding some of BioShock’s story before, but I’d thankfully missed any major details regarding the plot. But a few years back, in a hope to urge myself into playing it again, I picked up John Shirley’s masterful prequel novel Rapture. Following the events that led to Ryan’s dream of a creative eden and the inherent corruption that poisoned it, Rapture finished with Frank Fontaine assuming the identity of Atlas as Rapture imploded on that faithful night in 1959.

I didn’t know who would appear in BioShock, but as soon as the name Atlas was revealed I knew that the Atlas of BioShock would betray me at some point during BioShock. With this knowledge in hand, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the apparent murder of Atlas’ family or the eventual reveal of Fontaine. But I still loved the ultra-violent confrontation with Ryan and Fontaine’s revelation on who the player was and why they were doing what they were doing. I may have known the betrayal was coming, but the manner in which it was executed genuinely captivated me.

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Drill vs wrench. The ultimate match up.

BioShock: Round Two

So here I was, BioShock, round two. And for all the times I practically emptied myself, I loved every second I spent in Rapture. BioShock does many things well, but capturing a sense of ever-growing tension is one of its greatest feats. Rapture might be a snapshot of 50s sensibilities, but it was still an attempt to create a civilised, Western community. It was once a peaceful place, full of families and individuals hoping for a second chance at life. Seeing the familiar corrupted creates a base-level revulsion that’s far more effective than something set deep in an unknown future.

There wasn’t one moment in BioShock where I wasn’t on edge. Even by the time I’d mastered having a Big Daddy and a security bot brainwashed/hacked onto my team, I still felt perpetually in danger. During the first few hours of the game, as I crept around the Medical Wing or Rapture, I descended a staircase to use a Circus of Value machine. Desperately low on ammo, health and Eve hypos, these machines were a godsend.

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A portrait of Rapture, before the fall.

Being locked into the first-person perspective, the sense of being watched or hunted felt constantly amplified. I was always swinging round to check my six, sure that I saw a shadow flicker in the corner of my eye. Well, as I prepared to spend my measly dollars, I turned round to check my back and suddenly froze. Creeping down the steps, singing in a low, haunting voice, was a splicer. It’s eyes shone in the darkness of it’s silhouette and what little light there was glittered of the hooks in it’s hands. I swung round and shocked the splicer, bludgeoning them with the old “one, two”. I was genuinely shaken-up, having narrowly avoided death. It was BioShock all over, but the sense of fear and dread were almost addictive, like a forbidden pain. BioShock forces you to become another strand of ulta-violent survivalism, a mirror to the horror you find around every corner.

And while the final battle of BioShock never lived up the epic build up, BioShock and its rapturous heart of darkness remains as one of those titles that transcends the term ‘game’. For all the clichés, it’s an experience, a dark adventure into a corrupted dream, encased in waves.

Looking for more Late to the Party goodness? Check out our recent return to GTA IV.

Free-to-play FPS Dust 514 out now on PS3

Dust 514, the shooter set in the EVE Online universe is now available to download on the PlayStation Network.

dust 514Players playing Dust 514 will be able to interact with those playing the PC-based EVE Online MMOand vice versa, with players able to coordinate events across both titles.

Developer CCP Games will be supporting the groundbreaking title with regular updates and new content for download.

To celebrate the launch of the title, three ‘levelling packs’ are now available for purchase. These include the Mercenary Pack, which consists of 40,000 Aurum (Dust 514/EVE Online’s in-game currency), a 30-day ‘skill booster’ and some additional gear for your avatar. The Veteran and Elite packs offer 100,000 and 200,000 Aurum respectively, as well as a whole host of dropsuits, boosters and permanent access to certain vehicles as well.

Dust 514 is a PS3-exclusive, and is available for download now. 

Furian Fridays | Multiplayer? I disconnect from you

I’ve come full circle.

After 22-years of 8-bit consoles, gold controllers, memory cards and digital downloads, my taste has finally hit a theory of relativity and arrived back where it started.

Okay, for those who aren’t me (how do you live?), let me clarify: once upon a time I was a very secular player of games. Games were less of a clichéd escape for me, they were simply the only thing I really cared about. They were worlds to explore, characters to meet and things to blow into various pixelated bits. I took a kiddish-price in beating my favourite games, delving into the greats of the MegaDrive and the SNES and into the ‘golden age’ of the PlayStation 1 and the Nintendo 64.

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Remember when multiplayer was all about crowding around one of these?

I loved games like Mario Kart, Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Sensible Soccer – games that are fondly remembered for their sofa-filling multiplayer modes. It wasn’t a conscious desire to avoid playing with others (I spent far too much time at the local arcade playing Mortal Kombat 2); perhaps it was just subconscious control thing.

Then through college and uni things seemed to shift. In came Call of Duty 2, 3 and 4; in came Guitar Hero 2 and 3; in game Pro Evo 2008. These are games made for hanging out with your mates, screaming the air seven shades of blue. Literally wasting hours in tourneys on Pro Evo or handing over the controller once you died on Call of Duty single-player (yeah, because a warning about grenades tending to explode is so useful after you died from a grenade-related explosion).

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“Dude? Dude! DUDE!!!”

Soon that shifted into online bouts of Gears of War or various Halos and Tekkens. But after a while, I seemed to lose heart with it. Nothing drove me away from the good the good ship multiplayer – even those idiots that play FPS games online and take it far too seriously (“I just shot you, how did I die? I F**KING EMPTIED A F**KING WHOLE CLIP IN YOU!!”) I just wanted to be able to dive back into a world where I was the one and only influence on events. Call it a God complex, if you will.

There’s a time, a place and mindset for playing with strangers (experiences like Journey feed off such anonymity), but multiplayer isn’t really multiplayer unless you’re playing with your friends. It’s like playing Mario Party with some random bloke at a party. It’s a little, well, weird when you start looking at it like that.

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Ah, all the joy of the online fair.

Perhaps it’s life starting to dictate the direction of our gaming tastes. Playing online is hard thing to drop in and out of. One round of Halo 4 is pointless. You need to settle down with a can of Monster Ripper (other energy drinks are available) and carve out a four-hour, eye-melting session and find your groove. It’s also a pretty impersonal thing (unless you have a group of friends/online friends you regularly play games with). Or, perhaps, I’ve just become a little disillusioned with what multiplayer has become – a giant network of strangers playing a game with the lights off.

People, I’m advised, are great. But there’s nothing like switching off Xbox Live/PlayStation Network/whatever the hell Nintendo are using and play something nice and closed off. Who need’s friends when you’ve got NPCs? NPCs are GREAT!

Bethesda reveal Wolfenstein: The New Order

The new first-person shooter project teased by Bethesda in recent weeks has been revealed as Wolfenstein: The New Order.

wolfenstein the new orderBilled as a reboot of the supernatural shooter that helped define the FPS genre, Wolfenstein: The New Order will be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and next generation platforms later this year.

Bethesda won’t be developing this title in-house, instead it’s passed development duties into the hands of Swedish studio MachineGames. And while the Uppsala-based developer has yet to release a title since its inception in 2009, it was founded by some of the key creative talents from Starbreeze (the studio that brought you the Riddick and Darkness franchises).

“We are excited to bring a new chapter of Wolfenstein to gamers everywhere,” said Jens Matthies, creative director at MachineGames. “As fans of the series, working on this game is an honor, and our team is driven to create an unforgettable action-adventure experience that will make FPS fans proud.”

The Wolfenstein franchise has had a couple of reboots over the years, to varying levels of success. The series returned to consoles and PCs the world over in 2009 with Wolfenstein, but despite some respectable reviews the game didn’t sell as well as then-publisher Activision would have liked and the franchise was soon dropped.

Check the announcement trailer below and keep it infinite!

New Borderlands 2 DLC class to arrive next week

As Gearbox approach the end of its extensive DLC program for Borderlands 2, it’ll be introducing the sixth and newest character class: Krieg the Psycho.

Krieg’s design attributes and character powers will all be based around the iconic psycho enemies from both Borderlands titles. These abilities will include launching into crowds of enemies and health re-gens from certain kills.

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Say hell to new boy Krieg.

You can pick up the Krieg the Psycho character class standalone for £6.85 or 800 MS points on May 14.

Gearbox also recently confirmed the Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep DLC will be the final instalment pack for their open-world shooter, and will arrive June 25. On its own, the Tiny Tina DLC will set you back 800 MS points or £6.85.

If you’re looking for more Borderlands 2 related goodness, check out our review. from last year.

The Eternal Call of Duty Bitchfest

It always happens, every year, like clockwork…  

Every year that inevitable announcement of another Call of Duty game rolls into our news and Twitter feeds. And, like clockwork, a certain demographic of the game playing public lifts its head with a sneer and looks down some serious nostril at the whole affair.

But why? Is it because the famous Activision cash cow uses a similar (but tried and tested) formula for its flagship series? Or is it a case of something becoming so popular that it’s automatically un-cool to like it? Both of these viewpoints hold some merit (even that merit is considerably minute), but in the end does it really matter?

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Few FPS have the kind of spark that MW1 did.

It’s ironic; most people that rag on Call of Duty don’t actually play the game that often or are simply condemning the a game like Call of Duty: Ghosts six months before it’s even out. Have you already played a copy? Do you have sort of all-seeing eye that can see some impending doom, looming in the ether? If you don’t like a game, then don’t play it. I’m under the impression that playing Call of Duty isn’t conscriptive, so why do some people feel the need to go on, brandishing their banner of good taste in a crusade to protect us all? Go play Journey or BioShock Infinite and BE HAPPY.

I know that’s pretty much anathema for a games journalist (or a self-respecting human) to like Call of Duty, but I do. I don’t love it, but then again, it’s hard to recreate something as fresh and engaging as the first Modern Warfare. Much like how I adore Batman: Arkham City, but there’s something about experiencing Arkham Asylum for the first time that stays with you longer than superior sequels do. It’s a mixture of nostalgia and the desire to be surprised or smitten with a title. With the exception of Halo (my one true love), Call of Duty perfectly suits my tastes when I’m in the mood for some TDM. I don’t have to think a grand terms like I do with Battlefield 3 – I can just adjust my loud-out, drop in and have a laugh.

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A game as good as Black Ops 2 bodes well for the future of CoD.

Looking down on such a franchise is kind of commonplace in these current times, but that argument has been run into the ground. Last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 may not have had the charisma or charm of Journey, The Walking Dead or Dishonored, but let’s not forget these games were entry-level iterations not established franchises. And while the series may have allowed certain aspects of its DNA to stagnate, a franchise that’s a decade old this year that can maintain and grow a user base THAT large and maintain a profit margin THAT consistent is far from a lame duck.

Yes, lots and lots of people with varying degrees of mic quality are playing Call of Duty right now, but not liking a game as a direct result of that popularity is about as clever as not liking a band because you saw a chav kid wearing their hoodie on the bus. Switch your console or PC on, enjoy whichever game is spinning up and quit yer yappin’.

Dom is the Content Editor for infiniterobots.co.uk. He is legion and your soul is his now, too. Find him being all cheerful like on Twitter @furianreseigh.

Call of Duty: Ghosts gets release date and details

Well, it’s hardly a shock, but Activision have officially announced this years FPS offering will indeed be called Call of Duty: Ghosts and will breach it’s way into home consoles November 5.

Ghosts will also be the first Call of Duty to appear on next generation consoles, as well as Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3.

“Infinity Ward set the gold standard for first-person action for a generation, and they’re going to do it again with Call of Duty: Ghosts,” commented Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg.

Ghosts delivers an all-new story, all-new characters, an all-new Call of Duty world, all powered by a next generation Call of Duty engine, which is a leap forward for the franchise. Infinity Ward is going all-in to create the next generation of Call of Duty worthy of the world’s greatest fans.”

Spooooooooky stuff.
Spooooooooky stuff.

 

Many fans (prior to the retailer leak) were assuming that Infinity Ward would plod back into the world of Captain Price with a fourth Modern Warfare, but Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin was quick to champion a new direction for the studio: “Everyone was expecting us to make Modern Warfare 4, which would have been the safe thing to do. But we’re not resting on our laurels.”

Retailers, such as Game, are also taking pre-orders, with the offer of free posters and Black Ops 2 ‘ghost’ skins for the first lucky few.

Check out the launch trailer for Call of Duty: Ghosts below, which promises further details at the big Xbox reveal by Microsoft on May 21.

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon out now for XBLA & PSN

The new standalone expansion for Far Cry 3 is here. It’s got neon weapons! It’s got Reece from The Terminator! It’s got robo-balls!

Take a neon-drenched nostalgia trip to the eighties with Ubisoft’s cyber-heart chomping new shooter, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. It’s out today for Xbox Live Arcade for 1200 MSP and £11.99 on the PlayStation Network.

Boom Tron-esque headshot.
Boom Tron-esque headshot.

A retail version for you PC users out there will be available on May 3 2013. It even comes with a soundtrack AND a poster! An actual poster.

Check out the launch trailer below and keep the site bookmarked for our upcoming review.

Dishonored Dunwall City Trials Gameplay Trailer Sneaks In

With less than a week to go before its release, Bethesda & developer Arkane Studios have released some brand new footage of the first DLC content for their critically acclaimed FPS Dishonored.

Dunwall City Trials will feature ten challenge maps that will test your combat, stealth & mobility skills in ways only Dishonored can deliver. From time-trial runs to horde style waves of tallboys & weepers, the Dunwall City Trials will also include additional trophies/achievements and an online leaderboard so you can prove your cut-throat credentials to the world.

Corvo’s new playground is shaping up nicely

Looking like a cross between the Mirror’s Edge time trials & the Batman Arkham City challenge maps, the Dunwall City Trials will arrive December 11 2012 with a price tag of £3.99 for PS3 & PC users or 400 MS points for Xbox 360.

Far Cry 3 | A Survivors Guide

The tropical locales of Rook Island may look beautiful, but Ubisoft have made sure there’s more than enough danger lurking within its colourful forests. But fear ye not, for infinite robots has stalked the islands of Far Cry 3 (yes, we said islands) and faced the insanity of Vaas and his cheerful band of pirates. So before you delve into this FPS playground, be sure to pack the Infinite Robots guide to Survival in Far Cry the Third…

Use Your Surroundings to Your Advantage

Whilst built around an FPS template, there’s a surprisingly deep level of stealth written into the game play. The islands of Far Cry 3 are a dangerous place so understanding the lay of the land is key to becoming a master hunter. All enemies, from pirates & mercs to predators have AI based on line of sight – so if you break that line then you can escape or turn a one sided man-hunt into some deadly guerrilla warfare. Use the long grass, foliage, trees, rocks & huts of Rook Island & you’ll soon be the deadliest thing around.

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Your Best Weapon…Is Your Camera

It might sound a little crazy (which would suit this game down to the ground) but protagonist Jason’s digital camera is by far his most useful piece of kit. By selecting the camera you can highlight any living thing on the island from pirates to pigs. Once tagged you can track each target with a live image that shows their movement straight through any scenery.  Once tagged you can flip back to your weapons & pick of an outpost of mercs or hunt a tiger for its pelt. It’s an invaluable tool & one that’s godlike in the right hands.

It’s all about Recon

Even for the most experienced of Far Cry 3 players, the guns-blazing course of action will likely get you needlessly killed. Just like in Skyrim or any other open-world/RPG mash-up, scouting out an area is key to building a strategy for success. The island is littered with pirate outposts & packs of predators. Using your camera & the cover provided by the islands scenery will give you the chance to find the best route to surviving the dangers of Rook Island.

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Master Craftsman

And, just like the dragon-obsessed Skyrim, there’s a fun & addictive crafting element to Far Cry 3. Whilst it’s neither as deep or complicated as many RPG crafting systems, the crafting element in Far Cry 3 is just as integral to your characters progression. Collecting the multi-coloured fauna located around the islands can be used to make syringes that replenish health & give you a burst adrenaline. By killing & skinning certain animals (be they herbivores or carnivores, the island has plenty of both) you can craft extra space for more syringes, more weapons & more space for the loot & plants you collect across your adventure. All this can be accessed in a few clicks from the pause menu so be sure to check each packs requirements.

Indulge Your Inner Magpie, Collect Everything

Everything has a value in Far Cry 3. You’ll need cash to buy new weapons & replenish your ammo so be sure to loot the body of every pirate or merc you take down. You’ll always find some cash & every now & then you’ll recover an item that can be sold on at one of the local gun-shops around the islands. Looting crates (which appear as diamonds on your minimap) will also net you ammo, cash & sellable trinkets. Be sure to scale the many radio towers across the island too as these will open up more items & weapons for sale at the handful of stores you’ll discover on your bloody travels.

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Who needs Agent 47?

Take our advice, invest in a silenced weapon.  A silenced MP5 or pistol as well as the curved bow are a must for successfully surviving Vaas’s tropical nightmare. Un-silenced weapons will almost always bring a ton of pirates on your six. Using your blade-centric takedowns with a silenced weapon will ensure you won’t have to battle any uneven hordes on your travels. Having such an arsenal will also help you take out enemies around outposts & missions areas with minimal fuss & attention.

Count Those Bullets

This is not Bulletstorm or Call of Duty. Pop your Dishonored head on & you’ll be heading in the right direction. Open fire fights will burn up ammo like fuse paper so line up your headshots or go on a hunt for goat or deerskins which are perfect for crafting into extra bullet pouches. One shot weapons like sniper rifles, pistols & the curved bow are perfect for tracking those all-important headshots.

Farcry 3

Beware the Beasts of Rook Island

Remember, you’re just a man. And whilst carrying a gun may be as commonplace in gaming as jumping on platforms, it doesn’t make you the biggest threat on the island – at least not for a while anyhow.  The islands are brimming with nasties just waiting to steal your health bars, from tigers & wild dogs to bull sharks, vipers & alligators. As you dive into the many rivers, lakes & estuaries on the islands the tell-tale growl of an alligator as it breaks the surface is a sound you’ll never grow comfortable with. Break out the camera, keep low & check your map for areas tagged as predator hotspots.

And finally…Know your Skill Tree

Like so many modern games, Far Cry 3 comes complete with its own XP system and it’s one that will shape your journey through the games single-player experience. As you gain more XP you’ll unlock skill points which can be used to purchase new abilities – these then appear as tattoos on Jason’s arms. Be sure to pick the skills that suit your burgeoning play style – play to your strengths not what’s conventional for others. Upgrading your health will help you survive longer whilst abilities such as Takedown & Drag & Grenade Takedown are perfect for silent hunters & insane pranksters alike.

So pick up a copy of Far Cry 3 & remember, keep it infinite!

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Far Cry 3 is available now for PlayStation 3, PC & Xbox 360. Check out our Amazon links for more info. Our review for Far Cry 3 will be dropping soon.