Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

AD32- Gluttony Hates Mimes

The Gluttonies are just jerks. Not only does she put everybody through the hassle of sailing out to her and diving to find her, she up and eats Lust when she's being friendly. That's what she gets for not having a harpoon gun. If spy movies have taught us anything, it's that you always carry a harpoon gun when you go diving. They have a million and one uses and even if you don't need to fire it, they just look awesome.

I totally almost forgot to update tonight. Holidays screw me up when it comes to schedules. But in honor of the work those that came before us did and the advances in workers' rights unions have fought for over the years, I'm sleeping in and makin' waffles.


Long, I loves you, Mr. Bubbles Review: Bioshock 2- Coinciding nicely with our aquatic comic page today, it's time for a review featuring something that understands the importance of harpoon guns. And giant drill arms. When you begin the game, you play as Rapture's weakest Big Daddy. Even the regular Splicers can take more hits that you. Just a few gunshots kill you and it takes way too long to kill an enemy with your drill. In every cutscene or scripted sequence, it's just BAM one drill hit and the enemy dies, but in gameplay, it takes three or four. Your arm is a giant freaking drill, it shouldn't be weak! However, once you're about 1/3 of the way through the game, it showers you in offensive and defensive bonuses. In one play session I upgraded two weapons, my health twice, my Eve, earned three attack bonuses through research, earned so much money that health and ammo became irrelevant, and earned the Winter Blast plasmid which is ludicrously overpowered. You don't even get hurt during one-on-one fights with that thing because it completely immobilizes enemies, so you can freeze them, walk up to them and alternate between drilling and refreezing. Once you hit that point, you're what a Big Daddy should be: walking death. So to recap: tedious, frustrating, and cheap opening and piece of cake super-easy rest of the game. That's terrible planning on the designers' parts. The game also constantly throws health items when you never need them so there's a lot of backtracking after every fight up until you get so rich that you can buy out every vending machine and stick up that way. There's just oo much combat both in the number of fights and the number of Splicers in each fight. In fact, there's so much going on that the game can't handle it and cause the system to lock up. Save often! The auto-save is practically useless because it rarely ever goes off so if you get hit by a crash, you're likely going to lose a lot of time. The game does generally become more fun as you play along because you start getting crazy weapons and insane plasmids, but the combat still manages to stay boring. Freeze the nearest enemy, two shots to the head, repeat, trudge around to pick up money and supplies, restock if needed, and continue. The atmosphere is interesting, if almost exactly the same as in Bioshock 1, but the themes don't come across very well. BS1 came out at the height of the economic bubble and was about capitalism run rampant. BS2 came out during the recession but only kind of skirts a communist-theme and the whole "psychiatrists are evil!" plot is more crazed Scientology than social commentary. The stuck with the godawful audio diaries to tell the story and they seem to be even more hidden than before. I played the game very slowly so I could try to find them but I still finished the game missing a large number of them. It's hard to picture a worse design choice than hiding the story from somebody that wants to hear it. Protecting a little sister is still the game's highlight. They're freaking adorable! Hideous monstrocities that they are and all. The physics engine is still the same crappy one every other game uses so you'll see plenty of dancing dead bodies, twitchy items, and ludicrous ragdolling, but it does make for one of the most fun weapons in the game: The Rocket Spear. It's a harpoon with a jet on the back, so you can plug a Splicer and then watch their corpse spin around and fly across the room. There's one fantastic set piece that happens at the end of the game. I obviously won't spoil it but the view of Rapture that you get from it is hilarious, sad, and amazing all at once.
Multiplayer is neat but it's set up poorly. There's no "quick match" feature where you can just jump into a game. You have to choose a specific game type and then hope people are playing it. Which, in my experience, they usually aren't. There's also no balance or player matching features either. You start off with very few weapons and plasmids and no buffs and earn them as you play more and level up. But the game allows level 1 people to go up against level 50 people. So while they're sporting all kinds of buffs and have a grenade launcher, you? You have a pistol. You also level up veeery slowly, so it's going to be a long time before you can do anything interesting. It doesn't even balance who is on the teams. In one round the team I was on consisted of four players all under level 10 against three players under level 10 and two players at level 50. The 4 against 5 structure is unfair from the get-go but level 50 players have a ludicrous advantage over somebody under 10. They basically get two lives while you only get one. I got to level 4 but quit because of how unfair it is. I could never win a match because of how unmatched the teams were and how superpowered my opponents were. You can't pit players that can instantly respawn and that have an instant kill weapon against players that have to empty a whole clip into the enemy's head just to knock it down once. The levels are really poorly designed as well. There's too much clutter, too many chokepoints placed near sentry guns, sentry guns placed near capture points, and places high level people can get to that low level players can't making it impossible for a low level player to win. There aren't any real co-op modes so it's basically all the standard deathmatch stuff you've seen in every other game. Once you take the story out of Bioshock and turn it into just another shooter, you can really see just how crappy the game is.
Sins Committed: Poor balance, Bad level design, Bad mechanics (audio diaries), Terrible multiplayer
Virtues Acted: Good atmosphere, Okay characters, Okay story, Good powers/weapons, The Little Sisters are just so freaking cute!