Friday, March 19, 2010

Rambling/Rant about Bioshock 2

So I finally finished up Bioshock2 the other day. By finish, I mean I got all the achievement points available (1000/1000). And my overall feelings on the game are pretty mixed.

On the one hand, it was a pretty good game. On the other hand, aside from a few improvements, its the exact same game as the first game. You do the same things over a similar set of levels for a similar length of the time, with the only major difference is that you get a helper at the end.

The overall story is indeed shoe-horned into the setting. The new big-bad was written in as a second nutbar the cities' founder was dealing with at the same time as the guy from the first game, who got conveniently locked away and forgotten about during said first game. And just what is the new big-bad trying to do? Make the most altruistic person in the world, ever, by turning her own daughter into effing St. Alia of the Knife the Abomination (from Frank Herbert's original Dune series). How does that work, exactly? Admittedly, the game takes place before the series would have been written. But then, if it had, why would anyone there have read it? The original story is supposed to be an homage/satire of Ayn Rand (whose work I haven't read) and Objectivist methodology (something I haven't studied).

What really gets me though, is the multiplayer portion of the game. Thematically, it takes place during the civil war that preceded the first game, but in the end its just a standard multiplayer in a game that doesn't need it. Okay, don't get me wrong here, the multiplayer IS NOT bad, its actually pretty decent. That being said, there is no reason for it expect to mark off a feature on the back of the game case. Free-for-all Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag (with variants), Territories (which doesn't even tally end-of-match scores properly), they have different names, but those are the modes.

They stole the idea of multiple loadouts, unlocks, and perks from CoD. The only real new thing that changes how things happen are the hacking, researching, and plasmids. Hacking and plasmids are okay, they make things interesting, researching though, feels like a bit of a game-breaker at times. Hell, the plasmids can be too, when combined with the right weapons. And here's the big thing, most of them are useless. There are 7 or 8 weapons and plasmids, and once a player completes the challenges associated with each of them, they move on and then you will only ever see the FIRST 3 weapons AND plasmids that you unlock (okay, maybe a little bit of exaggeration on the weapons part). Oh, and if you're fast and/or lucky, you can become a Rosie-type Big Daddy. It can also be a gamebreaker, especially at lower ranks.

And that brings me to my final, and biggest problem. The grinding, and the multiplayer achievements that go with them. Multiplayer achievements are a problem. In games like CoD:MW, and BF:BC2, where, where multiplayer is the primary draw of the game, you can get away with them, because people will be playing those games online for a long time to come. For something like this... no. This game, like others with unneeded multiplayer, will have a community at launch, but 6 months later will only be populated by the latecomers and the hardest of the hardcore. Now, to the devs credit, none of the achievements are hard, but the ones gained for ranking up require grinding XP.

And grinding is this game's multiplayer. Its unbearable. 10 Points. Everything is worth 10 Points. Kill an enemy? 10 Points. Hack/Research? 10 Points? You only get more points by getting Killstreaks, becoming the Big Daddy, or killing the Big Daddy, none of which happen that often unless you're pointlessly too good for the game. Only completing the challenges truly helps getting the XP better. Couple that with needing 97,000 XP to get to Rank 40 (Rank 50 only exists if you're a sucker who wants to waste $5...), and the game's netcode being complete crap. I've had (and I'm not alone in this either) Host Disconnect's freeze my XBox. Why? Seriously, why is my XBox freezing on an internet disconnect?

I don't know. I just know the multiplayer ended up being mentally painful for me. Alot of it feels unfair if you don't know how to game it (or you just suck, like I sometimes do...). And I'm glad I'm done with it. More time to play other, more important, games.

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