Returning to an experience like Dishonored, especially after some time has passed, can be both hugely rewarding and a huge slap to my face. I originally had no plans to pick up the game upon original release and for that thought-crime I should be sorely punished.
In the very first post here I rushed in my top ten games from the last five years. I placed Dishonored in 9th spot but I now see that was a mistaken value to give the game. In retrospect, I’d rate it far higher than that. It could well be my favourite game since 2008 when I first played Bioshock on my sparkling new 360. Five years on and Dunwalls scope, variety and re-playability are totally in-tune with my own imagination. As game-worlds go I have concluded that Dunwall trumps all those other playgrounds with the choice it allows me in my approach and depth of connection. Gaming experiences that allow me to play stealth as an option, a game that rewards both full-bloodied attack or sneaking to find an advantage, will always win my heart. Sorry Columbia but you’re not even in the running.
Back to the diary then.
Took my time with the first level, A Captain of Industry. There’s an introduction of a new NPC, Billie Lurk, in a supporting role to Daud and his quest for redemption. I like how this takes us me away from the experience I had playing(the other side of coin) with Corvo. Some new abilities also for Daud plus a few that have been tweaked – Blink can be paused and redirected(although I am still to master this).
The size and choice of approach to this initial level match that of the original game. Once again I am encouraged to explore and try out new approaches because the design of the game is a dream that, as a gamer, I don’t want to wake up from.
Name of a whaling ship. Name of a Copperspoon.
It’s the first lead that Daud has to track down. I’m sure there are many more to come before this two-part DLC concludes. Daud learns very little early on but this level has a number of clues that fill in some of what he seeks. As I played out A Captain of Industry my suspicions rose with regards to Billie Lurk’s motives for helping. She may not yet be all she claims to be…there may be honour among thieves but where does that leave assassin’s?
Next up in this Dishonored game diary – Thalia
- Daud (returnofsweetflag.wordpress.com)
I have had to take a break away from playing Bioshock Infinite. The game was beginning to wear on me and I just can’t get passed the mental block that is stopping me from completing it. I know that in time I will return to finish the game and maybe playing on the ‘hard’ setting may hinder my enjoyment a little.
If Bioshock Infinite wasn’t so reliant on the arena combat that feels muddy then it is possible I’d be enjoying the game experience more.
Here’s the issues that I have currently with the game. Currently I’m chasing the ghost of Elizabeth’s mother towards some tears;
- Elizabeth. Other than ammo, health handling, picking locks and tears, I’m feeling a disconnect with her character. As AI companion to your Booker there’s some nice touches but not to the extent I thought I’d see. In combat she aids Booker but is never in any danger herself. I have a theory she’s either a figment of Booker’s imagination or the game design itself does not allow the opposing AI any provision in including Elizabeth as a threat. If it’s the latter of the two then I have a problem with it. It breaks my immersion with the game. If I think back to how well the connection grew between Lee and Clementine (in the recent The Walking Dead game) was from the belief that, as Lee, I was protecting her from danger at every turn. Looking ahead too I have great hopes for how this dynamic will work in the forthcoming The Last of Us. I’m not getting that from Bioshock Infinite. If the game was less combat driven and more was given over to situations that Booker and Elizabeth could work through together that would go some way to increasing my immersion.
- Combat. I read the arguments for and those against the level of violence in the game. I can find value in both arguments. Ultimately I don’t find the combat that enjoyable; I’m not a fan of roller-coasters or combat that revolves around areas that aren’t dissimilar to arena combat seen in games like Quake. Bioshock Infinite has both these elements in its combat makeup. I prefer my Bioshock combat within buildings or a city like Rapture.
Please remember I have yet to finish the game. I have tried to ignore spoilers but I know a few have slip through into thoughts. It’s very likely that I will close this diary out when I complete the game. Look for the conclusion post as soon as I allow myself some time back in Columbia.
The conclusion to this Bioshock Infinite game diary – Torn
The Lamb is not in doubt but the False Shepherd..?
I’m yet to be convinced who the False Shepherd is in Bioshock Infinite and yet the early stages of Booker DeWitt’s relationship to Elizabeth there seems little doubt. Columbia’s propaganda machine is well oiled from the moment Booker steps out onto the city in the clouds.
Once Booker reaches Elizabeth we are treated to a Columbia which seems in keeping with the pastel view that Elizabeth has held in her thoughts while being locked away. This early part of the game is very one-dimensional and held little in the way of surprises and made me doubt the depth of the game and its setting. Bioshock Infinite had me almost convinced that the world was flat but later the game goes some way to show that it cares little in what I perceive to be proper and correct. This game sets out to mess with your perception by setting you up one way and then removing the rules to reveal something else entirely.
In my mind this early part of the story is Elizabeth’s colouring of the world she believes to be real. Almost as though she has a way of amplifying her innocence as a decoration to disguise a world which is rooted in evil. Could this possibly be why Elizabeth was held prisoner? By keeping her contained and isolated was it her power that held Columbia together in a disguise of harmony? By setting her free has Booker drawn back the curtain on OZ? Is this what Comstock truly fears most?
Next up in this Bioshock Infinite game diary – Vex
There is a danger in knowing too much. Knowing what is to come or what is expected can curse the appreciation of the present. Going into Bioshock Infinite knowing that Booker must first find Elizabeth before Columbia displays all its glory is a push designed to move the player headlong towards her rescue.
After arriving in Columbia via rocket, little pieces slowly reveal themselves. The urge to press forward, to forgo solo-Booker is something I didn’t consider before hand. Yet very little of his past is brought about in these early hours of the game. Mainly there are hints of a past that is littered by dark deeds and violence. I’m still unconvinced at this point if Booker has been either a power for good that has lost his way, a mercenary capable of all types of deception or something else entirely.
With so little known about either Elizabeth or Booker in this early part of the game, I’m beginning to wonder if this is not just a story of Elizabeth experiencing Columbia from outside her prison but also the discovery of who exactly Booker is and what, if any, connection he has to her. This has been compounded by a possible spoiler I glimpsed a few days ago and although I have not looked to confirm it or not, it has begun to influence my thoughts.
I, as Booker, have now reached and rescued Elizabeth. Columbia is now playing out as a vivid, often oppressive backdrop to the gameplay. I’ve not come away from any game previous thinking as much as I do than I have with Bioshock Infinite. In the next post I’ll be digging further into the psyche of Booker and Elizabeth as the game allows me.
Next up in this Bioshock Infinite game diary – Lamb.
One lighthouse to drop you to the depths and one to lift you amongst the clouds.
The lighthouse prologue in both Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite aren’t polar opposites but the mood is distinctly different. Setting up each game with the image of a lighthouse – a beacon in the night, a warning of danger; coastal rocks – has one of those lasting impressions. Both games speak to me, ‘…you have been warned…’ while in one the lighthouse starts as a refuge, the other is a murderous place full of foreboding.
Booker gets to the lighthouse in Bioshock Infinite’s opening upon a small boat with a talkative couple who look to be charged with delivering him there safely. They talk much but say little about the situation that concerns Booker DeWitt. I hazard that they’ll be involved again at some point but unlike Dishonored, I believe that will be the last Booker will see of the boat.
Some of the dire straights that Booker seems to have got himself into are alluded to from the scenes within the lighthouse and the plain attachment Booker has to those that have left him with a stern and graphic example of what failure will mean.
Just before the rocket-ride to Columbia there is a sequence just after the bell-ringing that reminded me of the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. To limit spoilers as much as I can I’ll omit exactly what happens in that scene but if you have played through that part I’d be curious to know if you felt the same?
Next up in this Bioshock Infinite game diary – Without.