Apr 23 2010

BioShock 2: Art Deco Zombie Atlantis

The Sisters from Bioshock 2

In April of 2008, I bought BioShock for PC while out and about on a week-long training trip for work. I needed something to do with my evenings in my hotel room because the Internet connection was AWFUL and playing WoW was limited to Fishing because the latency was untenable. BioShock was my entertainment for a few days. The game itself is very fast, having ~10 hours of play in it. But those 10 hours are creeeeepy. It is a very immersive game (and submersive, considering the underwater setting of Rapture (see title of post)). I only have fond memories of the awesome of the game and my single lamentation was it was too short.

I received the sequel for my birthday and haven’t taken the time to play it until last night. I got the game installed, signed in to my Windows Live ID (yay achievements!) and got going. BioShock 2 is just as beautiful as its predecessor and 2K Games has capitalized mightily on the advances in computer gaming technology to make it MORE beautiful. Both games are very sensitive to environment interaction. The prime example being detritus moves when your character bumps into it. It’s such a tiny detail, but it MATTERS.

What they’ve managed to do with water is also beyond amazing. My fiance was watching over my shoulder as he waited for his StarCraft II beta to get its shit together and install and remarked in awe at the effects of my character walking under some dripping water. You are wearing a diving helmet and your vision is obscured by the water momentarily and then there are little droplets on the view area that dry slowly. He was simply awestruck at that detail. I agree.

As I started playing, I kept trying to remember some of the details of the first game. Names just utterly failed to recall. Helpfully, there are bits and pieces EVERYWHERE in the first 10 minutes of the game to remind you of Dr. Tennenbaum, Andrew Ryan, Atlas, and Frank Fontaine. Trey was trying to get me to give him a little back story on the first game. I would start to tell him some part of the story and just trail off not completing the sentence as I was sucked into the game. I bet it was super frustrating. But I couldn’t remember anyone’s name and when the name came back in my memory it was because I was playing the pretty, creepy game!

The other thing that Trey never got to see when I played the first game (due to a completely different computing setup at the apartment) were some of the odder, creepier, weirder things that happen. In one point, there’s a flash of a little girl pleading you to come and find her and protect her. He looked at the screen, looked at me, and said, “What the hell was that?” I responded, blithely, “Oh, a hallucination.” “Really?!” “Yep.” “Holy crap!” It didn’t phase me. It is simply a part of the games.

On the nights when I sign into WoW and don’t have any idea what to do while there, Rapture is waiting.

Waiting and watching.

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