Late to the Party #5 – Bioshock 2

During the Spooktober of last year, I played through the first Bioshock game on Twitch. I loved it. I loved the universe, the soundtrack, the combat and the way the whole world is fleshed out. You can read about all of that in my post on it from November 28th. Alas, I recently got into the second game on Stream as well and we managed to play through it just a little over a week ago. Alas, it’s time for another LttP post!

Note: There may be minor to small spoilers for the game. I didn’t talk about certain things to not spoil them or ruin the effect on you… but I guess you wouldn’t read this if you didn’t know already that there could be spoilers. In any case, you’ve been warned about potential spoilers. Enjoy the post!

First things first, I’d like to say that the Bioshock games are somewhat old already. Alas, I played the Remastered version of the second game as it’s just a bit more pleasing on the eyes. There are also fewer bugs in it and the sound doesn’t have as many hiccups as the original version, which is great. I guess you could argue that it’s not the same as playing the actual Bioshock 2 game but honestly, I don’t see the point in differentiating between the two games. The Remastered version did perform better on my newer PC, alas I just played that. 

While we were playing as some sort of agent that infiltrated Rapture in the first game, the second game lets us play as one of the most iconic denizens of Rapture, the Big Daddy. We explore through the decrepit and beautiful fallen city, chasing an unseen foe named Lamb, in search for answers. Our little sister was taken away from us as we were asked if we would kindly shoot ourselves. Somehow, though, we survived and got revived in a vita chamber in Rapture, which is where our story begins.

From the getgo, I was in awe. I love Rapture and the Bioshock universe but in this game… it’s just more rotten and devastated. The sunken city is incredibly pretty, especially when we get to explore the underwater world in our Big Daddy suit. I loved the new perspective on things as we hear the ground trembling as we stomp through the areas. While we’re somewhat slow, the game equipped us with a powerful drill as well as a bunch of different weapons and powers to add to our arsenal. 

Just like in the first game, you’re able to sling spells, so-called “Plasmids” at our foes and opponents, all in order to survive. If that’s not your style, you still have the option of using guns or melee attacks. What surprised me was that while I wasn’t unsatisfied with combat in the first game, I really enjoyed the changes to combat in the second game. For instance, we’re able to use plasmids and weapons at the same time, resulting in some cool interactions. Our drill is powerful but requires fuel, which adds a new type of ammunition to the game. If you’re out of it, you won’t be able to use your drill’s charge attack but you can still wack enemies rather well, smashing their faces and breaking their spirits. Apart from that, the camera that you use to find out about enemy weaknesses now doesn’t require ammunition anymore.

On top of that, you now have a hacking tool to remote-hack turrets, cameras and doors, which is lovely. Even the hacking tool, however, can be used as a weapon to place down miniature turrets that deal a good amount of damage.

Hacking in the first game was kind of janky in a way. Often, you’d rely on luck rather than skill as you were pressured by the time running out and as you needed to guide water through a circuit board, which didn’t typically make sense. The mini-game was fun but kind of unlogical in a way. Meanwhile, in this game, you’re able to hack enemies while in combat and you actually have to prove your skill as you hit certain areas in a smaller sized mini-game. It obviously isn’t the best solution but it is one that exists and that doesn’t utilize water, which is a good thing. 

Overall, the second game offers a lot of quality of life changes that improve combat and hacking. The soundtrack is still amazing. The game looks stunning.

But the issue with Bioshock 2 is that you don’t really have an enemy of sorts for most of the game. You hear about Lamb here and there but you never really know who that’s supposed to be. In the same manner, you’ve got Sinclair who just stops by and suddenly starts to help you but I couldn’t just get attached to him as a help, especially as our helper in the first game ended up betraying us. By the end of the game, I felt a bit let down as Sinclair didn’t betray us at all… that’s a shame? I guess? Or not? I don’t know.

The world-building is well-done and the game feels immersive. Characters have an actual backstory and their own motivations and ideals but in the end, the story overall feels somewhat lacking in a way especially as you go through the first few areas with little to no clue about who you are, who Lamb is and what your goal is. You need to free your little sister but that’s about it, I guess? Why do you go that far and what makes you special from other Big Daddies? 

Another nice addition is that, after defeating Big Daddies, you get to adopt (or harvest) their Little Sisters. You then get to harvest bodies for Adam while defending your Little Sister in order to attain more of that scarce resource that you need for your upgrades. Lovely! 

Just like in the first game, you have a good and a bad ending. Harvesting the little sisters ends up giving you the bad ending while adopting and rescuing them gives you a good ending. On top of that, you have these scenarios in the game where you can kill the leaders of the different areas or you spare them. Each of these decisions also influences your ending a little bit. In one of the early areas, I had the option of killing an unarmed black woman. She put us through hell but I decided to walk away. She then realised that I wasn’t some sort of baby-snatcher and monster but rather more than that: A human being.

Alas, she provided us with some support and she got to live. I would have liked it if we would have heard more of her later on… but in the end, that didn’t happen. No idea what happened to her. 

So, the story feels a bit weaker but in the final hours, it got rather emotional and nearly brought me to tears. The additions and improvements to the game felt great. The new spells and mechanics are interesting. The story, while at first somewhat weaker, made me feel… things. On top of that, we finally were able to see through the eyes of a Big Daddy (and more, wink wink). And all in all, I really enjoyed this game. I hope that I get to play Bioshock Infinite soon. I’d also like to play the Bioshock 2 DLC “Minerva’s Den” eventually… but that will have to wait until it goes on sale. 

For now, this just means that there is another game that I played through (in a time of nearly 10 hours with 27/53 achievements completed) and I really enjoyed it. The backlog ended up shrinking a little and hopefully, I get to have more fun with other titles in the future again.

Nice.

What about you? Did you play Bioshock 2 and if so, did you enjoy it? Let me know! Also, are there any other titles that you’d like to see featured here that I may not have played yet? I’d love to get into the Fallout Games eventually and maybe write something about Borderlands 3 (as I still haven’t played that game in the franchise) or about NieR Replicant which is coming out soon. But that will have to wait until I get to it and until I have a bit more time. 

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Indietail – The Swindle

Being a student, I wasn’t able to fund my new PC until I found this job here. It seemed rather easy: Scout for flaws in the security systems, watch out for the guards, break in, take everything valuable and leave without getting noticed! 

Sadly, I’m not Kaito Kid or Lupin III and, hence, not a good thief.

Therefore, my new PC has still to wait but at least you get a review on The Swindle, a steampunk cybercrime rogue-lite about breaking into buildings, hacking their systems, stealing all their cash, and quickly running away again before the police show up. 

Developer: Size Five Games
Publisher: Size Five Games
Genres: Stealth, Jump 'n Run, 2D, Indie, Rogue-lite, Action, Platformer
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC, PSV, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, WiiU
Copy was purchased.

> London, 1849_

> In 100 days, Scotland Yard will activate their breakthrough Artificial Intelligence technology,
> codenamed “The Devil’s Basilisk”_

> Its surveillance capabilities will be total. If the project is completed,
> your career as a master burglar will be untenable_

> Steal it before that can happen_

So, off we go onto some heists into the Slums! The clock is ticking before the Devil’s Basilisk is ready for Launch!

100 days seems like a long time but it only resembles 100 runs, no matter if we fail or if we’re successful. 100 runs to earn money to purchase new upgrades, skills and tools but also 100 runs to increase our affinity to unlock new areas and eventually be able to hack into Scotland Yard itself and win the game.

We’re heading into procedurally-generated houses and mansions in a few different areas, each more packed with security and possible loot than the other!

At first, we only have the Slums available – they offer low rewards at relatively low risk. In the beginning, we only have our jump-n-run-abilities available to us and have to try to be sneaky to get into those mansions. There are security guards, walking their routes, but none are equipped with microphones or dangerous guns and they all usually only pack one hit. More often than not, though, I got caught off-guard by some robot or was spotted due to my greed and stupidity. You are your biggest enemy, it seems. 

After every run, you get to either go back to your airship and upgrade your characters or just go for another heist.

Getting the level 1 hacking skill is of utmost importance, however, as it quadruples your profits whenever you hack a PC. Once you get that skill, you should try to unlock bombs, as the procedural generation sometimes leaves you with unaccessible rooms and dead-ends. There’re also times where the building itself has no visible opening, resulting in frustrating runs with no earnings at all, although that’s happening rather seldom. 

And then, eventually, you’ll be able to go into the Misc-Tree and buy your first upgrade to unlock new areas. Now there’s locked doors, mines, enemies that pack multiple hits, and overall it became a lot harder but your profits are doubled as well, resulting in faster upgrades and, in my case, in bigger greed. 

Yeah, the greed. The most frustrating part of every game, I’d say. When your teammates throw a won game as they wanted to earn some extra kills on their way, or when you just go for the last few hits on the raid boss and get killed thanks to your stupidity (or rather… mine… I should know better, you probably do). 

Greed’s the reason why the doom-day-counter was ticking faster for me than for everyone else (probably). 

Sometimes I died because of me forgetting about fall damage… Sometimes I died because of landmines that I failed to hack… Sometimes I died because of me greeding for another computer-hack instead of just bailing with 3-6k pounds. 

And before I even reached the fifth stage, I already reached Day 0: Gameover. 

I had to start anew from Day 100 on, losing all of my progress and upgrades. But while a few heists were frustrating, the overall game wasn’t. It’s highly challenging, seeing new types of enemies and mechanics is interesting. There is a degree of strategy involved in the selection of upgrades, tools and skills. I liked the game and kept playing for a few more heists – until I stopped due to having to get ready for the Halloween Party I wanted to go to. 

The colour-palette and music are interesting, and whenever your character gets caught, you respawn as a new character with a new look and a new name, both randomly generated! There’s also the world which is looking cool – but then again my view might be clouded due to my love for Steampunk games! 

The presentation is topnotch in my opinion and while the learning curve is rather steep in the beginning, I really wanna become a master thief like Lupin III or Kaito Kid, resulting in me enjoying the game in itself and its challenging aspects. 

But let’s get to some flaws, at last, before rounding up this review: 

There is a certain problem with the generation of the levels that I found rather bothersome, even though I only encountered it once in about 230 heists… being locked out of the mansion. There are cases where the mansion you’re scouting has been generated in a certain way where it doesn’t let you in through any doors, mainly for the sole reason that there are no walls. You either have to bomb your way in or you just leave and start another Heist, which is bothersome for the sole reason of you losing one day.

There’s also the fact that explosions should result in big sounds that the guards should notice – but they usually don’t notice you, unless they are equipped with a microphone – and even then, they hardly notice. I would like it if they A.I. would pick up on stuff like this but the game is already hard enough as it is, so I shouldn’t complain about that stuff! 

Apart from that, I didn’t encounter any problems or flaws in the game design. And while it surely is annoying when you lose a day or two because of bad level-generation, the game takes care of that by giving you the option of hacking Scotland Yard directly, for a price, of course, to give you a few more days until the Devil’s Basilisk is finished. 

Conclusion-time!

I enjoyed my time with The Swindle and, therefore, really recommend this game. I love the aesthetics, the gameplay and the overall idea of heists and the doom-clock-timer! I hope you enjoy it as well.

Anyways, cheers!

I’m taking part in this year’s #IntPiPoMo. If you’d like to participate or get to know the other participants, feel free to check this post out!

Note: I changed the date of this review to November 3rd as it bothered me that I accidentally posted two reviews on the same day. It’s a bit of an OCD-thing, so I can’t really help it. I’m sorry for that post-edit. Also, I put this little IntPiPoMo-section down at the bottom of this review after having already posted it, as I signed up for it after the day I posted it. Doesn’t make too much of a difference, though.

And another note: I did not perform any crimes IRL to fund my new PC parts. That was just a small introduction for the setting, similar to a small exposition. Please don’t call the cops. Thank you.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.