But I had to start it somewhere,
So it started there.
Hello, and welcome to my new blog, where I write about video games for some reason, and you read what I wrote for some other reason.
The Steam Summer Sale, AKA the wallet holocaust, just ended, and I found myself with 12 new games. I played a few of them right after I got them, and others I haven't even installed yet. Most recently I have been engrossing myself in Bioshock Infinite.
If you know me at all before reading this, you know that I'm studying Japanese, and that I nearly unconditionally try to set the language of everything I own to Japanese. I was overjoyed to learn that not only does the game have Japanese text, there is a full Japanese dub to go with it. I started playing the game that way, but I realized that I just wasn't understanding enough to get a grip on the story.
Throughout the course of the game, you come across several audio logs called "Voxophones." These expand on the story in a way such that players who are interested can seek them out to their hearts content, while players who just want to shoot stuff can forget about the exploration and just follow the main storyline. I am without a doubt one of the former types.
While this changes on a case-by-case basis, I like to really immerse myself in the story when I play a game. Unfortunately, these Voxophones lack subtitles, which are often a large part of how I am able to understand Japanese voices. Faced with this slightly annoying first-world problem, I found my solution here. I took a common solution to the reverse problem and applied it to my own.
I am now playing the game with the Japanese dub, but with all the text in English. This way, I can Listen to the Voxophones, and if I don't understand them, I can press "O" and quickly read the transcription in English, and get on with my gaming. The game is no longer a purely Japanese experience this way, but it's a good way to have my cake and eat it too, if you will. Or perhaps you won't. Actually, please don't; it is my cake, after all.
Where Was I? Oh Yeah, the Game.
Now those of you who don't care about my scholarly endeavors (all of you) are probably wondering if I'm ever going to talk about the damn game itself right about now. Good news! I am going to do just that, although I've only just dipped my feet into this game, so there might not be much to say just yet.
So far, I'm very impressed by this game. On both the gameplay and the art/style fronts, it is a real winner. I am especially impressed by the way it keeps a similar tone to its predecessors, while not flat-out copying the success of the original Bioshock.
I have never played Bioshock 2, and I'm honestly not too interested, but I couldn't help but get excited approaching the mysterious lighthouse-like island, climbing the spiral staircase, and getting in the elevator that sent me to a mysterious city with its own laws. It looks and feels like everything a good sequel should be right from the beginning.
Bioshock never really gives the player a proper introduction to its city. Sure, there's the flyby in the submarine, where Andrew Ryan talks about the City of Rapture like it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, but as soon as you arrive, there are splicers trying to loot your soon-to-be corpse. In Bioshock Infinite, you get to see the city of Columbia, which was doing just fine until Booker shows up. I don't know how it's going to end, but I'm sure it will leave me wondering about whether the place would have been better off living in its twisted, ignorant set of ideals.
|For the first time, you realize that these people|
So far, I'm not a fan of these gameplay differences. I like lots of customization, and the choices in this game seem no less superficial than the decision of which armor ability to use in Halo, or whether to go with the raccoon suit or the fireball in a Mario title.
As an RPG, Bioshock Infinite isn't really doing it for me, but as a solid narrative-driven shooter, it succeeds. It remains to be seen whether the gameplay will deepen enough for me to hold it in as high regard as I do the original.