Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alright, Let's Do This (again)

Sometimes, a video game hits the right chord and turns into a series of games. Each game is so well done that, when another comes along, you feel compelled to buy it based on its predecessors' positive performances. You don't have to question it; and you blindly shell out the money for the next installment.

And, sometimes, you get burned. Diablo III comes to mind. No, it wasn't awful by any means. But it was...disappointing--like having a nice, steaming plate of yummy-looking hot wings placed in front of you only to realize that they are hideous, teriyaki-covered freaks of nature dug up from the darkest, deepest pits of Hell. Or for you, dear reader, something comparable if hot wings aren't your thing.

But sometimes you are rewarded with gem after gem, shining like a beacon of tasty goodness and you enjoy many hours of awesome gameplay and story. You want to finish the game to see what happens but you don't want to finish the game because, then, it would be over.

First there were the System Shocks, and they were fantastic--revolutionary for their time. They had rich plots and unique game mechanics but they were hindered a bit by the PC platforms at the time. But next...next came Bioshock 1 and 2 and, oh man, what a treat! After a long solid slumber, the franchise switched gears but, once again, delivered the rich plot and solid gameplay. Now, I'll admit, Bioshock 2 was pretty much a rehash of the first with a different plot overlayed. And said plot wasn't really all that awesome. But the game is still a mighty fine piece of code. Most games would love to aspire to be as good as Bioshock 2 let alone the original Bioshock.

And, now, we are blessed with Bioshock: Infinite. This game has been on the radar for quite a while and, yes, I know it was released several weeks ago. But I'm just now getting to play it, so bugger off! But, yeah. So, I've only played about three or four hours into it and I gotta say...dayum!

Now, I experienced some flickering graphical glitches in the beginning--nothing showstopping, but possibly epilepsy-inducing. I upgraded my video drivers and they still occurred but, after I moved into a new area, they were gone. I've also noticed some problems with the engine not rendering textures properly--some walls or items either take quite a while to render from blurry, low-resolution textures to high-resolution textures or they don't render up at all. Show stoppers? No. Annoying and unexpected? Yes. So there is the bad technical stuff.

The good technical stuff? This game looks brilliant on three monitors running Eyefinity. Truly eye-popping. The field of view is fantastic given the nature of the game itself. Are the graphics the best I've seen? Certainly not. In fact, Bioshock 1 and 2 may have had better graphics and effects. But video games are not to be judged on the fancy ribbon that envelopes them. There is much more underneath the hood.

And, thus far, Bioshock: Infinite delivers. The plot has me completely confused and bewildered but not in a bad way. Rather, it is constantly feeding me little bits of information--leading me on with a carrot dangling in front of my face. And, with each discovery or plot point, I find myself compelled to know more. I do not doubt I will be rewarded.

So here's hoping that the game just gets better and better. I will try my best to savor every moment as much as possible and stop every now and then to take in the scenery.