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Bioware and Dragon Age

A couple quick things: Bioware's marketing team is amazing, no questioning that. We can, and need to, however, question Biowares ability to put out good RPGs consistently - Dragon Age: Origins is by far their worst outing, after great games in KoToR and Mass Effect...I'm sorry Bioware but this is the last time i'm buying anything made by you guys, not because you don't have a good track record and could possibly bounce back in the future but you practically lied about everything DA: O is, but you crafted your lies very carefully and fooled a bunch of people - to the point that these same people are actually praising the game today...and how much did you pay critics to give you the thumbs up and five stars?

Bioshock Review. (Score: 9.0)

2K Games, 2K Boston, 2K Australia and Irrational Games put their creative minds together and created a game worthy of a try by any Xbox 360 and PC gamer. Bioshock was always promising, right from first glance, but everyone knows by now that some games can over-hype and underachieve, and I'm glad to say that this game is not one of those games. In other words, it delivers, and its by far the best, most innovative first person shooter to land on the 360; this isn't to say it doesn't come with its irking, albeit minimal, flaws. The game gets you involved almost immediately. After a short cutscene showing the protagonist, Jack, involved in a plane crash somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, you gain control of the character as you swim through the flaming wreckage the plane left behind, and you head towards an oddly misplaced lighthouse. Upon entering the lighthouse you'll get a good feel for the atmosphere the game portrays, as "Somewhere Beyond the Sea" plays in the background and an intimidating, somewhat godly figure of Andrew Ryan, the games antagonist, towers over you holding a sign that reads "No Gods or Kings, Only Man"; and you know that truly no kings nor gods are going to help you as you step into Rapture, the underwater metropolis where something has evidently went terribly wrong. Despite the destructive state Rapture was left in, you can't help but stop for a minute to take in the beautiful world before you. Every step you take will help solve the mysteries of Rapture and its citizens. In case i wasn't clear enough, Bioshock's visuals are, simply put, superb. The game doesn't stint on anything. From weapon models to wall textures to fish scales to water effects to shadowing to lighting to even the most dispensable detail; everything looks sensational, well groomed from head to toe. As if it wasn't enough that everything looks good, a lot of objects in the world are also interactive. You're not only able to rummage through desks, cupboards, fridges, tables and even trash cans but at a later stage in the game you can even use telekenesis to move objects and bodies around at will or use them to directly attack your enemies. Irrational went out of their way to add all the small details. A bonus for us all. Accompanying the game's brilliant looks, is a brilliant story. Rapture is a city built deep beneath the ocean's surface, hidden from the devilish, cruel world above. Hidden from the government's arm, the judge's mallet, the king's staff and the priest's cross. Rapture was a city in which people lived a merciful, happy life, none of which you could possibly achieve anywhere else...yea, right. Its apparent from the start that something has gone awry as the crazed citizens of the city crawl on the rifting walls and chipping windows while the ocean's water seeps in from every corner of the city, destroying...no, drowning it. One man, Andrew Ryan, the genius behind this phenomena, plans on returning his city to its former state and rebuilding his dream of a free world. Ryan was very absorbed in his vision that he blindly resulted in the downfall of the city; he wanted to give the people everything, yet he gave them nothing. Ryan gave the people means to dominate as gods, yet he believed in no gods. He gave the people means to command as kings, yet he believed in no kings. Ryan gave the people Plasmids, a mean to manipulate their genes and have fire, or ice, or thunder, with the snap of a finger. The people abused this right and it drove them into the ground, and with them they took the city. Andrew Ryan was rivaled for power over Rapture by other parties. Frank Fontaine, with money, power and a great following, was on top of Ryan's list because, no matter what Ryan did, he just couldn't "get rid of that pest". There was also Atlas, a mysterious figure who was "once" one of those seeking power through politics. Ryan never had it easy, and it wasn't going to get easier. You, Jack, the protagonist, scour the land of Rapture with the aiding hand of Atlas and uncover the mysteries of this oblivion along the way discovering yourself and why and how you landed yourself in this mess. Bioshock's story is compelling, absorbing, unsettling yet satisfying and it keeps you wanting more. The story is well presented, well scripted and especially well voiced. The voice acting is really well done, so much so that it makes the fictional characters hosting the voices more believable than Barry Bonds admitting he injects himself with "steroids" (read: ADAM). The one thing that I felt needed attention was the fact that some important dialogue can go unnoticed in the heat of gameplay. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing - it could mean the gameplay is very immersive that you can occasionally miss a few story details, or it could mean you might need to bring up the map menu and listen closely as to not miss any important details. On the whole, the story isn't overly confusing, has its great plot twists and pulls you in all the way through from start to finish. Let's forget the story. Forget the graphics. What makes Bioshock unique and what makes it stand out most among competition, is its fantastic gameplay. First person shooters are getting redundant nowadays. There's way too many of them and usually they're the same game with a facelift (gameplay wise). Bioshock changes that; with the introduction of plasmids and interactive environments, combined with great control and enemy A.I, Bioshock delivers. You are given upgrades (plasmids) that you can teach Jack - these come in very handy throughout the game. In order for Jack to learn these upgrades he must obtain ADAM, the source of power in Rapture, and in order to obtain ADAM he must either harvest or rescue Little Sisters scattered throughout Rapture. The Little Sisters are well guarded, never found strolling the streets alone, instead they bring with them some of the most feared creatures in Rapture, the Big Daddies. In order to get to the source of ADAM, Jack must defeat a Big Daddy guarding a Little Sister (as she goes collecting more ADAM from dead bodies in the city). The Big Daddies are some of the tougher creatures you will face in the game. After obtaining enough ADAM you can start purchasing Plasmids and Tonics: Plasmids are used to shock and stun Big Daddies, light Splicers (the former sane citizens of the metropolis) on fire, enrage enemies to turn them against each other and much more; Tonics take a back seat to Plasmids but are just as important, whereas Plasmids do the dirty work, Tonics make sure you can get yourself out of a sticky mess...alive - Tonics give you higher damage, better defense, improved hacking ability to help you successfully hack vending machines, safes, cameras and turrets which in turn has its upsides (i.e. if successfully hacked, turrets will shoot at the enemy instead of you), and so on so forth. Now while Tonics help you prolong your life, they aren't really necessary in ensuring a long life, because thanks to Ryan Industries, Rapture has what is called a vita-chamber. Any time you get yourself in a mess that ends up in your death, you will automatically be revived in the nearest vita-chamber to where you were killed, making the death penalty very subtle, if even a penalty at all. That is the one issue I had with the gameplay, otherwise, its fairly diverse that I'd be surprised if I didn't miss anything in my analysis. (Its important to note that the game doesn't have any form of multiplayer and has three difficulty settings, replay value takes a little hit in this case.) In all honesty, I felt this game would deliver from the get-go. Something about it was appealing and you just knew it was going to be something special. Despite its very minimal presentation issue, its weak revive system and lack of multiplayer, Bioshock pulls you in and hangs on as it tells a great story of fiction. That, combined with its beautiful coating and wonderful gameplay, its only fair that you do yourself some good and make sure you play Bioshock.

Congratulations

Giving credit where it's due, congrats to the Carolina Hurricanes on the Stanley Cup, it's unfortunate that Edmonton came just one game short, but in the end one team wins and one team loses. Both deserved being where they were, and both should be acknowledged with the utmost respect on great runs. The Oilers will have more great runs in the future and hopefully they'll end with a Stanley Cup parade in Edmonton. Being a big Oilers fan, I was less disappointed with them losing last night than I was proud of the effort and commitment this team had throughout the season and playoffs. If you're not a hockey fan, give it a shot next year, it's truley one of the best sports in the world and doesn't get the recognition is deserves - you really missed what'll go down as one of the best Stanley Cup playoffs in NHL history. I will always have faith in my Oilers, wish there was a better way to show my appreciation to the best damn sports team in the world. Any hockey fans here?

I Struck Gold!

Not really, I'm still poor, but the Oilers have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and I'm just hoping there's more magic left. GO OILERS!

Wii Impressed, But They Didn't...

Well, I figured after watching the 3 Conferences and tuning in to other E3 events, I'd fill you guys in with my impressions of what went on and what should've went on instead. First off I made a stop at the Sony Conference (via Gamespot) and was mildley disappointed with the show. This time around people want to be filled in on Sony's next generation console the Playstation 3, but rather Sony bored us with plenty of talk about the Playstation Portable and the Playstation 2 to start the show, I wasn't too impressed with that. Every now and then Sony would throw on some clips of upcoming PS3 games that never really did a good job of amazing me (nor anyone; reaction of the crowd says it all); I mean when it's roughly fifty minutes into the show and the trailer that most impresses consists of Lions, Zebras, and Rhinos (Afrika), something must be wrong. Anyway, Sony did redeem themselves thanks in large part to an innovative product that was presented during the show; this product has been used before but now Sony took it a step up and I'm really excited to get my hands on this in the near future (hopefully). This product is the eye toy; I know it's been done before but this time Sony presented a card game using the eye toy. The eye toy is place on top of a "playing board" special for this operation to take place, and the player uses real cards (like Pokemon, Digimon etc. but made especially for this program) and places them on the board. When the player places his/her card on the board, a 3D version of whatever you placed will show up on your screen, fully animated and very lively; so on the screen you would see the playing board, the card with the monster it summoned floating on top of it, and your hand as you move it in and out of the camera range. What was even more impressive is when another card was placed on the board (another monster appeared) and the monster was issued attacks using your fingers (by pointing, or clicking a certain part of the card); the attacks were fully animated: the example they showed was a yellow duck and it attacked the other monsters using a fire attack and then a water attack as issued. As impressive as the eye toy was, it was (finally) overshadowed by one of the most impressive trailers ever see, MGS4. I'm sure many of you have watched it by now and if you haven't you really should, the teaser trailer shown in the press conference was part of a larger trailer that was released earlier today on Konami's website. The trailer will have you aching to see more and hopefully we will because MGS stole the show again and the fourth installment is bound to be (and with no doubt in my wind it will be..) the best MGS game to date. Now, I know many of you don't like stealth games and what have you, but if you're even slightly into RPGs and love games with great stories, then you owe it to yourself to play MGS games even if you have to grind through the game (use easiest mode), these games are worth every minute of your time. Now, with the Sony Conference out of the way it was time for the highly anticipated Wii. The show started out with a bang and a boom and never let down for one bit, I never felt bored at all even when Reggie was out there spitting numbers at us, Nintendo pulled this one off pretty damn well. The Wii remote was obviously the center of every presentation and Nintendo displayed some games to show off the capabilities of the controller. First on the list was The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. The game will apparently be released as two different versions, one for the Wii and one for the Gamecube. The whole time we thought they were making a bigger, better Zelda....well they were making a bigger, better Zelda, but for the Wii. TP uses the controller to it's full advantage. From sword fighting to shooting arrows at your enemies to throwing your boomerang around, the controller does that so well it aches to just watch. The controller also has built in speakers which will be used for maximum immersion in the game, for example: If you wind up to shoot an arrow at an enemy and release the arrow, you will hear the sound of the arrow travel from your Wii remote to your TV making it seem as if the arrow travelled far from you. Zelda will be released along with the Wii sometime in October or November (can't remember for sure), make sure you pick it up, I know I will be. Another game that was impressive was Red Steel. Red Steel showed off some nice mechanics the Wii remote had to offer; It didn't seem like the controls were fluid at certain times, but I was just watching so I can't really say for sure. Anyways, First Person Shooters have taken a leap to realism with this system. Red Steel showed off a level that had (you) the main character running through and killing everyone in sight (well almost everyone), at one point the player killed a person from a fair distance and the two other people standing around him put up thier hands in surrender; the player motione to them with his gun (the Wii remote) to get down on the floor, which they obeyed without second thought. The game is looking very impressive on a gameplay front, but the graphics not so much. Zelda got away with "poor" graphics for the Wii because it was originally a GC title, but Red Steel looked too close in comparison to Zelda which is kind of odd considering the Wii is a next-gen console competing with the lieks of the PS3 and Xbox 360; so the Wii sacrificed graphics for great gameplay, and it's not necessarily a bad thing considering that the PS3 and 360 haven't done much besides improving graphics. Last but not least I didn't get to watch too much of the Xbox 360 conference but they did show off a Halo 3 trailer which had everyone excited for the future. Although I didn't bother much with the 360 Conference, I did however go online through Xbox Live and got my hands wet with a new downloadable demo for Lost Planet. The demo was fun and hard (I died about 4 times), I never got a chance to finish it but it was very fun while it lasted. Lost Planet has you going up against a horde of Aliens and human like creature from another planet; the game is good at keeping you on your toes and with great visuals, it's a win win situation, but, it is just another shooter for the 360, another shooter with a new setting...we need something new Microsoft. Other than that, I thought the Final Fantasy XIII trailer was impressive and it too got me a little hyped up for Square Enix's futue lineup. Square Enix also displayed another upcoming title, also for the PS3, called Final Fantasy vs. XIII which I thought was kind of odd but the more the merrier. Can't wait to hear more about those two games. Overall, this pre-E3 has been great and it can only get better the next couple days; really excited to hear more Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid. Over and Out!

Pays off?

I guess the best thing to come out of the 3 conferences are the following: Not bad if you ask me.

Wii Want More!

Ok, this isn't another rant on how I don't like the name Wii, but nonetheless, for the record, I also hate the name; whatever. I'll still be buying a Nintendo Wii and I'll be (hopefully) enjoying many of the games Wii has to offer. Like I said though, I'm not going to rant about the system's name, because it's not a big deal in the end. Moving on, I love what Gamespot's done with the addition of Video Blogging to it's subsribers only, and that makes it more worthy having a Gamespot Complete account. I've been a subscriber here at Gamespot since July 10, 2002, and they've always pleased me (and others, I'm sure) by improving the site on a continous basis and I want to thank Gamespot for their work and hope they keep it up; wii always want more (those puns are going to be around forever now). Last but not least, Wil Savage. Congratulations to him on winning the E3 competition and to the other four finalists who I thought all had superb videos. Wii need more Gamespot contests, and ones that Wii Canadian's, or people who live in Canada, can benefit from! Wii Wii? [I'll be trying out that video blogging in time; soon as I get a camera anyway.]

Tagger Leader

So I went tag crazy the first day the feature was announced and then realized what a big waste of time it was at some point during the day, so I decided to tag just the stuff I read from that point on rather than everything. Looks like it paid off with a new emblem (I knew there was an emblem for it at some point, about time I got mine), am I the first one to get this? I'm sure I'm not but I haven't seen it anywhere else; here's the sexy emblem (actually pretty ugly):

A Link to the Past

So I went out the other day and bought myself a Super Nintendo for about $60, and with it I got Super Mario World. I had a Super Nintendo before and had other games lying around for the system; including Donkey Kong Country 2 & 3, Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Allstars, among others. Now on my list of games to get are Final Fantasy I, II, IV, V and VI; Donkey Kong Country; Lion King (surprisingly a good game; I've played it previously); various Mario games and Legend of Zelda: a Link to the Past. The day after I bought the system I remembered, to my dismay, that the Revolution will allow you to download various Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Nintendo 64 titles, and i'm planning on buying a Revolution later on this year. I was a little disappointed and tried returning my system hoping to get a refund, which for obvious reasons wasn't allowed. Anyway, I'm stuck with my newley bought system and am trying to make the most of it. I know I can probably hold off 'til the Revolution is released and just download the games, but it's pretty cool actually collecting them. So now I'm linked to the past via my Super Nintendo and I need help making the most out of it. What great games are there that aren't too Obvious? I forgot to mention I'll be buying Contra too, great game. So, what else do you guys think I should buy for the system? I checked pricing on Final Fantasy I & II and found out it's $65, and $55 respectivley, a little too expensive if you ask me - anyone know a cheaper way to buying these games? how much do they go for on Ebay (or maybe other e-commerce sites)?

Abominable Analysis

Initializing: Apocryphal analysis abuses ambitious arrangement, as an animal abruptly attacks and annihilates. Approaching an article atrociously attains aught; analysis asks acknowledgement, and appropriatley attains admitting. At an age arraying ample aptitude, armies attack aiming appropriately. Translation: False examination harms driven product, like an animal immediatley attacking and killing it's prey (what a metaphor huh!?). Reading a (gamespot) review, with no real reason but to put someone down, results in nothing; analysis requires acknowledgement, and appropriatley deserves it. Explanation: My point here being: If people are going to criticize reviews without an open mind, just don't. Also, if people are going to write reviews without an open mind, just don't. I run accross too many reviews that are lacking in thought and effort it sickens me (so to speak); likewise, I run across many good reviews, well thought out and well written that end up getting too many (do not recommend this review) clicks. Result: I'm sure not many people here care, but there are good writers on Gamespot, and if people are going to put them down by intently judging their good reviews bad, we end up with more idiots and less writers. I hope people actually read a review before giving it bad recommendation (because of the score that certain reviewer gave that certain game). P.S.: Which paragraph you like better, the original or the translated one? I'm sure something in the first one doesn't make sense, but whatever, it sounds better. (heheheh!)