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David Smedberg

Bioshock Infinite

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I am torn because I do not have much free time right now to spend playing video games, but I really want to experience this one. It looks really fascinating, and I love when games tackle themes that are difficult to discuss (like racism and the dark side of American history). Then again, PC Gamer's review indicates that the plot is an unholy mess:

http://www.pcgamer.c...nfinite-review/

When I finished BioShock Infinite – don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything – I was dumbfounded. I wanted to tell someone what I thought, but for a moment I had absolutely no idea. I’d experienced a kind of excited panic, then total delight, then momentary confusion, and then a rush of extraordinary sights, powerful scenes and sudden twists that left me struggling to keep up.

It’s a spectacular ending. It’s just a shame it doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Infinite is wonderful. Every single person who can play it, should play it. It’s a fascinating and gruesomely fun adventure in a genuinely unique, magnificent place. But the plot really does jump the shark. It jumps a lot of sharks. It jumps BioShark Infinisharks. That’s not uncommon in cinematic first-person shooters, but I mention it now because the game’s mysteries are such a big part of its appeal.

Of note to Arts and Faith readers in particular: There is an interesting interview at Gamespot with Ken Levine, the game's creative director, where he discusses the religious aspects of the game. Levine says he isn't religious himself, and the religion portrayed in the game apparently takes significant criticism. But he says one of the artists working on the game threatened to resign when he saw a scene that he thought crossed the line into offensiveness, and that the game was actually re-written to take that artist's concerns into account--which I thought was good! since they could have said, "Good riddance, we are pushing our artistic vision here."

The interview is in video form, the discussion of religion begins at about the 5-minute mark here:

http://www.gamespot....finite-6404521/

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I'm interested in playing it...but my PS3 has been dead for a long time now. I went through two used ones in two years. Added to that, the current one is holding my copy of Portal 2 prisoner.

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I'm not a huge FPS player, so I'll be waiting for a sale to pick this one up. Not quite sure what to think of the heavy religious elements. Glad a game is trying to pursue the subject more directly, but I've never been crazy with how Levine explores themes in his games and I'm afraid he might go for shock-value over substance.

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I'm not a huge FPS player, so I'll be waiting for a sale to pick this one up. Not quite sure what to think of the heavy religious elements. Glad a game is trying to pursue the subject more directly, but I've never been crazy with how Levine explores themes in his games and I'm afraid he might go for shock-value over substance.

Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock 2 are my two favorite games of all time, and I've always thought that Levine did a nice job with the substance there.

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I much prefer Thief II to Thief. While I like the mood, I didn't find the story all that compelling in the first game. Both games are great, though.

I haven't gotten to System Shock 2 yet. It finally got a digital rerelase at GOG, but I have so many games from them already I haven't even touched yet, I'm waiting to pick up that one.

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It finally got a digital rerelase at GOG, but I have so many games from them already I haven't even touched yet, I'm waiting to pick up that one.

I am in the same boat w/r/t GOG... and Steam sale games as well. I keep bookmarking games I want to buy but shouldn't because I haven't even finished "Beneath a Steel Sky" and "The Cave" yet.

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Beneath a Steel Sky is probably my favorite adventure game. You should get on that. I'm even worse. I have so many games I've bought and someone gave me the new XCOM for free a couple of days ago and I've just been playing that instead.

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Beneath a Steel Sky is probably my favorite adventure game. You should get on that. I'm even worse. I have so many games I've bought and someone gave me the new XCOM for free a couple of days ago and I've just been playing that instead.

System Shock 2 got to me in a profound way. It wears most of its flaws on its sleeve: the graphics were significantly dated on its release in 1999, and it hasn't aged well; both the RPG and FPS elements work well on their own, but mesh in a pretty clunky way; the textures tend to blur together by the end of the game; and if you hadn't played the original System Shock, some of the game's references will be lost on you. But it's the first game I played that thrust me into the world and the narrative, and the game did it in a way that still makes it (to me) more captivating than BioShock or any other of Levine's other games. The game relies heavily on audio diaries your character finds throughout the abandoned spaceship the Van Braun, and they build this complex and ultimately heartbreaking narrative. There's one key moment (which 15 years has made pretty public knowledge, I guess) that just hit me the first time I played through the game.

I liked the first BioShock (the only one I've played), but some of the best moments felt like rehashes of better stuff from SS2. I guess many modern gamers will never investigate the System Shock series, solely because, well, they're almost 15 years old. I tend to revisit it every year or two, though. It still holds up.

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Of note to Arts and Faith readers in particular: There is an interesting interview at Gamespot with Ken Levine, the game's creative director, where he discusses the religious aspects of the game. Levine says he isn't religious himself, and the religion portrayed in the game apparently takes significant criticism. But he says one of the artists working on the game threatened to resign when he saw a scene that he thought crossed the line into offensiveness, and that the game was actually re-written to take that artist's concerns into account--which I thought was good! since they could have said, "Good riddance, we are pushing our artistic vision here."

I wonder what scene almost caused the artist to resign, because the stuff that's in the game already goes pretty far (the ending, in particular).

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