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The Hype Train – Bioshock 2

January 25, 2010

With only a few weeks to go and pre-orders set in place, it’s about time I hoped on, choo choo!

Bioshock is a tender subject for me. The various promises of intelligent elemental power use and pretty art decor  was intriguing enough that I got absorbed into the games monumental hype hurricane even though I’d not touched a ‘shock game previously and whilst the majority of the game was a class act, well the first half was at least, its closing chapters were such an embarrassing plummet in quality that it felt like the game falling rapidly down a thirty story flight of stairs and impaling itself on a carpet of electrocuted porcupines.

Spoiler alert

All the locations and revelations after you jam that golf club into Ryan’s face are dull and drab in comparison to the endlessly creative tapestry woven in those opening hours, plot points appear and flop around like suicidal flying fish leaping onto a fisherman’s deck whilst the big event, being transformed into a Big Daddy, was the gaming equivalent of a Big Mac, sounds amazing but a soul crushing disappointment when it arrives.

Spoilers over

It's only art, but I've already filled my pants just looking at it.

So the end of Bioshock left me with a bad taste in my mouth, again just like a Big Mac, so my initial reaction to Bioshock 2 was ‘hmph, that’s nice’, until I found out that Jordan Thomas was to be the game’s creative director.

That may not sound like a hype generating device to the uninitiated but Thomas is a brilliant designer, creator of the half mental institute half orphanage all bloody terrifying ‘Asylum’ level in Thief 3 and also the mastermind of the best section of the first Bioshock, Fort Frolic.

So Thomas knows his Big Daddies from his Splicers, which was enough to get me on board, but he’s also a game design genius and that’s the key point, a genius is in charge of the creative direction of Bioshock 2, worries gone.

And then there are the Big Sisters, mutated splicers and mechanics such as babysitting the kids from the shining, sorry, the Little Sisters. The direction of the game whilst arguably more linear seems focused on delivering Rapture as a more tangible place to the player, taking the role of a big daddy and taking part in Rapture’s eco system rather than in the first game when everything was new, the team at 2K Marin know players will be returning for a second time so rather than give them another amateur role we’re now playing as certified citizens of Rapture. 2K know we’ve earned our citizenship, and we’re going to see an even uglier side of the town.

They were creepy enough when you didn't have to give them piggy backs.

And what about that multiplayer, interesting no? If it wasn’t being born of the Splash Damage lineage I probably wouldn’t give it a second glance but the idea of it being designed by people who actually know how to make a multiplayer game fills me with hope, and improvements on the combat side such as dual wielding a gun and a plasmid coupled with the prospect of drilling my friends faces off as a Big Daddy fills me with glee, it’s been a long time since a multiplayer shooter has come along set in a world with such a vivid sense of creativity and I think it will develop a dedicated cult following with little trouble.

So for me it’s all down to a strong creative director, a brilliant backdrop, and a unique sounding multiplayer, but that’s more than enough to ensure I’m on board this hype train.

With only a few weeks to go and pre-orders set in place, it’s about time I hoped on the hype train, choo choo!

Bioshock is a tender subject for me. The majority of the game was a class act, the first half to be precise, and the various promises of intelligent power use and what not was intriguing enough that I got absorbed into the games monumental hype hurricane even though I’d not touched a ‘shock’ game previously. What ensued was about seven hours of brilliant gaming, followed by an in game plummet down a thirty story flight of stairs.

Spoiler alert

All the locations and revelations after you jam that golf club into Ryan’s face are dull and drab in comparison to the endlessly creative tapestry woven in those opening hours, plot points appear and flop like around like suicidal flying fish leaping onto a fisherman’s deck whilst the big event, being transformed into a Big Daddy, was the gaming equivalent of a Big Mac, sounds amazing but a soul crushing disappointment when it arrives.

Spoilers over

So the end of Bioshock left me with a bad taste in my mouth. Again just like a Big Mac. So my initial reaction to Bioshock two was ‘hmph, that’s nice’ until I found out that Jordan Thomas was to be the game’s creative director.

That may not sound like a hype generating device to the uninitiated but Thomas is a brilliant designer, creator of the half mental institute half orphanage all bloody terrifying ‘Asylum’ level in Thief 3 and also the mastermind of the best section of the first Bioshock, Fort Frolic.

So Thomas knows his Big Daddies from his Splicers, which was enough to get me on board, but he’s also a game design genius and that’s the key point, a genius is in charge of the creative direction of Bioshock 2, worries gone.

And then there are the Big Sisters, mutated splicers and mechanics such as babysitting the kids from the shining, sorry, the Little Sisters. The direction of the game whilst arguably more linear seems focused on delivering Rapture as a more tangible place to the player, taking the role of a big daddy and taking part in Rapture’s eco system rather than in the first game when everything was new, the team at 2K Marin know players will be returning for a second time so rather than give them another amateur role we’re now playing as certified citizens of Rapture. 2K know we’ve earned our citizenship, and we’re going to see an even uglier side of the town.

And what about that multiplayer, interesting no? If it wasn’t being born of the Splash Damage lineage I probably wouldn’t give it a second glance but the idea of it being designed by people who actually know how to make a multiplayer game fills me with hope, and improvements on the combat side such as dual wielding a gun and a plasmid coupled with the prospect of drilling my friends faces off as a Big Daddy fills me with glee, it’s been a long time since a multiplayer shooter has come along set in a world with such a vivid sense of creativity and I think it will develop a dedicated cult following with little trouble.

So for me it’s all down to a strong creative director, a brilliant backdrop, and a unique sounding multiplayer, but that’s more than enough to ensure I’m on board this hype train.

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