2-for-1 Double Bonus
I’m bundling both my reviews this week – since I’m a little lazy and a good procrastinator. Let’s not waste any more time. I was pretty excited to be reviewing BioShock. I played the game through, start to finish, three times in a row. It was my pick for Game of the Year 2007.
Probably the first thing you’ll notice about BioShock is the in-engine first-person cutscenes, very reminiscent of the Half-Life games. A winning formula, which is reinforced by BioShock’s powerful visuals. Graphically the game didn’t stand out much beyond what we’d already seen. There was a lot of talk about the pretty looking water, however, past looking out over the ocean from the Lighthouse steps, I really didn’t think the water was what was important about BioShock. What was important was Rapture; the city is beautifully realised in a blended art deco/steampunk style. Rapture is filled with banners, posters and neon lights. Empty bottles and old newspapers can be found strewn around the city. Plasmid advertisements and Atlas’ political slogans can be seen almost everywhere you look. It’s this attention to detail that breaths life into Rapture, and consequently what makes much of the game so eerie from the Medical Centre’s bloodstained walls to the abandoned bars of Fort Frolic and the flooded apartments. Apart from looking very nice, BioShock’s soundtrack features some amazing music, including orchestral pieces recorded for the game and licensed tracks from artists such as Billie Holiday and Bing Crosby.
Although BioShock was described by many as a blend of FPS and RPG, it contains very minimal roleplaying elements. The plasmid/tonic system is much more like something from an adventure game. Still, the game offers enough variation in play style, coupled with the “moral” choice of saving or harvesting the Little Sisters, to warrant multiple playthroughs.
At it’s core though, BioShock offers a strong story-driven game. It is based on Ayn Rand‘s masterpiece Atlas Shrugged. The use of the name Atlas and Andrew Ryan (as a sort of anagram of Ayn Rand) are but cosmetic similarities. It is Ryan’s dream for Rapture, and it’s collapse, that are inspired by Rand’s novel and they form the basis of a story that compels us to discover the truth at it’s heart.
I’ve talked long enough already and not nearly covered enough. BioShock is worth
It’s a genuine piece of art; thought provoking and inspired.
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith on the other hand…
It’s a lot better than I was expecting, given Moh0k’s reaction to the game. Once again (like with Soul Calibur), I’m quite the GH fan and I wasn’t expecting very much from an Aerosmith themed spin-off. Now I’m sure Aerosmith are a great band, and I’m sure that there are lots of people out there who really like them a lot, but when I first heard about it I groaned. I like a few of their songs Love in an Elevator, Walk This Way, Dude (Looks Like A Lady) but the later sadly doesn’t make an appearance in the game. So it was with much trepidation that I fired up Guitar Hero: Aerosmith.
The game is actually quite good. I really quite liked most of the non-Aerosmith songs, and even found myself enjoying a few of the Aerosmith songs that I had previously been unfamiliar with. Still, other than an additional 40-odd songs, the game brings nothing new to the franchise. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s completely incompatible with my GH3 content, including all the DLC on my Hard Drive.
Normally we’d shy away from talking about a game’s RRP, but Aerosmith retails for AUD$89.95 for Xbox 360. (it’s probably similarly costed for PS3 and about $10 cheaper on Wii and PS2) Frankly, that’s outrageous – moreso given that the GH3 disc sells for $79.95 for Xbox 360. Aerosmith is worth $10 more than the core GH3 experience? Hardly. It’s worth
1818 MSP (AUD$30)
It’s DLC dressed up as an expansion pack. If you’re an Aerosmith fan then you’ll enjoy it, but for everyone else there’s plenty of great DLC out there and GH4 on the horizon.