Mini Musings IV: Two Plus Two Is... - cerpintaxman Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Mini Musings IV: Two Plus Two Is...

The fourth installment of this blog series.  Could I have chosen a better title?  Yeah, probably, but it was either this (which popped into my mind because of this, from The Simpsons) or some half-assed reference to Led Zeppelin IV.  Thank goodness I chose the former, because otherwise I would've wound up making some terrible blog related pun out of "Stairway to Heaven".

But I'm rambling here.  Been wanting to give my opinion on two games: one is a game it seems almost everyone has played and given thoughts on (and still are) and the other is a stealth game that came out last year.  A whopping "good for you" if you manage to guess each without scrolling down to see what they are, but that might not be possible considering that this isn't the longest of introductions, and you'll probably see a picture of at least one of the games.  I also give my recommendations on something, so without further ado....

LIVING IN COLUMBIA! (As Sung By Me Imitating James Brown)

I originally wanted to post a full blog about my thoughts on BioShock Infinite (with a different title, of course), but I had hard time posting my thoughts at length and felt that even if I did wind up doing that, it would wind up short.  Instead of scrapping it however, I decided it would be a good idea to feature it in a Mini Musing.  Might still run a bit long, but whatever:

What I Liked:

-The Characters: One of my concerns going into BioShock Infinite was how Booker DeWitt (the main character) was going to be.  Though what I'd seen from gameplay videos impressed me, in my experience with more vocal fps heroes, they've been rather dull.  Either that or they're just silent protagonist, a la Gordon Freeman from Half-Life, Jack from the first BioShock, and the Lone Wanderer and the Courier from Fallout 3 and New Vegas.  I'm happy to say that I thoroughly liked Booker as a character.  As a character with a troubled past, he could have easily come off feeling like one of the several from this generation similarly themed.  Only, at least to me, he didn't.  Booker was actually a guy I could tolerate playing as as opposed to getting annoyed with.

Elizabeth, the girl Booker is supposed to get out of Columbia, is also very well done.  She very easily could have been nothing more than the damsel in distress, but like Booker, manages to be a lot more.  I really liked the interaction between her and Booker, and also really liked her development throughout the game.  The fact that she's quite helpful on the gameplay side of things also went far in my book.  Whether it was cash, health, salts, or tears, I loved it that Elizabeth was actively trying to help you during battle, and she often came through when I was in a tight situation.

The rest of the cast, from the Luteces to Comstock, were all pretty good, too.

-The Setting: I've never been one to pick apart or find much meaning in the setting (or quite frankly, any part) of a game.  In the time since BioShock Infinite came out, there's been a number of people (some of which users on here) dissect the political and historical commentary represented by the city of Columbia and its leaders and citizens.  Though I was able to pay attention to some of that, it really didn't matter to me.  Honestly, ever since the reveal trailer for Infinite, I just wanted to explore Columbia.  Starting out seemingly like paradise found and quickly descending to a civil war harboring hell, it doesn't disappoint.  I suppose that's all that matters to me.

-The Story: Don't really want to spoil anything for those of you haven't yet gotten around to playing the game, so I'll try to keep this simple.  Starting out with Booker trying to make his way to Elizabeth, it starts out slow, but builds up well.  Once tears are made a more major plot element is when, I feel, the game's story takes off.  I only became more engrossed as I wound through the game, and couldn't wait to see how it ended.  Though I can see why there might be some that take issue with where the story winds up, I don't think I've ever come across an ending that shut me up like BioShock Infinite's did.  It's certainly worth the discussion I've seen about it.

What I Didn't Like:

-Something's Missing: Whether I'm alone in feeling this way, I don't know, but, I honestly felt there should've been more, at least story and setting wise, in BioShock Infinite.  I won't hesitate to say that the gameplay videos released for the game in the last few years sort of heightened my expectations.  Not saying what's there isn't good, it's just that part of me expected a little more.

-Vigor Traps and Weapons Upgrades: Though they're certainly not the most useless gameplay element I've seen, I never found much use for vigor traps.  Only one I ever recall using that often was the trap for the Possesion vigor.  Otherwise, I fired them all willy-nilly. 

And though they do help, I never felt the weapons upgrades really did much.  Truth be told, I remember the upgrades in the first BioShock feeling like they made more of a difference.  Whether that's because those actually altered the appearance of weapons, thus creating an illusion of more power, I don't know.  Doesn't change the fact that some, if not most of the weapons upgrades, felt useless to me.

-Songbird: Game Informer's Joe Juba perfectly sums up my thoughts on Songbird in this Spoiled video.  Never once did I feel that Songbird's presence was as imposing as it was hyped up to be.

As you can see, aside from certain gameplay elements, I really enjoyed BioShock Infinite.  Looking forward to playing it again. (I knew this section would run longer than intended.)

In The Shadows of Dunwall

It's strange.  I remember when I read the Dishonored issue of Game Informer, I thought Dishonored only sounded interesting, but not interesting enough that I would go out of my way to play it.  Then as I saw more of the game, it gradually demanded more and more of my attention.  Before I knew it, it was one of the games last year I was looking forward to playing the most.  As I mentioned in my last blog, along with a Steam card, I bought Dishonored.  It's funny, I almost bought two other games before I saw Dishonored.  I'm glad I saw the game, because I honestly find it to be one of the best games of this generation.

What I Liked:


-Gameplay: Bar none, the biggest reason I enjoyed Dishonored as much as I did.  From using the powers you attain in the game to the instances where you have no other option than to resort to sword and gun fights, I really, REALLY liked the way the game controlled.  Sword fights especially felt more based on attaining and maintaining a steady flow rather than swinging your weapon all over creation.  Also, traversing Dunwall, whether by conventional means or using your powers was fun.

-The Setting: Grim, plague infested city that it might be, I had a blast in the city of Dunwall.  From the city itself, to the lore you find out about through reading books in the game, it's a pretty damn interesting place.  Would definitely love to see more of it.

What I Didn't Like:

-The Story: It's not terrible, but being nothing more than a revenge story, it's not terribly interesting either.  There are strong points there, but not many.  I got the good ending though, so I do like how it wrapped up.

-Corvo:  Not that I didn't like playing as Corvo, but I feel some personality would've gone a long way in getting me to care about the character's plight.  I suppose I shouldn't have played this immediately after BioShock Infinite?

Though I do have my issues with the narrative side of the game, the gameplay and setting do well to make up for them.  To anybody that hasn't played the game, I highly recommend you give it a shot.  Speaking of recommendations....

Cerpintaxman Recommends An Anime I: Tsuritama

Even though I've watched and read some anime and manga, I still consider myself relatively new to them both.  That, combined with the impression that not many people on here have a very high opinion of the two probably should've scared me away from doing this section.  But hey, all the Mini Musings thus far have had three sections and I'm not about to change that.  Besides, I have seen some people who like anime and manga on here.

Getting on with it already, recently my brother and I decided to check out an anime called Tsuritama.  It's about a high school student named Yuki, who due to living with his grandmother, whose line of work requires frequent relocation, has never really gotten a chance to settle down and make friends, and even less a chance to develop the social skills necessary to do so.  He often gets very nervous, which leads to him making a humorously demonic face that tends to scare people away.  All the while, a boy named Haru, claiming to be an alien, decides to move in to Yuki and his grandmother's place, which for some odd reason Yuki's grandmother allows (all of this unknown to Yuki at the time).  Eventually, Yuki and Haru meet, and Haru wants Yuki to learn how to fish.  They also meet a fellow high schooler named Natsuki who is a really good fisher, and Akira, an agent of a mysterious organization that is watching Haru, who also has pet duck named Tapioca.

Okay, now I know that plot summary sounds cliched, awkward, and strange.  But I'll be honest: it's surprisingly good.  Though the main characters aren't the most original you'll find, throughout the series they develop well.  The artwork is pretty good and the music (some of which is on my profile page), provided by the Kuricorder Quartet (who did this little cover), perfectly matches the mood of the show.  I never thought I'd enjoy a series that's pretty much about fishing and making friends, but amazingly it works, thanks plenty to the feel good nature of the show.  Like I said, some may find it somewhat cliche, some might find the humor forced, but if you have no problem with things like that and just want to have a good time watching something, you could do worse than Tsuritama.  I know I enjoyed it.

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Well, hope you enjoyed my impressions of Bioshock Infinite and Dishonored.  And if you decide to watch Tsuritama, I hope you have as much fun watching it as I did.

Take care and thanks for reading!

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