Thanks to 2K and Digital Extremes recent rebuilding of Bioshock 2's multiplayer, I've got the rare experience of playing an old favorite of mine again. Not only that, but I got to finally see why a multiplayer like GoldenEye 64 was so great. It was an enlightening and fantastic experience, and reminded me of why I am so fervently in favor of the multiplayer component, despite the bugs, haters, and glitches it has endured.

These are images from a previous match, not the private one.

I'd be lying if I said this was my first time with Bioshock 2's multiplayer. I originally held the high rank of 49 in the Games for Windows Live version, and I still sometimes would pop back on every now and then. Usually the matchmaking would send me to France (not sure why), but it didn't matter. Most players spoke English, and the game had a decent community. However, with the end of GFWL, the multiplayer and the singleplayer DLC Minerva's Den were held in a perilous position. Would support go on, or would the game die off with it's best singleplayer content held out of arms reach without piracy getting involved?

Well, thankfully, 2K called up the devs behind the multiplayer, and had them bring Bioshock 2 over to Steam. Now we can play it again, even if we still get lag from the Peer to Peer server host selection system (sometimes even if it works on consoles, it might not actually work on PC). Hopefully further integration of Steamworks will cut down on these issues, but even if they don't, there's usually a good game to be found. The addition of the ability to search for players in ANY mode is a huge boon to the community, as we usually were divided by what game mode we played. You'd have to organize a move by the players in one room to get a team of players in another. Now, you just go where the popular trend is. Modes like Capture the Sister, Adam Grab, and Survival of the Fittest are getting played for the first time in ages.

These are images from a previous match, not the private one.

Still, you're probably wondering how this all ties into GoldenEye 64. Really... I just never understood the whole idea, until tonight as I write this. I thought just four people in a free for all or two on two was insane, that it couldn't really work. That you'd need at least four on four like in Dead Space 2 to keep things moving at a good pace. One private match with an old friend and two new ones proved me wrong.

You see, the match we'd been in was lagging to hell with the host clearly being the only non-lagging player (he had fifteen kills while most of us were teleporting without even trying to move). I suggested I could host a private match, and we all agreed. A few friend requests later, and we were having a ball in Survival the Fittest and Adam Grab. For over a half-an hour, we got to play Bioshock 2 the way it was intended, with lag-less gameplay and a constantly shifting lead between the players.

We'd gang up on the lead player if they were a Big Daddy or close to winning. I once got taken out while playing a Big Daddy and then got to laugh my head off as my opponents turned on each other in what honestly looked like a Three Stooges routine, all of them within an inch of one another before going back to killing. Another time we all ran chasing the lead player in Adam Grab around the map, trying to not waste our bullets damaging our temporary allies. And best of all, it was done in fun. You could make a jab and not get called a swear word. It was a mutual kind of fun that so few public multiplayer games get.

I understand the value in public multiplayer -- I wouldn't be such a frequent player if I didn't -- but you know what? Hanging out with just three other people, guns wild in an awesome multiplayer, certainly is a lot better than playing on my PS3 where the only person who's got a mic besides me just screams Spanish. It takes me back to my thoughts about Resident Evil 6's ability to mark your campaign for what you are aiming to do in the game. We could use more matchmaking systems like that in games, ways to help make this sort of thing happen. It'll never compare to doing it yourself with friends, but it's something definitely we could learn from.

Best of all though, it's what keeps games like these alive, not through DLC or drawn out progression systems, but through just a good experience. And that is fantastic. If you want to join in on PC, feel free to look me up on Steam. The more the merrier.

I will kindly
Paradigm the Fallen


Bonus: My -Brief- Review of Iron Brigade
Because Ed wanted a version with pictures

It's kind of interesting for a few brief moments, but then it's boring for the rest. It feed drips the content so slowly and holds back almost any sense of intensity that actual losses and near losses come more from your lapsed attention span, not your failure to plan ahead. It suffers from similar issues I've seen in Sanctum, where they compensate for ridiculously high turret prices by including a playable character that can shoot. Except here, you technically are a turret too, but the lack of deft control over your character's tank makes it harder to properly fight. It's a bit like Baby's First Mech Game and Baby's First Tower Defense. The story is often at times more annoying than it is funny or enjoyable, although the voice acting is well executed. Lines are often repeated mid-battle too frequently (I get it, shotguns require being used at close range, SHUT UP!). The graphics are overall nice-ish quality but there are obvious places where Double Fine cut corners. What really does the game in though is the lack of VARIETY. As far as I got in before I was too bored to carry on was a boss fight that was totally awesome and used the mechanics to interesting new avenues. It was an offensive instead of defensive tower defense section. So of course, after that, it just went back to several lanes that will every now and then spew out some units. The game heavily telegraphs each class's role and weakness, leaving little to experimentation. Overall, it's a 6.5/10. It functions, it works, and you might have fun with it, but my gosh do you have to be really invested in this genre to give a crap.

We choose to make impractical service mechs! Not because they are easy or useful, but because we need to make our already injured service men go back out into the field! Why? Because war is awesome, shut up Gandhi!

What? The game's over already? Okay then... this fanart?

It's not a knock off of the TF2 universe it's not a knock off of the-

SERIOUSLY? Is this Saxton Hale's grandfather or something?


Now see, if they'd moved to -Warzone- in Killzone 3, you'd be a lot better off. And in a better game to boot.

It's a bad sign if a game is offering to pay you just to replay a level.

Yeah... not gonna happen any time soon.

Thank you? And my name isn't Frank?

My name is not -- this is why we don't Skype group video call! I can never tell who you're talking to!