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    Entries in irrational games (4)


    Bioshock: Infinite Resurfaces in Latest Trailer

    I will admit, I've been worried about the fate of BioShock: Infinite. It's been months (maybe even a year and change) since we've last heard any good news regarding Irrational Games' latest blockbuster. Losing two, no, four developers being the only headlines the latest BioShock entry has made, things weren't looking very good up until a few days ago. The silence was broken last week when The Ultimate Songbird Edition was announced, a collectors treasure packed with just about everything: a 10" Songbird figure, Vigor bottle replica, lithograph, art book, mini Handyman figure, and an assortment of digital goods. Great! But I need just a little more visual confirmation that BioShock: Infinite is still on track.

    Well, that came just a few days later in a form of the latest trailer, which shows Booker doing marvelous things while Elizabeth offers and requires assistance in bouts. I'm so relieved Irrational continues to chug away at making this game look as incredible as promised (and teased) since day one, even after losing a handful of key developers. Of course, losing said developers could impact the game in ways that are not visible in trailer form, which would probably be the case as always. Hoping all turns out well, and we're treated to a bit of that magic and wonder that we know the BioShock series is capable of, developer hemorrhage or not.

    Pre-order BioShock: Infinite at Amazon (referral link)


    BioShock: Infinite Looks Fucking Stupid

    BioShock: Infinite looks fucking stupid. And I mean that in the best way possible; I just can't think of any other way to put it. After watching a 15 minute clip from Irrational Games' latest, I can see why it received the ungodly amount of praise it did at E3. The game must be seen to be believed. But be forewarned, it is not easy to watch. My body experienced a range of sensations and emotions through the 15 minutes of madness enclosed within.

    Until now, Infinite has been a disassembled puzzle of promise to me. Pieces lay scattered; a handful of screenshots here, a two minute gameplay clip there, and a Ken Levine interview somewhere in between. And yes, it all appeared to look good, however each bit felt so detached from each other, and the bigger picture. How are these cryptically explained gameplay elements going to fit together? Will the story of this Americana-inspired-floating-city-gone-awry capture our imaginations as Andrew Ryan's dystopia did? To be honest, I'm still not sure. I do feel however, after watching a quarter-hour of the game in motion, any doubt I may have had, any anxiety I've harbored, has been violently whipped away on a skyrail and thrown into the burning carcass of a sinking zeppelin.

    Watch in fullscreen, 720p - you'd be doing yourself a disservice otherwise

    Infinite's art style, decidedly that of a cartoon, was one of the things I thought could malign the title in the public eye. In an age where it's hyper-realistic war shooters or bust, could this exaggerated animated style succeed? As soon as we see the emotion in Elizabeth's eyes throughout her interactions with Booker, it's immediately clear that this style is absolutely perfect for Infinite. Sure, it could have been pulled of with photo-realism, but when I saw the fear and sincerity in Elizabeth's eyes as she mimed her own asphyxiation to steel Booker's resolve, I couldn't see this game illustrated any other way.

    BioShock was haunting and beautiful, a water-painting of deep sea hues offset by industrial textures and sheen; the perfect place to breed madness. And breed it did, with the cast multiplying in insanity as the tale unfurled and Rapture unraveled. In contrast, the airborne city of Columbia is bright and colorful, floating amongst the sunlit clouds like a tale of blissful ignorance. If the sample we've seen is anything to draw conclusions on, Columbia will probably make Rapture look as soft as baby thighs. Degenerates abusing innocent bystanders as their lookouts harass onlookers, bodies piled under American flags, screaming madmen whirring along suspended railways - the imagery is disturbingly brilliant.

    To me, one of the most underrated aspects of game design is the attention to audio. This is where I feel many games tend to lack, be it voice acting or ambient sound. It's an art that requires subtle perfection, something many studios are unwilling to offer. Infinite hits it on the head, in the first five minutes it is very clear that Irrational has put a very distinct focus on sound design. I felt chills down my spine as the unseen Songbird howled its song of sad scorn for Elizabeth, and I would call you a liar if you didn't say the very same. The sound of the city's continuing downward spiral includes domestic abuse culminating in spousal murder, brawls spilling onto the street through shattered windows, and lots of gunfire. But in the end, I cannot shake the memory Songbirds woeful cry. A skillfully composed score would only be icing on the cake at this point.

    Don't even get me started on the tears. I have no idea where those Irrational boys plan to take the story and gameplay with the addition of alternate universes, but it can be either an excellent idea, or a complete cop out. I want to side with the former, but I'll refrain from doing so just yet. But knowing that Elizabeth can tear the universe a new one and relocate herself and Booker to the modern day, if only for an instant, could have incredible purpose if utilized correctly. Big emphasis on 'if'.

    The original BioShock, to this day, rates as one of my favorite games of all time. A game that I can recommend to friends and family as a must-play four years after it's release, and will continue to do so for long after, I'm sure. Much as BioShock crept up and absolutely blew me away, BioShock: Infinite looks like it will do the same on a previously unattained level of downright stupidity.


    The Gameplay of Bioshock Infinite

    Today, the good folks at Irrational Games have opened to the public that which was only previously available to the press behind closed doors; Bioshock Infinite gameplay. 

    As much hype as Bioshock Infinite has been receiving since it's announcement, it would be a damn let down to have anything other than primo in-game action in this reveal, and Irrational knows it. So they went and gave us a huge ten minute chunk which looks to be taken right from the early stages of the game, and man, does it look polished. This is definitely a Bioshock game, as the action and use of 'plasmids' picks up right where it all left off in Rapture. The graphics are silky smooth and beautiful in action. The cartoonish art style, which seems to be gaining some popularity recently, spares no details and is beginning to grow on me. I can imagine the game handling very tightly and responding well to user commands, as the first Bioshock did under Irrational's watchful eye.

    I have some concerns with the game that I'll be sure to cover down the line, but right now, gameplay is not one of them. Irrational and 2K Games have definitely served their purpose well today, judging by the good amount of positive press this trailer has gotten. Let the injection of new Bioshock Infinite media continue!


    What Is Icarus? Bioshock Infinite Revealed

    I want to start by saying "Good fucking job" to Irrational Games. Good fucking job, Irrational Games. In this day of hacked accounts, lost information, and leaked info, Irrational has managed to keep a game they've been working on for three years behind closed doors. Impressive. Infinite's viral site,, was well-handled to build the hype to today's reveal. What started as a dot on a black background, slowly became an animated infinity logo, and at 1:45pm Eastern today, became the game's reveal trailer. 

    But enough about closed doors and hype machines. Let's discuss the meat of this thing, Bioshock Infinite. The slickly crafted trailer did it's duty in planting thoughts of the Bioshock series in my mind right from the start. My heart sank a bit as I realized all of Irrational's work was put into just another Bioshock title. Do I really want to go back to Rapture? No, I don't. We're teased with a familiar looking boot and robotic arm; a Big Daddy if I've ever seen one. I wanted something new, why won't you give me something new?! The Large Papa (Ken Levine has confirmed that is not a Big Daddy) flings the trailer's first person viewpoint out of a closed window.. And into a free fall.. In cloud specked blue sky, populated by airships, flying cities, and American flags. Did not see that coming at all. 

    In essence, this is just another installment in the Bioshock series. The dystopian city, fallen from it's once heralded grace, the enhancing of human physiology through (what appear to be) plasmids, monstrous enforcers lethally protecting the city. These are all familiar traits of a game we know too well. However, Irrational feels as if Bioshock Infinite is a creature entirely independent of previous Bioshock games. I guess we won't know until we play it. 

    For now, I'm cautiously optimistic. I like the Bioshock series, even though I was hoping Project Icarus would be a new IP, I'm not disappointed with the direction Irrational has taken things. I don't know if what we've heard of the story and gameplay thus far has done much to distance itself for it's predecessors, but however Bioshock Infinite may turn out, Irrational has done well to lasso us in. No point in tuning out now.

    For a detailed rundown of Irrational Games' reveal event (to which my requests for a formal invitation were ignored) check out Joystiq's preview.