September 4th, 2007

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Bioshock & Red Rings

Bioshock: An Incomplete Review
It's very good. It's by no means worthy of the hype - I think I might be more impressed if I hadn't played Psi-Ops years ago, which had a very similar mix of telekinesis & shooting people in the face. The idea of Rapture (an underwater city built in the 50s by an Objectivist madman, filled with genetic weirdness and monsters) is brilliant; the period design and the background music is lovely, and some of the set-pieces are excellent - but it's just another FPS.

It feels like it should be more. There have been at least two moments in the game where I've been absolutely won over by the storyCollapse )

The trouble is, the actual FPS play itself feels very conventional. Yes, throwing trash cans and corpses around with telekinesis is fun, but having to conserve health and ammo feels very staid. I'm spoiled by Halo/GoW's regenerating shield - running back through five rooms to pick up a crate of crisps is not fun, but it's often necessary. I'm getting very tired of wandering through rooms filled with nothing but booze and wrecked fridges and the same three types of Splicer.

Red Ring of Death
The Red Ring of Death is the 360's way of saying 'er, something's drastically wrong here'. In most cases, it's pretty terminal - once you get the Red Ring, the only thing to do is send the console off to Microsoft for a replacement. My console keeps crashing and red-ringing, but so far only when playing Bioshock. The running theory is that the disc is scratched (but it doesn't look scratched) and the Red Ring is being triggered when the drive can't read it. I've played hours of Gears of War with no crashes, but I can't get more than two minutes of Bioshock now. Badness.

Next on the xbox agenda - Halo 3 and Mass Effect.
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Traveller/Firely, Episode 1

I'm not sure if you can call it a playtest game, since the dice were only rolled in anger three times (one Piloting roll to take off when under fire, one gunshot, one punch), but it went very well. The session centred around fuel, and a lack thereof, and included lots of heists, arguments, backstabbing, and at least two "do you feel lucky, punk" moment. (Well, "do you think that I'm bluffing when I threaten to blow up this fuel tanker/ram my ship into your fuel tanker".)