05 August, 2016

Keepalive: Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, Mad Max, Earth Defense Force 4.1 The Shadow of New Despair

written by Blain Newport on Friday, 5 August 2016

I realized I should be putting more pictures with my posts.  They're good for context.

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea (4 of 5)

Bioshock is art deco and dead bodies.   Like the System Shock games it's descended from, Bioshock is about misuse of technology.  System Shock is more about our systems destroying us where Bioshock is about us using technology to control each other.  There's also a bunch of homicidal maniacs and weapons thrown in to make it a video game.

The Burial at Sea DLC for Bioshock Infinite is much better storytelling than the main game because it doesn't have to pad itself out to justify a $60 price tag, (see also the Minerva's Den DLC for Bioshock 2).  I don't really want to spoil anything, so I'll just say it does a nice job of looping back around to tie a bow on the series.

I've also been playing Mad Max. There are really good elements to that game.

Here we see Chumbucket, your mechanic more or less, repairing your car by the side of the road in the early morning hours.  The skies and dusty wasteland are very well done.

And here I am trying to get me and my dog to shelter before a huge dust storm hits.

The scale and sense of place are really good.  But the activities overstay their welcome and the game has bugs that go beyond standard open world jank.  Camps you liberate from bandits are supposed to provide income, but the amount changes seemingly at random.  My car's defense stat randomly resets itself to zero, turning my well armored death machine into a plywood joke.  And there are tons more problems and nuisances the really wore on me.  Like Yakuza: Dead Souls, I may not bother to finish this one.

I tried to rationalize the problems by saying that Avalanche also released Just Cause 3 the same year, so they didn't have time for patches, but the PC version of Just Cause 3 has been made more broken for many by subsequent patches, so it seems like Avalanche can't be trusted on PC as of late.

By contrast I've already finished EDF three and a half times on PC.

Here we see Red Rooster lobbing slow moving Air Tortoise missiles at distant robots who are lobbing arcs of neon pink death back at us.  This shot was taken on July 21st.  We also ended up playing with player Yourgrandma last night. :P

And here's an example of the sense of scale EDF brings both in raw size as the head of one of those ants is bigger than the player and in sheer numbers as the sky fills with enemy flyers.

I don't think an official review is even necessary.  EDF is a 5 of 5 for me, and I look forward to playing it repeatedly with all the people who jump in when it periodically goes on sale.

It is the apotheosis of Big Dumb Fun.