Some things I've learned....

(1) An Engineer can do with 10 cent what a fool can do with a Euro.

(2) "Puff" - unimportant; insignificant; unworthy of study by engineering students; waste of time

(3) It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid than to open it and prove them right!

(4) Blockwork people and concrete people can never work on the same site... Apparently they don't like each other....

(5) It's official; I'm fantastic!

Friday 3 October 2008

Bioshock Preview

Last year's Game of the Year (well at least that's what most people say anyway) is finally coming to Sony's PS3 this month. The developers have stated that it will not exceed the graphics found on the Xbox360 version but the game will feature a new and exclusive difficulty mode entitled "Survivor - Where every bullet counts" and add-on downloadable content which require you to use the skills learned throughout the game's story.

So what is Bioshock???

Bioshock is a shooter, though by no means is it a regular run of the mill shooter. I'm not going to talk too much about why it's different - I'll be saving that for the review. What I can say though is Bioshock stretches the boundaries of freedom of play in a game. The fictional city of Rapture was designed with open world freedom in mind, thus eliminating the fatal flaw of modern shooters where it's all running and gunning down corridors. What's also special about Bioshock is the plasmids, which are special powers that can shock people, set them on fire, lift them up and throw them and so on. The combination of using different plasmids in different situations coupled with the various weapons and customisations means that no two players will experience the game identically.

After downloading the 1.8GB demo from the PS Store and playing through it I can certainly say I'm quite impressed. The visuals are great, the atmosphere is astounding and above all it's fun. The details on everything will come in the review but here is the breakdown of the demo:

The demo begins with you (Jack) sitting in the seat of a plane smoking a cigarette looking at a picture of what I assume is himself and his parents. (This is the 1960's remember). Suddenly, the plane crashes and the screen is mirky from the water, a handbag sinks past your eyes and as you scramble upwards you can see the carnage around you. A wall of fire surrounds the area and directs you towards a lighthouse. Inside is dark and as you go inside the door shuts.

You are then directed to a capsule which leads you down to the city of Rapture, built entirely underwater. A presentation is shown on the way down, telling you about Rapture and why it was built. As your sphere emerges up into the "Welcome Area" (I guess) you are momentarily trapped in the sphere with a splicer (one of the enemies) trying to attack you. It's here you're brought in contact with Atlas, who communicates with you via a radio. He guides you out of the area and towards you're first plasmid "Electro Bolt". As you inject yourself, your hands begin to shake, with bolts of electricity crawling up your vains and arching from one hand to the next, your vision blurs and you fall over the railing to the floor below.

Here, in a sort of dazed state, you see some other splicers who examine your body and are then introduced to the eerie Little Sisters and Big Daddies (more next paragraph). As you awake and leave the room is suddenly very apparent that something is very wrong with Rapture. When you enter the "Kashmir Restaurant" you can see a huge sign saying "Happy New Year 1959" and can hear a couple arguing on the floor below, something about who owns the "Adam" - more on Adam in the final review. Killing the man out front prompts the wife to come out to see why he's not talking. You can also pick up and audio diary from a woman celebrating New Years when there is possibly some sort of explosion. The woman has clearly had too much too drink, prompting "Wait - I'm bleeding...." before the message ends.

Leaving this area you are then properly introduced to the Little Sisters. These little girls - if you could call them that - have some kind of ability which lets them harvest the DNA of the dead. Shortly after entering this room the Sister is attacked by a splicer, wanting to steal her Adam. Here, the Big Daddy comes crashing through, killing the splicer mercilessly. The Big Daddies protect the Sisters, so if you want their Adam you have to kill the Daddy first.

The demo ends with the lockdown confrontation before you enter the Medical Pavillion. The encounter lets you practice with the two plasmids available - Electro Bolt and Incinerate - and the three weapons you pick up - the Wrench, the Revolver and the Machine Gun. The closing part of this piece has you trapped in a room where Andrew Ryan - the creator of Rapture - tries to have you killed - or at least that what it seems like to me anyway.

So there you have the preview, Bioshock is currently set for release in Europe for October 17th, so the final review will be some time after that. Until then, here's a few gameplay videos from the PS3 version of the final product:

~The Damo

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