A Geeky Review- Bioshock Infinite (No Spoilers)

I’ve been anticipating the release of Bioshock Infinite for quite some time. Often when I place such high regards on a game, I’m disappointed. It’s not necessarily the games fault either but rather the unrealistic bar I set for it.

Bioshock Infinite arrived in my life shortly after midnight on Tuesday March 26. The next 48 hours would be filled with sleep deprivation and obsession. Seriously, I played Bioshock Infinite every chance I could and when I wasn’t playing, it’s all I could think about. Even upon completing my first play through my mind has been swimming with thoughts of what I experienced in Bioshock Infinite.

I recently started my second playthrough. I often play games more than once, rarely immediately after completing it for the first time. Bioshock Infinite is darn near perfect. A bold statement I know but I’d even go as far as saying it just might be the best game I’ve ever played. I’m haunted by events that took place in Bioshock Infinite. The game takes place in a fictional 1912 but presents the player with social commentary that could be applied to present day events.

It’s also worth mentioning that the poignant story is not presented with a heavy hand. If you game for the sole purpose of escapism, Bioshock Infinite also has much to offer in the ways of fun gameplay, gorgeous graphics and intriguing characters. The heart of the story is the relationship between Booker and Elizabeth. Both characters will go down as some of the most memorable gaming has to offer. The fact that Elizabeth is non-playable never deters from her charm. And for once the tag along NPC character you must look after, isn’t a thorn in your side. In fact at times Elizabeth is downright useful and never gets in the way.

It’s difficult to fully discuss the events of Bioshock Infinite without being spoilerific, so I won’t even try. I think it would be a crime having this game spoiled in even the slightest. I implore every player of this game to stop and think about the ending before judging it. I myself played the last part which is largely cutscenes a few times before I was fully able to process what just happened.

Hidden clues are found amongst the voxophone recordings as well as the sightseers that are scattered around Columbia. Speaking of Columbia, it’s easily one of the most beautiful worlds to ever grace gaming. For all its beauty and lightness, Columbia masks an underlying darkness of racism and civil war. At the forefront of this hatred and exceptionalism, is the self-proclaimed prophet, Zachary Comstock, Infinite’s answer to Andrew Ryan.

Fans of the Bioshock series will be familiar with the gameplay but I found it a little less challenging than the previous two endeavors and would suggest playing the game one level of difficulty higher. Finishing the game will unlock the 1999 mode which is an increasingly tougher mode with limited ammo and stronger enemies plus respawning will cost you $100. Should you not have enough money to pay the toll, you are sent back to the main menu.

It’s kind of bittersweet that the current generation of consoles is being ushered out by the masterpiece that is Bioshock Infinite, considering Bioshock helped kick it off. Kudos to you Ken Levine and Irrational Games. Bioshock Infinite just set a new standard in the world of games.

March’s prequel games not selling so hot.

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According to analyst firm Cowen & Company, the hyped prequels for both God of War and Gears of War aren’t the selling juggernauts their previous games were. Gears of War: Judgement fared better than God of War: Ascension, selling 425,00 copies. Ascension diddled out a paltry 360,00 units. Compare that to Gears of War 3 knocking over 3 million out in its first week and God of War 3′s first month’s sales of just over 1 million.

The Tomb Raider reboot and the critically praised Bioshock Infinite however are doing much better according to estimates. Tomb Raider has managed to get into the hands of 696,000 hands in March while Infinite has 665,000 copies out the door in a mere 10 days.

Could this be a sign for the recently announced Batman: Arkham Origins? It too will be a prequel game, handled by a different developer. Both Arkham games have done a stellar sales job but are gamers sick of prequels? Or was March just too packed with other quality titles? Or was it too many GoW games? Let us know what you think in the comments after the break!

A Geeky Review – Sacred Citadel

Having just played Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite back to back, I was prepared to be underwhelmed with games for a while. The aforementioned titles really raised the bar of what games can accomplish, and both totally blew my mind. I had visions of me falling into a gaming slump or at least a chance to play catch up with my DVR until Naughty Dog‘s The Last Of Us releases. Actually that’s kind of ridiculous considering how much I love gaming but the thought of bitter disappointment on my next gaming excursion did cross my mind.

Luckily for me, the fine folks at Deep Silver hooked me up with a copy of their game Sacred Citadel. Described in a press release as an action adventure hack and slash with RPG elements. I love a good hack and slash but throw in the added bonus of RPG characteristics and well, color me intrigued!

Sacred Citadel is part of the Sacred game series, and intends to serve as a prequel to the upcoming Sacred 3. If you haven’t played any of the Sacred games, fear not, Sacred Citadel is perfectly fine to dive right into for the uninitiated like myself.

Upon starting the game you are asked to choose a character class to represent you. There are four, Warrior, Ranger, Mage, and Shaman. Each has unique abilities and characteristics.

Sacred Citadel is presented in four acts and takes place in the world of Ancaria where the evil Ashen empire has enslaved the population. Their henchmen are the Grimmoc, whose job is to wipe out the Seraphim. It’s your duty to help defeat the evil Ashen empire, and that’s when the fun begins!

You start off with lowly weapons and very few skills. Throughout the game as you progress so does your character and weapons. Dual wield with a variety of artillery including Swords and axes, better weapons become available for purchase in the towns or are often dropped along the way by enemies. I found that every weapon dropped by enemies were always better than anything you already owned, which was nice unlike in Borderlands where often I discarded a gun only to find what I left behind was much better than the new one.

Speaking of Borderlands I often found Sacred Citadel to resemble the shooter, only without guns. That comparison also extends to the style of art used in Sacred Citadel as well as the RPG leveling up of characters and weapons. Sure it’s not as dynamic of graphics but this game is much smaller scale and is download only across multi platforms. With that being said, I am in no way implying that Sacred Citadel is not top-notch quality and I had a ton of fun playing it.

Sacred Citadel offers co-op for up to three players. Do your self a favor and bring along a friend or two because it really is much more fun. However, if you are a lone wolf type of gamer, Sacred Citadel still has much to offer. Co-op can be played locally or online. I did experience a bit of lag playing online co-op but nothing too tragic.

Gameplay is very fluid and combos are pulled off with a smoothness and ease that is essential to the brawler genre. Sacred Citadel does run a little short but considering you can purchase it for $14.99 on Steam and PSN which translates to 1200 Microsoft points, it’s a deal.

Sacred Citadel is available now on PSN, XBLA and Steam and was developed by SouthEnd Interactive with publishing rights being handled by Deep Silver.