Kii3: An E3 Round Up

Kii brings us her round up of last week’s E3 expo!

So, the huge event of the summer is here. I am, of course talking about E3 and not the other thing with the kicking. There is an awful lot to cover and people will obviously look into the areas that they care about most; however, I’m going to sum up the conferences and announcements that were my favourites or that I feel need mentioning. Compared to last year the only conference that stayed steady was Ubisoft, everyone else has fluctuated from massive improvement to down right ‘Why did you guys turn up?’

  • Ubisoft:

Ubi have had a very strong conference every year since they picked up Aisha Tyler as a show host. Most of their on stage team don’t read from autocue and appear to be genuinely passionate about what they’re doing.

  • Sony:

Sony… What? The brotherly spats between Sony and Microsoft have always irked me as in my opinion; the joys of your company should speak loud enough without having to shit on your competitors during press conferences in the hopes of gaining more sales. Last year, Sony were not quiet about how little Microsoft talked about games compared to the other entertainment functions of the Xbox One. But this year they have a conference that is almost exactly that, very little time given to games and the game announcements they made were either not Sony exclusives or timed exclusives at best. Disappointing.

  • Microsoft:

Actually talked about games! And quite a variety of them! I was impressed by the range of genres covered in the MS conference instead of just shooty, shooty, halo halo. Also there was Halo. I’m not enthralled by the Super Master Chief Boner Collection but I would rather they do that instead of releasing an anniversary edition of every friggin game before releasing Halo 5. Some of the speakers for games were clearly on their first day out of the office and I really want to find a video of the guy turning WAY before camera cues to some sweet techno.

  • Nintendo:

Mother. Fucking. Zelda. Reddit has already exploded with conspiracy theories. Nintendo really showed up in comparison to last year. I feel like they’ve found their legs as a company now that they’ve realised that the gaming market has changed significantly since they started out. They made a bunch of great game announcements, specifically ones that people really care about and really wanted to see, though there were a couple of announcements that maybe should have been made in the main Nintendo direct instead of in their ‘Tree house’ event afterwards. A new Starfox game being mentioned off-hand took the entire audience by surprise.

  • EA:

EA seemed to forget it was E3? It’s like they flipped the calendar and suddenly went ‘SHIT!’ Barely anything they showed was beyond concept art including an announcement of Bioware’s new IP which seemed to be ‘Hey look, we rendered a tree’. If you’re going to tease, give me a teaser, if you’re going to announce, make a proper announcement. What was delivered instead just felt unprepared.

 

And now, what we really care about: VIDJA GAMES.

 

  • Scalebound:

DMC meets How to Train your Dragon. Sassy Punk kid with Dragon BFF fighting giant monsters. Oh, he can also ‘Flame on’ with matching dragon scale armour at will. It looks pretty, looks fun, seems to have a good sense of humour and also hints at multiple dragon classes and Co-Op/Multiplayer. My friend Timber literally threw his wallet at my TV.

  • Assassins Creed Unity:

It’s in France, looks fluid and you can have some good times with your chums in four-player co-op. The new Assassin sounds pretty good though the controversy of how much work it would have been to render some playable ‘Wimens’ I think they’re called, is tainting it a bit for me. Personally, it’s the first time I’ve cared for AC since Ezio’s introduction game but Ubi, don’t tell me that you can’t even be bothered to reuse your female multiplayer model to make one of the four assassins a Lady-face. Though they would probably give her Assassin garb a Boob Window.

  • Shape up:

Fitness disguised as a game is the right amount of psychological manipulation and competitiveness to trick me into doing cardio. It looks hilarious with things such as graphics of heavier and heavier items being put onto your back during a push-up challenge and a DDR cardio work out.

  • Sunset overdrive:

The humour of Saints Row, numerous ways of killing people of dead rising and the fluidity of movement of a Tony Hawk with some kick ass tunes. I was flagging on Sunset Overdrive due to it not being released after being announced at 2013 E3, however, the development team arrived in costume on a giant bus with a zombie/mutant on the fender. Yes. It’s bright, colourful and has comic book-esque POW, OUCH and BOOM graphics. Yes. Yes. Yes.

  • Amiibos:

Nintendo are very good at manipulating our addictive personalities hence why Pokemon has been going for so many years. Nintendo’s new idea is Amiibo, which are small models (similar to Skylanders) that you can add into various Nintendo games. Your little Amiibo is an A.I that you train yourself and thus even if you and your friend have the same one, they will fight completely differently. Oh yeah, you can make them fight each other and your friends. You can also fight them yourself by popping them into Super Smash Bros which is meant to provide a harder challenge than the Wii-U A.I. Essentially, you have your own friggin pokemon. A POKEMON THAT CAN LOOK LIKE LINK. I’M CALLING MINE WIGGLES.

Kii

Tale of One Gamer: Week One

 

Hello gentle readers! Lovely to speak to you again, it’s been a while I know. I’m afraid I’ve been becoming an adult. I’ve purchased a house and then been crying every night with the amount of work involved. But don’t worry, it’s almost over so let’s get involved with my new regular article.

So what is “tale of one gamer”? Well it’s a format that, I believe, the Games Workshop publication “White Dwarf” started in the 90’s. You might be surprised to hear that a lot of players involved with miniature wargame hobby won’t have a completely finished army. I’m embarrassed to admit I have more unfinished armies than I do finished. a lot more! But the idea of this format is that a group of players start new armies together and encourage and support each other. The standard set up is that you decide a points limit, then write an army list and month by month you all paint an agreed amount.

So why have I suddenly decided to do this? Well two things really. One, is that the new Woods Elves are stunning, really stunning! Two, is that a friend of mine is running his first tournament in September and I really want to go. It seems it’s meant to be!

How will this article work? Each week I will try to get a unit painted. And show it off to all you lovely people.

I’ve decided to go for a winter look the army. The common colour schemes with WE’s is autumn browns and greens, so I decided to go for something a bit different so have decided on blues and greys. I also love the tree spirits in the army so have gone for quite a few of them. Even though in the meta they aren’t great. But I’m after a great looking army. Not the best on the game.

I’ve waffled on for quite enough now so here’s my Treeman so far. Still needs work but I’m happy. I’m looking to get this finished by next Tuesday. Let me know what you think. Then I will start my first 10 Wyldwood Rangers.

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Byeeeeee

Gary.

(feature image: “Wood Elves” Copyright Games Workshop)

 

 

Why the hell haven’t you played Abe’s Exoddus yet?

Now I’m choosing Exoddus over Oddysee because I actually enjoyed it more. The gameplay may have been the same, but there was more to do in the second one. I mean you take control of farts, enough said. In fact enough said, that is the only reason you need to play this game.  But I guess I should write some other reasons why this game is fantastic, even if the fart controlling doesn’t blow you away. Yes that was intentional.

So let’s start from the beginning, you play Abe, a Mudokon who has recently saved 99 Mudokon’s from Rupture farms and during the celebrations, falls off stage and knocks himself out. He then has visions from 3 spirits that say the evil Glukkons at FeeCo depot are stealing their bones. So once again, Abe and 5 other Mudokons (1 is definitely called Alf) set out to stop them. After some cut scenes, you enter the world of a 2D platforming puzzle game. The first part of a game is a tutorial, giving you ideas of how to move, talk, take control of enemies and most importantly quicksave. Quicksave will be your lifeline in this game, but be careful not to get stuck in a loop where you are constantly dying. It’s funny for a bit and then its just annoying.

But anyway, if you start playing properly, you will find yourself hooked on this brilliant yet frustrating game. There is usually a puzzle in each area and they vary from throwing rocks at mines to clear a path, sneaking pasts guards, or controlling enemies to perform various tasks for you. You can control Sligs, Glukkons, Scrabs and Paramites and each has their own abilities. Sligs fire guns/grenades depending on the Slig you’ve possessed, Glukkons can command Sligs, Scrabs basically attacks everything they see and Paramites can attack alone or in packs. However, let’s not get carried away, we have to stay true to the cause of the game. Basically one your travels, you will encounter other Mudokons who will need saving and the more you save determines your ending of the game. Trying to save all of them is difficult, but it can be done. The game can be difficult to pick up at first, but trust me the game is well worth it. The gameplay doesn’t move smoothly, but it makes the problem-solving a bit more challenging as you need to time all your moves perfectly. The storyline is solid, with excellent cut scenes even for a PS1 game. Honestly, you do need to play this game. It is fun and innovative but also mentally challenging and it can be slightly frustrating, but I promise you it is worth it. Happy farting.

Nath

The Anti-Nintendo Attitude

Kii tells us why Nintendo is still a great and relevant games company.

Even though all of us here at The Lost Lighthouse like games, I am the ‘Nintendo Fan’ due to the fact I actually own a Wii-U and 3DS. I’ve written about games on the Nintendo consoles before, but what I wanted to address this time is the ‘Nintendo is shit’ attitude that many gamers have developed. This isn’t Nintendo propaganda or bashing on Sony and Microsoft but more a genuine confusion as to why many people feel this way about what is one of the most successful games companies around.

For example, I was privy to many a Facebook status about how amazing Sony is due to the free games provided by Playstation Plus. It’s a great service that provides more up to date games in comparison to Microsoft’s Fable 3 freebie a while ago. When, Nintendo released that you would receive a free game when registering Mario Kart 8 with Nintendo Club (a free service might I add) I again saw an increase in game related Facebook posts. This time however, there was a lot of mocking about how Nintendo giving out free games meant that they were in the red and failing as a company. When it was pointed out that the Nintendo and Sony system was the same thing, replies were along the lines of ‘It isn’t, Nintendo are failing’. Cue my frustration at a name on the screen and yelling “BUT IT’S THE SAME FUCKING THING”. It’s become cool to hate on Nintendo and shit on their franchises without ever actually looking at what’s going on with them. There needs to be an attitude change.

I could go on a massive rant (well, more than I already have) and quote numbers of loss and sales to compare the Big Three console companies and prove that it is indeed a Three and not Two but that may label me as a fanatic with more love than sense. But let me ask you this, when was the last time you saw a twenty-something year-old become childishly excited because their favourite character has been added to a cross-over game? Or a franchise that has so much legacy that people will buy it just because they love it and they KNOW that it will be good without seeing anything about it? Nintendo’s power isn’t in having the biggest hardware in a console war, it’s in the utter joy that they can ignite in people just because the characters that have been in their childhood are still going strong. It’s the idea that multiplayer games can be played with your friends and family all cramming into your living room and playing for hours instead of having an American toddler call you a noob over mic. It’s not having the highest specs or the most gritty shooter, it’s having a great time. Except when you’re about to win and your FUCKING BROTHER USES A SODDING BLUE SHELL RIGHT AT THE LAST MINUTE AND THEN DRIVES PAST YOU, YOU LITTLE SHIT.

Kii

Who the Hell Picks Humans?

Kii tells us why humans are rubbish, and why they shouldn’t be in games

The gaming world is full of choice nowadays. You can choose to be a man or a woman (Usually with equal outcomes but that’s another rant for another day), be a good guy or a bad guy, bang particular members of your crew/team/posse. A wide variety of games also offer you the chance to be different races, which range from giant cow person to magical pixie elf to super powered biomechas and beyond. What I never understand is who the hell chooses to be a human when they don’t have to be? I’m a human all the damn time, my suspension of disbelief is already engaged enough to be happy fighting for my life in a galaxy far far away so I can usually stretch to being an immuno-impaired helmeted space hottie.

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Before the torches and pitch forks come out, I have no problem with gamers choosing to be human. What I do have a problem with is how most games that offer you a vast array of choice just chuck humans in there for the boring folks. Developers spend eons fleshing out their own races and are justifiably proud of them but I’m constantly saddened by the human characters special skills being classified as ‘not the other guys’. There’s no beating about the bush here, it’s lazy. I believe it’s the almost lack of development that fuels my confusion as to why people would choose to be the ‘sub-par’ race in a lot of games. Admittedly there are games where being human puts you on equal footing with the race of the races and I cheer them for their well-rounded world building, however I feel that these are severely in the minority. Thus, I would like to get up on my soap box (for all of the two people here that will listen to me) and petition that if a developer can’t think of a decent reason for humans to be in the world they have built or they’re going to be stuck as the Average Joe race then just DON’T BLOODY PUT THEM IN.

Kii

Would You Kindly Get Me Into the Gaming Industry? GameJam Special Part 2 of 2 – The Delirium

Our contributor Nathan continues his journey into games design.

So we left off on Saturday morning where I am tired, grouchy and a little hungry. I was the last of the team to wake up and I had heard that everyone had had an awful last night too, especially our developer. He had close to 1 hours sleep whilst the rest of us were nearer 3. We collected our thoughts and went to breakfast or “breakfast”. I then loaded up my bag with a few cans of Monster and had a strong black coffee as this day would be hell.

It started off great though, we had the sound implemented, the artwork uploaded and the basic coding completed by lunch. We were very close to a basic game which was amazing, spirits were high and we went for “lunch”. After lunch, we carried on and decided to add a newer and harder level when the first level is completed. I began designing and the artist was creating more artwork for the next level, the developer was fine tuning the code for the game and the captain started watching the football results. Needless to say I was a little annoyed by this, even though I too wanted to see the results, so I downed a can of Monster and asked him to prepare some animation for beating the level.

So the afternoon rolled on, the game was looking good, however we started having problems with the code. We couldn’t get the transition from the first level to second level working correctly. We could get the level to reset and start again, but this would restart the music and looked more of an animation than a game. It was starting to look bleak, but we persevered regardless.

As the late afternoon/early evening started, I knew Arsenal, my favourite football team, were playing in an FA Cup semi-final. This also happened to be the captain’s favourite team too. I thought excellent, a chance to bond over something as I didn’t like him so far. I asked the other guys if they didn’t mind us every now and again heading off for a few minutes to check the score. They were fine, however after a while I stopped and started working on some artwork to help the artist. I asked the captain for help too as this was his specialty, but after he submitted his work, I was actually appalled. We’d spent an hour coming up with some good artwork, using the appropriate tools and effects and he submitted uncropped pictures in a word document. I was speechless, but what could I do. I couldn’t tell the guy his artwork was terrible so I added to it. And by added I mean changed it a little bit. And by changed it a little bit I mean discarded it completely because a toddler could have done a better drawing. And it turned out he’d been watching the entire football match where most of us had been working.

But I stopped and decided that the group needed “dinner” so we headed down to the cafe. Actually I’ll take the quotation marks out of dinner as it wasn’t so bad this evening. We came back and started working on the code again. I was a little bit useless at this point as I couldn’t help with the coding, so tried to research it and see if we could get anywhere with it. The captain decided to go to bed at around 10 but the rest of us carried on.

After the research failed, I started working on our presentation which had to be done on the Sunday afternoon in front of a panel of representatives from the gaming industry. Needless to say I was shitting myself, not literally, but that could have happened, I had a lot of caffeine. So I started working on the presentation and delirium was definitely settling in, a lot later than I anticipated. I started off by trying to summarise what everyone had done as part of the group, the developer did all the coding, the artist did some amazing artwork and animation, I contributed to the sound, some artwork, designed the levels and organised the team. I then started writing about what the captain had contributed. And it came to me, he had contributed nothing in a 24 hour period. I didn’t know what to do, it was awful, we struggled through the day with the art and the code and he didn’t even help. This was a mess, we had been struggling to get things working and he had done nothing apart from watch football and submit some poor box art.

The captain emerged at around 2 whilst we were all working. I took him outside and asked him what he contributed to the game, he tried to come up with an excuse for box art, idea and some artwork. I asked him if he could do the presentation as he was team captain and to make him realise what he had contributed.

At 4 in the morning, the captain had passed out and we decided to call it a night as the game had a few levels and we could transition from to the other with ease. The game only needed polishing the next morning. We managed to find a lounge where we could sleep. I gave the developer the couch as he had all the weight on his shoulders. I managed to make a bed out of 8 cushioned office chairs and actually had a decent nights sleep. We set an alarm for 7 so we could carry on in the morning.

We woke up at 7 and returned to our workstations where the captain had said he had written the presentation. We were thrilled and decided to head down for “breakfast”. After a few coffees and one can of Monster I checked the presentation and it was terrible. I couldn’t be bothered to argue with him so I asked if I could make some adjustments and asked the other guys if they liked to contribute. They said they didn’t want to contribute, however the captain had other ideas.

I’m not sure if he realised how terrible the presentation was or whether he was going power crazy, but he turned round to the other guys and said you need to contribute, I am the captain and you should do what I say. I had to step in at this time and say if they don’t want to contribute then they shouldn’t be forced to. He didn’t like that and he hated it even more when the other guys said I should do the presentation. He was angry so I said he could do it, just be prepared.

Presentation time and we were first out of all the teams to do it. I was nervous, however the captain was confident and said he was prepared. The judges consisted of members of the industry so we had to shine. The presentation started with the captain introducing the team and then the game. They were intrigued and started asking questions and the captain was struggling to answer. His cop-out was to introduce me to talk about it and I wasn’t happy but I went on to wing it. It went pretty well and they enjoyed the game and I got a pat on the back from the members and the mentors for taking the responsibility.

The captain decided to leave the event right after the presentation. He asked to add us on Facebook, but we decided against it. We explained to the other teams that he had contributed nothing and that we had to sort out everything he did submit. They were shocked at his performance as a captain but they admired that we carried on regardless to make a working game.

After the presentation of best game and best team (neither of which we won) we left the University of Bedfordshire knowing we could be proud of our achievement. The artist and the developer were brilliant hard-working individuals and I would love to work with them again. The captain can go die in a hole somewhere. He contributed no work, ballsed up the presentation and left early. He wasn’t going to be invited back into the team.

Now I bet you’re all wondering if the entire GameJam was worth it. Well in a 48 hour period I had about 6 hours sleep, ate some very questionable meals, hurt my back, became delirious, argued with co-workers and hadn’t showered and washed in 2 days and felt terrible. However it was all completely worth it, we developed a working game in a 48 period with a team of 3 people and somehow managed to wing a presentation together. We had some fun together and got to meet some interesting people and I will probably go next year, but as a captain and try and win the damn thing.

Nath

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Cosmic Encounter

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Ever want to be an all knowing oracle? How about a bomb that could wipe out the universe? Or even latch onto your neighbour who seems to be doing well at the whole “taking over the galaxy” thing. If your answer is yes to all three then maybe Cosmic Encounters is the game for you! By the way if you said no to all three then screw you, you boring fool!

Cosmic Encounters is a game for 3 to 5 players (even more with expansions). It really took me by surprise, I was not expecting to have as much fun as I did, and still do!

To get straight to the point. You are all different alien races that are try to get 5 foreign colonies on other players planets, while defending your own. You do this by having “encounters” with one another. It’s a random decision so there’s no ganging up on one person. You then decide how many of your spaceships, which look suspiciously like nipples, you want to send to the fight. Then you and the defender asks/begs for allies. Then both players choose an “encounter” card and the higher number wins! There are a few other processes/results but I won’t go into them here.

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The while process is very simple and after a couple of “encounters” you’ll know how the process goes. The thing that changes the game are the alien race cards. Everyone gets a couple of random ones to choose from and these are game breakers! In a great way.

For example, the parasite doesn’t need to be invite into encounters. They can just come along and gain a colony! This might not seem like much, but considering you only need 5 to win it soon adds up. Tick-tock just needs 8 people to successfully defend their planets and he blows up, destroying the universe…oh, and he wins. Then there’s the leviathan who can use their own planets as living war ships! These are but 3 of the many races found in the game.

This game is a must for me. I haven’t found a person who hasn’t found it fun yet!

 

Gary

The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Quantum

Power up the engines, hail the captain and set phasers to stunned! This game is brilliant!

Let me start by saying I am a massive fan of day long 4x games. Just incase you don’t know meaning of 4x, it stands for “eXpand, eXplore, eXploit and eXterminate”.

Quantum (by Eric Zimmerman) takes all the those things and distils them into a beautiful 45(ish) minute game for 2-4 players.

In the years since I’ve got into board gaming, I have not found a game that has packed more “game” into itself than this one.

You start by picking one of four races. It’s just for looks as in-game they are identical. You have the Kepler which have a S.H.I.E.L.D vibe going on. The Vulpes look a bit like slightly nicer reavers. The Orion have a classic Forbidden Planet coolness and the Andromeda Confederacy look a mix of brainiac and the aliens from Mars Attack!!

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Next, you set up the map which consists of tiles of different planets with numbers and spaces on. Then you all roll dice to see what class of ships you get, then…these dice are your ships! I genuinely love this idea. It’s so perfect as the number of pips not only determines the class, but also the number of spaces that ship can move. For example, a 6 is a scout ship. Very fast but very fragile. On the other end of the spectrum you have a 1, which is a battle station. Very slow but very difficult to beat in combat.

You then place your ships and start the game. I won’t go through all the actions as you might as well just read the rule book. The most important action is construct. This lets you place a Quantum cube onto a planet with a space. But you have to meet the right criteria. Your ships have to add up to the EXACT number of that tile. If you manage to plop all you Quantum cubes out before anyone else, you win. Congratulations.

Now combat is fantastic. There is no disadvantage of being the attacker except you might waste an action. It’s so simple! If you want to attack, you move your dice/ship into another player’s. Then you both role a D6 and add the number of pips on your ship to your score and the LOWEST score wins! Nice and simple.

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That’s pretty much the game. I might not of made it sound exciting but it really is! Me and Adam played the other day and I loved it. We used the beginner map and it was quite quick. I’m sure that will change with different tile set ups etc. I also played a couple of 4-player games and it can be quite intense as in both the games it was down to the last cube!

I can’t recommend this game enough. It’s simple without being dumb, it’s brilliant without being cocky and it’s strategic without being confusing. If you can find it in stock then grab it while you can!

I bought mine from Monkeys With Fire. They have great customer service and really know their stuff. Give them a go if you haven’t already.

 

Gary

Video Game Review – Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 2

Adam infrequently reviews games weeks after they are released because he has a job and can’t complete them fast enough. Potential minor spoilers (for Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite too) included.

Burial at Sea Episode 2 is the final piece of DLC (and the second story based DLC) for 2013’s Bioshock Infinite. It was released for download on PSN, Xbox Live and for PC on the 25th March, developed by Irrational Games and published by 2k. It is PEGI 18 rated. Don’t worry, I will touch on Episode 1 (released back in November 2013), but it was quite a bit shorter and frankly only served as a set up for Episode 2. I should probably mention at this juncture that while I won’t explicitly spoil anything, the very setting and nature of both episodes can spoil the ending of Bioshock Infinite. Therefore, if you still plan on playing the full game (and I suggest you do), stop reading here.

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Still here? OK. So Episode 1 of Burial at Sea put you once again in the shoes of Booker DeWitt, but this time in the underwater city of Rapture, the setting for the original Bioshock and Bioshock 2. He is soon contracted by Elizabeth to track down a missing girl, only this time Elizabeth appears as a sultry femme fatale rather than a scared imprisoned young woman in need of rescuing. Being back in Rapture, vigors are now plasmids again, splicers and Big Daddys can be seen around, and the odd familiar face makes an appearance. It is fun, and the story is certainly intriguing, but it is a bit on the short side. It clocks in at around 1 1/2 to 2 hours, and it cost £9.99 when it was released. I understand quality over quantity, but the episode moves along at breakneck speed without giving you much to explore around the core story, so the quality that is there seems almost wasted. It was still enjoyable, and if you opted to go for the season pass (£15.99) you basically pay for Episode 1 and the combat based DLC Clash in the Clouds, and get Episode 2 for free. I found that Episode 1 was in fact the precursor for Episode 2 anyway.

So in Episode 2, you actually play as Elizabeth. You are still in Rapture, continuing the same story, but for reasons I don’t want to spoil, Elizabeth has lost her ability to open up tears. She is not only therefore stranded in Rapture unless she can find away to regain her powers and a way out, but she has also lost her advantage over aggressors. As such, the game is much more stealth-based than any Bioshock prior to it (especially Infinite). This makes for an interesting shake up in the gameplay, giving you opportunity to drink in the dank, oppressive surroundings of the city we know so well at a time just before the total fall into chaos. You crawl into vents and creep around to get the jump on unsuspecting enemies, and a smack to the back of the head or a tranquiliser dart are much more effective than a handgun or shotgun. You get to utilize Elizabeth’s intelligence and studious nature in a few problem solving situations as well.

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Elizabeth herself is a lot of fun to play as, and is a great character in herself. I found that in all the characters introduced in Infinite, she was the one who almost felt alive. Many of the supporting cast felt a bit flat, with very few exceptions. Elizabeth talks to Booker via radio throughout the story, bouncing ideas of him as she attempts to find a way out of her situation. This involves helping Atlas, well known from the first Bioshock. However, at this stage he isn’t even trying to hide his ruthless nature. The story intersects with that original story in a couple of interesting ways. For example, we witness first-hand the grisly ultimate fate of Dr. Yi Suchong, where previously in the first game we only found his body and an audio recording of his death. We are also forced to experience a fairly grim torture scene, and I’ve seen plenty of comments on the subject elsewhere on the internet. It was unpleasant, possibly (probably) unnecessary, but I don’t think it bothered me all that much and it certainly made me feel the tension and the stakes.

Burial at Sea ends by going to great lengths to actually link Bioshock Infinite to the events of the first Bioshock. I’ll leave you to judge how neatly it does this, and what you think of the ending. Personally, I wasn’t a big fan of it, but I appreciate what they were trying to do. The execution wasn’t bad at all either, and I have always wanted the games to link in some small way (though I think just having Rapture as the destination inside one of the infinite lighthouses was probably enough for me), but the ending itself just didn’t ring true to me. It took the grandeur and scale of the end of Infinite, and made it feel all seem meaningless.

Despite this though, I enjoyed Burial at Sea Episode 2 a great deal. It took elements I loved about all 3 Bioshock games before it and introduced some interesting new gameplay elements, gave me the chance to control a different sort of character to the standard brawny male protagonist typical to this sort of experience, and it all took place in one of my favourite fictional locations of all time with very much updated graphics. Rapture looks gorgeous in this instalment. However, I do wish that this was actually a full game. The length was fine for what they were aiming for, and at around 3-4 hours for the same price as the first episode, a lot more value for money (quality and quantity!). But I wanted more of this Rapture, with this character as the lead. What really would have worked for me would have been Burial at Sea Episode 1 to be a Ground Zeroes-style prequel episode to full-length stealth-based game with Elizabeth in Rapture, as Irrational’s swan song for their contribution to the Bioshock universe they created. This will do nicely though.

Score: 8 Aces in the Hole out of 10

 

Would You Kindly Get Me Into the Gaming Industry? GameJam Special Part 1 of 2

Our contributor Nathan continues his journey into games design.

Course update: Everything is going well, which is great news. There will be another article regarding this shortly, however I thought it would be best to share my experience at Train2Game’s GameJam 2014. Please note that I will be protecting the identities of my team name and the members of my team.

It all started off earlier this year where I registered my interest in taking part in the GameJam, an event where fellow students on the course take part to create a working game in 48 hours. Teams were decided by using a matchmaker and I ended up in a team with 5 other students, 2 artists/animators, 2 developers and a QA tester/level designer. My role was designer, a job that oversaw the project and helped out where I was needed.

Now we started off well and came up with a team name that was a mix of everything we submitted, however then things took a turn for the worse. We did not hear from one of the developers from the word go so we had to rely on just one. The game’s theme was decided without my input but as it was my first Jam, I thought it was best not to intervene and go along with it. However, the team captain decided to go along with a dictatorial style of leadership which needless to say, annoyed me greatly. He started assigning jobs to the team members that weren’t best suited to their skills. I should have had a job researching and documenting the game’s assets, sounds, scenes and objects, but I was told to do the artwork. An artist was telling a designer to do the art work. This is when I started asking questions about his leadership. I then said I couldn’t do the art, but here are some ideas I had for the game including characters and scoring system. This went down well with the group, but it was obvious I ruffled some feathers with the captain.

The next major issue was my holiday mid March. I explained to the team that I was going to be away for a week, but I would still be in contact and pick everything up when I get back. The team seemed fine about it, except the captain. Surprising right? He said that it was a big problem and that I wouldn’t be able to go to the GameJam. I spoke to our assigned mentor and he said it was fine, just as long as I could make the event. I explained this to the captain and he proclaimed that I would have to pick up where I left off when I got back. Now my feathers were ruffled and I’m not someone you want to annoy because I can be a real stubborn asshole when I want to be.

So I get back from my holiday and not a lot of progress has been made. I add to the team as much as I can and then learn that our QA tester had to drop out as he couldn’t get the time off work. This meant we were down from our team of 6 to 4. Things weren’t looking good and started to think maybe I should drop out too because I didn’t like the idea and I didn’t like the captain. However I persevered and went to the event.

I arrived at the University of Bedfordshire apprehensive at first but a quick pint settled that. I finally found my team mates and had a quick hello before venturing into the lecture theatre for our introduction. This is where I learnt that all the work leading up to the event may have been in vain, as there could be a theme set for the entire event. I was hoping for a theme as I wasn’t 100% with our idea. Unfortunately, no theme was selected which meant we would have to do our original idea.

So we went into our computer lab and gathered round to have a discussion about our game. Now as we only had one developer, our idea had to be scrapped as the developer only had capabilities in 2D and our idea would not work in that format. I was relieved and we started planning our new idea. I was tasked with designing the levels, researching games and downloading and cropping the sound. The artist and the captain were of course responsible for the artwork and the developer had the monumental task of developing the code. We were doing really well to begin with, had some basic artwork, the research and sound was solid and the code was starting to take shape on a basic level. However we had to stop at 1:30 am as the developer was stuck and the only person who could help him had gone to sleep. We decided to call it a night and enter our “sleeping area”. This was a cold, hard computer lab floor and thank god I had a sleeping bag and a pillow otherwise I’d be one grouchy bastard in the morning. Nevertheless, the door to lab was constantly smashing against the door frame every time came in, I probably got around 3 hours sleep total. Grouchy bastard was an understatement the next morning.

Stay tuned for part 2 where I encounter a mix of anger and delirium.

Nath