Sunday, April 21

Bring us the armoured girl...wipe away the ADC.

I managed to play through the entirety of Bioshock Infinite uninterrupted over the Easter Weekend and my impression and enjoyment of it was much the same as everyone else's: Artistically breathtaking, mechanically bland, clumsily told.

First it must be said that I enjoyed the story, art and music so much the game was easily one of the best in recent memory and I overall enjoyed it until the final fight which I very nearly gave up on.

I wasn't surprised to hear the same complaints from every reviewer, as the problems were clear and sadly could have been easily flagged before launch. Given that the combat is well, bad with no real innovation from previous Bioshock games, there is far too much of it. The skyhook system was great for getting around but what appears to be the biggest playground (from the demo) has been removed from the final game. The whole 'asylum' that is Comstock House seems to have also been gutted - I know the Boys of Silence were supposed to be more than sentry turrets (which given that they are blind makes no sense and is a clear case of re-purposed assets). There are too many Vigors (Plasmids) that have overlapping function and end up falling off in effectiveness - a similar problem with the weapons as you can only afford to upgrade a few of them but are often forced to use alternatives. One of my favourite parts of Bioshock 1-2 was the big daddy/sister fights could be planned out while the combat in Infinite is sudden and confusing. Most of the story, which is very interesting if you manage to collect it, is delivered through hidden optional pickups and the cutscenes have a bad tendency of talking over them. Coupled with the finale that is just a big information dump the narrative seems very poorly handled which is a shame given how vital it is.

Perhaps this is why the beginning of the game is so wonderful? The music and art is on display, the story is only hinted at and the combat has not yet begun. Would it be such a bad thing to have an entire game that continued in this way? Would it have been better or worse with more direct and gradual story delivery and less combat?

I picked up the artbook (along with The Art of Drew Struzan) and it is pretty fantastic. I feel sad that Colin Fix didn't work on this one as he is hands down THE MAN for his contribution to Bioshock II. I feel great though seeing professional artwork that is comparable to my own. Nearly there!

In other news I decided to respond to a question from Ironstylus about a possible skin design for Leona on the League of Legends forums by doing this cool skin design for the armoured ass-kicker:

The forum thread was seen by the mighty Ironstylus and has received plenty of positive feedback! I'm a happy artist :D

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