Bioshocked and other things

I’m going to ramble on a bit here, about my previous post, Bioshock Infinite (spoilers) and the League of Legends LCS.

Despite my earlier sense of elation at enjoying Planetside 2, I did get bored of it again, as the tragic inevitability of meat-grinder wars set in. It became clear that certain key points on the map gradually turned into a contest to see which team had the most players that got annoyed with respawning repeatedly and went to do something else first.
I got bored of putting bits of bling on my Sunderer and I even got bored of hanging from beneath a Liberator gunship aboard a 105mm cannon that looked disturbingly like a big angry sky-cock and balls, spitting ‘ordnance’ at the plebs below.

It began to remind me of the bits of Battlefield 2142 that I didn’t like, and I didn’t get the same sense of personal achievement from PS2 that I got from BF2142 when something went my way. Additionally, Battlefield 2142 had that nice bit at the end where it says YOU WON AND GOT A MILLION PINS FOR SHOOTING PEOPLE IN THE FACE. I liked that bit, the pointless pat on the back, the virtual fist-bump with a list of stats that lets you measure your clicking against the clicking of others.

What did happen was that I started playing League of Legends, a game that is both loved and hated the world over for various reasons. I realise at one point I felt an irrational grudge towards League of Legends because, as someone that had gotten very much into Starcraft 2, it was stealing all the eSports thunder. That grudge has obviously passed, and now I’m just a rubbish 29 year old Silver II player without the free time to excel at the game I play most – and I’m ok with that, life comes first.

As a result I’ve also taken to watching LCS, playing the Fantasy LCS league and neglecting just about all other games, though I do occasionally make an exception.

One such exception was Bioshock Infinite.

Bioshock Infinite was the kind of game I went into without any particular enthusiasm, I wanted a single player game to play and it was well hyped – I’d previously fooled around in Dishonored and Arkham City and not felt a strong compulsion to finish either, and I still frown every time I open Skyrim and realise how far I have to travel to… do… anything. So I went in with my usual sense of indifference, something that has only been broken by a handful of games.

I sat through the first scenes and tried to remain open to what they were setting up, popped up into Columbia and was mostly just surprised by how bright everything was.

There was a point early in the game when I had to remind myself that yes, this is all visually impressive stuff, and Irrational Games had created a beautiful world. The problem was that I wasn’t buying in, even when the rather sudden and surprising ultra-violence began. I was just running around shooting people in the face, or clubbing them to death and a weird skyrail thing and I didn’t really understand what the big deal was.

So I didn’t play for a few days, until one evening I was without suitable distraction and resumed. That was when I met Elizabeth. This was the pivotal point where Bioshock Infinite turned from another shooter into a stunning, story-driven rollercoaster ride. She had almost Disney-like qualities, a proverbial princess trapped in a tower, with big eyes and book-throwing feistiness.

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I also met Songbird, who had far less Disney-like qualities, reminding me firmly that I was playing a Bioshock game, as the big metal bastard seemed to be trying quite hard to cleave me in half.

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The scenes that followed slowly built an upsie-downsie relationship between my protagonist and the space-time tearing Elizabeth, a sweet, sheltered girl with a handy knack for pilfering from parallel timelines and helpfully throwing ammo at me. I also got some interesting insights into the background of Booker DeWitt, my character.

What followed was one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had, I did buy in, entirely and completely – and I believed in the connection between the characters. I rode the rollercoaster with an open mind and allowed it to take effect in a way a game rarely does. The development of Elizabeth on one end of the spectrum alongside the discovery of Booker’s past on the other, creating two intrinsically linked storylines working towards one another.

The moment Songbird lifted Elizabeth away and left me, Booker, flat on my back I felt a genuine desire to go shoot the ferrous motherfucker in the beakface, I actually felt antagonised by its flappy-bird bullshit.

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When the game ended I stared at the credits for a while and quietly reflected, before getting myself a strong drink to celebrate a game I had genuinely enjoyed.

I’m not going to be the guy that dissects the ending, combing through the storyline looking for inconsistency or plotholes, because Bioshock Infinite ended for me when the credits rolled, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience that I’d rather not infringe upon for the sake of pedantry.

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And that’s that.

Moving on, I’m currently looking forward to an evening of LCS – I’ve been a loyal but frequently disappointed EG supporter for quite some time, and EG have two games to play tonight, and must win both to reach playoffs. As they’re currently holding the league up from the bottom it seems unlikely they’ll manage it, but they’re already 2-0 for the week including a carefully constructed victory vs second place Cloud 9. They still have to get past first place LMQ however, a game that will be an absolute gauntlet.

If EG do succeed however, it’ll be a series of wins that will secure them not only a playoff position, but also prove that they’re a serious contender in NA despite spending the majority of their season in dead last, and I can’t help but #believe.

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