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Monday, April 29, 2013

BioShock 2 Wrap-up - Finally Finished



After an extremely stressful weekend, I finally managed to sit down and finished the Minerva's Den DLC. I can honestly say, I preferred the DLC story, as short as it was, to the main story...overall. It was a little more emotional; it tugged at the heartstrings a bit. Yes there will be spoilers but if you haven't played this by now, you probably won't ever play it.

You are Subject Sigma, an Alpha series Big Daddy, and are being asked to help Mr. Porter get out of Minerva's Den. Minerva's Den holds the control center for Rapture and a supercomputer named The Thinker. Reed Wahl has lost his mind, as so many have done in Rapture, and taken control of The Thinker. All events are taking place at the same time as the events in the main BioShock 2 storyline.

As you wander about the various areas of Minerva's Den, the usual voice recordings will tell you Porter's story. He had wanted to utilize The Thinker to create a machine that would actually think for itself....an artificial intelligence. You also get a peek into Reed Wahl's descent into madness.

Combat is the same but you do get access so some pretty sweet exclusives, like the Ion Gun. Let me assure you that this gun would have been my "go to" weapon in the main story. It is that awesome. Essentially, it's a damned laser gun. I probably used it 80-90% of the time. There are a few more exclusives like the Gravity Well plasmid, and variations on the usual fare of enemies. I really hated the Fiery Brute Splicers. They were a pain in the ass to take out.

As you run around, completing the tasks that Porter has set for you, you learn who you used to be. Who is that? Well, Porter of course. You were taken away and punished as a traitor. Your punishment was to be turned into a Bog Daddy. I will bet you are wondering who has been giving you orders this whole time then. Turns out your experiments in making The Thinker more of an artificial intelligence were successful and it's been the machine guiding it's "father" since the beginning. The Thinker wants to escape Rapture as much as you do.

The emotional part of the story does not come from knowing you are Porter but from the recordings of Porter. While he was trying ti imprint an "personality" program into The Thinker, Porter had his wife doing voice recordings and such to use. She is killed in a bombing in London and when Porter is ready to test this work, it's his "wife" that The Thinker evolves into. Can you imagine how hard that must be for a man? You will get an idea when you listen to that voice recording. You can hear the pain and stress in Porter's voice.

In all seriousness though, this story felt more thought out than the main story. Granted, I had guessed what was going on before the end in both story arcs but,  Minerva's Den conveyed a better since of "humanity lost" than the main story.

I am not going to play the Protector Trials DLC. I know you are all disappointed but even though they refer to it as "single player" DLC it is essentially just a horde survival mode and it does not contribute to the story in any way. I just don't see the point in spending the 400 points to buy it. If I come across it for free in the future, I'll consider playing it.

Now what to play next? I suppose I should finish off Fallout 3. I am near the end of the last DLC so I may as well take the plunge.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Pervy?

Let me preface this whole post with a little autobiography. I grew up as a tomboy and I mean a real tomboy. Not a girl that just hung out with the boys and maybe played video games with them. I climbed trees, shot BB guns, fished, rode dirt bikes, went hunting for snakes and frogs, played football at the park and all those other things that are considered unfeminine. I wore jean and t-shirts, no make-up and never bothered with hairdos. I spent most of my time with dirt under my nails, sutures and bruises. I have scars. Dudes dig scars. Growing up like this naturally evolved into working in an all male environment. It was never awkward and I even became the boss of all the guys.

I have always found it easier to be "one of the boys" rather than one of the girls. It made middle and high school a little rough, especially after puberty, because if a girl hung out with guys she must be screwing all those guys too, right? I was never the "pretty" one so I guess in the minds of the pubescent it meant I was desperate and willing to sleep around. If you put me in the group of girls, I was the smart one or the shy one, in short...the awkward one. Girls compete with one another, even if they are friends. Each one wants to be the cute one, the one all the boys desired to be with. I have never felt the need to be competitive in that way. I couldn't compete so why even bother? It would have just knocked my self-esteem into a pit. I learned to be content with being the buddy to all the guys and being smart. It took many years but I achieved that sense of self and came into my own.

One of the things that happens when you do become "one of the guys" is you get treated like one of the guys.  What does that entail? Well, if you have ever seen a movie, or been around a group of guys, you know they make cracks on each other...many times in regards to their sex lives or sexual preferences. As a female, you either roll with it and dish it back, or get offended and flounce off. For the record, I am not a flouncer, so I dish it back (I have a quick wit and a razor sharp tongue always at the ready). Being part of this inner sanctum of manhood means that I often get to enjoy a certain degree of ribbing and sexual harassment that is not at all creepy, scary or obligatory to "taking things further". In fact, at my last job you basically had to accept being harassed or go work somewhere else. I was the boss and these guys respected me, even if we gave each other shit all the time. They'd the first ones to put a new guy in his place if he crossed the line and treated me like a sex object or they felt he was being disrespectful. It was a manly job, with a manly atmosphere, the type of atmosphere I thrive in. It's very comfortable for me. I am at home in that "male" environment, as long as I am treated like one of the guys.

For the record, there is a difference between disrespect and friendly banter, a huge difference. The difference is palpable when that line is crossed. You can feel the tension in the room. You can almost taste it in the air. Telling me I belong to the itty bitty titty committee after I called you the poster child for penile enhancement products is teasing. Asking me to show you my tits or offering to give me a money shot is disrespectful.

To look at me in person, especially now that I am more feminine, you'd probably be surprised to know that I have the dirty mind of a guy and will giggle like a 12 year old boy when someone says the word boner. I can also curse like a longshoreman. I can't help it. My maturity level dips dramatically from time to time. Love it or hate it, you just have to accept it if you want to be my friend. It does often lead to hilarity, so that's something. I have only felt out of place when my gay male friends start making fun of each other about liking vagina because, well, that's just weird because I happen to have one. I tend to stick to telling them they have bad taste in clothes or remarking on the fact they fart glitter. One of my friends often teases me by calling me "whore" and I refer to him as "homo" on a regular basis. It's just a thing we do and neither of us are offended because it's done out of affection. See? There is that line I was talking about.

I make friends easily. I consider everyone as friendly until I am proven otherwise. I don't subscribe to the idea that someone has to earn my friendship first. All they have to do is prove that my faith in them is warranted and be friendly back. If you have any intimate knowledge of my formative years growing up, you know how remarkable this character trait in me really is. I have been known to help people out regardless if I have known them long or met them in person. I am there for anyone I feel is in need and within my circle of friends (again it's a large circle). If I give you my phone number to use for texts or calls, you know you are someone I do not feel even remotely threatened by. It also means you have permission to use that number at any time, day or night, without worry. I know you are not out to ruin my life, marriage, family, etc. You are someone I think is pretty awesome. Maybe you just make me laugh or will send me a text when I am feeling out of sorts. Hey, maybe I think you need, or will need me in the future. I have talked nearly perfect strangers off a ledge, so to speak, when they feel like their lives are falling apart around them.

Okay enough background about me. I'll get to the point.

Today was a prime example of how many of my friendships work, be it with male or female friends. Yes, I said female. My girlfriends and I make lesbian jokes or toss sexual innuendos at each other. Try not to die from the shock. Anyway, there were messages sent back and forth riddled with innuendo and jokes. The usual fare and definitely the stuff that makes me want to pee my pants laughing, all in good fun. This is a newer friendship so this person hasn't quite gotten to really know me yet and I think they are a little afraid of offending me or giving the wrong impression. At any rate, they apologized for being pervy. Now I am a very difficult person to shock or rattle, but this took me aback a bit. I didn't want my friend to feel uncomfortable or that they were making me feel uncomfortable. If someone crosses a boundary, I always let them know. I am pretty straightforward and have little problem finding my voice if I need to. I am not afraid. I learned to not live in fear when I was very young. It has served me well.

To me, being a true pervert is someone that does thing to hurt others against their will, like sticking them in a well and lowering a basket with lotion in it. Another example would be peeping in a window at night while masturbating, basically violating the person without their knowledge. Sexual predators are perverts. They are out to overpower and hurt their victims. Joking around with a friend and lacing those jokes with winks and nudges is about as far from pervy as you can get. It's friendly banter and something that amuses me to no end. I take none of the jokes to heart nor do I think that a friend that is joking around in this manner is doing it out of a desire seduce me into their bed. It's just adults being silly and acting like kids. We all have to act like kids sometimes or else we'd be crushed under the pressures of adulthood.

I sometimes wonder if society has spent too much time dividing the sexes or dictating what is proper and acceptable. Why can't men and women enjoy an easygoing friendship with all the ribbing and teasing that goes along with it? He shouldn't feel he has to treat me any differently then he'd treat one of his guy friends. Okay, maybe he'd have to help me lift heavy items when helping me move but he shouldn't have to edit his personality to try to be more palatable to me. Why should he have felt the need to apologize to me, if I was dishing it all back at him...jab for jab? It seems silly. I should be able to be friends with guys (and girls) without someone thinking I am sleeping with them or that I am trying to bed them.

 I feel we all have our own moral compass and we should all listen to that compass, be guided by it, and screw what those outsiders (society) think. I am not a perfect angel but honestly, who is? (Leave Mother Teresa out of this. Not a fair example. lol) Regardless of my obvious flaws, I am a good person that would never do anything to hurt anyone, intentionally. I am giving and kind. Morally, I might not be up to the standards of the nuns that tried to control how my personality developed, but I think I have done pretty well following my own feelings and ideals.

Yes this was long but this is my blog and sometimes I just have to sort through my thoughts here, no matter how incomplete or disjointed they are. Deal with it. <3 p="">

Yours Truly was on a Podcast

I had the good fortune of being asked to be a guest on the GameEnthus podcast. I will admit I was very nervous since I had only done a handful of other podcasts, some a little on the stuffy side, but the crew at GameEnthus are my type of people.

Aaron, Mike, Tiny and Big Rob made me feel right at home though after listening to it I realized that A. I meant to say South American Horned Frog and B. I really do sound like a young girl. No wonder guys online tell me to come back when my balls drop. *snicker*

I really enjoyed the relaxed way they handled the cast. Basically, we sat around and just chatted, like you would do with friends on a Friday night. It ran the gamut from games to stabbings to movies. Sure some of the early conversation was edited out but that was more of a "get to know you" part of the cast you wouldn't have wanted to hear anyway.

I hope to get the opportunity to do it again. Heck, I'd love to be a regular guest on their podcast. The guys are really amazing and hysterically funny. Maybe someday we will all be at the same place, at the same time, and we really can sit around and b.s. together like friends...face to face.

Here's the link. Go listen and be sure to give these guys your support.

GameEnthus Podcast Episode 138


Now I had better get busy on BioShock 2: Minerva's Den DLC. I have slacked off. I have been engrossed with Dead Island: Riptide.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Yet More BioShock 2



I beat the game, finally, and started on the DLC - Minerva's Den. I had planned on typing this up a few days ago but in light of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, it didn't seem prudent to do so.

BioShock 2, what am I going to do with you?  The story's end was fairly predictable though I am still not sure if Dr. Lamb was my ex-wife or if she was a "baby mama". At any rate, she has your daughter, Eleanor, kidnapped and brings her to Rapture. She is experimenting Eleanor to create this "Utopian being" and Eleanor is a "Little Sister" all grown up, well as grown up as she could be. I'd guess her to be in her late teens.

So you decide to find her and somehow discover Rapture. The guess what happens? You are forced into the "Big Daddy" program and become a Big Daddy. At some point, Eleanor is taken from you and you become aware...aware enough to want to go find Eleanor.

Long story short, Eleanor really is your daughter and Dr. Lamb tries to kill you, repeatedly. How it all ends exactly depends upon some decisions you made within the game. Since I spared those that did not attack me  or where I was given a choice, Eleanor spares her mother death by drowning and saves her. I also chose to rescue the Little Sisters so they were available to help Eleanor and I escape from Rapture. Ultimately I am fatally injured trying to escape and die. Eleanor basically finishes me off by drawing out my Adam and saving it to keep me with her always. Yeah, just a little creepy.

It was a decent game and challenging but the story was too predictable. I had figured out I was Eleanor's real daddy as soon as I heard the recording about traveling to Rapture to find my daughter. I really would have liked to have wandered under the sea in a more, like I could do in areas of Rapture.

It really was a decent game but it could have been more epic. I think having to revisit Rapture after the first BioShock really killed the awe and wonder of this title. And the multiplayer? Yeah that could have, and should have, been skipped. It was unbalanced and completely annoying from the start. I tried playing it when it came out and detested it. Sorry but that was a bad move by Irrational Games.

Oh well, off to Minerva's Den.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Still on BioShock 2



I have finally reached the point in the game where I had stopped playing, out of sheer boredom. I think I have the ending all figured out already, to some degree. I, the Big Daddy, was a real father of one of the Little Sisters...most likely Eleanor. My daughter had been kidnapped while playing near the ocean and I hijacked a sub and found Rapture all on my own. Aren't I special? Once I reached Rapture, I was a threat so I was used in the Big Daddy experiments/development and made into a Big Daddy.

Anyway, I am now facing new enemies that are rather annoying, almost as annoying as the Houdini Splicers: the Alpha Daddies. These suckers will show up when I place a Little Sister next to a body to gather Adam. So now I am fighting the onslaught of Splicers and one Big Daddy that is near to my strength. Now the upside to these guys, they can keep the Big Sisters busy from time to time. A Big Sister appeared (predictably) after I had rescued the final Little Sister on a level and there happened to be an Alpha Daddy coming towards me too. While they fought it out, I took them out. I don't think this was meant to happen but it worked out for me.

I have noticed a few programming issues. Nothing major or game breaking though. Once I entered a room with a Gather's Garden and there was a gift from my group of rescued Little Sisters. I picked it up. When I left the room  the voice over told me there was a gift waiting for me at the Gather's Garden. Ummm no...I already got that, but okay.

I am beginning to enjoy the game a little more and it will say it is a heck of a lot harder than BioShock Infinite when it comes to combat. In Infinite, I never had that anxiety over what was waiting around the corner for me. The only enemy that caused me any significant issue were the impossible Handymen and those were few and far between. With the first BioShock and this sequel, I am continually anxious about what might be hiding behind that door I need to go through. Battles are chaotic and sometimes overwhelming. I have died more often just trying to kill another Big Daddy that I died my entire playthrough on Infinite.

I am not sure how many more hours I have before I reach the end of BioShock 2 but I am glad I picked it back up. Maybe after this I'll finish Fallout 3.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Backlog Gaming: BioShock 2

I said I would plow through my backlog of games and I never go back on a promise. I started playing BioShock 2 last night. Don't look so shocked, I never finished the game.

Let me explain; I never finished BioShock 2 because I was less than impressed by it. I got bored and wandered off. I played BioShock and loved every scary, freaky, dark, demented moment of it. So when BioShock 2 was launched I was super excited, like piddle on the floor excited...then I started playing it.

It felt like an expansion, not a whole new game. Sure you were a Big Daddy this time (not as cool as it sounds honestly) and the story was different but I think because I was still wandering around the limited pace of Rapture, it just felt like a rehashing of the same ole game.

Now that BioShock Infinite has been released and yes, I completed it, I felt I needed to revisit BioShock 2. To give it another chance as it were and so far...this game is hard. I have died multiple times already and it's always due to other Big Daddies or those stupidly overpowered Big Sisters. I am only playing on Normal too. Lord have mercy on my blood pressure if I were playing on Hard. I will get through this though.

The graphics are just as appealing as they were when it was released and I do enjoy the twisted stories you find along the way through the various recordings. Being able to walk around outside Rapture, in the ocean, is a nice touch though they could have made it a little more "open world" and not so "here is the only path and you must go that way". I wander off inside Rapture all the time looking for hidden goodies and I would have liked to have done that in the ocean.

Oh and have I ever mentioned how much I detest escort missions? I'd rather wear a suit of poison ivy than do escort missions and BioShock 2 has so many escort missions it makes me want to punch someone, anyone. By escort missions I am referring to the need to protect those darling Little Sisters while they suck Adam out of dead bodies. *sigh* I will get through this too, I swear.

I have yet to make it back to the point in the game when I stopped playing. That will take a few more hours I am sure. I am combing the remains of Rapture for all the hidden secrets so that maybe, just maybe, I won't have to come back.