Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis – I Don’t Know Why It’s Called That…

Long time readers will know that I’m on a quest… one of the slowest burning quests in history maybe, but a quest none-the-less… to play all the Jurassic Park* games out there. So far I have played ‘some of them‘, But hey, who’s keeping track? I’ve sampled a good variety, including PnC, platform, FPS, and, whatever the heck you classify the DOS one as, but I’ve yet to try a park builder, which is where Operation Genesis comes in.

I’d been keeping my eyes vaguely open for a copy of JP:OG for a while now, but with my recent retro-gaming kick I happened to spot a copy of the PlayStation 2 version going at the same little online shop where I picked up a GameCube so I decided to give it a shot.

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Somewhere Beneath the Sea: Bioshock 2

Warning! Contain Spoilers for Bioshock 2 and the DLC ‘Minerva’s Den’

The City of Rapture is easily one of my favourite game settings. That art-deco undersea metropolis not only provides a unique backdrop for some fine first-person horror, but is inexorably linked to the plot through the vision of Andrew Ryan, its in-game conceptual architect. I like this setting so much that I’ve revisited Bioshock several times in the past few years, and replayed Bioshock Infinite an equal number of times to justify replaying the ‘Burial at Sea’ DLC in order to get back to the vistas of Rapture.

However, until earlier this year, I had never completed Bioshock 2. There was a failed attempt to play it a few years ago which petered out a couple of hours in and left me generally poorly disposed to this oft overlooked child in the Bioshock Trilogy. I think there were key barriers to me wanting to pick it up again. Firstly, without the original team at the helm, I wondered just how good that sequel outing under the sea would really be, and secondly, I didn’t want to play as a Big Daddy. Sure, they make a great imposing ingame element, but the lumbering sections imitating a Daddy towards the end of the first game certainly didn’t warm me to the concept. Plus there is an undoubted emphasis on melee combat, something that I tend to avoid in first person titles, which I ultimately ignored in favour of firearms. That being said, the draw of rapture is strong, and one of the biggest plus points about leaky-corridor-simulator 2 is that there is indeed more Rapture to discover here. So, I hung up my misgivings, greased myself up, and slid in to an oversized diving suit to give it another shot.

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In Favour of Old School Open World: My Own Brand of Hot Beverage

At some point over the past year, I played two seemingly unconnected games: The first was Red Dead Redemption 2, courtesy of a loaned PS4, and the second was the re-release of Knights of the Old Republic on Switch. Superficially there doesn’t seem to be much connecting them, aside from each carrying a useful and thankfully short acronym to assist in blogging, however both are… at least at the time of their original release… considered to be ‘Open World Games’. Both allow the player to freely explore the game world, both present a core narrative to follow whilst allowing for optional side-quests ,and both contain RPG elements such as character progression, trading, and building a supporting team of NPC puppets. The main difference of course is that RDR2 was released some 15 years after KotOR (Dang, those are convenient acronyms).

… And at this point I guess I should give a little more flavour as to why I chose to play these games. RDR2 was a no-brainer once a PS4 had arrived in the house; I love a rooting-tooting wild west romp, and RDR2 is about as rooty-tooty-rompy as wild west games get. By contrast, I’m a fairly average on the Star-Wars-Fan-O-Meter and my turn offs include turn based combat. But it was on sale, and I’d heard good things, so I decided to pick it up.

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