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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Resident Evil 3: The Resident Evil 3 Perspective

This Article Contains Spoilers… likely for both the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (’99) and the 2020 Remake. You have been warned!

Late to the party as ever I’ve been in a bit of a Resident Evil hankering type of mood recently; which is not a mood I’m unfamiliar with. So whilst everyone with a PS5 or beefy enough PC to handle it has been exploring a certain Village, I finally got around to picking up and playing last year’s big Resi-offering; the remake of Resident Evil 3. Sitting as a direct sequel to the previous years remake of Resident Evil 2, the REMake3 (yes, I’m going with that shorthand) is mechanically and visually very similar to its predecessor but offers something quite different in the gameplay department.

Now, honestly I finally put the REMake3 down a couple of weeks ago, but I really wanted to digest the game that I’d just played through twice in a row, something virtually unheard of for me, before I publicly spoke about it. Eventually I settled on doing pretty much what I did with the RE2Make and sidestep all the regular review nonsense that so many other have covered to consider how it compares to he source material; in short, is the REMake3 a good remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (’99)?

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Overwatch: POTG Luck

I’d be lying if I said that my recent interest in Overwatch wasn’t a hankering for some of the ‘Good ol’ Days’ I spent hanging around TF2 servers. In recent years, my online FPS playing has been a gentle mix of squad based co-op and the unavoidable Battle Royale invasion, but those days of chipping away or digging in against the desert backdrop of Dustbowl have never really been matched in terms of smooth and direct team based combat. Enter the super-new and latest release of “Overwatch”… erm… ok, so I’m late to the party here, but in my defence it was only a few weeks ago that there was a free Overwatch event on Switch which meant that I finally decided to try Blizzard’s class based team shooter. The hours I spent with it that week, and the subsequent attractive sale price, coerced me in to dipping in to my PayPal funds to spring for it.

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The Official Hundstrasse Top 5 of 2019: It’s Been a Weird Year

With the 18th of December upon us it’s time to sit back and take stock of the games I’ve played this year to pick a top 5. Long time followers will know that my own ‘Top 5 of the Year‘ is picked from a list of games that I’ve played for the first time this year rather than necessarily being released in 2019. This self-imposed rule set has thinned out my choices this year because, if nothing else, 2019 was characterised for me by retro-revisitings, or specifically the original Resident Evil 2.

My desire to revisit the original before taking on the remake led to an interest in the obscure unreleased games in the series, the different versions of the 2nd game, an overdue exploration of the director’s cut of the original and Code: Veronica, along with that self-designed marathon to really fully explore and rediscover the game that is responsible for such a big part of my gaming enthusiasm today. Couple this with the rediscovery of my PS2 games collection that involved replaying games such as TimeSplitters2, SSX3, and Silent Hill 2, and maybe it’s clear why my ‘New’ games played this year list is so small. It only totals 20 games compared to the 44 of 2018.

… and that’s not even considering personal events that have reduced my gameplay time somewhat….  Continue reading “The Official Hundstrasse Top 5 of 2019: It’s Been a Weird Year”

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Workin’ 9 ’til: 5 Games The Feel Like Work… in a Good Way…

It’s a well known fact… I assume… that humans like doing things… ok, this is what happens when I try to come up with a powerful opening statement. I’ll rephrase that. I like doing things. Or more accurately I like the satisfying feeling you get from a task well done, and let’s face it there is a good chunk of the games industry out there … Continue reading Workin’ 9 ’til: 5 Games The Feel Like Work… in a Good Way…

Gaming of the Dead: What Would George A. Romero Think?

A few weeks ago I had a hankering to revisit the films of the late, great, George A. Romero; specifically his two Zombie masterpieces: ‘Night of the Living Dead’ (1968) and ‘Dawn of the Dead’ (1978). I have very few film buff credentials (being more of a casual absorber of the silver screen), but even I know that these two films arguably defined the zombie genre cementing Romero in history as the undisputed zombie master. They created lore, established tropes, and even their production carried some legendary stories such as Romero himself grabbing the reels as soon as editing on NotLD finished and scouting movie theatres for somewhere that would agree to screen it.

Sadly Romero passed away in 2017. It wasn’t only a loss for the world of cinema, but for the gaming world too. At the time I reflected that every zombie themed game could trace its roots to the work of Romero, either directly or indirectly. My own teenage interest in Resident Evil 2 led me to his films and, whilst to the outside observer his work could be dismissed as decadent gore for the sake of it, the themes he set up are what makes the zombie genre (and zombie apocalypse) so grotesquely captivating. Having revisited the films, it seems like a good moment to stack up how the gentle torrent of zombie themed games that erupted in the 90’s stacks up against Romero’s original work; in short, are we playing the zombie apocalypse in the way George A. Romero imagined it? Continue reading “Gaming of the Dead: What Would George A. Romero Think?”

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Editorial: September – An Announcement

No Blog Posts, No Tweets, No Random Sonic the Hedgehog Doodles… I bet you’re all wondering what’s going on over here at Hundstrasse.com??  Well, the good news is that I’m writing this now so there’s no need to keep fiddling with the rabbit ears on top of your set; not that analogue TV has been a ‘thing’ for years now, nor do I have a … Continue reading Editorial: September – An Announcement

Quake VR: Queasy…

Valve’s: The Lab is still my go to VR demo for anyone wanting to give that ol’ headset their first go. Taking a playful sandbox approach to VR-ing it introduces new users to the concepts of VR in a polished and intuitive way; warp movement, picking things up, firing a bow and arrow – yes, all the core part of VR are there!

My favourite part of ‘The Lab’ however is still the Portal themed robot maintenance bay; a short linear demo with very few interactive elements that astounds me every time I give it a shot. It’s the virtual transportation in to the world of Portal that blows me away. Coming face to face with the beautifully intricate Atlas or that moment when GlaDOS drops in to view – the immersion and the sense of scale are awesome, and for a fan of the source material it gives me chills every time. It’s the same reason that for a long time my Steam VR home was the Team Fortress 2 theme, the chance to be beamed directly in to your favourite game universe is too much to pass up. Continue reading “Quake VR: Queasy…”

Google Stadia: Game Breaking or Game Changing

Google made some controversial splashing in the gaming world recently by announcing the Google Stadia and being the ultra-switched-on-mile-a-minute person that I am…. it kinda passed me by. I think I have a certain noise filter when it comes to gaming news and promises of live-streaming have been the right amount of hyped and disappointing over the years for me to mentally file it under “Meh”. This morning’s commute however saw it crop up on my twitter feed a few more times and I decided to take a look at the details.  Continue reading “Google Stadia: Game Breaking or Game Changing”