Art Attack has really enjoyed our new video game reviewer role because, well, who wouldn't? A return to the forefront of the gaming industry after being content to wander around a few system generations back is exhilarating, and for the first time in many years we're actually sitting on the edge of our seat for new releases.
Someone asked us what game we were most looking forward to in 2012, and right now we're torn between two upcoming releases, the long awaited BioShock Infinite and Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock. Which one will pleasantly consume our soul?
Our readers will recognize our long love affair with BioShock, though not with BioShock 2 since that game's policy towards the colorblind is "Go Fuck Yourself." Whatever, we still watched playthroughs on YouTube so we could at least experience the fantastic story, amazing look and pretty much everything that made the series the landmark institution that it is today.
We do think that Irrational Games is making a wise decision by not continuing the storyline of the underwater city of Rapture any more, and instead going even further back into the past (1912) where a flying city called Columbia has its own civil war over ultra-nationalism. The Rapture story was done with, and it's time to move on.
We've always loved the concept of airships, what Final Fantasy fan doesn't? Taking that concept up to 11 with an entire city compounds our excitement by quite a bit. Plus, we're just as afraid of falling as we are of drowning so the bright, airy setting is actually just as terrifying for us as the oppressive Neptunian home of the first two games.
It's nice to have a first-person character with some personality as well. The tendency of most first-person games is to keep the characters silent so as to better allow the players to place themselves within the story. That's fine, it's certainly worked with everything from Doom to Portal, but it didn't hurt Duke Nukem any to give your hero some snazzy lines.
BioShock Infinite puts your in the place of Booker DeWitt, a hard-boiled Pinkerton agent trying to rescue a woman named Elizabeth. Having seen the some of the first ten minutes of the game, we can tell you that DeWitt's running commentary and interaction with other characters is a definite plus, though we'll have to see if it becomes a little annoying during actual gameplay.
The only thing that we're worried about is the impression of near infinite space that the trailer seems to hint at. We're not a sandbox gamer, and the vast number of options is one of the few things that we have against Batman: Arkham City over Asylum. Rapture was a place you could wrap your head around, and getting lost was unlikely. Somehow, Infinite appears more confusing, but we're willing to deal with that just to spend a little more time genetically altering ourselves while blowing away cybernetic madmen.
By contrast, we have no idea what to expect from Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock. Until recently, the one giant, gaping hole in our geek knowledge was that we'd never seen a single episode of Doctor Who. Now the Wife With One F and we have jumped into the modern series with both feet, and every minute we're not writing or she's not studying we immerse ourselves in the show until we pass out from exhaustion.
There actually have already been a few Doctor Who games. Dalek Attack for computers in 1992 comes embarrassingly to mind. Remember the old poem "Casey at the Bat?" Well, in this case Dalek Attack is Casey and the ball that Casey strikes out on is the point. Rather than solving problems using wit, non-violence, and a hand-held deus ex machine, the Doctor just zooms around on a platform firing lasers at people... and he has infinite health so really, what's the point.
Mazes in Time got it right a bit better, and there's a free MMORPG game from Sega has been announced as well. The one we're betting on though is the Eternity Clock from Supermassive games which will be coming to PS3 and PC maybe as early as February. Details are light, and the trailer shows no gameplay, but supposedly it involves solving puzzles across time periods, something we haven't really seen since Chrono Trigger and maybe a little bit of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
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Right now our interest in mainly due to our sudden discovery of all things Doctor Who, but the acclaimed television series hasn't ever turned out a major video game adaptation of any note that we're aware of. Here's to hoping that someone really captures the atmosphere this time around.
So, which to pick? BioShock Infinite with its solid reputation for gaming excellence but potentially overloading world, or the Eternity Clock while we're in the throes of geek euphoria but with a much shakier game history behind it? We're really looking forward to BioShock switching its cautionary tale from Randian ideals to patriotic extremism, something that is likely going to be very relevant as we're treated to America: The Television Show through November.
On the other hand, we're missing Portal a lot, and a series of puzzles in time with an entertaining duo maybe the best we can do since as far as we know nothing about a third entry in the series has been announced.
Daleks vs. the new winged Big Daddies, sonic screwdriver vs. the ability to shoot lighting and crows at people, time travel of weird parallel history? We can't decide, but we promise to bring you our takes on the when they come out in 2012.