I’m excited; the sun is out, spring is here and March brings a slew of video games to various different consoles including Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider, both of which I’m dying to play.
Tomb Raider … ah Lara’s adventures have always held a special place in my heart, mainly because it was one of the first games I played on PC, back in the day. Similarly, I had a deep love for the Bioshock games because of the strength of the story lines and the power of the emotive choices you have to make.
When I was a wee little thing stories in gaming were basic and simple: Sonic has to get the Chaos Emeralds to stop Doctor Whatshisname; Mario has to save the princess; the Princess will get married in an hour unless the Prince can get to her in time. Over the years and the decades, however, story has slowly become as important as the graphics and now, in the twenty first century, gaming is slowing becoming something where you don’t just play, you choose and thus shape the journey of the protagonist.
This was, of course, particularly noticeable in games like Bioshock where you had to choose whether to save or harvest little girls. Children, even ones transformed into little monsters, are always a slippery point in gaming … what kind of person would harm them? I admit on the first play through of games like Bioshock, Dishonored, Fable or Skyrim, I will try to do the right thing, I will save innocents and walk the righteous path. The next play through? Well it’s no holes barred I’m afraid.
Tomb Raider is one game which interests me because it sees the forging of a young British teen into a strong, capable woman. It’s a powerful story of transformation and a fitting reboot for one of the gaming industries most beloved heroines. I admit, I’ve not played it yet but I want to. I love the idea of sandbox island with tombs and adventure, with frankly creepy death scenes (including one where Lara is skewered through the throat … /shudder) but also a strong story. One of the parts reviews have focused on is Lara’s choice to take a life for the first time; she has to make a choice which we make through her: live or die, fall or rise and become stronger for it.
Similarly Bioshock Infinite, which takes place on the floating island of Colombia rather than the sunken city of Rapture, has been a long time coming and, through protagonist Booker DeWitt, we gain access to a strange city where religion and steampunk is alive and well. He has to rescue a spunky young woman named Elizabeth who has a set of mysterious powers which enable her to break down the barriers of time and space. From previews, Booker’s reasons for rescuing her are anything but selfless, there’s talk of ‘old debts’ and by bringing Elizabeth down from Columbia, those scores will be wiped out. You just know that his reasons are going to become a central theme in what looks to be an awesome game.
My only question is: how the heck am I going to get any sleep this month with all these games coming out?