Tag Archives: bioshock infinite

Bioshock Collection review

It’s hard to imagine that 9 years ago I got to experience Rapture for the first time. I had no idea what lay ahead, but the Bioshock series would become one of my all time favourites. The Bioshock Collection would let me experience the magic all over again.

Bioshock, Bioshock 2 and Bioshock Infinite have had the remaster treatment, giving fans of the series a chance to start all over, while giving a new generation of gamers a chance to find out what all the fuss was about. For the purpose of this review we’ll assume Bioshock is new to you, if you’ve played them before, you’ll enjoy it all over again.

In Bioshock you play as Jack who gets involved in a unfortunate plane crash, thankfully he survives and manages to swim to safety – the lighthouse he swims to leads him to Rapture, an underwater city built by businessman Andrew Ryan. Something isn’t right though, as it’s population has discovered ADAM, a genetic material which can be used to grant superhuman powers. To survive Jack has to fight his way through ADAM obsessed enemies, including the iconic Big Daddies.

bioshockcollection1You’ll get to make use of the plasmids that can stun enemies with electricity, set people alight with fire and even alter minds to get help. There are also physical weapons to help you through too. Bioshock gives you the chance to be stealthy, offering an alternative route through some scenarios, it always feels tense and still makes me jump all these years later. The combat is tough at times, but once you learn to manage your plasmids effectively you can become quite the menace.

Being the oldest title of the three, Bioshock has received the most attention, and it looks fabulous. Rapture is an Art Deco utopia, a and if it wasn’t for the screwed up population would have been an amazing place to reside. It’s still a pleasure to explore the city, even more so now the frame rate has been improved.

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Bioshock comes with some great additional content, first up are the challenge rooms. These challenges have nothing to do with the main game but involve puzzle solving to fulfil the requirements of the challenge. The Museum is a fascinating insight into the minds of the development team, showing ideas that were created, but never made it into the game in their original form. Finally as you play through the game you’ll discover reels that unlock Director’s commentary.

Bioshock 2 makes plenty of improvements to Bioshock’s gunplay, giving you the ability to dual wield plasmids being the main draw. Despite being built by a different studio under a new creative leader the story is excellent and experiencing a different side to Rapture is well worth your time.

The game is set 8 years after Bioshock and despite a slow start is another excellent title. For the first time you actually get to play as a big daddy, adding an new element to the gameplay. The extra content that comes with a Bioshock 2 includes the Minerva’s Den DLC and the protector trials, a game mode that has you protecting Little Sisters. The multiplayer component of the game didn’t make it over, which was a shame because it was actually pretty good fun to play.

bioshockcollection3Bioshock Infinite got given a really hard time by the press when it was released. It was the first of the three that felt most like a shooter and was also the only game with its head in the clouds, literally. Although the ending felt like a bit of a cop out, the world of Columbia was a delight to explore. Infinite adds a whole new element to its gunplay. ThecSky Rails that form a transfer network around the city gives Booker the chance to attack enemies from the Sky, with Elizabeth’s support you get to take on some amazing enemies. Infinite has to be the goriest of the collection too.

With Infinite being the youngest of the three it gets the least, if any amount of work on it in terms of the graphics. Again, Infinite comes with all the DLC, including the brilliant ‘Burial at Sea’ add-on.

If you haven’t played any of the games before, then the collection is well worth spending time with. Coming in at around £40, you are getting three games with a massive amount of add-on content. All of the games look fantastic and despite some performance dips, most noticeably in Bioshock 2 this really is a package worth picking up.

Trial and Error Gameplay

The phrase “Trial and Error” is often used to criticise a game, but on a very basic level, isn’t that what video games are all about?
In this video, I’m going to look at the different ways Trial and Error can be used in games, the respective impact they can have and why it is shouldn’t be “removed”.

Deals with Gold

As revealed on Major Nelson’s Blog, this weeks Deals with Gold are now available, check out the tables below and bag yourself a bargain!

Xbox One

Content Title Content Type Discount %
Far Cry 4 Xbox One Game 45%
Far Cry 4 Gold Edition  Xbox One Game 40%
Far Cry 4 Season Pass Add-On 33%
Assassin’s Creed Unity Xbox One Game 45%

Xbox 360

Content Title Content Type Discount %
Call of Duty: Black Ops Games On Demand 75%
Call of Duty 2 Games On Demand 50%
Call of Duty Classic Arcade 33%
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Games On Demand 60%
Far Cry 3 Games On Demand 50%
Far Cry 4 Games On Demand 45%
Far Cry 4 Season Pass Add-On 33%
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon  Arcade 75%
Double Dragon Neon Arcade 75%
Bioshock Infinite Season Pass* Add-On 50%
Bioshock Infinite Burial at Sea Ep 1* Add-On 50%
Bioshock Infinite Burial at Sea Ep 2 (1 of 2)* Add-On 50%

Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider and Rayman to join Games with Gold

Although it hasn’t been officially announced, reports suggest that Xbox Gold members will be getting their hands in Bioshock Infinite & Tomb Raider on the Xbox 360 and Rayman Legends on the Xbox One as part of the Games with Gold promotion.

The info was revealed on one of Microsoft’s internal sites and NeoGAF managed to get hold of the info. 

Other details included the fact that over 100m games have been downloaded since the promotion began and to celebrate Microsoft will be giving away double the free games in April.

I’ve played both Bioshock and Tomb Raider, but they were also two of my favourite games on the 360 and I haven’t got Rayman so it’s a good month for me! What do you think of the lineup?

What makes a good “Twist”?

Given the content of this article, it should be clear from the get go that this is going to be a spoiler heavy article. I’ll be sure to mention the name of a particular game IN BOLD before giving away it’s twists to give enough time for you to hit the emergency close button should it need to be utilised.

Everyone loves a good twist right? A turn in the tale that nobody (save a few smart alecs) saw coming. If I were to pose you the question of “what are your favorite gaming moments?” I’m sure that there would be a few good twists in there. The same can be said of TV shows and movies.

Like all good things however, they can turn sour when used too much. Both the first Saw movie and The Sixth Sense had big twist endings that were very popular. So in an attempt to recapture that particular lightning in a bottle, the rest of the Saw series, plus a lot of M. Night Shyamalan’s later movies, followed in suit with big shocking reveals in the final reel. However, they were usually criticised for feeling forced, unnecessary and simply being a twist for the sake of a twist.

This brings up a few questions: What makes a good twist? Are there set rules or parameters to follow?

Lets take a look at one of my favorite twists (from one of my favorite games) of all time as a case study. STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC. You play as a simple soldier in the republic who eventually becomes a Jedi. Your masters marvel at your skills and you’re set out on a mission to save the galaxy. So far so basic. Just past the halfway point, however, you come face to face with Darth Malak, the enemy of the game, who reveals that you are actually Darth Revan, the evil Sith ruler whom people have been talking about the entire game and was thought to have died years ago but has had their memory wiped and their connection to the force severed.

Knights of the old RepublicA massive twist you didn’t see coming? Sure. However, simply being unexpected isn’t enough to leave a lasting impression. Learning about your past changes the way you look at everything. You can start the game form the beginning and see characters reacting differently and what their hidden agenda could be. I even started behaving differently, why shouldn’t I? I’m not some nameless Jedi anymore still trying to find their way in the galaxy, I’m Motherloving Darth Revan, the Sith Lord who single-handedly brought a galaxy to it’s knees!

There is a slight parallel between KOTOR and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in the impact their respective twists have on the story. Upon learning each twist, you almost expect, or at least wouldn’t be surprised if the hero should suddenly decide to turn evil, either to take revenge on the Jedi masters trying to manipulate you or to join your once thought dead Daddy to rule the galaxy together. Hell, an alternate ending to Return of the Jedi was going to have Luke putting on his father’s helmet and assuming the role of Sith Lord. The best of twists aren’t just pieces of information withheld from the audience, they affect perceptions and viewpoints.

Lets move even further from video-games for one moment. Look at GAME OF THRONES. The reasons I love the twists in this series so much is that they almost act like tonal check-points. No matter what happens, no matter what you’re told, you’re always expecting the same thing to happen right? Ned Stark would weed out the corruption, Cersei Lannister would be killed/driven from King’s Landing and the good guys would win. Which of course doesn’t happen. Though even after Ned gets a sudden pain in the neck, you expect the Starks to rise up against the Lannisters and avenge him. Of course they would, that’s essentially what the show is about now, right?….. right?

Time and time again these twists in the tale keep cropping up to remind us that no, this is not how the world of Westoros works. Simply being good isn’t a protector from evil. It forces you to view the show and it’s characters differently and realise that the unwritten rules you were previously following don’t apply here.

My point is that the twist has to be more than a nice decoration to hang on the wall, it fundamentally changes your viewpoint, maybe even your character. Going back to KOTOR, I had one friend who choose the light side, then changed their mind after realising they were already a Sith Lord. Even I, goody two-shoes whom I always play as, found myself yelling “I’m Darth Revan, watch your tongue or I’ll pull it out” at stupid Sith disciples trying to hassle me on Korriban.

Conversely, I’m always a little surprised when people talk about how great the twists in BIOSHOCK INFINITE, and to a lesser extent, BIOSHOCK are. I simply don’t understand the realisation that Elizabeth is your daughter and you also being Comstock are such shocks to the system. Unexpected, sure, though I just found myself shrugging, saying “Oh, OK sure”. I would actually argue that having Booker find out about Comstock earlier may have actually added more weight to the story and give Comstock some necessary presence, as he mostly comes off as just another bad-guy. No need for hype and drama, Booker could have just been informed of it earlier.Comstock_Statue

Bringing it up as a huge twist at the end simply didn’t accomplish as much. What does it add to the narrative? What does it change? For me it only brought up questions; why doesn’t Booker remember having a daughter? Wouldn’t seeing a girl with half a pinky missing be an obvious clue? While I’m sure that some flowchart, audio log or a convenient case of memory loss easily explains away a lot of the plot holes, that just feels more like a plaster added to remedy the problem later.

Woops, this is starting to sound more like a rant on Bioshock, wasn’t intentional I swear! The point I was trying to make is that the twists in Bioshock Infinite don’t really seem to change anything. At the end of the day, they don’t matter. Like in THE VILLAGE when it turns out that they are living in the present day as opposed to 200 years ago, who cares? Even in Bioshock, does realising that you’re Andrew Ryan’s son really matter? Sure, learning about Atlas’ deception is interesting, although I’d like to bring up a side note at this point; “hypnosis” in and of itself is not a twist, it’s a cheap device. This was also an issue I had with the ending of OLDBOY, whenever they need something explained, they wave it away with hypnosis.

Playing Bioshock a second time and hearing “Would you kindly” is certainly quite fun and the way it interacts with the level design is well done as you literally have no choice in the matter, but at the end of the day, it’s still hypnosis and as such is quite cheap.

It may be strange to call out convenient memory loss and hypnosis when just a few paragraphs ago I held up KOTOR’s twist as a prime example of a twist which essentially consists of both these things, which I suppose is a fair point. I was all set to write an arbitrary list of rules that twists must follow, but I suppose the most important rule has already been stated; for a twist to be effective, it must change our view of the characters, the world, the setting or all of the above. Otherwise, you’re just telling us stuff we didn’t know.

Look, I get it, twists are fun. They get us talking and they leave a lasting impression, but it’s hard not to feel that after a while it has almost becomes a money grubbing, bean counting tactic to gain publicity. CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE had a jaw droppingTeamplayer_shepherd_magnum twist in it’s nuke scene and the reaction was so positive that for it’s sequel CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 2, they had even more, bigger twists, even when they made no sense in terms of story or design. Sure, wait until after an intense battle sequence before having the General suddenly show his true colors and murder you after AN HOUR OF PLAYING THE SAME SEQUENCE OVER AND OVER AGAIN I HATE THIS LEVEL!

Ahem, sorry. To conclude, a ground shaking twist is not a means to an end. Like everything else in your arsenal, it’s a tool. A tool to be used, or not, to the best of your abilities, to best tell your story, whatever it may be. Oh, and by the way, Rosebud was his sled.

Bioshock Infinite: Burial At Sea Episode 2 Out Now

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode Two is available starting today.  Check out this launch trailer to get a glimpse of the final episode of the Burial at Sea saga and the conclusion of BioShock Infinite. See the world through the eyes of Elizabeth, as she continues her journey through Rapture in a film noir-style story that provides players with a different perspective on the BioShock universe. This add-on pack is also included in the BioShock Infinite Season Pass.

Kevin Levine said of this final piece of DLC for Bioshock Infinite:

“I think the work the team did on this final chapter speaks for itself. We built something that is larger in scope and length, and at the same time put the player in Elizabeth’s shoes. This required overhauling the experience to make the player see the world and approach problems as Elizabeth would: leveraging stealth, mechanical insight, new weapons and tactics. The inclusion of a separate 1998 Mode demands the player complete the experience without any lethal action. BioShock fans are going to plotz.”

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1 DLC Dated Nov 12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC3ZNnuXuio

2K has today dated the BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1 DLC (the second add-on content pack) for download on November 12th.

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1, developed by Irrational Games, the studio behind the original BioShock and BioShock Infinite, features Rapture as you’ve never seen it before—a shining jewel at the bottom of the ocean, built almost entirely from scratch in the BioShock Infinite game engine. Join Booker and Elizabeth in a film noir-style story that places them in a shining, pristine Rapture on the eve of its fall from grace. Explore the underwater city, try your hand at a grift or two, and even encounter some old “friends” from the original BioShock.

The combat experience has been rebalanced and reworked with a greater emphasis on stealth and resource management that merges the best parts of BioShock and BioShock Infinite. It includes a new weapon, an old favorite weapon from the original BioShock, the return of the weapon wheel, a new Plasmid, new Gear, and Tears.

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode 1 will be available via online marketplaces on all participating platforms starting November 12th, and can be purchased separately for £9.99, or as part of the BioShock Infinite Season Pass.

BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds DLC Out Now

2K and Irrational Games has today announced that BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds DLC is available for download worldwide starting today for 400 Microsoft Points on Xbox LIVE.

BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds, developed by Irrational Games, is an action-focused downloadable content pack that presents players with a series of unique, intense challenges and a whole new gambit of combat opportunities. Players will combine a diverse toolset of weapons, Vigors, gear, Tears and Sky-Lines in four new areas inspired by the classic BioShock Infinite environments. In addition, by completing all 60 Blue Ribbon challenges, players will unlock exclusives in the Columbian Archeological Society, gaining access to new Voxophones, Kinetoscopes, concept art and more.

Also in development at Irrational Games, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – a two-part add-on campaign featuring an all-new story for Booker and Elizabeth, set in the underwater city of Rapture before its fall. These two campaigns will be available individually for £9.99 (1200 Microsoft Points), and are also included as part of the BioShock Infinite Season Pass.

The BioShock Infinite Season Pass is available now for £15.99 (1600 Microsoft Points) and includes all three pieces of add-on content, as well as the Early Bird Special Pack, which includes powerful weapon upgrades, exclusive gold weapon skins and infusion bottles to upgrade abilities.

Bioshock Infinite Review

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In 2007, 2K and 2K Boston shocked the world with an excellent and well received game known as Bioshock. The game being something of a spiritual successor to System Shock 2, adopting its survival horror-esque style of pacing that Ken Levine is now known for ensured that Bioshock would be a huge title in fan’s memories for years to come. A game that is so well made and so well written, where every character becomes something of an embedded memory no matter how small their role was sure to be a huge hit; and it was. The elder lords at 2K then felt that the game’s popularity warranted a sequel or two, or four (yes, we are eventually going to end up with five Bioshock games, maybe more). Bioshock 2 and Bioshock 3 were then shortly announced.  2K Boston decided to skip development of the second so that they may have ample time to come up with something truly creative and unique for Bioshock 3 much like they did with the beautiful world of Rapture in Bioshock. 2K Marin were given mantle for Bioshock 2 and it fell flat. It was still set in Rapture but it failed to capture the glitz and glamour of the original. It also had that tacked on multiplayer mode that was outsourced to other developers that you see in games these days. With Bioshock 2 being something of a disappointment, could Bioshock 3 really live up to legend that was created with the original?

Enter 2K Boston who are now known as Irrational Games with one hell of an announcement. Bioshock 3 would now be known as Bioshock: Infinite, and that’s not all that’s different. Underwater cities are a thing of the past, Rapture is no more. Welcome to Columbia, a city that floats in the sky hundreds of miles above America. In the year 1912 where American exceptionalism has become the norm and racial constraints still have their hooks deeply set in society. This was something of a huge gamble for Irrational Games. As far as almost anyone is concerned, Rapture is Bioshock, and changing the setting could’ve been met with much chagrin. From the depths of the ocean to the cloudy sky, they pulled it off exceptionally well. From the cotton candy stands, to the carnival outposts showing off the world’s latest technology, to the newsies standing on a bale of hay selling the newspaper, there really is an ‘old-timey’ American type feel. Bioshock 1 and Infinite set two very different tones. Where Bioshock goes for doom and gloom, Infinite goes for sunshine and rainbows. Those sounds lame, but hear me out. Imagine Rapture before the events of the first game, imagine what It would like if it was a thriving city that was floating in the sky.

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The positive bright tone of Columbia may not last forever, as you might find out. The city has a seedy underbelly. It is ruled by a tyrant with an iron fist known as Zachary Hale Comstock. But get this, everybody loves him. Even going as far as to hail him the one true prophet. The entire city is brainwashed into thinking that he is the prophet, and his seed is the lamb that will one day sit on the throne. But a false prophet would lead the lamb astray. You are that false prophet, Booker DeWitt. A former agent of the Pinkerton National Defence Agency. It was never gone into detail just what Pinkerton was about, but it was some kind of shady security detail, definitely not a noble career path. After the events of The Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890, DeWitt had become something of a drunken gambling addicted scab. He drove himself into so much debt that he had to go on a mission to absolve it. “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt”. Those are the words that echo as you make your way to Columbia.

The girl who will erase the debt, also known as the lamb, is Elizabeth. This is where we can delve into the gameplay a little bit. Elizabeth is a 17 year old girl that has been kept captive all of her life inside of a statue. She is a well-read genius and is extremely artistic. She is the companion throughout this game. Unlike other games, she is not an annoying companion. In fact, I’ve never had a companion or AI controlled partner be this helpful before. Elizabeth saved my bacon more times than I care to count by chucking me lifesaving health packs, tonics, and ammo. Elizabeth is really where the game has committed its most successful triumph. You find yourself actually caring about Elizabeth, wanting to get her out of Columbia so that she can live a normal life. It helps that she is not just a female that was thrown in for the sake of a pair of breasts on screen. She is actually the most interesting part of the narrative and enriches the story tenfold. Ah yes, she also has the ability to open tears in the space-time continuum. But we’ll get into that a bit more later on.

1912 is not exactly a positive time in American history. As you will see plastered all over the game. Racist propaganda is littered all over the streets of Columbia. You’re introduced to this facet of the city almost immediately as you win a raffle. Your prize, you get to be the first to throw a baseball at a black and Irish interracial couple. This kind of subject matter may be a little touchy for some, but it does wonders in showing just the kind of evil mindset that Comstock is using to indoctrinate the citizens of Columbia. One of the most harrowing moments of the game sees you fly over a slave camp watching black and Chinese workers sing their troubles away. It could be seen as social commentary as segregation is a part of this highly religious world. Religion plays a huge role in the game. Every solitary citizen of Columbia is driven by a prophecy that has been seen by Zachary Comstock. But there are those that don’t believe in the prophecy.

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Revolution and rebellion have become synonymous with Bioshock, and Infinite turned out to be no different. The faction that opposes Comstock and his flock are known as the Vox Populi. A ragtag group of blacks, Chinese, and Irish that believe racial equality is the key to harmonizing the world. They will stop at nothing to rid Columbia of Comstock and they become a huge part of DeWitt and Elizabeth’s adventure.

Bioshock Infinite’s gameplay is a tough cookie to crack, in terms of talking about it. There isn’t anything in the way of exciting new mechanics; it’s quite basic at its core. But there is nothing negative to be said about it. The right trigger shoots bullets, the left uses Vigor (This iteration’s plasmids). It all works as smooth as anything and can’t be spoken ill of.  Being able to select two vigors at once is a nice addition. There’s nothing I love more than flinging a murder of crows at an enemy, then electrocuting them to death. Some things have carried over, such as electrocuting a puddle eviscerating anyone who dare get their feet wet. Throwing a ball of fire at an oil spill will set it alight. There is also a water type vigor which could be used in combination with the electric vigor to give the same affect. But the water vigor gives has more of a ‘Fus Ro Dah’ type impact, so I just used it to fling enemies off the edge of Columbia and watch them fall. Essentially, combat in the game is familiar, yet different. Using all that’s great in the original, and adding a bit of extra spice to it.

Here I am talking about what is the same when there is one huge difference. Infinite has its own kind of monorail system known as a ‘Skyline’. You have a sort of hook device strapped to your left arm that enables you to ride them.  It’s like a rollercoaster ride that you control. They can be used as quick getaways, a new way to shoot a foe, or even a creative way to get to some hidden areas. Enemies can also ride them, and the Handymen will even jump on and electrocute them, so beware.

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Handymen are the new Big Daddy, plain and simple. What with Infinite being a ‘sort-of’ prequel, one could even argue that a Handyman is some sort of prototype that precedes the Big Daddy. But they are definitely tougher to take down than a Big Daddy. Their only weak point being the heart, and the massive amount of damage it takes for them to go down means that you will give off an exasperated sigh every time you encounter one. Other new enemy types are the mechanised Patriots, robots that have the head of former US president George Washington. They are a lot easier to take down. Simple fire off a shock vigor and run around to their back which is their weak point. That covers pretty much all the special enemy types without giving away spoilers.

Bioshock Infinite is an enchanting tale of prophecies, corrupt kingdoms, unlikely heroes, rebellious revolutions, and a yearning for freedom. But for all that the game has to offer in terms of story; it is Elizabeth that rises above all. Her tale of captivity and then new found freedom is truly heart-warming.  The first moments after freeing her from captivity will put a smile on your face, as you watch her really enjoying life for the first time. You almost don’t want to pull her away from it to advance to the next part of the story. I’ve never seen a character made this way before, with no battle prowess whatsoever, yet not so timid that she’s completely useless. Her ability to scavenge for money, health and tonics is one of her most useful aspects. Lest we forget about her ability to cause tears in the space-time continuum so that she can bring helpful items into your world such as turrets and the like. You feel that DeWitt and Elizabeth truly have a unique relationship; they completely depend on one another. I don’t think I’ve seen character development this good in any game before.

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I had a really tough time deciding whether I preferred Bioshock, or Bioshock Infinite. I feel that no matter how beautifully made Columbia is, Rapture is the better setting. The dark and dreary backdrop makes for a much more tentative experience. I much preferred the enemies in the original; Splicers are definitely more troubling than fighting plain old God fearing humans. The supporting cast in the original is also far better in my opinion. Atlas, Andrew Ryan, and Sander Cohen are a testament to that fact. But that just puts the games on equal footing to me. With Bioshock being the psychological thriller, and Bioshock Infinite being the more story driven epic. Because that’s what you’ll be playing this game for, the amazing story. But that’s enough comparing the two, both games are amazing and almost up to par with each other.

Bioshock Infinite is the best game so far this year without a doubt. That isn’t said lightly, with Tomb Raider absolutely blowing our minds earlier on in the year. The gameplay is solid and cannot be complained about. Controls are smooth and easy to handle. Story driven character development makes this a gem for the ages. A 12-15 hour campaign also makes this one of the longer AAA games over the past year, and with more DLC to come, it can only get better. We at ThisisXbox are a spoiler free community, but as for the ending, the only word that we will speak is… ‘wow’

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