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"Challenge Room" DLC Doesn't Follow BioShock's Strengths

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the waiting-on-bioshock-III-arena dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 41

Kotaku took a look at the "Challenge Room" downloadable content for the PS3 version of BioShock. They came to the conclusion that while the combat is entertaining, it doesn't have the same focus on the story that made BioShock such a good game. Quoting: "What's really bothering me is the lack of fiction. I'm not asking for a new ending or a tacked-on chapter that somehow changes the fantastic story of BioShock — why fix something that isn't broken, right? It's just that what made BioShock special was the story. Oh, sure, the graphics were spiffy, the art style was cool and the game really does play well (not too glitchy or difficult to manage). But to me, BioShock without its story is like a Twinkie without its filling — still somewhat tasty, but hollow and far less satisfying."

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Read Atlas Shrugged (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693003)

Go to the source of their story.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (5, Insightful)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693073)

Bioshock ITSELF was written better than that pap. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693125)

I hear you. Ayn Rand thought the way to tell her philosophy was to set up straw men, then have the ubermench that embodies her philosophy rant for five pages to knock them down.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693183)

Liberals really hate Atlas Shrugged, generally because it shows how their so called "Care" for others is really selfishness and a desire to abuse others....

So, they always bash atlas shrugged whenever they see it mentioned.

Ask yourself this: If liberals are telling you not to read a book, doesn't that tell you something about how anti-intellectual liberals really are?

I've never once seen a response that presented a counter argument or reason against the arguments made in Atlas Shrugged.

They all seem to just call it names, or call Ayn Rand names.

That should tell you something.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (3, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693227)

Um, a book being horribly written is a reason not to read it and get a summary from somewhere else instead.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (5, Funny)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694091)

Here's a good summary. [angryflower.com]

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25702473)

I love Bob. I love him for his anger, I love him for his evil monsters, but most of all for his Ur-Quan cartoons.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (3, Interesting)

Mensurationist (700539) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693347)

There are no arguments in AS, regardless of what the Randroids claim. Making sock puppets spout tripe is not making arguments.

It's great reading though; you can play skinny-bingo.

1) Give yourself 5 points when a skinny or well-formed character tells you something that Rand wants you to agree with. Give yourself another 5 points when a fat or formless character tells you something that Rand wants you to disagree with.

2) Count up at the end.

3) Profit!

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (3, Interesting)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693325)

Eh, there's a good story buried in there. There's a movie version scheduled for next year, and apparently the people involved understand that the book has serious flaws they need to work around. Here's a case where Hollywood adaptation might actually improve the story.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 5 years ago | (#25699991)

"There's a movie version scheduled for next year, and apparently the people involved understand that the book has serious flaws they need to work around."

Such as that the economy is currently imploding because Rand's prescription was taken too seriously, yes.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (2, Informative)

WDot (1286728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694633)

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_contests_index [aynrand.org]

To be absolutely fair, the Ayn Rand Institute gives tens of thousands of dollars to students each year in essay contests where you write about Ayn Rand's books. I don't know about you, but for $10,000 I'd absolutely LOVE Atlas Shrugged. =p

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (1)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695639)

To be absolutely fair, the Ayn Rand Institute gives tens of thousands of dollars to students each year in essay contests where you write about Ayn Rand's books. I don't know about you, but for $10,000 I'd absolutely LOVE Atlas Shrugged.

Yeah, but that assumes that you actually have something to say that the Ayn Rand Institute would want to hear. I thought of entering the contest one year when The Fountainhead was the novel of choice. After making it about half way through that book, with its paper-thin, straw-men characters, I realized that I would not fall into that category.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (1)

WDot (1286728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696765)

I think her books are ridiculous as well, but if someone was feeling mercenary they could choke their way through it and BS their way to the prize. After competing in a lot of essay contests, I've learned it's not the most well-written essay that wins, it's the one that says what the judges want to hear.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (1)

Khurath (1132397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25705927)

So in other words, may the best objectivist win ; )

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 5 years ago | (#25697701)

But wait, wouldn't that mean they were relying on others to give a defense or commentary on their own chosen literary field? Maybe they should stop being social parasites, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and do it themselves! :)

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (2, Funny)

ravenshrike (808508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25695577)

No it wasn't. There were more plotholes in that game than Star Wars. The most glaringly obvious being that all forms of economies require expansion in their very nature because without expansion even the most heavily regulated economies become nothing more than a slow multi-generational death. Therefore, anybody creating a 'capitalist paradise' would account for such phenomenon and place his paradise accordingly. Which means that first things first, Bioshock would have been set in space.

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (2, Funny)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25696807)

Oh! And they could have an evil artificial intelligence that caused the problems instead of sea slug goo!

Re:Read Atlas Shrugged (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25697491)

The most glaringly obvious being that all forms of economies require expansion in their very nature because without expansion even the most heavily regulated economies become nothing more than a slow multi-generational death.

Only if every member of the economy becomes more productive over time, and demands that all others do so as well. In that case, yes, you have to reach infinity or die trying.

Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (4, Interesting)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693091)

I recently gave in and finally gave Bioshock a go. To give me some gaming cred, my favourite games include, amongst others, Quake III, Civilization 2, Oblivion, Deus Ex, STALKER, XCOM, Half Life (1, not 2), Goldeneye, Grand Prix 2, Total Annihilation and Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. In other words, if the game is good I don't care if it's a shooter, strategy game, adventure game, whatever.

I had heard that this was "the best game of all time", "revolutionary", etc etc ad nauseum, so I had high expectations. Those expectations were not met. Not even close. This is not the best game of all time. In fact, it's not even the best game of the year it was released.

Graphics - generally good, sometimes, a bit clunky looking (full detail, running smoothly at 1280x1024), occasionally amazing (some of the water effects, in particular).

Story - interesting for a while, but pretty one-dimensional. Man tries to build perfect civilization. Man fails. Yes, I know there are twists.

Style - unquestionably incredible. I am a big fan of art deco and art nouveau, and I thought the actual art design in the game was stunning. The creepy 1920s-30s music, the architecture, the weird statues and sculptures, this stuff is all amazing.

So what's wrong with it? The gameplay stinks. Really, really, really stinks. Splicers are all virtually identical. Big Daddies are all identical. The game is utterly linear, and plays like a glorified version of Wolf3D in the sense that it's all about "go here to get this key to open this door to get this key to open that door" and so on. As amazing as the art design is, the level design and gameplay are uninspired.

But all of that would be forgivable if the actual combat was any good. Instead, it is pathetically dismal. The weapons feel clunky and are difficult to aim and use. The enemies basically either run straight at you or straight away from you. Fighting Big Daddies is a ridiculous grind of run... zap... shoot... run... The actual magic... er, sorry, nano-... sorry, "plasmid" powers are boring and generic, and the 'customization' adds nothing of note.

It's not scary. It's not clever. It's amazing looking, stylish, boring, so imprecise it feels like it's on rails, and repetitive. COD4 had similarly stunning graphics, but at least it's gameplay was addictively, compellingly fun. It is also clearly not a 'spiritual successor' to System Shock 2 - the closest to that has to be Deus Ex 1. It obviously had a great marketing campaign, but I'd be happy to never hear about it again.

End rant. I just love PC gaming, and I hate for this to be held out as a great PC game. If you believe this to be true, for god's sake go and play a patched up version of STALKER to see the kind of thing you're missing.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (2, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693203)

Splicers are all virtually identical. Big Daddies are all identical. The game is utterly linear, and plays like a glorified version of Wolf3D in the sense that it's all about "go here to get this key to open this door to get this key to open that door" and so on. As amazing as the art design is, the level design and gameplay are uninspired.

Goldeneye and HL1 - two of your favorite games - are *precisely* like this. Both games are utterly linear, devoid of any way for the player to affect the plot (both are worse than Bioshock in this manner), and both games feature hordes of identical enemies.

for god's sake go and play a patched up version of STALKER to see the kind of thing you're missing.

Ugh, STALKER was tripe. It's a glorified MMOG without the online, and without the social fun-ness. Beyond the myriad of technical failings, the game was pointless meandering just like Oblivion, except that at least in Oblivion enemy mobs don't respawn 5 seconds after you turn your back. The mechanics are stale, the setting was cool, but ultimately its unashamedly RPG-esque elements really do a lot to pull you out of the immersiveness of the world. Not a horrible game, but certainly nothing too noteworthy, not even close to GOTY material. STALKER is best served as a guide for future open-world FPS developers as a case study of the whole being more than the sum of a game's parts.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (3, Informative)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693369)

Goldeneye and HL1 - two of your favorite games - are *precisely* like this. Both games are utterly linear, devoid of any way for the player to affect the plot (both are worse than Bioshock in this manner), and both games feature hordes of identical enemies.

Ah yes, but let's look at them.

Goldeneye:
- extremely wide variety of interesting levels
- excellent and fun to use weapons
- unique slow-movement pace
- phenomenally good controls and combat mechanics
- one of the best multiplayer console games ever made in terms of both skill required and fun
- character I actually like and care about

This game was primarily included on my list for its multiplayer.

Half Life:
- groundbreaking (at the time) level of story and variety for a FPS
- interesting and unique storyline
- superb combat mechanics
- relatively intelligent enemy AI (many games are still worse)

Ugh, STALKER was tripe. It's a glorified MMOG without the online, and without the social fun-ness. Beyond the myriad of technical failings, the game was pointless meandering just like Oblivion, except that at least in Oblivion enemy mobs don't respawn 5 seconds after you turn your back. The mechanics are stale, the setting was cool, but ultimately its unashamedly RPG-esque elements really do a lot to pull you out of the immersiveness of the world. Not a horrible game, but certainly nothing too noteworthy, not even close to GOTY material. STALKER is best served as a guide for future open-world FPS developers as a case study of the whole being more than the sum of a game's parts.

If you think STALKER was "tripe" then you are hardly worth arguing with. Or perhaps you have no imagination - it is far and away the scariest and most atmospheric game I've played. Oh, and enemies don't "respawn" in STALKER (except in certain plot-critical situations where it is worked into the game seamlessly, e.g. guys arriving in a helicopter) - go and google "A-Life".

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (2, Interesting)

tibman (623933) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693743)

I second the Half-Life1 AI being good. Many games today still don't measure up to it.. that was 1998! It was mostly the squad behavior that made it so good.. though i've read that wasn't programmed in. Each entity acted on it's own.. any appearance of teamwork was emergent behavior.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (1)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25702001)

as far as the AI goes, the one in Army of two (xbox360) is really good. And I'm usually really picky on the game AI. Really convincing: they duck behind obstacle, corners, windows; they pin you down with suppression fire and come behind you, they know when to throw a grenade at you and generally keep you on your toes.

Also, something I love, the AI is not cheating like there is not tomorrow. I didn't see any suspicious behaviour (or I was completely fooled which really doesn't matter as long as the game is good). And for it being a shooter (I prefer RPG and RTS/TBS) it's really enjoyable.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (1)

FrozenFOXX (1048276) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712207)

Thank you, I'm glad me and my wife aren't the only people that found lovable things in Army of Two. The AI in it really was very impressive from the perspective of a player, it really did feel very organic and real how they would pin you, flank you, and seem to know exactly how to hit you when you were trying to save your teammate. Good times.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (0, Troll)

Mr. Tom Guycot (1298343) | more than 5 years ago | (#25697943)

If you think STALKER was "tripe" then you are hardly worth arguing with.

If you think BioShock was "tripe" then you are hardly worth arguing with.

Wow, that IS an easy way to win a discussion!

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693415)

In defense of Half Life, even though you faced hordes of identical enemies, I think that there were numerous situations where the terrain in which you faced them made a big difference. Four HECU soldiers in an open field were easy to manage. Four HECU soldiers in a well-fortified position are a lot harder. And Half Life explored a variety of different fortified positions. (It also gave you an opportunity to fight soldiers with lighter cover so that it was easy to see the difference that the terrain made.)

By contrast, Splicers in BioShock did not seem to make much use of the terrain. As the GP suggested, they frequently just run at you or run away from you.

I happen to enjoy both games, but for different reasons. Half Life was a much better game, but BioShock was a somewhat better experience. I ADORE Black Mesa, but the range of environments that could convincingly be found there was limited.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (2, Interesting)

Xiroth (917768) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693419)

The massive strength of Bioshock's gameplay was the variety of approaches you could take to the combat. I played on hard, so direct combat with just about anything got me dead pretty quickly. My style essentially evolved into a massive amount of trap laying - barrels, mines, turrets, drone cameras, the works. I found the final boss ridiculously easy with this style - just set up some massive explosive trap areas, lead him in and bye-bye boss.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (3, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693509)

It is also clearly not a 'spiritual successor' to System Shock 2 - the closest to that has to be Deus Ex 1.

I'd be interested to know what you thought was good about SS2 that bioshock didn't accomplish. I mean the gameplay is linear in the same way as is Bioshock's (work hard to open up a level, and then you can roam at will), the Bioshock monsters are pretty much a 1:1 mapping from SS2 with the splicers showing IMHO a bit more visual and auditory variety than the Many from SS2. Even the big daddies have a SS2 counterpart in the rumblers. The splicing is about the same as the cybernetic modules from SS2, the weapons upgrade mechanism is about the same.

It also kept details like the audio dairies and the ghosts, a rich cast of characters (most of whose corpses you eventually find). There's also the motif of a cental all-controlling intelligence. Really - what was it about SS2 that you liked that wasn't in Bioshock?

The enemies basically either run straight at you or straight away from you

I dunno, maybe you need to play it a higher difficulty level or something. The leadheads move and circle strafe when I play. The nitro splicers hide, ambush, and hide again. The spider splicers hide on the ceiling and change between melee and ranged attacks. The houdinis teleport for heaven's sake. You sure you're playing the same game as the rest of us?

I just love PC gaming, and I hate for this to be held out as a great PC game

It was all right. Like you say, I loved the style and the setting, and it was nice to see the SS2 ideas given another spin, even if they couldn't use the name. However, the thing that raised it from "OK" to "great" in my opinion, was the brain candy involved. The examination of Objectivism, its strengths and failings. And at the end of the day, you're left to draw your own conclusions, Did rapture fail because Ryan found an adversary of equal talent in the person of Fontaine? Or was the flaw inherent in the economic system he established? Or was it in Ryan himself when he abandoned his principles rather than yeild control?

I'm sorry you didn't like it, but any game that can make me ask questions like that is going to end up on my all time favourite list.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (2, Insightful)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25704159)

I'd be interested to know what you thought was good about SS2 that bioshock didn't accomplish. I mean the gameplay is
linear in the same way as is Bioshock's (work hard to open up a level, and then you can roam at will),

Each place in SS2 had its own distinct feel: some places you had to (re)visit to get upgrades, to buy certain things, to heal, whatever. Some places were creepy, some were dangerous, some were fairly safe.

Moreover, the rather brilliant level design meant that shortcuts opened as the game progressed, so you weren't backtracking long distances but simply revisiting earlier levels that were now easily reachable from almost anywhere.

Contrast this to Bioshock: you visit each location exactly once, and despite the beautiful graphics, there is no difference in *experience* between them: the level of threat is identical everywhere.

In SS2 you make choices: which skills, which weapons, where to go and what to do. Bioshock is a series of levers you need to pull in order, and then you reach the end.

You are right that Bioshock allows you to roam at will. There is just no reason for doing so.

the Bioshock monsters are pretty much a 1:1 mapping from SS2 with the splicers showing IMHO a bit more visual and auditory variety
than the Many from SS2. Even the big daddies have a SS2 counterpart in the rumblers.

The enemies in SS2 are *creepy*: the cyborg midwives with their "must protect eggs", the protocol droids who were apologizing as they came up to kill you, etc.

It is not so much about the number or the variety, it is about character. SS2 had plenty of that, and Bioshock not so much. The big daddy / little sister thing was really overrated by the game designers, in my opinion. Certainly the dynamic never really worked for me, but maybe that's just me.

The splicing is about the same
as the cybernetic modules from SS2, the weapons upgrade mechanism is about the same.

No it is not. In SS2 you made real choices, you couldn't change your mind five times without any consequence. In Bioshock you pretty much can.

It also kept details like the audio dairies and the ghosts, a rich cast of characters (most of whose corpses you
eventually find).

You do? How would you know? I only recall a very small number of recognizable corpses. Not that it matters, I never recognized anybody in SS2 either.

There's also the motif of a cental all-controlling intelligence. Really - what was it about SS2
that you liked that wasn't in Bioshock?

In Bioshock you are on rails, moving from one end to the other. I never went into a bar just to drink a beer, only to shoot the place up and remove any splicers that might be present. Same with every other place I visited. What is the purpose of the tram system (you know, with the submarines) if you never go back to an earlier level anyway?

And once you start seeing it that way, the illusion drops away and the game is revealed to be "House of the Dead" with better graphics and a pretentious storyline.

[...] the thing that raised it from "OK" to "great" in my
opinion, was the brain candy involved. The examination of Objectivism, its strengths and failings.
And at the end of the day, you're left to draw your own conclusions, Did rapture fail because Ryan
found an adversary of equal talent in the person of Fontaine?
Or was the flaw inherent in the economic system he established? Or was it in Ryan himself
when he abandoned his principles rather than yeild control?

I would add the question "why would you care about this while you are following the rails?"

Oh, and for the record: I did like it, but it felt like it could it could have been so much more. And in the end, it didn't really leave a lasting impression.

Bioshock is pretty cool (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25711223)

Each place in SS2 had its own distinct feel

Most certainly. I just don't understand why don't the same is true of bioshock. Look at what you have:

  • There's the jaded socialites and mad cosmetic surgeons of the first level
  • The blue collar grit of Neptune's Bounty
  • The pleasure resort gone to hell in Arcadia
  • Art meets madness in Fort Frolic; Hephaestus as a temple to 50's mad science, with some lovely creepy bits with the corpses, to say nothing of the meeting with Andrew Ryan
  • Crushing poverty and squalor in Apollo Square
  • And the way OTT creepiness of Point Promethius. From the way they make a Big Daddy to the rooms they use to condtion the Little Sisters to imprint on the Daddies over their own mothers.

It's not often a game leaves me feeling genuinely angry at in-game characters, but Bioshock managed it twice there. Once with Point Promethius, and earlier when I realised how Sander Cohen was making his statues. But that's beside the point. The point is that the tone of the levels is different from SS2, certainty, but I wouldn't have said it was in any way inferior.

some places you had to (re)visit to get upgrades, to buy certain things, to heal, whatever. Some places were creepy, some were dangerous, some were fairly safe.

Yeah. Like when I returned to the Medical Pavilion to make some safe case and stock up on first aid kits after running dry in Arcadia. Later I returned to Arcadia to get components for anti-personnel pistol rounds and electric gel, becuase it was safer there. I've also returned to Neptune's Bounty to take photo's of Rosies, and Arciadia to research Houdini Splicers.

I'm beginning to think you never game this game a proper chance.

In SS2 you make choices: which skills, which weapons, where to go and what to do

Pfft. Yes, there was a high initial cost to open a line of skills. That stopped you from developing all of them on any one run through. Certainly, I'd have welcomed something similar in Bioshock, but I can't say its absence ruined the game for me. As for places to go - how many places in SS2 where they that presented you with an either/or choice? As far as I can recall, you could roam the entire ship, as far as you'd unlocked up, up until just before the end in the Body of the Many.

Maybe you're remembering SS2 as better than it was?

The enemies in SS2 are *creepy*: the cyborg midwives with their "must protect eggs", the protocol droids who were apologizing as they came up to kill you, etc.

It is not so much about the number or the variety, it is about character. SS2 had plenty of that, and Bioshock not so much

I think bioshock did pretty well for characterisation of the enemies. It jsut didn't weld the personalities on to attack types like SS2 did. So you get the society harridans "I\m better than you, you worthless parasite!"; you get the street tough types "You think I'm dumb, is that it? Su-u-u-re, why not? You keep thinking that"; you get the unwilling, working class conscripts: "Don't you judge me! I do what I'm told. If I don't find you, they'll kill me. Why not make it easier for both of us?"

I'm not denying the creepiness of the midwives in SS2, but some of the splicers made my blood run just as cold.

It also kept details like the audio dairies and the ghosts, a rich cast of characters (most of whose corpses you eventually find).

You do? How would you know? I only recall a very small number of recognizable corpses. Not that it matters, I never recognized anybody in SS2 either.

As a rule of thumb, if you find a corpse carrying a message tape, it's because they taped the message, but died before they could leave it anywhere. It's most obvious with the shoe designer lady impaled outside Ryan's office. McDonagh's final message is there too, also attached to an impaled corpse. The other obvious one is Jasmine Jolene, of course. But there are others. The two distraught parents who gave their daughter over to Fontaine's Little Sister's orphanage and then recognise little Marsha on the streets? You find their final message on two corpses who died in one another's arms, surrounded by booze and pills in a back room somewhere. It's clearly a suicide pact. Ryan's security chief talks about how he left Culpepper dead in her bathtub, and sure enough, that's where you find her. Diane McClintok, spurned by Ryan, gives herself to Atlas only to overhear one of Fontein's private memoirs - you find the tape on her corpse, too. Oh, and Suchong turns up dead in his apartment with a bouncer's drill through his chest. The diary entry on the corpse tells how he struck a little sister in frustration when the imprinting process didn't seem to be working. I'm sure there are others I can't remember.

Like I say, I don't think you gave this game an entirely fair chance.

I would add the question "why would you care about this while you are following the rails?"

Well, first of all, it's not a rail shooter. Secondly, it's not a rail shooter. Thirdly, it's still not a rail shooter. A little hyperbole is one thing, but you really shouldn't pose arguments based on your own obvious exaggeration.

Furthermore, it's no more or less linear that SS2, which you clearly admire. Would Bioshock have been less linear if, in order to unlock an area in Hepaestus, you needed to go back to Neptune's Bounty and retrieve a previously inaccessible key? I think not. Any game that tells a story is necessarily going to have a degree of linearity

I did like it, but it felt like it could it could have been so much more.

It could have been better in some respects, certainly. The "I did like it" part isn't coming across, at all. :)

And in the end, it didn't really leave a lasting impression.

Mmmm? You could have fooled me. It sounds to me as if it made a very strong negative impression.

One last point, I'll take out of order, if I may:

I never went into a bar just to drink a beer, only to shoot the place up and remove any splicers that might be present.

I never did that in SS2, either. For one thing, there was no one to talk to, and all drinking the booze did was lower your Psi points.

What I did do in SS2, and in Bioshock too, was go back to previous level just to wander round a bit, because I thought that, in both cases, they were so well designed.

But still, it's the big ideas behind the story that really make the game for me. I can imagine that some fans of Ayn Rand are going to find it objectionable, since it takes a less than entirely admiring look at Objectivism. All the same, it remains the most interesting game I've played this year, and it's going to take more than deriding it as a rail shooter to change my mind on that score.

Re:Bioshock is pretty cool (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25717795)

Each place in SS2 had its own distinct feel

Most certainly. I just don't understand why don't the same is true of bioshock.

Because they are all just backdrops to the combat, and the combat does not vary much (if at all) over the course of the game.

Art meets madness in Fort Frolic

That was an outstanding level, in my opinion, and certainly the most memorable part of the entire game.

It's not often a game leaves me feeling genuinely angry at in-game characters,
but Bioshock managed it twice there. Once with Point Promethius, and earlier when
I realised how Sander Cohen was making his statues. But that's beside the point. The point is that the tone of the levels is different from SS2, certainty, but I wouldn't have said it was in any way inferior.

Obviously it had a deeper emotional impact with you than it did with me. Some things that would have improved it for me:

- fewer resources. Basically you have too much of everything. I never went back to earlier levels to scrounge for resources, I could always find enough of everything in my current location.

- more variation in the threat level. The experience would be more memorable if you had a few safe areas, some very dangerous areas, and maybe a friend here or there.

- an inventory. Don't let me carry everything at once, make me choose what I need.

Yeah. Like when I returned to the Medical Pavilion to make some safe case and stock up on first aid kits after running dry in Arcadia. Later I returned to Arcadia to get components for anti-personnel pistol rounds and electric gel, becuase it was safer there. I've also returned to Neptune's Bounty to take photo's of Rosies, and Arciadia to research Houdini Splicers.

Did you really run out of things? It seemed to me there was really no end to the amount of stuff the game showered you with.

I'm beginning to think you never game this game a proper chance.

Believe me, I did. I loved the beginning, and the first few levels. I thought Fort Frolic was utterly brilliant, as was the scene where you finally meet Ryan.

And the rest? It just blurred out, more of the same, uninspired run and gun gameplay. I was never gripped by the story of the battle between Fontaine / Atlas and Ryan, and the fate of the city never really touched me.

Pfft. Yes, there was a high initial cost to open a line of skills. That stopped you from developing all of them on any one run through. Certainly, I'd have welcomed something similar in Bioshock, but I can't say its absence ruined the game for me. As for places to go - how many places in SS2 where they that presented you with an either/or choice? As far as I can recall, you could roam the entire ship, as far as you'd unlocked up, up until just before the end in the Body of the Many.

Maybe you're remembering SS2 as better than it was?

I play it once every two years or so, so I think I'm entitled to my opinion here ;-)

Furthermore, it's no more or less linear that SS2, which you clearly admire. Would Bioshock have been less linear if,
in order to unlock an area in Hepaestus, you needed to go back to Neptune's Bounty and retrieve a previously
inaccessible key? I think not. Any game that tells a story is necessarily going to have a degree of linearity

That is true. But in creating the game this way, every area essentially becomes a throw-away experience: you come in, kill everything, and leave, never to return again. That makes it very, very hard to attach a certain emotion or experience to an area.

If you come back to an area, either through choice or because the game asks this of you, you have an idea of what to expect from it, and feel an appropriate emotion to go with it. In that sense the respawning of enemies in SS2 is a vital component of that game: without it, each deck would be empty and therefore devoid of any emotion after you had gone through.

In SS2 I hate (well, love, really ;-) ) the long corridor to the cargo holds, and the cargo holds themselves, because they are such frightening places. I also love the serenity of the long corridor at the very bottom of the ship (after you clear all the enemies out it stays quiet).

I regularly revisit the upgrade stations near the start, because for most of the game they are easily accessible using the elevator. I also research every enemy I can get my hands on, but that sometimes means backtracking to faraway store rooms in dangerous locations. But that's a choice: I don't actually _have_ to do that.

I did like it, but it felt like it could it could have been so much more.

It could have been better in some respects, certainly. The "I did like it" part isn't coming across, at all. :)

No, I mean it: I really did like it. But more variation in pacing and threat level, and stronger limits on your resources, would have made the game more memorable, I think. That's just it: I cannot remember anything that happened after encountering Ryan, it's all just a blur of running through corridors and shooting things.

One last point, I'll take out of order, if I may:

I never went into a bar just to drink a beer, only to shoot the place up and remove any splicers that might be present

I never did that in SS2, either. For one thing, there was no one to talk to, and all drinking the booze did was lower your Psi points.

What I did do in SS2, and in Bioshock too, was go back to previous level just to wander round a bit, because I thought
that, in both cases, they were so well designed.

Heh, I knew that comment would come back to me ;-) I know you cannot do that in SS2, but I just like to wander around the Von Braun and soak up the ambience. But I never did that in Bioshock.

In that sense I would rate Bioshock maybe more the spiritual successor to Half Life, rather than SS2.

But still, it's the big ideas behind the story that really make the game for me. I can imagine that some fans of Ayn Rand are
going to find it objectionable, since it takes a less than entirely admiring look at Objectivism. All the same, it remains
the most interesting game I've played this year, and it's going to take more than deriding it as a rail shooter to change my
mind on that score.

Oh please, the last thing I want to do is decrease the value of your experience. You like it, that's great. I liked it as well, but I got bored with endless shooting and hacking towards the end.

I'll try playing it again some time next year, see how it has aged. Some game remain fun on later run-throughs, maybe Bioshock is one of those.

For what it's worth... (1)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 5 years ago | (#25861289)

I play it once every two years or so, so I think I'm entitled to my opinion here ;-)

... and indeed, even if you didn't :)

For what it's worth, I dug out my copy of SS2 the other day. I'm currently about halfway through the hydroponics deck, and I can see you point a lot more clearly. There's a lot more detail to the simulation; Bioshock seems a bit simplistic in comparison.

That said, from some of the articles I'd read about Bioshock, I was expecting some level of dumbing down, so I was really quite relieved to find they'd made a reasonable attempt at an SS2 play-alike.

Although, on balance, I think I'm glad I didn't run through SS2 first to get in mood

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (1)

biscuitlover (1306893) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693777)

I think you're right that the gameplay itself wasn't especially memorable - there are quite a few of FPS games out there that are just more plain fun.

But where I think Bioshock really stood out was in its level of immersion. It's a hard quality to put your finger on - some games have it, some don't - but for many people, myself included, it's one of the major selling points of any game I want to play.

Some games have an atmosphere so tangible that they are enjoyed despite the fact that the gameplay often isn't much to write home about. Bioshock, in some respects, was more comparable to a movie than a typical game at times, and while I didn't find the gameplay as addictive or satisfying as the likes of FPS classics like Half Life or Goldeneye, I was so absorbed by the atmosphere and the story that I didn't really even think about it. I just wanted to know what happened next.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25694011)

How is STALKER doing? I removed it from my PC about a year ago because it was just too buggy. There were some mods that made it look amazing and I'd pick it back up in a heartbeat if the bugs have been fixed or significantly reduced.

And about Bioshock's one-dimensional story, you do remember there were a dozen or so characters with a story of their own throughout the game, on top of Adam Ryan's?

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25697171)

Yeah, I agree...I only recently played it and am feeling very let down. The hype had me really excited and while it wasn't a bad game by any means...I'll almost certainly finish it...it was hardly the stunning advance that people had been calling it.

The game has a very "kitchen sink" feel, with the "hacking" and the "plasmids" and all the other mechanics piled on top of an average shooter with stunning visual design. The hacking, for instance, just gets tedious after the 50th time. The plot itself (other than the overall theme) is not all that great...too much of "I'll meet you just over hear" repeated for ten hours. The splicers' commentary was amusing at first, tedious after the 800th time you hear "I'm not a bad person".

I mean...it's no worse than the average game, perhaps even a little better, but it's not a stunning advance by any means.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25697695)

To make reading this post as awesome as possible, read it in the voice of the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25702231)

Meh, sounds to me like you're over the hill.

There's a definite threshhold where people stop trying new things because everything new seems like crap compared to some X in their past.

Correlation might not indicate causation, but could it be that your perception of games has changed?

I'll git off yer lawn now.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (1)

XavidX (1117783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25702927)

I agree.
I played the game for maybe 4 hours. Got board. Found another game. As you said. the artwork and graphics were cool. I would even say the storyline was interesting. But something just did not click together and make the game Great. Something was missing in the gameplay.

Re:Bioshock REALLY isn't that good (1)

ClubStew (113954) | more than 5 years ago | (#25707253)

I had heard that this was "the best game of all time", "revolutionary", etc etc ad nauseum, so I had high expectations.

You fall for that? Almost every game, book, movie, etc., claims to get the best. Never hold high expectations for any of them and you won't always be disappointed. Sure you will sometimes (ex: Kgindom of the Crystal Skull) even then, but not always.

PS3 vs Xbox Players (1)

Foo2rama (755806) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693149)

Basically this guy does not want to solve puzzles... The press needs to remind themeselves that they are not the average game player, hell no one is, for every person that hates this DLC I bet 4 love the challenges.

Or PS3 players do not like puzzles..

Re:PS3 vs Xbox Players (2, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693257)

What's that got to do with PS3 vs XBox? Modern AAA games are all alike in how stupid their puzzles are, an experienced gamer usually sees a room once and solves the puzzle instantly, no complicated thought required (and even then many games insist on giving you some obnoxious "buddy" that will ram you face first into the solution if you seem to be stuck for more than three seconds). I'm of the oppinion that such puzzles are stupid, if you're going to throw a puzzle in at least use one that requires REAL thought (try Toki Tori on WiiWare or, to some degree, Braid on XBLA). Stupid puzzles are pointless and should just be cut from the game.

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