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BioShock Review

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the somewhere-across-the-sea-somewhere-waiting-for-me dept.

439

BioShock, the moody drama-driven FPS for the Xbox 360 and PC, was released last month to rave reviews from the major gaming news sites. Since then the internet has been ablaze with outcry about the game's high rating scores. It's hard to understand why. The work of Ken Levine and Irrational Games on the spiritual successor to System Shock 2 is sublime. It's incredibly atmospheric, the game's story is well written and compellingly told, and the first-person shooter gameplay is a respectable, tightly crafted experience. It's a really, really good game. I'll tell you now: it's a 5/5. So why all the angst? Why the backlash? Read on for my review of BioShock, and a few comments on the dangers of 'merely' being a good game.

  • Title: BioShock
  • Developer/Publisher: Irrational Games (2K Boston/2K Australia) / 2K
  • System:360 (PC)
  • Genre: RPG/ FPS Hybrid
  • Score: 5/5 - This game is a classic title. It transcends genre, is certain to be a part of many serious gamers' collections, and is definitely worth purchasing.
If you've been reading game sites at all in the last six months, you likely already know the gist of BioShock's unique twist on the old 'trapped in a scary place' storyline. As an unnamed protagonist you descend into the undersea realm of Andrew Ryan, a proponent of a belief system quite similar to Ayn Rand's objectivism with the serial numbers filed off. Proposing that man create his own future with the 'sweat of his brow', Ryan funds the construction of the undersea city of Rapture. Of course, things go horribly wrong. A genetics-altering substance called ADAM twists Rapture and her citizens into a madman's vision of perfection. The city's architecture and music are frozen in time by the deterioration of Ryan's society, and the result is one of the most cohesive, frightening settings I've experienced in a game. As the victim of a plane crash in the middle of the ocean, you have no choice but to brave the terrors of Rapture in hopes of - somehow - making it back to civilization.

The setting is gripping, but it's also the least of the player's worries. It can frighten, but the remaining citizens of Rapture - they can kill. And they'll kill cheerfully, too, all the while singing songs and muttering enthusiastically to themselves. These people are lumped together under the generic term 'Splicer', implying their extreme genetic modification. From low-powered thugs in masks through to fire-tossing, teleporting madmen, their strength when wielding a pipe is far outweighed by the impact they can leave on your nerves. Far more threatening than this group of variously-powered miscreants are the iconic monsters of the title: the Big Daddies. Acting as patrons for their ADAM-hording Little Sister companions, these creatures are just as tough as you've been lead to believe. While much of a given level involves stalking from room to room dealing with the slicer infestation, the most memorable moments you'll have probably come from one-on-one combat with the diving-suit clad behemoths. And they are completely memorable. Even taken out of context the Big Daddy is one of the creepiest enemies ever to grace a videogame. Everything, from their low groans, to their thudding footsteps, to their cries of rage when they attack, gets across to you that when you face down a Daddy it's 'for real.' Game on. I particularly like how, as they become more and more damaged, steam escapes the Daddy's suit. The implication seems to be that there's something deeply wrong under that helmet.

You're driven through the narrative by the whims of your mostly-unseen benefactor Atlas, who plays the part of the down-to-earth everyman paired with Ryan's soulless venture capitalist. He provides a great deal of information about Rapture's background ... but hints all throughout the game indicate Atlas may be more than he appears. The subtext of 'shades of grey' is laid on throughout the game. Though Ryan is clearly a madman you're given hints of his original intentions, which seem quite benign. Likewise (as has been highly publicized), the ghoulish Little Sisters can be either slain or saved as you desire. Nothing is as it initially appears in Rapture. This moral ambiguity never seems forced, but probably isn't everything the BioShock team hoped it could be. It's very enjoyable to have options, but you're not even making as dramatic a choice as the good and evil options in Knights of the Old Republic. Whether you're a sinner or a saint, you're going to end up at roughly the same place in the end. The great writing and characterization throughout the game stands up much better than any moral overtones.

That's extremely similar to System Shock 2, of course. In keeping with the spirit of that game, your ability to customize your avatar is expansive. There are actually four tracks of powerups to choose from: plasmids, physical tonics, engineering tonics, and combat tonics. While it might sound like you will be engineering a carefully constructed 'build', I found during the course of play that a particular style just emerged based on what I found most useful. Engineering tonics were the upgrades that most appealed to me, and so I made an effort to gain slots in that area. There are far more tonics than slots available, so even as you bump up your character's potential you'll never find yourself wanting for powers. Making use of these powers in the 'emergent gameplay' style is also equally effortless. While it sounds like work from the outside, when you're playing through the game encounters happen so quickly that you rarely have time to realize that you're doing cool stuff before it happens. That was another reason I particularly enjoyed engineering; emergent gameplay can even happen when you're not around. I regularly returned to an encampment I'd made out of hacked turrets to find that they'd been clearing the stage without me. All I had to do at that point was loot the corpses.

From a graphical and audio perspective, BioShock is a work of art. Rendered by the Xbox 360, the world of Rapture is awe-inspiring to behold. Everything looks so good, it's hard to point out any one thing in specific that stands above the rest. After playing the game, the best thing to do is try to pull out moments that stick with you: water as it slides over bare rock, the endless wood paneling of nicer spaces, disturbing altars lit only by an open flame, the obvious fury of a Big Daddy wreathed in flames. The sound design is the same way, with a combination of eerie vocal performances blending into a background of music that could really have come from the 40s. Every movement, every gesture in BioShock has an associated sound. From the 'clunk' of entering the hacking menu to the squeal of radio static when activating the Security Bullseye Plasmid, the sound experience in BioShock is equal to the task of rendering a world from the rich images on the screen.

All of these elements probably seem very familiar to veteran gamers, and they very well should. You've probably played a handful of games that had many elements similar to BioShock before. What sets this game apart and above other offerings, though, is the way the title brings it all together. There's almost nothing out of place here. There's no "but the story could have been better" or "the weapons didn't feel right", or "the enemies got boring" to mar the experience of playing this through for the first time. Is it the best game that will be released this year? Possibly. It's certainly the best FPS to be released since Valve's Episode One hit last year.

So where has all the hate come from? Why are there so many posts and protestations on message boards, all claiming that BioShock 'isn't all it was promised to be'? Even Zero Punctuation's analysis of the game (which you should really seriously check out because it's hilarious) takes some cheap shots at the game's purported low difficulty level. It's all for laughs, of course, but it shows up in the review because it's a common complaint among players. The issue is that the restoration capsules scattered throughout the game, which allow you to respawn right after your death, apparently remove the 'challenge' from the game. Others have said in response, "just don't play it that way, that's why there is a quicksave option." That also seems like a strange argument, because it's essentially telling someone they're 'playing wrong'. I don't really think anyone can play a game incorrectly.

Instead, look at it from the designer's point of view. What happens when you die in an FPS, normally? You reload from your last save. Why bother? Why not just respawn and get right back into the fight, ala the spirit world of Prey? Commenters then complain that it's easy because injured enemies on the level still have reduced health. By the same token, any resources you have expended in the fight up to that point (medkits, ammunition) are also still gone. To my mind, the vita-chambers are only there to make your play experience as seamless as possible, not to make it 'easy'. Ultimately, BioShock can be as hard as you want it to be. The variable difficulty rating along with several save options and the vita-chambers means that you can play through the game in a multitude of ways, with several 'steps' between simply easy, medium, and hard. BioShock is not a brief game, either, clocking in probably around 20-25 hours for most players. Anything that ensures you will move through the game as quickly as possible would (I think) be appreciated.

The real problem, I think, is that hype has made game players disappointed with games as they're actually delivered. When a game is unexpectedly good, we all marvel over the 'sleeper hit.' There comes a point in a game's marketing, though, when more hype is just too much. The result is that when the game is finally delivered, there's almost no way for the real product to match up with player expectations. After Halo 3 launches later this month, odds are there will be a lot of people in forums nitpicking the slightest flaw or perceived imperfection. The lesson, I think, is that as gamers we need to learn to manage our expectations. I'm really looking forward to Mass Effect, for example, but I don't think it's going to change my life. Really, what can we expect out of a game other than a few hours of enjoyment we might not otherwise have had? Just getting that much out of a game, I think, is a big win for the publisher, the developer, and (of course) the player.

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439 comments

I'd only recommend the 360 version (1, Informative)

PhotoBoy (684898) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576033)

My brother has the PC version and it's very buggy. Just saving and loading your game is a gamble for a BSOD. It's a shame since it's such a great game. I was hoping they would release a patch, but so far nothing.

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (1)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576097)

I had no problems with it, and I was played through it on Windows 2000 with a DLL hack. I've been pretty activily lurking in Bioshock forums and the main complaints I hear are about lack of Shader Model 2.0 support and peformance. It ran flawlessly with an X2 4200, 8800GTS 320 Meg, and 2 gigs RAM. Is he running Vista maybe?

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (1)

Surye (580125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576311)

Ran fine here through twice on 64bit Vista. I'm guessing corrupt OS or bad hardware for him.

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577279)

It crashed or locked up every two hours or so on my machine. Disabling high level shaders helped somewhat, but a lot of times I had to do a hard reboot. Theres certainly some issues that effect "lucky" guys like me, but I understand that my experiences are not indicative.

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (2, Insightful)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576143)

Something's likely amiss with your brother's PC, then - I managed to get all the way through it, twice, without a single crash, let alone a BSOD...

console fanboi... (0, Flamebait)

nyet (19118) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576151)

... would you kindly STFU?

aside from a few VERY minor bugs, the game is rock solid on my machine.

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (4, Informative)

Surye (580125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576175)

I played through the game twice on the PC version, and I've not had one crash of any sort, let alone a BSOD.

And to this point, I'd recommend that if you DO play the 360 version, DO NOT LOOK AT THE ACHIEVEMENT LIST. There are tons of plot spoilers, all the "secret" ones are like, "Shock a guy while he's in water".

Re: spoiler alert!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576325)

Shit, man! I've been living under a rock. Don't ruin major plot details like the fact that the game is filled with water! Aaaaargh.

/me goes to cry

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (3, Interesting)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576593)

Gahh, I so wish wish wish I could just TURN OFF achievements. Know that GamerZone I'm in? It says "casual"! Shouldn't that mean "I don't care about stupid score stats that really just track how many games I buy"? Nothing takes me out of a game quite like those stupid little achievement popups. Worst feature ever.

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576233)

> I was hoping they would release a patch, but so far nothing.

"Who is Bill Gates?"
- Microsoft Shrugged

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (1)

DohnJoe (900898) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576279)

sounds more like a driver or hardware problem to me, probably not related to bioshock at all, other then triggering the problem.

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (1, Insightful)

JPrice (181921) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576389)

... and I've got the PC version and it runs flawlessly. YMMV.

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (1, Interesting)

486Hawk (70185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576481)

I had problems with A8N-SLI deluxe and 7900Gts blue screening after the first save. Turning off the HD post processing fixed this.
I would give the game 9 out of 10. It would have been a 10 if it were not for the SecuRom crap.

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (1, Interesting)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576605)

I think this may be related to the system that you're trying to run it on. I've had NO issues running at 1024x768 with all options on high.

P4 2.66 Ghz
1 Gb ram
Radeon X1950 512Mb AGP

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (2, Insightful)

roadkill_cr (1155149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576983)

Your anecdotal evidence is hardly convincing of a "very buggy" game. For example, I've never BSODed in the game. If there were widespread reports of huge bugs in the PC version I'd be more worried, but I have a hard time calling a game very buggy that works perfectly on my machine. Instead I'd say that, like many games, there are bugs and some users will have trouble; but unless you can point me to the masses of people having the same troubles as you I'm not going to blindly believe its bugginess from one report.

Worth buying the 360 Over? (2, Interesting)

Drew McKinney (1075313) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577051)

I'm not a big gamer, but have been completely swept up by the hype of this game. Is it worth buying a 360 over?

This decision has been rambling around in my head for weeks. Some people seem to give an enthusiastic "yes" but I dunno. Reviews like this makes me think otherwise.

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (2, Informative)

absorbr (995554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577053)

could also be incorrect memory timings, bad hardware, or issues with overclocking. ahh pc's :)

Re:I'd only recommend the 360 version (-1, Offtopic)

krelian (525362) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577081)

I propose a new rule in which any moderators who spend all their points on the first few posts are forever banned from moderating.

I'll bookmark this review (0, Offtopic)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576035)

Until they release a Mac version. In the meantime I have a 10GB abandonware archive that mostly runs fine under DosBox to amuse myself.

Re:I'll bookmark this review (1)

DahGhostfacedFiddlah (470393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576737)

I too, will bookmark this review, until I purchase the game or am otherwise exposed to it. In the meantime, I will program in my spare time, and do odd fix-up jobs around the house.

Hey - anyone else want to share why they're not playing this game, and what they're doing in the meantime?

Re:I'll bookmark this review (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577131)

Sure, if it would help the vendor understand how they can capture more market.

Why no mention? (5, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576041)

Why no mention of the copy protection or the limited number of times it can be installed?

Re:Why no mention? (5, Insightful)

Duffy13 (1135411) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576173)

Probably because it has no bearing on the quality of the actual gameplay. If it's a factor in whether or not you enjoy the actual game, that's what I like to call "a you problem".

Re:Why no mention? (1)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576243)

I really don't have much of a problem with the copy protection. You have 5 installs each on up to 5 machines. That's a maximum of 25 installs. Are you really going to be installing it that much?

Additionally, there's not much an impact on gameplay there. Whether you install it once or 25 times it's still the same game.

Re:Why no mention? (-1, Flamebait)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576659)

Where is the "-1, Wrong" moderation?

You get two installs, total. Two installs on one machine or one install on two machines.

After that, it's game over. 2K and the producer of the copy protection are currently telling customers to call each other if you hose your machine and need to reinstall it or something.

Neither one actually helps.

Re:Why no mention? (4, Informative)

Duffy13 (1135411) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576765)

The problem is you are horribly wrong. Two days after release due to complaints they increased it up to 5 installs and rearranged the rules somewhat. A proper uninstall should return an install slot to you, but if it doesn't there will be a utility coming soon that does the same thing if they can't fix it through the server.

However I don't know about the 5 installs per 5 machines part, last I heard it was 5 flat installs active at any time. He may be wrong on that, I do not know if it has changed.

Re:Why no mention? (4, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576697)

If the game is as good as CS for instance 25 installs is nothing. I have been installing that game on and off for 8 years now.

Why does a game need to limit the amount of installs I can do?

Re:Why no mention? (4, Informative)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576903)

The install limitations will be removed in a few months. They're just temporary to protect early sales. Again, so long as you uninstall the game, you get an install slot back. As for why they need this limit, they need it to stop you from distributing your copy of the game to thousands of people.

Re:Why no mention? (2, Informative)

Osty (16825) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576947)

If the game is as good as CS for instance 25 installs is nothing. I have been installing that game on and off for 8 years now.

Irrational has said that they will turn off the installation counter at some point in the future, allowing unlimited installs. This is just to get through the main popularity stage of the game's life, where they actually make their money.

Why does a game need to limit the amount of installs I can do?

By limiting the number of installs you can do, it limits the number of people to whom you can give the game. Rather than buying it once and installing it on your PC, your friend's PC, your brother's PC, and your co-worker's PC, each of them would have to buy their own copy of the game. That makes sense from Irrational's viewpoint.

A better question would be, why are you re-installing so often?

Re:Why no mention? (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577273)

Except that doesn't make any sense since its being distributed via Steam - only one can be logged into a Steam account at a time.

Re:Why no mention? (4, Insightful)

sehlat (180760) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576847)

How do I put this delicately? Being treated as a "guest in Bubba's palace" by the invasive DRM is NOT a "you problem" if it spoils the gameplay. It's just as much a part of the game as the action, and a major reason why over the years, I've gone to games less and less for entertainment and fun.

Re:Why no mention? (1)

mastershake82 (948396) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576291)

This was a review of the game, not of the content protection and packaging. Also, it seems he was reviewing primarily the XBox 360 version of the game.

Re:Why no mention? (1)

ArchAngelQ (35053) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576299)

Because he played it on the XBox360, from his review. It doesn't have the same problems, for obvious reasons.

unimportant (2, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576331)

That's not about the game, is it, that's about the copy protection, which is a whole other subject.

While it is annoying, it has to be said that copy protection only got so nasty because of the virtually unrestricted internet sharing of games. We've all done it at some point or other, so we're all to blame.

The argument 'but I just want to see what the games like' doesn't cut it either. I still know people who say that, but when it comes to my saying 'hey lets play a game online', I get an all too familiar, 'my copy won't work because I don't have a valid key', because their 'review' turned into them not actually buying the thing. It gets real tedious, especially in one particular case, when the game in question was only ten pounds in the local shop.

Re:unimportant (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577225)

You've got a short timeline. This has happened before, and the common element isn't the internet, it's the game companies thinking that they could make the games copy-proof. The result last time was that the copy protection got worse and worse until people stopped buying. (Also the copying technology got better...but that didn't matter, since those weren't the customers.)

That was the period in which I basically quit computer gaming. I still haven't picked it up again with the same fervor. (OTOH, I play Alpha-Centuari on Linux. It doesn't require that I have the CD in the drive before it will run. Notice that? I've got a legitimate copy. I could get around copying it, and I don't. I just quit if it's too much bother.)

I can't really talk about their motives...merely the conditions under which they act, and how they act under those conditions. And the results.

Now I'll grant you that I, also, have a short timeline. Two cycles aren't that much better than one. But they are enough to eliminate some hypotheses, such as that the copy protection is caused by easy internet copying.

Re:Why no mention? (1)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577095)

Copy protection IS part of the game experience, as is the box, the manual, and the assistance of tech support if required. If the copy protection ruins the game for me then the game is ruined.

Some people believe "...copy protection only got so nasty because of the virtually unrestricted internet sharing of games..." Which is patently false.

As I recall, BEFORE there was the internets I had to did through game manuals to find the third word in the second paragraph on page thirteen. Now that was a pain in the ass.

Anyway, its cracked. There was no doubt it would be cracked. Maybe we never saw mention of the copy protection because all the reviewers were playing pirated copies? Now that would be a laugh.

Re:Why no mention? (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577203)

Anyway, its cracked. There was no doubt it would be cracked. Maybe we never saw mention of the copy protection because all the reviewers were playing pirated copies? Now that would be a laugh.
Which once again just proves that draconian copy protection just leads to pirates and scoundrels having a functionally superior version compared to what honest people paid to obtain.

They might as well not put any copy protection on it and save themselves the extra expense. It still would have sold just as well.

Bugs (2)

genner (694963) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576089)

PC version is horribly unstable even after installing the NVidia drivers that where Hot Fixed for the game.

Maybe for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576383)

I hear a lot of bitching about instability, but I haven't seen any of it. My install went smooth, and the game never once crashed on me (on Vista). Ever think maybe its not the game that is unstable, but rather your computer?

Re:Bugs (1)

Duffy13 (1135411) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576591)

From the sound of it, it's not a general problem but a specific hardware/driver combo problem. I personally have had one crash so far (over 15+ hours played) and I'm pretty sure it was a freak accident since I couldn't replicate it. I got a friend who just managed to fix his sound thats been acting up on vista with some games, turned out it was the vsync aspect of his nvidia drivers. Imagine that.

Re:Bugs (1)

dami99 (1014687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577105)

No problems here at all... But I do have problems with the new nvidia drivers while using apps.

Re:Bugs (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577295)

I followed the link to the NVidia drivers suggested during installation, and saw they were a beta version. I decided to stick with 162.18 (for an 8800, so ymmv) and am having no issues at all with stability or performance. If you went with the beta drivers, you might consider rolling back and trying again.

I hope you get it squared away. This really is a fun game (I am playing hooky from work today to play it, actually). Good luck!

The issues with Bio-Shock (4, Interesting)

nehumanuscrede (624750) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576135)

I believe the issues folks are having with Bio-Shock has nothing to do with the gameplay or it's
environment at all. Rather, the SecuRom DRM, the online activation and restrictive number of times
it can be loaded on a PC.

The console variants do not suffer from any of this, thus those folks would not have been exposed to it.

I've long been of the mindset that if the console folks would wake up and give me a keyboard and / or a
mouse / trackball interface, I would switch to consoles for all my gaming needs tomorrow.

Just absolutely hate the controllers the consoles come with today :)

Re:The issues with Bio-Shock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576399)

Hell, I've had the game since launch for PC and i still haven't been able to play it.

I've jumped through all of the updating drivers hoops and that isn't the problem.

So for me, the DRM issues i'd let slide for the time being.

Re:The issues with Bio-Shock (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576663)

I really wish Console games would offer control support for keyboards / mouse etc. If I can use a keyboard and mouse to browse the web on my PS3, why not use it to play Medal of Honor? The mouse offers so much more freedom of dual control sticks. I asked Sony support, but I doubt it's something they (or the game developers) have ever considered implementing.

Imagine having the freedom of the keyboard (customization) and mouse, and the adherance to hardware specifications that developers have to do with major consoles. THAT would be a great gaming system :)

Console controllers do suck, especially when it comes to FPS's. I don't think a FPS should be played on anything BUT the PC. The last FPS to ever get the controls right, IMO, was GoldenEye. But that's another topic :)

UT3 on PS3, will have mouse/kb support (2, Informative)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576927)

I've long been of the mindset that if the console folks would wake up and give me a keyboard and / or a mouse / trackball interface, I would switch to consoles for all my gaming needs tomorrow.

Unreal Tournament 3 on PS3, will have mouse/kb support in order to keep its old hardcore fanbase happy and hopefully the trend will continue. For what its worth though, they took the copy protection right out of the last PC UT game so I doubt that the PC port is going to exactly redefine evil.

My PS3 is the first console I've had since my childhood SNES, and being a PC gamer I've also had a little bit of trouble getting used to the Playstation's FPS controls. With Sony's dual analogue control schema (left thumb moves/strafes, right thumb aims. essentially congruent to mouse in right palm, wsad under ring, middle and index fingers of left), things have improved much since the last console FPS I played which was Goldeneye in 1997 (left thumb moves/turns but aims when a button is held). It's still not quite as good as the PC controls, but once you get used to it and you realise that the controls are all part of the game, consoles FPSs become almost as fun.

Bioshock isn't exactly the twitchiest game out there anyway, we're not exactly talking about hitting an adversary midair with the railgun or anything in this game. Guns tend to be inaccurate like shotguns, chemical throwers, grenade launchers and sub machine guns. Plasmids (the kinda psychic powers in this game) tend to fudge the aim a little to hit the target. The only weapon that could benefit much from the mouse's precision is the crossbow, which never has enough steel bolts for a direct attack anyway. I've only played this on PC, but I'd wager if either one of us were to buy a 360 and learn its controls we'd be every bit as happy with this game on console and even more happy because one can lie on the lounge when one does not need a mousing surface.

It's OK (5, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576149)

I have it on the 360. Not a bad game but they should really have called it "System Shock 3: Underwater Metropolis". There's a terrible sense of "been there, done that" with this game. Yeah, it's a successor to SS2 but there's no shortage of ammo, things are easy to hack, it's not creepy like SS2 was... In short, I'll be replaying SS2 before replaying Bioshock.

Re:It's OK (5, Interesting)

NFNNMIDATA (449069) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576339)

SS2 was great and I would love to play it again, but this game is an order of magnitude creepier. I still haven't finished it because after a while I have to stop playing and reacquaint myself with reality.

Re:It's OK (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576639)

Agreed. I often find myself peaking around corners (in game) because hear a splicer muttering. The maniacal laughter still give me the creeps.

Re:It's OK (1)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577171)

I found SS2 a lot creepier. I made my way through BioShock without a single big jumpy moment or any sense of wanting to get through a section quickly because it was fucking scary being there. SS2 had oodles of those. Maybe I'm just older and harder to scare.

That's not to say it's not a good game, it's just.. shallower than I would have liked.

Re:It's OK (0)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576493)

Wait, SS2 without the creepy? That's like an FPS without the shooting - what's the point?

That was the standout thing about SS2 - how ridiculously creepy it was; other than that, it's just an average FPS.

Re:It's OK (5, Insightful)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577061)

If the worst thing that can be said about a game is that it is too much like System Shock 2, then that means it is an excellent game. Complaining about that seems to be like saying, "Man, I wish this candy weren't so delicious."

Editing for the win... (0)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576157)

Probably means "It's NOT hard to understand why. "

Re:Editing for the win... (2, Informative)

mastershake82 (948396) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576401)

Since then the internet has been ablaze with outcry about the game's high rating scores. It's hard to understand why.

I think he means to say "It's hard to understand why there has been controversy (outcry) on the internet over this game receiving high rating scores."

I will agree thought that it could have been written slightly better, but it does make sense.

Yes, its a great game (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576205)

It takes some getting used to (and i've been an FPS'er since the very first one)
 
Items can be hard to find sometimes... Set the difficulty to medium... I would have no idea how it would be possible to beat it on expert... the big guys that protect the little girls would be impossible.
 
It is a bit overwhelming at first, as there is a lot at your command all at once, and there is a small lack of in game tutorial, which you will understand with experience playing, so no big loss there.

With that being said... its a game I might buy... But since quake wars just came out.... uhh dunno!

Re:Yes, its a great game *spoilers* (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576677)

I found the best way to handle the big daddies is to pile up a bunch of explosive barrels and lure them towards you. Either use a target dummy or shock them when they're close. Shoot the barrels and you can drop them with a few shots of armor piercing rounds.

Great content, poor delivery (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576225)

Your review focuses entirely on the content of the game and completely glosses over how the PC version has numerous complaints of hardware incompatibility which lead to unplayable video, crashes, and game breaking bugs; a lot of complaints also stem from the use of the copyright protection - theoretically it was a good idea, but in practice it fell flat on its face.

Re:Great content, poor delivery (2, Informative)

provigilman (1044114) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576313)

You're also focusing entirely on the PC delivery issues and glossing over the console version. There are no difficulties that I've found with running it on my 360. Reviews are content after all, and most of those bugs will be worked out I would imagine. Lots of great PC games have had buggy releases that get fixed with good patching.

Re:Great content, poor delivery (2, Informative)

Duffy13 (1135411) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576669)

As I have mentioned above it appears that the "buggy" aspect is not a general problem but a specific hardware setup issue. Meaning that the game itself plays fine on a large range of machines without extra patching. It was not shipped "broken" so that no one could play it. In the realm of PC gaming, with it's multitudes of hardware configurations such problems things are not unheard of, but rarely do they effect everyone or the majority. I, among many, have had no problems installing and playing the game. I have had one crash, and could not replicate it in 15+ hours of play. I would not by any means call it "buggy".

fun yes; groundbreaking no (4, Insightful)

SEAL (88488) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576251)

Bioshock was definitely overhyped in my opinion. The atmosphere and art direction were good, no doubt. But gameplay was nothing new from other first person shooters. In fact, I'd say it was even more limited than System Shock 2 or Thief. Stealth as an option? Not really. You pretty much had to fight your way through the game. There were no conversations with decisions to make (ala Fallout). Just recorded conversations you could pick up through the game much like the goofy notes found in No One Lives Forever. There was very little interaction in the game other than combat. No vehicles. Not much in the way of object interaction, either.

Also a much hyped feature was the ability to create your own items like ammo. Well... not really. It was just a collect-the-crap thing that allowed you to sort of unlock extra ammo. It wasn't on the level of, say, the spellbuilder in the Elder Scrolls series.

Finally, there were a lot of plot discrepancies and things that pulled me out of the storyline. Like if I were a plane crash survivor, discovering this underwater city, why would I just inject myself with a syringe I found on a table? There are a lot of things like that which caused the game to simply fall back into the vanilla FPS genre. I find it comparable to Heretic / Hexen, with modern graphics.

The work they did was definitely polished but it's disappointing because there is SO MUCH MORE they could've done with the storyline and gameplay.

Re:fun yes; groundbreaking no (4, Interesting)

orclevegam (940336) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576651)

Stealth as an option? Not really. You pretty much had to fight your way through the game.

If you mean stealth as in sneaking through levels without killing anything, then yes, that's not really an option. If however you meant being able to sneak around a take people out without being seen, then that is most definitely an option, and the way I've found myself playing. Ever since I got the camo tonic and a couple of the wrench power ups, I use stealth kills and the wrench almost exclusively. Nothing quite like sneaking up on a splicer and one shotting them with a wrench, or even better, sneaking up on a security camera and hacking it.

As for the ammo creation, yeah, that was kind of lame, but all in all, kind of understandable. If this had been an MMO, then conceivably they could have allowed you to randomly toss components together and see if it makes something useful (destroying the components in the process), but being a FPS with a somewhat limited playtime and therefore component count, it would have been just wasteful and frustrating to players to take that route. Players would just take the easy way ultimately and download a crafting guide telling them exactly what combinations made what which would potentially unbalance the game by allowing the crafting of very powerful items early in the game.

What I think they did a brilliant job of was setting up the atmosphere and providing enough interesting interactions between items to allow players different styles of play. I was quite surprised recently to discover for instance that the trap bolts can be used to take out security bots. A friend of mine also shared his approach to taking down big daddies (apparently tossing a barrel at them can take about half their health in one shot), which was something I hadn't even thought of.

There is a lot of depth to this game, but you need to know where to look. Enjoy it for what they did good on, and not necessarily what the hype lead you to believe it was going to deliver. Having not read any of the hype (well, I read some of what PA said about it) before I bought it, I'm thoroughly enjoying the game. I've also found the PC version to be fairly stable, even though I have had it lock up on me once (no blue screen, it just froze, think it may be a overall stability problem though as I had a problem in another game as well).

Re:fun yes; groundbreaking no (1)

Duffy13 (1135411) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576955)

I saw a commercial the other day and realized that at one point the player loads a life preserver with proximity minds and then uses telekinesis to throw it at a big daddy. Yea, I never thought of that one. (I think it requires the smart-grenade upgrade for the launcher) Point being that the game has many different options available, however unless you naturally are looking for neat tricks you will probably skip over most of what makes it unique.

Favorite Big Daddy tactic so far is a 5 trap-bolt array across a door or hallway. Works quite well, still needs one or two armor piercing bullets to the head to put them down though. Plus it's cool when they drop dead mid charge and fly into stuff.

SPOILER ALERT (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576713)

Like if I were a plane crash survivor, discovering this underwater city, why would I just inject myself with a syringe I found on a table?

Didn't finish the game, did you? If you did, you'd know why.

Hint: the plane crash was not an accident.

Re:fun yes; groundbreaking no (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576835)

"I find it comparable to Heretic / Hexen, with modern graphics."

This statement alone should negate anything before it. Heretic / Hexen had no story and the atmosphere was mediocre at best. BioShock has an intriguing story that leaves me anxious for each tape. I've found myself trying to figure out how each faction fits in this manufactured society. People are left to their own ends with the one rule; capitalism above all else. Just about anything is allowed as long as you do not interfere with commerce. As for the atmosphere, it still sends shivers down my spine despite having played for several hours.

Re:fun yes; groundbreaking no (1)

kc2keo (694222) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576849)

Well, dunno why I'm even responding because I have not played nor do I own the game but...I can say that the game was advertised on TeleVision A LOT! It rivaled the amount of times the Gieco caveman is advertised. God that caveman is annoying! How can they actually make a TV series of him?!

Re:fun yes; groundbreaking no (1)

glindsey (73730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577011)

Like if I were a plane crash survivor, discovering this underwater city, why would I just inject myself with a syringe I found on a table?
This is addressed later in the game. After all, why would you climb into a mysterious bathysphere in the first place? Wouldn't you hang out at the lighthouse, figuring somebody will eventually find you because, heck, it's a lighthouse?

Nah, the reasons for those seemingly implausible actions make perfect sense once all the pieces fit together.

SPOILER on plot discrepancy !! (2, Informative)

aepervius (535155) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577047)

SPOILER DON'T READ IF NOT PLAYED TO THE END






SPOILER DON'T READ IF NOT PLAYED TO THE END





YOU WERE WARNED !!!!!!







Finally, there were a lot of plot discrepancies and things that pulled me out of the storyline. Like if I were a plane crash survivor, discovering this underwater city, why would I just inject myself with a syringe I found on a table? There are a lot of things like that which caused the game to simply fall back into the vanilla FPS genre. I find it comparable to Heretic / Hexen, with modern graphics.

This is well explained at the end or nearly. "Would you kindly..." (or some phrase like that), you are genetically programmed to do any command with this bidding. So this is why you were on the plane , and it was most probably intentionally crashed. But bottom line is that the alpha/fontaine guy just forced you to do everything with those keyword. Including injecting yourself with anything found on a table. This is also how he try to make you suicide yourself.

I have it for the 360 (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576267)

It is a good game, not sure it's a 5 out of 5 though. AI is pretty stupid. An upgraded shot gun + wrench = easy victory in most cases. Even when they where like 5 or 6 enemies at once they never did anything that surprised me.

In a way I wish you were at Rapture right when things went wrong so you could talk to other people, build the story more in-depth [as in be more a part of itvs. just listening to tapes), etc.

The one thing that I did like is when they had the chimes before a commercial/announcement over the PA systems, I thought that was an awesome environment effect. At lowes the other day and the same sound came on before a store wide annoucment and I instantly thought it was going to be about Rapture.

Re:I have it for the 360 (1)

Surye (580125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576991)

I've read things about this game being Take Two's new hit franchise. Expect sequels and prequels to develop the world of Rapture more.

The real problem... (4, Insightful)

kturner (1154521) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576367)

"The real problem, I think, is that hype has made game players disappointed with games as they're actually delivered. When a game is unexpectedly good, we all marvel over the 'sleeper hit.'"


Hence the outstanding success and praise of games like Gears of War. Granted, GoW had its own following of hype before the release, but nothing like how Mass Effect and Halo 3 are at the moment.

With GoW, gamers all around expected it to be a good game, but never quite had that "OMG! I'LL DIE IF I DON'T GET THIS!" feeling until after it was released and everyone realized how well made it was.

Yet, with Halo 3, we have the popularity of the series plus the teaser of a multiplayer beta pumping steroids into every fanboy's wet dreams. You made a great point in predicting how critical people will be with the game, but that's to be expected. We're human, we live in our minds and hope for the absolute best.

BioShock is an amazing game, even if it is considered easy to most gamers.
Making the low difficulty level is purposely done to help entice new FPS users. Also, so you don't end up with a controller lodged in your television.

Re:The real problem... (1)

nege (263655) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576945)

"Making the low difficulty level is purposely done to help entice new FPS users."

Yes I agree, and I am one of those. I haven't purchased an FPS in 3 years because I am generally terrible at them, but the opportunity to play one that had this level of polish and style meant I couldn't refuse. I still had to turn the default difficulty down a click though. Yea I know, I'm such an FPS noob. But I think its this quality that appeals to a large swath of xbox owners, and not just hardcore FPS-ers.

Hyped too far? (5, Informative)

Allicorn (175921) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576371)

Your point about the hype is well made. This game was hyped to all hell with hyperbole like "revolutionise the genre" and such being bandied around. I suspect that rather a lot of slashdotters (myself included) tend to immediately raise the review bar when something is hyped as hard as BioShock was.

In terms of answering your question of why some folks have complained about overly superlative reviews:

There are invisible walls everywhere, many of them extremely obvious.

There are a a multitude of doors that are locked but mysteriously unlock at precisely the moment that the current radio-message-from-an-NPC that you're listening to actually finishes.

Regards much vaunted "moral choice" aspect - do I harvest or rescue the little sisters? I have to say that after being locked into a windowed box and forced to watch an exposition of exactly how extremely tough the "big daddies" are, right at the start of the game, then being told by some random radio voice whom I have no reason to trust that "you need to kill big daddy and this small child he's protecting in order to take her "Adam", (which appears to mean basically drinking her blood) my response was to just avoid them completely. This produces, just before you try to exit a level, a preposterous peice of fourth-wall-exploding nonsense - a dialog box pops up and tells you "you haven't either rescued or harvested any little sisters on this level - you should go back and do this otherwise the game will be very difficult later on". I mean - seriously - this is what counts for great writing these days? You give me a situation where I appear to have a free choice on how I react to the events you put infront of me and then when I come to what appears to me to be the completely reasonable conclusion that screwing with "big daddy" is a lot of trouble for no recognizable value you tell me "no, you're not playing it right!". Give me a break!

Now, I'm not saying there aren't some worthy things about BioShock. Graphics are obviously fairly awesome, there's a good variety of equipment and environmental toys to play with, but on the whole I don't think it lives up to the hype.

Re:Hyped too far? (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576715)

This produces, just before you try to exit a level, a preposterous peice of fourth-wall-exploding nonsense - a dialog box pops up and tells you "you haven't either rescued or harvested any little sisters on this level - you should go back and do this otherwise the game will be very difficult later on".

That might make sense as a tutorial message -- does it really do this on every level? Yikes.

I've only played the demo, but I'm having a hard time seeing a really hard moral decision about the little sisters. I mean, the one I saw was a creepy zombie girl with a big stabby stabby needle ... not exactly a hapless little waif. Eh, maybe they make it a harder decision later, I don't know. I'm content with waiting til next year for the price drop.

Maybe I'm just jaded, but Bioshock doesn't seem to offer a lot for an FPS beyond the (admittedly very cool) art deco setting. Even Gears of War feels more innovative, with its combat mechanic of cover points. System Shock 2 was supremely creepy from word go. "The Many SEEK!".

Re:Hyped too far? (4, Interesting)

glindsey (73730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576923)

in order to take her "Adam", (which appears to mean basically drinking her blood)
If you Harvest them, sure, it might mean that; we honestly don't know since they black out the screen for the sake of civility. But if you Rescue them, you essentially "lay hands on them" (not that way, you pervert) and release them from their hypnotic state.

You give me a situation where I appear to have a free choice on how I react to the events you put infront of me and then when I come to what appears to me to be the completely reasonable conclusion that screwing with "big daddy" is a lot of trouble for no recognizable value you tell me "no, you're not playing it right!". Give me a break!
I also like playing RPGs keeping all of my characters at experience level 1 and equipped with tattered rags and a wooden sword. Experience points have no recognizable value.

Come on -- while it's true that the "you haven't rescued/harvested all the Little Sisters" dialog box is fourth-wall shattering and could've been done better, the game is essentially trying to remind you "hey, there's more XP to be earned on this level that you might have missed" (since the Big Daddy/Little Sister encounters are more or less random save for those first few). Now perhaps they could've done it with a radio announcement from Atlas, and perhaps they could've given you an option to shut off reminders, but I saw the popup as a helpful reminder when I hadn't hit START to check if I'd rescued all the Little Sisters.

If things that niggling jar you out of suspension of disbelief, I'd imagine you'd rather keep track of your remaining health in your head, or have to physically open your weapon to examine how much ammo is remaining, because having meters up there on the screen "break the fourth wall" too much.

Moral choice (2, Interesting)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576989)

Good point about the moral choice thing. There are many other games that have offered morality choices with bigger consequences than "should I kill or rescue a little girl."

I still can't forget the effort it took -- in game and in my own mind -- to willfully corrupt my party members in Knights of the Old Republic to the Dark Side. Or the things you can do in Planescape: Torment to change your alignment and the effect it has on your party members. Even Arcanum offered a wide variety of moral choices and their effects.

This isn't new ground for FPS games, either. Granted, the choices are a little bit more limited, but there were a few moments in the Splinter Cell games which challenged the player to make a choice. Playing on the hardest difficulty level, to get 100 per cent, you cannot kill anyone, which is pretty difficult in some levels. I can't think of any others off the top of my head but I know Bioshock isn't the first, or best example of adding moral choice to a game.

zonk! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576375)

burger king called, they need for you to fill in for the fries kid, he has the flu. it's the only job you're qualified for.

Fi8s7? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576409)

to use the GNAA aaproximately 90% Who are intersted Driven out by the create, manufacture and what supplies

I really wanted to like bioshock... (2, Interesting)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576535)

...but after one playthrough I shelved it and I really doubt I'll every try it again.

As much as there are a few neat gimmicks (plasmids etc.) and one interesting plot twist, the experience was in my opinion ruined by a complete sense of claustrophobia in terms of player choices: I haven't played in so long a game where you are so railroaded in doing a, then b, then c with absolutely NO flexibility whatsoever (invisible walls and locked doors abound). That and the crappy AI of your opponents (honestly, the mobs were as intelligent as the ones in doom in my experience) makes for a very, very, very boring experience.

I started playing on normal difficulty, but about 1/3rd of the way through I switched to easy so I could just get over with it, since it was boring me to tears to have yet another errand to do (listen to this, do that, go there, etc.) before being allowed to go to the next level. I really wish I could have my $49 back.

Technically the game has run great for me (without upgrading the nvidia drivers, I have a 7900gto), no crashes, no bugs, just perfect, but it was not even 10% as good as the original system shock, which in my opinion was a masterpiece, and much more so than the blah-ish system shock 2 and, even worse, bioshock: the 95%+ review scores are way out of line, this game is maybe an 80%, heck, I had more fun playing Prey than bioshock, and pray had way worse reviews.

Re:I really wanted to like bioshock... (0, Offtopic)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576603)

the experience was in my opinion ruined by a complete sense of claustrophobia in terms of player choices: I haven't played in so long a game where you are so railroaded in doing a, then b, then c with absolutely NO flexibility whatsoever (invisible walls and locked doors abound).

Would you kindly keep in mind that what you describe is, in fact, a relatively major plot point?

For myself, the 'good' ending cinematic was one of the most well-done I've ever experienced.

Re:I really wanted to like bioshock... (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576771)

what major plot point? that you can't enter most doors? that you can't seem to jump over even fairly small obstacles? that you are strong enough to swing a crowbar with great force, have telekinesis, can set people on fire, but yet you can't grab an overhead ledge and pull yourself up? or what about the fact that u-invent basically means 'collect all the junk that you see so you can get some extra bullets'? or what about the 'you haven't harvested all little sisters in this level, you should do it otherwise the game becomes hard' dialog (talk about immersion!)? cmon, this game is a railroad fest hyped to high-heaven because the graphics are well done, the setting is cool, the production values are high and there is a hint of moral choice in the super-over-hyped little sisters aspect of the game.

What I say about 'claustrophobia' is not the 'good claustrophobia' that you get from a very well executed game, where choices abound, this is the 'bad claustrophobia' you have in games where you have a rocket launcher and yet you can't open a flimsy wooden door without getting the key from half a level away.

Re:I really wanted to like bioshock... (5, Funny)

glindsey (73730) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577195)

where you have a rocket launcher and yet you can't open a flimsy wooden door
I agree. I believe the instant any stray shot hits a window, it should shatter, sending billions of gallons of water pouring in, crushing you, the enemies, and the entire city, instantly. Also, every game ever invented should implemented a complete physical model of the human body that allows you to perform every action you could in real life, and the game's environment should react with absolute perfect realism to every conceivable situation. Oh, and the designers should have designed and implemented a room for every single door in the game, instead of (get this) using unopenable doors to create the illusion of a larger world without being forced to create maps so large they push the game's release date back four years.

I mentioned all of these serious flaws to some game designers I know, and they informed me there's this "real life" thing that implements all these features, but I can't figure out where to download it.

2 IN THE PINK, ONE IN THE STINK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576611)

The Shocker!

SecuRom nightmare (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576613)

I would have thought that a place as rabid about freedom as Slashdot would mention that this game installs a hard-to-detect DRM program that stays on after you uninstall the game. It's literally as bad as it gets, right up there with starforce.

Re:SecuRom nightmare (1)

Duffy13 (1135411) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577161)

That was last week, now we're talking about the actual gameplay, get with the program.

Not quite 5/5 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576617)

This game is good on the 360, but I would rate it closer to a 4/5. The highest overall rating I would give a game is Half Life 2 at 4.5 out of 5.

I don't get nearly as immersed in bioshock as I did with half life 2.

Not the "Perfect" Game (1)

SandwhichMaster (1044184) | more than 6 years ago | (#20576657)

I'm annoyed with reviews, because so many are giving Bio Shock a 10/10, a 5/5, etc. That implies its a perfect game, that they could find nothing wrong with it. I thought it was a great game, but I could name lots of things about it that annoyed me.

1. No Multiplayer. I realize the plot doesn't allow for it, but give us some death match.
2. Constantly searching for items. The scenerey is amazing, but I find I'm always ignoring it, to find another health pack, ammo, etc.
3. Some Plasmids are mostly useless, or quickly obsolete.
4. Constantly have to listen to recordings for plot. It gets a little old.

You get the point. Most of these things aren't that big of a deal, but in any game, there's always room for improvement. Its a great game, and I completely recommend it, but I wouldn't give a perfect 10.

Re:Not the "Perfect" Game (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577215)

No Multiplayer. I realize the plot doesn't allow for it, but give us some death match.

And there's the mindset behind the downfall of truly good single player games. Why must everything have an online deathmatch component? It doesn't make sense for the story or the world, so there's no reason why the developer should waste precious time on a multiplayer component. Would you have preferred a buggy, tacked-on afterthought deathmatch implementation, or that Irrational take away resources from the single player component to build a good multiplayer system? Then you'd just be complaining that either the multiplayer sucks or the single player story was shafted by the addition of multiplayer. Some games just make sense as a single player experience and you shouldn't try to shoehorn multiplayer in (for example, multiplayer for Oblivion would be pretty silly, though an MMORPG set in Tamriel might actually get me playing MMOs again).

Constantly searching for items. The scenerey is amazing, but I find I'm always ignoring it, to find another health pack, ammo, etc.

So you'd rather have everything given to you? Part of the "horror" aspect is that supplies are limited. Yes, you can take down a splicer with two shots from your pistol with anti-personnel bullets, but what are you going to do when you run out? Should you kill that splicer with your fire plasmid or the flamethrower? What are you going to do if you just used up your last EVE hypo and now you can't use plasmids at all?

Later in the game on medium difficulty, I found that while I was still scrounging to find medkits, hypos, and ammo I had no problem actually finding money. Equip a few good engineering tonics for hacking, hack a vending machine or U-Invent, and buy or build what you need.

Some Plasmids are mostly useless, or quickly obsolete.

I'd say that really depends on your playing style. For example, I don't think I ever used the plasmid to charm a Big Daddy, but if you read through some guides you'll find plenty of recommendations to do just that.

Constantly have to listen to recordings for plot. It gets a little old.

So skip them. You'll get enough information from required bits (interactions with Atlas and the few other still-sane folks, and a couple of required diaries) to understand what's going on. If you want to go deeper, you can. That's what the audio diaries are for.

The only thing I found missing from the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20576757)

Was the ability to use the Winter Blast plasmid (freeze) then use the Incinerate (fire) to melt splicers into a puddle of goo. I would've understood if you say... needed both powers maxed out to do it, but sadly, no.

Simply doesn't live up (3, Insightful)

Belgand (14099) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577073)

Frankly it wasn't over-hyped to me. I mean, yeah, there was a lot of hype, but for me the game was sold as soon as it was announced. I was a huge fan of System Shock when it was first released and while I had issues with System Shock 2 initially it was a really great game as well. Deus Ex just continued the winning streak for this loose group of games. Bioshock, though, is where they dropped the ball.

First off is the fact that it all feels dumbed down for a console audience looking for fast, simple gameplay with a few nods to complexity and story thrown in. There's no inventory so everything is just thrown up on your screen like any other shooter. No stats, because everything is handled through the plasmids. In fact, just about everything that would normally be mapped to a sub-screen is now handled in a very limited fashion by wall-mounted consoles (e.g. gun upgrades, plasmids, invention, etc.).

The game is far more linear and yes, the Vita-Chambers do make it too easy. From a console/FPS point of view getting back in the action might be desired, but this isn't a deathmatch here. Dying should feel like it has some consequence. SS and SS2 both had regen machines, but they never felt cheap or easy because there was only one per level and you had to go out and find it and activate it first. As a result dying was a concern. Until you activated the regen there was real tension and once you did, it meant that you weren't totally out of it and back to your last save, but you'd still have to trek across the entire level through hordes of enemies and with very little ammunition. Not just pop out of the chamber and go back to shooting the same enemy.

It's not a terrible game. The graphics are pretty (albeit, on a PC running at Maximum settings, not that much better than what we've gotten used to in recent years) and the setting and theme are novel and interesting even though the art direction seems to have stolen a page from Fallout more often than not. It's just that it was heavily hyped and arrived to glowing reviews when really it's more of a 7/10 sort of game. It's a low point for the series where they tried to transition into a simpler console audience and treated the PC version as the port rather than the other way around. I guess if this is the first game in the series you've ever played it might seem great, but if you've been along since the start then you'll know that it's just no match for it's deeper forebears.

Best game this year.. (2, Insightful)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577157)

so far on the 360. I've played through twice. Once on medium and the other time on easy (got to score those achievements). I think I have 910/1000 achievements and I'll have the last few tape recorders the next time I fire it up. The technology behind the game and the art direction combine to create one of the most atmospheric and engrossing environments of any game I've played. Rapture is as real to me as Black Mesa and City 17 ever were. The gameplay is fantastic with great combat and several ingenious gimmicks such as hacking and tonic finding. I highly recommend this game...its a treat for the senses and is fun to play. Certainly lived up to the hype for myself.

Man, people are so hype sensitive (1)

hudsonhawk (148194) | more than 6 years ago | (#20577213)

A game can't have any combination of hype, good reviews, and positive buzz without the droves of internet hardcore gamers getting sand in their collective vaginas about it and going off about how it's "overhyped".

Overhyped, underhyped - it's the same game when you're playing it.

If a game like Bioshock - and its subsequent success - doesn't make you glad to be a gamer, then nothing will. Whether or not you even enjoy the game, it's easy to see how most would - and it's exactly the kind of original, thought-provoking game that doesn't get made these days.
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