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BioShock Backlash

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the whap-ow dept.

Games 163

Via Rock, Paper, Shotgun, a Kieron Gillen piece at Eurogamer about the heavy backlash from PC gamers against BioShock . Gillen tackles all of the most common complaints, including favorites like 'it's too easy,' and 'the ending stinks.' "BioShock is both a more accessible and easier game than System Shock 2. But 'easier' doesn't have anything to with it being 'dumber,' and hating 'more accessible' is just petty elitism from people who'd actually like videogames to be a ghetto consisting of them — especially when some of the things to make the game more accessible can be turned off. As long as point two's not true, then the former really doesn't matter."

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163 comments

lawl (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21597815)

more like bioshit, amirite?

Wise words (5, Insightful)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 6 years ago | (#21597861)

"I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or a banana split."
Kurt Vonnegut quoted in "The War Between Writers and Reviewers," New York Times Book Review (6 January 1985).

Source: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Kurt_Vonnegut [wikiquote.org]

Re:Wise words (4, Funny)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598031)

Good quote. OTOH, the hot fudge sundae sometimes--just, sometimes--needs to die. Sure, a reviewer is someone who knows the route but can't drive the car...but even they can still tell if the driver is going backwards on the wrong side of the road at 80 mph, and when they witness such calamities, they should say so with all the vitriolic vituperation that such a situation calls for.

Re:Wise words (2, Funny)

Mex (191941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600121)

And if you're not careful, Sundae WILL kill you. I mean, 40 years later, and of diabetes, but it's DEADLY, trust me.

Re:Wise words (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598225)

Well, there is something to that. Video games are different though, since they are interactive. While the point holds up for the story, in a game it's possible to be interested in the story or gameplay but have an element (controls, puzzle, whatever) be so frustrating as to stop all interest in continuing to play or to enrage you at the unfairness of the answer.

Re:Wise words (2, Insightful)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598705)

Cue Riven comments.

Here, I'll start: "What a beautiful world. How impossible to play."

Nothing wrong with the ending (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21598509)

I've found criticism of the ending to be one of the lamest of all. Personally, I found the ending genuinely touching, and would rank it among the best game endings ever.

Maybe their problem is that they got the "Evil" ending. Next time don't murder the little girls, jerkoffs.

I'll disagree (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599495)

I'll disagree with Kurt Vonnegut, there.

I can see how he comes to such ideas, seeing that he's the writer. It's his work that those nasty reviewers are pissing all over. Yes, I'd _expect_ him to feel pretty strongly about it.

I, however, come from the angle of the consumer. I like to have the _whole_ picture before I decide whether I blow 50$ or more on a game.

There are entirely too many people who tell me only half the story. They tell me what they liked about a game. Or in the case of some reviewers, what the publisher's PR department told them to write. And I'm grateful for that info, too.

But that's just the problem: the "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" school of reviewing, only tells me half the picture. It's presenting a skewed picture, that serves no purpose except to try to help some vendor swindle me out of some money that they didn't deserve.

The purpose of a review isn't to be nice and friendly to the publisher. And that's a perversion of the whole idea. A review was never supposed to be just an extension of the publisher' marketing. A review is for the _consumer_. As a paying customer, I want enough information to decide if I'd genuinely like that game or not. If, according to _my_ tastes, it's worth _my_ money.

I'm actually grateful to the reviewers which give me the other half of the picture. Even if it's in the form of rage and loathing. We need more review sites like Something Awful, just for balance sake. Because God knows we already have too many who focus only on pleasing the publisher and being nice to the devs.

I don't hate games, I just like to know the _whole_ story. The good _and_ the bad. Only then I can make an informed choice.

And since there are already too many competing to tell me only the former, I'm genuinely grateful to the disgruntled folks who'll tell me the latter. I want to know every single bad detail. Everything that the reviewer didn't like. Every debatable aspect or design choice. Every glitch, every quest that feels unfinished, every moment when the reviewer's suspension of disbelief broke.

Don't worry, it doesn't mean I'll swallow the reviewer's opinion whole, as some Holy Truth, though. Trust me, I'll still use my own judgment there. If a reviewer goes "omg, it sucks because it's turn based" about a game, I'll probably just go, "hmm, that sounds good, actually." But now I'll have one more piece of information to base the decision on.

And if some some publisher, dev or fanboy ends up thinking along the lines of Mr Vonnegut's quote... well, they can consume excrement and expire, for all I care. I'm sure there would be a lot who'd like people's purchase decisions to be based only on corporate-approved PR and hype, but, see, that's exactly the thing I hope to avoid when I go to a review site.

Re:I'll disagree (3, Insightful)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599577)

I think you're missing an important qualifier: "who expresses rage and loathing"

A calm and logical examination of the facts and noting their flaws and merits is where true criticism should lie, not inflated rhetoric intended to drive up your pagerank.

Re:I'll disagree (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599647)

I think the Vonnegut quote was more attributed to reviewers who act like the author punched them in the face.

I've seen some reviews where the writer expresses almost hatred and contempt for the work and/or author they are critiquing. It isn't necessary in a review.

If I could review, reviews... I'd rather read "In general, this is a poor novel because of this, this, and this." rather than come across a critic trying to act as a poet in bashing the work.

Re:I'll disagree (1)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600913)

I don't really think this is the point of the article though. The problem is that the Internet serves as a megaphone for people who want to complain about petty, insignificant aspects of the game, like holding a magnifying glass over a pimple. For instance, most anyone who visited a gaming message board after the Bioshock launch is sure to know about the "widescreen issue", which wasn't really much of an issue at all. People just piled on it because it was a quantifiable flaw in the game.

In fact, I would say that such criticism is often a sign of lack of skill on the critics part. They don't have the ability to recognize things that are actually important in game design so they focus in on meaningless, but quantifiable, flaws in the game.

Oh, really? (1, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602175)

Without passing judgment over Bioshock itself, you illustrate a problem: assuming that what's not an issue for _you_ can't possibly be a legitimate issue for anything else. Which isn't just assuming that everyone is a clone of you (they aren't) and has exactly the same tastes (they don't), but also that their system necessarily is an identical clone of yours (again, it isn't.)

How much of a problem widescreen is, differs from TFT to TFT and from driver to driver.

A lot of early widescreens can't deal with a 4/3 image other than rescaling and deforming it to 16/9, for example. And I still have an Acer display for example, which ATI mis-detects and can't scale properly to.

A lot of TFTs do a piss-poor job of scaling any 4/3 image even if they keep it 4/3. E.g., if you have an 1680x1050 (which is what most wide-screen owners have), most of them insist on rescaling a resolution like 1280x1024 to something that has 1050 lines. And on a lot of them it's a piss-poor scaling too.

Etc.

There are very valid reasons why one could complain there. But nah, you've already decided that you're the judge and jurry of what everyone else should think.

Heh.

Misunderstanding the purpose of reviews (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599873)

Good reviews are not just consumer information. They are also entertainment. And expressing "rage and loathing" can be a lot more entertaining than just stating that the novel was poorly written.

Re:Wise words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600569)

(The late) Vonnegut is welcome to speak for himself, but I think most novelists consider themselves to be making something more lasting and noteworthy than a banana split.

I must've missed a memo. (4, Funny)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 6 years ago | (#21597879)

Dammit, nobody told me we were supposed to be having a backlash against this game! I actually liked it and felt it was a fine bit of storytelling in a fun FPS, myself... next time, -tell me- when I'm not supposed to like a game! Next you'll tell me I was supposed to hate Kane & Lynch!

Re:I must've missed a memo. (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598235)

It's ok, I think you need more than about 5 people for a heavy backlash.

Re:I must've missed a memo. (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599173)

Depends on the size of the people.

Re:I must've missed a memo. (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599557)

The only reason we are supposed to hate it, I think, is because it was presented as "the spiritual successor to System Shock 2" and it isn't. Instead it is just another mindless shooter where you have far too much firepower and not enough enemies.

SS2 had a rather intelligent RPG-like system for skills and upgrades. Depending on how you approach it, the game changes pretty dramatically. Bioshock? Sure, you have some (far more limited) ways of upgrading, but the game doesn't change if you choose a different path - especially because you can change your choice of upgrades at any time.

SS2 has equipment and a limit on how much you can carry, requiring the occasional bit of careful thought on how to proceed. Bioshock has no such thing.

SS2 made you look around carefully, searching the environment for clues and equipment. Some of it was genuinely hard to reach. Bioshock has a bloody big arrow floating over your head at all times, and whatever equipment you might need is always found nearby.

SS2 has some of the most brilliant level design I've ever seen. Places were really *places*, some were scary, some were dangerous, some were safe, some had resources you needed. Bioshock has a lot of scenery, but its all just a backdrop to continuous, unrelenting combat. At some point, despite its magnificence, it just blurs out. And is this supposed to a city or a single long corridor?

SS2 has an engaging story. Bioshock - well, opinions will differ. I was not really all that impressed, with its presentation at least, as it seemed rather confusingly put together. The revelations that Atlas is really Fontaine (a character I honestly thought was just one of many off-screen businessmen living in the city, with no special significance in the story), that you are Ryans son (why was that necessary, really? Did it add anything? Was I supposed to care about him now?), and that you were programmed to do Atlas' bidding, all of these came across as extremely deus ex machina - and that's not a good thing. And why would I start outside the city? Who was supposed to be fooled by this? Ryan distrusts you from the very start, and if you are programmed anyway why not start by walking out of the programming chamber instead of almost getting killed in a plane wreck, of all things?

But of course you can look at it from another side as well: it is not a bad shooter, it has some beautiful scenery, and I did enjoy making my way through. In that sense I'm happy with it. But "spiritual successor to SS2"? Give me a break, what an incredible disappointment...

You don't need a memo. (1)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599913)

When a game is that much hyped, there will be a backslash.h

Videogame Ghetto! (3, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#21597917)

Now I haven't played anymore of Bioshock than the demo, so I don't know just how "accessible" it is. The thing is though, "accessibility" has this tendency to destroy FPS/RPG hybrids in particular. You need look no farther than Deus Ex 2 or Oblivion to see these downfalls. I don't find it elitist either, as not all games should appeal to a broad audience. I can't find a flight simulator that I'd enjoy playing in a million years, but I know the people that like that genre like it precisely because you have to map out three hundred different buttons to play, not because it's accessible. And yes, in many cases accessible DOES mean dumbed-down. All of the failed game mechanics mentioned can be at least partially because of their multiplatform status (console vs. PC). That's not a line to toe with first person perspective play, as console are vastly inferior in that regard (except, maybe the Wii).

Re:Videogame Ghetto! (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598381)

The only areas of Bioshock which I thought were specifically dumbed-down were the stats and skills. Specifically, the fact that the system was plastic enough, and there were enough freebie upgrades, that it was difficult to make a very dumb decision when building your character with respect to gene tonics.

I also missed starting out barely able to hit the broad side of a barn with a pistol and ending the game as an expert sniper. But maybe that's something only I like about most FPS/RPG hybrids. And come to think of it, for all of the melee upgrades they have in the game, I found that the wrench is still not really a workable weapon after a certain point in the game, even against splicers.

Re:Videogame Ghetto! (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598409)

Yes, but remember, its the goal of a company (in most cases) to sell as many copies of a game as possible. If that means dumbing it down but selling 2-3x as many copies, a game company will do it. Niche titles like Flight Simulator are great for their niche, but on a relative scale sales are rather niche as well. In the end, it's a business decision, and the question is "will it sell more copies as a focused game that a few will love, or a mass market accessible game?"

Re:Videogame Ghetto! (1)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598421)

All of the failed game mechanics mentioned can be at least partially because of their multiplatform status (console vs. PC). That's not a line to toe with first person perspective play, as console are vastly inferior in that regard (except, maybe the Wii)

That's the fault of the developer then, not the platform. Look at orange box. Plays wonderfully on both the 360, and the PC.

Re:Videogame Ghetto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600977)

All of the failed game mechanics mentioned can be at least partially because of their multiplatform status (console vs. PC). That's not a line to toe with first person perspective play, as console are vastly inferior in that regard (except, maybe the Wii)
That's the fault of the developer then, not the platform. Look at orange box. Plays wonderfully on both the 360, and the PC.
Ah, the Orange Box games, wonderful as they may be, aren't FPS/RPG hybrids. The player character has fewer types of actions to choose from, so the game mechanics are much simpler.

Re:Videogame Ghetto! (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598765)

I have never understood all the hate on Oblivion. I play it constantly, and it's one of my favorite games of all time. What's to hate? Great story telling, TONS of NPCs (many with personalities), TONS of quests, a world you can fast-travel OR just wander around, nice graphics (except the faces on most women...YUCK).

I love it. I have all the "amazing" Xbox titles, but most are merely OK in comparison. Fable, Oblivion, those are the biggies for me.

Game reviews, BTW, are overall just a bunch of crap. The only place you can actually get decent reviews half the time is Penny Arcade or Gu...

Re:Videogame Ghetto! (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598833)

Hate responding to my own comment - but it's OT... I thought I was on the reviwers/publishers thread :D

Bioshock is a really fun game - not so good as Oblivion so far, but I haven't warmed up to it enough yet.

Re:Videogame Ghetto! (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599377)

Oblivion is IMO the best game of this generation so far. It *might* be dethroned by Ninja Gaiden 2 or something, but for now there's nothing out there that compares. People that hate on it are really not worth anyone's time; they don't have the imagination to enjoy something like a fully open fantasy world.

While we're at it, the OP's passing criticism of console FPSs is silly, unfounded, and betrays a lack of understanding of game mechanics and pacing. You can't just slap PC F.E.A.R.'s controls onto the console version, and you can't do the reverse either. One gives you better accuracy, the other arguably more comfortable mobility, etc. As for mouse+keyboard vs controller, that's more than anything a personal preference. PC shooter lovers simply forget that their character's face isn't 1 pixel by 1 pixel. I don't need a high-precision pointer to hit it. You can use a 360 controller on PC Halo and do *just fine,* and depending on what you're used to, maybe even better than with a keyboard+mouse. IGN gave it a go, and found it out for themselves. I wasn't surprised.

Re:Videogame Ghetto! (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602273)

The hate for Oblivion is pretty similar to the hate for Bioshock. It's a sequel to a series loved by rpg-geeks (like myself) for it's complexity, which has been severely reduced in terms of gameplay and environment.

I know in both cases the graphics have been scaled up, but the interfaces have both been reduced to Xbox360 controls, even on the PC... Perhaps that's a contributing factor aswell.. PC gamers feel like they're playing a console shooter instead of a PC RPG, and in a lot of cases this simply equates to dumbing down.

Re:Videogame Ghetto! (1)

sh33333p (1186531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601111)

The worst part of the game for me was the absolutely broken UI. Changing settings was a bit of a hassle, but the worst part was trying to find a save from a month ago in the list. I am from the "save early, save often" school, and I probably had at least 100 saves in Bioshock. The only way to scroll down the list was to click the stupid down arrow, which would scroll 1 line at a time. There is no way this would have happened if the game had been designed with the PC in mind. How hard is it to add a scroll bar that can be dragged?

My other problem was that the game kept tempting me to play it like an FPS (by giving me big shiny guns), but I couldn't quite do that, because of the annoying aiming system. I'm sure some people liked that as it simulates the p.c.'s skills, and I'm sure lots of other people will tell me how it isn't *intended* to be played like something from the HL series, what with the plasmids and all. I agree, but personally I still prefer that if a game gives me guns it lets me aim reasonably well. Something like Farcry's iron sights system would have been great, but personally I was frustrated.

All that being said, the ambiance was absolutely great. I love great settings that are done well in games, and I think Rapture is the best I have seen so far. I do think the game was over-hyped, but it's not anyone's fault but mine that I bought in. Overall it was still a good game, just not on par with the Orange Box.

Re:Videogame Ghetto! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602349)

I like the game. Although I usually play puzzles, real-time strategies and RPG's, I was heartened by the rumors that it was going to be a more accessible first-person shooter. Games need to be judged for the purpose for which they were created. Some games seemed designed to make you play the same segments over and over, until you've mastered the fluid control movements and speed necessary to move on. Others are meant to tell a story, or just let you loose to explore in a new environment. Some seem designed to frustrate. With Bioshock, I found the story intriguing, and the environment was creepy and suspenseful to the point that I was actually kind of scared to play it alone in my house at night. I think that's the mark of an immersive game. Honestly, I still haven't played to the end, so I can't say whether I will like it, but to me it's been worth the $50, (and worth upgrading my old computer so it could run).

Good game (0, Troll)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21597927)

When will gamers start accepting games for works of art? It used to be about difficulty. It used to be about points. It used to be about kill count. Now I think more developers are moving towards the adventure...immersing yourself in a creative and well thought out storyline...and unfortunately alot of gamers don't appreciate that. Of course there are games that ARE absolute crap and deserve a good thrashing *cough*Halo anyone? What huh... did I say that out loud? *cough* DIVERT POWER TO SHIELDS MR. CHAKOTAY! INCOMING FAN BOY PROTON TORPEDOES.

Re:Good game (1)

Brigade (974884) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598219)

It's not often I get mod points, but when I do I try to adhere to the guidelines.

You made a very insightful and poignant point, which I had every intention of modding up .. until I read that last line. Not the crack about Halo, but what followed.

Insightful + Flamebait = 0 .. they should have a "Know When to Quit +/- 0" Moderation Option, IMHO.

Re:Good game (2, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598301)

Halo anyone?
I wouldn't say crap, but it certainly did nothing new and doesn't deserve the lavishing of praise it ended up receiving from every reviewer everywhere.

A world where games like Beyond Good & Evil and Psychonauts are ignored and Halo is applauded is, in my mind, a topsy-turvy one.

Re:Good game (3, Insightful)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598403)

Ok, ok, maybe crap was too harsh.. but you have to admit it was put on a pedastel and hailed as the second coming of Christ when it was... slightly above average at best.

Re:Good game (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598475)

Possibly System Shock 2 was just too good to live up to and should be remade shot for shot under a modern engine... hey that's what Hollywood does. Then that'd be games imitating movies as art, as life... i think

Re:Good game (2, Insightful)

flitty (981864) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598649)

The major point that most of PC gamers miss, is that a game that is "slightly above average at best" IS the second coming of Christ to Console gamers. I remember Halo's big deal was a couple of things that were Novel to consolers:
1- up to 16 people deathmatch 2-Vehicles 3-No clunky weapon switching 4- Coop
All of these things were done previously in PC Games, and usually done MUCH better, but at that time in the console world, you were stuck with FPS's on the Playstation 1&2, which we all know how awesome THOSE are.
Complain all you want about how Bioshock sucks more than System Shock 2, and go play System Shock 2, but for the console kiddies, Bioshock is pretty unique for them. After all, we all know that Halo:Marathon::Bioshock:System Shock 2

Re:Good game (1)

daninspokane (1198749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598791)

Interesting... I never really considered a console gamer's perspective to be quite honest. I've been a PC man through and through sprinkled with a little SNES, Xbox and some Wii. I can see your point, what was there really that was all that great before Halo came out? I am not sure since I never really got involved in the console world, but yea... I can see your point.

Re:Good game (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600597)

Maybe if "game" means "FPS" to you.

Meanwhile, consoles get Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Katamari Damacy, Rez, and so on, and so on. PCs get... More FPSes.

Re:Good game (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600405)

Slightly above average was really impressive for a console fps.

to be more frank, it would TAKE the second coming of Christ to break some of the molds in the gaming industry right now.

Re:Good game (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598871)

I'm about half way through Beyond Good and Evil. I don't see what the fuss is about. Seems like just another tomb raider clone to me.

Re:Good game (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598835)

Now I think more developers are moving towards the adventure

Except they're not. They're moving towards stupid action-adventure-rpg-fps hybrids. There's a saying, "jack of all trades, master of none". And it generally holds true for these hybrids. They don't tend to be particularly good action games, or adventure games. True adventure games died in the late 90s. I'd love to see them come back, but these hybrid games are a poor substitute.

Re:Good game (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599413)

When will gamers start accepting games for works of art?

When I'm not paying $60 a pop and can go to an art gallery instead and play it for a $5 entry fee.

It used to be about difficulty. It used to be about points. It used to be about kill count.

Funny. I thought it used to be about the game being, well, fun to play.

Now I think more developers are moving towards the adventure...immersing yourself in a creative and well thought out storyline...and unfortunately alot of gamers don't appreciate that.

You're gods danm straight I don't appreciate that! If I wanted a compelling storyline I could immerse myself in I'd read a book. Seriously. Even movies are available for those who are literally challenged. Both are a cheaper option that the latest industry bandwagon.

Games are about one thing. One Thing. One. The Gameplay .

Gameplay. The mechanics of the core game. How it plays, how it feels, how you interact with the machine. If you haven't got it, then you've essentially got a very expensive set of polygons moving about on screen, with an occasional soundtrack. Storyline, music, characters, are all filler, not the core. If you haven't got gameplay, you haven't got a game. You've got a plausibly interactive, low quality animated feature. No thanks.

Re:Good game (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599423)

I agree that some games definitely qualify as works of art. I'm not so sure Bioshock is really one of them. It's a perfectly pleasant experience, but strikes me as more of a kind of very well crafted pulp fiction of the video game world--perhaps the Stephen King of video games. I won't argue that its technical competence (graphics and such) was top notch, but as a work of art... meh... I could take it or leave it. Now, I realize I'm going far into the realm of subjective reality, and opinions are going to be all over the place, but to me I think Dreamfall [wikipedia.org] was the last game I played that really felt like a genuine artistic accomplishment. And, as far as being a game goes, it was even easier and more accessible than Bioshock by a considerable degree. Even though a braindead monkey could probably manage to beat Dreamfall, its artistic edifice had me absolutely captivated from start to finish.

Re:Good game (1)

Justarius (305126) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599535)

RPG players accept it. FPS players might not.

RPG, by definition, is a well-thought out story-line. Remember the paper-and-pencil days of D&D or Shadowrun? What made those games fun? The story line presented by the GM/DM, especially when it was a home grown epic. A poster above mentioned Oblivion - which is an art form unto itself, but the game is daunting to most. RPG players look for replayability depending on class, how much you can alter your character, etc.

At least from people i know, FPS players look for an entirely different set of features, from how hard is it, to whether they have to worry about creating a character at all. An FPS is dull if it's just the same thing all over again, and watered down. They look for a reflex challenge, and buy kit to match how fast they can move a mouse or how fast they can click.

Hybrid between both, shouldn't but are, a compromise. Unfortunately, Bioshock has several watered down features that an RPG player expected, and it's not as tough as most FPS players would prefer.

The idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21597991)

that dumb isn't easy is a very easy decision to make.

Re:The idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21598153)

What a dumb thing to say.

If the game wasnt dumbed down for the mainstream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21598005)

then why did most of the team leave for other companies? Because they were disappointed in the consoltized mess that bioshock was.

Kevin Levine The hypocrite. He said EA would dumb down system shock 3, yet he himself did the exact same thing.

Re:If the game wasnt dumbed down for the mainstrea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21598265)

why did most of the team leave for other companies? Because they were disappointed in the consoltized mess that bioshock was.
Thanks for that insight into the motives a bunch of people you'll never meet. As long as you're reading minds there, Kreskin, what number am I thinking of?

"Real" RPGs (5, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598039)

petty elitism from people who'd actually like videogames to be a ghetto consisting of them

I like RPGs of all types. American, Japanese, European, action, methodical, turn based, real time, whatever. Hell, I even enjoyed Two Worlds on the X360. I thought *I* was nuts.

But try going to the message boards for some of these games, and I mean the boards run by the developer/publisher where players make suggestions for the next game. Bethesda's Oblivion forum, for example.

So much of it can be boiled down to "please make the game 100 times more nitpicky and tedious". I swear, some of these guys would cream their pants if an RPG came along where you have to spend 20 minutes tending to your charatcer's bathroom activities every morning, another 30 minutes sharpening their sword and polishing their armor and then two hours deciphering an elven scroll in order to make a level 1 fireball.

There's a thin line between "hard core RPGer" and "inanimate object", I think. :)

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

DaleGlass (1068434) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598321)

So much of it can be boiled down to "please make the game 100 times more nitpicky and tedious". I swear, some of these guys would cream their pants if an RPG came along where you have to spend 20 minutes tending to your charatcer's bathroom activities every morning, another 30 minutes sharpening their sword and polishing their armor and then two hours deciphering an elven scroll in order to make a level 1 fireball.


I think that's because most RPGs don't actually have much Role Play in them. Take Neverwinter Nights for instance. While you have considerable freedom, each campaign still ends the same way. Real role play would mean I could suddenly decide to cut Aribeth's head off, present it to Queen Morag, and march against Neverwinter. If that sort of flexibility is available in any game without a human DM, I'd love to know of it.

Now since there are good reasons why a game can't be programmed to deal with every possibility like the above, what you have left is role playing your character. As in roleplaying a rogue, wizard, etc. And that of course comes down to wanting to have an intimate knowledge of swords, magic and bows that goes far beyond point and click. Hardcore roleplaying a wizard would probably involve an actual magical system you could work with, and where skill would be based on learning how it works, and your ability to cast spells (with gestures say).

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598945)

Oddly enough, the only one that comes to mind (re: flexibility & choices) is Deus Ex 2. For all its faults (and there are a few I'm sure other can fill you in on), it was one of the few games that didn't railroad you into taking "the side" that the designers had in mind. They even have a contingency plan (complete with a separate end-cinematic) if you decide to up and kill *everyone*; mind you, it wasn't a pleasant ending, but still, that the designers took serious the idea that a player would legitimately want to choose that says something.

Most RPGs get sucked into the whole Good/Evil (or Light Side/Dark Side) thing but don't take it seriously enough, and so it ends up merely being for cosmetics/pragmatic changes to the players' abilities or minor changes in an otherwise undifferentiated story. I get the sense that no designer really wants to think hard about the player that wants to go off script. Either you get railroaded into the same story regardless of what choices you make (the single sin of DX1/Baldur's Gate/KoToR), or you are denied simple and obvious choices to begin with (everyone else).

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

Obsi (912791) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600255)

Morrowind. Right out of chargen you can attack people... Sure you'll die if you do, but youu can still make those choices. Some poster here recently said "Freedom also means freedom to fuck up" or something along those lines.

Offtopic: I wish Morrowind and Oblivion had a 'hardcore mode' wherein you die, all of that characters' saves are deleted,or at least renamed.

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600431)

See, I don't count Morrowind as a win on this axis, because in order to advance the plot you have to be a nice guy and not kill everyone. What I was saying was that at least with DX2, there were four distinct and adverse "sides" you could take that advance the plot (that is, the story) equally while also themselves affecting the story that is told through the game. With Morrowind if you choose the "kill everyone" option, the story that is told is "you die. you lose."

That might be interesting from a strictly ethical point of view (re: Freedom...freedom to fuck up), it's one-dimensional and inflexible storywise. As a gamer, I want to see how the story changes when I mess with the plot, and not just get hit with either "story ends/you die" or "story doesn't change no matter how hard you try." I don't play games for them to be just like reality; aren't adventure games supposed to be about exploration and experimentation and roleplaying and storyline? i.e. all the things you can't do with abandon IRL because there you're playing with live ammo and real consequences?

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21602017)

don't actually have much Role Play in them.

That's why I like the conversation system in Mass Effect.

It's fairly simple, but I think it's the basis for some real role playing. It's just Charm and Intimidate now, but Bioware could really make it much deeper if they do a sequel. Have more conversational options, and make it so you really have to say the right things to NPCs- smooth talk them, you know? Maybe even make it so you have to research some of the more plot critical NPCs in order to know how to unlock their secrets. There's potential for a deep minigame there.

They can also expand on the effect your attitude has on the game world. If you;re *too* much of an ass, your crew tosses you out the airlock. :) Having the potential for game ending events based on how you play your role would be cool.

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598537)

actually that doesn't sound half as bad to me as it would most. I mean, even aragorn had to sharpen his sword...

Re:"Real" RPGs (0, Troll)

kmonarq7 (1100359) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598563)

They do have this RPG, its called World of Warcrap. :)

Re:"Real" RPGs (5, Insightful)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598611)

Don't mistakenly identify "desire for depth and complexity" with "nitpicky and tedious". You may find complex game elements nitpicky - because that doesn't suit your preferred style of gameplay - but a lot of players want at least the illusion of depth to their game. They like the complexity because - I am supposing - it gives the feeling of accomplishment to master all that complexity. What you view as perfect, I would probably view as shallow, what you view as "tedious" I would probably see as challenging.

Some examples. I used to play Counterstrike quite a bit when it first came out. It was moderately challening (ie, I wasn't very good at it) and it had a sort of immediate gratification aspect to it when I could pull off a headshot on someone or surprise them because I had determined where they would go and put myself in a position to take them out. Eventually I got bored and stopped playing, so bored in fact that i stopped playing FPS entirely.

At the same time more or less, I began playing a crafter in SWG. I found the difficulty of making money playing that game *solely from crafting* a real challenge. Most of my friends thought I was a loon because it seemed truely boring and repetitive, yet I managed to find something in that gameplay that kept me coming back, pre-CU, CU, NGE (all phases of the devolution of the game), it didn't matter. I managed to make well over 200 million credits in that game exclusively from crafting and selling items (no lootwhoring in otherwords).

In Dark Age of Camelot, I was primarily a PvPer. I barely scratched the crafting system because it was so shallow and unrewarding. Yet I played that game for at least 3 years. Why? Because the PvP game, called RvR there, had a Meta-gaming experience where a player could lead armies and get involved in the overall strategy of their realm, not just gank newbies.

Now I am in the beta for Pirates of the Burning Sea, and looking at making a Freetrader with the same intention: I want to master the economy because thats a far more interesting challenge to me than mastering PvP. I will likely try out the PvP but it looks ultimately like I would simply grow bore with the game in the end.

My point here I suppose is that it is quite possible to enjoy the complexity of a highly complex system (ie the crafting system in Starwars or POBS) even though some people find it shallow and uninteresting. for the most part I completely fail to understand how anyone can get any enjoyment at all from games like Halo (I played the first one through with a friend in 18 hrs, never touched it again and wouldn't spend another dime on the franchise, ultimately a complete disappointment to me, yet its a massive bestseller for other players).

Obviously I don't want to have to help my player take a shit every day - since there is little or no skill involved in taking a dump (beyond "don't miss the toilet"), nor sharpen their weapons - but if the game offered the opportunity to affect the performance of that weapon by how you sharpened it, even that might not be true. But don't mistake (your perceived) tedium as some universal truth. Your perception is not everyone's perception.

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600103)

Obviously I don't want to have to help my player take a shit every day - since there is little or no skill involved in taking a dump (beyond "don't miss the toilet"),
Ew, you forgot to wipe. 2% cumulative chance contracting swampass (- 5 Agility, -5 Concentration, Fail all horseriding checks until cured) per game hour until you bathe. And don't forget to build up your soapmaking skill to level 50 (Antibacterial).

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600349)

Don't mistakenly identify "desire for depth and complexity" with "nitpicky and tedious". You may find complex game elements nitpicky - because that doesn't suit your preferred style of gameplay - but a lot of players want at least the illusion of depth to their game. They like the complexity because - I am supposing - it gives the feeling of accomplishment to master all that complexity

Bingo. I think that's a very concise explanation of something I've always felt. To give my example, I'd refer to the Tony Hawk Pro-Skater series. It was really fun, but what bothered me about it (I've played 1 and 4) is that with a few simple button presses, I was doing tricks that are nigh impossible in the real world. (Fittingly, one simple move in the game is *called* "the impossible" because players long deemed it impossible in real life!) What I would have liked a lot more is if the game design adhered to the rule that:

"Difficulty of player performing the trick in-game should equal difficulty of pro-skater peforming the trick in real life"

That would give me a greater appreciation of the nuances you have to master to get an ollie to work, let alone a vertical spinning move.

Re:"Real" RPGs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600359)

since there is little or no skill involved in taking a dump (beyond "don't miss the toilet"),

Au contrare, my friend. Some would argue, sucessfully, that there is considerable skill, experience, and style involved in getting the maximmum enjoyment out of your Number Twos.

The way I see it, should your DM allow BMs in game, and you successfully roll a Constitution check, your healthy poo should give you +2 to Morale for the rest of the session.

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601885)

Don't mistakenly identify "desire for depth and complexity" with "nitpicky and tedious".

Oh, I agree with that. The comments I was referring to really were requests for things that would do nothing to enhance the gaming experience beyond making trivial things take longer.

I love complexity when it means something. For example, I'm enjoying Mass Effect right now, but I'd love to be able to find parts for the Mako (the drivable rover in the game) and tune the vehicle like you might in a racing game... but with guns and armor. :)

And the conversation system is pretty neat, but if they do Mass Effect 2, I'd like to see that expanded as well. Make each important copnversation like a puzzle or even a type of minigame. You'll need to figure out the NPC and smooth talk them juuuuust right.

Re:"Real" RPGs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21599137)

It's not that Bioshock should have been more nitpicky, it's that the bits in it that are nitpicky should mean something and be worth doing.

In the game you are thrown into what should be the most challenging adventure, but all you need is left, right jump and fire. It does not matter what plasmids or bits of rubber pipe you get, it's all balanced and handled so well that's it's impossible to make a mistake. The game seems desperate to help in any way to stop you getting stuck. The plasmids do not mean anything other than different guns to kill things, you do not have to consider which ones are better outside that. You can't get lost either as the levels are so small and simple.

Without the feeling that I could make a mistake, I did not get the feeling I could do something right either. This made the game a bit hands off and movie like, rather than involving.

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599715)

"There's a thin line between "hard core RPGer" and "inanimate object", I think."

Spot on, and it doesn't end at RPGs. I find the more popular and the more freedom you give people in a program the more they'll complain about other freedoms that they don't have. Maybe this could even be applied to a social and human interactivity aspect but the bottom line is that once you give someone a taste of something so appealing they will always want more.

I think the real concern comes with people who have not only unreasonable requests for what they want, but also they tend to only think of what THEY want. Its this selfishness that drives it as far as I can tell.

I'm not saying it is selfish to want more, but its certainly selfish to want more and not consider why you won't get more.

Re:"Real" RPGs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600291)

I swear, some of these guys would cream their pants if an RPG came along where you have to spend 20 minutes tending to your charatcer's bathroom activities every morning, another 30 minutes sharpening their sword and polishing their armor and then two hours deciphering an elven scroll in order to make a level 1 fireball.
Perhaps if the developers actually listened to the players, they would be more successful. The best-selling PC game franchise of all time is The Sims, which also happens to be a game where you get to tell your characters when they may go to the bathroom. Coincidence?

Re:"Real" RPGs (1)

m0rm3gil (567905) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601259)

These would be the same people who destroyed Hexen 2. If I recall correctly the game started off as a swords and sorcery style shooter with some puzzles. Vocal forum goers declared that impossible puzzles were the best part of the first game and so the developers added in a pile of crap designed to make anyone who wasn't prepared to dedicate their life to the game tear their hair out.

Is this a Euro thing? (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598097)

Heavy backlash against Bioshock? From what I've seen most people seem to like Bioshock. It had a lot of "game of the year" mentions among my friends. Is this a Euro thing where they are supposed to hate the game because it doesn't punish the player enough? I've played the game with basically no-vita chambers (just reload from the last save every time you die) and it really doesn't seem to add much to the game. Besides, none of that makes one iota of difference to the part that really pushed Bioshock into the "great games of the year" category: The storyline.

While there are parts of the game that I thought could have used some work (the Crafting is pretty halfassed and the Hacking got tedious after awhile), I considered my complaints minor. Also, the ending was underrated. I thought it wrapped up the story nicely (at least with the good ending) and in a very touching way.

Re:Is this a Euro thing? (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598971)

Well said. I've not talked to anyone who has "hated" that game. I played through it myself and it was enjoyable and had a lot of nice features beyond the eye candy. While I agree it could have used some work in areas it was a far cry from the crap this story is making it sound like.

Re:Is this a Euro thing? (1)

DeepZenPill (585656) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599689)

How about having to snap a million pictures of enemies/bots/turrets/cameras in order to gain skills or damage bonuses. And finally after taking so many pictures of those bots and turrets you can avoid that hacking game. But not with cameras... you always have to hack cameras. The hacking minigame was cute the first dozen or so times, but god did it get old fast.

One of my favorite things to do was use my autohack tool on a u-invent machine just to make 2 more.

Am I the only one... (0)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598193)

Why is it that everyone claiming that bioshock really IS all that is good and right in a game ignores the arguments against that position that actually have substance. Things like the DRM clusterfuck and bloody wierd mouse controls, tallscreen FOV, and the player character's lack of impact on the world. Did anyone ever figure out how on earth the sensitivity manages to slowly change over time after loading and saving?

Re:Am I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21598397)

Why is it that everyone claiming that bioshock really IS all that is good and right in a game ignores the arguments against that position that actually have substance.
Huh? That's a matter of opinion.

Things like the DRM clusterfuck
Installed fine for me.

and bloody wierd mouse controls,
? Seemed OK to me. Was disappointed I couldn't rebind R though.

tallscreen FOV,
Looked fine to me.

and the player character's lack of impact on the world.
? Meaning what? I could blow things up fine. No, I couldn't grenade-launcher a hole in a wall to skip puzzles but then I don't expect to do that in games.

Did anyone ever figure out how on earth the sensitivity manages to slowly change over time after loading and saving?
Didn't happen to me.

Re:Am I the only one... (2, Interesting)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598487)

Why is it that everyone claiming that bioshock really IS all that is good and right in a game ignores the arguments against that position that actually have substance. Things like the DRM clusterfuck and bloody wierd mouse controls, tallscreen FOV, and the player character's lack of impact on the world. Did anyone ever figure out how on earth the sensitivity manages to slowly change over time after loading and saving?
As a player of the 360 version, none of that really applied to me. While I am playing on a widescreen and did read the FOV comments before I started after a few minutes I decided it wasn't nearly as bad as people made it out to be. That and most of the other bugs you mentioned were all fixed in the patch that was just released.

As for the player's lack of effect on the world... well... did you pay attention to the story at all? The whole story revolves around how the world effected YOU, you play the grunt, the pawn in the bigger story... something tells me that not changing the world around you was by design. This wasn't Fable or Oblivion where you're the hero of the hour every hour, Bioshock's story has you play the role of a slave.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598647)

Why is it that everyone claiming that bioshock really IS all that is good and right in a game ignores the arguments against that position that actually have substance. Things the DRM clusterfuck and bloody wierd mouse controls
...which only affected the PC version. The Xbox 360 version has sold over 1 million copies [vgchartz.com] already, but I can't find any sales numbers for the PC version. My guess is that the game is far more common on the 360.

tallscreen FOV
I assume you're talking about the way widescreen was implemented. That's fixed as of right now, on the 360 at least. And really, was it ever a real issue? If I hadn't seen side by side screens on a forum somewhere, I never would have noticed. It certainly didn't detract from my enjoyment of the game, anyway.

player character's lack of impact on the world
What sort of impact were you expecting, but didn't find? More importantly, how would this additional impact have fundamentally improved the game? I was happy with the amount of impact I could have on the gamespace. Hacking or destroying a turret was persistent, harvesting a Little Sister was permanent, and the actions of the Big Daddies would change after the Little Sister in its area was gone. And of course, there were other major changes as you progressed through the game (e.g. destroying the reactor). What else were you looking for? Fully destructable environments? Would that have somehow made the game better? As far as I can see, it would have been pointless eye candy, and a lot of development effort that would ultimately contribute nothing to the narrative of the game.

Did anyone ever figure out how on earth the sensitivity manages to slowly change over time after loading and saving?
Not sure what you're talking about here; maybe this is another PC issue?

In all, I think most people ignore these complaints about the technical issues because they don't affect the majority of the people playing the game. As far as I'm concerned, it's primarily a 360 title that had a same-day release of a PC port. I don't think it's a perfect game by any stretch, but I do think it's a very good game, and an excellent example of how game designers can include a rich narrative in a game without using cut-scenes. Technical issues with the game on the PC simply don't factor in to my appraisal of the game.

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

RalphSleigh (899929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598801)

I could never get the sensitivity to something I liked, I think it was because it applied some kind of console-style acceleration to the mouse so you got slow to start with then speeded up the further you turned.

Can't gauge backlash (3, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598257)

For every gamer that posts some inane comment about how a game is too easy, or how it's been dumbed down, there are an untold number of gamers that are perfectly happy with the game and aren't going to the message boards about how horrible one aspect or another is/was. The same is true on every game, especially games where developers act on customer feedback (like MMORPGs). To read most MMORPG message boards, you'd think that the game in question sucks and that everybody that's shelling out $10-$15 a month to pay for the subscription is doing so only because someone has them on threat of torture if they don't.

And it behooves players to realize that elitism isn't the way to get your game improved. The more people playing the game, the more likely it is someone will spend resources on making expansions or updating it. If your hardcore l337 group of friends really likes a game with a steep learning curve that only a small subset of players enjoy, it's likely you'll still be playing that version of the game in 5 years.

Re:Can't gauge backlash (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601325)

### The more people playing the game, the more likely it is someone will spend resources on making expansions or updating it.

But do those make the game better or drive it only deeper down the path that I didn't like in the first place?

### If your hardcore l337 group of friends really likes a game with a steep learning curve that only a small subset of players enjoy, it's likely you'll still be playing that version of the game in 5 years.

Might be true, but flightsim that is ten years old still provides a ton more depth then I will ever get out of Ace Combat anything else released today. Seems to be the sad truth of the market that niche genres are disappearing or already gone.

Activation still around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21598261)

Have they gotten rid of the crazy DRM yet? I know Ken Levine said they'd drop it "in the future":

http://www.bit-tech.net/news/2007/08/26/bioshock_activation_will_be_removed/1 [bit-tech.net]

Is the future now? Can I buy the game yet?

Re:Activation still around? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598417)

I doubt it, they're still advertising on TV for the Christmas holiday. The DRM removal patch (if it ever comes out) will probably be in a year or so. If you really want to avoid it you'll probably just have to pirate the game.

Re:Activation still around? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21598481)

> If you really want to avoid it you'll probably just have to pirate the game.

Why do these companies make it so hard for us to give them money?

Backlash? No... (3, Interesting)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598375)

It just wasn't as GREAT as it could've been.

The game was easy, no doubt about it... but no moreso than playing Halo on "normal" level. Oh sure you've got your "Vita-Chanbers" but they weren't that much different from the frequent auto-saves in Halo either.

The game suffers from two fatal problems however:
1> The ending stinks (spoilers ahead) - There is so much care and effort to the building of the world and the philsophical interplays in the first 3/4 of the story that the early climax of killing Ryan and discovering that you are no more than a puppet and the REAL bad guy is some two-bit chump who spends the rest of the game going "nyah nyah, gonna drop your health now" just destroys the fiction. There's no conclusion to the philosophical debate or to Ryan's vision other than to rescue the lil' Sisters and abandon Rapture or not rescue the girls and abandon Rapture. To wit, Rapture is a MAJOR character of this game and it's pretty much abandoned after Ryan's death.

2> There's no replay value. Sure you can go back and get that honeybee plasmid you always wanted but couldn't afford but most everything in the game is discoverable the first time through. Even the option of playing the game again to kill or not kill the little sisters isn't intriguing because it only REALLY changes the last 5 minutes of the game. The lame ending hurts here too. Who wants to play through a game again to get to the disappointing ending? Multiplayer options would've helped but it wasn't the point of the game, which was one of discovery and exploration.

To sum up, it's not a backlash (unless you want to consider all the technological goofups the PC owners had to go through with the DRM/activation)... but merely... disappointing.

A flawed masterpiece.

Good game, but not great. (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598559)

Sorry, but the lack of difficulty really took what could have been a "great game", and made it "good" to "above average".

The basic issue is there was no cost to dying totally undermined the atmosphere, and tension they tried so desperately to create. What fun is a "survival horror" if you're not scared?

They could have simply "fixed" the larger issues by scaling back on all the shit they gave you, like not having a vita chamber every 10 feet (I know you can turn them off now, but that doesn't solve the issue when you seldom die), or less ammo, or less health packs, or fewer/ no health stations or if you can buy health it actually cost you an amount of money you might care about like $400 instead of $10.

Basically they broke the game in play balancing. It was far more challenging playing Metroid Prime 3 on "Normal" (Easy) than Bioshock on "Hard", and thus I had a more engaging, and entertaining experience with the game as well as a greater sense of satisfaction when I beat it.

The New "Brass Balls" achievement is an acknowledgment from 2K Games that the game is too easy, so hopefully in the future there will be a patch to add a higher difficulty level and make it challenging. They don't need to change the core game, just subtracting available resources would work.

Re:Good game, but not great. (1)

What the Frag (951841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598885)

> What fun is a "survival horror" if you're not scared?
I second that. I actually thought I'll get a shocking game when buying Bioshock, but I totally missed the shock. Maybe they should have named it Biorun, BioWater, or BioMutation or just Bio.

They could have been much better with that. Well, the colors used usually create a warm, nice atmosphere. The problem is: they did nothing in addition to make this this more scary.

Both System Shock I and II still scares the hell out of me, but Bioshock didn't (well Half Life 2 did better on the Ravenhome level).

What about SecuROM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21598817)

If you're going by just this article's lack of mention, there was no "backlash" of any kind about the draconic SecuROM technology in this thing. And, if that is true, I'm ashamed of today's gamers for not exercising discipline.

I knew there was something wrong with people when they said LOL IT ISN'T A ROOTKIT going merely by semantics alone, without regard for the malicious intent of the technology.

Totally missing the point... (5, Interesting)

David20321 (961635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21598825)

The biggest complaint I have seen about Bioshock is that you never need to make choices in how the player character develops. By the end of the game you will be a gun-wielding, plasmid-blasting tank who is an expert hacker. This causes several key gameplay problems:
  • There is little reason to play again because you will follow the same path in the same way. In System Shock 2, when you play again you still follow the same path, but you have to deal with obstacles differently depending on your character's abilities.
  • Because you have so many different weapons and powers, it creates a paradox of choice. Since you have so many ways to kill any particular enemy, and there is little feedback to help find the most efficient way, it becomes less satisfying because I feel like I could have done it better.
  • The choice of harvesting or freeing the little sisters has very little weight, because you end up with the same abilities either way. This would have been an obvious place to add some kind of character variation.
Bioshock was also "dumbed down" in many other ways, such as having an infinite inventory capacity for weapons (and nothing but weapons). This adds to the paradox of choice, thus making combat less fun, while also eliminating other kinds of customization. Bioshock is still one of the best games of the year for me, and it raised the bar for story and atmosphere in games, but the gameplay mechanics show several clear design errors.

Re:Totally missing the point... (2, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599355)

All are great points!

In reference to your first re: character abilities... I've played System Shock 2 through several times while trying different strategies each time. The last time I decided to go for "pure" PSI. I made it through the game with whatever weapons I was able to use without improvements (mainly the wrench and pistol) and worked on developing the PSI abilities. Early on it was hard but once I got the hang of remote hacking turrets and using brains rather than brawn it was a great round.

I played through Bioshock and I was at the "shit, just hurry up and finish this thing"-level of boredom. I'll probably never play through Bioshock again but SS2 is calling me once again... (that and Thief fan missions!)

Re:Totally missing the point... (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599435)

I played through Bioshock and I was at the "shit, just hurry up and finish this thing"-level of boredom.

Yup. This is why I'm confused by all the "Game of The Year" Nods... It's the only GOTY contender I played where I got bored.

Re:Totally missing the point... (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599865)

Have you tried System Shock 2? It's a bit old but you can find high def texture packs online which update the graphics quite nicely. It's a great game.

Re:Totally missing the point... (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600005)

Have you tried System Shock 2? It's a bit old but you can find high def texture packs online which update the graphics quite nicely. It's a great game.

Not yet. Once I get through my current batch of games, I'll check it out though. Thanks.

Ken Levine in 2008 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21598837)

What the sam hill is going on here?!?!

How can people possibly think the story is compelling? It's the thinnest veneer of Rand's philosophy on top of the exact same story of every single other FPS game.

I never saw the betrayal at the hand of my trusted friend from the start of the game either! Man, what plot twists. I thought Captain Polito and I were going to escape together...

If Ken Levine is so great then why does nobody want to work with him anymore?

It's just dull (1)

Amphetam1ne (1042020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599025)

There's no particular reason to hate the game, I just couldn't be bothered to play it after about 3 hours because it was quite frankly dull. The level design seemed uninspired, the plot was so-so, the enemies and weapons felt very generic. It just didn't entertain me at all. 2K games could learn a lot from Infinity Ward. In fact, most FPS developers could learn a lot from Infinity Ward!

Looking for more value? (1)

jhRisk (1055806) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599207)

I've been feeling like I just don't get as much "value" from games nowadays and am left wondering if the issues in TFA are really based on this. Were folks left feeling like they didn't get enough value and partially due to external forces?

Expansions that are sold at full price (new Company of Heroes, SupCom, etc.), the lack of innovation in game genres that are most popular (RTS, MMOs, etc.), the tendency for the latter third if not even second half seemingly a hurried production, wrapping up plots with Deus Ex Machinas and a number of other elements leave me often times enjoying a game but at the end not being fulfilled like I used to (and still do on rare occasions.) I normally start to analyze the game wondering what went wrong specifically but recently I realized although I could isolate elements that needed improvement, the real problem for me was larger than that and surfaced once I zoomed out. I wanted more value for my money and certain improvements I felt would help. However, I'm not certain if they had been there to begin with I wouldn't feel the same. In the case of Bioshock this certainly applied to me.

Also, I think it would help games a lot to use more crescendo. Bioshock, Kane & Lynch and many others are great games however since you're in 5th gear with just about all aspects the entire time it's almost impossible to create a truly impacting big ending in comparison. Thus I'm left feeling like a cheesy 80s cliffhanger without any hope for knowing how the rest turns out. Feeling like I got only a piece certainly doesn't help the subconscious valuation of a product. Maybe game development should be done backwards with the ending getting the most attention, work, etc?

Re:Looking for more value? (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600795)

I've been feeling like I just don't get as much "value" from games nowadays and am left wondering if the issues in TFA are really based on this. Were folks left feeling like they didn't get enough value and partially due to external forces?

Yup. There isn't any real tiered pricing for new video games (It's simply "Budget", and "Everything Else") single player games with little replayability drop in perceived value, yet they still cost $50-$60 new. What they really need to do it put out some short titles with high production values, for $20. Something like Heavenly Sword, Stranglehold, or Bioshock should have been $20-$30 to start. If they did that there would have been more sold (and kept) rather than rented, and returned after a weekend.

Game as Novel. (4, Insightful)

Remus Shepherd (32833) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599315)

I'm seeing a divergence in computer games into two camps. One is the classic 'Game as Challenge' camp, where players seek to improve their ability to play and to overcome challenges that at first seem overwhelming.

But we're trending toward a 'Game as Novel' paradigm, where the purpose of playing the game is to see the story unfold and to make our own impact upon it. The challenge is reduced to the point that many games (like Bioshock and Prey) have zero costs for failure -- you just keep playing, keep the story progressing, as if nothing happened.

These two camps aren't completely in opposition to one another, but they can ruin each other's experience. The central nature of the Challenge game is that you may reach a point in the game past which you cannot proceed. That's anathema to the Novel game, which wants its reader to experience the entire story.

Not sure how to fix this divergence. Artificial limits (such as playing with X, where X is some helpful game mechanic) are one way but they feel contrived and hollow to the challenge player.

Re:Game as Novel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21601439)

"Game as Novel"?
I believe we used to call them 'Adventure games'.

BS bad, SS2 good (1)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21599925)

System Shock II was so much more fun than this game.

Bioshock was dumbed down to appeal to a larger audience. A game on rails that practically upgraded your character for you.

And it was too dark, I couldn't see a damn thing.

Dumber = dumber (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600065)

But 'easier' doesn't have anything to with it being 'dumber,'

That may or may not be the case, but it's irrelevant since when people talk about the game being dumber, it's not just a case of it being easier. I don't know if this is true with Bioshock (but according to a lot of people who've played it, it is), but I know that other "consolified" games, like Deus Ex 2 and Thief 3, weren't just made easier, but had many of the things that made them interesting removed or simplified into pointlessness. Gillen's argument is nothing but a strawman.

Rob

The Problem here is he has it backwards (1)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600413)

It's not, can we try and excuse it's faults, it is, why is it rated stinking high? Not one of the faults he argues against is wrong, they all exist, and no matters how much you try to excuse them, they continue to exist. He also misses several more. So, why is a game with such glaring faults rating so freaking high everywhere? It isn't deserving of those insane scores. I'll say it every time it comes up, yes, it's a good game, but NOT the 13th best game of all time (according to Gamerankings). I think that is most of people's complaint. You wouldn't see a big backlash if this game got at 85% on average (still a great game, but not even in the top 200), but instead the reviewers are telling us that it an absolutely awesome game, which only a tiny (and I mean TINY) minority of games are better than. This isn't the does the emperor have no clothes, it is a question of is the emperor wearing off the rack clothes with fake pearls and jewels, or custom tailored and made cloth with the real deal in the way of accessories.

bad comparison (0, Troll)

oneplus999 (907816) | more than 6 years ago | (#21600495)

"YOU CAN WRENCH, DIE, RESPAWN, REPEAT THROUGH THE GAME." In other words, it's too easy. They've got a point. That said, the actual quoted argument doesn't really. On the surface, sure, but on closer examination it falls apart. Sure, if you abuse the Vita Chambers in such a way, eventually you'll complete the game. But why the hell would anyone want to do that? It's like noting you can hit Level 60 in World of Warcraft by just farming the lowest-level creature that gives you XP at any point.
yeah and pol pot wasn't so bad, i mean look at hitler!

What about the SecuRom Rootkit from Sony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21600585)

I was surprised that this story didn't touch on one very dark & nasty aspect of Bioshock which has prevented me (and some of my friends) from playing: chiefly, the Sony Rootkit, SecuRom, that it comes with.

I love FPSs, and desperately wanted to purchase Bioshock. But then I heard that it uses SecuRom ... and I read about the issues that people were having, about the backdoors that this installs, and about all of the headaches related to trying to uninstall it once it's on. This was a major turn-off for me and several of my friends.

I mean, I know several people (myself included) who want to buy this game, but won't because of the antediluvian methods employed by SecuRom to curb software piracy. I wonder how many other potential customers have been turned away because of this.

Re:What about SecuRom? (1)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21601475)

I wonder how many other potential customers have been turned away because of this.

A handful at least, based on the posts in this thread. The demo wouldn't run on my computer because of SecuROM, so I am a member of a small percentage of people who (a) wanted to buy the game, (b) had the hardware to run the game, but (c) couldn't play because of the copy protection. It is crazy to add a feature to a program to artificially reduce the number of computers it will run on. It is the opposite of good business. It is retarded.

One day, SecuROM and Starforce and the other snakeoil salesmen will be put out of business by a single standardised PC copy protection scheme designed by Microsoft, integrated into Windows, and based on TCPA. I should feel sad about this, since SecuROM and friends will be crushed like Netscape and Microsoft will dominate another slice of the PC market. But instead I am actually looking forward to it, because unlike some of the other companies that have been destroyed by the juggernaut, SecuROM adds nothing of value and causes nothing but problems for paying customers.

A challenge to enjoy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21602437)

Does something have to be a big challenge to enjoy it?

I must admit that in my life, I have little time nor patience for save-die-load progress in games. I once did, but there came a time when I realized how artificial the challenge was, and what it really amounted to for me was a hassle to get to the end of the story. I knew I would eventually make it through their challenges in such games, but there would come a point where I got tired of it and would go online to find the cheat for god-mode so I could just enjoy the story and the graphics.

When I started half-life years ago, I thought the game was amazing. The atmosphere was like I had never seen before, and my surround speakers were really putting me into the mood. But then I came to a point where I was rushed by the white soldiers and kept dying during that combat. I remember how frustrating that was that there was a such an increase in difficulty there. I ended up switching into God mode and unfortunately, that hurt my experience of the game.

So would I rather have a game that is too easy than one that is too hard? Absolutely. I buy games for the story, graphics, sound, and the escape to another world they provide- much like more involved movies. I don't buy them to prove that I can master the timing needed to fight off 30 enemies at once because I already know that I can and eventually would succeed. Its a total waste of my time to prove that over and over in every game and its not rewarding to me. I have better things to do with my time than spend an hour on one section of a game I can't make it through.

I do like difficult combat at times, but that is when I have a LAN party and focus entirely on the competition- where there is something to prove.

I think there is room for games that have impossible challenges- but I think winning those battles should be the exception and not the rule, and other options should be available to avoid the battle altogether at the cost of some prize. This allows one to feel accomplished when they win a battle that obviously wasn't designed to be beaten. But ultimately, most of the battles in games are designed to make your character look like a superhero and eventually make it through the onslaught or boss level.
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