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BioShock Backlash 163

Posted by Zonk
from the whap-ow dept.
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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BioShock Backlash

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  • Wise words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spleen_blender (949762) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:58AM (#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]
    • by Elemenope (905108) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @12:09PM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Mex (191941)
        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBCook (132727)
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Elemenope (905108)

        Cue Riven comments.

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

      • by fbjon (692006)
        That seems to apply to books too: a great premise, thought-provoking story, but atrocious language. You'd want to like it so much, but it's just too horrible to read. That would make anyone angry at the book.
    • I'll disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @01:40PM (#21599495) Journal
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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.
      • 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.
        • Well, in _principle_ I'll agree with you. And when it comes to novels, it's usually like that indeed.

          The problem with games and reviews is... often more one of perception than of genuine rage and loathing. Some people (fanboys) tend to act as if even mentioning any problem their favourite game has, is not only a sign of rage and loathing, but makes one an enemy of all humanity too.

          The thing is, I haven't seen many reviews written from a position of rage and loathing. In fact, I can't remember any off the to
          • by ashridah (72567)
            The thing is, I haven't seen many reviews written from a position of rage and loathing. In fact, I can't remember any off the top of my head. Even as flames on boards go, genuine rage and loathing tends to be somewhat of a tiny minority of the messages, and easily identified as such. So, you know, you don't have to read it, if you don't like that kind of messages.


            Okay, you definitely need to watch some of Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation [escapistmagazine.com] reviews.

            Some of those are definitely filled with rage and loathing (well, co
      • by Itchyeyes (908311)
        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
        • Oh, really? (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Moraelin (679338)
          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
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Withen (644267)
        For unparalleled movie reviews such as those you've described, I highly recommend The Filthy Critic [bigempire.com]. He has unique, generally exceptional reviews, and they are often hilarious to boot.
      • by CFTM (513264)
        It's a little tough to apply Vonnegut's quote to a video game in my opinion because of the nature of the work; Vonnegut's criticism of the critic is not as a consumer but rather as an artist. If you're familiar with the process of creating art in any of its forms you are also very familiar with the solitary nature of the process; games are collaborative efforts and have artistic aspects to them and many individual artists had to contribute to the creation of Bioshock but it's not the same as a book, a pain
    • 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.
  • by InfinityWpi (175421) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @11:59AM (#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!
    • It's ok, I think you need more than about 5 people for a heavy backlash.
    • by johannesg (664142)
      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 p
      • by Miguelito (13307)

        that you are Ryans son (why was that necessary, really? Did it add anything? Was I supposed to care about him now?)

        Your whole reply was along the lines of what he was talking about in the article, and this one really nails it.. if you really have to ask "why was that necessary, really?" you obviously didn't pay attention to the specific mentions that Ryan's genetic code was required to unlock things... or, enough of a match (i.e. his son) to unlock things.

        I played SS2 back in the day and yes, I did think it

    • by caitsith01 (606117) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @06:51PM (#21605019) Journal
      ...that the backlash is really against all the pants-creaming 99.999% "greatest game of all time" reviews that Bioshock got. When that game came out there was some sort of contagious mass hysteria in the gaming press - seldom have I read such ridiculous hyperbole about a game.

      As such, when people who have played great PC games of the past (e.g. System Shock, Deus Ex, Oblivion) they fire this up in the expectation that it will exceed even those titles they know and love... only to find that it's not actually as sensationally amazingly fabulously revolutionary as the reviews have promised it is.

      I must say for myself that I felt the same way about Half Life 2 - it was a good game, but no way in hell is it the greatest game of all time, or even close. Hence I now have mild negativity attached to it in my mind after the reviewer love-in which took place when it came out.
      • by Talgrath (1061686)
        I thought Bioshock was easily on the level of those other games though, even if it was a bit overhyped. To be honest, the only thing I was disappointed about was that the AI which we had been told would be so spectacularly different didn't seem to act all that differently. Of course, funny story, that's my opinion and all reviews are...holy shit! Somebody's opinion?! Nah, they should be universal, everybody should think and enjoy a game just as much or as little as the reviewer; fall in line everybody!
  • Videogame Ghetto! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by morari (1080535) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @12:02PM (#21597917) Journal
    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).
    • 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 t

    • 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?"
    • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vux984 (928602)
        That's the fault of the developer then, not the platform. Look at orange box. Plays wonderfully on both the 360, and the PC.

        I disagree. The console as a platform for FPS -sucks-. I HATE dual analog controllers for FPS games. And adding auto-aim, auto-lockon, or auto-headhshot features to help compensate for the fact that the controllers are gimped just adds insult to injury.

        That said the Wii -is- an excellent platform for FPS titles. The controls are a bit less precise than keyboard+mouse, and its more effo
        • The point I was trying to make, is that the PC version of Orange box did not suffer at all from the existance of the console version. You argued that because bioshock was for PCs AND Consoles, the game suffered on the PC side. This does not have to be the case.
    • 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
      • 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.
      • by Sciros (986030)
        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 con
  • "Real" RPGs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @12:10PM (#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. :)
    • 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

      • by Elemenope (905108)

        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 legitima

      • 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
    • by cliffski (65094)
      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Phrogman (80473) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @12:47PM (#21598611) Homepage
      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.

      • 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).
      • 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
      • 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
        • As long as there is more than one way to do it. I enjoyed telling the council to go screw themselves and killing them all at the end.
    • "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 un
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @12:15PM (#21598097) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • by Vexor (947598)
      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.
    • by gad_zuki! (70830)
      Naww, youre just witnessing the 'angry complaint culture' of the internet. Its people who are going way overboard for ad impressions and attention. Other misanthropes cheer them on. Its actually kind sad.
  • by faloi (738831) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @12:25PM (#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.
    • by grumbel (592662)
      ### 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
  • Backlash? No... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the_skywise (189793) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @12:31PM (#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.
    • I actually enjoyed the game up until the point I realized that there was no penalty for dying. After that I would just shoot the big daddies then get them to follow me back to a respawn point and use the crowbar over and over. By the time I got to the third section I was full of everything you could possibly get.

      Your correct about having to replay for the ending as well. I just watched the other endings on youtube after completing the game.
  • 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 i

    • > 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 (wel
    • by tgibbs (83782)

      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 actua

      • by trdrstv (986999)

        I'm always amazed by the people who take advantage of all the things that make the game easier, and then complain that it is too easy. Are people really so undisciplined that they are unable to make their own challenges, and have to have them forced on them?... If that's not scary enough, how about making the wrench your default weapon?

        The issue is you can beat the game on Hard with the Wrench as your only weapon. Just lure a big daddy outside a vita chamber and nail him with your leveled up wrench, rin

        • by tgibbs (83782)

          The issue is you can beat the game on Hard with the Wrench as your only weapon. Just lure a big daddy outside a vita chamber and nail him with your leveled up wrench, rinse and repeat till it suits your fancy.

          Indeed you could. Why would you want to? I've never understood why people persist in doing something that is no fun, then complain that it is no fun:

          Patient: "Doctor, it hurts when I do this..."
          Doctor: "Then don't do that."

          Besides, if you reread what I wrote, you'll see that I suggested using the wren

  • by David20321 (961635) on Thursday December 06, 2007 @12:58PM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by grub (11606)
      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 pl
      • by trdrstv (986999)

        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.

  • Game as Novel. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Thursday December 06, 2007 @01:29PM (#21599315) Homepage
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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'
  • 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
  • The entire time I was playing Bioshock the same thought ran through my head: "This game just begs for a multiplayer element to it." 2K Games threw away some exciting multiplayer substance with the plasmid and weapon upgrade elements of the game. Combined with the unique underwater environments, it could have come together nicely.

    Look at Call of Duty 4, without the online mutliplayer it would have been in the same category as Bioshock; an incredible game with very little replay value.
  • But it was just a bit more shallow than it was first advertised. Maybe PC gamers just have a little higher standards?

    Also the marketing occasionally left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth -

    on the "Cult of Rapture" site, someone asked early on:"Isn't there a risk that a cross platform UI is going to suck?" and the community representative on the site answered "No no no! This is a game that is designed 100% first for consoles, we will do everything to make the UI perfect for consoles. Consoles."
    When PC gamers

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