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First Person Shooters (Games) Entertainment Games

"Challenge Room" DLC Doesn't Follow BioShock's Strengths 41

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

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  • Read Atlas Shrugged (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Go to the source of their story.

    • by Carbon016 (1129067) on Sunday November 09, 2008 @03:30AM (#25693073)
      Bioshock ITSELF was written better than that pap. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

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

      • by Garrett Fox (970174) on Sunday November 09, 2008 @04:39AM (#25693325) Homepage
        Eh, there's a good story buried in there. There's a movie version scheduled for next year, and apparently the people involved understand that the book has serious flaws they need to work around. Here's a case where Hollywood adaptation might actually improve the story.
        • by lennier (44736)

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

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by WDot (1286728)
        http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_contests_index [aynrand.org]

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

          Yeah, but that assumes that you actually have something to say that the Ayn Rand Institute would want to hear. I thought of entering the contest one year when The Fountainhead was the novel of choice. After making it about half way through that book, with its paper-thin, st

          • by WDot (1286728)
            I think her books are ridiculous as well, but if someone was feeling mercenary they could choke their way through it and BS their way to the prize. After competing in a lot of essay contests, I've learned it's not the most well-written essay that wins, it's the one that says what the judges want to hear.
        • But wait, wouldn't that mean they were relying on others to give a defense or commentary on their own chosen literary field? Maybe they should stop being social parasites, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and do it themselves! :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ravenshrike (808508)
        No it wasn't. There were more plotholes in that game than Star Wars. The most glaringly obvious being that all forms of economies require expansion in their very nature because without expansion even the most heavily regulated economies become nothing more than a slow multi-generational death. Therefore, anybody creating a 'capitalist paradise' would account for such phenomenon and place his paradise accordingly. Which means that first things first, Bioshock would have been set in space.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Oh! And they could have an evil artificial intelligence that caused the problems instead of sea slug goo!
  • by caitsith01 (606117) on Sunday November 09, 2008 @03:36AM (#25693091) Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by p0tat03 (985078)

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

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

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

      Ugh, STALKER was tripe. It's a glorified MMOG without the online, and without the social fun-ness. Beyond the myriad of technical failings, the game was pointless meandering just like Oblivion, except that at least in Oblivion enemy mobs don't respawn 5 s

      • by caitsith01 (606117) on Sunday November 09, 2008 @04:53AM (#25693369) Journal

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

        Ah yes, but let's look at them.

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

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

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

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

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

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by tibman (623933)

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

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

            Also, something I love, the AI is not cheating like there is not tomorrow. I didn't see any suspicious behaviour (or I was completely fooled which really doesn't matter as long as the game is
            • Thank you, I'm glad me and my wife aren't the only people that found lovable things in Army of Two. The AI in it really was very impressive from the perspective of a player, it really did feel very organic and real how they would pin you, flank you, and seem to know exactly how to hit you when you were trying to save your teammate. Good times.
      • In defense of Half Life, even though you faced hordes of identical enemies, I think that there were numerous situations where the terrain in which you faced them made a big difference. Four HECU soldiers in an open field were easy to manage. Four HECU soldiers in a well-fortified position are a lot harder. And Half Life explored a variety of different fortified positions. (It also gave you an opportunity to fight soldiers with lighter cover so that it was easy to see the difference that the terrain made

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Xiroth (917768)

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

    • by NickFortune (613926) on Sunday November 09, 2008 @05:50AM (#25693509) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by johannesg (664142)

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

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

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

        Contrast this to Bioshock: you visit each location exactly once, and despite th

        • Each place in SS2 had its own distinct feel

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

          • There's the jaded socialites and mad cosmetic surgeons of the first level
          • The blue collar grit of Neptune's Bounty
          • The pleasure resort gone to hell in Arcadia
          • Art meets madness in Fort Frolic; Hephaestus as a temple to 50's mad science, with some lovely creepy bits with the corpses, to say nothing of the meeting with Andrew Ryan
          • Crushing poverty and squalo
          • by johannesg (664142)

            Each place in SS2 had its own distinct feel

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

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

            Art meets madness in Fort Frolic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              That said, from some of the articles I'd read about Bioshock, I was expecting some level of dumbing down, so I was really quite rel

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

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

      Some games have an atmosphere so tangible that they are enjoyed despite the fact that the gameplay often is

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

      The game has a very "kitchen sink" feel, with the "hacking" and the "plasmids" and all the other mechanics piled on top of an average shooter with stunning visual design. The hacking, for instance, just gets tedious after the 50th time. The plot itself (other

    • by XavidX (1117783)

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

    • by ClubStew (113954)

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

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

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

    Or PS3 players do not like puzzles..
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by KDR_11k (778916)

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

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