Bioshock

"Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his own brow?" - Andrew Ryan

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I'm sure you'll be positively shocked to know that I am about to pen yet another among many glowing Bioshock reviews that shamelessly heap mountains of praise on Irrational Games – I reject the new 2K Boston branding for the time being – but, that's exactly what I'm about to do.

Bioshock is good, maybe great, maybe eventually an all-time classic. It's far too soon to crown those latter qualities simply as a matter of principle, but the words dance at my fingertips aching to be let loose in a flood of feel-good hyperbole. Bioshock is worth its sixty dollar price tag within the first few levels, and the rest of the game is the icing on the cake if you eat cakes with nineteen layers of icing. Relax, I'm not going to spoil any plot points for you, but in the interest of objectivity I am going to offer a few points of criticism to be considered along with the carnival parade of deserved and endless praise being doled out apparently by the entire internet. But throughout the entire exercise it is important to keep in mind that this game is a sublimely fun work of seemingly unlimited creativity.

I have spent some unknown time so far with Bioshock, certainly more than fifteen hours and probably less than twenty. Truth be told, time had no meaning in Rapture, the crumbling underwater city in which the game takes place, and when creeping slowly through the tainted utopia with its denizens of excess and violence I've got better things to be doing than running a stopwatch. I have not quite completed the game, but have plumbed its twisting and deceptive depths enough to know that I'm playing something pretty remarkable. I suspected this was so within the first ten minutes as Rapture revealed itself against the murky depths, but I gave the game a few hours to really beat me over the head with its persistent excellence before concluding with some certainty that Bioshock was not going to be a game that started big and then pushed the player down a long slow slide of disappointment. I'm looking at you Doom III.

For fans of Irrational's previous critical success, System Shock 2, Bioshock will be filled with familiar mechanics and styles. Replace Psi with Plasmids, tone down the RPG elements and replace the icy-cool interiors of the Von Braun with an absolutely stunning environment of jaw-dropping art-deco detail and life, and you'll feel right at home. The parallels between the two games are many, but Bioshock offers a familiar framework both in narrative style and play elements without feeling repetitious. Remarkably, this is a more fun game to play than System Shock 2, which shouldn't be too terribly surprising considering the eight years Irrational stewed on the concept. Bioshock offers the same depth of world and uncomfortable tension but wraps it in the much tighter frame of a more traditional shooter without becoming trite.

The game does put a lot of strength into traditional firepower, and early plasmids, think of them as genetic magic, are best used in conjunction with the arsenal of weapons rather than as a primary offense. Plasmids offer some good tactical spice to the mix, but if you're expecting them to replace physical and chemical munitions, then prepare to be slightly disappointed. Fortunately the game puts a lot of alternatives at your disposal for dealing death, and something has to be said about hacking native turrets, security cameras and bots to your advantage and simply watching the relentless delivery of automated carnage. The hacking process is a straightforward mini-game that can be exciting at times but eventually becomes a little tedious considering how very very much you will be inclined to do it. The benefits of hacking are too good to resist, but the frequency with which you will be doing it might occasionally leave you wishing you were shooting at something instead.

Trust me, though, when you face-down an angry, well-armored Big Daddy protecting his Little Sister charge, you'll forget all about any hacking tedium. These battles are a centerpiece conflict of smoothly increasing difficulty available several times per level, and right into the later levels of the game when my comfort level has smoothed out against most other foes, my palms still get a little sweaty when I fire the first shot turning the behemoth's otherwise passive demeanor into that of a massive killing machine with a gun in one hand and a terrifying drill in the other. The Big Daddy may, in fact, be one of the more interesting foes offered in any shooter, most often found passively watching over the Little Sisters as they dispatch their macabre duties, their whale-like moans echoing hollowly. They are a sad character in many ways, and unlike the Splicers, which I take no shortage of pleasure in killing off, enacting violence on the Big Daddy is almost regretful. And, when you have dispatched the Little Sisters from the level, and the Big Daddys remain, mournfully searching the hallways for their tiny partners, banging on the walls and calling out for them in deep low tones, you may just feel something like sadness for them. When that happens, remind yourself that you're playing a video game and how often have you felt like that playing other games?

Victory over Big Daddy offers the central choice of the game, what to do with the Little Sister he had been protecting. Unfortunately the choice is the same every time, and tragically there aren't more moral decisions to be made with the rest of the game which generally forces you through its strict narrative. In fact, while the game does offer you the freedom to move through levels at your own pace, the story points are traditionally linear and until you hit plot point location X you won't move forward. The player has very little influence over how the story plays out, and only the repeated choice of what to do with the Little Sisters is offered to add moral free-will to the equation. Though, the game does offer an eventual concession on this point of linearity, which one can think of as the water with which to swallow down the somewhat bitter pill.

Though the first few decisions over the Little Sisters are poignant and even moving, eventually it becomes mechanical. You know what you're going to do when you get there, and you've done it enough times that you've become accustomed to the result. I find myself a little at conflict here with my expectations, a common problem for our own particular breed of hobby, having hoped for a little more of this kind of moral conflict, or at least some variety to the single repeated choice, but I'm on record as having said that increasing complexity of moral choice builds to seeming infinite complexity on the design end, so I grudgingly understand.

Besides, it's really not a point I'm terribly interested in belaboring, considering how well crafted the rest of the story is. Again, in a nod back to System Shock 2, much of the tale of Rapture's rise and fall is told through audio diaries found littered throughout the city, and characters become defined by the way others perceived them. Those still alive and sane enough to interact directly with you, moving the story forward in its present tense, become more complex as you measure their words and deeds against what others have left behind.

It's difficult to talk in detail about the story without risking giving too much away. Not surprisingly the game echoes a number of themes, building on questions of the conflict between moral absolution and the authority of man to act on his own desires. Rapture is a city in conflict not just between warring factions who seek to hold the city for their own ends, but in conflict over the question of how free is a person to act out his desires if he crafts those desires in the name of progress or art. Bioshock offers us a glimpse at paradise lost through the actions of the artist who paints in death, the surgeon who reconceives the beauty of man, the geneticist unchecked by the laws of man or nature and the entrepreneur who prizes industry and invention over empathy and charity. But, you don't have to look that deep to enjoy Bioshock. It doesn't require you to look past more than the surface story, to consider the subtleties of the story. If you turned the story off entirely, it would still be an engaging action shooter with a rich, often creepy setting.

The real hallmark of Bioshock, as with many great narrative games of the past, is its unpredictability. Let others speak endlessly on the voice acting, the mechanics of gameplay, the stunning Unreal powered engine and the technical minutia which must be atteneded, and yes this game is AAA in each of those important points, but that's not what drives me forward. For me, the unpredictable nature of enemy AI, narrative, level design and opportunity urged me on throughout. I never knew what to expect in the next room, never cynically predicted what the theme for the next level would be, never found the perfect tactic for dealing with my enemies and most important never knew precisely what secrets Rapture hid until I uncovered the last clue. It is a remarkable thing, playing a game that does not fall into the natural track of stereotype and cliché; a remarkable thing to feel like I'm enjoying a unique gaming experience and one that would not be precisely duplicated were I to play it again.

In the end, what can be said about Bioshock that hasn't already been said? Not much, and I realize that my comments serve less to inform as to reinforce. This game is outstanding, and if we're still talking about it in eight years, then color me unsurprised. If you own an Xbox 360 or a PC, then there's simply no viable excuse for not rushing out to pick up the game. It is a must-own, a system-seller, an automatic game-of-the-year candidate, and other such bite-sized, box-worthy, quotes. It's an uncommon pleasure when a company meets or exceeds the lofty expectations of a demanding fan base, so I'm happy to offer credit where credit is due. Bioshock is simply the best single player game I've played in years.

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Comments

Im going so slowly it's ridonculous, even for me. I keep redoing sections in order to see what the best way to approach something is, in particular learning to lure the big daddies into the most useful positions while still keeping little sisters around.

I agree on vitachambers. I almost wish there was a global off switch for them, but I've just chosen to ignore them, in favor of quicksave/load. Haven't used one yet, except for experimentation.

I also agree with a lot of what shihonage says, I simply don't care (grin). I don't think it's monster-closet, but I also do think it's much more scripted an linear in terms of the storytelling then we might have suspected. Sorry ken, I can see the ball of string. But I think the actually in-the-room AI is vastly superior to anything I've played before, and I can go back two or three sections and do things like lure, which is awesome.

Yeah I'm not seeing the monster closet at all so far.. there hasnt been a single instance outside of near the beginning with the lights out scripted event where I havent been able to sneak up on enemies or respawned enemies.. additionally I take great pleasure in doubling back and hearing my hacked turrets taking out respawned enemies

Not to mention proximity mines.

Playing on medium.. though I may hit it up to hard for the last half.. just not sure if its worth it if I dont get the achievement.

Bioshock uses monster closets twice, I believe, both at unique events where they are believable (if still disappointing... "Is that a monster closet? It is a monster closet!"). The game frequently respawns monsters, one and only one even popped right behind me, although that was a rare occurrence and I'm almost finished with my second play-through. This is normal RPG design, given any game where you scavenge for items I would expect it. I do wish that enemies would spawn believable, like the Little Sisters do by climbing out of their holes.

The problem with Doom 3 is that the game had about 3 tricks up its sleeve and used them over and over again.

The PC Version kicks up the graphics a nice notch from the 360 version.. plus the increase resolution really makes the little details in the levels "pop" out better..

I'm playing at 2560X1600 with all sliders maxxed in DX9 mode and it looks awesome.. frame rate is solid as well.. though I turned off vsync to smooth out the game...the trade off is some tearing when you turn.

Also using a wireless 360 controller on the PC as well.. I found I missed the vibration to much.

Playing on hard, and I do feel that I have to scratch my living off the wet walls. Every ammo round counts, every Eve shot is a boon. That's the difficulty it was intended to be played at, I believe.

rabbit wrote:

Im going so slowly it's ridiculous, even for me. I keep redoing sections in order to see what the best way to approach something is, in particular learning to lure the big daddies into the most useful positions while still keeping little sisters around.

I am doing this as well. Not by choice, mind you. There is a constant battle in my gaming: I want to rush in, kick ass, take names, a la Halo...that sort of strategy will have you repeating the levels in Bioshock very quickly. So I have to dial it back, take my time, not so much stealthy as deliberate.

I agree on vitachambers. I almost wish there was a global off switch for them, but I've just chosen to ignore them, in favor of quicksave/load. Haven't used one yet, except for experimentation.

Nice tip! I think I will use that from now on, since the vita chambers are an annoyance.

Anyone know if there is a limit on number of saves? I'm wondering if I should delete some of my old ones.

I also agree with a lot of what shihonage says, I simply don't care (grin). I don't think it's monster-closet, but I also do think it's much more scripted an linear in terms of the storytelling then we might have suspected. Sorry ken, I can see the ball of string. But I think the actually in-the-room AI is vastly superior to anything I've played before, and I can go back two or three sections and do things like lure, which is awesome.

The only MIAC that I have seen is the Spider Splicers...they attack out of nowhere, but seem to be area specific: they don't roam as much as the other denizens of Rapture. BUT: they warn you before they attack.

They are always chattering about something, and usually say "I can see you!" or something similar before they launch an attack. Isn't the hallmark of the MIAC that you do not get a warning?

*shrug*

I can't actually get worked up about any of this. I find myself playing Bioshock and thinking: "What a great experience!" I don't think: "This could have been sooo much better if they had done X/Y/Z!" Yes, it sometimes feels like you are on rails: this isn't Grand Theft Auto...and if you ever noticed, GTA's open format has its limits as well. Yes, they take old ideas, some of which where in their prior titles, and recycle them. What does that have to do with enjoying the feast they laid out for us?

[quote=mateo]

rabbit wrote:

The only MIAC that I have seen is the Spider Splicers...they attack out of nowhere, but seem to be area specific: they don't roam as much as the other denizens of Rapture. BUT: they warn you before they attack.

Those guys usually have holes in the ceiling for spawn points, kind of like the Little Sisters.

mateo wrote:

Anyone know if there is a limit on number of saves? I'm wondering if I should delete some of my old ones.

Yes there is but you can go over half way through the game saving every so often before you hit the limit.. Then you can just delete some early saves in the save menu by hitting delete. BTW this is on the PC version..no clue about the 360 version

I took your guys' advice and started playing on the honor system, reloading it myself whenever I died, and the difference is amazing. The game is scary and fun again! It's strange, the game actually seems balanced to this method of play. I can't help but wonder if the Vita-Chambers were a late addition to the game.

hidannik wrote:
0kelvin wrote:

I really think that the Vita-Chambers were the biggest mistake they made in designing this game.

I disagree. It does take some getting used to, as did the infinite lives in Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, the recharging shield in Halo, and the way Gears of War (among others) dropped the life meter entirely. "What," said the gamer, "All I have to do is find cover and I get all my life back?"

The difference is all those games have failure conditions.

hidannik wrote:

I think it's just another step along the path that started with three balls in the pinball game to make you pump in another quarter. Elements of games that punish you for poor performance are a holdover from that mentality.

The question you've got to ask yourself is this: "Do I see games as sport, or entertainment?" That is, are you playing as a challenge, a competition against the machine, or are you playing to experience the story and see it unfold? Clearly, single-player games are beginning to lean towards the latter.

I don't think it's part of the "sport or entertainment" question at all. Bioshock is trying to be scary. It's a game of suspense and tension. My problem with the Vitachambers is not about competing against the machine, it's about suspense, a major part of the experience. Watching a horror movie will not be scary if the intended victim is invincible, and that has nothing to do with horror movies being about competition. The player is constantly threatened with death (the monster closet debate is evidence enough of that), but threats fall flat if death has no consequences. In fact, it seems to be a handy way of healing yourself if you've less than half your heath. In the run-up to the game, the Big Daddies were touted as incredibly difficult bosses that have to be approached cleverly, but like I mentioned in my anecdote, they're easily taken down through sheer attrition.

Another of the game's major features was the ability to approach every situation a number of ways. But without death, the player is never given the opportunity to try any situation differently. And since there's no way to fail, they're never given a reason to either. Anything you do will be successful eventually. There's no reason to be clever, except for cleverness' sake.

Games are a careful balance of risk versus reward. Risk isn't some archaic holdover from quarter devouring arcades, it's an inherent part of every game.

hidannik wrote:

I predict that we'll eventually see games in which it's impossible to die at all, and taking damage will simply slow the player down. So lack of skill won't be punished by being forced to replay chunks of the game, but only by making it take longer to get to the next bit.

I don't disagree at all. Making an action game where you can't die would be a great idea. But that requires an entire restructuring of the traditional reward and penalty system in order to make the game compelling. It's not an easy task at all (it's a large part of why every Superman game ever made has sucked). You can't just take a traditional shooter and give the player godmode.

Eric

PS. I LOVE THIS GAME. I don't think I've made that clear enough, and I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea.

mateo wrote:

They are always chattering about something, and usually say "I can see you!" or something similar before they launch an attack. Isn't the hallmark of the MIAC that you do not get a warning?

That's one of the things I've liked about this group of developers is they somehow manage to let you know there's still something human in the bad guys to the point you almost feel sorry for them. In SS2 the Hybrid's would always come at you saying things like "I'm coming! Run away!" or "I see you! Go hide!" in such a tortured voice it was like the person still inside there was trying to warn you even though they couldn't control what they were doing. I got the same vibe from the Splicers. I can't recall any direct quotes but many of them were saying prayers or I think they spoke of voices telling them what to do or they'd ask an unknown person if they did what they were told (kill you) would be let go, etc. It just adds an extra creepiness and Irrational has somehow always managed to pull it off.

ATTENTION GWJs

Just in case this sort of thing you might be concerned with.

"Sony (the owner of SecureROM copy protection) is still up to its old tricks. One would think that they would have learned their lesson after the music CD DRM fiasco, which cost them millions. However, they have now started infesting PC gaming with their invasive DRM. Facts have surfaced that show that the recently released PC game BioShock installs a rootkit, which embeds itself into Explorer, as part of its SecureROM copy-protection scheme. Not only that, but just installing the demo infects your system with the rootkit. This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?"

Source: http://www.gamingbob.com/2007/08/23/...

From the same site:

*REFERENCES TO ROOTKIT HAVE BEEN REMOVED, FURTHER INVESTIGATION HAS REVEALED A MISUNDERSTANDING IN THE THE SECUROM SERVICE

Anything to drive traffic, these days.

kilroy0097 wrote:

ATTENTION GWJs

Just in case this sort of thing you might be concerned with.

"Sony (the owner of SecureROM copy protection) is still up to its old tricks. One would think that they would have learned their lesson after the music CD DRM fiasco, which cost them millions. However, they have now started infesting PC gaming with their invasive DRM. Facts have surfaced that show that the recently released PC game BioShock installs a rootkit, which embeds itself into Explorer, as part of its SecureROM copy-protection scheme. Not only that, but just installing the demo infects your system with the rootkit. This begs the question: Since when did demos need copy protection?"

Source: http://www.gamingbob.com/2007/08/23/...

I just created an account here myself (couldn't help but to notice the Bioshock headline but I was actually just here for the AoC interview, which rocks btw), to pass on the very same information, Kilroy beat me to the punch, further proving that as I get older, college kids get faster....that has to be it Anyway, the Slashdot conversation - as always, gets deep, technical, and dare I say political? It's here if you'd like to give it a read.

I was pretty sad to hear about this, because, quite honestly, Bioshock looked like it'd be a lot of fun to play, but I don't personaly install anything that uses SecureRom technology. I was on the fence with this game anyway, so this pretty much puts the nail in the coffin.

It's a shame.

Just as a quick aside ~ The single fact that RootKitRevealer detects SecureRom as a Rootkit on a windows machine, for me anyway, make SecureRom rootkit yes vs. no debate, irrelavent.

Hey I'm no college student. Though life was simpler back then. Ahh memories.

And what Certis is refer to is this little nugget that appeared later on in the day or I missed it for some reason reading it the first time.

Additional Information:

The SecuROM website defines its service, which might clarify what is being installed and how to remove it in a more simple manner:

SecuROM™ will install a Windows™ service module called "User Access Service" (UAService) on your system. This is a standard interface commonly used by several other applications as well. It is no spyware or rootkit at all. This module has been developed to enable users without Windows™ administrator rights the ability to access all SecuROM™ features. Please be assured that this service is installed only for security and convenience purposes. Since it is a standard Windows™ service, you can stop and delete this service, like any other Windows™ service. If deleted, the access for non-administrator users to SecuROM™ protected applications will be affected.

Just as a quick aside ~ The single fact that RootKitRevealer detects SecureRom as a Rootkit on a windows machine, for me anyway, make SecureRom rootkit yes vs. no debate, irrelavent.

Because False Positives NEVER! happen.

O_o

Shihonage wrote:

I hate unsubstantiated ambience as well. If something is making a noise, it better be present in the environment. Oh, and now that you mention it, I find LOTR/WoW elves annoying as well. I also dislike movies which use magic/technology without establishing any rules by which it functions.

So, in clarification, between you and Moon, fantasy is out; sci-fi is out unless it's a 405 hour epic that explains the origin of all technology in detail from the point of present realism. Zombies are out, as is anything that might remotely scare someone since 'scary' is cheap, and/or anything that involves other forms of mythology or fiction, or anything that uses ambience to help drive a point.

Music sucks, games suck, tv sucks, films suck, art sucks. And fiction books, oh, those fiction books, especially that damn bible! I don't SEE any Gods around here! And this is BREAD, not the body of some dead guy who claims he doesn't have a mortal dad. Creativity and imagination should die in a fire...

Are you sure you should be playing video games and not reading the encyclopedia as a hobby? I guess there is always....er... Battlefield 1942? Or, if you can suspend disbelief that it would be possible for long enough, you could develop a time machine and go back to the 1850's. If none of that works, perhaps an amish community will take you in. But, I kid, we can't fault you for your perception. In today's corporate drone society, what more can we expect of man than a narrow vision and a closed mind, or being so miserable that nothing is fun, ever, except perhaps drugs and sex, which tend to generate their own creativity with little manual intervention.

@cavan: How about the Steam version?

Haus wrote:

So, in clarification, between you and Moon, fantasy is out; sci-fi is out unless it's a 405 hour epic that explains the origin of all technology in detail from the point of present realism. Zombies are out, as is anything that might remotely scare someone since 'scary' is cheap, and/or anything that involves other forms of mythology or fiction, or anything that uses ambience to help drive a point.

Music sucks, games suck, tv sucks, films suck, art sucks. And fiction books, oh, those fiction books, especially that damn bible! I don't SEE any Gods around here! And this is BREAD, not the body of some dead guy who claims he doesn't have a mortal dad. Creativity and imagination should die in a fire...

Are you sure you should be playing video games and not reading the encyclopedia as a hobby? I guess there is always....er... Battlefield 1942? Or, if you can suspend disbelief that it would be possible for long enough, you could develop a time machine and go back to the 1850's. If none of that works, perhaps an amish community will take you in. But, I kid, we can't fault you for your perception. In today's corporate drone society, what more can we expect of man than a narrow vision and a closed mind, or being so miserable that nothing is fun, ever, except perhaps drugs and sex, which tend to generate their own creativity with little manual intervention.

Learn it, avoid it.

0kelvin wrote:

I can't help but wonder if the Vita-Chambers were a late addition to the game.

They've been there at least since the prerendered trailer, the one that starts with "A man has a choice," and ends with a Little Sister reaching for a Big Daddy's outstretched hand. A Vita-Chamber is clearly visible at the back of the room that the Big Daddy falls into. Could have had a somewhat different purpose then, of course.

Now, on to the meat of your post. I could fisk it, but instead I'll pontificate. More coherent that way.

A lot of this is about personal preference. A certain aspect may hit you one way, and it may hit me another.

How failure is dealt with in games has a major effect on narrative flow and player interest. Halo on Legendary has a lot less flow than on Easy, and a lot more repetition from player failures. That's probably why most folks who play it single-player don't play on Legendary; repeating the same section (or chapter!) over and over isn't fun.

Every method of dealing with player failure breaks immersion and suspension of disbelief to one extent or another. Checkpoints and saved games involve rewinding time. Multiplayer respawns involve the sudden appearance of the same player even though his dead body may still be lying on the battlefield. Vita-Chambers involve teleportation and health/genefuel boosts. Arcade games involve reincarnation up to three times, or until the timer runs out. Ragnarok makes the player start over (without rewinding time) as a different character.

For me, Vita-Chambers are one of the least flow/immersion breaking gimmicks out there. I justify them to myself as a kind of teleport plasmid that's automatically triggered when the protagonist is on the point of death. That's even plausible, considering some of the later game developments.

Both save points and Vita-Chambers punish the player for failure and also reward them for failure, just in different ways. The punishments with saves/checkpoints are these:

Enemies that died since the save are back to the status they were then.
Enemies in advantageous positions are returned to them.
Goodies the player gained since the checkpoint are lost.
Break in the game flow, like going back a chapter on a DVD. Repeatedly. Takes you out of the game.

Vita-Chamber punishments by comparison are:

You don't get any ammo back.
You're removed from the action and have to find your way back.
Enemies still alive may heal themselves while you're gone.
The enemies may have moved by the time you get back. You can't just tweak your tactics to approach the identical situation again.
The Big Daddy you attacked may no longer have a Little Sister with him, rendering your attack useless.
More enemies may have spawned along the path you use to get back to the battle you were in.
There's one more, but I can't reveal it for fear of spoilers.

Save benefits are:

You get back any expended ammo.
The path is familiar, as are enemy positions and numbers, so you can find your way back, with an intelligence advantage.
Goodies the player lost or used are restored.
Damaged enemies that healed themselves since the save are damaged again.

Vita-Chamber benefits are:

You get back half your health and a small Eve boost.
Enemies damaged at your time of death are still damaged, unless they can get to a health station.
You get to keep inventory you gained up until time of death.
Game flow continues in real time. Keeps you in the game. You never have to stop to save.

I think they come out pretty even, in terms of benefits and punishments. And the flow/immersion factor gives Vita-Chamber the edge, for me.

Now as for fear... I think there can be plenty of hair-raising moments and creepiness even when there's no possiblity the player will die - the only fear there is the fear of having to repeat the same section again. And again and again and maybe never progressing to the end of the game. I for one don't care about that kind of fear. I found The Shining and The Ring plenty creepy, and there was never a possibility of character death because of something I did.

I find Silent Hill 2 plenty scary, creepy, disturbing and atmospheric, even when played on easy level. The unease comes not from the possibility of screwing up and getting the protagonist killed, but the sights and sounds and events of the story.

But maybe that's just me.

Hans

Excellent breakdown, Hans. I completely agree on all counts and as a general rule, I think the Vita-Chambers were a good, optional implementation to have in the game.

Deserter wrote:

I definitely think if you walk in with a 'the mainstream likes it so I'm determined not too' mentality then you've spoiled the game for yourself then and there. If you boot it up with the intention of finding the atmosphere boring, the storyline trite, or the scares cheap that's exactly what you will find.

It's like anything really. If you go into it knowing before you start that it's not your cup of tea, what do you expect to find? I guess I get a little ticked off at people who come on and critique (no problem with that), but then follow it up with a comment like 'I've never enjoyed any game in this genre before.' And to say it's 'impossible for me to get immersed in a computer game' and then trash a bunch of games built around the immersion factor just seems a little arbitrary to me.

I don't know if this was really directed at me or not, but I felt included in it, and felt it was completely unjustified. Even insulting. GWJ is a bit more mature community than the rest of the Internet wilds and talking down on people is taken for what it is: talking down on people. I fail to see how my asking for clarification on what the game content is, as deserving of being derided.

I never said that I am determined not to like everything that mainstream likes. If anything, I said that hype surrounding games generally lowers my enjoyment because my expectations are raised. I also did not say that I find the story trite. In fact, my question was prefaced with a note that I am really interested in the story of Bioshock. Just not in the particular manner of telling that story. I've been through enough crap in my life, and seen enough real human unattached body parts that I do not find "cheap scares" amusing for the most part. You can take that as you will.

I also challenge you sir, to point out where anybody in this thread said "I've never enjoyed any game in this genre before." As for the rest of your paragraph"… I've walked away from the computer several times, just to cool my head and approach it calmly. Yet every time I come back and re-read the final sentence, my blood pressure rises. I do not know if you're baiting, or just don't care. So I won't dignify it with a response, as it seems wholly unnecessary by now.

Haus wrote:

...

Erm... Did you like get up on the wrong side of the bed today?

I apologise if I came on a little strong MoonDragon, I certainly didn't mean to get you so steamed about it. It just seemed to me that some of the naysayers in this thread (certainly not directed solely at you) were determined to pick the game apart from the onset, using almost pre-generated arguments that could fit any game that even remotely resembled Bioshock.

The storyline comment was not directed at you because I noted that you had expressed interest in it. As stated before my previous post was not aimed wholly and solely at you. It's just me suggesting that approaching things with an open mind often leads to more fulfilling experiences. Far be it for me to tell you your opinions are faulty or incorrect but as this is a forum, a place where ideas are exchanged equally, I feel that if you have a right to express your opinions here than so do I.

Once again I apologise for upsetting you, but please, unless I quote you or mention you by name, do not take any of my posts as a personal slight, because that is certainly not their intention.

buzzvang wrote:

And babies. Newborn f*cking babies piss me off. Why won't they walk already? And what's with the crying? It's just frustrating.

They eat like pigs and take from society. Must accelerate process.

Now, I know this is probably beaten to death in other threads around here, but I've got a very real dilemma.

I'm sitting here, credit card in hand, looking at the Bioshock page in Steam.

"Note: Contains SecuROM copy control software. Installations limited to five PCs per license."

I can not figure out in my head how fifty dollars only gives me the right to install this five times.

What happens then? Why is this a good idea for me as a consumer?

This holds for the retail version too, right?

Sadness. I might just save this money and spend it on stupid crap. Like a wedding.

The securerom is not for a long period of time ..Ken Levine himself has said that it's just till the popularity dies down.
Then it will be opened up.
I'm very confused at all these people who think 5 installs is a bad thing..how many times do you need to instal this game fro cryin out loud?
This thing will sit on this computer of mine till it dies probably. I had thief 2 installed for 5 years before i moved it off. For me at least 5 installs is plenty and if they are gonna open it up later then I'm not in the least worried.

But hey that's me

burningman wrote:

The securerom is not for a long period of time ..Ken Levine himself has said that it's just till the popularity dies down.
Then it will be opened up.
I'm very confused at all these people who think 5 installs is a bad thing..how many times do you need to instal this game fro cryin out loud?
This thing will sit on this computer of mine till it dies probably. I had thief 2 installed for 5 years before i moved it off. For me at least 5 installs is plenty and if they are gonna open it up later then I'm not in the least worried.

But hey that's me

From everything I've seen, the original install limit was to be 2 times. Would you have been good with that?

I live in perpetual fear of hardware failure cascades and the resulting reinstalls required. This is not a one in a million scenario in my experience.

Also, I'm not seeing anything but a quote from Levine saying:

"I've followed up on the circular email with securom and we are working on this issue. I agree, it sucks, and we need to get that sorted.

I've been told by 2k that we will."

:/

yes i would have been fine with that..I bought the game knowing that so it was no biggy for me
Can't find the levine quote right now..sorry bout that but heres the faq that 2k has up

http://www.2kgames.com/cultofrapture/pc_faq.html

Edit: found the quotes from levine
Fromt this interview http://www.joystiq.com/2007/08/24/joystiq-interviews-bioshocks-ken-levine-about-success-and-harve/

There have been some concerns that the copy protection was something nobody had ever seen before, except for the online procedure, there's nothing different. There's nothing wacky going on there, at some point we'll move back from online activation. If people want to play BioShock ten years from now, they'll be able to play it. We have a commitment from 2K that that is going to happen and we'll hold them to that commitment and they're serious about it, we'll make that happen.

Mind you that interview ws done just before the FAQ came out so what he talks about in it is already in play

Hardware failures happen but if your motherboard tanks or your vid card dies or the processor craps out you will be fine.

Hope that helps

IMO once you've purchased the game with invasive DRM you're justified in getting a cracked version. Of course this is a legally grey area... but not to me.

burningman wrote:

Mind you that interview ws done just before the Certis is awesome came out so what he talks about in it is already in play

Hardware failures happen but if your motherboard tanks or your vid card dies or the processor craps out you will be fine.

Hope that helps

Now I know you probably think I'm awesome anyways, but in this case that phrase is there because it automatically replaces a word that starts with "f" and rhymes with "bag". Calling someone that in middle of a poorly written post missing caps and being tough to read in general isn't something we want to see here. You seem like a smart guy, tighten it up and spend a little more time typing, if you please.

hidannik wrote:
0kelvin wrote:

I can't help but wonder if the Vita-Chambers were a late addition to the game.

They've been there at least since the prerendered trailer

Yeah, having played further in the game and hearing the Vita-Chambers being mentioned in some diaries I agree it's likely they've been around a while. I found out it's the same system they used in System Shock 2, so they were probably there from the beginning.

hidannik wrote:

Now, on to the meat of your post...

That's a fair evaluation of the relative strengths and weaknesses of each system. It clarifies for me why I don't think the Vita-Chamber respawn system works for this game (but would work well in others). The quicksave system mainly punishes the player through withholding progress, while the Vita-Chamber system mainly punishes them through consuming resources (money, ammo, etc). This would work very well in a game where you needed to conserve your resources. I just finished Resident Evil 4 for the Wii, and that may have actually been a scarier, more tense game with a respawn system like Bioshock's. But Bioshock isn't balanced like Resident Evil, it's balanced more along the lines of Half-Life. Throughout Bioshock I've been drowning in resources. I almost always have the maximum ammo I can hold for each gun (and if I run low on one, I've still got two other ammo types per gun), I rarely have fewer than 5 first aid kits or Eve Hypos, and I've spent most of the game with a full wallet. The amount of resources consumed in any given firefight are negligible, and easily replenished.

So I guess what it comes down to for me is that they're two great tastes, just not together.

Eric

Certis wrote:

Now I know you probably think I'm awesome anyways, but in this case that phrase is there because it automatically replaces a word that starts with "f" and rhymes with "bag". Calling someone that in middle of a poorly written post missing caps and being tough to read in general isn't something we want to see here. You seem like a smart guy, tighten it up and spend a little more time typing, if you please.

Ha. I saw that on the formatting options page but never tested it see if it was real. Greatest content filter ever.