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

I think that those people who are talking about true 10/10 games should look at the current rating system where a 7/10 is bad.... Your idealistic interpretation is just as valid, it just doesn't apply to gaming reviews...

Duoae wrote:

I think that those people who are talking about true 10/10 games should look at the current rating system where a 7/10 is bad.... Your idealistic interpretation is just as valid, it just doesn't apply to gaming reviews...

That goes back to the whole argument we had a few months ago about how crappy reviewers are when assigning scores and how for some reason 7/10 is viewed as bad when actually it should be viewed as entertaining just not the best out there. It's 6/10 and below that are getting bad. 6 being barely tolerable and 5 and under being don't waste your money unless it's free and you are bored. I believe this argument started from an online article where the reviewer was defending his reason he gave a game a lower than optimal score to a developer's comments that said the reviewer gave an unjust unfavorable rating.

Reviews are opinions. It's been said over and over again. Those that care about seeing if a game is good or not use review sites for nothing more than research by looking at screenshots, videos and perhaps reading a little bit about the gameplay in the reviewer's own words. But certainly not making a decision on playing the game based solely on a score. Now perhaps if you took the average score from 10 different review sites about the same game that might be a more accurate game rating.

But as I said... this has been discussed before and I don't want to stray too far from the topic argument at hand which seems to be why Bioshock got a 10/10 when some people think it's not worth a 10/10.

I've been a bit disappointed with the NPC interaction in the game so far (I'm up to Olympus Heights). Apart from a couple of exceptions, the non-combat NPCs are a bit lifeless, and their models are just the same as some of the normal enemies. It seems perverse to compare Bioshock to Half-Life 2 the whole time, but there isn't much in Bioshock that wasn't done better in Half-Life 2 for me. Half-Life 2 also had a similar unity of art aesthetic, even if it was a much less cool aesthetic than Bioshock's art deco. The gravity gun and petrol/paint cans gave a pretty good flavour of Bioshock's sandbox combat. Bioshock is a more novelistic storytelling approach than HL2, and the subtext and meaning of the story behind Bioshock is a lot better than that in HL2, which is perfuctory at best. But the story NPC interaction has been a downer for me, and I find myself constantly comparing it to the fully realised personas of the Vances, Kleiner, Barney et al.

That said, I'm having a blast with Bioshock, and it will tide me over admirably until HL: Episode 2 comes out.

NPC interaction? There is none I mean, you never really sit in front of a person and interact with them... they're always some distance away or speaking though a loudspeaker....

You can't (and really shouldn't - for your own sake) compare it with HL2.... it's like comparing a phone conversation with a close-up and personal one on one with another person.... You can see their facial expressions changing - their hand movements, etc. You only experience this with Ryan. AFAIR

Well, exactly. To me, they appeared to avoid having any face-to-face interaction at all. When someone is speaking to you in a way you can see them (though a monitor or through a slot in a door, there isn't even an attempt at lip-synched speech. I guess HL2 has spoilt me for other games, but given how polished everything else is in Bioshock, it spoiled suspension of disbelief a little bit, or something.

DudleySmith wrote:

To me, they appeared to avoid having any face-to-face interaction at all.

And you never see the face of Keyser Soze in The Usual Suspects.

Perhaps that's being too generous. It could be that not providing facial animations was a technical problem rather than a storytelling device, though I suspect it was some of both. Does anyone recall whether Gears of War had any facial animations or lip-synch, outside of cut-scenes? It could easily be that that particular functionality is simply not provided in the Unreal 3 engine, and the BioShock developers didn't have the additional time and resources to add it.

Supporting the storytelling device theory: The idealized still images made me wonder if the persons not shown wished to hide their appearance because of how splicing had damaged them, or whether it was a case of not having videotape tech in Rapture. This was especially effective in concealing the extent and nature of Ryan's splice.

Or perhaps they took a technical limitation and turned it into a storytelling device. Filmmakers do this; a movie can only show you what is in the frame of the camera's view. So in horror movies they have the boogeyman attack from offscreen, to create the shock in the audience that the victim would have had in getting blitzed from behind.

BioShock does this for certain with another technical game limitation, which I can't talk about because it would spoil too much for readers who haven't played through. But it's brilliant.

Hans

Again, a game that gets 10/10 should have groundbreaking stuff in it. It shouldn't get these scores just because it polishes thats already there.

I disagree completely. Avoiding the debate over arbitrary scoring - which really should be taken into account in any debate over scores - an outstanding work doesn't have to break ground. The original Half-Life, for example, reached legendary status not by changing the FPS genre of the time, but by bringing the best existing elements of the genre together into a compelling world and creating a superior experience. Great works do not have to be different, but better.

Is it weird that when I hear the song "Into The Ocean by Blue October", all I can think about is Bioshock?

Elysium wrote:

... an outstanding work doesn't have to break ground ... Great works do not have to be different, but better.

Couldn't agree more.

And I hate numbered reviews.

My favorite review system is:

[ ] Buy
[ ] Rent
[ ] Avoid

Elysium wrote:
Again, a game that gets 10/10 should have groundbreaking stuff in it. It shouldn't get these scores just because it polishes thats already there.

I disagree completely. Avoiding the debate over arbitrary scoring - which really should be taken into account in any debate over scores - an outstanding work doesn't have to break ground. The original Half-Life, for example, reached legendary status not by changing the FPS genre of the time, but by bringing the best existing elements of the genre together into a compelling world and creating a superior experience. Great works do not have to be different, but better.

yeah review scores are meaningless.. the games great.. attaching a number to it just reinforces that yeah.. this game is great.

Elysium wrote:

The original Half-Life, for example, reached legendary status not by changing the FPS genre of the time, but by bringing the best existing elements of the genre together into a compelling world and creating a superior experience. Great works do not have to be different, but better.

At what point does something separate itself from being a "refinement of a previous concept" and into something that can be considered new ? I'd say Half-Life pushed forward several things, and pushed them hard enough to be considered a reinvention.

Half-Life featured:

  • The first commercial implementation of Reaper Bot AI. It's marines have been salivated over in every single review, as they actually WERE intelligent enemies in a mainstream FPS - for once.
  • Simple procedural speech mechanisms (not used at all in most games that followed, including Bioshock)
  • Storytelling devices that are still being imitated by games like Bioshock - the mysterious man you only see behind glass doors, the non-interactive and semi-interactive cutscenes (Bioshock's cutscenes are never interactive), the initial "ride through the world", the "ecological interactions".
  • Lipsynced and actually opening mouths. HL was probably the first PC game where mouths weren't simply textures painted on a face.

Half-Life has truly pushed the genre forward, while Bioshock copied, what it could, from Half-Life. There's not a single feature that it took from Half-Life (and, obviously, SS2) and pushed forward enough to be considered a significant reinvention. That's why it doesn't deserve a 10/10.

At what point does something separate itself from being a "refinement of a previous concept" and into something that can be considered new ?

Look, I'm not trying to make you love Bioshock, but I am saying that new is not a requirement for a great game. I could go through several features of Bioshock that I consider notably unique including story elements and design (both architectural and technological) elements.

That's not exactly an overwhelming list of Half-Life features, and while the bot AI was significant, I doubt the rest would have seriously diminished HL's luster. In other words, that list isn't what made Half-Life great. Besides, it's not like the difference between ok and great FPS games was lip-synching.

My personal opinion is that you're way too focussed on technology. Personal taste, I suppose. You're pretty locked into your position, and I know I am into mine, so this discussion is probably over. In five years we can revisit the question and see if Bioshock is still considered a leap forward. Until then, there's not much more to say.

TheGameguru wrote:
Elysium wrote:
Again, a game that gets 10/10 should have groundbreaking stuff in it. It shouldn't get these scores just because it polishes thats already there.

I disagree completely. Avoiding the debate over arbitrary scoring - which really should be taken into account in any debate over scores - an outstanding work doesn't have to break ground. The original Half-Life, for example, reached legendary status not by changing the FPS genre of the time, but by bringing the best existing elements of the genre together into a compelling world and creating a superior experience. Great works do not have to be different, but better.

yeah review scores are meaningless.. the games great.. attaching a number to it just reinforces that yeah.. this game is great.

I agree with this post, I give it a 9/10.

Elysium wrote:

That's not exactly an overwhelming list of Half-Life features, and while the bot AI was significant, I doubt the rest would have seriously diminished HL's luster. In other words, that list isn't what made Half-Life great.

I find it ironic that you discard Half-Life's storytelling methods as an insignificant advancement in the same breath as you praise Bioshock's, which were directly derived from Half-Life and the games it influenced.

Would Bioshock be the same game without the dramatic ripoff of HL's "train ride" ? I assure you, once you start taking away the HL innovations it copied - whose significance you happened to so easily discard - it wouldn't end up being the same game you've come to know and love - at all.

Elysium wrote:
Again, a game that gets 10/10 should have groundbreaking stuff in it. It shouldn't get these scores just because it polishes thats already there.

I disagree completely. Avoiding the debate over arbitrary scoring - which really should be taken into account in any debate over scores - an outstanding work doesn't have to break ground. The original Half-Life, for example, reached legendary status not by changing the FPS genre of the time, but by bringing the best existing elements of the genre together into a compelling world and creating a superior experience. Great works do not have to be different, but better.

I agree with Shihonage here - 10/10 should be reserved for truly ground breaking, near flawless games. Imagine if Shadow of the Colossus was not only innovative, but also perfect in pacing and replayability and other stuff - that would be something worthy of a 10/10 (it is my opinion that SotC could've been a lot more user-friendly). BioShock is a great evolution of the FPS genre, drawing from and refining the best and adding many new tweaks, but I can still imagine a more amazing game. And maybe that game I can imagine is impossible...and perfection is impossible. But the industry should still strive for it, and our critical media should reflect this (ie. be more demanding overall).

With the plethora of gaming reviews giving this game 100 scores it was refreshing to find one that properly gave props to the good portions of the game being audio and artistic flair through graphics but also belittled other parts of the game such as inconsistent destructible items and over use of the hacking ability. Also they proclaimed there is no replay value in this game which after 15 hours might be a good thing. So it might be a key rental game instead of a purchase. (Nod to 2K only allowing 5 registers for each game disc but only for the PC) I thought it was a pretty good review which warrants checking out. BTW they gave it a 9/10 which is so far on par with the lowest scores out there for the game by reviewers.

Let me warn you, they do not care about speaking their mind and it is indeed NWS due to language.

Video on demand link: http://www.ustream.tv/EpilepticGamin...
Main Article link (When it's finally posted): http://epilepticgaming.ggl.com/2007/...

shihonage has some really good ideas. I think one of the issues that I find with games looking so visually life-like is that you expect them to do more in other areas. That was my only thing I found slightly-dissapointing with HL2; I'm wandering around the streets of City17 thinking this place is damn cool, lets go exploring whats down here, opps invisible wall, over here opps a small fence I can't jump over etc. The game looked visually stunning, and from a casual glance looked like a massive landscape however the path was very linear and you couldn't go very far (if at all) off it.

I can understand the reasons for it (and can see this is what Stalker was trying to acheive) it just suddenly bumps back to reality when you see limitations in the game that looks so real. It would be cool if it was possible to add a diablo-esqe ability to dynamically generate the rooms or areas or even buildings as you go so you could wander off the beaten track a bit and have some random encounters as well as the main route you need to take. I think this is one of the things that made halo so impressive when it came out (and farcry for that matter) although there was a main route to the end of the level it really felt like you could explore and find your own way of getting to the destination so you could go gung-ho, try and sneak around or just bog off and go for a wander.

I think having the water flood the rooms would have been an interesting idea (if technically challenging), you could really make some excellent scripted set pieces as well as some unexpected running-the-hell-outta-there moments. Taking out a window could've been used as a way to kill everything in the room when you were in serious trouble, take cover after the nearest flood hatch, hit the emergency flood switch (to bring down shields over the windows and drain the water) bobs your uncle carry on as you were.

Only a little way into it so far seems pretty cool, however I have to agree I wouldn't put it in the 10/10 groundbreaking category. I think if anything all the buzz and high-scoring reviews goes to show how bleak the PC gaming industry has been for the last few years. I haven't had a computer that I can play games on in a few years however having got one I was looking around and I haven't seen much thats taken my fancy since HL2/EP1. The games industry seems to have stagnated or stalled when it comes to "innovative" PC games for the last few years.

I think if anything all the buzz and high-scoring reviews goes to show how bleak the PC gaming industry has been for the last few years.

Aggregators show that the 360 version is actually rated higher than the PC version.

I have no idea where the logical progression is - and I've seen it multiple times - that Bioshock doing well somehow proves that the PC gaming industry is in dire straits.

Elysium wrote:

I have no idea where the logical progression is - and I've seen it multiple times - that Bioshock doing well somehow proves that the PC gaming industry is in dire straits.

Because its a good game however its not all that groundbreaking and the reviews I've seen are all giving it 9+ when a fair bit of the functionality has been seen and done before. Financially I believe the PC games industry is doing alright its just that a lot of the innovation seems to have been lost, probably because of bigger budgets that games have now and its risky cost-wise to try something other than the standard FPS.

I guess I look at it like this Bioshock is out 3 years after Doom 3 & Half-Life 2 - is there anything in there you would say is vastly superior? (other than new graphical capabilities) - In 3 years time difference I'd expect something more...

kule wrote:
Elysium wrote:

I have no idea where the logical progression is - and I've seen it multiple times - that Bioshock doing well somehow proves that the PC gaming industry is in dire straits.

Because its a good game however its not all that groundbreaking and the reviews I've seen are all giving it 9+ when a fair bit of the functionality has been seen and done before. Financially I believe the PC games industry is doing alright its just that a lot of the innovation seems to have been lost, probably because of bigger budgets that games have now and its risky cost-wise to try something other than the standard FPS.

I guess I look at it like this Bioshock is out 3 years after Doom 3 & Half-Life 2 - is there anything in there you would say is vastly superior? (other than new graphical capabilities) - In 3 years time difference I'd expect something more...

Where is it written in stone that groundbreaking automatically equals good? For me an amazing looking and sounding game thats FUN to play (on and hey.. relatively bug free to boot) is in itself an achievement to be lauded. I think we try and become more critical than required and I cant figure out why.. Why is it that we cant just enjoy a game anymore? Why is it that when a good game that from every aspect oozes polish and you can see in most everything that these developers really spent a TON of time making sure their game played well we have to try and knock it down a few pegs.. what are we so worried about will happen?

If its that other game developers will try and copy Bioshock then hell.. I'm all for that.. because I've played enough crappy games in my time.

TheGameguru wrote:

Where is it written in stone that groundbreaking automatically equals good? For me an amazing looking and sounding game thats FUN to play (on and hey.. relatively bug free to boot) is in itself an achievement to be lauded.

EXACTLY! Fun before features IMO. A game could have 300 million new, innovative features, but if the game isn't fun, that doesn't mean it gets an automatic 10/10. I had fun with Bioshock, that's why I give it a 10/10. I enjoyed playing it and I would play it again anyday.

So, interesting angle on this:

In the boardgame business, there's new hotness every year, but it's extraordinarily rare that a game is truly groundbreaking. Once in a dozen years someone comes up with an actual new mechanic, and even then, it's usually got very traceable roots. One of the differences is that people (fans and designers) seem more than willing to say "this game is brilliant because it takes the (insert game) formula and tweaks it so that it's just perfect."

Why do we have such a hard time saying that here? Why is building on things bad? We had the same arguments about LOTRO not being different enough to somehow warrant being great.

Same with WoW it didnt do anything terribly innovative or groundbreaking but what it did do is polish the crap out of existing MMORPG mechanics and present it all in a nice friendly and relatively stable product.

rabbit wrote:

Why do we have such a hard time saying that here? Why is building on things bad? We had the same arguments about LOTRO not being different enough to somehow warrant being great.

It feels as though there is a great deal more room to grow in the videogame realm.

TheGameguru wrote:

Where is it written in stone that groundbreaking automatically equals good? For me an amazing looking and sounding game thats FUN to play (on and hey.. relatively bug free to boot) is in itself an achievement to be lauded. I think we try and become more critical than required and I cant figure out why.. Why is it that we cant just enjoy a game anymore?

I didn't say I didn't enjoy it. I said it didn't deserve the perfect score.

That said, my enjoyment of the game has been declining steadily after the first 30 minutes. I've played Bioshock before. It has many names. Doom, Half-Life, Hexen, Requiem, SS2... Item hunts, cheap scares... LINEAR TRIGGERS.

I am tired of having the strings blatantly thrown into my face, and I am tired of pretending to ignore them like a battered wife ignores a black eye. It's been many years. I am not 14 anymore. Some things are not cool anymore. We're so used to games treating us like we're kids that we refuse to acknowledge how much room there is to grow.

Why is it that when a good game that from every aspect oozes polish and you can see in most everything that these developers really spent a TON of time making sure their game played well we have to try and knock it down a few pegs.. what are we so worried about will happen?

A prolonging of the interval between now and an FPS that isn't stuck in the late 20th century.

Giving a non-innovative game 10/10 says that everyone is a-okay with the current state of FPS and that it doesn't have to evolve any further. Bioshock is WoW (which got similarly glowing reviews for polishing an existing gameplay mechanic and VISUALS), and now you can brace yourself for an FPS equivalent of LOTRO - a game that inherits all of the stale and none of the polish of its predecessor.

shihonage wrote:

Giving a non-innovative game 10/10 says that everyone is a-okay with the current state of FPS and that it doesn't have to evolve any further. Bioshock is WoW (which got similarly glowing reviews for polishing an existing gameplay mechanic and VISUALS), and now you can brace yourself for an FPS equivalent of LOTRO - a game that inherits all of the stale and none of the polish of its predecessor.

that's exactly how I felt about LOTRO when I played it.

I've thoroughly enjoyed BioShock (still am) but I can see the point about the reviews. I think many reviewers were "high" on the experience after playing and it translated into the reviews. I bet in another month, many reviewers will look back on their 100% and realize it was a heat of the moment type deal.

To me, the level of polish is the biggest impact to the FPS genre. There's no way I can go play something like The Darkness today post-BioShock and enjoy it as much as pre-BioShock.

I feel mighty sorry for all the FPS games coming out of the pipe in the next couple months in Bio's shadow.

Giving a non-innovative game 10/10 says that everyone is a-okay with the current state of FPS and that it doesn't have to evolve any further. Bioshock is WoW (which got similarly glowing reviews for polishing an existing gameplay mechanic and VISUALS), and now you can brace yourself for an FPS equivalent of LOTRO - a game that inherits all of the stale and none of the polish of its predecessor.

Well.. DX which was very innovative did nothing to the genre at all then.. not sure how you explain that. In the end it was barely a blip on the radar outside of perhaps hardcore PC Gamers.. it delivered greater gameplay at the cost of graphics. Probably much can be said about System Shock 2.

In fact.. many people now dismiss DX entirely as even a "good" game.

I think we have to accept that your simply going to have to suffer through several more years of this type of game until the point where Graphics become "good enough" and some developers work on the other aspects more than they do now. Perhaps technology in other areas will allow next gen graphics to be produced far more easily than they are now.. which will allow more time to devote on other aspects of the games

We know what happens when you step too far off the path: you get psychonauts and Okami. Games most of us adored, we're creative and different, not overly focussed on pushing technologies, and total commercial flops. Hey, don't like the game, don't play it. But try not to call us all idiots for loving it while you're at it.

rabbit wrote:

We know what happens when you step too far off the path: you get psychonauts and Okami. Games most of us adored, we're creative and different, not overly focussed on pushing technologies, and total commercial flops.

Making something "wacky" doesn't guarantee success. Just because something is innovative doesn't mean that it has to alienate itself from the mainstream, grow a neckbeard and cut itself in the bathroom.

Just because something has to be accessible to the mainstream doesn't mean it has to fail to innovate.

Hey, don't like the game, don't play it. But try not to call us all idiots for loving it while you're at it.

In the end, someone inevitably sees my jadedness as a statement about their own taste. Hey, you're having fun with the game, who am I to tell you not to ? That'd just be mean

However while you're having fun you could also acknowledge that it could, perhaps, be... something ... more... in order to deserve the perfect score ?

EDIT: I've been sounding like a broken record for a while now. That's usually a sign that I should've stopped a while ago, which is what I'm doing now. Stopping.