Posted: April 27, 2009 (10:20 PM)
Well, i finally went and picked up bioshock.
I have to say, I love the plasmid system, the atmopshere is superb, and the presentation is tops...
... but I also have to say, the lack of any penalty for dying puts a HUGE kink in the works for me. I mean, my first encounter with a Big Daddy was scary. I was down on the ground, unable to control my character, and this THING walks up and I just prayed to god it kept going.
And when I first encountered one in combat, I was damn near shitting myself. But not for long. Whack whack... I was dead.
And then... POOF! There I am again! Why waste ammo? I'll take em on with my wrench! BECAUSE I CAN. It won't matter.
It really breaks the whole flow and immersion of the game for me. Nothing is frightening, because the worst that can happen is I have to walk a few extra feet.
I'm sorry, but whoever made that decision was a moron. It's pretty damn near ruined the whole beautiful product for me.
Posted: April 27, 2009 (10:39 PM)
The longer I live, the more convinced I am that the 8/10 I gave BioShock was WAAAAAAAAAAY too generous.
Posted: April 27, 2009 (11:23 PM)
Fortunately, challenge is such a tiny part of what I care about when I play a game that I was able to enjoy BioShock for what it is: a game that is also an experience. If I want something difficult, I'll go parallel park on a freeway.
Posted: April 27, 2009 (11:45 PM)
Yeah, the "experience" of finally reaching Ryan's office door and realizing you've gotta spend the next half hour wandering around the surrounding area looking for parts to assemble a symbiotic nuclear gurkaflunk was so gratifying.
Lack of challenge generally doesn't bother me either, especially when I hear people talking about how easy Half-Life 2 and Super Mario Galaxy were -- both games that are so fantastic in practice that I couldn't care less how difficult they were. The problem is that BioShock was insultingly easy, to the point that, like Zipp said, an unskilled player could beat the entire game with a wrench.
I suppose if BioShock had been really fantastic in all other areas, this would have been forgivable, but the prolonging of each tiny, sloppily-designed level with endless backtracking and fetch questery doesn't equate to slick game design in my mind. Yeah, it was a good-looking game, but it takes more than that to impress me nowadays.
Edit: Because if I want gameplay, I'll go play a game! How dare we expect good gameplay in a deep, thought-provoking narrative experience.
Posted: April 28, 2009 (12:03 AM)
For me, the whole argument that Bioshock is an EXPERIENCE doesn't hold water. Dear Esther is an experience. The Path is an experience. Shadow of the Colossus is an experience.
It's true that Bioshock has a rich story. But you are given this story in thin slices in between segments of shooter gameplay. There is no question in my mind that Bioshock is a game. The story is a bonus.
What happened here, in my opinion, was that the game isn't actually very good. So people latched onto the story and put all their focus on that. Not to boost the game in their mind, simply because there wasn't anything else to latch onto.
I mean, I'm gonna try to finish it, and I'm gonna try to enjoy myself, but it is difficult with the whole no-penalty thing. It goes beyond challenge. It simply breaks the game. For instance, what is the point of me managing my money, carefully deciding between ammo or healing items or EVE, when it doesn't matter? What is the point of trying to have good aim so I don't waste bullets? What's the point of exploring for more weapons and abilities? What's the point of using the Plasmids?
I mean, the Vita chambers would've been cool if you had to pay money at them to create a copy of yourself, a back up. That would've added another layer of management to the game. Or if enemies could destroy them and targeted them in groups while little guys ran off to distract you. That would've created a lot of tension and added another dimension of strategy to everything.
My thoughts, anyways.
Posted: April 28, 2009 (12:10 AM)
Yeah, so many aspects of the game -- plasmids, tonics, money management, ammo construction, weapon upgrades, security bot hacking -- can be ignored when you figure out that you're invincible. Like I said, a lack of challenge isn't usually a problem for me but when the game doesn't give me a single reason to feel intimidated by enemies who are very obviously supposed to be intimidating, that's a conflicted game.
Posted: April 28, 2009 (01:53 AM)
My big question is WHY?
Why did they choose to do that? It seems to go against every rule of game-making. Which, incidentally, is the only reason I can figure that they would do it. That or, in some twisted way, they thought it would help with immersion, keeping you constantly in the game without any need of a load screen or a return to title.
But MAN, wasn't it OBVIOUS during play testing that something wasn't working out right?
See, I think the developers thought of it as an experience, too, but really they weren't creative enough to sculpt an experience. They just took standard FPS rules and shoved their story into the mix.
Posted: April 28, 2009 (02:11 AM)
The only reason I can think of (and this was touched upon in Lewis's Resolution discussion about death) is that dying actually disrupts what is supposed to be a continuous narrative, which would make sense in BioShock's case. Still, games are games first and foremost.
Posted: April 28, 2009 (02:48 AM)
Yeah, so far what I've experienced is a complete mess of gameplay which basically involves me running straight through until I run out of ammo and money and then a long slow trial-and-error kill fest with my wrench.
Posted: April 28, 2009 (12:14 PM)
You know, I just discovered the Vita Chambers can be turned off... and now the game is 600% more awesome.
Posted: April 28, 2009 (06:23 PM)
That's a PS3-only feature, though, isn't it?
Posted: April 28, 2009 (11:17 PM)
You can access the 360 ability via DLC.
Posted: April 29, 2009 (09:20 AM)
Disable them if you can. If not, do what I did and just have a bit of self-discipline. If you die, reload your last save.
It seems pretty silly to let one tiny feature spoil what is a remarkable achievement of atmosphere and sense of place.
(And I'd still argue the gameplay is better than most.)
Posted: April 29, 2009 (11:11 AM)
Gameplay is pretty decent, but I'm definitely with Suskie on level design.
Note, that's different from atmosphere. There's a nice heavy atmosphere. But the design lacks the interest that games like Half Life or Dead Space held for me.