Bioshock

Discussion in 'Now Playing' started by 101101101, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. 101101101

    101101101 New Member

    Crazy fun. Predictably great atmosphere and storytelling, but the gameplay actually works out pretty well. Tricks like setting someone on fire and then electrocuting them when they go in the water *sound* like gimmicks that lose their novelty after approximately one try, but at least for me they have continued to feel very classy.

    It seems as though many useful facts about what makes games fun could be extracted from the fact that combat in Bioshock is, in fact, very fun. I hope these facts will be duly noted by the rest of the industry. The most prominent features of combat are:

    1. You never really die. Well, when you die you respawn with no penalty (in fact you gain a little energy if you were low) and can just walk right back to where you died and continue the good fight. Somehow, nevertheless, (at least for me) combat still feels fairly exciting, and while I never get frustrated by getting stuck (since by the third or fourth time through you have generally killed everything by brute force) I still feel that normal feeling when I die (you know the one).
    2. The game rewards you absurdly for even a little cleverness (or equivalently punishes you absurdly for an abject lack of cleverness). If you place a body double on the other side of a mess of tripwires or proximity mines you might skip a 5 minute firefight entirely. This makes things very easy, but at the same time you feel like quite the ninja (at least I do ^^). This type of thing is generally set up by what you happen to have on hand at the moment and what enemies happen to be around rather than some heavy-handed feature of the environment, which increases how clever you feel significantly.
    3. In total there are probably about half a dozen viable approaches to a given situation. Most of them are fairly redundant or unnecessary (like jumping through hoops to get an enemy to set off the security system). This sounds like a small number, especially since often one approach strictly dominates several others in a technical sense, but it still feels like you have a lot of different approaches available and whenever an encounter is easy this tends to make you feel as though it was easy because of choices you made (the reverse is also true, although it happens much less after the first couple hours of the game).
    4. Depending on how you play, you can spend a fair amount of time watching enemies kill themselves / each other or watching your destruction unfurl itself gradually. Because of point 3, this is actually entertaining instead of tedious most of the time (a fact I would not initially have guessed).

    I think the main issue is that the game manages to make everyone feel clever and cool, not just the people who are in fact clever or cool. I expect even people who aren't familiar with video games could progress at a reasonable rate and feel a sense of accomplishment not infrequently. Some people seem to get hung up on the actual difficulty level (see, for example, the Gamespot review) but I haven't found it to affect my enjoyment of the game at all. Not sure if this is because I am an atypical gamer (I haven't really played an FPS since half-life 2, and before that Goldeneye) or because reviewers are jaded and far too analytical. Maybe after having written this forum post I will cease to feel clever and the magic will be gone. I guess I'll see.

    Other thoughts, experiences, reflections? If anyone managed to miss the hype surrounding its release, I would highly recommend the game (obviously).
     
  2. STCAB

    STCAB New Member

    I got the game yesterday, so I'm still not finished with it, but I can still share some early thoughts I guess.

    I'm really enjoying it, but I can mention a few things I feel weren't so great.
    I don't feel there's much variety in the actual gameplay, or enemies, it's/they're really just the same all the way through (as far as I've gotten at any rate). They're all basically the same. However the big-daddy's have been sorta interesting to take down untill you get the bigger guns.
    The "boss" fights also lack any real difference from other enemies, they're basically just tougher standard foes.
    The hacking minigame gets a bit boring after doing it 1000x times, thankfully you can get various "get outta jail free cards" like using insta-hack tools or by hacking it using money when you just don't wanna bother with it.

    Anyway, I do feel like "quite the ninja"^^ at times. If anyone cares, I might write something a bit more elaborate once i actually finish the game.
     
  3. DJSystem

    DJSystem Member

    Well great. According to slashdot, Bioshock installs rootkits on your machine, EVEN WITH THE DEMO VERSION. Ick. Ickety ick ick.
     
  4. 101101101

    101101101 New Member

    I'm approximately 100% sure that is not in fact the case. Although the story remains unedited on slashdot, the utility is not in fact a rootkit, or at least is not for the same reason that the rumor began. It had been identified as such because the file's name contained a "*".

    The DRM issues surrounding Bioshock are something of a mess, at least from a PR standpoint (and the presence of DRM in the demo is particularly amusing) but keep in mind they are absurdly overblown by the collective internet community. (it is not, for example, the case that you have a limited number of installs...)
     
  5. STCAB

    STCAB New Member

    So I finished the game, and what can I say, it's really great. There are some negative points as I mentioned in my previous post, but other than that, it's really top notch. I'd recommend it to... pretty much anyone.

    On the note about you never actually dieing. I think that's a good way to go. Seeing as the thing about reloading a savegame kind of breaks the flow, or ruins immersiveness. The first use of it that I heard of was in prey, in which when you died you got a chance to return back to life through a mini-game like... er... game. I also know Fable 2 is taking this approach aswell, I would be surprised if we see it more often in the future. (Fable 2 will have a permanent punishment associated with being "killed" though, in that your character will be scarred.)

    The final boss was a bit easy. You'd also think you'd see other bosses that were as... "elaborate" as the final one earlier in the game. (again with the few enemy types, same gameplay all the way thing) Oh well, maybe I'm wrong. What do I know. I still think it was great.
     
  6. 101101101

    101101101 New Member

    I agree that jumping right back into the game without interruption was very good for many reasons (especially in comparison to the game I played directly after, Ninja Gaiden, in which you die constantly and must wait for a good fifteen seconds to begin playing again). It also makes the game accessible to people for whom it would otherwise be too frustrating (there are some sections that might be very difficult if the game was less forgiving about failure). That said, I still think some sort of penalty would have been a good idea. Even something like a death counter with some sort of minimal effect on the game would have made death feel a little substantial, or perhaps some sort of bonus which grows the more things you kill without dying.
     
  7. STCAB

    STCAB New Member

    Ah, I forgot to mention... I've been thinking about how some older games have don't directly have a difficulty setting such as "Easy, Medium, Hard". But still adapts to the player skill. The concept of harvesting or saving the girls in Bioshock reminded me of that, but both ways provide roughly an equal amount of adam due to the bonuses you get from saving them. What I mean is, what if the difficulty was sort of natural, in that, if you harvested them, you'd get more adam to upgrade yourself thus making the game easier, effectively "choosing" easy mode. Or you could save them, getting 1/2 the adam, thus "choosing" medium. Or you could kill them all, not getting any adam at all, thus "choosing" hard mode.

    I had this idea, where during an "intro stage sequence" thing, your goal is to, say, get to a bar, but you didn't have to do that right away. A skilled player, would be able to round up more money before he got to the bar. A player that's not so skilled, or curious for that matter(all in how you implement the system), would just go straight to the bar, thus not having enough money for the most expensive drink.

    Once there, you buy a drink... if you have enough money for "the good stuff" you'll "choose" hard mode, the drink will knock you out, and you wake up somewhere starting the "hard" part of the story. The same with the other drinks, except they won't knock you out or something, but will lead to the Medium or easy part of the game repsectively. But the clue is that since I know the player was able to round up enough money that early in the game, I can probably push that player a bit harder. Also effectively rewarding him for being a skilled player.

    So, I'm thinking varying difficulty without just changing the base stats of enemies... yeah... There'd also be an incentive to play all "drinks" if the story changes are significant between them.
     
  8. Sirlin

    Sirlin Steward of the Realm Staff Member

    Is dying in this game basically similar to dying in God of War? In God of War, you appear at the last checkpoint, which is usually like 2 inches from where you were. Also, you get to play again almost instantly and have no penalty at all. Is there some important difference in BioShock?

    Too bad I didn't include BioShock in my recent Game Developer Magazine article on save game systems.

    --Sirlin
     
  9. 101101101

    101101101 New Member

    There is actually no saving, you simply reappear at the last checkpoint (with literally no loading time). There are a couple enemies (I think I only noticed two) who will return to full health whenever you get too far away from them, but for the most part you could theoretically progress simply by charging into combat, hitting the enemy once with your wrench, and repeating.
    I like a lot of things about the system but sometimes it feels a little too forgiving (I guess forgiving isn't really the word--it doesn't just not punish you for mistakes, it doesn't punish you for anything).
     
  10. STCAB

    STCAB New Member

    That is, you can quicksave/quickload aswell. But there is not any real point besides from when you exit the game.
     

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