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Thread: BioShock - The game that wasn't

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2006
    Location: Germoney

    BioShock - The game that wasn't

    Found this article over at the thumbs. Might Make for an interesting read for those who thought the last third of the game wasn't quite up to snuff. Warning: Spoilers. But that's got to be expected.

    There'd be less cause to complain if Jack remained under Fontaine's control the whole game, but he doesn't. He breaks free soon enough and the rest of the game plays out exactly the same. The player takes orders from Tenenbaum, not Atlas, and that's the extent of the differences. Again: could be fine, if BioShock hadn't abandoned its excuse for being so constricted, and thus hadn't become exactly what it was criticising. Every thought, every idea that BioShock compels with that Ryan scene is soon forgotten, and that wonderful moment is marginalised instead of assuming its rightful place as the cornerstone of a better game, and a better story: BioShock's tantalisingly close to fully realising its idea about being held hostage to narrative — less Truman Show and more Sophie's World. Essentially, BioShock just made a great, incendiary point about video games. Now, what's the game going to do with it?

    It's not going to do anything with it.

    BioShock tells you something incredibly exciting and then refuses to discuss it. What we've just seen, says BioShock, was a video game. That goes for gaming across the board. Artifical. Restricted. The implication is, now that we're fully cognisant of our limitations and have the means to remove them, we're about to see real life. It turns out reality is a lot like a video game.
    Heh.


    Full article.

  2. #2
    Or to be precise, reality is a bad video game with a hollywood ending.


    Where's my fucking horse so I can ride off into the sunset? I think I hear an orchestra tuning their instruments for the big fanfare.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by samIamsad View Post
    Might Make for an interesting read for those who thought the last third of the game wasn't quite up to snuff.
    Is there anyone who played the game who doesn't think that? For that matter, is there anyone who developeod the game who doesn't think that?

  4. #4
    Not to derail but I saw a link to Richard Cobbett's Bioshock article and he took every negative word out of my mouth. Especially this bit:

    Not least of the problems is dealing with Rapture not as a collection of levels, but as the city that never was. Architecturally astounding as it is, it never feels real enough - and that’s entirely the fault of the scripting. Instead of building a city and then destroying it, Irrational clearly built a destroyed city and poured on a story. The audio diaries that tell the backstory tend to be from after things went to hell, and unremittingly negative.

    Aside from making it feel like the city had an active population of about seven (I’m still curious to know if the stripper was an electrical engineering genius or similar), none of them - even Rapture’s creator - really seem on-board with The Vision.

    Nowhere is there that spark of belief that it ever stood tall.
    He sums up saying BioShock has so much good that you almost have to focus on the bad. I don't know if that's the right way to put it. I can completely recognize the passion and ingenuity that makes it an outstanding rarity among all the other monotonous games.

    For me though, it never made the jump from fun FPS to intellectual, deep, atmospheric and immersive FPS that everyone else sees. It wasn't the kind of game I felt enriched for playing, the ones TTLG is built around discussing. I wouldn't call it one of my favorite games by a long shot.

    Extremely well done but just not that into it. It doesn't happen often.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jun 1999
    Location: Procrastination, Australia
    Not least of the problems is dealing with Rapture not as a collection of levels, but as the city that never was. Architecturally astounding as it is, it never feels real enough - and thatís entirely the fault of the scripting. Instead of building a city and then destroying it, Irrational clearly built a destroyed city and poured on a story.
    I'm partly down with this bit. But I don't think it was the scripting. I think it was the design still being in the old school FPS style of merely 'symbolic space' rather than real space. I could buy that Rapture was real, even only seeing a small part of it, if the parts I could actually wander around in were more on the appropriate scale. They do it right here and there, but eventually you're saying to yourself "How many people were supposed to live here? Not many by the looks. And they're trying to sustain a free market economy?" and "This tramline is only fifty meters long. Is this because at the bottom of the sea everyone has the bends and can't walk? How do they get the trams off the lines for service? And where do they take them? Maybe they're just for show and if you try and get on one Ryan comes over the airwaves and berrates you for being lazy"
    Basically things like Stalker have ruined this sort of design forever anyway.

  6. #6
    They should have kept this look. Much more convincing.


  7. #7
    Exactly, real cities are places where people live, with open spaces, multiple exits to and from areas, and all the other hallmarks of good architecture (and also, of good level design).

    The level design hurts Bioshock from a gameplay perspective AND from a realism/immersion perspective.

    That part of the review was dead on accurate.

  8. #8
    Check out Idle Thumbs' Game of the Year article, which is actually a look at the BioShock backlash that puts the Eurogamer "BioShock: A Defence" article to shame.

    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Fyfe
    The "backlashers" did not arbitrarily decide that they hated something they loved a month ago. It was not a contrarian position. They did not invent faults. They were discovering legitimate flaws in the game that for some reason critics had chosen to ignore. And when the backlash took shape it was met with incredible condescension. "I guess itís cool to hate BioShock now."
    That was annoying. These guys are bookmark worthy.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Ontario, Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by Gaph View Post
    Check out Idle Thumbs' Game of the Year article, which is actually a look at the BioShock backlash that puts the Eurogamer "BioShock: A Defence" article to shame.
    Kieron's article greatly annoyed me. It was a knee-jerk reaction in defense of a game that - he knew damn well, himself - did not live up to expectations. How DARE you insinuate the game is nothing less than brilliance. Get back, you unwashed rabble-raising filth! We need to support this game because, folks, it just isn't going to get any better than this in the future!

    I can't believe that article even got published.

    Meanwhile, the Idle Thumbs article is excellent. Finally, an editorial from someone who can see the situation clearly. And it can't be so easily dismissed as the rambling of an amateur gamer: since the author works in the industry. Too bad more "professionals" can't be a little more objective, too.
    Last edited by redrain85; 12th Jan 2008 at 19:37.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Jun 1999
    Location: Procrastination, Australia
    It's actually damn insulting all by itself for some journo to "gauge the mood of the populace" by skim reading a few threads, taking no account of the individuals therein and taking every negative word as evidence of anger. Happens all the time though.
    To then imply that these people arrived at their point of view and even changed it based on some sort of groupthink/contrarian psychological counterbalance mechanism Pop Psych 101, well you might as well spit on folks and be done with it.
    (I don't think KG was doing this particularly, but I've seen a lot of sentiments to that effect)
    In other words I think that article is excellent.

  11. #11
    Yeah, it's an interesting study of how the critical reception created this complete haze over everyone and how the initial critics were met with derision as I was, not so much here, but definitely elsewhere - and one of the comments was actually "Is it cool to hate on BioShock now?" Fuck's sake.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Thiefier Than Thou
    Meh. I think this article has it all wrong - I don't think they knew what they were doing with that Ryan scene. I thought almost exactly the same thing at that point (the meta-game commentary) but now I just think it was a blip, an accident, a coincidence. Like the day after I finished HL2:Ep2 and (as I've posted before) happened to be seeing a patient with the surname Gordon who, to my gleeful surprise, was directly above another person on the computer list with the surname Freeman. One cannot read into these things too much. The Gordon Freeman thing was just beautiful chance without intentional meaning no matter how much you try to read into it. I believe it is also so with BioShock. No one with vision enough to create that moment intentionally would have let the rest of the game be this way.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland
    Quote Originally Posted by Subjective Effect View Post
    Meh. I think this article has it all wrong - I don't think they knew what they were doing with that Ryan scene. I thought almost exactly the same thing at that point (the meta-game commentary) but now I just think it was a blip, an accident, a coincidence. Like the day after I finished HL2:Ep2 and (as I've posted before) happened to be seeing a patient with the surname Gordon who, to my gleeful surprise, was directly above another person on the computer list with the surname Freeman. One cannot read into these things too much. The Gordon Freeman thing was just beautiful chance without intentional meaning no matter how much you try to read into it. I believe it is also so with BioShock. No one with vision enough to create that moment intentionally would have let the rest of the game be this way.
    Did I tell you about the time my phone alarm went off (with SS2 sample) when I first encountered a Bioshock camera?

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2008
    Location: In cryostasis
    This video is about some of the gripes people have with Bioshock:
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/arti...ation-BioShock

  15. #15
    It's also been linked to very many times.

    The idle thumbs article was ok, but it's the first article to address the point that I've derived a lot of my criticism from:

    "The delayed negative reaction to BioShock is perhaps in part because the more you think about the game it really makes no sense."

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by polytourist97 View Post
    It's also been linked to very many times.

    The idle thumbs article was ok, but it's the first article to address the point that I've derived a lot of my criticism from:

    "The delayed negative reaction to BioShock is perhaps in part because the more you think about the game it really makes no sense."
    Well when you think about it, how many games do make sense? Not a whole lot that I've found. It's either an RPG where your the guy who's lost his memory and it's up to you to save the world, or the action hero where it's up to you to save the world. Lets face it, there're all pretty far fetched.

    I too was dissapointed in Bioshock, but at least it attempts something a bit different.

  17. #17
    I've already intimated most of the points I have on this subject numerous times in other threads, so I'm not looking into going to deeply in the subject, but the point isn't that the problem is the game's premise is far-fetched, it's that the internal consistency of the story and world is out of sync. Things like the level design (mentioned in the article), the reasons for having so many conventional weapons readily available in an "isolated" society, why certain plot elements took place when others essentially cancel them out, why you would be able to arbitrarily select a different set of gene modification at any time... these things, while not necessarily blatant or heavy-handed, just don't make sense when looking at them more inquisitively. Not even within the context of the game's world. That's the problem. Not that me, polytourist97 in the real-world thinks things don't make sense... but that also me as Jack in Bioshock-world doesn't think things make sense either.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by michaelg View Post
    Well when you think about it, how many games do make sense? Not a whole lot that I've found. It's either an RPG where your the guy who's lost his memory and it's up to you to save the world, or the action hero where it's up to you to save the world. Lets face it, there're all pretty far fetched.

    I too was dissapointed in Bioshock, but at least it attempts something a bit different.
    I wouldn't call seeing what Bioshock needs to do to be different from the competition, and then deliberately refrain from doing it "attempting". "Halfassing" seems more appropriate.

  19. #19
    I've defended Bioshock on TTLG not because I think it's the best game in the world, it's not, and like you Poly, I'm not going to go into a long winded dissertation on why I feel it's a much better than average game. I've already done that.

    But of all places where you may think the game would get at least some credit, it would be here. Yet it seems the majority of TTLG'ers think the game is fair at best. Many seem to think it's a pile of steaming turds.

    Now, I've asked this before and I'll ask again. First, lets assume Bioshock is an FPS. It's a bit more than that in my mind, but it's been labled as such, so lets keep it at that.

    What better FPS has come out in the last several years that offers the same quality in story, ambiance, voice acting and dare I say it, options in how you want to play it? You can't go back to the late 90's. That's not fair.

    That's all I want to know.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Thiefier Than Thou
    Quote Originally Posted by michaelg View Post
    First, lets assume Bioshock is an FPS.
    Lets not.
    What better FPS has come out in the last several years that offers the same quality in story, ambiance, voice acting and dare I say it, options in how you want to play it? You can't go back to the late 90's. That's not fair.

    That's all I want to know.
    What egg has flown as fast a V2? OH! NONE, BECAUSE ONE IS ROCKET AND THE OTHER IS AN EGG.

    How about we don't try to compare things to things they're not. There are FPSs that are better as FPSs, and RPGs that are better as RPGs. And we even have SS2 which is a mix and the best comparison and which is superior, in every way too!

    OH WAIT HE SAID NOT THE 90s!

    Ok, how about I think Diakatana isn't as bad as everyone says. Just compare it any other John Romero game. Made in 2000.

    Starting with D.

    This really gets up my nose (as I'm sure you can tell). Please don't take it personally but you can't just start putting limitations on what people are comparing a game/film/book/ass to just so it fits some criteria that seems nice. If you liked BS enjoy it. Don't try telling anyone else that it is more than it is though.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2006
    Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
    Quote Originally Posted by michaelg View Post
    What better FPS has come out in the last several years that offers the same quality in story, ambiance, voice acting and dare I say it, options in how you want to play it? You can't go back to the late 90's. That's not fair.

    That's all I want to know.
    Personally I would rate HL2(and its Episodes), Riddick and Crysis as much better FPS games than Bioshock. I would rate STALKER higher than Bioshock too but not as high as those others and as far as shooting goes FEAR is also better. Sure in some of those categories Bioshock would rate higher than some of these games overall but what does it matter? Sure you get more options on how to kill in Bioshock but for me none of those options in anywhere near as satisfying as the melee in Riddick or the AR2 or Rocket Launcher in HL2. It is not a terrible FPS but it is far from being a great one.

    I was prepared for the more action orientated focus. I love shooters and was even looking forward to a shooter that had that SS ambience/story thing going on but the game did not deliver on the action. I had some fun with the plasmids initally but the lack of impact in the shooting is what killed it for me. I could forgive a the RPG-lite elements, lack of enemies etc if it was as satisfying shooter as say Painkiller but it wasn't.

  22. #22
    I don't want to seem like the Bioshock Defense Squad, but TTLG seems to hate Bioshock.

    I'm about to commit blasphemy:

    IMO, Bioshock>SS2.

    (Please don't kill me)

    I've played both, loved both. It wasn't hype that attracted me to Bioshock. I bought Metroid Prime 3 over it at first. I wish BS had more RPG elements, sure. But for reasons unknown, I liked Bioshock more.

    Now, I'm off to put on my flame-retardant suit and cry in a corner.

  23. #23
    ZylonBane
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: KC, KS, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by BnetTheAwesome View Post
    I've played both, loved both. It wasn't hype that attracted me to Bioshock. I bought Metroid Prime 3 over it at first.
    Console 'tard. Move along. Nothing to see here.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Near Brisbane, Australia
    Quote Originally Posted by Subjective Effect View Post
    Ok, how about I think Diakatana isn't as bad as everyone says. Just compare it any other John Romero game. Made in 2000.
    You don't think this is a tad over-dramatic?

    There is a point, after all, to considering only recent games ... they are the ones which you haven't already played to death. The vast majority of games aren't as good as some similar game in the history of gaming, but that's not generally considered a good enough reason not to like them.

    If you disagree with Michaelg, that's fine ... but there's nothing wrong with asking what recent games are better then Bioshock.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by ZylonBane View Post
    Console 'tard. Move along. Nothing to see here.
    I'm not sure why you even participate in these threads when they're about games you've never played and have indicated a preference towards never playing.

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