BioShock Impressions

BioShock Impressions

The game opens, literally, with a bang - your airplane crashes - and you find yourself immersed in the world of Rapture before you even know who you are and of what you're capable. This, like so much else about BioShock is a stroke of genius.

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The first thing I noticed upon firing up the demo was the menu item selection music. It never would have occurred to me that selecting a menu item need not make the same sound every time, provided the sound is distinct from the last menu item selection. When I launch the demo, I tend to spend about 30-60 seconds just "playing" the menu.

The game's sound design and music are great, from what I've seen in the demo, and as a result I'm going to try to buy the Limited Edition of the game today. I'd love to get that sountrack CD. If they're sold out, though, in the interests of playing the game I'll just buy the regular version and hope the soundtrack becomes available on its own later on.

Demo piqued my interest and I might well get the game.

A nice introduction (not the best, silent protagonists are fine but with a radio I expect I could ask questions at least, sigh. So much you could spend a few minutes *explaining*, oh well), brilliant set pieces and theme, and the atmosphere is good.

Not too sure the battle mechanics are quite as good as some say, but should be interesting getting powers and the like.

Oh, and it does seem polished, always a good sign. A shame about the widescreen problem.

Blah blah game design blah blah art blah blah story. I'm buying this game because it is an homage to Atlas Shrugged. I'll shell out $60 and suffer through 9.6/10 gameplay any time in the service of free will and reason.

Aynrandarch0n

I've always associated "homage" with more positive references -- so far, BioShock hasn't exactly portrayed Objectivism in a positive light. On the other hand, they do treat it respectfully, so it probably does fall within the scope of the term.

All I'm saying is, don't expect your ethical framework to be resoundingly affirmed by the game, unless something changes drastically after about the six hour mark.

I have a be a slight devil's advocate here. I bought Bioshock recently, and though I have only played an hour or so - I will say I am a bit confused and put off so far. While I understand the 'being thrown into an incomprehensible situation and figuring it out' mentality (One I greatly enjoy), I will say I am a bit confused/concerned with how it's being executed. Maybe there needs to be more internal dialog or something, I am not sure.

I have some difficulty accepting that just after pondering a gift from my parents, and the horror of my plane crashing, the protagonist would then immediately feel the need to hop into a random deep-sea shuttle that only heads down. Especially one sitting in a neo-gothic lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. I am even more confused by the first use of the EVE splice thingy (Electro Bolt). Maybe our protagonist is just at the far end of the "Impulsive" scale, but I wouldn't recommend injecting the first glowing, blue syringe you find lying in the bowels of a rusted, deteriorating aquatic city-gone-bad. Not without at least attempting to preface it with an inquiry directed at the mysterious radio-only voice, whose instructions you've decided to follow implicitly.

I guess I just find the character curiously stoic and way too trusting, given his circumstances. I'll play more this weekend.

"You're far too trusting." - Grand Moff Tarkin

Ajar, I've read enough of the designer's interviews that I know his point isn't simply to praise Ayn Rand. But he does take Objectivism seriously, and it's his personal philosophy as far as I know. I believe his point in showing the fall of Rapture is to suggest that zealotry (of any sort) is bad, a reaction against the zealotry that is sometimes visible in the Ayn Rand Institute, for instance.

But I don't anticipate that Levine is going to end up suggesting that altruism and spirituality are the answer and that Rand's philosophy is a fraud, and would be disappointed if that's the case. That would be a bait and switch.

Landslide:
I have some difficulty accepting that just after pondering a gift from my parents, and the horror of my plane crashing, the protagonist would then immediately feel the need to hop into a random deep-sea shuttle that only heads down.

I'm going to paraphrase the screenwriter of the Flash Gordon movie here, and say if you can't accept that Flash Gordon just happens to be flying in a plane that just happens to land in a field next to a rocketship set to fly to Mongo ... then this isn't the game for you.

Landslide:
Maybe our protagonist is just at the far end of the "Impulsive" scale, but I wouldn't recommend injecting the first glowing, blue syringe you find lying in the bowels of a rusted, deteriorating aquatic city-gone-bad.

Well, he does have tattoos on the insides of his wrists. I don't know how common that was in 1960 -- maybe he's some kind of junkie!

:P

Archon:
...he does take Objectivism seriously, and it's his personal philosophy as far as I know.

Really? That I didn't know. Interesting.

Oh, and I still "play" the menu for a little while every time I fire up the game. The CD bundled with the limited edition was a disappointment, but at least I have the making-of DVD.

Landslide, I agree that it was surprising to me to click on the demo's first power thing and see, wtf, he's putting the dirty thing in his arm! and I'm being knocked out! omg!11!1 I've fucked up in the first 5 minutes! I'm dead! wheres the reload button!

Luckily it was scripted, whew. I don't care about the second one now, gimmie gimmee gimmie fire power, yeah! more, more! I need more! (except the demo then stopped, awww)

But yeah, plane crashing with a silent protagonist (can't even ask questions to the guy on the radio!), its basically the mechanic of picking up a gun (which, in all honesty, I'd do in that situation, but the situation of an undersea place with zombie-like humans and stuff is kinda that situation! Normally I'd not touch it though, ehh).

I liked the Flash Gordon analogy :) I can't wait to see what other needles...I mean drugs...I mean...um, superpowers exist!

Yeah Objectivism is what we really need now. More individualism and laissez faire capitalism. After all, aren't we all perfect and rational human beings who are never going to interfere with other people rights? And the few of us who would do it would be stoped by the government (not educated or cured by the government mind you, because that's inmoral altruism, just punished and/or incarcerated).

And we don't need to worry about multinational corporations not respecting our rights either, or using their money to influence the government or anything like that. These corporations already know that it's in their best interests to care about every human being because we are, after all, probable trade partners! They won't "affect nature" in a way that could be harmful to our rights either.

The good thing is that, no matter which system do we pick, the fact that we are already perfect for Objectivism to work will also make Socialism work! With perfect, rational human beings like us, the system is not really important: we are headed for paradise

I want to gush so much at everyone right now ... @Landslide and @Armstrong - but I'll refrain.

God I wish I could say more :(

When more people have had a chance to play through we need to set up a "BioShock discussion *MAJOR BLOODY SPOILERS* thread.

TWP, so glad you agree. It's good to find an ally in these dark times. Would you like to subscribe to my newsletter?

Landslide:
I have a be a slight devil's advocate here. I bought Bioshock recently, and though I have only played an hour or so - I will say I am a bit confused and put off so far. While I understand the 'being thrown into an incomprehensible situation and figuring it out' mentality (One I greatly enjoy), I will say I am a bit confused/concerned with how it's being executed. Maybe there needs to be more internal dialog or something, I am not sure.

I have some difficulty accepting that just after pondering a gift from my parents, and the horror of my plane crashing, the protagonist would then immediately feel the need to hop into a random deep-sea shuttle that only heads down. Especially one sitting in a neo-gothic lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. I am even more confused by the first use of the EVE splice thingy (Electro Bolt). Maybe our protagonist is just at the far end of the "Impulsive" scale, but I wouldn't recommend injecting the first glowing, blue syringe you find lying in the bowels of a rusted, deteriorating aquatic city-gone-bad. Not without at least attempting to preface it with an inquiry directed at the mysterious radio-only voice, whose instructions you've decided to follow implicitly.

I guess I just find the character curiously stoic and way too trusting, given his circumstances. I'll play more this weekend.

On the surface it would seem your concerns are legitamite but once you've played and finished the game (as I have) you'll see that they were unfounded. Just enjoy the game and all will be explained in due time . . .

StolenName:
I want to gush so much at everyone right now ... @Landslide and @Armstrong - but I'll refrain.

God I wish I could say more :(

When more people have had a chance to play through we need to set up a "BioShock discussion *MAJOR BLOODY SPOILERS* thread.

I'm there! Where do I sign up?

I am finding the logical omissions in the game far less important since I've discovered how to light people on fire from a distance.

Archon:
TWP, so glad you agree. It's good to find an ally in these dark times. Would you like to subscribe to my newsletter?

Ummm.....you might not want to play this game, then. I've known my fair share of Objectivists - having been a cult member myself for a while back in my younger, more impressionable days - and you might not like exactly what the...errr...outcome of all that free will and whatnot are shown as in the game. I'm only a couple of stages in, but Andrew Ryan ("We R Ayn Rand") isn't exactly being painted in the rosiest of light. Maybe fifteen hours in everything turns around to be all sunshine and kitten farts - I can't tell you for sure - but the first thing that I thought when I got into the game was, "Dude, there's going to be some moderately unhappy Objectivists," which is to say, giant unhappy internet flamefest on at least one Objectivist message board.

That said, this is a pretty good game. It's not the box of metaphorical sexual favors that the various and sundry perfect reviews would have you believe (I have a growing list of Things That Should Have Not Been Done the Way That They Were and I am stridently NOT a member of the "Games Are Totally Artistic, Dude" crowd), but it's definitely worth the time of a gamer. Just not an overly sensitive Objectivist gamer, if you should happen to fall into that camp.

I'm going to say this once, and then whip out the ban hammer with gleeful abandon if my words on this subject are ignored: do not post spoilers in this thread.

I'll be creating a spoilerific thread and linking to it.

Sorry, I thought the demo content was well known and I didn't really mention anything that isn't a gameplay descriptor.

Oh well, fair enough.

Landslide:
I am finding the logical omissions in the game far less important since I've discovered how to light people on fire from a distance.

The oil slicks on the ground in a lot of places really help with that. Not to mention the pressurized cylinders that, judging by their explosiveness, apparently house hydrogen gas...

I love this game.

Andrew Armstrong:
Sorry, I thought the demo content was well known and I didn't really mention anything that isn't a gameplay descriptor.

Oh well, fair enough.

I wasn't speaking to any one person, and it's my fault anyway - I should have labeled the thread and article as *non-spoiler* to begin with.

Heh, cool_moe_dee, I'm far from thin-skinned. I survived law school in the People's Republic of Massachussetts. I have a skin of Rearden metal. ;)

I would be disappointed in the game if it turns out to be a simplistic bash on Objectivism because that would seem contrary to how the game was presented in its pre-release press. But if it's a thoughtful portrayal of the white, black, and grey of Objectivism, I can certainly appreciate that, and either way I'm not going to go into cerebral palsy over it.

THE BOAT SINKS

Archon:
Heh, cool_moe_dee, I'm far from thin-skinned. I survived law school in the People's Republic of Massachussetts. I have a skin of Rearden metal. ;)

I would be disappointed in the game if it turns out to be a simplistic bash on Objectivism because that would seem contrary to how the game was presented in its pre-release press. But if it's a thoughtful portrayal of the white, black, and grey of Objectivism, I can certainly appreciate that, and either way I'm not going to go into cerebral palsy over it.

Gehh...it kind of doesn't have much to do with Objectivism, except in the most cartoonish sense of the term. The aesthetic is very much in-line with Atlas Shrugged, but any moral that I've perceived so far has been that the idea in general was not-so-great. All the same, figured it would be a good idea to get a warning out somewhere. Depending on how deeply a person gets mired in the rhetoric, sometimes, you know, the deep-insider types (like a number of the ones that like to edit the Wikipedia articles on the topic) tend to get apoplectic. Good that you'll be able to tolerate it, though - it's entirely worth your time, whether it's philosophically agreeable or not.

I will be devoting my evening to it, so I'll report back after I have experienced the gameplay. Are we going to be creating a spoiler-friendly thread for discussion of the game?

Archon:
I will be devoting my evening to it, so I'll report back after I have experienced the gameplay. Are we going to be creating a spoiler-friendly thread for discussion of the game?

Yes, boss:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.48000

I think that the statement it makes with objectivism is along the lines of A) a crazed objectivist can do some amazing things, and B) no philosophy can make a society so resilient that it can survive the ability becoming ubiquitous to turn money into superpowers. (I assume this is not a spoiler since plasmids are basically the selling point of the game)

From what I've gone so far, it's a very mature treatment of the philosophy - certainly not a defense of it, but not an attack on it either. It merely uses objectivism as the philosophical backdrop for the player's lovely romp through the dangerous underwater city full of violent psychopaths. I imagine that roughly the same events would be occurring had some other philosophy been used (leaving aside that for Rapture to be constructed basically requires someone to idolize Ayn Rand), though it wouldn't have given us all the art deco and delightful advertising.

Bongo, that's what I'm expecting / hoping for. Can't wait to play tonight! My caffeine and popcorn is well stocked and gamepad is at hand.

Ajar:
The game's sound design and music are great, from what I've seen in the demo, and as a result I'm going to try to buy the Limited Edition of the game today. I'd love to get that soundtrack CD.

You're in luck! They've released the soundtrack for download on their site: http://www.2kgames.com/cultofrapture/home.html

Unfortunately, their rendition of Beyond the Sea is not included :)

Awesome, thanks! I was pretty disappointed when I popped my Limited Edition CD in my Power Mac and discovered that it was a three-track EP of Moby remixes.

I realize this is an old thread, but finally got around to playing this game, and stumbled across this thread, and just wanted to say that this:

"You can outsmart them, by setting traps in doorways, lighting fire to a pool of oil or drawing them to water, then electrocuting them, but it feels like you're outsmarting them and not simply taking advantage of bad coding; surviving, not hacking."

is a great piece of video game journalism. You didn't just describe what happens, you clued us in to what it feels like to actually play the game. Perfect piece of video game criticism.

 

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