What’s that? Yes, I am high off the fumes of Infinite’s release. That’s why I’m here to tell you why BioShock is super neat you should like it.
Its not that often you hear someone say that they just liked BioShock. Either they hate it, and think its the scum of the industry, or its become a favorite. I want to try and layout why these experiences are so polarized, and maybe change an outlook or two.
Why Should You like it?
Lets look at what the first person shooter genre has been doing this generation. A whole lot a sequels, recycled ideas and gameplay tropes. This could be said about gaming at large, but the FPS has really been stupefied by the sequel business.
It’s practically assumed now that they wont have well developed stories. Some efforts are better than others, but it’s never the reason you pick up the game. This is a fun-centric genre.
Why, though? People argue that graphics always benefit a game, well, how about a decent narrative? People can’t image, say, a Mario game without a basic hero tale. But then we see Braid make a translucent, well-constructed story. Why?
Time to rethink this stuff.
This is INTERACTIVE entertainment, not a movie. Here, the story unfolds organically, and at the players discretion. Theres no cutscenes being flashed around, no chat sequences, and no response wheels.
You just go, you look around, you listen to stuff. Eventually everything is pieced together. Best of all, the game doesn’t assume you’re an idiot, but asks you bring a basic understanding of various topics.
The art style is in arguably well done (at least for 2/3rds of the game), and feels twisted yet authentic. All of the design is consistent to the theme. I wont talk much about the art because it’s just really good, we know that.
But the gameplay is awful.
Like most things in life, the gameplay here is about as good as you’ll be willing to make it. If you run through with health boosters, electro bolt and a shotgun, you’ll probably not have a good time. It may be a criticism in its own right, but the basic shooting mechanics aren’t enough to keep someone entertained.
You gotta mix it up. Put on a couple wrench boosters, static discharge and sports boost, and you become a high-speed boxer that coughs out lightning when bludgeoned.
Or, stick a mine on the ceiling and launch someone into it with a cyclone trap. Sometimes, a shot to the face is all you need, but setting traps and thinking ahead is fun and rewarding.
Oh, and don’t forget about the research camera. The enemy health scales horribly toward the end. The game assumes you’re picture grinding.
Why should you not like it?
Ken Levine openly admits that the games writing came apart at the end. Its pretty obvious after the twist, that most of the players steam gets released. Were indifferent to the events after that.
Also, its not a shootery-shooters game. You’ll have the best experience if you go slowly, look around and mull over the different character motivations. There are plenty of core-action shooters that can get you there, this just isn’t one of them.
This isn’t a perfect game, but it does enough for the genre that it feels substantial. If you can’t enjoy it, at least understand why its good for games.
1. Art and story are great.
2. Breaks genre conventions.
3. Gameplay misunderstood.
4. But it’s not perfect.
5. You should still love it.