don’t tell me the ending to: Bioshock
I’m part way through Bioshock. It is starting to get a little dull with some fetch quests. At the same time, it is becoming a bit too easy.
This is a problem many RPGs face. In order to give a sense of progression, your character must gain new abilities and become more powerful. Despite new trials arising to challenge you, your character steadily becomes better than these enemies to instill that sense of progression. This leads to the game becoming easier the longer you play, without needing to increase skill. Combined with learning a combat systems patterns, this can turn a game into almost an automated process. Most great RPGs make this progression very slight, almost unnoticeable. They also have excellent presentation, to make sure that as the experience transitions from a game you play to a game you watch, it becomes more interesting to watch.
Bioshock so far lacks the extra “umph” other RPGs express by making you look extremely cool while you bowl over the average bad guy. The extra abilities are fun to use, but are not exciting to behold. Instead, it is exploring the exquisite, changing environment and engaging characters propel you forward. While that is certainly enough, I have played RPGs that have gotten all of these aspects correct <cough>Baldur’s Gate (2, especially)</cough>. Missing any particular part of this equation (exploration/environment + story/characters + progression/combat) will stick out.
One aspect I should mention is I love the steampunk influence on weapon upgrades. A new weapon upgrade sufficiently increases its visual appeal even if its actual use does not. I find it fun to simply look at a recent upgrade’s idle animation awhile.