don’t tell me the ending to: Bioshock

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.

2 thoughts on “don’t tell me the ending to: Bioshock

  1. Without giving away too much, where are you in the game? I’m just curious because I would like to know, more specifically, what you find boring.

    I finished Bioshock and absolutely loved it. I didn’t find myself getting bored anywhere in the game. For me it was quite different from what you said in your post. I found that as my abilities expanded it became more challenging to figure out different, sometimes more efficient (sometime not), ways to eliminate my foes. With there being so many options for weapons I didn’t actually get close to using all of the different combinations. With all these options, I don’t quite understand how you are bored. Please enlighten me, sir.

  2. I am currently in “vegas” about to meet a new character. And I’m not “bored.” Just a particular aspect of the overall experience is boring.

    Specifically, it is the combat. New abilities open new strategic ways to confront enemies, but they lack the visual punch necessary. An upgraded wrench hit decreases from a life bar until the life bar is empty and the enemy falls over.

    Action Games like FEAR, Half-life, Gears of War give new weapons that pack a large visceral impact, while increasing the skill needed to survive your encounters.
    RPGs like Final Fantasy begin by making the attacks look more powerful and spectacular as you level up and progress through a story (either linear, or by your design).

    Bioshock does not require more skill as you progress. The once deadly enemies begin to fall with ease after you’ve acquired offensive and defensive boosts.
    My fully upgraded shotgun hits enemies the exact same way as it did unaltered early in the game; it just decreases their life bar a little faster.

    It certainly isn’t a bad game. It is still easily game of the year material. It is, however, certainly not perfect. I will probably go into greater detail on what I liked after completing the game (the story is still on going). These are just initial impressions and nagging aspects as I’m playing.

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