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BioShock Review

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August 23, 2007 2:29:59 PM

Review by Rob Wright of TwitchGuru:

"2K Games has crafted a masterful game in BioShock, which presents a nightmarish dystopian society on the ocean floor and combines brilliant first-person shooter gameplay with an outstanding science fiction storyline."

http://www.twitchguru.com/2007/08/23/bioshock_review/

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August 23, 2007 3:13:12 PM

That was a pretty good review. The first page and a half was pretty much a rehashing of his previous statements on the game, as well as a lot of plugs seen around the internet, but regardless, it had to be said.

Quick note about the review: I'm incredibly pleased by the fact that the author (rob) included a section at the end that tells the reader what frame of mind he is coming from. I've felt that this is probably the most important thing left out of nearly EVERY review I've seen. If you're coming into a review w/some sort of bias/mindset... let the reader know! That section was perfect.

As for the game (I bought it on my lunch break the day it was released): I'm not that far through it (I don't think?) but I have put quite a few hours into it. Absolutely beautiful game. Like I said, the first page and a half of this review was a rehashing of all the praise said for the game... but it deserves every bit. The gameplay is simply amazing and creates an intensely detailed experience; from common navigation though the levels, to the reaction of your character when you're hit, to the detail of things like the camera (focusing and unfocusing)... etc. It's just amazing to be immersed in the world of Rapture.

One thing that I felt was a bit underplayed in the review was just HOW intelligent the AI is. Yes, they make intelligent reactions to your actions towards them, but the pathing/fighting AI is also top notch! I've been able to bug enemies in literally every game I've played up until this game. I can still bug a few.. but those big daddys especially are incredibly intelligent! I remember fighting one of them where there were stairs and a middle platform. I tried jumping across railings thinking that I would bug him to a point where it was hard for him to follow me, but he sure kept up! Every time I jumped across places that I thought would mess up his pathing, he adjusted quickly and accordingly to a point that I could hardly gain any distance between him and myself. This made the fight MUCH more exhilarating than your average "drag them to a spot, jump on a perch and shoot them" type of fight. The AI in this game is by far the best I've ever experienced. Now I'm not saying that it's impossible to bug any of the enemies, but it's much much harder and makes for a much more challenging experience... which is refreshing in my opinion.

I definitely agree with Rob's initial nonpluses to the game. I REALLY wanted to play this game multiplayer. I've been looking for something to replace CS/CS:S for quite sometime, and if this game was mutliplayer, it would definitely be the one. Also, the Vita Chamber debacle amazed me as well. I'm one of those "save every 5 steps, re-load the game if you lose more than 5 HP, never use heal kits" type of people... but when I finally did die, I just kind of went, "um, are you serious?" I had adam, eve, and the enemy I had been fighting was damaged. I had no penalties to my movement/damage/strength... no counters were recording my deaths... not even any sort of "slap on the wrist" for dying. This allowed me to very easily slip into the habit of not caring how much damage I took and simply standing in the face of big daddys while I fired at them.

The destructible glass would be an interesting idea, but I think that the reason the developers left it out (and probably will in the future as well) is because A) it would be incredibly hard to code the flow of water through an entire level (I highly doubt it would be confined to the size of the room as Rob suggested), and B) it would be VERY easy for players to get themselves stuck, or for enemies to break the glass and cause the player to be stuck at a point to which they could not advance. Cue the fact that the Vita chamber takes out the "level restart" factor, the water would never be removed, and the player would never be able to stay alive long enough to complete the level. One possible solution might be that there are maintenance bots that respond to hull breaches, patch them, and drain the water (or something along those lines).


One thing that wasn't mentioned that I found rather odd was the limited threads of speech that existed for the enemies. I understood the vending machines all sounding the same... which definitely added to the experience, but personally I feel that games these days should be spending a bit more time creating color for the enemies you have... especially w/such a limited selection of enemies to begin with. I don't know though, like I said I haven't finished the game (I'm only in the Neptune area) so perhaps there's a reason for this.

EDIT: as for my own bias, I came into this game wanting to like it, and dreading that it would be like STALKER. I found none of the gameplay issues I had with STALKER (which is a different discussion entirely) and found Bioshock to be quite a bit above my expectations.
August 23, 2007 4:17:33 PM

I'm getting Bioshock tonight (aswell as the Guild Wars expansion), played the demo (DAMN it was short for 1.84 gigs), but it was great, the AI really put a fast one on me, I thought I was in a relatively safe place and BAM i'm hit by some crazy woman with a dough-flattening-device (that's what it looked like, whatever it's actually called), the 2 plasmids in the demo were amazingly fun to play with.
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August 23, 2007 4:34:05 PM

Well, sadly, you can only install 2 times, and don't change your hardware! So I might just hold off till something is done differently.
August 23, 2007 8:21:17 PM

You saying that Bioshock can only be installed 2 times?

What BS
August 23, 2007 9:24:02 PM

Yes, this copy protection issue is troublesome. I'm looking into it now. We're trying to uninstall and reinstall the game here on mutliple computers. Hopefully we'll get to the bottom of this soon. Stay tuned...
August 24, 2007 2:18:05 AM

Take 2 claims on their forums that uninstalling the game restores the number of installs you have. However, we are Tom's Hardware, and we DON'T TAKE MANUFACTURERS CLAIMS AT FACE VALUE.
August 24, 2007 3:01:45 AM

I've been completely disgusted with Take 2's response to both the widescreen issue and secuRom issue.
August 24, 2007 3:57:04 AM

well thank god for steam...thats all i can say....

You can't always uninstall it. like when ure hard drive takes a crap, or your board blows in a storm.....bahhhhhh damn...

Keep us updated Rob.....


EDIT well with the issues people are talking about in forums....ouch....will steam users be unaffected(NO DVD for them) by this?

EDIT EDIT

CRAP
http://support.steampowered.com/cgi-bin/steampowered.cf...
August 24, 2007 4:00:56 AM

well i thought i should post about 2 things that I haven't seen anyone mention yet:
1. differences between the pc demo and the full pc game
2. how it runs on an old system

1. its nice to see that things are not setup EXACTLY as they were in the demo. Some of the items and bots are not in the same exact places so I didn't feel like I needed to rush through the beginning. ALSO, the graphics definitely look closer to the screenshots that were and are shown now in the full version.

2. i have an AMD 64 3000+ CPU, 1 gig of ram and a 8600 GT videocard and I run the game at 1280 x 1024 with everything on high; DX9 (im running XP). The game is silky smooth with maybe a slight hiccup everyonce in a while. But to be honest, I never thought my system could play this game let alone play it and have it look as nice as it does. It's not just like the screenshots or commercials or trailers but it does come close to what i've seen from people with 8800 GTS cards and dual core setups and that's good enough for me!
August 24, 2007 5:41:29 AM

jp182 said:
2. i have an AMD 64 3000+ CPU, 1 gig of ram and a 8600 GT videocard and I run the game at 1280 x 1024 with everything on high; DX9 (im running XP). The game is silky smooth with maybe a slight hiccup everyonce in a while. But to be honest, I never thought my system could play this game let alone play it and have it look as nice as it does. It's not just like the screenshots or commercials or trailers but it does come close to what i've seen from people with 8800 GTS cards and dual core setups and that's good enough for me!

I have an A64 3700, 2Gb RAM and an x1950 pro and it runs ok when I'm not attacking anything. But I wouldn't say it's silky smooth. Certainly runs better than STALKER :pfff: 
August 24, 2007 7:37:12 AM

I have only played part of the demo so far and have to say it runs very well on my X2 4800+ with 2GBs of RAM and a x1950pro 512MB video card at full details and 1280x1024 resolution on XP Pro.

It is so similar to F.E.A.R. that one of the first things I looked for was my own feet and shadow of which I found missing! One of the things I thought that added to the game play in F.E.A.R. was the fact that you could be going down a hallway and suddenly see your own shadow on the wall and freak yourself out! It is possible that this is because it is the demo but I wanted to point it out and see if anyone else noticed this. Also to find out if it is on the full version.

Otherwise it is definitely a great game so far. :D 
August 24, 2007 8:15:16 AM

Yea I looked for my feet at the start, not the shadow though. Still, the lack of self shadows (probably not the best term to use but you know what I mean) helps improve performance without having to tern of shadows completely.
August 24, 2007 10:53:03 AM

Is there any dx10 benchmark yet for bioshock to show what card is the best for this game ?
August 24, 2007 11:18:00 AM

Well you can assume it will be the 2900XT or the GTX/Ultra.
August 24, 2007 6:13:07 PM

I want to see 8600gt, 8600gts, 8500gt, 2600pro, 2600 xt too.
August 24, 2007 6:51:52 PM

SO HOW ARE THE GRAPHICS ?
I hear lots of good things. But are the graphics any better than HL2, Oblivion, FEAR, etc ?
Will a good card like a 8800GTX help any?
FarCry got a 10/10 for graphics when it came out. Now it's like a 7-8.
Is this a native DX10 game? I guess not since it runs on the Xbox 360 also.
I will buy this AFTER the DRM is fixed or removed.
Thanks!
August 24, 2007 8:06:34 PM

I have the game for the Xbox 360. I've beaten it once on the normal hardness and now I'm playing through it on hard for the fun and more achievements. It's a great game, needless to say an instant classic. On the PC side, I'll probably try the PC demo just for fun, too. The P4 computer I have won't even run the game as nice as it does on my 360, so there's no promise of improved graphics for me. And I don't mind a gamepad, unlike some people who go way overboard on the hate....

2k needs to handle the DRM and widescreening problems, pronto.
August 26, 2007 4:41:40 PM

One word sums it up for me: wow. literally. For those of you wondering if graphically its better than F.E.A.R., HL2, FarCry, etc. Can I say with profound emphasis: yes, soo much yes, horribly yes.

The DRM thing bugs me, as it can possibly impact MY PC and hackerz/warez can easily circumvent the system any way you slice it... so who does it impact? Legitimate buyers. Boo.

August 27, 2007 5:13:35 AM

It's graphically better and also is well optimised unlike games like STALKER. STALKER has last-gen graphics but needs a powerful system to even run the game with full dynamic lighting on. That's what happens when you make a game with 16-bit code incorporated into it.
August 27, 2007 5:55:57 PM

Nice review.

I d/led the demo and it ran great on my 7950GT. The graphics are spectacular.

My preference is for multiplayer games, but Bioshock looks like it's got me hooked.
August 27, 2007 6:02:26 PM

what widescreen problems? How can a game have widescreen problems when just about every damn monitor they make these days is widescreen?
August 28, 2007 11:18:32 AM

You don't need to dredge up a menu to swap weapons in the 360 version. All you need to do is a combination of tapping the shoulder buttons (or bumpers, whatever you call them) and research (oh, he went that far alright).
August 28, 2007 11:33:39 AM

I haven't had a singleplayer game suck me in so much since farcry (this game is completely unlike farcry, so make no comparisons.) The gameplay is incredible. I play the game on my PC (7800 GS OC, runs great!) hooked up to my TV and using a windows x360 controller, and I don't have much trouble getting the weapons/plasmids I need.
!