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BioShock, 2nd best game ever?
August 21, 2007 9:18 PM   Subscribe

BioShock was released today for the PC and XBox 360. Why should you care? Well, it's the 2nd best reviewed game of the last 10 years, it's an interactive commentary on Objectivism, it features a great Art-Deco style and atmospheric sound design, and is the spiritual sequel to one of the best games of all time. If you still don't care, make sure to stay away from Big Daddy.
posted by JZig (153 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
All of my friends are playing it, but it was sold out when I went to go buy it :( So I decided to make a post to help lower the anticipation. Didn't work.
posted by JZig at 9:24 PM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, it's been out since last week on the Xbox. I grabbed the PC demo via bittorrent last night, and although it wasn't quite butter-smooth, it still ran reasonably well on my two-year old box. It really is quite spectacular, even at medium settings on my wheezing, laboring AMD64 3000+ and 6600GTS. I hadn't realized it was an Unreal Engine 3 game until the logo came up onload.

Time to upgrade soon, again, damn it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:34 PM on August 21, 2007


So it's basically Atlas Shrugged II: Revenge of the Parasites.

I'm sold.
posted by Avenger at 9:39 PM on August 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


I might need a new PC. System Shock and System Shock 2 were some of the best games ever.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:00 PM on August 21, 2007


No, it came out today, Stavros. (well, yesterday in some timezones: August 21.)

It is, very simply, the most beautiful game ever done. It's also creepy and scary. It seems to be constructed much like System Shock 2, but it has graphics that you will simply not believe until you see them.

The game also requires activation on the PC, which I think it completely bullshit; had I known, I would not have bought the game.
posted by Malor at 10:02 PM on August 21, 2007


Oh, and I strongly suggest: if you're going to buy it anyway: AVOID SPOILERS. Stop reading this thread!
posted by Malor at 10:03 PM on August 21, 2007


Malor: huh, thanks for that tidbit. Activation on PC is enough to push me from buying it on PC to buying on XBox.
posted by JZig at 10:06 PM on August 21, 2007


No, it came out today, Stavros. (well, yesterday in some timezones: August 21.)

No it was officially released today. It was available last week -- more specifically, release date was broken. It was available in some stores in the US last week, for the Xbox.

The game also requires activation on the PC, which I think it completely bullshit; had I known, I would not have bought the game.

No, it's not activation. It connects, downloads and runs a Securom installer. The demo does as well. Presumably this was to stave off pre-release pirating of the PC version. Weak sauce, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:08 PM on August 21, 2007


The retail, full-DVD copies, require online activation to work. They will not work without activation. They're saying over in the Gamers With Jobs forums that you are only allowed to activate a given key three times. I have not separately confirmed that part.

Note: their installer calls it activation.

It didn't look like mine downloaded anything, but I have such a fast line that it could have gotten a small installer before I realized it.
posted by Malor at 10:21 PM on August 21, 2007


Do avoid spoilers, because the entire story is amazing. Having any tiny bit ruined would be a crime.

I've only gone through the demo so far, as my copy's in transit, but dear god. The thing that sets the game apart is the sound. The attention to detail is fantastic, from air bubbles gushing up, to the incredible voice work of even minor characters. At least four times in the demo (which has maybe 20 minutes of playtime, if you rush) I stopped and just listened. They use nursery rhymes to great effect, twisted and warping the lyrics in to something familiar that draws you in, and then makes your skin crawl.

Turn off the lights, turn up the sound. And thank Ayn Rand for her crazy ideals that spawned this opus.
posted by Be'lal at 10:26 PM on August 21, 2007


Well it looks like my Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU T5300 @ 1.73GHz coupled to a NNVIDIA GeForce Go 7600 can at least hobble along for this game. I'll have to try it out as I loved SS2.
posted by Mitheral at 10:34 PM on August 21, 2007


Hee, Galt's Gulch totally takes on a new meaning here.
posted by ntartifex at 10:35 PM on August 21, 2007


I did a lot of production work on the voiceover (recording sessions, script/plot cleanup, most voiceover 'take' selection, take compositing, multi-character sequence compositing, tons of voiceover workflow for English & localized versions, etc.), and I'm currently nearing the end of some vacation time, waiting to see what people thought.

The critical response to the game has been nothing short of humbling.

I don't really know what else to say. As Ken Levine has noted, most AAA console titles are developed by a staff of 150-200 people - Bioshock principally involved roughly 50-80. The degree to which every one of those people poured their souls into this game and built it out of blood, sweat, and tears is like no collaborative effort I've ever witnessed.

Hopefully some of that shines through in the finished product.
posted by Ryvar at 10:41 PM on August 21, 2007 [28 favorites]


What percentage of gameplay is the actual shooting and walking through hallways? I ask only because in the few gameplay clips I've watched, they looked utterly boring.

System Shock 2 was quite good, so if the pedigree is true I can't wait for a Mac or PS3 version...
posted by metaldark at 10:45 PM on August 21, 2007


Fair enough, Malor, but activation (ie key verification) is entirely unremarkable with PC games these days (although usually it does tend to be for games that have some online component).

What is remarkable is the Securom download on first run. But it'll be cracked before the sun rises tomorrow, no doubt.

The retail, full-DVD copies, require online activation to work.

I experimented with the demo, because I'd heard about the stealth DRMing. While the small splash screen was showing on first run, I killed the process (after having disabled my net connection).

The game would not run the next time, and the error message was specifically one generated by Securom, with a spurious link to their website, where the error message page complained that I had a 'Process Explorer' running (which was in fact true -- I use Sysinternals process explorer as a Windows task manager replacement).

I uninstalled the demo, rebooted, reinstalled, let it do its evil thing, and it ran fine.

Securom is not nearly the piece of system-destabilizing crap that Starforce was (and thankfully it's almost gone the way of the dodo), but I'm no fan of stealth installs.

Anyway, this game rocks. I can't wait to get my hands on the full version, regardless.

I did a lot of production work on the voiceover

I would like to buy you a large number of drinks someday.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:49 PM on August 21, 2007


This is the first game that I've wanted to pick up at the new and improved 360 prices. I have to say that downloadable demos really sell games on consoles.

I think also, one of the things I love about this game (and I don't have it, so I might be totally off base) is the way it seems to imply that the utter breakdown of the city is the natural end of Randian philosophy. Sweet.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:49 PM on August 21, 2007


Oooh, it's finally out. I remember watching the trailers months and months ago, but had completely forgotten about the game.

From reading comments on various forums, it seems like I might actually be able to enjoy this on my "gaming PC" that I've not turned on in months. Athlon64 3200+, GeForce 7300GS, 2G RAM...
posted by mrbill at 10:51 PM on August 21, 2007


I hear the MTV kids like their XBox360s(tm) fitted into the back seat of an S-Class Mercedes(tm), so they can play their BioShock(tm) in comfort and style.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:52 PM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's odd and unfortunate that this game has DRM on it. I guess I'll have to wait for the torrent so I can play it with a clean conscience... three activations total? Does that mean I can only install it three times total before it evaporates? What kind of consequences does OS formatting have? I run Windows on a seperate partition, and nuke it every now and then to keep things running smoothly. Would I have to re-"activate"?

That'd be too bad, as the primary reason I buy games is to keep them. If game studios treat their products as disposable, I'll have to do the same.
posted by mek at 10:54 PM on August 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


it seems like I might actually be able to enjoy this on my "gaming PC" that I've not turned on in months. Athlon64 3200+, GeForce 7300GS, 2G RAM...

You're a notch up from what I'm running, so you'll probably be OK. Playable, at least.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:04 PM on August 21, 2007


As someone who does not have internet at home (I have internet at work and that's enough internet for me thanks) it breaks my heart that this game requires online activation.

Also, as someone who likes to uninstall a game and install it at later dates various times - similar to re-reading a novel I loved - the knowledge that it only allows three activations before it shuts down is similarly disheartening. Does this mean that the used PC market for this game is completely shot?

My gaming rig at home is lightning fast. It doesn't have any antivirus software running. It has no internet bloat. It boots up in a heartbeat and shuts down in a flash.

I suppose that once all PC games require activation, my days of buying used games, re-playing them repeatedly years later, and having a rig that functions at a breakneck clip will be over.

*sigh*
posted by Sully at 11:05 PM on August 21, 2007


Is there a reason (other than my tardness) that I can't seem to find this alleged PC demo anywhere on the website?
posted by fusinski at 11:08 PM on August 21, 2007


I've really been looking forward to this game, so much so that it's the first 360 game that I've paid close to retail price for.

Great graphics and sound, but the real draw is the general atmosphere--the whole decayed batshitinsane Randian world set in art-deco style.
posted by aerotive at 11:15 PM on August 21, 2007


I don't know how representative the demo is of the final game, but it was so boring and linear that neither I nor my buddy could bear to finish it.

The story seems interesting, and the Art-Deco-city-under-the-sea setting is cool, but the graphics seemed merely OK (maybe not as good as Lost Planet or Call of Duty 3 on the 360). And the animation struck me as downright mediocre.

I understand that it's an ambitiously high concept game, and I support that. I'm just disappointed by the fact that I don't find it very fun. And I'm puzzled by the great reviews.
posted by jjwiseman at 11:18 PM on August 21, 2007


I play one or two games a year, but any of Ken Levine's games get my attention.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:25 PM on August 21, 2007


Sully, there are free dialup ISPs. You could connect just long enough to activate the game.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:30 PM on August 21, 2007


MeFi makes such a great ad platform for such things. Too bad this isn't an Apple game released by Google, with a LINUX port.
posted by caddis at 11:47 PM on August 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


fusinski, here's a direct link to a random one of the 10 or so download sites with the demo:

http://www.fileshack.com/file.x/10997/BioShock+Demo

jjwiseman, it gets a lot less linear once you get out of the demo area (which is basically the tutorial).
posted by JZig at 11:48 PM on August 21, 2007


I fail at linking :(

A working demo link
posted by JZig at 11:49 PM on August 21, 2007


I've been waiting with bated breath for this ever since someone said "Spiritual successor to System Shock 2" at E3 back in, what, '04?

That it's everything one could hope it could be and more, judging from the fact that the lowest score I've seen is a 9.0/10 and that that's a statistical outlier.... Well. Icing, cake, with cherry, etc.

This turned out to be the game that got me to finally stop waiting and pick up a Siddy. My copy arrives via Amazonian Prime tomorrow.

Bated. Breath.

(My breath is abated mostly because I expect to be under water quite a bit.)
posted by sparkletone at 11:58 PM on August 21, 2007


Fair enough, Malor, but activation (ie key verification) is entirely unremarkable with PC games these days

Not for games that require no ongoing investment by the publisher.
posted by Malor at 12:18 AM on August 22, 2007


fusinski: the big download sites all have it. I got mine at File Shack, my personal favorite of the download services.
posted by Malor at 12:19 AM on August 22, 2007


For those of you who are worried about the activation thing, the game is also available for download via Steam. I'm not sure if it's actually lacking SecuROM (I haven't played or purchased it), but since Steam has its own authentication methods, I imagine it's absent.

Tried to play the demo today. My box is massively underpowered (it barely runs Half-Life 2 well), but I figured I'd have a gander, even if it was at 2 fps. The first sequence in the water was a mess of textures flickering in and out at random, rendering the game entirely unplayable. Fah! I definitely need an upgrade...
posted by neckro23 at 12:19 AM on August 22, 2007


(Oh yes, and the demo is on Steam as well.)
posted by neckro23 at 12:20 AM on August 22, 2007


On a complete tangent: The many cries of, "Dammit. Time to upgrade again." seem to me like, as much as I wish it were otherwise, another sign that the PC is in some serious trouble as a gaming platform when compared to the console.

To play the game on a Siddy costs $350 plus the price of BioShock.

You can drop that much on just the video card of a gaming machine.

Admittedly, the Siddy can't play the game at 1920x30000000 with all the effects cranked, but it plays it at a reasonable clip and a reasonable resolution (delicious HD for those with HDTVs) for much cheaper than a PC capable of playing at comparable resolution and detail settings, y'know?
posted by sparkletone at 12:22 AM on August 22, 2007


To play the game on a Siddy costs $350 plus the price of BioShock.

What the heck is a 'siddy'? An Xbox?

Also: Aces! Another PC vs Console shitfight a-brewin'!

Not for games that require no ongoing investment by the publisher.

Not sure what this means, but I can't be bothered arguing about it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:26 AM on August 22, 2007


Played the demo last night. Meh! Pretty much more of the same. Wandering around damaged buildings getting attacked and killing things. I can't see me paying for another one. I've already got a few of these.
posted by Merlin at 1:05 AM on August 22, 2007


sparkletone: Only if you already have an HDTV.

A fairly complete upgrade to Bioshock levels for most PCs (that is, CPU/motherboard/RAM/video card) is gonna be $750ish, and you can use your existing PC monitor. You can also use the other pieces all the time in your daily computer use, though the 8800GTS doesn't do you that much good if you're not a gamer.

The 360 may be only $350, but then you have to buy an HDTV too.... the 360 on SDTV is pretty terrible. And the 360 can be used only for games. You can't even pretend it's helping you work faster. :)

Net cost for most PC buyers: $750 + BioShock
Net cost for people without HDTVs: $350 + $1000 + BioShock

And yes, I'm finding that it's still pretty much more of the same basic game... at least so far, it's still Man In Warehouse. It's the best looking warehouse ever, by leaps and bounds, but it remains a warehouse. And it's very rare that you have time to actually LOOK at things, so to some degree, all that splendor is a bit wasted.
posted by Malor at 1:19 AM on August 22, 2007


Not sure what this means, but I can't be bothered arguing about it.

It means that 'activation' is almost never done for PC games. When the publisher has to support ongoing servers for some online component, it's fairly normal to tie a CD key into a user account. You can argue that you're proving you have the right to access the online component... it's annoying, but livable.

This, on the other hand, is entirely intrusive and nasty. As soon as the publisher goes under, these disks are coasters, and there's simply no reason for it. Fucking stupid.

I wish I'd known ahead of time, I would not have bought this game.
posted by Malor at 1:23 AM on August 22, 2007


stavrosthewonderchicken: What the heck is a 'siddy'? An Xbox?

XBox 360 -> 360 -> Three-siddy -> siddy.

Yep, it's dumb, but there ya go.

I picked it up today, and it only seems to be getting better as I go along. I had to peel myself away from it at 1am...I do have work tomorrow, after all. Given how my poor PC runs it and how my 360 runs it, especially given the activation stuff (though I would have just bought it on Steam, I actually like Steam for whatever reason), I went for the 360 version, and it looks amazing in HD. The sound is incredible, and might just be enough to get me off my ass and run wiring for the surround speakers finally.

It's a stand-out FPS not because it does the actual FPS gameplay better than anyone else. It really doesn't, there are better ones out there when it comes to just the gameplay alone. It stands out because, as many reviews have said, it's a perfect package of a fully competent FPS along with great art direction, a compelling story, and incredible sound design. It's that really great action movie that actually has a real plot, great special effects, and keeps you glued to your seat. Sure, the acting might not be oscar caliber, and the plot may be something you've heard before, but when all those elements come together, you don't need it to be the best ever at one thing. It's the one game that's got all those elements at at least a solid 9, and that's better than just about any other FPS has done.
posted by Swervo at 1:23 AM on August 22, 2007


Malor, the 360 does have a few secondary uses, such a video and audio playback, viewing pictures, and instant messaging.
posted by aerotive at 1:30 AM on August 22, 2007


When the publisher has to support ongoing servers for some online component, it's fairly normal to tie a CD key into a user account.

Wait, isn't that precisely what I said upthread?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:33 AM on August 22, 2007


This, on the other hand, is entirely intrusive and nasty. As soon as the publisher goes under, these disks are coasters, and there's simply no reason for it. Fucking stupid.

Very stupid and shortsighted, agreed (I just don't see where they see the benefit for the 'cost' of goodwill), but it's a little hysterical to suggest that the discs will be entirely useless, even on the off chance that the company disappears. With very few exceptions, it's a matter of about 5 minutes after a game is released that there are no-cd cracked executables and so on available in the usual places. Of course, I suppose that for most casual gamers or non-tech-savvy people that you'd be right if the publisher goes under that they'd have no idea what to do when the 'activation' times out.

I've been playing Doom and Quake 1 and such again recently, with the new spiffy engines that have been released to use the game assets, and I'm totally in agreement with Sully -- I enjoy revisiting an old game I loved, many years later when I have a machine that can do it total justice -- and I'd hate to lose that option. The whole software-as-service thing (that MS keeps wanting to push its OS towards, for another example) just pisses me off.

With Steam, for example, Gabe Newell has said that if Valve every goes byebye (or just Steam does), they'd release tools to allow all the games people have downloaded from the service work without forcing validation through Steam. Whether that would actually happen -- well, who knows?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:43 AM on August 22, 2007


i'm playing it now, and I can qualitatively say that anyone who isn't playing it is dead to me.
posted by shmegegge at 1:46 AM on August 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


I've been following this one for a couple of weeks (only just became aware of it), and it's probably going to be the trigger for me to pony up for a 360.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:53 AM on August 22, 2007


BrotherCaine, I actually never thought of that.
I thought that I might have to drag my rig over to my neighbour's house or to work to use their connection but it's true - I do have a phone line.

I will investigate.
Thanks!
posted by Sully at 1:58 AM on August 22, 2007


I hate Ayn Rand and I have one of the newest iMacs. Can I run it?*


*assuming I use Boot Camp or Parallells.
posted by sourwookie at 2:01 AM on August 22, 2007


Fuck that. It makes more sense just to buy a used 360*.

*for just one game? Screw that. Back to Parallells.
posted by sourwookie at 2:03 AM on August 22, 2007


Huh, I went into Steam to download, and it won't accept my date of birth, or any date of birth. It just reloads the screen.

Is this part of the game? It's not particularly exciting, if so. A bit like using Metafilter during the daytime, frankly.
posted by maxwelton at 2:07 AM on August 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


On a complete tangent: The many cries of, "Dammit. Time to upgrade again." seem to me like, as much as I wish it were otherwise, another sign that the PC is in some serious trouble as a gaming platform when compared to the console.

Mouse. Keyboard. These things are essential for an FPS and the only things keeping me in PC gaming. I spent the entire life of the original Xbox trying to convince myself otherwise so that I wouldn't need to have an up-to-date PC to play games. As it is I'll probably skip Bioshock for now, I'm guessing my ability to resist upgrades won't make it past Quake Wars, so I'll play it then.
posted by markr at 2:34 AM on August 22, 2007


ROCKS ROCKS ROCKS!

Housemate got it as a birthday prezzie for me (The Collector's Edition - The Big Daddy figurine is HUGE!) which is going to push me to my next upgrades - 8800GTS (since my X1550 is SPECIFICALLY mentioned as not working), 2 more Gb of RAM (total of 3), and a better breathing case. All ordered and on their way. (The upgrades were planned - just not right now.)

The engine is amazing too. Due to the previously mentioned X1550, I have to run it in 8x6, with medium detail and it still looks pretty damn nice. Looks even better on his rig. I figure an Intel 3.4Ghz HT should still be a solid processor.

I knew I didn't have too much to worry about, considering the dev team's pedigree.

(And I would have bought it anyway. A game like this being (U.S.) released on my birthday? It's divine sanction...)
posted by Samizdata at 3:32 AM on August 22, 2007


(Oh, and according to the house experimentation, the 360 has been VERY disappointing for streaming video to an HD LCD.)
posted by Samizdata at 3:33 AM on August 22, 2007


Can I be the first to say that System Shock 2 was a tedious and badly executed game with apalling game-play. Good.

I played to the end, which was wholy unsatisfying (only due to the fact that I was doing so at work, which was even more boring). At no point of the game did I experience excitement like that caused by Unreal or any of the Half-Life cannon.

Let's hope this is a completely different game.
posted by asok at 3:43 AM on August 22, 2007


I'll probably be buying this game in the morning, since I've been looking forward to it, but chances are I won't install it until the crack shows up on gamecopyworld. I'll pay my money to play it, but there's no way I'm registering with some copy protection authority to do so.

It's a single player game. There's no reason for it to phone home.
posted by majick at 3:50 AM on August 22, 2007


Most non-gamers (as evident by the few nay-sayers here) don't quite understand what BioShock coming out and being reviewed favourably means. When Looking Glass Studios went under in 2000, for gamers it was like JFK, Martin Luther King and Bambi's mom being shot at the same time. I will always remember this Penny Arcade strip commemorating the occasion. For the last 8 years since System Shock 2 came out, not a single game has come close to capturing the immersion created by the game. I'm am not alone in my belief.

I've played the BioShock demo on my 360 (I debated the PC version, but my HD tv and surround sound set up won over) and it is the single most immersive and beautiful gaming experiences of my life. System Shock 1 & 2 required a heavy amount of suspension of disbelief (the graphics were somewhat dated even for the time, the gameplay mechanic had some stupid things built in and all character-interactions were violent), but they won you over by the sheer attention to detail and atmosphere. Bioshock lives up to the heritage, but presents it all in a shinier package with higher production values across the board.

For the uninitiated, it's an amazing experience in gaming and for us who have been pining for this game for almost a decade now, it's all our hopes and dreams come to life. A cinematic equivalent would have been if Star Wars Episode 1 hadn't sucked. To quote Tycho of the aforementioned Penny Arcade: If Bioshock isn't "art," then art is the poorer for it.

Unfortunately for us in Europe, we still have to wait for a week (outside the UK at least) for the damn thing to come out. I can wait, it's worth it. And I need to take a week off work to the game justice.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:37 AM on August 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: Good luck. I have almost the same specs (athlon64 3000+, 7600GT, 2 gig ram) and i can barely run it at 800x600 with everything turned off.

GAH. time to upgrade.
posted by Mach5 at 5:12 AM on August 22, 2007


oh wait, that was to mrbill, not you Mr. Blaze C Pileon
posted by Mach5 at 5:21 AM on August 22, 2007


I'm about 2.5 hours into it on the 360. I'm absolutely loving it. This is the first game that I've been really excited about since I bought the console and played the demo (Oblivion was also very good). The pre-release hype was not unfounded, and it is living up to all of the stellar reviews it has garnered. I agree that downloadable demos sell games. I probably wouldn't have bought a single-player game without the ability to try out the demo first. This is a definite contender for game of the year.

This looks to be the first release of an outstanding fall for 360 owners: Bioshock, Halo 3 (September), COD4 (October), and Assassin's Creed (November).

I am a recent console convert, after a long stint as a PC-exclusive gamer. I just got sick of upgrading for every new game that I was hot to try. That, and trying to find good drivers: upgrading, downgrading, finally giving up. And then being unsatisfied with the graphics, or with overheating, etc.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 5:25 AM on August 22, 2007


I have almost the same specs (athlon64 3000+, 7600GT, 2 gig ram) and i can barely run it at 800x600 with everything turned off.

It's pretty amazing how people's experiences vary with similar rigs. I guess maybe it's based on quality of components, I dunno. The box I built a few years back is similarly spec'd -- Athlon64 3000+, 2Gb generic Samsung RAM, a 66600GTS (ostensibly slower than your 7600GT), and I can run the demo at 1024x768 with everything except anti-aliasing on, and it's quite smooth (except when there were about 10 slicers battling it out in front of the med centre near the end of the demo). I wonder if it comes down to the motherboard -- I've got my DFI Lanparty NF4 Ultra tweaked to the hilt.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:35 AM on August 22, 2007


I want it so bad but my laptop's processor is so weak.

so pretty...
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:49 AM on August 22, 2007


Pentium III 933Mhz, 384 MB RAM, GeForce 2

The only way I'm running this game is in opaque wireframe mode with a draw distance of approximately one meter!
posted by The Confessor at 5:49 AM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Man, I really wanted to play this as a virtual libertarian turkey shoot sounds like it would be a blast. ;) Alas, I have a Shader Model 2 card and 2K has decided not to support those, even though a ton of people still use them. (Basically, be -very- careful if you have an ATI card and want to play this game.)
posted by longdaysjourney at 5:52 AM on August 22, 2007


It's such a coincidence that the 3rd best game ever comes out this week as well.
posted by Dr-Baa at 6:08 AM on August 22, 2007


I'm not much of a gamer, but if I were, I think I'd prefer Chopin battling robots.
posted by greatgefilte at 6:10 AM on August 22, 2007


Here's a video that helped convince me to buy the game.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 6:17 AM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just want to say that I have read that the demo is based off a year+ old build of the game.... Something I read on Penny Arcade...

Anyway, yeah, old build, run through the PR ringer equals shitty kind of unimpressive demo.
posted by kbanas at 6:39 AM on August 22, 2007


I'm planning on spending all of Sunday at my friend's house playing this on his Xbox 360.

Gonna wake up early, and beat it like I'm 14 again.
posted by radgardener at 6:42 AM on August 22, 2007


Picked it up yesterday. Between a three-month old baby and visiting family, I don't know when I'm going to be able to play it. I'm carrying it around in my bag like I'm going to stumble upon a 360 here at work or something.
posted by papercake at 6:43 AM on August 22, 2007


Oh fine I'll buy it.

But I better see some HL2: Episode 2...soon!

gotta save alyx...gotta save alyx...hold on baby, Gordon's comin'!
posted by cowbellemoo at 6:57 AM on August 22, 2007


XBox 360 -> 360 -> Three-siddy -> siddy.

Yep, it's dumb, but there ya go.


Indeed! And yet I can't bring myself to stop. I have only Mr. "Fiddy" Cent to blame.

And, you know. Myself.

For poor impulse control.

sparkletone: Only if you already have an HDTV.

Well, yeah. However, I'm not sure your adjusted price considerations. How well will that $750 PC play BioShock? Will it play at a resolution better than my crappy SDTV's? As smoothly, etc, etc.? I question.

I'm not sure it's a fair consideraton to lump an HDTV in with the price of the 360 and the game. There's no way your $750 PC is going to meet the game's recommended specs, right? Or be able to run at a reasonable resolution with a reasonable subset of the effects turned on, right? So since the $750 PC is non-optimal, why are we lumping in the HDTV price to get the optimal 360 set up? If anything, we should be comparing HDTV + 360 + Bioshock to that $2000+ gaming PC that really can run it with everything cranked.
posted by sparkletone at 7:03 AM on August 22, 2007


Also, it appears that 2K went the quick-and-easy route when it comes to widescreen for Bioshock -- cutting off the top and bottom of field of vision.

There is a fix for PC here.

Us 360 users will just have to suck it up.
posted by papercake at 7:04 AM on August 22, 2007


Just read the EuroGamer review. I like Eurogamer as they were one of the few publications that actually had the stones to call out Gears of War for the mediocre, if well presented and entertaining, game that it was.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:04 AM on August 22, 2007


Also: Aces! Another PC vs Console shitfight a-brewin'!

I'm not intending to start a fight and am not a partisan one way or the other. I personally find mouse + keyboard better for shootery type things, but most games these days, an 360 controller is vaguely acceptable to me too, at least in a single-player setting.

If anyone starts slinging around the Angry and the Mean, I will simply bow out. I was wondering aloud more than anything else.

Us 360 users will just have to suck it up.

No update over the Internets? Lame.
posted by sparkletone at 7:08 AM on August 22, 2007


Ryvar, it appears that you worked on this game? I haven't played a game since a quake 3 mod a few years ago, because I grew tired of chasing hardware, so I'm a bit out of the loop.

I downloaded the artbook, and it appears that they made minautre models of the characters as part of the art design. IS this standard work for a videogame these days?

Does the 50-80 people you mention include everyone, the programmers, artists, these figurine sculptor people, the audio guys etc?

What makes this and System Shock 2 so much better than an ordinary fps? Are these games really genuinely creepy?

I'm asking sincerely. I'm wondering if all the cutting edge creative talent in the world went into the game industry. Are games the new film?
posted by Pastabagel at 7:13 AM on August 22, 2007


No update over the Internets? Lame.

Well, I should perhaps have said that us 360 users will have to suck it up for now.

There are, apparently, some crash problems with the PC version as well -- check out the BioShock Tech Support section of the 2K forum. Levine has posted there saying that, although the design team is on vacation, they're looking into the problems ASAP.

Hopefully, that will include the 360 widescreen cheat as well.
posted by papercake at 7:20 AM on August 22, 2007


There's no way your $750 PC is going to meet the game's recommended specs, right? Or be able to run at a reasonable resolution with a reasonable subset of the effects turned on, right?

I'm assuming you have a reasonable PC to start with, and you're replacing the CPU/motherboard/RAM/video card... you're keeping your existing monitor, case, power supply, hard drive, and DVD drive. That'll give you a machine that will play BioShock like liquid. I'm running at 1920x1200 on a very similar machine, and it looks phenomenal.

It starts to rise above Man In Warehouse after a bit. Good story.
posted by Malor at 7:36 AM on August 22, 2007


What makes this and System Shock 2 so much better than an ordinary fps? Are these games really genuinely creepy?

In a word? Atmosphere. They draw you in with good level, audio, gameplay and visual style. The world feels internally consistent and it draws me into the experience much deeper than any film, book or other video game ever has.

The downside to all of this is that it requires a certain amount of co-operation from the player. I know several people who don't like System Shock 2 because you don't really get to kill anything for the first 10 minutes or so. It's definitely not casual entertainment, you can't jump in and out, it needs your undivided attention. It's just not a standard FPS-twitch fest where fast reflexes are the end-all be-all of the game. And as such, it's not everyone's cup of tea. What asok said is the perfect example of someone not liking the game. It's not to everyone's taste, but saying you played SS2 at work is like saying you watched 2001 on the TV at your local Blockbuster's; yeah, you get the main idea but the subtlety (and as such kinda the point of the game) is lost in the process.

I could describe the story, the enemies, the game mechanics, the mini-games, the level design, the sound design and everything else in detail, but it still wouldn't quite bring across the sensation of all of these things working together to truly make you feel like being 'in the game'. One of the finest examples of the sum total being much, much greater than its parts.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:39 AM on August 22, 2007


Ungh. Boston is such a horrible place to buy video games. No video game stores are located conveniently and those that are are picked over by gamers at the second of big releases.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:46 AM on August 22, 2007


I'm about 4 hours into it, bought it yesterday, played until midnight. There are no words to describe the experience of playing this game. The graphics, sound, gameplay, plot, level design... It's all so incredibly well thought out and well polished.

Also, parents of young daughters will really, really, really hate some of the themes and choices that this game revolves around. I am one, and the game actually made me shudder at more than one point.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:46 AM on August 22, 2007



It starts to rise above Man In Warehouse after a bit. Good story.


What is please? Is this a bit of gamer-speak I've missed?
posted by Happy Dave at 7:50 AM on August 22, 2007


Ungh. Boston is such a horrible place to buy video games.

Totally...as far as I've been able to tell, it's a dead gaming zone. I hate going to Best Buy, but that's where I've made my last three game purchases.
posted by voltairemodern at 7:59 AM on August 22, 2007


Hmmm...I'm probably going to pick this up eventually, but what I'm really excited about is Mass Effect. November can't come soon enough!
posted by Rangeboy at 8:06 AM on August 22, 2007


Some awesome gamer came up with a patch for those of us with Shader 2 cards. Some of the textures aren't there yet (he's still working on it), but it's definitely playable. Thank god for smart people.
posted by longdaysjourney at 8:12 AM on August 22, 2007


YI: My rig is an Intel Dual Core 2.9Ghz X6800 with 2G of ram, and a GeForce 8800 GTX. I have ALL settings on high, running at 1680 x 1050, and it has so far Bioshock run like a dream.

Also: THIS IS WELL WORTH GETTING. Great game. Great.
posted by Neale at 8:13 AM on August 22, 2007


I also played Unreal, Half-life and Deus Ex at work. They were not as tedious to play. To me the problem with SS2 was that the whole was less than the sum of it's parts. Just as you would play Minesweeper rather than do your school work, I played SS2 whilst waiting for something to do at work. I would be playing 30 min to 1 hour sessions, so not to far removed from a normal game playing experience. The other games were far more immersive due to their playability and smooth graphics /interface. Also the AI in SS2 wasn't.

I played the other games at home as well, but I didn't spend any time on SS2 at home as it was not at all rewarding. I would compare it to the Fighting Fantasy books; some were great, and some were shite but they all had more or less the same ingredients.

Shorter - I take umbrage with the suggestion that I didn't give this game the chance to impress me.

However, the news that Jeff Minter is still making games is fantastic. I met him and his mum when they were manning the Llamasoft stand at the Atari show in 1986(?), showing off Trip-a-tron. He was by far the coolest person at the show, considering it was the 80s and he was a bare-foot hippy which was pretty much the antithesis of cool following two series of the Young Ones, that is saying something.
posted by asok at 8:17 AM on August 22, 2007


Wrath of the Lich King baby!!! 10 more levels of grind, and the deprecation of all the current new content! YEAHH!!!

(looks around all proud, waits for eyes to turn away, quietly cries)
posted by cavalier at 8:26 AM on August 22, 2007


I'll pick it up this afternoon. I've been waiting for a good new state of the art FPS ever since losing interest in Stalker and Call of Juarez earlier this year. Can't wait to run it on my system, which was quite badass in 2006. It's still not too shabby, but I doubt I'll be able to run the game at 2560x1600:

AMD X24400+ (dual core)
ASUS A8R MVP mobo
4GB OCZ EL Platinum DDR 400
150GB WD Raptor HD @ 10,000RPM
X1950XTX Crossfire Edition in crossfire mode with X1900XTX
SB X-Fi Platinum sound board
30 inch Dell 3007WFP display @ 2560x1600
Logitech Z5500 5.1 speakers (properly positioned with stands for the rears)
Logitech G7 wireless laser mouse
Logitech diNovo wireless keyboard

I play hella BF2: Project Reality on this system. Gaming at 4 megapixels is something else. I prefer FPS above all other game genres, but I haven't played all the way through one since Prey and Half Life 2: Episode One last summer.
posted by autodidact at 8:26 AM on August 22, 2007


The component pile for a new 8800GTS-based system is arriving this Friday. Assuming about 12 hours for building out all the bits and making sure it's going to live (and it had better), I should be settling in for BioShock at about 9am Saturday after a short nap and some coffee.

EXCEPT THAT I HAVE TO WORK THIS SATURDAY.

*grumbles, kicks rock with hands in pockets*
posted by dragstroke at 8:33 AM on August 22, 2007


Asok, fair enough, you didn't like it. Apologies for assuming you didn't give it a fair chance (which is usually the case with System Shock critics). As much as I enjoyed Half-Life and Deus Ex (didn't think much of Unreal asides from 'ooh, pretty') they all came across as being shallow(er) gameplay experiences to me. Deus Ex got close, but ultimately it didn't drag me in as deeply as System Shock (1 and/or 2). The control system was admittedly tricky (aiming is independent of movement). Not as bad as Descent, but tricky. It comes to personal taste ultimately. I just feel the need to defend the game as it didn't get enough love when it came out and, to me and several people in the biz, it still stands as a landmark achievement in game design.

Imho, ymmv, etc.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:44 AM on August 22, 2007


The game is great. Really great--better than anything I've played in a long, long time. Very well put together, with solid production and storyline. And the sound design! Wow! I can't wait to beat it so I can play it again!

On that note, does anyone know if there is a limit to how much Adam you can carry? This is not a spoiler-type question, just something that probably should well have been in the manual--like how many bullets your gun holds. I want to be able to make an informed decision about hoarding and splurging vs. regular upgrades. I tend to save frequently, so I don't think I'll get stuck with a bad decision either way--but thoughts of what I'm going to do next are carrying me through the workday...
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:53 AM on August 22, 2007


I'm really interested in BioShock, and when the reviews started to come out I almost put one on pre-order. The only thing is, I'm not really sure that I want to spend my free time shooting little girls in the head.
posted by ssmith at 8:55 AM on August 22, 2007


ssmith

Um, without being too spoilery, there are other options.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:05 AM on August 22, 2007


Whew. I'm glad to hear that. It's just from all the demo videos I've seen tend to focus pretty heavily on taking out one of the Big Daddies. I think I'll have to go pick up a copy.
posted by ssmith at 9:11 AM on August 22, 2007


Big Daddies are not the Little Sisters though. You do have to deal with the Big Daddies, but the Little Sisters present other options.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:18 AM on August 22, 2007


Here's a cool 360 vs PC visual comparison.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:30 AM on August 22, 2007


Kotaku are reporting that you're only allowed to install the PC version twice.

That is absolutely fucking disgraceful if it's true.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:43 AM on August 22, 2007


I'm not really sure that I want to spend my free time shooting little girls in the head.

Why? Do you do that in your day job?
posted by The Bellman at 9:45 AM on August 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


...and it was just nerds hyper-overreacting to seeming copyright protections on the disc.

Never mind.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:47 AM on August 22, 2007


The real kicker is that it appears that Steam users are also out of luck when it comes to the number of activations on different hardware. Steam itself was billed as not being bound by hardware. A person could play on one machine, log out of steam, log into steam on another computer, and play any game they had purchased.

The Steam version has both its own version of copy protection, and SecureRom. Talk about double jeopardy.

The game is fantastic though. Currently playing the 360 version, which beyond several seconds of audio skipping at the beginning, looks and sounds perfect. It hasn't freaked me out as much as say, SS2, but we shall see.
posted by zabuni at 10:05 AM on August 22, 2007


That PC-vs-360 comparison is useless since it runs at such abominable resolution.

Anyway, the real reason that most people recommend to play this on PC (if your rig is up to it) is not the graphics, although they are noticeably better, but the mouse+keyboard control scheme.
posted by Justinian at 10:11 AM on August 22, 2007


I'm not a gamer, really, but I saw some in game footage a while back and was incredibly impressed by the graphics. BioShock looks worth it just for the goddamned water.
posted by brundlefly at 10:18 AM on August 22, 2007


No matter what you do with the little sisters, you don't shoot them in the head.

And I'm totally floored by this game. It might well be the most interesting and captivating story any FPS has ever had. I almost skipped work today to sit and play it all day long.
posted by evilangela at 10:26 AM on August 22, 2007


Pastabagel writes "What makes this and System Shock 2 so much better than an ordinary fps? Are these games really genuinely creepy?"

SS2 is freaky as hell.
posted by Mitheral at 10:27 AM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


IS this standard work for a videogame these days?

It's done quite a bit for high-end titles.

Does the 50-80 people you mention include everyone, the programmers, artists, these figurine sculptor people, the audio guys etc?

Programmers, artists, audio, design. The principal development team for the game.

I'm wondering if all the cutting edge creative talent in the world went into the game industry. Are games the new film?

The art side of it is frequently similar to the film industry but with far more technical knowledge required. Voiceover production is a bit like a twenty-times-larger-and-more-complex version of what's done for an animated film (length of time it takes to play a video game + anticipating player choices)

That said, they are completely different mediums - games require developers that have both the artistic chops *AND* a vast array of technical knowledge. Getting a staff with the talent necessary for a production like Bioshock straddles the border between a Herculean task and a Sisyphean one.

But there's nothing like the feeling of waking up every morning, going into work, and being able to say with confidence, "Every single person I talk to today will be someone I have a deep intellectual and professional respect for." I wouldn't trade that feeling for the world.
posted by Ryvar at 11:02 AM on August 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


SS2 is freaky.

Bioshock splicers: scary.

Mutated humans trying to bash your head in with a wrench while screaming 'Kill me!' through distorted vocal chords: scarier.

Nintendogs it ain't.

(Also, I seemed to have stumbled upon a very dedicated group of people who have completely modded up SS2 to have new missions and to fix some of the gameplay elements... Looks like I'll be diggin out my old CD to install this puppy again while waiting for bioshock to come out. The soundtrack is also available, as provided directly by the composer himself. Might have to post some of this...)
posted by slimepuppy at 11:14 AM on August 22, 2007


That said, they are completely different mediums - games require developers that have both the artistic chops *AND* a vast array of technical knowledge.

Thanks, Ryvar, for answering my question, and congratulations, everyone seems to love your work!

More questions though. How do you write a game like this where the play is so open ended, without forcing the player to arrive at branch points (e.g. player meets up with barman who asks a question, players is presented to two options, depending on which he picks takes him to the next branch of the story)?

And with 50-80 people, which sounds like a smaller team by comparison to the rest of the industry, how does anyone make a game? You'd need millions of advanced investment before the first line of code is written. Who are the sources of that kind of investment?
posted by Pastabagel at 12:53 PM on August 22, 2007


Well, I played the demo for a little while, then rand out and bought the game. It runs quite nicely at 2560 x 1600. Now I'm turning off the cellphone, lowering the blinds, cranking up the surrround system, and getting beverages and snacks at the ready. The next few hours are devoted to Bioshock, even though I have a deadline this week!
posted by autodidact at 1:48 PM on August 22, 2007


Hey Pasta,

I'm in production, not really writing or design, but Ken's done a ton of interviews in which he explains his creative process in-depth. That said, any game with a main quest will eventually run into branch points - it's not possible to construct a central narrative otherwise.

As for investment, that's a big part of what a publisher does, and 2K Boston is owned by Take Two.
posted by Ryvar at 1:51 PM on August 22, 2007


Pastabagel: And with 50-80 people, which sounds like a smaller team by comparison to the rest of the industry, how does anyone make a game movie? You'd need millions of advanced investment before the first line of code dialogue is written. Who are the sources of that kind of investment?
That's why there are game studios, just like movie studios. They may have gotten funding as a spin-off of an existing studio, or the way anyone raises capital for a larger scale project that has a high cost to start and no guaranteed payout. Or they may bootstrap themselves, by making smaller, cheaper games, and the profits realized allow them to grow, etc.

Like the movie business, it's higher-risk and higher reward. The costs can be quite high, but like movie studios, when you have a winner, the rewards are immense. If BioShock sells into the millions of copies across platforms, as it seems likely to do, and the game maker can gross what, $30 per copy on a $50 game after the retail and licensing cuts to consoles, then they can make a boatload on top of their investment. 100 people x 1 year x $100,000 = $10 million. And given the nature of the work, for an existing game studio a lot of those people can be working on multiple projects at once (i.e. a graphic designer in some elements won't be needed for the full life of the project, so they can go onto other projects for that company in the same year). The maker can probably break even on the game at half a million copies, give or take. If it sells millions of copies, the company can bank tens of millions of dollars to fund future games and growth.

Take Halo for example: Halo 2 sold $125m in gross sales on the first day; even after the retailers and middlemen take their cut, Microsoft/Bungie made a fortune on Halo, far in excess of their costs. Not every game is a Halo, but it only takes one to keep your company afloat for a while as the less-successful/marginally profitable projects are released.
posted by hincandenza at 2:20 PM on August 22, 2007


This looks like an interesting game, but I won't be purchasing it or playing it if I'm going to have to spend big bucks upgrading my system just to get it to run. The game console isn't the answer for me either since I don't own a TV. The easiest way to solve most problems is to throw lots of resources at it, be it money or computing power or whatever. Beat it into submission with a big ass hammer as it were. The truly brilliant folks are the ones that can solve the problems with the tools/resources that they have. In many respects it forces you to be more innovative and creative. There's so much bitching here about Microsoft products being bloated resource hogs, and yet when something like BioShock comes out people are beating themselves into an orgiastic frenzy and going into a buying spree just to get it to run. Yeah, I know, it's just cool.

I think so much effort is put into the look and mechanics of a game, that the gameplay often suffers. Half Life II was prettier than the first in the series, but was boring to play in comparison. Same with Thief 3 over Thief 2. The original Quake is still a fun game to play after all these years. Maybe I'm just a cranky old coot that needs his caffeine...
posted by Eekacat at 2:20 PM on August 22, 2007


Wow. If only I could play it, cause upgrading is just out of the question.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 3:56 PM on August 22, 2007


Half Life II was prettier than the first in the series, but was boring to play in comparison.

Father Grigori begs to disagree.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:58 PM on August 22, 2007


A Bioshock Haiku:

I stroll down wet halls
Electric shot, hands, aura
Come to me, bitches
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:31 PM on August 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Well, I played the demo for a little while, then rand out and bought the game.

Typonysterical!
posted by straight at 5:39 PM on August 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


The only thing is, I'm not really sure that I want to spend my free time shooting little girls in the head.


From what I've seen in the game so far, this is entirely optional and you are in fact rewarded for not doing so.

Also, on the HDTV thing, you can use your 360 with a PC monitor too, so the monitor vs. HDTV thing is irrelevant -- don't factor the display device into the price equation at all, since you can use either display device with either system (your PC will work fine with your HDTV as well).

Also, the game is awesome. So far I agree with the reviewer's consensus that this is not only the best 360 game, but in the top 1% of all videogames... it's not that too much of it is truly revolution (like mechanics or w/e), but the synthesis of all the elements is so good... that the whole is truly impressive. (Too many games with revolutionary mechanics end up with other glaring flaws).
posted by wildcrdj at 6:27 PM on August 22, 2007


In about a year I'll be able to afford the hardware to play this at the resolution it deserves.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:30 PM on August 22, 2007


I played the demo for about a half hour, it killed my gaming box three times, so I did the only thing I could: I went and bought a 360, the game, and rescheduled some appointments.
posted by disclaimer at 6:58 PM on August 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Veeery impressed by the demo. Runs like a dream on my rig (admittedly, a fairly high-powered one: Xeon 3.6, four gigs of RAM, NVIDIA 34/4400 card. Doesn't hiccup at all at 1280X1024.) The sound work is awesome.

This should be fun.
posted by Cyrano at 8:00 PM on August 22, 2007


If anyone cares: I just drove around to 5 different stores and they were all sold out. Stupid other people who want this game.
posted by JZig at 8:54 PM on August 22, 2007


After a few more hours, I can report: this game is awesome. I think I might be as much as halfway through, which makes me a very, very sad panda. I'm really enjoying it.

My interest started super high, from the demo; that initial scene is breathtaking. But then about two hours in, I thought it was just going to be System Shock 2 again, which was a good game, but it's been done. Thus, my Man In Warehouse comments... the fundamental observation that all FPS games can be broken down to 'you're a guy in a warehouse with crates and bad guys to shoot'.

I'm happy to report that it rises far above that level, and while it definitely has elements that will remind you of System Shock 2, it's a very different game. I can't be more specific without spoilers, and it would be a crime to spoil this game.

If only it weren't for the activation, I would recommend it unreservedly; as is, I suggest waiting until the copy protection is broken. The game is not going anywhere. It'll be just as good in a month or two, promise. :)
posted by Malor at 9:13 PM on August 22, 2007


Please oh please oh please don't make me buy a new computer for this game. All I want is playable at 1280x1024 with even just 2x antialiasing.
posted by Justinian at 10:11 PM on August 22, 2007


Damnit, my computer will never run this. Or Fallout three.

I mean... wow, my very own walrus!
posted by tehloki at 10:27 PM on August 22, 2007


Oh, I hate myself, because I just bought the damn game.

Out of curiosity, does anyone know if 7600GT X2 SLI > 8XXX GX?
posted by dirigibleman at 10:50 PM on August 22, 2007


An 8800 will actually outperform two 7x00 cards in SLI (just one of the benchmarks in a long article). The 8 series was a major leap forward. The 9 series is rumoured to be out this fall, so I'm waiting for an 8800 price drop to get one.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:10 PM on August 22, 2007


I just realized that I made my 1000th comment a little while ago without noticing. Darn.
posted by tehloki at 12:44 AM on August 23, 2007


By the way, the 'only install twice ever OMGWTF!' thing isn't quite the case. If you uninstall before reinstalling (and presumably let the Securom crapware contact the server when you do so), you can install again as many times as you like (via Kotaku)
Elizabeth from 2K has responded on the forums, clarifying the copy protection issue. The key lies in uninstalling before you reinstall. Uninstalling registers the same as installing does, so if you do not perform an uninstall first SecuROM thinks you are just installing the game on different systems over and over again.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:41 AM on August 23, 2007


Or you could be like me who can't seem to connect to any 2kgames servers or securom stuff. Net result, I've got a very expensive coaster sitting in my drive. That'll teach me to preorder for the first time, pretty much ever.

Kind of disgusted with them over here, and it's got nowt to do with internet rumor.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 3:08 AM on August 23, 2007


Just make sure to ask your hard drives to warn you before they crash, so you have a chance to uninstall all your games appropriately. Meh.

The thing that annoys me about all this games DRM stuff (and hell, add pretty much all forms of DRM) is that it only annoys the people who actually buy the games. People who pirate games just get the cracked version when it shows up.
posted by markr at 4:04 AM on August 23, 2007


Oh, it's stupid all right. Just marginally (very marginally) less stupid than was originally reported, is all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:22 AM on August 23, 2007


"as is, I suggest waiting until the copy protection is broken. The game is not going anywhere. It'll be just as good in a month or two, promise. :)"

It's worth pointing out that a crack for the activation -- really the most obnoxious part of the copy protection scheme, although the reports of apparent stealth installs are not encouraging -- is already available as a dodgy-looking isohunt torrent. It's exceedingly unlikely that anyone will have to wait a whole month to purchase the game if activation alone is what they object to.

I'd expect said activation crack to appear in less dodgy form in the mainstream (gamecopyworld and the various sites indexed by astalavista) within the next few days.
posted by majick at 6:53 AM on August 23, 2007


Just a curious question.
Isn't breaking the copy protection illegal?
Maybe not as illegal as downloading the
entire game - but similarly unscrupulous?
posted by Sully at 9:03 AM on August 23, 2007


Sully, that's a whole can of worms you may need to do some reading around. Legally, in the US under the rather silly DCMA legislation, yes, it's illegal to circumvent copy protection. However, DRM is a fundamentally flawed approach to selling informational products like music, computer games and movies, because all it does is punish people who are willing to legally buy products by assuming they're criminals and limiting how they can use items that they have bought, and should have the right to use as they please.

There are literally billions of words hashing out both sides of this argument. I'd start with the Wikipedia page for DRM.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:09 AM on August 23, 2007


Unless your post is
Some weird form of poetry
Too many lines, Sully
posted by The Confessor at 10:05 AM on August 23, 2007


"illegal?"

In the United States? Almost certainly.

"unscrupulous?"

No. It's because of my scruples that I insist the game be cracked.
posted by majick at 2:04 PM on August 23, 2007


Holy shit, it just gets worse.

It seems (as I mentioned above) that installing the demo installs Securom without asking permission, but the damn thing is actually a rootkit. You can find it by running this tool from Microsoft. That's just ridiculous, putting that kind of invasive viral DRM on a demo.

Sony got sued for doing this kind of thing (silent rootkit installation) a while back.

People are reporting that uninstalls sometimes do not give you back one of your two-install limit, and support emails (to the address given in the error message) to Securom are being bounced to 2K then back to Securom, and people are justifiably getting angry.

Securom is failing when it sees Process Explorer (from Sysinternals, bought and now distributed by Microsoft since last year) and some antivirus tools, but doesn't hiccup when you're running Daemon tools, the image-mounting tool that is every pirate's best friend. Nice one.

At this point, the consolidated 'whine about DRM' thread at 2K games is over 50 pages long. One of the mods (who apparently doesn't actually work for 2K) has suggested 'if you don't like it, don't play' which isn't exactly promising.

Meanwhile, there's an activation crack already out, so it's only the paying customers that are getting fucked.

For my part, I've been waiting for this game for years, but I won't actually be paying for it until and unless Securom is removed.

This kind of shitstorm is so predictable, and so stupid. I realize that it was almost certainly not the developers that were responsible for it, but the clueless suits at the publisher, but what a huge disappointment, particularly forme at least because it's another nail in the coffin of PC gaming, and I, for one, will never consider buying a console until I can use a mouse and keyboard for FPS games.

There is a tool called CureSecurom (amongst some others, apparently) that will remove the rootkit. I haven't used it yet, so the usual caveats apply.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:08 PM on August 23, 2007


(Sorry, I may have jumped the gun on the demo rootkit (although it does include some version of Securom) -- I'm not in front of my own home PC at the moment to check. The rootkit's definitely in the full release, though. YMMV.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:30 PM on August 23, 2007


This game looked pretty lame from the get go, but now a rootkit. Uggh. This is why it is foolish to jump on the new, new, new, have to have the new bandwagon. I hope someone cleans out the rootkit and the DRM and hosts the clean version on BT and that Sony fails to sell even one more copy. Shame on you Sony. I have been avoiding their stuff as of late, but this only cements it.
posted by caddis at 8:23 PM on August 24, 2007


Spoiler free comment:

Playing on the 360, I finished the game in 2 days on medium difficulty. The graphics and the sound were beyond wonderful - lots of eye candy and great music. Watching someone else play is like watching a movie. It was pretty much the same thing over and over again as far as actual play went though - walk down a hall, shoot someone. Walk through a room - shoot something.

It's 2 days after I finished playing and I still keep hearing "Welcome to the circus of values" in my head. I'd like one of those machines in my house to dispense all my food and toiletries.
posted by iconomy at 7:39 AM on August 25, 2007


According to Slashdot, it's not really a rootkit; just a program that does some pretty rootkit-like things to try to stay ahead of the pirates. Not defending that, or anything, just suggesting that we refrain from calling spades clubs.

The game, however, is nothing short of incredible. Warren Spector once both praised and zinged the original Half-Life as being the best implementation of a "game on rails" that he'd ever seen. Bioshock's opening scenes (particularly the introduction of the city of Rapture) parallel those of Half-Life to an extent, but even if the game's storyline remains more or less on rails the incredible atmosphere, character customization, and situational choice presented makes this one of the greatest entries in the first-person shooter genre.

It out-Half-Life's Half-Life by a long shot, and may end up out Deus Ex-ing Deux Ex.
posted by The Confessor at 9:45 AM on August 25, 2007


Also, on the HDTV thing, you can use your 360 with a PC monitor too, so the monitor vs. HDTV thing is irrelevant -- don't factor the display device into the price equation at all, since you can use either display device with either system (your PC will work fine with your HDTV as well).

I read through the whole thread to see if someone said this, but I thought it might bear emphasizing since so many people didn't seem to realize it.

Also, this game is great. I loved System Shock 2 in high school. I don't want it to end.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:28 PM on August 25, 2007


Finished my first play through this afternoon. Its as good as the reviews say. The whole way through.

I decided to rescue all the Little Sisters. Time to play through again on Hard and harvest every last one of the little bitches!
posted by sparkletone at 9:18 PM on August 25, 2007


Oh, and here is the excellent Ars Technica review.
posted by sparkletone at 9:19 PM on August 25, 2007


Yeah, but you still can't use the keyboard / mouse interface (which is the only real way to play an fps).
posted by dirigibleman at 9:32 PM on August 25, 2007


I'd miss the keyboard and mouse if the 360 controller weren't perfect.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:47 AM on August 26, 2007


I'm barely four hours into it, and this game is creeping me out on an epic scale. I love it. I love setting a splicer on fire, seeing him run screaming into a pool of water to put himself out, then zapping him with a lightning bolt. I love the way the Big Daddies and the Little Sisters interact. I love the fact that I can't make any progress in the damn game because I'm absolutely sure I've left some corner uninvestigated, some stone unturned, and the game keeps rewarding me for looking at things more closely, for wondering, "how do I get up there/over that/behind those?" I love the way the plot is advancing. I love the fact that for the first time ever my wife has actually sat next to me on the couch and enjoyed watching me play a fucking videogame. I love the music. I love the way the water looks.

I'd always assumed that the next big breakthrough in game narrative would come from an open-world sandbox game or an RPG. Wrong. Bioshock FTW.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:48 AM on August 26, 2007


After beating the game this weekend, all I can say is that I know I'm going to be a pain in the ass next time we all play minigolf.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:12 AM on August 27, 2007


Now, would you kindly finish the game?
posted by amery at 2:22 AM on August 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it was a great game, but to be honest I was pretty let down with the way it ended. I finished it on medium with 32 achievements. I'm going through it on hard now.
posted by ludwig_van at 10:10 PM on August 28, 2007


So they're doing some work on the building I work in and somebody was pounding slowly on the floor above my office. Thunk thunk thunk. I tensed up, half expecting a Big Daddy to wander by the Circulation desk.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:50 AM on August 29, 2007


Bought Bioshock for Xbox Friday, and I have almost finished the game (on easy, because I am a wimp), and I love Big Daddies with a passion. Whenever my controller vibrates and I hear that thump thump thump, I get excited. Their mournful tone when they don't have a little sister to protect gets to me, too. I don't even want to hurt a Big Daddy that is kicking my ass, though I swallow my instincts and gun them down accordingly when required. Bioshock is really a fabulous game, with the plasmids, environment interactivity and the fantastic graphics pushing it over the top, as far as I'm concerned. In addition, the story line changes midway and adds some new challenges, which kept me from being bored.

Interestingly, A similar Xbox game (similar in that it has the right hand=powers/left hand=weapons and high environment interactivity) called Darkness, which also received high ratings and which we bought pretty much upon release, doesn't appeal to me at all in the same way. I can only surmise it's because the superiority of both the graphics (which is always imperative with me) and the plot line (which doesn't matter so much) are well above that of Darkness. Also, though both games paint a very dark environment, Darkness is just depressing as hell to me, while Bioshock makes me feel heroic while giving me bathyspheres to ride in, gardens to explore and ocean views to enjoy along the way.
posted by misha at 3:01 PM on September 2, 2007


I've been playing it for a while now, an hour or two a day. My one major complaint about the game is that every single splicer you run into spends your entire fight screaming their head off. I wish at least one of them would just shut the fuck up, or at least just moan incoherently like proper monsters. There have been maybe one or two silent houdini splicers, which were cool fights.
posted by autodidact at 8:51 PM on September 4, 2007


I feel the same way about Darkness, misha. Though it has star power in the voice acting, its gameplay and plot flit between "boring" and "hassle".

I think I can't really get into the game and look beyond its flaws because I can't get a grip on the main character. He seems too much like a Shlub Wit Powahs. Maybe if I had read the comic?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:54 PM on September 5, 2007


I agree, robocop, the protagonist is such a schlub (great word) I don't really care if they kill me off when I'm playing Darkness (which I haven't done since Bioshock came out, anyway).

And autodidact, the Houdini splicers and the Big Daddies make for the best opponents imo, too, because the screaming does get old. Though I did happily get distracted by details like the bunny masks (?!) and the fact that (my son actually pointed this out) all the vending machines in the theater area are overpriced by a factor of about 100/1, just like in a real movie theater's concession stand.
posted by misha at 8:23 AM on September 6, 2007


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