Author Topic: BioShock - the Collection  (Read 2827 times)

FerriswheelBueller

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BioShock - the Collection
« on: August 29, 2021, 12:25:09 AM »
This is going for free on the PlayStation Now service, and I loved the originals so I’m dipping back in.

They’re great, aren’t they? I’ve started with the third one (I am ever the renegade) which I let my then-girlfriend play on release without me paying much attention, on the basis that once she leaves me I can get stuck into it. Alas she is still around and I never got the chance, so I don’t know the story which makes it sort of like a new BioShock game to me.

Yeah yeah the pop-philosophy is a bit heavy handed and the OTT morality is daft, but the combat and upgrades system so far feels alright and I like the silly story and world they’ve made. Throw in some turn of the century jazz and I’m absolutely sold. Loadsa fun.

Anyway, didn’t see a recent thread for the games so thought I’d start one.

Rev+

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2021, 12:52:53 AM »
The first one's a bit difficult to return to now, just because you can only have one hand out at a time, meaning you have to keep switching between using a weapon and - let's face it - magic spell.  The sequels allowing you to dual-wield make it feel very clunky on a revisit.  With a bit of distance I reckon the second one is the best of the three, even though it seemed like a cynical and needless sequel at the time.  It's a bit muddled in what it's trying to say, and the Big Sister fights make no sense, but it's the most solid in terms of gameplay and features a wonderfully odd sequence.

Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2021, 01:30:55 AM »
With a bit of distance I reckon the second one is the best of the three, even though it seemed like a cynical and needless sequel at the time.  It's a bit muddled in what it's trying to say, and the Big Sister fights make no sense, but it's the most solid in terms of gameplay and features a wonderfully odd sequence.

Agreed. I always thought 2 was hugely underrated. I've never found revisiting the original any trouble, but the gameplay is improved in the sequel.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2021, 01:39:06 AM »
…feel very clunky on a revisit … solid in terms of gameplay and features a wonderfully odd sequence.

I think this is what’s hooking me in.

It’s nothing particularly special in terms of an FPS (though to be fair it’s solid enough) but it does have the willingness to throw mad stuff at you (especially plot/story beats) and just say “how you like them apples then” which I quite like.

It has lots of little touches which are clever but not knowingly so - first time you set foot in the religious fundamentalist floating city Columbia, you have to walk through a flooded room in a church (like a baptism, geddit?) which (to me) showed someone had been putting thought into how the game world operated and your part within it. Even the gurning vending machines work as you run desperately to one for more bullets and they cackle away, and oh shit you don’t have enough money, cackle cackle cackle. It’s a nice critique on consumerism I thought.

Anyway, enjoying it so far. Again.

Elderly Sumo Prophecy

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2021, 03:58:00 AM »
Play them in order you fool, otherwise the plot won't make any sense.
Would you watch Rocky III before Rocky I? No.

Kelvin

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2021, 04:17:25 AM »
I don't think the first game really holds up too well. It's an okay shooter, with a story that that goes to shit after its big reveal about two thirds of the way through. It's a game basically carried by it's - admittedly brilliant - atmosphere and environments. Even the tonics don't really feel that integral outside of a couple of overpowered ones.

On the other hand, I really enjoyed Infinite. I think the voice acting helps, as I loved the two leads, and it was a decent story, with better gameplay and another great world to explore. Even that has some problems, though - both in it's problematic themes, and some late game filler.

Nice to play an FPS series with some (simple) themes and ideas running through it, though. Even if those themes and ideas don't ever quite come together. 

Zetetic

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2021, 07:53:24 AM »
It has lots of little touches which are clever but not knowingly so - first time you set foot in the religious fundamentalist floating city Columbia, you have to walk through a flooded room in a church (like a baptism, geddit?) which (to me) showed someone had been putting thought into how the game world operated and your part within it
I think that's confusing solid set-piece and art design - which Bioshock Infinite is very good at - with everything else about the design and plotting of the game - which it's extremely bad at (and unsurprisingly so given the way it was repeatedly stapled back together over and over again).

Zetetic

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2021, 08:00:49 AM »
another great world to explore.
I think this is interesting, and probably again largely comes down to how compelling you find the broad strokes of the art (and how much you avoid finding it repellent given that it's in service of so little) - a lot of Infinite is fighting in similar spaces (not least fighting back through the same spaces largely unchanged) that don't have much of a sense of being somewhere that could be real. The pace of the fighting seems to work to try to keep players away from engaging with spaces too much outside of combat and areas specifically designed as set-pieces.

Rapture has plenty of flaws as well, viewed through the same lens, but I think it does a noticeably better of job of conveying spaces where people did things and encouraging the player poke around them.


bgmnts

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2021, 10:10:46 AM »
The first Bioshock is one of my favourite ever games and I wish there were more like it. Diminishing returns after that though.

Elderly Sumo Prophecy

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2021, 01:17:45 PM »
The problem with the remastered collection is that they made Bioshock 1 look less wet. In the originals everything had this texture on it that made it look like the walls and interiors were covered in damp and condensation, but for some unknown reason they changed that. In the remasters everything is bone dry, apart from the leaks and pools of water.
It's only a small thing, but that damp look really added to the atmosphere and the feeling of a city in terminal decline, and I find it puzzling that they decided to do it.

There's other small shit they did too, like take away the crackling effect you got when you listened to a voxophone, same crackle you get from playing vinyl.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2021, 01:54:17 PM »
I think that's confusing solid set-piece and art design - which Bioshock Infinite is very good at - with everything else about the design and plotting of the game - which it's extremely bad at (and unsurprisingly so given the way it was repeatedly stapled back together over and over again).

Possibly, but I only meant someone had bothered to think about how you move through the world and put little bits in that were satisfying without being overly obvious[1]. The story may well be a mess but I’m not too far into it and seems to hold together ok - it’s just mcguffins with narrative on top?

Re: exploration, that was one of the things I didn’t like about the first game. You’re basically going through a corridor the whole time. It’s a nice corridor, with lots of interesting things to see and the art style and sense of place is very good, but there is very little exploration. I suppose that depends on how you define it (and we’ve all been spoiled by massive open world games I suppose).

Zooming around on sky hooks in Infinite feels like a better use of Big Spaces but maybe that’s a trick that I’ve fallen right for like the mark I am.
 1. don’t look too hard at my “baptism” point because actually they explicitly go back and mention that

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2021, 01:59:12 PM »
Play them in order you fool, otherwise the plot won't make any sense.
Would you watch Rocky III before Rocky I? No.

I largely remember the plot of 1&2 - those ones are much more sequential but I thought 3 was a bit of a stand alone? Might be misremembering that, but they’re not in Rapture anyway so that’s good enough for me.

Elderly Sumo Prophecy

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2021, 04:23:38 PM »
Im not sure whether this would be a spoiler for you, so I'll keep it vague.
Towards the end of Infinite there'll definitely be some references to Bioshock 1 and Rapture. In the Infinite DLC, even more so.

Zetetic

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2021, 05:35:46 PM »

Re: exploration, that was one of the things I didn’t like about the first game. You’re basically going through a corridor the whole time. It’s a nice corridor, with lots of interesting things to see and the art style and sense of place is very good, but there is very little exploration. I suppose that depends on how you define it (and we’ve all been spoiled by massive open world games I suppose).
Infinite doubles-down on this approach, except it's less interested in a sense of place (or the attempts to make it playable with little time left entailed rapid reworking of levels around combat).

Kelvin

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2021, 05:42:00 PM »
I think this is interesting, and probably again largely comes down to how compelling you find the broad strokes of the art (and how much you avoid finding it repellent given that it's in service of so little) - a lot of Infinite is fighting in similar spaces (not least fighting back through the same spaces largely unchanged) that don't have much of a sense of being somewhere that could be real. The pace of the fighting seems to work to try to keep players away from engaging with spaces too much outside of combat and areas specifically designed as set-pieces.

Rapture has plenty of flaws as well, viewed through the same lens, but I think it does a noticeably better of job of conveying spaces where people did things and encouraging the player poke around them.

I don't disagree with any of that - and maybe I'd feel less generous if I played Infinite again now. I was referring less to the level design, though, and more to the general concept of a huge evangical skycity trapped in time. I absolutely agree that the environments are less interesting to traverse than the ones in Bioshock. As you says, they're much more linear, with no real opportunity to explore - or even interact with anything. And it does have that problem where certain areas feel more like multiplayer deathmatch arenas, rather than real places.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2021, 07:08:10 PM »
Infinite doubles-down on this approach, except it's less interested in a sense of place (or the attempts to make it playable with little time left entailed rapid reworking of levels around combat).

I don’t think the third one is any worse in that regard tbh, if anything it is an improvement in all those areas for me.

Rev+

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2021, 12:22:12 AM »
I think that's confusing solid set-piece and art design - which Bioshock Infinite is very good at - with everything else about the design and plotting of the game - which it's extremely bad at (and unsurprisingly so given the way it was repeatedly stapled back together over and over again).

There's a sequence in Infinite that I brought up in a thread yonks ago as something that plain did my nut in.  Keeping it vague, there's a point at which you engage in a sustained battle, enter a building for a bit, then come out to find that you'll have to do pretty much the same battle again to get away.  A few people told me that I didn't understand what was going on there, but it wasn't that I didn't understand, it was that it was that it chose to convey a concept in the most tedious game-padding way.

Infinite has loads of great moments, but none of them involve the actual gameplay.  That's just a thing you have to put up with in order to get to those moments.  Also, and I don't know if the remaster has fixed it, but it featured barrels of apples that looked like the ones they used to have on Supermarket Sweep.  Flat texture with a photo on it.  The apples were always my main complaint, sort that shit out.

Noodle Lizard

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2021, 03:17:28 AM »
The opening sequence(s) of Infinite is one of the best video game experiences there is. The atmosphere in the boat/lighthouse, arriving on Columbia, the whole baptism thing and exploring the city for the first time. It’s staggeringly good.

It soon gets quite dull, mostly for gameplay reasons, but that first hour or so is worth the price of admission alone.

H-O-W-L

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2021, 11:11:31 PM »
Bioshock 1 still has one of the best visual styles ever in gaming.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2021, 12:15:06 AM »
Bioshock 1 still has one of the best visual styles ever in gaming.

It has a look that is excellent and also unique. That’s an impressive combo.

I’m still tootling through the third one an hour or two at a time. Still great fun - the gameplay isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it feels completely solid and the story is compelling enough to drag you along even if you don’t massively care about doing an FPS with pretty weak RPG upgrades.

I’ve stayed up late play it 3 times in a week, and that’s as high a compliment as I (an exhausted parent of a 2 yr old who gets up at 5am every morning on a good day) can give it. 4.10am this morning; and I’m still going to drop in the basement and give it a go.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #20 on: September 09, 2021, 12:46:57 AM »
Just finished it up now; brilliant bit of comic book storytelling. Loved it.

Last combat encounter bit was fucking bullshit though, took three times to get it done.

Absolutely recommend giving it a playthrough if you can get it cheap.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #21 on: September 09, 2021, 02:22:32 AM »
Played the first hour of the Buried at Sea DLC (not ready to leave this franchise yet).

Enjoying it for what it is so far, but the strength of the series has been the story and how to this point it is relying on the combat and gameplay mechanics which are… fine but not exactly what I’m here for.

I’ll finish the 2 chapters because I’ve read a few places claiming it is the perfect send off for the series but I’d like more of the story/plot stuff pls

beanheadmcginty

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #22 on: September 09, 2021, 03:13:57 AM »
Always more of a Bioforge man myself.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2021, 03:46:50 AM »
Edit: can’t make the spoiler tags work perfectly so some potential spoilers ahead if anyone cares.

Finished the first chapter, onto the second.

I don’t know what it is, but I’m not getting on with this. It’s not bad, but it seems to focus on the wrong parts of the franchise and experience. It all feels a bit sort of thin on story and over-reliant on gameplay (which is in itself quite padded out in a way that indicates the dev team thought “why have 6x new idea when we can just make the player do 1 new idea 6 times?”)

It also does that thing that I fucking loathe of making the female protagonist unable to brawl and getting fuck all ammo for fuck all guns so you have to sneak around and “knock people out” with no alternative. I get it, female protagonists must be kept at arms length from inflicting violence on mad zombie creatures in a way that video game men don’t for some reason, but it doesn’t half make it boring.

The section that relied on sneaking around and avoiding the big monster lad while tediously knocking enemies out[1] one at a time was the pits.

I also acknowledge that I just can’t deal with any kind of child mortality or suffering, especially if it is peversely realistic. Don’t want to deal with it, and makes me not want to play the game. I’d guess that’s more to do with me but i still find it jarring and unpleasant which hardly makes me excited to explore further.

Anyway I’m sure it’ll come together and be a fine send-off (and it is nice to be back in Rapture) but right now it’s a bit of a disappointment.
 1. although there is functionally zero difference to “killing” them - their bodies still disappear and they drop loot and never move again so… what?

Zetetic

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2021, 06:21:41 AM »
I wonder if some of your reaction is the break between the two as much as anything, and the loss of momentum and engagement in the moment-to-moment narrative?

I think your reflections are also interesting, given that the most heartfelt and meaningful point that Infinite comes close to putting across is about how wearisome it is to have to keep churning out sequels in the same mould with different paintjobs.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2021, 03:11:48 AM »
Finished off the second chapter of Burial at Sea: thought it was complete shit.

Kept waiting for the story part to start, and waited, and waited, and then 80% of the story happened in the last 5 minutes and tied the two games together in a way that was entirely unsatisfying and left more questions than answers.

I also still hate the gleeful “realistic small children suffering” bits. Again, that says more about me than anything else, but I thought this was a shit pair of chapters and I’m fairly unhappy that that’s yer lot and they consider the story resolved.

Rating: a generous 3/10

Elderly Sumo Prophecy

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2021, 03:37:04 AM »
The best dlc is actually Minerva's Den from Bioshock 2.

GoblinAhFuckScary

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2021, 04:48:55 AM »
love that mad, baffling, racist characterisation of suchong in that burial at sea dlc

bgmnts

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #28 on: September 19, 2021, 05:31:47 PM »
I'm trying so hard to enjoy Burial at Sea, having never played it first time round, but it's just not happening. I don't really like Infinite anyway and for them to set it in one of my favourite video game settings ever feels like a bit of a slap in the face.

Hopefully it gets better but I'm not optimistic.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: BioShock - the Collection
« Reply #29 on: September 19, 2021, 05:34:50 PM »
I'm trying so hard to enjoy Burial at Sea, having never played it first time round, but it's just not happening. I don't really like Infinite anyway and for them to set it in one of my favourite video game settings ever feels like a bit of a slap in the face.

Hopefully it gets better but I'm not optimistic.

I liked Infinite, but yeah trying to enjoy the DLC and just not getting it very much matches my experience.

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