The next killer app is coming down the pipe and by all word, is set to be the Game of the Year. QuVat over at the Team Fremont Forums was able to score an early copy and had this to say about making it to the 3 hour mark:
Well after playing it for about 3 hours and a little bit this morning I’ll post some impressions for anyone who cares. The game is f-in brilliant, but I’m sure you all have gleamed that from the demo thus far. The demo is a little different from the actual beginning of the game, giving you a few extra plasmids and some opportunities to hack stuff that isn’t there at the beginning of the final game. I will try not to bore you with the things that you already have experienced from the demo, and will keep it spoiler free.
The game is presented in such a way that I don’t feel like I’m playing a FPS at all. In fact, you could run through the entire game without having to play it straight shoot-em-up style. The actions and powers that are given to you, coupled with the environment, allow you a TON of options when running through an area. Do you use the security cameras/turrets against them? Do you use a plasmid power to have them kill each other? Do you sneak up on each enemy in an area and wrench them from behind? Or do you just say “fuck it” and go in guns blazing? Either way the game pulls it off flawlessly and it makes you feel like a badass while you do it. This comes to my first gripe however. A lot of the game I prefer to play “hands-off.” Like I said you don’t have to play this game like a typical FPS, and I’m bound not to! Unfortunately, oftentimes when you come face to face with an enemy there’s simply no way around it. I find myself relying too heavily on the tried and tested FPS “mow-em-all-down” tactic. Granted this only happens when I run into an enemy by surprise, and I’m learning to deal with it.
In terms of controls everything is logical and straightforward. This much you can get from the demo, for sure. My only gripe is that, as stated before, when caught off guard by multiple enemies I find myself fumbling between options. I spend too much time thinking, “what do I do? what do I do?” simply because of the number of options given me. Furthermore, add to the fact that I oftentimes confuse the triggers and the bumpers, and I’ve run into several frustrating deaths. Simply put, I’ll get flustered and find myself just hitting triggers and bumpers at random until my death. Which brings me to another gameplay mechanic.
Dying. Bioshock takes the same approach as Prey did, where there really is no penalty for dying (at least at first, but I’ll get to that in a bit). When you die you just respawn at a nearby spawn point, with a little health and a little eve. You don’t lose any first aid kits, in fact you don’t even have to use the first aid kits if you want to. You can just let yourself die and respawn again, no harm, no foul. I had a big problem with this, simply because I felt that it dumbed the game down. That is, until I met my first Big Daddy.
First, let me just say these guys are FUCKING HARD! You will get your ass beat again……..and again………and again. I thought I was pretty good at the game until I ran into my first Big Daddy. Then I got my ass handed to me, over and over. This is where the penalty of dying comes in. In each “stage” or area, there are certain number of these guys, with their Little Sisters. I’m not going to give away what the Little Sisters roles are because I’ll save you from any spoilers. Little Sisters are protected by these motherfuckers, and since you need access to the little sisters, you need to eventually take out each little sis/big daddy combo in each level. Where they are in each level is random, so when you encounter a pair you can choose to stay and fight, or quietly walk by. If you choose to fight and die, you respawn, however the little sis/big daddy combo will have moved. THIS is where dying becomes a problem. I have oftentimes found myself walking aimlessly around a level (all the while running into random enemies) looking for these enemies just to put up a 10 second fight and then die. It’s in this way that they use dying as a penalty.
I played this for 3 hours last night, all alone, in the dark. I can honestly say that I haven’t been this scared playing a game in a LONG time. There are some BRILLIANTLY scripted moments that will literally have you jumping out of your seat. The storytelling is mostly done through taped recorded diaries that you find lying about, similar to Doom 3. It’s a great way to keep the game moving while getting an idea of the story behind each area, which brings me to my next point. Each area, each room in Bioshock, tells a story. You can walk into a bar and see exactly what happened. You can walk in a bedroom and find an enemy rambling something about their son/daughter and after dispatching them you can see pictures of their son/daughter hanging on the walls. They really brought the environment to life and used the characters to interact with it and make it that much more effective.
Lastly, I should comment on the sound. I don’t know if anyone noticed this from the demo, but when playing Bioshock I actually USE the directional sound a great deal. More often than not I will end up using my ears, rather than my eyes, to sneak up on enemies. Furthermore, you can tell EXACTLY what kind of enemy is near by the sound you hear. Furthermore the directional audio is SO accurate that I can literally tell exactly where an enemy is by where the sound is coming from. Let me just say that the soundtrack is fantastic too. I LOVE the scratchy record renditions of old standards like “Beyond the Sea” and whatever the “Man-on-the-Flying-Trapeeze” song is It adds this authentic sort of, creepiness to the game that is really an effective mood-setter. My only sound gripe is sometimes I will hear a record player and will try to find the sound source and can’t find it. It’s a stupid gripe, but is it too much to ask to put in a loudspeaker or other set piece somewhere, so that the player isn’t wandering around wondering where the music is coming from?
Anyways, I could go on and on about the actual game, I probably have already! It’s been a real treat playing it so far, and I honestly can’t wait to shut the lights off again tonight and get back into it. I hope this wasn’t too long winded, and I hope I didn’t reveal too much about the actual game to you guys. I just felt the need to post some impressions since I was one of the lucky few who snatched a copy from TRU the other day.