Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
BioShock Demo

I'm back home, and downloading the demo of BioShock from Fileplanet. I don't think I'll play it a lot. I don't like first-person shooters, so I don't play them, so I suck at them, which further fuels my dislike of them. One of my readers once commented that one of the main problems with first-person shooters is that they start hard and get easier later (when you have more weapons to choose from) instead of the other way round. So if I won't like it, why do I download these 1.8 GB?

Well, one thing is that I'd like to have a look at the graphics. Kind of a test of my PC, whether my machine can display this game in pretty mode. And at the same time I want to have a look whether the atmosphere in BioShock is really a great as the hype says. I did like the style I saw in screenshots in gaming magazines, but I'm not sure how well that survives in the game. Do you really *see* all this nice stuff when playing, or are you too busy killing things and are blinded by special effects?

And finally somewhere deep inside of me I wish I would be able to play this kind of game. I want to try whether I get anywhere in the demo on the easiest setting, or whether the first enemy butchers me with a toothpick. I have a theory that new games are often created for the fans of the genre. So I fear that while BioShock is perfectly easy to play for somebody who played all the other first-person shooters, it might be way too hard for a newbie. Especially a middle-aged one who doesn't have a kid's reflexes any more.
As someone who rarely plays shooters, I can assure you it's not too difficult, even on Normal mode.

And my sister, a Diner Dash fanatic, seems to be enjoying the hell out of Easy mode.

Take that as you will.
I used to be a heavy fps player but a few years back when you had to join clans & practice with teams to be competitive online I got tired of it and left the genre. Plus I think my last FPS was Doom3 which was a horrible game so I haven't missed anything I feel. I'll skip this too as it holds no interest for me. I know I can easily beat any FPS and would rather spend my time playing something with a longer playtime like future MMOs. The bad thing is I'm retired from WoW and now with AoC on delay, I have nothing to look forward to. TR doesn't really interest me, and Pirates is enh, might try it, not sure. Therefore I guess I'll just read about WAR (elf info released today) and continue to wait lol.
1.8 GB download for around 15 Minutes of game time. I got it for the same reason, to test my gaming rig. It does scream for mercy when i play with high quality settings and 1600x1200. One smaller resolution and it runs decent.

I wanted to buy the game and i really wanted to like it. All the reviews about it made me hope for something unique and new.

Well it's a pretty FPS with decent setting, awesome art direction and a new IP but it's a game where you shoot things in hallways nevertheless.

After playing the demo, the hype is beyond me. Maybe the game needs more time to deliver, right now it doesn't for me. It's a perfect example of a game in 2007, created for the dying breed of core gamers.

Just curious who this "dying breed of core gamers" is that you're speaking of. Honestly, I have purchased the game for my PC and I believe that it's actually rather different from conventional FPS style games, but I'm curious if you've just been buried neck-deep in MMOs for far too long.

I'm not trying to pass judgement, but seriously...the amount of FPS games that are slated for release in the next few months is staggering. Who exactly is this "dying breed" you're speaking of?
Hi Tob,

I just wanted to put in some observations about FPS and what they are becoming (or have become). I am gamer since commodore64 (vic20 actually but I kept it only for a short period of time..Omega Race anyone?) and I used to like FPS a lot. Like many gamers I have played a lot of them from wolfenstein-doom-Hexen the most recent and hyped like half life2-Doom3 with almost everything there has been in between.

Point is, I feel that something is going on here. While the graphic is becoming more and more staggering, which is not necessarily a good thing, the gameplay of these “modern” shooters has remained virtually undistinguishable from its “ancestral” predecessors. One could quibble that nowadays modern shooters deliver many more things to do than in an antiquate Doom for example, but “firing and dodging” is still at the core of every single one of these muscular youngsters.

On the other end, graphic is becoming more and more realistic and I’d say more and more coincident to the imagination of the designer leaving less space to the user/gamer to put in his/her imagination. This is a crucial point in my opinion and the reason why modern shooters like Bio-shock do not appeal me almost at all anymore. I know I’ll be conducted into mysterious plots that will unveil themselves slowly as the game progresses and I know that to watch the “finale” a LOT of firing and dodging will be involved. Monster will lurk in the dark (a magnificent dark indeed) and bosses will wait me in big approximately-rounded rooms. Doesn’t it sound like watching a movie that you have already watched?? I feel that more and more the gamer is asked to play the designer world (instead of his/her own world of imagination) hence reducing the interactivity and participation that used to distinguish videogames from other media like movie or tv.

As an avid FPS player, I can say that it depends on which FPS you play.

The Battlefield Series took me away from Counterstrike and Quake 2 (thank god). In those games, you not only did the ususal FPS, but you also got vehicles to not only are you on the ground fighting, but you are getting shot at by boats, planes...and later series games, jets, helicopters, artillery, etc.

Battlefield 2 was probably the last "good" one that came out. BF 2142 was just a slowed down mod.

Quake Wars Enemy Territory isn't that good, IMHO. It's an arena style gameplay where you shoot rockets at your feet and hop around, unlike (for the most part, BF2 and the other BF games...where there was more strategy in flags to capture, flanking, etc. Not to mention infinite respawns, rather than dying and sitting around for 5 minutes for a round to end. True, it's still in BETA, but I just don't like arena style games, like Unreal Tournament...those games are literally run and real strategy.

So, I don't know if you've ever tried BF2 or BF 2142 Tobold, but give 'er a go, you may like it. At first it will be strange, but with some time messing around flying helicopters, jets, tanks, or just running around infantry style,

I stopped playing the BF series about a year ago and got addicted to WoW...but I've recently gone back to playing BF2 a little so that WoW isn't casting Drain Life on me anymore.

The nice things about FPS games is that there really isn't the progression that make them skinner boxes like MMORPG's. You can gain rank and weapons, but after a while, you play to have fun, and quit when its not fun...there's no desire to keep playing for a pretty purple belt. You feel free to take a break (built into this is the fact that once you buy a FPS, the servers are free. Without a monthly fee, much like LoTR, you have the freedom to just quit without "falling behind".

I still like WoW, but its starting to grow old. With 2 70s and only the same thing to do...over and over, its nice to play something where there isn't a worry about progression or falling behind.

Anyway, FPS games like Counter-Hack...I mean Counter-Strike and arena style games are just jump around and rocket launch at your feet.

The Battlefield series, again in IMHO, is worth at least trying out. Change of scenery is nice.
First person shooters are easier now, yes? The way games like halo and call of Duty handle healing and death make them much more forgivable on beginners. At least that's the way that I understand it.

In any case, why don't you tell us about the new mmorpg beta that has you all excited Tobold )

I think it's a pretty safe bet that it's not Tabula Rasa (holds nose).
I'm not trying to pass judgement, but seriously...the amount of FPS games that are slated for release in the next few months is staggering. Who exactly is this "dying breed" you're speaking of?

Miyamoto himself once declared that it's no longer the main focus for Nintendo to publish content for players that push buttons in the last 10 or 20 years. Molyneux explicitly "dumbs" down Fable 2 to attract are way more wider audience. You see a trend here, this has nothing to to with the head getting stuck in the MMO genre. It's about the change of the medium itself.

FPS is a very specific genre, focused on males of a certain age bracket. A valuable focus group, but a limited one nevertheless. Bioshock is very focused on players that enjoy this genre since Doom. Perfecting the experience those players enjoy seems to be what Bioshock is trying to achieve. If you enjoy this genre you will probably worship Bioshock, but the game does not even try to convince players that can not find anything good about it.

Open up your niche to a mass appeal for me seems to be the future of game design. Bioshock doesn't even try this wich is perfectly fine if your a core gamer, but it isn't if your not.

The "dying" of core gamers should mean, that they lose the focus as a main target audience. It's not like there will be no games focusing those players anymore but those games won't be the driving force of a whole industry anymore.

Let's wait for some Bioshock sales numbers, wich will be so interesting in so many ways, to see how big the market still is.
Why haven't you tried out Europea Universalis III (and Napoleon extension) Tobold ?

It's a great strategy game (and teaches my children a bit of history/geography heh)

How accessible is Europa Universalis III? I tried the first one of the series, and never got anywhere with it, because that game was *far* too complicated for the average gamer.
It's not that difficult really, perhaps the hardest part is that you have to fix your own goals (I decided to choose England and colonize totally America but I could have chosen to try to wipe out the French for example, or to be the richest country etc etc).

There are 3-4 tutorials in the game explaining the different mechanics and options. I bought the special edition that has a strategy guide included. I had never played the first two Europea Universalis and it took me only a day to get the hang of it. Since then I've been hooked lol, I've been playing hours each evening.

And I forgot to mention it's buyable online as a download (with PDF Manuals) for us europeans (multilingual with english, french, german and spanish too I think).

Some people are even making mods for the game, with new special events etc.

Give it a try :)

Not really about Bioshock (that I can't play as I don't have a GPU capable of Shader Model 3.0.. ATI X800's can't..)

But about demos in general...
I con't know why so many game companies stick with FilePlanet. I don't like FilePlanet, don't like to have to register to download a file and eventually have to pay to be able to download a file once a while without queues. I don't like to have to stick with ActiveX to be able to use a specific tool as download manager.... and don't like to be forced to use Internet Explorer.... really in a couple of occasions I had to use it as FilePlanet rely on it for deliverying on video captchas that are used before giving out beta codes.

It would be so simple to release a bittorrent with some relatively high end servers as seeders.

I don't mind having fileplanet around, but I do mind if is the only option.

Luckly Bioshock demo is avaible also on Steam
If anything, Bioshock is actually easier than a lot of FPS that I've played. It was designed for the 360, so a lot of PC elements that I would have preferred were removed to make it console-compatible. I've been trying to sneak around the game and now I'm desperately missing my "lean" keys.

Each FPS takes a little bit to get used to... learn the rhythm, learn the style... and Bioshock didn't get easier until after the demo section.
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