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Default Bioshock 2 - Review @ GameBanshee

March 1st, 2010, 21:18
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You're bringing up examples that can't be argued - because they're based on taste.
Whether or not they do it well is a matter of opinion, trying to say criticizing them is specific to reviewing the game as an RPG isn't.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
But if you think Bioshock 2 has repetitive level design, poor narrative structure, aging graphics, and poor story - then I have to ask myself what kind of shooter you're used to playing.
Let me get this straight. I'm supposed to compartmentalize games as having a good story or not, and judge stories differently by genre? That makes no sense. It would if I criticized a shooter that does not try to tell a story for sucking at it, but I don't. BioShock as a franchise makes claims to being deep, to being narratively rich. It fails at that, regardless of genre. If it hadn't tried, it wouldn't have failed, but it being an FPS has nothing to do with its narrative aspirations.

Repetitive level design is exactly an FPS criticism - the grind is repetitive (as explained, this was what I was referring to) and that's a flaw in FPS design.

BioShock 2, running on Unreal Engine 2.5, is outdated. It has poor textures at points and tries to sell small props as big. For an RPG it would be great-looking. As an FPS it's outdated.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You're shrugging it off like a shooter being a better shooter than an already good shooter is no big deal, and that the lack of RPG evolution and "repetitive" level design as well as terrible story is making the game bad.
Really? Is that literally what I'm saying? I say it's a good shooter, but it suffers from flaws. Did I shrug of it being a good shooter, did I say it's no big deal, did I say "it's a bad game because of lack of RPG evolution"? It seems you're reading more into that paragraph than it actually says.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You're saying the game is shallow - because of the things we've been talking about.
Oh, cool, am I? Please quote me saying so. You've been throwing the word around a lot, hell, you even said "Bioshock 2 - much like BS1 - is pretty good and the story, shallow as it is, is still quite a bit ahead of the average shooter stuff". I haven't really applied it to the game once. Not in this thread, not in my review.

Again, please take a step back, reread the review if necessary, and ask yourself if your criticism - while valid where it applies - really applies to my review.
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March 1st, 2010, 21:39
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Whether or not they do it well is a matter of opinion, trying to say criticizing them is specific to reviewing the game as an RPG isn't.
Ehm?

Yes, it's my opinion that you're reviewing the game as an RPG - or from the perspective of someone who really wanted an RPG, but got a shooter.

Let me get this straight. I'm supposed to compartmentalize games as having a good story or not, and judge stories differently by genre? That makes no sense.
You can do whatever you want to do.

Personally, if I review a game, I try to stay objective and I try to understand the intended audience - and I certainly try to understand what the game is trying to achieve.

That's because I understand that I'm not the entire audience all by myself - and that's why I would never expect an RPG from a sequel to an established shooter.

It would if I criticized a shooter that does not try to tell a story for sucking at it, but I don't. BioShock as a franchise makes claims to being deep, to being narratively rich. It fails at that, regardless of genre. If it hadn't tried, it wouldn't have failed, but it being an FPS has nothing to do with its narrative aspirations.
I have no idea where it makes the claim that it's deep, but whatever.

Again, I think it's quite deep - dealing with relatively high-brow philosophical ideas - when you consider it's a shooter.

Personally, I wasn't too intrigued - but then again, I'm generally not intrigued by stories in games.

But I understand gaming, and I understand the history of genres.

In terms of the shooter genre, Bioshock 2 is deep.

Repetitive level design is exactly an FPS criticism - the grind is repetitive (as explained, this was what I was referring to) and that's a flaw in FPS design.
You didn't get my simple point about the expectations being off?

Again, either you don't understand the history of the genre - or you're being unfair. I'm leaning towards the latter.

Shooters having repetitive level design is almost a given. Bioshock 2 has pretty fantastic level design in those terms, and it offers more opportunity for exploration than 9 out of 10 shooters in my experience.

BioShock 2, running on Unreal Engine 2.5, is outdated. It has poor textures at points and tries to sell small props as big. For an RPG it would be great-looking. As an FPS it's outdated.
Ehm, no.

It's based on Unreal 3 - but why am I not surprised you don't know that?

It might not have the sharpest textures, but it's a damn fine looking game overall.

Really? Is that literally what I'm saying? I say it's a good shooter, but it suffers from flaws. Did I shrug of it being a good shooter, did I say it's no big deal, did I say "it's a bad game because of lack of RPG evolution"? It seems you're reading more into that paragraph than it actually says.
Yes, that's what you're saying.

You say "if you ABSOLUTELY adored Bioshock.." and bla bla, as if that's what you need to do. I thought Bioshock was a decent shooter, and I had fun with it.

Guess what, I feel the same way about Bioshock 2.

Read your own conclusion again, and try to say with a straight face that you're not actually ignoring what the game is trying to be.

Oh, cool, am I? Please quote me saying so. You've been throwing the word around a lot, hell, you even said "Bioshock 2 - much like BS1 - is pretty good and the story, shallow as it is, is still quite a bit ahead of the average shooter stuff". I haven't really applied it to the game once. Not in this thread, not in my review.
Yes, the story is shallow - but it's deep in terms of being a shooter. It's a distinction you're going to have to be able to make, if you're to understand my argument.

As long as I'm not going to find the word shallow, I'm guessing you'll argue your way out of any quote I dig up.

Sorry, I can't be bothered.

I could be wrong, but nothing you've said suggests otherwise - and if you're not going to acknowledge you've been harsh - then it's not a big deal.

I can only hope I'm wrong.

Again, please take a step back, reread the review if necessary, and ask yourself if your criticism - while valid where it applies - really applies to my review.
I don't need to read it again.

It was plain as day the first time, and your conclusion should suffice for anyone wanting to understand what you're actually saying.
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March 1st, 2010, 23:00
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Personally, if I review a game, I try to stay objective and I try to understand the intended audience - and I certainly try to understand what the game is trying to achieve.
As do I. Yet I also have to keep in mind who is reading my review.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I have no idea where it makes the claim that it's deep, but whatever.
You're saying its claim to deep, engaging story-telling wasn't one of its hooks? Right.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Again, I think it's quite deep.
It tackles "deep" subject material, for those amongst us who take Ayn Rand seriously (I don't). BioShock already did so in a rather hamfisted, in-your-face manner. BioShock 2 just doesn't tell a good story. That's my opinion of the story; it's not good. This has nothing to do with it being an FPS. There are FPSs with stories that are less "deep" but simply better-structured, BioShock 2 just lacks good writing.

Because to be clear, that's completely separate here. Good storytelling has nothing to do with how deep it is. But trying to be philosophical and failing to provide a consistent story in your sequel is bad, and it is what BioShock 2 did.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Shooters having repetitive level design is almost a given. Bioshock 2 has pretty fantastic level design in those terms, and it offers more opportunity for exploration than 9 out of 10 shooters in my experience.
You seem to have ignored my clarification. BioShock 2's level design is fine, the way levels actually play, the repetitive nature of harvesting ADAM, is not. That is what I'm criticizing, because it's not fun shooter gameplay. I like shooters well enough, but I got bored with the grind.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It's based on Unreal 3 - but why am I not surprised you don't know that?
Not as far as I could see, and I googled like crazy to be sure, though I could not get an unambiguous answer. As far as I could see, it uses the same engine as BioShock, which is Unreal Engine 2.5 with a lot of elements from Unreal 3 incorporated. If you can find a source correcting me, please do.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It might not have the sharpest textures, but it's a damn fine looking game overall.
Its art design is awesome and expansively praised in both reviews. In technology, it is aged.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You say "if you ABSOLUTELY adored Bioshock.." and bla bla
Nice cutoff. Did I say you can only enjoy BioShock 2 if you absolutely adored BioShock? The point of that statement is that BioShock 2's similar, derivative nature will make it an easier recommend to BioShock fans, but that for the most fervent fans (hence "absolutely") it can be disappointing if they truly grasped BioShock's story.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Read your own conclusion again, and try to say with a straight face that you're not actually ignoring what the game is trying to be.
You mean a good shooter with a deep story? It is a good shooter, it fails at the story. That's how I judged it, that's how it is. It's interesting how confident you are that you know my motives better than I do, though.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Yes, the story is shallow.
I disagree. It's bad, it's not shallow.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
As long as I'm not going to find the word shallow, I'm guessing you'll argue your way out of any quote I dig up.

Sorry, I can't be bothered.
Right, so you're fine speculating about my opinion and questioning my motives, but when I ask you to back it up, you just go "I won't bother". Nice. Hell, so far you haven't given my any reason to believe you've actually read my review - since you seem to believe I talk about RPG elements all the time - and are basing all this criticism on my conclusion.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
and if you're not going to acknowledge you've been harsh
Wait what? My first reply in this thread notes I'm harsh. That's not the problem, of course I'm harsh, I didn't think it was a good game, but you're ascribing dubious methodology to my conclusion, based on - and correct me if I'm wrong - "a feeling".

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
It was plain as day the first time, and your conclusion should suffice for anyone wanting to understand what you're actually saying.
I think you might want to reread, and at every paragraph or subsection ask yourself "Is this criticism of BioShock 2 as a game or BioShock 2 as an RPG?" Seriously, you might be pleasantly surprised.
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March 1st, 2010, 23:23
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
As do I. Yet I also have to keep in mind who is reading my review.
You're saying the game changes according to who reads the review?

That's an interesting position

You're saying its claim to deep, engaging story-telling wasn't one of its hooks? Right.
Perhaps I expected that from the first one, but the sequel? Not really. It's a shooter - and shooters generally don't have deep stories.

I'm not aware that it was marketed as such, which is why I'm saying what I'm saying.

If indeed it IS marketed as a deep shooter, then I'd have to disagree with the marketing. But it's still deeper than the VAST majority of shooters.

It tackles "deep" subject material, for those amongst us who take Ayn Rand seriously (I don't). BioShock already did so in a rather hamfisted, in-your-face manner. BioShock 2 just doesn't tell a good story. That's my opinion of the story; it's not good. This has nothing to do with it being an FPS. There are FPSs with stories that are less "deep" but simply better-structured, BioShock 2 just lacks good writing.
You have to take someone seriously if you're going to evaluate their writing, but that's just me.

I don't agree with Rand - but I think it's fair to take her seriously.

Bad writing? In terms of the genre, I think it's downright great writing. Basically, it's all dialogue - and I think it's very well written. It's of a very high quality - all things considered.

Because to be clear, that's completely separate here. Good storytelling has nothing to do with how deep it is. But trying to be philosophical and failing to provide a consistent story in your sequel is bad, and it is what BioShock 2 did.
Well, the term good is subjective. Personally, I can't think offhand of a good story that's also shallow.

So, yeah, deep is a requisite for a good story - to me.

You seem to have ignored my clarification. BioShock 2's level design is fine, the way levels actually play, the repetitive nature of harvesting ADAM, is not. That is what I'm criticizing, because it's not fun shooter gameplay. I like shooters well enough, but I got bored with the grind.
repetitive level design hurting the fun

That bit is from your conclusion - so that's a quote, which should make you happy. You don't seem to understand what level design is, then.

The ADAM grind mechanic is not level design - that's a boring mechanic, and I agree.

The levels are very well designed, and they feel and look different. They offer great exploration especially for a shooter.

It's great level design, period, but obviously it's a matter of taste.

Not as far as I could see, and I googled like crazy to be sure, though I could not get an unambiguous answer. As far as I could see, it uses the same engine as BioShock, which is Unreal Engine 2.5 with a lot of elements from Unreal 3 incorporated. If you can find a source correcting me, please do.
Yeah, Bioshock is Unreal 3 as well - at least partially.

Naturally, you could argue that Unreal 3 is an evolution over 2.5 - but then it's all meaningless. In a way, all Unreal 3 engine games are based on 2.5 and so on, so it sort of flows together.

To be honest, I think it's impossible to say exactly what version of the Unreal engine most games use, because they all modify it heavily.

Its art design is awesome and expansively praised in both reviews. In technology, it is aged.
Technology is aged?

Don't you think that's a bit weak, really?

The Unreal engine is what most modern games are built from - like Mass Effect 2 and Batman. Modified or not, they look the same - really. Ok, so a heavily modified 2.5 isn't as new as 3.0 - but it's hardly a big deal…

Nice cutoff. Did I say you can only enjoy BioShock 2 if you absolutely adored BioShock?
If you absolutely adored BioShock and couldn't wait for more, I could imagine the very similar BioShock 2 could fill the need, though it'll do it somewhat deceptively as it's really filling the emptiness with – well – more emptiness, not adding but at points even detracting

Pretty much, yeah.

You mean a good shooter with a deep story? It is a good shooter, it fails at the story. That's how I judged it, that's how it is. It's interesting how confident you are that you know my motives better than I do, though.
I haven't said anything about motives. At least not conscious ones.

I think you're biased - that's all.

I disagree. It's bad, it's not shallow.
I disagree on both counts. So great.

Right, so you're fine speculating about my opinion and questioning my motives, but when I ask you to back it up, you just go "I won't bother". Nice. As far as I'm aware you haven't even read my review and are basing all this on my conclusions.
Why wouldn't I be fine speculating about your opinion?

I don't care about your motives, I just read and conclude what seems most likely.

I've read your review.

Wait what? My first reply in this thread notes I'm harsh. That's not the problem, of course I'm harsh, I didn't think it was a good game, but you're ascribing dubious methodology to my conclusion.
If a game is bad - then it's not harsh to conclude that it's bad.

If a game is decent to good, then basically saying it's bad is harsh.

If you agree that's what you were being, then it seems we agree on that at least.

I think you might want to reread, and at every paragraph or subsection ask yourself "Is this criticism of BioShock 2 as a game or BioShock 2 as an RPG?" Seriously, you might be pleasantly surprised.
No, I really don't want to reread. As I said, it was obvious to me.
Last edited by DArtagnan; March 1st, 2010 at 23:47.
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March 2nd, 2010, 00:02
You know what? Just ignore the above.

Damn - need some sleep.

Things starting to flow together

Well, all I can say is that I think your wording was harsh and your review had an unwarranted negative vibe - but maybe that's me not getting your writing.

Maybe you actually meant to say it was an ok game, but in that case - I must be a complete moron in terms of reading it.

But I'm gonna wave the flag on this one, because I haven't the stamina to debate about something that I really don't care about more than I've already done.

So I'll retract my comments on your bias - and simply conclude our way of saying things must be very, very different - and leave it at that.

Good night
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March 2nd, 2010, 00:51
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Maybe you actually meant to say it was an ok game, but in that case - I must be a complete moron in terms of reading it.
No you're reading it right, I didn't like the game, as a shooter, or as an FPS/RPG. Good shooter dragged down by flaws.

You've given me thinks to think about in how to present this opinion, though. Whether or not people agree with me is irrelevant, but it's a problem if the logic of it is not coming across, if it's reading like a crusade. So thank you, I'll keep it in mind when writing my next review.
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March 2nd, 2010, 14:16
Originally Posted by dagoo7 View Post
Can you realistically say, that you are going to play ME2 through again? Do you really expect that the game will be that much of a different experience, if you do?
I rarely play through any RPG again, because I never feel that the experience would be significantly different. The story would be (in almost all cases) exactly the same. Maybe I will play through Mass Effect 2 again to see how a game with no imported character is different and to see how I can affect situations with different choices. So yeah, I can see that. The combat would be largely the same, but then again, that alone doesn't make an RPG to me.

But I think that you feel that a good RPG is a game where you need to make meaningful character development choices that take you into an unique path. I guess to me they don't need to be unique.
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