Spoiler Warning 3×1: Andrew Ryan’s Pipe Dream

 By Shamus Aug 19, 2010 205 comments

Something to think about for a second before venturing forth is that this is the first episode of the third season of Spoiler Warning, which introduces our fifth host and the first BioShock game (which is our second first-person shooter and the second game where Josh gets to chug a fifth to cure secondary wounds) as well as our first session to feature a fourth commentator.

Here is a breakdown of who is on the show:

Josh plays the game, records the episodes, and edits them. He’s a sometime anime reviewer at the Escapist. He’s also one of the admins of the Death by Kukri Team Fortress 2 server.

Mumbles is our President of Bioshock Commentary. She’s also one of the admins of Death by Kukri.

Rutskarn is our Director of Bioshock Commentary Services. He runs the blog Chocolate Hammer and was the 37th President of the United States. He’s also a fully licensed punologist.

Shamus is our Lead Bioshock Commentary Engineer. He photoshops the Spoiler Warning title cards and also runs the blog Twenty Sided. And if you clicked on that link you really need to slap yourself. We’re working on the honor system here, so do the right thing. Use your dominant hand, open palm, aim for the cheek.

Hello, person from the future. This space used to have an embed from the video hosting site Viddler. The video is gone now. If you want to find out why and laugh at Viddler in the process, you can read the entire silly story for yourself.

At any rate, the video is gone. Sorry. On the upside, we're gradually re-posting these old videos to YouTube. Check the Spoiler Warning page to see the full index.

A Hundred!A Hundred!5205 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?


  1. kingcom says:

    Knowing that this is up so quickly I just need to say a quick thankyou to everyone doing this spoiler warning. I need someone to show some of the points of disappointment about this. So yea, shamus is on the job!

  2. Abnaxis says:

    Damnit, now I have to go buy Bioshock. I already got Mass Effect thanks to your shenanigans.

  3. Sumanai says:

    “Rutskarn is our Director of Bioshock Commentary Services. He runs the blog Chocloate Hammer and was the 37th President of the United States. He’s also a fully licensed punologist.”

    I spy a mistake in there. Rutskarn lost his license when he tried stand-up comedy and accidentally told a pun so horrible that everyone in the bar died. While normally this would be ground for a honorary license, it also ended up killing Rutskarn.

    Hearing of this event an unregistered necromancer, with the intent to destroy the world, resurrected Rutskarn in a younger body. After explaining his plan, the newly revived Rutskarn laughed in his face angering him. This lead the necromancer to declare that Ruts would have “fate worse than death”, which was followed by more laughing and a horrible pun.

    This made the necromancer weep. For he realised that raising Rutskarn was his apex. There would be nothing more horrible he could do to the world than unleashing that source of terrifying puns and cast himself down from the highest point to the lowest. Which is to say, while running up the stairs to the roof in order to jump down, he tripped on the highest step and fell down breaking his neck.

    Being resurrected is grounds for license renewal, but as a college student Rutskarn naturally never got around to the paper work.

  4. Zukhramm says:

    It surprises me how quick the character went from confused plane crash survivor to spell throwing action hero.

    • Robyrt says:

      What I always wonder is why no one else is carrying a half-dozen first aid kits like you are. Unless that’s why splicers get more powerful as you go through the game… :-P

      • Trix says:

        Well, they ARE crazy.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You know,that thing always bugs me,in all the games.Aside from the original call of duty,was there a game that had(though just on the hardest difficulty)absolutely no way of refiling your health,where you could survive no more than 4 bullets?And Im not talking about the artificial iron man playthroughs.That was one of the charm of old arcade games:You had to play through the levels perfectly,because death was lurking everywhere.Sure,it was hard,but it was rewarding to finally beat those games.

        And yes,I use quick saves in all the games when I first play them,so Im not saying that shouldnt exist.But if I like the game,on subsequent playthroughs I ramp the difficulty,and am always disappointed that the only thing that changes is the number of used healthpacks or time spent waiting for the autoregen to kick in.And I hate auto regen.Its the worst mechanic,after quick time events,unless it is in a game with a very good explanation for it(oddly enough,halo does have a very good explanation for it,because its your shield that regenerates,and not your health).

        • Gale says:

          I’ve never played them, so I don’t really know, but weren’t the Operation Flashpoint and ArmA games all about that kind of experience? The older Rainbow Six games were also pretty rough, and I think you were pretty fragile in the SWAT games.

          You might notice a running theme.

          • Sekundaari says:

            About OFP and ArmA: There is no auto regen, and (at least on Veteran difficulty) I’d approximate 2-3 hits will kill you, usually one if it’s to the chest or head. But there is healing available, in the form of medical tents, vehicles and medics, and they heal you completely in ten seconds or so.

            For either one, there exists a mod that makes wounds behave more realistically, with black- and whiteouts, blood loss, bandages, painkillers and no supermedics. I have not tried them much, and they’re probably more about highly realistic multiplayer. There’s little point in someone rescuing and stabilizing you for evacuation in single player.

            Still, the small amount of hits you (and the enemies) can take prevents random things like circle-strafing 10m from your targets while filing away their health bar with a machine gun. It makes cover and tactics much more important.

            And I find myself talking about Flashpoint a third time in a thread about Bioshock. I’d better play it again soon…

    • Drue says:

      well, if you know the twist this makes more sense.

  5. Kell says:

    “this is the first episode [...] as well as our first session to feature a fourth commentator.”

    I think you’ve been writing this blog for too long, Shamus. You sound like you’re starting to enjoy this nonsense :P

    Engaging Bioshock Commentary Device.
    Primary Status: optimistic.
    Secondary Status: cautiously cynical.

    This game is a mediocre FPS wallowing in pretentious psuedo-intellectualism that recieved far more hype than it deserved, mostly from it’s own creators. If you guys don’t subject it to a comprehensive evisceration…I will. I have opinions. And insights. You have been warned.

    • SatansBestBuddy says:

      It’s all those things, but it’s still better than the vast majority of FPS’s out there.

      • ps238principal says:

        Depends on what the FPS presents itself as.

        If “Doom 3″ had been offered as something “Half-Life 2″ fans would love, then it would be received (at least by me) as a “bad FPS.” But since it didn’t try to make itself out to be anything more than a “shoot everything that moves” monster-fest, it succeeded.

        I was disappointed in Bioshock as it had been presented as a game where my decisions mattered, wheras the game is quite firmly on rails. The gameplay was fine for the most part, and I got to blow up stuff real good, so from that perspective it was a good game, but it wasn’t what I’d been led to believe it was.

        • eri says:

          I actually started replaying Doom 3 and the biggest difference between it and BioShock is that BioShock a) has better art, and b) is a lot more pretentious. Both games feature nearly identical gameplay (audio logs, monster killing, semi-open environments, scripted sequences, darkness and atmosphere) and yet somehow Doom 3 comes across as a lot more genuine simply because it doesn’t try to mask its simple gameplay with a bunch of vague philosophical themes. Doom 3 is hardly without flaws, but at least it’s in on the joke.

          Really though, it’s almost criminal how close BioShock is to Doom 3, and yet nobody reviewing the game seemed to pick up on it.

        • Kell says:

          “But since it didn’t try to make itself out to be anything more than a “shoot everything that moves” monster-fest, it succeeded.”

          I really don’t think it did.

          Doom3 did try to make itself out to be something more.
          What Tim Willits evidently tried to make Doom3 into was another ‘spiritual successor’ to System Shock 2, hence all the audio logs and NPC interference. A true shoot-everything monster fest, like the original Doom and Quake – i.e a plotless, visceral dungeon-bash – wouldn’t have had any audio logs or NPCs, or indeed anything that slowed the pace of the game or interfered with the combat mechanics. That doesn’t mean you need to be shooting constantly, but it does mean not drivelling on with tedious exposition and amatuerish flavour text.
          Doom3 was a monument to incompetent game design because the core experience that it should have been shouldn’t even have been that difficult to achieve.

          • ps238principal says:

            I took the logs and other things as merely fig leaves covering up why you needed to go from place to place.

            Where “Doom 3″ did carry on the spirit of its predecessors was in the fact that it, like the other Doom titles, is basically a form of “Minesweeper” except any bombs you uncover start trying to kill you. Every combat segment is a triggered event. It’s as if there’s a giant monster dispenser and it’s set off by pressure plates in the floor or by strings attached to health packs.

            If “Doom 3″ was trying to be more than just a dumb ol’ shooter, the monsters would have had patrol areas or other strategic actions (and a few did, I think, but they were few and far between). As it stood, about 99% of the combat was “pop out and kill the player,” resulting in the only strategy available to you being “I know where they’re going to appear because I’ve played it before.”

          • ps238principal says:

            Oh, and I almost forgot: The other purpose for the audio logs and e-mails was to hide the codes for the various stores of weapons and goodies around the levels.

          • eri says:

            I totally agree with this. BioShock is more successful when it comes to narrative because it creates a context for the situations and events to matter, and make sense. Doom 3′s focus on characters, audio logs, scripted sequences etc. isn’t necessarily poorly done, but it’s out of context in a game that is primarily about shooting demons in the face as they come out of literal monster closets.

            It was about at the point where I had to climb up a ladder that had been hidden behind a sliding wall inside a bathroom that I realised the level design in Doom 3 made absolutely no sense, and was just a bunch of cool set pieces strung together by metal corridors. Meanwhile, BioShock gets it right by at least justifying the places you go to and the people you meet… even though a lot of the time they feel very gamey in their implementation.

            It’s actually kind of interesting to study both of the games next to each other. BioShock reeks of high-concept snobbery but can’t make its fundamental shooting particularly engaging, while Doom 3 nails the combat while utterly failing when it comes to providing an interesting backing for its narrative.

  6. Eddie says:

    My internet is screwy and nothing is embedded (I don’t even know if anyhting is supposed to be). I watched season 2 on viddler, will this season be there too?

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    About the storytelling and (non)linear games:The game with the best story ever is the nonlinear planescape:torment.And the only weak point of that game is when you exit sigil and enter the more linear environment.Also,both thief and starcraft 2 tell good stories without being linear.

    Besides,bioshock is more of an atmospheric game,not a storytelling one.

    As for plausibility of that city:We do have the technology to build something like that.It just depends on the depth of the water,and the pocket.But,considering that this is the middle of an ocean,I doubt there are any shallow ridges that you could build such a thing on.Maybe there are,though.

    • Valaqil says:

      I don’t know much, if anything, about Planescape. I remember hearing about it ages ago, but I’ve forgotten everything since then. Yet I continue to hear it mentioned. Mind giving me a reason to go play it? “Best story ever” is intriguing, but not enough by itself. (Not enough detail in that description.)

      In any case, I came here to say something similar. I won’t say that nonlinear is necessarily better — I’ve seen it used worse too often — but I don’t agree that linear is better for storytelling. I think that a nonlinear level design / world is often done by people who don’t care about the story, or are simply _bad_ at it. Nonlinear holds so much more potential. We’ve spent much of history with linear storytelling, and it certainly works. BioShock, imo, is a king of linear storytelling because it has a very “meta” reason for it. On the other hand, nonlinear can be used to great effect as well.

      • acronix says:

        About the Planescape thing:I haven´t played the game myself, but word from friends that did said, besides “best story ever!” that it had “best dialogue ever!” and “best characters ever!”, with a lot of special mentions about the dialogue.
        To tell the truth, when they told me all the reasons to play it I felt so overwhelmed that I couldn´t play it…

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Ok,where to begin…MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD,but still,I had to warn you:

        What acronix said,plus it has innovative gameplay.Instead of usual rpg stuff like swords,crossbows,etc,one of the character is being equipped with teeth(he is a flying skull that curses a lot,though not in a distasteful juvenile manner of shoddy tv),and the rest are just as quirky.You use stitchings and embalming fluid to heal yourself,because you are dead.You can die and respawn not just as a way to continue gaming uninterrupted,but also as a way to solve some of the puzzles.You basically become as a god and can persuade the main villain that he doesnt exist.The humour is abundant,and dark(the aforementioned skull,then a succubus running a brothel where prostitutes are discussing philosophy and art,telling stories,etc),yet there is lots of places for serious drama and believable character interactions.All your companions are alive(in a sense,because one is a skull,one is a kind of a robot,one is an animated armour,one is a flying human torch).And while it starts with the cliche of amnesia,it ends in such an epic battle,not just of might,but of mind as well,and so many implications about real actual human emotions,desires and morality.

        I could go on,but Im afraid Id have to use spoilers.Though there is so much of the game,that even with full on spoilers,I still would probably miss half of it.Still it is much more impressive to experience first hand.

        Oh,and lets talk graphics as well:It comes from the last days of 2d isometric rpgs,with hand drawn backgrounds.So it is a pinnacle of that era,just a tincy bit behind baldurs gate 2,which still is the ultimate art when it comes to that style.So,even by todays standard,it features impressive backgrounds,and nice characters.

        Sound is superb,both in music and in voice acting.

        If no other game was considered art,planescape:torment would still be an artistic masterpiece.

        • swimon says:

          I agree with pretty much everything said but the game is not perfect. While there is surprisingly and refreshingly little of it I thought the fighting was pretty tedious. The problem is that all the strategy is made while levelling and in a battle you usually just bash away at the enemy. Now as I said there isn’t all that much fighting you actually only need to fight 3 fights in the entire game, but unless you have played it before you’ll probably end up in more fights.

          Another problem is that it has a soft level cap with there being no grindable monsters (at least not accessible from all areas) and eventually you run out of quests meaning that you can’t gain any more experience. This was a problem for me since my character wasn’t exactly perfectly made and I managed to miss a lot of content in the middle which meant that by the end I wasn’t powerful enough to kill the end-boss and had no means to get more powerful so I never finished the game. I could play it again and I will sometime since it really is a great game but I couldn’t stand doing it right away since I pretty much knew what everyone was going to say.

          So to sum up: you really ought to play it it’s a great game with some of the best writing ever (there are lots of side quests that are just genius) but I don’t think it’s the best RPG ever and it’s certainly not perfect.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            I didnt play it for quite a while,so my memory isnt to be trusted,but I think that the only mandatory fight is the one with ravel.

            Sure the game isnt perfect,no game is(though portal is pretty close),but it is very near that.

    • SatansBestBuddy says:

      I would argue that SC2 isn’t so much a good story as a well told story.

      SC1 was much better story wise, but most of that story was in the mission briefings that always dragged on one minute too long, with a few gameplay cutscenes, most of which were in the expansion.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well….the thing is,you cannot have a good story without good storytelling.For example,people are always going on how final fantasies have good stories,but Ive tried a bunch of them,and it was always too tedious for me to continue.It was more like someone reading me a book,while I do a thing or two while they are taking breath to continue.

        Thats why I always praise half life.Its not that amazing of a story,really(a science experiment gone wrong,and aliens are attacking,how novel).But it is told so well,with you interacting with everything and everyone,never breaking the immersion by cutscenes or forced choices.Even the parts where you get captured are done well and are consistent with the rest of the game,and dont feel like railroading.In fact,you basically witness gordon growing from a fragile physicist into a trans dimensional uber mercenary.

        Also,I wont judge starcraft 2,because after all this is only the first chapter.And the first chapter of the original wasnt that amazing either.It was good,but the game truly shined in the second half,and especially in the brood wars with the introduction of the fourth faction.Incidentally:doctor narud of the mobius foundation.How can you not shiver in anticipation about that shadow plot weaving through the game?

        Funny thing,but to me it seems that the best parts of the story are those that arent being told,but just implied.It just seems so much more real when something is hinted instead of blatantly told.

  8. Robyrt says:

    One tip that most players miss the first time around – You can kill health stations and they’ll drop First Aid Kits. For areas you don’t plan to revisit (i.e. most of the game), this is way faster than playing Pipe Dream for the hundredth time.

    Also: I was going to rant about how you skipped the entire diner, thus making future episodes harder than they needed to be, but then I realized that *SPOILER* Peach Wilkins takes all your ammo away anyhow so it’ll only affect episodes 2 and 3.

  9. Nyaz says:

    Oh no! Josh didn’t go down to the New Years party on the downstairs floor! Daarn.

  10. MrKite says:

    Hey where’s Randy ?

  11. jdaubenb says:

    BioShock, eh?
    Someone seems to have kept his bile in check for half an hour.

    Four people doing the talking seems to be a bit much at times. But for balance’s sake you probably need at least two people not hating the game.

  12. lupis42 says:

    You that after putting in a bunch of TVTropes links yesterday, I’m not clicking anything until I’m sure.

  13. Wolfwood says:

    She doesn’t mumble but she needs a mic with less static feedback.

    Still curious what kind of a mindset a person would have to have after a plane crash to allow him to 1) inject strange colorful liquids into his body with no hesitation, 2) clubbing someone to death at will with no remorse.

    The guy you play is a complete psycho, guess its why you feel like you fit right in when the game starts rolling in earnest. I sure had a eureka moment when i thought “Hey this place feels like home if it wasn’t overrun by genetic mutants.”

    • Mumbles says:

      Yeah, I noticed that and then spent 20 minutes checking levels on my mic to fix it. Should be fine in the future.

    • Robyrt says:

      See, unlike most games, Bioshock has a plot point explaining this. The plot then proceeds to go totally haywire, but at least they thought about it.

      • Someone says:

        For me the problem is that this plot point is introduced when you are halfway through the game.

        • Meredith says:

          Exactly. Finding something out several hours later does nothing to stop it breaking immersion the first time through the game. No rational person would do this.

      • eri says:

        The “plot reason” feels more tacked on than anything to me. It does make sense, but… eh.

        The game’s whole shtick is that the player is supposed to feel like the choices made up until that pivotal climax were of his/her own doing, but were actually carefully manipulated. The problem is that it kind of falls flat when the player is constantly railroaded into doing certain things, many of which are stupid enough to be put under serious scrutiny. The sting of manipulation kind of wears off when you realise that the game is as highly directed and scripted as it is, but I guess it’s still effective as a meta-commentary.

        • Andy_Panthro says:

          This does really bug me though.

          Just felt like an excuse to rail-road the whole game. Every time I think about it just makes me annoyed at the way it was done. I don’t find it clever at all.

    • CruelCow says:

      I completely love the moment you find your first plasmid: “Hey, a giant needle, I wonder what happens if I inject myself with the stuff!”

      As far as I know Atlas (?) doesn’t even tell you to do it, you just do it.

      • Robyrt says:

        They were just talking over it. “Would you kindly pick up that Electro Bolt plasmid over there?”

        • Veloxyll says:

          I didn’t notice it in this, and when I actually played the game I didn’t hear it either. Since it’s supposed to be brainwashed into you or somehting though, it should’ve really been a first person cutscene (even the walking up part to give the player some indication – hey, your character is COMPELLED to do this, rahter than you injecting yourself for NO APPARENT REASON)

          • qwksndmonster says:

            Having the player walk up to the machine in a first person cut scene wouldn’t have really conveyed the message that you are compelled to do this. The player would have just figured that the cut scene is showing what the protagonist is doing. If there was a tighter bond between the player and the protagonist, then maybe a first person cut scene would work. Maybe if they had Jack screaming before he put the needle in. Eh. Whatever.

        • Raygereio says:

          I just played that section. There’s no “would you kindly” order. Just like there isn’t such an order to jam the giant needles with Eve into your arms.
          You just do it for no reason.

          • Matt K says:

            I just played this section too and there is literally no prompt to pick up the needle and jam it into your arm. The closest thing in game is the booth talking at you with the whole “My daddy…” however by the time I got upstairs that stopped too.

            If I hadn’t seen this I would have little idea how to progress.

            So we’re 10 min into the game and already hit a nice set of gameplay and immersion crumbling moments.

    • Nyaz says:

      …well, Atlas did say “would you kindly”.

  14. kasper says:

    I feel sorry for Josh. He’s going to have to play through a game where, and I’m quoting mumbles here, immersion is it’s greatest strength. While doing this, 3 people will be making comments at best about something he did 5 seconds ago, at worst about other games, prequels to this game, or just cars, technology, ponies or whatever catches their fancy. Great idea for a torture strategy guys. ^^

  15. Someone says:

    If I may chime in for a moment, I loved the vending machines in this game. Many games tried to incorporate vending machines trading ammo and medkits with you, but most of them feel absurd and tacked on. In Bioshock they also feel absurd at first, but then you realise that the whole point of Rapture was to allow that sort of thing to happen. Even when a civil war is going on, instead of government declaring Martial Law and rounding up assets, business enterprises create and market weaponry, combat plasmids and other war supplies, complete with catchy tunes and loud slogans.

    • eri says:

      My complaint was more that there was an infinite source of goods in the game. I would much rather simply have the player conserve resources.

      Also, now I’m going to kill myself since you reminded me of WELCOME TO THE CIRCUS OF VALUES *horrible circus music*

    • Valaqil says:

      I agree! I think that the vending machines fit in _quite_ well. They suit Rapture, and they match up with the Objectivist influences from Rand. I wonder how many of our hosts have read any of that, and whether we’ll get much (Read: Any) commentary on how the game displays some of that philosophy. I never played SS2 (A crime, on this blog) but I did have a bit o’ fun comparing set pieces in this game to some of what I read by Rand.

      • Someone says:

        Shamus actually posted an opinion of the game from objectivist standpoint, on twenty sided, a few years ago. He said that he wasnt familiar with the philosophy and got someone who was to write a reply instead. I advise you to find it, its an interesting read.

        • Valaqil says:

          I’ve read much (most?) of this site via the archives. Either I missed that one, or forgot about it. In any case, it might be interesting to hear what they think as they play, if they are familiar with it. I’ll look for that OP.

  16. eri says:

    BioShock actually has one of the strongest introductions in a game that I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s atmospheric and pulls you into its world perfectly, it offers up just enough in the way of goals and story to make you care about things, and the gameplay is compelling due to its progressive layering of elements.

    My biggest complaints against BioShock really come from the way that it stagnates after the first few levels. The intro is great, Medical Pavillion is very nice in how it’s relatively open-ended and has a nice mini-story going on in it, and most importantly, the game is actually challenging at that point because you aren’t loaded up with tons of guns and superpowers. Making the player struggle for survival is one of the best ways to create tension and fear – it’s not constant death that creates that, as was pointed out, but keeping the player on the edge. BioShock does this so well in the first 1/3 of the game, only to give it all away later on as it turns into a Doom clone (although Doom is probably more fun).

    Also, I think that Mumbles will fit in just fine. At first I was a little apprehensive early on in the episode when she didn’t speak very much, and I was a little afraid that she’d have nothing but endless praise for the game based on earlier comments made, but that’s definitely not the case. You pick your commentators well at Spoiler Warning. :p

    Looking forward to the next episode. I hope Josh slows down a little bit for some of the story and plot stuff, though; the commentary seemed a bit detached from the gameplay and I felt like he was moving too fast for the speakers to keep up.

    • Aulayan says:

      I was a little apprehensive about Mumbles too, but then I remembered…Rutscarn didn’t seem to talk alot early in FO3 and now you can’t shut the guy up. It’s the usual “I’m joining a group of people who are constantly talking and comfortable with eachother” apprehension many people have. I have a feeling by episode 5, Mumbles will be responsible for 30% of the commentary (Why 30%? Because the way this game is built, I have a feeling Josh’s attention is mostly going to be on the keyboard and mouse)

    • Someone says:

      I also found the difficulty a bit lacking, even though I didnt use vita chambers and killed every big daddy I came across, but I just attributed it to the fact that it was ported from consoles without any balance adjustments (I played it on PC), and aiming with a thumbstick adds an additional level of challenge. I wonder if console players found it hard.

      Also, if you didnt do that already, you should find and play the Bioshock difficulty mod. It really enchances the experience and makes you play smart and use your whole arsenal of weapons and plasmids instead of just gunning everything down with thompson and shock.

      • acronix says:

        That´s interesting. I always have huge issues with aiming in this game and it sequel and found the game challenging because of all the wasted shots. And if we sum up the fact that every enemy can stand a good bunch of ammo on their bodies before dying…

        • Robyrt says:

          Bioshock’s difficulty strongly responds to your skill at headshots, which do something like 500% damage. If you can get them reliably, the game is super easy; if you’re a relatively new Xbox user and struggle to get a body shot, you can expect to get intimate with the Vita-Chamber repeatedly.

          Thankfully, the difficulty on important fights can be ameliorated by abuse of Target Dummy, Telekinesis and electric ammo. One can only hope that Josh discovers at least one of these.

        • eri says:

          The game has major problems with mouse acceleration/smoothing which cannot be fixed, similar to Far Cry 2. A lot of poor quality PC ports have these issues and BioShock is no exception. I honestly have no idea why it is so hard for developers to implement 1:1 mouse controls, it’s not like it’s hard to do. Going from a game with fast and precise sooting like Half-Life 2, to something as clunky as BioShock, is agonising.

      • SatansBestBuddy says:

        The game isn’t any harder on consoles, and I hate it when people say it’s harder to aim with a thumbstick, cause it’s not, it’s just harder to learn and never more precise than a mouse, but it never makes the games themselves any harder.

        • eri says:

          The argument for this is typically that auto-aim and level design conspire to create games that are easier. Nearly every single console-specific shooter emphasises horizontal movement over vertical, for example, and many shooters have both auto-aim and snap-to targeting. I can’t even think of a console shooter that features full 360 degree targeting in the same way something like Quake 3 Arena does. That’s not to say that you can’t get good with thumbsticks, but they are nowhere near as precise (the mechanism itself simply lacks the detail you get with a high-quality gaming mouses) and there’s all sorts of tweaks that conspire to make things easier.

      • Hugo Sanchez says:

        I actually hated how EASY it was. I didn’t even care about dying (Because of the insane amount of Vita-chambers) So It’s as if it encouraged me to just go as balls-out as possible, which, while often backfiring, held no real consequence.

        (Of course , I didn’t realize there was an option to turn vita-chambers off until after the first go-round).

  17. Dude says:

    This episode needed more, “Stop shooting me!”

  18. Simon says:

    Josh, would you kindly lower your mouse sensitivity, it’s making me nauseous and makes it difficult to appreciate the incredible environments.

    • Volatar says:

      I was going to say exactly the same thing. Please, PLEASE lower it. You will have to get used to it, but it will make the video much more pleasant for all of us.

    • SatansBestBuddy says:

      Agreed.

      Lower than thing by a good 3-4 notches, cause you’ve got quite possibly the shakiest hands I’ve ever seen in an LP. (and I’ve seen more than a few)

    • Nick says:

      Indeed. I’ve notice that most console/PC games not only have the sensitivity turned up to “oh no I shivered from the cold and I just turned in a circle 5 times” sensitivity, but it’s still at notch, like, 1 out of 50. You can’t turn it any lower, or if you do, areas that actually give you a mouse pointer such as pipedream now move like a snail in molasses.

      Also, what’s up with mouse acceleration? Really?

      • Volatar says:

        I love mouse acceleration. It just feels right to me. It is also way smoother than the alternative.

      • Volatar says:

        I love mouse acceleration. It just feels right to me. It is also way smoother than the alternative. It allows me to keep my sensitivity low enough to Snipe in shooters, yet I can still do a 180 instantly.

      • Josh says:

        I actually do turn it down a notch (it was on 3, now it’s on 2) before the next two episodes and I think that worked out well. Part of the problem was that we recorded this as a test episode and I hadn’t played the game beforehand (a problem that I have since rectified).

        And yeah, I don’t think there’s a way to turn off the nonlinear mouse acceleration, and I absolutely hate it. Then again, there wasn’t an easy way to turn that off in Fallout 3 either – that was the only thing we “modded,” in that I edited the ini files to do it. But I would have gone crazy in that game with mouse acceleration on.

        • Ah, I feel your pain bro, I guess you are a high DPI mouser like me?

          I turn off the acceleration checkmark in windows, I leave the slider at dead center (default), I turn off smoothing/acellwhatever in all games. And my mouse is set to 1800 DPI right now.

          If I need to move the mouse one pixel I only move the mouse 1 grain of dust for example.
          If I need to turn around 180 or move the mouse across the screen I just move my fingers an inch or so. Yep, my “fingers” I do not move my arm nor my hand at all, it’s all pure fingertip control. (finger muscle memory is several times more sensitive and accurate than hand or arm muscle memory, not to mention it “cured” my carpal tunnel syndrome, I can mouse all day with no discomfort at all)

          And believe me I know what a grain of dust feels like too, as the only drawback to owning the amazing Icemat (frosted glass pad, known as Steelseries I-2 or sumpt these days) is as smooth as it was years ago no, cleaning it is easy thankfully as you can feel the dust as it settles over night etc.
          http://www.extremeoverclocking.com/reviews/misc/Icemat_1.html
          PS! Teflon feet gives you almost no friction so the mouse almost hovers, and make sure the mouse actually works with the icemat, not all do (or well at all).

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Wow,thank you.It didnt even occur to me that I could use my mouse with just my fingers up until now.And my mouse is slightly smaller than my hand.Ill practice that now.Thank you.

          • SatansBestBuddy says:

            I do the same thing, using only my hand so that moving the mouse an inch will move the pointer across the screen, but I’ve also grown accustomed to making very small movements at all times, unless there’s an urgent need to get from one side of the screen to the other, so my playing still and Josh’s still conflict harshly with one another, to the point where some episodes I just want to rip if from his hands and do it myself.

            Mostly it’s a matter of changing your natural mindset; you have to keep in mind that other people are gonna watch what you’re playing later, so having smoother control will makes things more comfortable for them.

          • eri says:

            I tried using my mouse like this for a while but actually switched to a lower DPI setting because it was too hard for me to perform fine control. Moving my hand can get a little sore once in a while, but it means I’m actually much more accurate in shooters because I don’t have to worry whether or not I’m a sixth of a millimetre off in my movements. :P

      • Meredith says:

        I’m so glad I’m not the only one that started to get sick watching this video. It took me some time to adjust to playing FPSs and I always have a little trouble watching them, but this one was BAD.

        When I played BS, I think I had to turn the mouse sensitivity as low as it would get. Menu screens were a pita, but the game was much better.

  19. Valaqil says:

    Even in a “perfect” society, they have ads before the real content. DAMN YOU, marketers! All I wanted is the intro message from Ryan, not an ad for incineration!

    I liked the game, over all, (it got too long by the end) but I want to toss my hat into the ring with the “Great atmosphere” crowd. That first sequence with the slicer trying to get into the sphere was the best in the game. That set the mood _really_ well for me. And I completely overlooked the documentary style of the Big Daddy intro because I was too busy flinching from the corpse being smashed into the glass, and wondering if I was next.

    As someone who played pipe dream way too much, I was godly at the hacking in this game. :D

    • Trix says:

      Atmosphere is what made the game for me. Despite never being able to truly die and having a massive armory (which I shunned too often for teh wrench), the game still managed to make me feel…on-edge…almost the entire time. I will say the beginning had the most effect, but I don’t think I ever lost immersion (helped that I didn’t think too much about semantics).

      Only part of the game I hated was that one part at the end. I’m hoping anyone who’s played will know what I refer to.

      • Valaqil says:

        Absolutely. Even before the climax, I had my sneak+wrench tonics high. I could destroy enemies. But I stayed on edge the whole time. In perspective, I had no reason to worry, but I always felt like I had to avoid death.

  20. Fat Tony says:

    To shamus about the whole why did i just inject myself SPOILER!
    ATLAS (#A.K.A FONTAINE) was supposed to say WOULD YOU KINDLY take that there plasmid… which is the activation word for a brainwashing program built into youre mind when you were created as a clone of Andrew Ryan (Well more of an artificiall incubated child of). END OF SPOILER.

    • Jarenth says:

      Would you kindly enclose spoilers of this magnitude in s or strike tags, next time?

      I’ve already played the game myself, so no damage done, but what you’ve done here is essentially give away the plot of Bioshock, in one sentence. Which is an enviable skill, and I’m impressed, but still.

      • Raygereio says:

        While I don’t care about spoilers to begin with and view people that complain about spoilers annoying at best. One does have to wonder about the intelligence of people complaining about spoilers in a Let’s Play.

        This LP series is called Spoiler Warning for crying out loud!

    • Veloxyll says:

      See, that’s the sort of thing that shouldn’t have been cut, because when I tried to play Bioshock, the Plasmid injection was the second MAJOR character disconnect I had in the space of about 5 minutes (the first being pulling the lever in the sphere to start the game). Two disconnects in that long made the game unplayable for me, I stopped playing pretty much there and then because I just wasn’t having fun playing this alien person.

      Compare this with System Shock 2 or Half Life where they spend a lot of time building up the framework of your character before throwing you into the game.

  21. Galad says:

    I never realised Josh from Spoiler Warning = Josh Viel at the escapist *hangs head in shame*

  22. RTBones says:

    I had several bits I had intended to add to the discussion. I have to admit, however, that once I heard, “We’ll have to have a suck-off at some point…” words simply failed me (partially because I was giggling so badly I was having trouble breathing). Thought process went something like this…

    “Wait, what did he just say?” (rewind 10 seconds, play again)
    “Oh, he didn’t just say that to….” (rewind 10 seconds, play again)
    “OMG he did…and it was even contextual!”
    (rewind 10 seconds, play again)

    (collapse into a fit of giggles)

    Sophomoric of me, perhaps, but nonetheless humorous.

    Welcome to the team, Mumbles.

    BTW — LOOK AT THE BOOOONES…priceless!

  23. Nyaz says:

    I have to admit I actually pirated Bioshock at first, because I had no idea if it was worth spending my money on (at the time I was too stupid to get my hands on a demo, if there was one available at the time… I don’t remember).

    Anyway, after playing it for about 20 minutes I exclaimed “HOLY CRAP this game is too awesome!” and went straight to Steam and bought it.

    • Robyrt says:

      Ironically, the Bioshock demo is about 20 minutes long.

    • Neil Polenske says:

      Ironically enough, Bioshock was the last physical game purchase I ever made, but before I installed it, found out about the DRM and grabbed a cracked version. Now I grab all games from steam, but unfortunately, I found out too late that some games I grabbed STILL installed SecureROM. Really? Steam aint enough for you publishers?!

  24. Marlowe says:

    Regarding the relative unpopularity of the mid-twentieth century (1930s/40s/50s and early 60s) as a setting for games, I can recall a few off the top of my head:

    Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth (1920s)
    Crimson Skies (alternative 1930s)
    Black Dahlia (1940s)
    Blair Witch Project: Rustin Parr (1940s)
    Destroy All Humans (1950s)
    Stubbs the Zombie (1950s)
    Turning Point: fall of liberty (1953)
    Mafia II (1950s)
    Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake eater (set in 1964)
    Any of the numerous Indiana Jones games

  25. Factoid says:

    I think this series might be a lot harder to watch than the last two.

    There’s so much going on in the game, dialogue happening all over the place, and I’m trying to remember the plot of a game I haven’t played in a couple years all at once…I find myself paying attention to the game and tuning the commentary out, which is kind of not really the point.

    I WANT to hear the commentary, I just find the game keeps distracting me.

    • Jarenth says:

      I keep having to replay certain sections for precisely this reason.

      • Ouchies81 says:

        I’m glad I’m not the only one. I was blown away by the spectacle of the burning plane when I first encountered it… and it was just blown by in this session. The same can be said of every major conversation and plot point so far. I barely understand what’s going on.

        It’s just a blur pasted against a critical conversation that is already starting to sound somewhat droning and monotonously negative.

        • (LK) says:

          I think it might actually be a bit of a mistake to have so many people commenting on a game that’s heavily reliant on immersion.

          It’s a bit like having John Madden doing a MST3K style voice-over of a brooding art film.

          • Ouchies81 says:

            I agree completely. I think another fundamental problem might be pacing as well. I didn’t find a single thought presented in the commentary wrong or uninteresting, it just seems rushed perhaps ill paced.

            There will be plenty of time later to talk about the nuances and game play cliches.

  26. Velkrin says:

    Rutskarn said: “There’s like no PC game in the past like 10 years that actually had you start out with no weapons and then attacked you.”

    Half-life 2 has the combine grunts attacking you, though you have to work at it to get killed.

    Opposing Force (a little over 10 years) has a part where if you wait long enough a zombie will break through the glass and come after you.

    You can also do it in Deus Ex if you manage to avoid talking to Paul on the docks, though apparently he may follow you and go on a murderous rampage while attempting to tell you to try and avoid killing people.

    • Marlowe says:

      He recently played Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth and I can’t believe he forgot about it: you start with no weapons and get attacked in your hotel bedroom by armed locals. Forced to flee into the night, you spend some time defenseless running around a town crawling with enemies.

    • Sekundaari says:

      In Operation Flashpoint: Resistance you start as a civilian, and in the first mission you’re supposed to just drive out of the way of the invading forces (I can’t remember how aggressive they are). I dare say someone, somewhere has driven over some soldiers, looted their weapons, and taken back the entire Russian beachhead.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Does prototype count?I mean,you can go through the whole game without using any weapons(maybe an occasional tank,I dont remember).

      And I think that in gta series you can get attacked and shot at by the police before you acquire your first gun.Didnt play for quite a while though,so I dont remember.

      Oh,and there is second sight,where you dont actually have weapons in the begining.

    • Rutskarn says:

      I was using hyperbole–even as I said it, I knew there were exceptions.

      Although CoC should have occurred, and didn’t, yeah.

  27. Kolobus says:

    What a way to start the day! I’ve been looking forward to this since it was announced. Great episode all, this makes me want to play through the game again. On a side note, what font are you using for the closing credits (really nicely done, by the way)?

  28. ps238principal says:

    Here’s the thing about Shamus’ comment regarding this being a super-secret location: Given the trailer for the next game (which might be a prequel? Does anyone know?) shows the game taking place in a huge, easily visible flying city made up of steampunk propeller-buildings, I’m wondering if our world had some kind of version of Star Trek’s Eugenics Wars. Several Khans arose, got rich, and built wacky cities, and the world’s governments allowed them to because the apparent result is always hideous disaster for those involved.

    Also, given the aesthetic of this place, does anyone wonder if Ryan’s heirs were the ones who later founded the Valut-Tec company? And Adam could have led to stimpaks…

    • Kolobus says:

      I guess you could call it a semi-prequel. It takes place in 1912 but supposedly isn’t related to the story in Bioshock 1. One of the makers of the game likened the direction of the Bioshock series to Final Fantasy. It’s only similar thematically and maybe we’ll see a few reacurring things.

  29. Sekundaari says:

    Seems interesting so far. The role of Josh seems to diminish a bit… along with the roleplaying, so it’s to be expected, I guess. Thanks for the subtitles, they help a lot.

    I was thinking the underwater city looked weird, too. It looks almost like they constructed a relatively normal city, and then sunk it in the middle of the ocean. A thick, strong outer dome would make much more sense pressure-wise, and especially if the guy running the place fears external attacks by governments. Right?

    • Robyrt says:

      I think the idea is that much of the city was built by other people, like a real city, which is why it has a bunch of different buildings instead of a Big Collectivist Dome. It would make much more sense to have a system of domes on the ocean floor, but it wouldn’t look as cool.

      • swimon says:

        I think the best part about it is when you find places that leak. I’m pretty sure that if you get a small hole in a wall at the bottom of the ocean it won’t leak, the wall would be torn apart if it had any structural weaknesses at that depth.

    • Jarenth says:

      I’d actually guess that if you’re afraid of outside attack, having a big central dome as your sole water-defense is actually a lot less safe than having a lot of small, interconnected buildings that are all able to function and survive on their own.

      Of course, there’s no reason why they couldn’t have neither.

      • Sekundaari says:

        Neither? Don’t you mean both?

        I agree anyway, and lots of small domes with a large one on top would make sense, more than just the big one. But the surfacescrapers seem like a very weak solution, and many of them even appear to have straight walls, instead of convex ones. I imagine a relatively small explosion could crush them inwards considering the huge water pressure.

        The smaller profile of a dome would make the city easier to conceal too, though considering the Big Honkin’ Lighthouse of Alexandria on top it’s kind of a moot point.

  30. ps238principal says:

    Noting the comments about a good storyteller = scary game. That only works the first time through, I think. There are loads of games (many of them RPGs) where you’re often presented with what appears to be a task or obstacle that, if you don’t accomplish it, everything will go down the commode.

    However, as is often the case, the ticking clock is an illusion; events won’t trigger until you advance. In later playthroughs, you’ll probably go back and loot corpses and so on while your narrator is yelling at you to get moving (the oft-cited “Doom 3″ has that happen a lot, in that you hear your fellow marines getting slaughtered, but it’s not like running through the game more quickly gets any benefit).

    I’ve heard from other gamers that they HATE the ticking clock in a game. I’m of two minds, I suppose, in that there are some games that are too difficult for most people to accomplish without replaying the same part over and over, but I do think there should sometimes be goodies for those who can skillfully execute a goal rapidly.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      If more games punished you for taking too long, then I would find those parts much better.

      You’d have the choice between say, waiting and getting ready for a fight (but with the consequence that your enemies are better armed, or in more numbers, or they’ve killed the hostage), or rushing in where you can be the big damn hero but won’t know what your getting yourself into.

      The part in Dragon Age with the possession of the boy was like this for me. I thought that I wouldn’t have time to go to the mages, so I dealt with it as best I could. However, you can go away and do whatever you like for a while and come back with no consequence as far as I know. It lessens the tension of a situation where you’re being asked to make a critical choice.

      In another example, I’ve always thought that it would be good for RPGs to have a time limit on missions (side ones perhaps), where if you’re too slow or forget, someone else will complete the quest. Can’t see that being done though.

      • Kell says:

        The L4D games are excellent for this, because the monsters’ behaviour is handled by the ai Director. As such, it initially populates each map with idle common zombies when the map is loaded, but can also spawn hordes and special infected based on the state of the players.

        Hanging around too long in one area will eventually cause a horde of zombies to spawn nearby and flood towards you. The constant awareness of this threat adds tremendously to both the core gameplay and the overall immersion that you and your friends are really stuck in the zompocalypse.

      • acronix says:

        I had the same reaction in DA:O in that exact same quest. To make it worse, one of the dialogue options they give you when asked what to do is something along the lines of “There´s no time to go look for help”. That and the rest of the reactions of the NPCs (“We can hold him, but not for long!”) made me tought that the quest was on a timer. Then I played again and had that quest hanging around until I finished saving all the friggin´ countryside.

        “We can hold him, but not for long!” my arse.

    • Shamus says:

      In the original System Shock there was an optional “time limit” difficulty level. If you run out of time, it’s game over.

      Drink!

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        System Shock probably had the best difficulty range ever, you could customise it depending on where you wanted to be challenged.

        I usually had the combat at lowest, and the others high.

      • ps238principal says:

        Out of curiosity, do you see it as a positive or negative to have played games more than a decade old that are being revived or relaunched? Can the expectations created by fond memories of a game ever be met by current studios that fits more recent tastes that trend towards more linear, cinematic FPS-style games?

        It’s another way games are beginning to be more like movies: Original vs. remake vs. new ideas, etc.

        And I don’t discount the POV of a person who played “the original,” even if I like the new one and the reviewer doesn’t. I just wondered if you felt that it can sometimes overwhelm what would otherwise be an enjoyable game if they hadn’t put a coat of paint on it that resembles something you liked in the past.

        • Andy_Panthro says:

          I do like faithful remakes, examples of which would be the various Quest game remakes from AGD Interactive, Infamous Adventures et al.

          But a bit of new ideas can certainly still provide a good experience, I’m currently beta testing UFO: The Two Sides, which is a game based on UFO: Enemy Unknown (X-COM in the US?), they’ve updated a lot to do with the game, higher resolutions, balancing, multiplayer etc. but the core experience of the normal SP X-COM is still the same. (Visit http://ufotts.ninex.info/ for more info, or to join the open beta)

          I think in the case of Bioshock, if they referred to System Shock so much in the hype, I would have been a bit more forgiving (despite my hatred of the “twist”), but they were so keen to get older gamers to buy it that they brought all sorts of comparisons upon themselves that they couldn’t cope with.

          And don’t get me started on XCOM, which has very little if anything to do with the games they took the name from.

          I find solace in independent game developers and retro gaming though.

      • Marlowe says:

        Indigo Prophecy featured timed encounters – usually you had to either hide or conceal evidence from the police within a certain period or face a ‘game over’.

        • Hugo Sanchez says:

          Oh, god. When the officer comes to your apartment in the near the beginning, I was freaking out.

          I had no clue exactly what to do, and I told him I’d rather not let him in, which just backfired. It was REALLY tense. I haven’t felt that same level of tension and fear in a while.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      A really good story can milk the scary factor more than once.Both shalebridge cradle and ravenholm are scary even on subsequent playthroughs,even though you know ghosts wont harm you in the first,and that zombies arent that tough in the second.

      And Im sure silent hill 2 can be just as freaky the second,or third time you play it.

      As for timers,I have mixed feelings about them.I both hate and love them.Personally though,the best timers shouldnt be the game over ones,but the achievement ones.For example,if you finish a level in 2 minutes,you get a shotgun.If you take 3,you get a magnum.Over 3,nothing.

      I especially hate the absence of timers in rpgs.Particularly those based on d&d,where a mage will sleep it off for weeks in the first few levels.It gets absurdly hilarious when you are in a sieged city or something,and have to act before the final push,so you just sleep it off after every minor skirmish.

  31. ProudCynic says:

    Ah, I remember the first time I played the opening level of BioShock. Scared the crap out of me, in broad daylight, in the comfort of my living room. Had to put the game down for a while.

    Anyway, looking forward to the rest of the series. Although I don’t mind the bitching and moaning that characterized a lot of season 2, BioShock is a favorite of mine and we’ll see how I react to Shamus’s verbal assault on it.

    Oh, and since when is Rutskarn Richard Nixon? Is that a joke I missed? Although I do love the image of a jowl-y Richard Nixon sitting around making puns at various video games.

  32. Irridium says:

    Good episode. And I’m glad your not that angry at elevators any more. Its nice to see you’ve finally elevated out of that “hating elevators” rut and stopped giving them the shaft.

  33. Jarenth says:

    This episode was interesting because – even though I’ve played Bioshock to completion and the main story is still fairly strong in mind – I could not tell what was going on today.

    Part of it is the commenting inbetween, of course, and having to focus on the commenters talking; but even when I rewound and focused on the gameplay and the story, I still couldn’t follow much.

    “Where are we? What are we doing? Why are we doing that? Where are we going? What is our objective? Who are these guys? Where did they come from? Where are we moving to now? What’s going on? What the hell is happening?

    Watching Bioshock being played, as opposed to being immersed in Bioshock, is a markedly less fun experience.

    • SatansBestBuddy says:

      Oh, that’s because Josh is skipping over stuff left and right.

      I’m half convinced he’s trying to speed run this game, as watching this, it’s about as coherent as the average speed run, ie if you’ve never played the game before you’ll have no idea what’s happening, and even if you have you’ll still have no idea what’s happening.

      • Veloxyll says:

        Plus Josh doesn’t believe in keeping the mouse still ever.

        • Josh says:

          It’s a reflex that comes from playing 600 hours of TF2. I can never quite shake the need for complete situational awareness when I play a first person game anymore.

          As for the speed, we slow down a bit with the next two episodes and start to really look around the levels. A lot of the problem (as I mentioned in another comment above) is that when we recorded this it was a sort of off-the-cuff test episode to see if we could actually do four hosts at the same time, and I hadn’t played through any of Bioshock in months. Between the time we recorded this (which actually happened while we were still doing Fallout 3 episodes) and the last recording session we did, I’ve been playing Bioshock through again, so you should see a marked improvement in both the smoothness of my movements and in how we handle the in-game content.

          • SatansBestBuddy says:

            I’ll look forward to those episodes, and thus forgive you for skipping a lot of the little details that give this world it’s flavour. (like the makeshift grave just before the baby carriage, you look right at it and move on without giving it a second thought)

          • Nyaz says:

            Maybe you’ll stop blasting splicers with several bolts of lightning at at time or shooting at already-dead-and-zapped enemies in water :P

            (Seriously, I was half-shouting at my screen: “Don’t waste your ammo! They’re dead! Stop!”)

          • Jarenth says:

            Yeah, I understand where the instinct comes from; I do the same thing in shooters. Just noting that for a video LP, it’s not particularly easy on the eye. But you guys seem to have a handle on that, so I’m looking forward to the new ‘n better next episodes.

            Nice avatar, by the way. Is that Theodore Roosevelt?

    • tremor3258 says:

      Agreed, I haven’t played the game – you can take it a little slower, there’s plenty comment on with set design etc., and all the little touches (and you can see them, since this game isn’t gray!) but it’s moving by pretty fast.

      Are those the diaries playing when it identifies a speaker and it’s not a radio?

  34. Ravens Cry says:

    I have always been a few generations behind computer wise, barely eking along on machines that can barely take the Internet, let alone a modern FPS and I am gobstruck, smacked, and knocked ass over tea kettle by these visuals. Especially the water when it’s flowing through through the whole in the glass, Wow.
    Remember when we couldn’t get water that good in feature length, major motion pictures? And now we can do it in real time on a machine someone with average income and some dedication to the hobby can own.
    Graphics aren’t the only thing, but they certainly are something.

  35. swimon says:

    The whole challenge =! suspense is something I agree with wholeheartedly but it’s also something I think Bioshock does wrong. See the splicers are only scary when you see their shadows or hear their wailing or when you start to suspect that those statues are advancing on you (that was a great moment BTW) or when you just shot that teleporting wizard guy and now he’s gone but could come back at any time and LOOK OUT HE’S BEHIND YOU!

    The problem is that they aren’t that scary or atmospheric when you are actually fighting them. That just deflates the mood for me. It might be because that shows you that they aren’t that dangerous or it might lessen my dread by giving me power, when you’re shooting enemies you rarely feel helpless you feel like you’re doing something. If they cut the number of enemies by like 50% but kept all the ones that do special things (like the lady nursing a gun or the splicer with the huge shadow) the game would be much improved IMO.

    Also the climax is horrible, something I think everyone can agree on. Oh and genetic manipulation is not magic people (pet peeve I guess).

    • eri says:

      Yeah, the endless respawning Splicers is a big problem. The beginning of the game is quite tense because you feel that they’re unique people, but after you realise they’re just random goons to mow down it really kills the atmosphere. I can almost picture some designer somewhere saying “but we have to have some enemies, the player will have gone for a whole minute without killing something if we don’t!”

  36. Nasikabatrachus says:

    This is the first time I’ve seen any amount of gameplay in Bioshock, so I’m a bit leery of watching the plot unfold. I think I was okay with watching Fallout 3 because it wasn’t all that great (the central story, anyways), but this feels like I’m watching the MST3K of Kill Bill or something.

    The visuals are really refreshing after watching Fallout’s ashen desert for so long. The art direction is excellent: the whole thing evokes the buildings and art style from the cover of Atlas Shrugged. Why they decided to build a bunch of skyscrapers underwater, I have no idea, but it certainly looks nice.

    Observation:
    Fallout 3 = 50s motifs
    Bioshock = 60s motifs

    Are you guys going to continue the progression into the 70s? Are there even any good-for-spoiler-warning games that take place in the 1970s?

  37. MrGamer says:

    Every time Josh’s health went low I had to fight the urge to mash my “Healthkit” button.

  38. I never played Bioshock. By the time it came over to the ps3 I had lost any interest in it. So seeing the intro for the first time was a pretty awesome… up to randomly(?) injecting yourself with a giant needle. But the spectacle of first seeing the underwater city was a great scene. I would probably like it a lot but alas. Even so, it was a good show listening to you guys.

    A good example, I think, of a game that can still be terrifying with a lot of challenge and death is Demon’s Souls. If you ever get a chance (or even have an interest) to play it, I would love to hear what you thought. What keeps it working, for me at least, is that there is no game over so death doesn’t necessarily yank you out of the game, just sets you back (a lot). Also, the atmosphere is solid and the most of the actual challenge comes from simply not knowing what will be ahead of you and having pretty much every enemy you face a legitimate threat. Not all of them are difficult to defeat but they are all can kill you in a couple hits if you aren’t careful. Still ridiculously frustrating though… maybe it’s not a good example after all hehe.

    • SatansBestBuddy says:

      You know, you can still play this game, it’s out, you can go down to Blockbuster and plunk down five bucks and play through it in a weekend.

      This series is called Spoiler Warning for a reason, it’s for the guys who’ve already played the game, those that haven’t, well, go and play for yourself, it really is worth your while.

  39. Noumenon says:

    Sadly, the mouse jumping made me quit watching and the demo is the only part I played, so I really wanted to see it.

  40. GTRichey says:

    Ok just started watching… gotta throw this out there. While most movies don’t get a lot of things right with smoking etc. Mad Men does. Watch it.

  41. Knight says:

    That constant twitching and crouching is driving me insane.
    I’ve never “watched” a lets play before where I looked away from the screen more often than not.

  42. Namaps says:

    Just a quick note, for a game that everyone seems to be saying is all about immersion, I never really felt very immersed in Bioshock except for this very beginning bit you’re playing through now. I loved the atmosphere in that beginning portion, but it kind of got stale to me after a while. I can never play this game long enough to finish it. I just get tired of it too quickly, and by the time I come back too it it’s been to long to pick up where I left off. The gameplay ideas were fun, but it just gets tiring when pretty much all the enemies feel the same and the atmosphere never seems to change (although maybe that’s just me, since you specifically mention in the Let’s Play that you all seemed to enjoy how the game AVOIDED this effect) and to be honest the story never really engaged me. I’ve never been able to understand why Bioshock is considered to have one of the best storylines in gaming. I mean, maybe it really does and for some reason I just don’t get the appeal or something, but it’s always struck me as below average. And I guess it all comes down to how frequently the game broke immersion. The hackable turrets in an age before computers (in the modern sense) really even existed just seemed a little too ridiculous for how serious the game was trying to be. Not the mention all the inexplicable things your character seems to do. I mean, yes, they explain it down the road, but it wasn’t till my fourth or so play-through that I actually got far enough to learn that bit of the story before getting turned off by the lack of immersion. Why is he just sticking that needle in his arms? Why am I fighting these big daddies? Why is all this technology so ridiculously out of step with the time period the game takes place in? Who ever thought it would be a good idea to introduce a ridiculous amount of firearms into an underwater society with glass windows?

    Amusingly enough, despite all the accolades the story gets, I seem to remember an interview with one of the game designers where he talks about the team working primarily about the gameplay and treating story as a distant second concern. This seems to jive pretty well with my experience if the game, and it would explain Shamus’ remark about the guns in the game having been at one point meant to be “cobbled together.” I may be misremembering, but I’m almost certain Bioshock was the game being discussed.

    Sorry if that’s a bit ramble-y. It’s 3:00 am and I should be sleeping rather than watching Let’s Plays.

  43. SPQR says:

    I browsed the comments quickly and might have missed it, but somehow it seems no one picked up (or was willing to be that person) on the huge pun that is this discussion about immersion in Bioshock. You know, underwater, immersion, obvious pun…

  44. Crowbar says:

    Something I realised just now? It would be cool to see these guys play Pathologic. Who’s with me?

  45. Bishop says:

    I love watching all these, but now I’m not sure. Mummbles or w,e is getting annoying fast. Like needing an electro shock plasmid to the vocal cords. Other than that I like it ;D

  46. Miral says:

    Since I’ve fallen behind for some reason, and am just now watching these for the first time: zombie comment!

    Every single time I see that Bioshock quote opening banner thing, for some reason this always pops into my head: “There is no Dana, there is only Zuul.” ;)

  47. [...] name is Kelly, but the internet calls me Mumbles. Most people know me from Shamus Young’s Spoiler Warning series where I try my best to go off topic while the other hosts attempt meaningful conversations [...]

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  1. [...] name is Kelly, but the internet calls me Mumbles. Most people know me from Shamus Young’s Spoiler Warning series where I try my best to go off topic while the other hosts attempt meaningful conversations [...]

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