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    jp's Bioshock (PC)

    [February 7, 2011 03:18:10 PM]
    Finally finished it last night!

    Yay, it was fun and it got better, which is always a nice thing. I guess it took me too long to understand (and start experimenting with) all the different plasmids and weapons and such. However, once I got learned (and grew accustomed) to quickly switching between weapons and plasmids I was able to take greater advantage of the tactical opportunities.

    For me, that meant focusing on melee. I enabled all the plasmids that let me do more melee damage, including the "possibly freeze your enemy", the "get health back when you do melee damage", and a few others such as the electric skin one. After a while I had a hard time switching out of those. Earlier in the game I relished finding one of the gene bank machines that let me change plasmids and things, later on I mostly ignored them since I was happy with my setup.

    I can see how someone choosing a different set of plasmids and tonics and whatnot could have a completely different experience (and a good one). In fact, there's a moment in the game where you lose control of your plasmids and every now and then a different one is "activated". If it hadn't been for this, I never would have tried out the insect swarm one, the blizzard/wind one, the decoy one, and so on. (I don't really understand how I was able to use plasmids I had never purchased, I guess the implicit assumption was that you'd get them all?).

    Also, I'm not sure I entirely understood the story. All the names got mixed up in my head. I think it goes as follows: the character you control was originally from Rapture, but somehow left(?), he was brainwashed/mind-controlled to kill someone who was pretty nasty, but wasn't actually the bad guy. Once you find this out, you go after the real bad guy. There's a lady (Tannenbaum) who helps you out. I rescued all the little sisters, so she was grateful, if I hadn't would she still have helped me out? Unclear... The bad guy looks like a crazy golem because he has too much Adam(?) Why does he have so much adam? Not it because he has too many plasmids? Special plasmids? How is he different from my character who has essentially juiced himself up with as many plasmids as he could afford? Not sure... In the end, I rescued all the little sisters, who grew up, got married, and led full lives. They all came to see me off when I died. I think.

    Last thing...
    I noticed a while ago that I was playing version 1.0. I had already started and I'm sure there are a few patches out there. I never bothered downloading/installing them because I was scared that they MIGHT screw up my saved game. Isn't that lame?

    Curiosity got the better of me and I found out what the patches for the game did. I missed out on a variety of new plasmids and gene tonics. Oh well...

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 8th, 2011 at 22:33:22.

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    [December 14, 2010 11:04:51 AM]
    I just finished "Fort Frolic" the other night. Although I got lost at times, I really enjoyed the creepiness of it all. ESPECIALLY before Sander Cohen ask me to wander around killing people and taking their pictures. Some of those rooms, with the white plastered bodies got to me... I was SURE they were going to animate, so I started whacking at them with the wrench. The sloppy crunching sound in addition to the bloody mess I was making.... well, let's just say that was an important factor in the creepiness.

    More generally, I'm now quite a bit more comfortable with the game's controls and setting. I don't get lost as often and I have an easier time in the fights. In other words, I can spot the enemies and have a better idea of what's going on. I also have the sickening feeling that I've missed a little sister somewhere. I'm not sure if I can go back and rescue one or not... I guess I'll have to try at some point, but I'm also feeling ready to move on to the next game.
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    [December 6, 2010 02:35:51 PM]
    I've been playing a bit more at night, which sort of freaks me out at times even though I leave the lights on! (currently collecting stuff in the Farmer's Market)

    I think I've figured out the way Big Daddies and Little Sisters work. Originally, I though they were all "set pieces" of sorts. So, whenever you run into a Bid Daddy you should try to figure out how to take him out. I also assumed that the Little Sisters were always around... This was a mistake. I killed one Big Daddy only to realize that no Little Sister was there. I've now figured out that if there is no little sister, you should follow the Bid Daddy until he "wakes" one up...and THEN try to take him out. I've run into a few Little Sisters as they're going back to sleep (crawling into a hole in the wall, literally)...and this helped me put 2 and 2 together. I think I might have missed some little sisters because I kept on waiting for the "set piece" and got to the end of the areas...

    While I can't say that I haven't been enjoying myself, I am a bit surprised by how the game isn't AS enjoyable as I thought it would have been. Perhaps more surprising is that, in my mind, it's due to some design decisions/implementation rather than, say, heightened expectations after all the hype. Here's a short summary:

    1. There's a plasmid that you can throw on a Bid Daddy so he'll defend you. I've been attached by splicers with the Bid Daddy standing by. Apparently, you have to get HIT by a splicer rather than just attacked and missed.

    2. I have a hard time noticing/seeing things in the game. Mostly it's the splicers who often attack me and sometimes even kill me before I realize where they were. 'm not sure if its a graphical issue (do I have a hard time detecting them visually?) or if I'm not playing it right (always look behind you or somesuch), but I've noticed that the game's audio is playing a role...

    3. I play with headphones on and I get the sense that the game has no "positional" audio at all. I can't believe this is true, so I might have to dig around in the options... What happens is that I'll enter an area, here a splicer and have no idea where the sound is coming from. When I first hear it its usually really loud (as if the splicer was right next to me) and it doesn't give any sense of the direction (was that from the left or the right?). To make matters worse, I'm often confused by the sounds that I make! So I'll hear a rustling, stop...and then realize that it was me...rustling through some leaves or whatnot. It's really annoying because I won't hear enemies walking up to me or any of that. It's like the sound mix is wonky more than the quality of the sounds. Like I said, I might have to check the sound options...

    4. Ok. The RPG elements are kind of neat...but it's starting to feel kind of stupid there are plasmids and all the different upgrades, then I'm collecting trash in order "make" more items, then I have to take photos of enemies, and...what else is there?!

    5. I have a hard time figuring out what I'm supposed to do, where I'm supposed to go. The arrows on the top are really helpful, but still. It's like everything FEELs like a maze to me and I have a hard time mapping it mentally. I tried looking at the map...that didn't work. almost made things worse. It also doesn't help that I'm having a hard time making sense of the story...and I do listen to all the audio diaries!
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    [November 22, 2010 09:40:27 AM]
    I read the game's manual while it installed and I was surprised to notice that the little sister's dilemma was talked about. I had the misconceived notion that the dilemma was somehow discovered by the player in the game while playing and that, while important, it wasn't perceived by the designers as such a central part of the game. I guess I was wrong because I've also been surprised by how the big daddy/little sister thing was foreshadowed and slowly introduced over the course of my first 4-5 hrs of gameplay (sort of). I think it went something like this:

    1. You see the pair wandering around. You can hear them, but you can't interact.
    2. You see a little sister harvesting. No big daddy. Atlas explains what's going on. Splicer comes in, big daddy appear, splicer dead.
    3. Dead big daddy, splicer about to kill little sister. Little sister then defenseless. You can harvest or save her. It's the first time you have the choice, but there's no danger since the big daddy was taken out by someone else.

    Number 3 above was interesting because right before you can choose, Dr. Something-or-other appears to plea to you to save the girls. Atlas, on the other hand, argues that they're already monsters and that you need to get the most recourses you can, your safety is at risk, and so on. His argument comes across as a lot weaker (to me) mostly because you know they can be saved. So, while the might look like monsters at the moment, they're (easily) redeemable. Also, they're entirely harmless to the player! (as far as I can tell, I've never been attacked by one...I should try and see if they can be killed in regular combat).

    I've decided I want to save them all, just to see how it goes. You do get a fair amount of Adam even while saving them, so I'm curious as to how much you get if you harvest instead. In other words, I haven't really felt "weakened" or at a particular disadvantage over the smaller amount of Adam I've received.

    So, has it been a meaningful choice for me so far? Well...

    1. I was surprised by what happens after you save them, they change back into little girls, thank you for saving them and then run off. I wasn't expecting the thanks. This clearly makes it harder to choose the "harvest option".

    2. Dr. Something-or-other is very blatant about rewarding you later on for saving the girls. I thought it was a bit too blatant in that it drew attention to the issue from a utilitarian perspective. In other words, focus on the reward. Do you want a bigger(?) prize later on, or instant gratification now? Also, I was under the impression that the payout happened much later in the game, but that isn't really how it works. Apparently you get (it's only happened to me once so far) mini-rewards along the way.

    3. Curiously, Atlas never brings up the subject of the harvesting ever again. It was clearly a setup for the first time, but he hasn't continued to insist that I harvest them or anything like that. This seems like somewhat of a missed opportunity where Atlas could continue to goad me into harvesting citing my lack of success. In other words, he could be saying things like "C'mon man! Harvest them, you've been relying to much on the Vita-Chambers, 4 times in the last area alone!". Or something like that.

    4. Dying in the game is relatively painless. There isn't much of a sense of loss, so the choice over greater power now rather than deferred rewards is less of a dilemma. Like I mentioned, I haven't felt underpowered...and dying hasn't been that bad, so where's the dilemma?

    I guess I'm still kind of torn about it. On the one hand it hasn't felt that meaningful, but on the other hand, I see how a lot of effort has been put into to set up the situation. It's clearly not something that was thrown in at the last minute (not that I ever though it was).
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    jp's Bioshock (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 25 September, 2010

    GameLog closed on: Monday 7 February, 2011

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Yes, it's good. Story didn't make a lick of sense to me, but the setting is glorious.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

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