I'll thankfully be finished my end of term tests very soon. When I returned home tonight I resolved myself to get any work I had to do out of the way so that I could enjoy the remainder of the evening, and tomorrow unhindered by studying. I finished my work and decided to take another trip into Rapture.
Rapture is the underwater utopia-turned-dystopia from the game BioShock. I finished the game pretty quickly on normal difficulty shortly after it was released earlier this year. I enjoyed my time in Rapture a great deal, despite the many shortcomings of the game. That's why I was so glad to hear about the patch for the game that just arrived. The patch fixes many of the shortcomings I mentioned; minor annoyances really. Fixing bugs is of course is the main function of the patch, but it will also give the player more options to increase the difficulty. Additionally new abilities are available to the player... ooh new Plasmids! I'm going to play through again on hard difficulty with the Vita-Chambers turned off.... hopefully that should provide me with more of a challenge. Check out the patch at The Cult of Rapture.
Don't get me wrong, I love BioShock. I will sing its praises to the highest tower... I just felt a little let down given the games pedigree. BioShock is after all the spiritual successor to one of my favourite games of all time(yes I know I say that about a lot of games, but I'm serious with this one); System Shock 2.
Like its predecessor, BioShock is a very psychological game. It knows how to get under the players skin; how to disturb and unsettle you. The two games are essentially identical in premise, save for their disparate setting and eras.... and that's fine. I would have played BioShock if it were a shot-for-shot remake of System Shock 2, but that doesn't get to my point.
The fact that BioShock was developed simultaneously for the PC and Xbox 360 cheapens the experience for the PC gamer. The two versions of the game are for all intents and purposes identical. They run on the same engine, play the same and the story is identical. But they shouldn't. Maybe this is just the jaded old-school PC gamer in me, but I don't think PC games should be ported to consoles. The very act of doing so restricts the potential of the PC version by kowtowing it to the limitations of the console version. To me, playing a console version of the sequel to one of the best PC games ever made would be blasphemy.
When 2kGames was showing off BioShock to the press, they did so with the Xbox 360 version of the game. BioShock was developed with the Xbox 360 in mind, and because of this the PC version ultimately feels like a direct port of its Xbox 360 counterpart. BioShock should have been a PC exclusive, a game that could have truly succeeded System Shock 2. Instead it was turned into a PC version of an Xbox 360 game... a bastardized version of what it could have been.
I'm not some ardent PC snob who despises consoles. I own a 360, Wii and a PS3. I probably play console games more regularly than I do PC games. BioShock doesn't challenge the PC FPS player enough, it doesn't offer the variety and choice promised by the developers, and in that respect BioShock is a disappointment. All I'm saying is that when you play the PC version of BioShock, you see a game robbed of its potential in the name of mass market appeal and exclusivity deals with Microsoft and NVidia. I'm not saying that's wrong, I understand capitalism... You go where the biggest market share is. And right now that big market share is on the consoles, particularly the Xbox 360. I just wish they had developed the game for the PC and created a game that lived up to its lineage and truly kept the flame of PC gaming alive.