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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-08-31 04:19:27
I was playing through the PC version of BioShock, but I've decided to hold off until my 360 is repaired to really dig into it. This choice is almost entirely motivated by my desire to enjoy it on my home theater system. I realized too late that my DVI to component adapter worked specifically on ATI cards, but not the GeForce 7900 I'm currently running. My HDTV is an early model with no pure digital inputs, and my search for an adapter for NVIDIA cards has come up empty.
I haven't delved deeply enough to write a meaningful review, but I guarantee BioShock is a must purchase. As a shooter, it's merely good. As a full game experience, it's amazing. Having been a former philosophy major who took several classes instructed by an immediate disciple of Ayn Rand, I'm absolutely enthralled that this video game's setting is founded upon the principles of Objectivism. (For those of you familiar with her works, I nearly broke my brain by reading The Fountainhead in one sitting. I'd gotten by in the course by paying attention to class discussion, but I knew I couldn't bullshit my way through the final essay exam.) If you treat it like a mundane shooter, you can easily blaze through it. But if you take the time to explore the rich story, you'll find yourself nonplussed at how challenging it is thematically. Perhaps I'm overstating BioShock's aesthetic depth, but this really is a step forward for video games as an art form.
I highly recommend the 360 version of BioShock. You can Google for any number of message board threads regarding, "Should I get BioShock for the PC or 360?" Invariably, you'll find PC elitists responding, "ZOMG you noob...if you know what you're doing, the PC is always better." True, if you have a cutting edge rig, you can get higher resolutions and framerates in addition to slick mouse and keyboard controls. The problem is that "knowing what you're doing" often comes at the cost of uncounted hours of frustration updating drivers, rolling back installs, fiddling with patches, and so forth. There's something to be said for simply popping in a disc and playing.
The PC version of BioShock has even more annoyances. As described in today's strip, you need to unlock the game by registering it online. Shortly after launch, 2K's registration servers went down, causing much tragic hilarity on their forums. People have subsequently had issues with the limited install quota, being bounced back and forth from 2K's customer support to SecuROM's (the company responsible for BioShock's copy protection) support. We can ultimately thank software pirates for these draconian measures, but it's still ridiculous that consumers couldn't play their single player game due to internet registration issues.
The issue with widescreen cropping affects both versions of BioShock. Basically, instead of providing a wider field of view horizontally, the widescreen mode is simply the standard display cropped at the top and bottom. After promising a technical explanation, 2K's spin on this is simply priceless:
"Instead of cropping the FOV for 4:3 displays and making all 4:3 owners mad in doing so, we slightly extended the vertical FOV for standard def mode: we never wanted to have black bars on people's displays. (This way, everybody is happy...)"
Translation: widescreen isn't fullscreen cropped, fullscreen is widescreen extended! Those of you who mistakenly purchase "fullscreen" editions of DVDs might not be perturbed, but this makes my fellow auteurs and video purists want to gouge our eyes out in protest.
Lastly, there's this. BioShock is an extremely demanding game and you'd best make sure your computer is up to the task. For that matter, I wonder how many 360s BioShock will "red ring" under intense play over the next month or two. Keep your machines cool, my friends.
Now Playing - Metroid Prime 3 (Wii)
Note - Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix is available on Live Arcade! As soon as I get my 360 back, it's on bitches!
David Vargas: (dave-deleteme[at]-deleteme-squishycomics [dot] com) 2007-09-01 19:29:36
For those of us who went the 360 route from the get-go, BioShock seems to be universally a most pleasant experience. For those of you who went to PC... It's okay, things will get better.
Now Playing: BioShock, Puzzle Fighter HD
360 Tag: Late Customer