Monday, September 10, 2007

Bioshock's Great. Not THAT Great.

The past few weeks, for many gamers, have been devoted to playing Bioshock, a graphically beautiful first-person shooter with some truly exciting gameplay. The game also came with a lot of hype surrounding its take on morality and Objectivism, Ayn Rand's philosophy which is outlined in her literary works. Specifically, 2K Games billed Bioshock as a treatment of Atlas Shrugged, a look into the effects on society, should an entire class of productive workers abstain from contributing.

Sadly, the game didn't live up to these lofty expectations (and the inherent hype of it being the spiritual successor to System Shock 2). Throughout this game, moral choices seem to be in abundance, but the game's design consistently fails to enable the player to make important gameplay decisions, or removes the pros and cons of the few that the player actually can affect.

If you don't mind spoilers, this is a nice, to-the-point critique of Bioshock's defusal of any morality in the "Little Sisters" mechanic. While the Little Sisters serve as the most fundamental aspect to Bioshock's morality, just look at Ars Technica's breakdown. It's virtually a zero-sum game.

It's a shame that such a fun, beautiful game tripped and fell on what should have been another bullet-point, but the hype machine seems to have taken hold. If you're looking for moral choices in games, I propose you look no further than Deus Ex. You can get it for pretty cheap on Steam now.

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