RPS Advent Game-o-Calendar: December 23rd

By RPS on December 23rd, 2007 at 8:27 pm.

Come on gang, it’s time to open another window on our RPS-approved fairtrade advent calendar! Jim, you grab the edge. Alec, you push the little tab in. Kieron heave away. John, prepare the net to catch whatever might be inside. (Who am I, you ask – why, I’m the spirit of RPS itself).

Would you kindly open this calendar?

It’s an enormous piece of chocolate for us all to share! Thanks, Fairtrade. Om nom nom nom.

But there’s only enough for four. For you…

It’s BioShock!

You've never seen this shot before!

John:

You know what? BioShock was really good. The ending sucked, and I was really disappointed when it turned out it wasn’t going to deliver on any of its commentary, but it was still really good.

And you know what was most wrong with BioShock? Me. And I bet it was you too. Kieron has a great deal to say about games offering us easy and difficult paths, perhaps mundane and complex paths, and how our choosing the former of either might explain why one would not “get” the game. I’m inclined to agree to a point. In so many games we’re presented with a challenge, and asked to solve the ‘correct’ way to complete that challenge. This is, invariably, the most simple way. In fact, I can think of many occasions when people have been laughed at, and very often it’s me, for having taken the most intricate and needlessly complex route to solve a gaming situation, when had we been paying attention, we’d have noticed the smooth, elegant solution. BioShock offers an easy path, but we’ll have a better time if we choose to ignore it. I’m not comfortable saying that this is entirely my responsibility, but it sure is interesting.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that I was often so very stupid as to fail to improvise with my surroundings. I never attacked an explosive to the side of a barrel, threw it, and blew it up. But if I had, I would certainly have had a much cooler time. I could have been playing MacGuyver with the game, but instead found a formula for killing Big Daddies, and no matter how dull it might have been, did it every time because it worked.

What does this reveal about me? Am I approaching games with such mundane ambition? Why didn’t I loosen up and allow myself the joy of playing? I’m determined to pin some of this on the game, and argue that it didn’t tempt me, didn’t flag these opportunities well enough. But even after this, I know I’m still guilty.

I can’t think of another game that has suffered so much through the passing of time since I played it. It was great. Really great. And yet its memory has rotted in my head, infected by the issues I had with it. BioShock deserves better than my dumb head – I think that’s my conclusion.

Kieron:

Sorry, guys. Got nuttin’.

Please sir, can I have some more (being alive)?

Alec:

You were a dick if you hated it, and a dick if you loved it. I just really liked it, but that doesn’t seem to be a valid option any more. Generally debate and controversy are a fine happenstance for gaming – any discussion beyond “OMG teh boss is rubbish / my favourite gun is this one but you like this one so you are ghey” is a sign that a game’s done something very, very right – but this keeps tipping into unpleasantness from both sides of the divide. I hope we can eventually look through it and, without having to declare unconditional devotion to the Cult of Levine, remember Bioshock for what it accomplished, for how it revitalised ideas we thought were lost to uncommerical obscurity and presented them to a broad audience. I once claimed I wouldn’t, but now I’m actively considering revisiting Rapture. I do miss it.

I may moan about it a little too quickly, but I had a ton of fun in Bioshock. I dug the setting, I loved the look, I was impressed by the twist, I experimented joyfully with the combat, and I was briefly obsessed by the soundtrack. The run up to its release was the gaming event of the year, and I had a super time riding the hype wagon with wild abandon. I’m stunned that anyone can actually loathe it. I’m as annoyed by the “dumbed-down System Shock 2″ argument as the next man: games emulate other games all the time. This one is a game’s own creators revisiting and reinventing past triumphs with the entirely noble aim of bringing big ideas to a mass audience. I’m a big fan of Call of Duty 4, but I mostly certainly don’t want a world where Call of Duty 5 is the most anticipated game of next year. Bioshock promises more and gives us more. Hopefully it’s created an opportunity for even bolder games.

It’s just… its narrative was, for me, fatally fractured. Too much of it is riddled with glaring inconsistencies that require a ridiculous amount of player presumption and speculation to make sense – and not in a deliberated, Lynchian fashion, but in the way that so many action movies plunge into setpiece-laden incoherency in their final acts, throwing character and scene-setting out the window in favour of big explosions and sudden, melodramatic and often illogical resolution. I ever do replay Bioshock, I’ll stop just after the Ryan encounter, before the rot sets in, and while the game’s still undiminished by labouring to turn the remarkable scene it sets into a fully-fledged story. Complaining about the plot goes way beyond simple nit-picking. It grates as much as it does because, unlike so many other game plots, it veers so close to greatness on occasion, thus I invested in it that much more. I’m not going to give a rat’s arse that, say, Timeshift’s story is all over the place, y’know. That’s not a game which I’d ever play to chew on philosophical concepts, mull over character motivations or even just to Find Out What Happens, but Bioshock’s setting and setup was more compelling than in any other game this year.

In practice, it was like having a truly fascinating conversation with someone whose charm became increasingly erratic, and ultimately they descended into banging their head against the table and screaming about hair thieves or something. I wanted to finish that conversation properly, hence I was disappointed. I fully accept that most videogame plots are generally on a par with primary school nativity plays, or they’re pretty much incidental to the wholesome meat of shooting or stabbing or jumping or sailing or star-collecting, but here I actually cared, and that was my mistake.

Here’s Ken Levine in a recent interview:

“I underestimated how much people would care about the story. The 3rd act of the game is the weakest part. I just never realized how much people were going to invest in the climactic Andrew Ryan scene, and I think the remainder of the game can not equal that.”

Which means I have this to say to folk who claim anyone who has significant problems with the narrative just didn’t get it: shuddup, stupid.

Levine also comments:

“The twist about the player’s identity came fairly late in development. I’m way more focused on gameplay early on than I am on the story. Most of the best BioShock story stuff came in the final months.”

So, Bioshock’s plot was never its main focus, and frankly it shows.

However, it contains some incredible vignettes – many of my favourite gaming moments of the year are in here, brief nuggets of absolute wonder. The Little Sister snack-or-death machine, Sander Cohen’s bunny sculpture, the first strains of Django Reinhardt in the Rapture lobby, setting two Daddies against each other, “IT’S JUST… A STANDARD… PROCEDURE!”, and oddles more (so many, in fact, that I’ve been able to list entirely different examples in the two other best o’ the year features I’ve contributed to in the past few weeks). I’m happy to appreciate them outside of the bigger, more flawed picture. The hype and my own excitement about BIoshock was entirely justified. It’s a marvellous game, and between this and Team Fortress 2 we’ve got all the proof we need that a game’s aesthetic is as important as the technology behind it, if not more so.

Just don’t try to tell me the narrative isn’t mangled and incomplete, and then I won’t get angry with you and with Bioshock, a game I’m otherwise rapturous about.

We think it was suicide.

Jim:

A good deal of time during the last year has been spent standing about in my shabby rented house in Bath, England, discussing the critical reception of Bioshock with my comrade in habitation. All kinds of things have occurred to us during these discussions, but few of them seem as important as the fact that they’ve gone on for so long, and have covered so much ground. When we’ve remembered to go back to our computers and do some kind work we often end up taking note of just how much the wider gaming community seems to have been having the same kind of discussions, covering an even wider selection of Bioshock-related issues. Now, it seems, I can’t even embark on a discussion of Bioshock without taking into account just how much debate the game has engendered. As Gillen has observed, there’s a larger issue at stake here: something to do with what Bioshock meant as a game in the wider scheme of game development, and our hopes for the future of games.

There seems to be a kind of crucial issue about what games mean to us, and how they are processed by our imaginations. Never has there been a medium in which there is so much recourse to comparison with other, similar experiences. Films are criticised in everything from their lighting to their credit-sequences, and yet these criticisms seldom seem to lead to discussions about how films should have done things like another, similar film. Perhaps this is simply my own, warped perception, and my over-awareness of how games are now digested by critics, but I can’t help feeling that everyone has an opinion on how games should be different, how they could be better, and how X or Y game system could have been delivered differently. I feel like it’s something critical to do with the way that we experience games: we can’t help building an imaginative model of how the game could have worked, and yet does not. This might be because games are, innately, imagined models that we play with continually to overcome the problems they present us with.

All of which seems to leave the game itself – and the experience of playing through Rapture – somehow compromised. I couldn’t help feeling disappointed with the game I finally played. While I was in awe of the theme, thrilled by the soundtrack, delighted the continuous, unbroken first-person perspective, and quite satisfied by the solidity and violence of the, uh, violence, I felt as it was something of a wasted opportunity. And this, again, was by comparison with Stalker. It was a structural thing: I wanted to feel like there was reason to explore, and to return to places I’d already seen. If Bioshock had been a little more open, had used a hub system, and had given us more of “world” within the pressurised walls of Rapture, then I would have been all the more enthralled…

And there it was: I was judging Bioshock on the basis of what it was not.

What it was, and what it included – an astonishing piece of FPS design in Fort Frolic, and some of the most interesting sequences of visual design ever to appear in a videogame – seemed somehow diminished. And how ludicrous that seems when you hold it up to the hard light of day. There have been other criticisms – the most bizarre being the concern about the respawn tubes, which I simply didn’t bother to use – but I’ve been able to dismiss them all. (I couldn’t give a damn about the story, by the way: games have always been about the actual process of playing, and the raw experience of whatever comes along, rather than whatever plot the designers might have thought up. Bioshock’s plot was clever enough, but almost irrelevant in my judgement.) This was a wonderful construction – a real connoisseur’s choice on the all-too predictable menu of simulated violence that videogames offer us.

(If only we could talk to the monsters… Now, that would be a snide in-joke too far.)

Bioshock was one of the finest games of 2007, or indeed any other year.

The stern glare of Gillen.

Kieron:

Really, got nuttin’.

These guys have though…

“Similarities between Orson Welles and Andrew Ryan aside, BioShock is not our Citizen Kane. But it does – more than any game I have ever played – show us how close we are to achieving that milestone. BioShock reaches for it, and slips. But we leave our deepest footprints when we pick ourselves up from a fall. It seems to me that it will take us several years to learn from BioShock’s mistakes and create a new generation of games that do manage to successful marry their ludic and narrative themes into a consistent and fully realized whole. From that new generation of games, perhaps the one that is to BioShock as BioShock is to System Shock 2 will be our Citizen Kane.”
Clint Hocking, Creative Director of Splinter Cell

“What you’re supposed to do is kill the Big Daddy and capture the Little Sister, and decide do you want to kill her or rescue her – it’s supposed to be a big ethical dilemma. As it turns out it doesn’t matter whether you do either – the game throttles the rewards either way. The very idea of this save or kill dilemma is an architected idea imposed from the top… The game rules determine the actual meaning of life in the game, and it says whatever you do to the Little Sisters doesn’t matter, no matter how much the game tries to convince you that it does.”
Jonathan “Braid” Blow at the Montreal Game Summit.

“What is the crux of choice? When we make decisions in life, like which college to go to or what to do on a Friday night, it’s true we are deciding between disparate experiences. But those kinds of choices are actually fewer and farther between than you might think, and, surprisingly, are not the ones we remember most. Think back to a time in your life where you had to choose — chances are, the flashpoints that stick with you were times when you asked yourself not, “what do I want to do,” but “what do I want to be?” At those times, the cost-benefit analysis was almost irrelevant as you sought to reconcile your soul with itself.”
Leigh Alexander, SexyVideogameLand and have a nose at her Aberrant Gamer take on the divine Sander Cohen while we’re at it.

“And even considering all the horrible things I’m about to say about it, it’s probably still one of the best games of the year…”
Yahtzee Zero Punctuation, quoted out of context for the shits and giggles.

“The most salient fact about BioShock is that it’s different. If it doesn’t sell well, perhaps it’s time to abandon hope and resign ourselves to the eternal recurrence of space dungeons and World War II. Games like BioShock are what we need. They are what we deserve. This is one of the best examples of where we should go. It’s silly to argue whether games are art, which doesn’t matter one whit, when you can simply point to BioShock and say: “Games are this.” “
Tom Chick writing for Yahoo before going off and being the Master of Quarter to Three

“With BioShock, the more you look, the more you see. The more you see, the more you have to think about. The more you think about, the more you understand the bloody thing. It’s created, by far, the most novel setting for a mainstream videogame this year. Most importantly, while its narrative is of enormous importance to it, it never once betrays the medium. It doesn’t – say – present Rapture in cut-scenes. It puts you in a room and puts things in a room and, by induction, you come to understand the place. This is what’s most novel about games in relation to narrative – i.e. setting as narrative – and BioShock does it as well as anything ever has… BioShock believes in videogames and what videogames can be, and – if you go along with it – it’ll take you to places we’ve never really been before.”
Kier… oh, shit, that was me.

Bioshock is the most fiercely discussed game of the year because it’s the game that wanted to be most. That it’s so discussed is both a sign of how close it came, and how far away it ultimately was. This is not a problem. This is method. Onwards.

And – y’know – to me, perfection just implies what you were reaching for was a tad banal.

Aim for the stars. You’ll hit something.

.

48 Comments »

  1. Smee says:

    Uh oh, here we go…

  2. Qjuad says:

    “And – y’know – to me, perfection just implies what you were reaching for was a tad banal. Aim for the stars. You’ll hit something.”

    Oh honestly.

    Snark aside, Bioshock deserves to be celebrated. I pretty much agree with everything Jim said.

  3. Kieron Gillen says:

    I suspect people may be Bioshocked out.

    KG

  4. much2much says:

    Some of us expected the game to be more because Ken told us it would be.

  5. Pod says:

    I’d honestly never heard of Bioshock until it was released. What does that say about me?

  6. roBurky says:

    I loved BioShock.

    It’s true, that when I’d finished, I desperately wanted to talk to people about it’s failings. But I think that’s just because it got so close to being the greatest game I’d ever played, and I wanted to imagine what it would have been like if it had achieved that.

  7. Dracko says:

    Some of us expected an experience that wasn’t utterly outdated.

    The Thief series is more progressive than this game.

    It’s not bad, but it’s hardly a great step forward for gaming either. Merely a footnote.

    On the one hand, anything that opens people to the potential of genuine, workable story-telling in a long, tailored gaming experience is good.

    Then again, Call of Duty 4 did it a Hell of a lot better.

  8. Ace says:

    Just two days left. I notice Portal is conspicuously absent from the list so far, I wonder what the other may be? (There are 2 more, right? and Christmas day was game of the year?)

  9. Janek says:

    I’d like to see Dwarf Fortress show up. Wheeee. Wouldn’t be surprised if Jim wangles Eve in, too (under the guise of one of the increasingly-broken expansions ¬_¬). Hrum. Have we had Medieval: Kingdoms yet? That’s a possible.

  10. Jim Rossignol says:

    A traditional advent calendar has 24 windows.

  11. roBurky says:

    I’m not sure if Kieron/RPS have actually had a proper go at new Dwarf Fortress yet, unfortunately. I’m sure we’d have got a story about it on here if they had.

  12. Janek says:

    Oh. Well that ruins the surprise. THANKS, JIM.

  13. Ace says:

    Yeah been awhile since I had an advent calendar. Anyway I was just perusing the list from the advent calendar tag, and saw the original post where it says “..game that’s revealed on Christmas morn is our game of the year” so I thought there’d be one on the 25th as well?

  14. James says:

    When looking back in the long term, the biggest memory that won’t be displayed in a wavy romantic flashback will be the inadvisable choice elements. KOTOR II gave us an imperfect but agreeable take, and Bioshock felt much more like the original.

    Having said that, so did Mass Effect, so maybe TSL was just ahead of its time?

  15. SteveTheBlack says:

    This is the only game that has had a respected games journalist refer to me as a “shithead” because of my opinions of murdering the children within.

    So it can’t be bad really can it?

  16. Kast says:

    Oh for Pete’s sake – play the game before reading retrospectives. Spoilers are to be expected.

    BioShock cannot be described simply as a good game, or a great game or a poor game. It is a rollercoaster with moments of utter brilliance the likes of which we may never see again and sadly longer periods of merely very enjoyable gameplay.

    We really are a bunch of terribly spoilt brats to complain so.

  17. weirwood says:

    Bioshock is a good game, but whenever you examine any of its themes with closer scrutiny, they inevitably come apart at the seams. You can really examine the different strata of its thematic development, and witness how they got abandoned in turn and something else is added on top.

    The concept of choice between sacrificial altruism and ruthless self-interest is diluted to deciding between a slightly different taste of power-ups, with no effective difference or level of magnitude. Instead, the railroading of the game is turned into a major plot point, after which it is merrily continued just as before.

    The concept of an elitist society evolving beyond genius into madness, remnants of which can be seen in Dr. Steinman, Sander Cohen and lots of the minor splicers, is scrapped in favor of a civil uprising with magic powers instead of guns, orchestrated from the start by an Evil Genius. The left-over elements make no more sense with this changed plot.

    The concept of illustrating and criticizing objectivism and its relation to other political philosophies is scrapped in favor of turning the main antagonist into an apolitical cartoon villain.

    Where other hyped games are revealed as bloated gas-bags the minute you start playing them, Bioshock keeps making tantalising promises throughout its course. Only in the end do you realise that it hasn’t delivered on a single one of them. At no point is this game true to itself. Yet, it comes so close.

  18. Garth says:

    “…having taken the most intricate and needlessly complex route to solve a gaming situation”
    I did testing for Scarface, and the lead designer came over to me at one point, when I was playing and said:

    “You are the only person to not notice the path we’d set for you to take, and to then go totally out of your way to get to the objective. Wow, haha!”

    I tend to lean toward the outward solution – as in, if I need to get from A to B, I’ll pull back from A and look at what the quickest/least defended/etc path to B is.

    Later, I talked to the same designer…

    Designer Guy: “How did everyone do with . Did anyone find it far too hard?”
    Me: “I didn’t die at all, actually.”
    “DG: “What? You.. let me see that tape . . Uhm, wow. Even our head tester couldn’t get through this without reloading.. wow.”
    The reason I was able to do so was I went about ti methodically: I had to kill a lot of enemies. There wasn’t a lot of health, so I had to kill them quickly. Thus, I used the most powerful gun to put people down quickly, and did my old Counter-Strike strafe-shoot-strafe-back-to-cover. All told, I think I lost 1/5th of my health.

    When it came to Bioshock, I was never really clear what the objectives really were, in terms of deeper A to B mentality. If I had to kill a Big Daddy, I’d use whatever I had at hand – electric wire, grenades, armour piercing ammo, another Big Daddy, and so on. So I had killed them by pretty much any way possible, but I never felt I’d really found ‘the way’ to do it. That’s not a bad thing, just a comment.

    When it comes down to it though, I don’t think there was any one part of the game that had an impact on me. The characters had little pushes, and I still scream “WELCOME.. TO THE CIRCUS… OF VALUE!” at times, but in terms of in game sequences, I’ve forgotten them all. I enjoyed parts of it, but all told, it had little impact. I had a similar experience with Half-Life 2.

    I really hope the people involved with it will go on to make another game one day where they can achieve what they’d like to – because I believe that they would rather have had more time with Bioshock.

  19. Jim Rossignol says:

    Kieron is a spaz. This explains the advent calendar comment, and also the lack of Dwarf Fortress coverage.

  20. Ace says:

    Ah, I see, and few other things as well perhaps? Heh.
    Cheers

  21. DigitalSignalX says:

    Reading this re-review assemblage and their links, as well as the thoughtful comments afterwards, struck a chord with me to the tune of scenes from the film Amadeus. Particularly when the Emperor is struggling to find the words to criticize a magnificent piece of music, and one of his lackeys is quick to suggest “Too many notes” as an ambiguous reference to making the music less grand or more compact. The film’s narrator later goes on to say that the Emperor can barely sit through a single hour of brilliant Opera, let alone four, and that few people in his court are truly able to appreciate the composers utter genius for what it is. Later we see Mozart’s reception at what you might call the “common man’s” venue to be overwhelmingly supportive.

    I can’t help but wonder if Bioshock suffers, inexplicably, from being TOO good in a way that broadly splits the field of people wishing to praise or criticize it. It’s a gaming overdose oozing look, feel, and sound that perhaps many simply have never experienced. Maybe we’ll have to go back in a year or two after our initial reactions to fully appreciate either side of the hype argument, much like people had to go back and absorb just how groundbreaking Mozart was at the time. Or perhaps we just think too much and it is what it is :)

  22. Matt says:

    I have argued in some of the other comment threads reasons I don’t think the game is perfect, and there are numerous criticisms I would level at it.

    That said though I do agree it is up there as one of the top games of the year, when you have to sit and think of better ones, you find yourself hard pressed to do so.

  23. Masked Dave says:

    So… The Orange Box then?

  24. Matt says:

    Team Fortress 2 and Episode 2 already appeared on this list, so I am assuming the Orange box doesn’t count as a game but a compilation.

  25. PoweredByBacon says:

    Maybe the last one is chocolate?

  26. Masked Dave says:

    Really? Well I suck at memory.

  27. DigitalSignalX says:

    Place your bets..
    an obscure 1-2 peggle sized side-scroller just to be anti-climactic

    MOHA*

    Hellgate London

    *(my guess)

  28. Matt says:

    Has Portal been in the list yet?

  29. James says:

    My inside source tells me it’s not Airborne.

  30. Garth says:

    If it’s airborne, we’re burning this place down.

    in.. text. You know what I mean.

  31. Krupo says:

    KG, HTML formatting error on the “http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/zeropunctuation/1394-Zero-Punctuation-BioShock” link…

    Nice roundup on Bioshock.

    You want to have some fun? Invite a friend over to start playing it from scratch.

  32. Leelad says:

    I feel I missed something with Bioshock. It’s an awesome FPS my personal favourite until CoD4 crashed the party.
    It was getting 213/10 scores everywhere it was actually named Muhammed in many Muslim states…now it’s nothing more than the bastard teddy bear of the game world.

    Who hypnotized everyone and what was I doing when they did?

  33. Meat Circus says:

    Oh come (all ye faithful) now.

    It’s so clearly gonna be Portal behind Magic Door 24. That and a chocolate Baby Jesus. Which is better? There’s only one way to find out. Fiiiiiight.

    Anyway, Portal has been destined for GoTY ’07 from the moment GLaDOS first speaks. Anyone who thinks otherwise smells of wee and poo and won’t get any gifts from Santa. So, yeah.

  34. Leelad says:

    I don’t know, I laughed for about 40 minutes at the 2 rebels in the silo arguing about ar2′s and ar3′s. genius.

    GLaDOS got many LMFAO’s but nothing of the constant lolololololololololololomg of that particular “scene”

  35. Bob Arctor says:

    I want to replay Bioshock with a new PC as the screenshots are lovely compared with my experience on 800×640 medium settings.

  36. Dracko says:

    DigitalSignalX: No, believe me. BioShock is not overwhelming. It’s the exact opposite.
    [Remainder of comment removed by admin. Last warning, Dracko. Opinions, not insults.]

  37. Thelps says:

    It’s blatantly Portal.

    That said, BioShock had more ambition in any one zone than Portal had in the entire game, regardless of how it was realised or executed.

    Ready: FIGHT!

  38. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    I have to say I’ve come round a bit more to Bioshock following the disappointments of Assassin’s Creed (although I’m a lot more tolerant of its po-faced narrative than most people it seems) and Mass Effect.

    There are still some niggles which rub the wrong way, but after all is said and done they’re just niggles. If it weren’t for the delights offered by The Orange Box, it’d hands down be my game of the year.

  39. Thelps says:

    BioShock shows its narrative more than it tells. Exactly the same as Portal, in that respect. Just that, for my money, BioShock tries to ‘show’ a lot more than Portal does, and I really, personally, enjoy game narrative. Not in the sense of characters telling me a story, but more in respect to how a game can tell a story that a film or a book cannot, via implication and background detail. It’s up to the player how much they want to engage with BioShock’s narrative and how much they want to live in the game’s world.

    Kieron put it perfectly: “With BioShock, the more you look, the more you see. The more you see, the more you have to think about. The more you think about, the more you understand the bloody thing”.

    Ultimately though, it’s the player’s choice, and you have to respect both sides of the argument, as the player, by my own definition, defines their experience by their input.

  40. Dracko says:

    Personally, I think Kieron is dead wrong in that statement. It certainly has some nice touches, but it doesn’t hold to scrutiny, and its visual elements aren’t used to best possible potential.

  41. Mike says:

    If only everyone had reacted in such a balanced way when it first came out… Still, the analysis gets further and further with each post on the issue.

  42. Mike says:

    FAIRER. Fairer and fairer. Yes.

  43. dhex says:

    i do wish the entire game was as tight as fort frolic, because that was just…gold.

  44. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    I think Kieron is spot on there, and I think that argument applies even more so to Crysis, cf: the crysis advent entry comments section.

  45. AlexxKay says:

    “The Little Sister snack-or-death machine”

    Ah, thank you for mentioning that one, Alec. That was one of mine. People keep talking about how the game loses steam in its last few levels, so it’s nice to hear that parts of those levels were successful.

    Oh, and the screenshot right after that, of the body stuck full of Little Sister needles? I spent half a day arranging that one. Immediately afterwards, I wondered if it was really worth that much time and effort, but it garnered a lot of positive comment at the next level review. And you guys found it screenshot-worthy, so I guess it was time well spent :-)

  46. Alec Meer says:

    Certainly was – I think I hammered out about a dozen screenshots of that one when I found it…

    And yeah, the Educational Facility was great for atmosphere and detail like that. I always mean to mention it as a diamond in the (relative) rough when I’m whining about the third act, but don’t always remember to, annoyingly.

  47. Dracko says:

    Well, it does!