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Bioshock is Extremely overrated.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/27/2011 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,328 times Debate No: 17673
Debate Rounds (3)
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Just for fun, my first debate :D
Now as many people know Bioshock is a very high rated game, and received very High reviews scores and generally positive reception. However i believe this game does not deserve the equivalent of a 9.5, or 4.5 stars e.t.c but more like a 6.5 and 3 stars. This is why:

Many people are initially amazed by the games "never-before seen" setting and artistic direction, as well as the "intricate" storyline and great sound design. However i fell many people oversee the most important component which is gameplay, which in my opinion is a overdose of shallow rpg horror elements forced to coexist with pointless mini games/side-tasks that eventually destroy the actual intended genre of FPS.

For example the guns in the game feel very weak and run out of ammunition all too frequently, and although this is realistic, once you've mastered the plasmids, these guns become virtually useless and therefore contradict the "first person "SHOOTER:"" title. Now we'll move on to Plasmids, which by the way are more or less generic&violent fantasy fairy-powers. With that being said, the enemies we use them against are also a drab. The AI comes into two classes IMO: Gun class and melee class. The gun class as the name suggests are all the enemies that are capable of ranged attacks, these foes tend to just strafe and fire wildly, and seemingly with pinpoint accuracy. Whilst their close range counterparts just scream and rush you, then attempt to bash you to death in a "Call of Duty- Esque" fashion.

And if you happen to die due to those attacks, you'll be revived by a vita-chamber, which imo is the single largest problem with gameplay. Dying in this game becomes less of a consequence of foolish acts and more of a really good way to effectively make the game more narrow, repetitive, easy and linear than originally designed. Im not quite sure what the Dev's were thinking when they decided to put this in.

Im also not sure what the Dev's where thinking when deciding on the character you play as. This shadowy, voiceless protagonist seems to have no reaction to anything that occurs in the game, such as stabbing an oversized needle filled with coloured fluid into his wrist. Also the other characters in the game such as Fontaine react to seemingly nothing, and you have to guess what your character possibly could have done to cause these reactions.

The brainwashing phrase "Would you Kindly" is a very cheap way to explain how your character decides to execute all these events, which made me feel like i was simply pressing the "pause" and "play" buttons on a DVD remote rather than actually controlling a protagonist and influencing the story. I felt as of the entire game could have played out without me, which left me with a unsatisfying feeling when i finally completed the game.

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Are my points valid? e.t.c.... thanks for reading.


Thanks for instigating this debate, and welcome to DDO! Just to clear it up, I assume that I am debating that BioShock is not extremely overrated. Also, I know this is a fun debate, but forgive me if I ever sound like I'm being really formal-- it's just how I debate. Oh and I wanna put out an obvious SPOILER WARNING, for any readers.

What's the Most Important Element?

Now, when looking at a video game, there are quite a lot of different opinions as to what the most important component of a game is. Pro says that the most important component of games is the gameplay. I disagree completely. For me personally, I generally focus on story and theme, as well as simply what the game really was trying to excel in. With BioShock I found them pushing the atmosphere and story (I'll talk about that a bit later), not necessarily the gameplay, which I found to be average at worst.

Response to Pro

The Weapons and Plasmids
It is true, I will agree, that the weapons in BioShock feel very weak, at least in the beginning. However, I found that, with Power to the People upgrades (to those who don't know, an upgrade you get at a PttP station--like, damage increase for the Machine Gun, etc.), the weapons quickly increased in deadliness. Speaking of which, I have to disagree about the plasmids rendering the weapons useless. Although the plasmids were a great help, I found myself sticking to my guns (pun intended in every way) while in combat. As well, the plasmids were not exactly generic in my opinion--while there were the obvious fire and freeze plasmids, you also have a cyclone trap, sonic boom, and several more interesting plasmids.

Enemies and AI
The enemies, as Pro pointed out, do have two classes--mêlée, (Thuggish Splicers) and guns (Leadhead). What he forgets is that there are at least three other classes that I can name. Spider Splicers are enemies the crawl on the ceiling and acrobatically attack you, all while throwing metal hooks at you. While that may seem ridiculous, those enemies could be difficult. Houdini Splicers are enemies that can disappear and reappear somewhere else around you, all the while shooting fire at you from their hands. It's also important to note why these enemies are attacking you--sheer insanity. However, I'll talk about that later. And lastly ,who could forget the Big Daddies? These behemoths with a giant drill for one hand, and a giant rivet gun in the other roam Rapture with Little Sisters (more on that later.)

I sadly will concede this point to Pro--that the Vita-Chambers were a kink in the design.

Jack (The Protagonist)
Pro says that he dislikes how the main character, Jack, is presented in the game. He indicates that Jack has no reaction to injecting EVE into his arm. This is simply not true. In the beginning of the game, when Jack first injects the Electro-Bolt plasmid into his arm, he reacts appropriately. He moans and wails in agony, as his genetic code is literally being rewritten and rearranged. He even (at least this is how I took it) attempts suicide by leaping from a balcony, only to be knocked out temporarily. He doesn't react to later injections because he is used to the sensation. Pro also says that Jack has no reaction to anything else. While this is true, I actually don't see this as a bad thing--in fact, it greatly helps the game within the context of the story (more on that later--again). As well, I don't believe characters such as Atlas, and Tennanbaum are reacting to nothing. They are reacting to actions and events caused by jack--not words.

Would You Kindly? (The Twist)
Pro states that he thinks the Would You Kindly twist was cheap. To elaborate for any readers, Jack discovers that he was, in essence, a test tube baby, matured over two years to adulthood, with many code phrases embedded in his brain. One of which was "would you kindly," which would force Jack to do whatever was asked of him using that phrase. I wholeheartedly disagree with Pro, and that the Twist as I'll call it, actually is a very compelling device used in the story. I will explain this in my additional arguments.

Additional Arguments

It is my belief that this game is, although flawed, truly a work of art, and that the game's artistic and creative value more than makes up for its average gameplay system--thus, the game is not overrated.

Rapture (Our Setting)
"I am Andrew Ryan, and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No!' says the man in Washington, 'It belongs to the poor.' 'No!' says the man in the Vatican, 'It belongs to God.' 'No!' says the man in Moscow, 'It belongs to everyone.' I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... Rapture, a city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, Where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well." - Andrew Ryan [1]

Rapture is an underwater city created by Andrew Ryan (note the similarity to Ayn Rand) that is the pinnacle of objectivism. In Rapture, a person can do whatever they like. And this was Rapture's downfall. Scientists, being free, made unimagined leaps and bounds, allowing people to splice and change their genes, to the point where their minds and bodies deteriorated due to being completely reliant on ADAM and splicing in general. Thus, Rapture fell to shambles.

Rapture, as an artistic setting, is highly compelling. The atmosphere, both visual in its art deco style, and auditory with it's oldies music and whispers of desperation from its inhabitants, is chilling and unnerving, as well as providing a splendid backdrop to a fantastic story within, what I consider, a story about philosophy and choice.

"I remember when me and the Kraut put you on that sub. You were no more than two. You were my ace in the hole. But you were also the closest thing I've ever had to a son. That's why this hurts, kid. Life isn't strictly business." - Frank Fontaine [1]
"Would you kindly head to Ryan's office and kill the son of a bitch?" - Atlas (Frank Fontaine) [1]

The story of BioShock starts out simple enough. You play as Jack, a man on an airplane, which suddenly crashes into the Atlantic Ocean. You swim to a lighthouse and, fortunately (or unfortunately?) discover a bathysphere that takes you to the seemingly paradise-like Rapture, but soon learn from a man named Atlas that not all is as it seems.

And thus the story begins. The game is packed with deep, charming, and downright disturbing (I will never forget building Sander Cohen's masterpiece,) moments. And along the way, you learn the truth about this place, and why you are there. On top of this, I find that you experience amazing moments of philosophy and theme, gaining insight into the real world--something only a true piece of art could do.

Philosophy and Theme
"A man chooses, a slave obeys." - Andrew Ryan [1]
"We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us." - Andrew Ryan [1]

Philosophy plays a huge role in BioShock. The whole concept of Rapture derives from Ayn Rand's philosophy of objectivism. As well, the game explores the theme of choice heavily. You are given the choice of whether to kill Little Sisters, girls with ADAM in their body, or save them from their macabre task of drinking the dead's blood for less ADAM. Also, this is where I agree with Jack's silence as a good thing. When I learned the Twist, I was blown away. It gave me a new perspective about gaming and life in general. In games, we do what we're told, and many times in life we do the same, without giving thought to the consequences. And Jack's lack of reaction only exemplifies the idea of being a simple puppet.

Thank you, and I wait to hear from Pro.


And the game BioShock itself.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you allot for taking time in accepting the challenge and replying.

The most important element:
Firstly i have come to agree that its partly a matter of personal preference, many people enjoy delving into a rich universe such as that of halo's while some may simply move on to the multiplayer component(ignorant COD fans I'm talking to you). But in the end, there is a sole reason why we call Bioshock, Halo and Call Of Duty video games, because they are obviously made to be played. Which brings me to what you focus on the most, which is story and theme. Now If Bioshock was a blockbuster film, then i would whole-heartdly agree with you, but it's not. Its a video game, and in essence, the gameplay is what a reviewer (IGN, Game spot, Eurogamer e.t.c) should focus on the most, personal preferences aside.

The Weapons:
Now I will have to agree with the fact that Power to People upgrades can make these guns more lethal but about half way through the game, once you have acquired the more powerful plasmids, are they really important enough to upgrade? Sure lets say you're in a heated fight, and you've ran out of ADAM, you'd instinctively switch to your Thompson SMG. So these guns, unless upgraded heavily, tend to become more of last resort sidearms than front-line weapons. Because of their tendency to quickly burn through ammo, i don't think anyone would go toe to toe with a big daddy, and spray him with SMG bullets only to watch his health bar dwindle by one millimeter every half a clip.

Firstly what i meant by "classes" is not the individual two enemies Thuggish Splicers and Lead heads, but what i meant is every non-boss enemy in the game can easily be brought into these classes.( Big Daddies would go in to Melee.)
Whether they are insane or not, the AI has very... "narrow scripting". Their mental state should not give the developers an excuse for simply giving each of them a single set of traits, such as strafing and shooting, or rushing and bashing. Iv'e seen more versatility in a Grunt form Halo than i have from the infamous Big Daddies of Bioshock.

In many games these days, we are giving a silent protagonist to control, with the developers intending that the player would feel the character is completely under his/her control and its up to them to decide their ethnicity, morals e.t.c... Games like Halo Reach gave you a fully customizable character Noble Six, right down to gender. Or Soap in COD4, which up until the sequel MW2, remains completely free to the player. I fell that the Dev's intending the same thing, and succeeded until the whole "would you kindly" was brought into it. After realizing that the phrase is a method of mind control, i felt that the already linear game became more or less a forced exercise, of objectives that in the end were never a matter of choice for Jack. Which is why i mentioned the "Play and Pause buttons" on a DVD remote.

These previous points, and mainly my emphasis on what truly is the most important component of a video game, are the simple reasons I believe, that the very flawed and overdone gameplay, sadly overtake the artistic direction of the narrative and effectively ruin what could have been an influential and ground breaking master-piece. Therefore, Bioshock is indeed overrated.

I look forward to Con's reply.

Regrettably owning the game.


Thank you for responding.

The Most Important Element

I most definitely agree that games are meant to be played. However, that does not mean that because they are games, and are meant to be played ,that gamplay is the most important--although it is important, I submit that in the case of reviewers such as IG(Norant, in my personal opinion), Gamespot, Xplay, Game Informer, etc, gameplay should not be the focus, and thus the gameplay is not enough evidence to consider BioShock overrated. Instead, I feel that mainstream reviewers should instead focus on the balance of everything--graphics, sound, gameplay, story, theme, replay value, etc. without giving special weight unless specific to the game, which is what I implied. Any work of art must maintain a sense of balance. However, I will come back to this later in my additional arguments.

Response to Pro

The Weapons
Pro asks if the weapons are really important enough to upgrade. I say that they are absolutely important enough. It was in my experience that later in the game, even with Level 3 plasmids purchased, they really did not do much to harm enemies. Sure, Incinerate! lit the enemies on fire, damaging them, but other than that, unless one were to use the Enrage plasmid, causing enemies to turn on each other, the player had to use "real," weaponry to survive, as most of the plasmids were not dealing enough damage--in other words, I believe that Pro's statement should be reversed, and that the plasmids were more side arms than the guns. And naturally, as the game progressed, more powerful weapons were acquired, and more upgrades were made available. So, there shouldn't naturally be too much of a problem (challenge, of course, but not problem) facing, as in Pro's example, a menacing Big Daddy when more menacing weapons became available.

I will concede with Pro on this point about variety of enemy strategy. However, that does not mean that this is such a detriment to the playability of the experience that the gameplay becomes rubbish. The patterns of an enemies attack, while they can get old, are not hard to be compensated for with other elements of the game itself.

I agree with Pro that Jack's actions were not a choice. The difference I have with him is that this automatically becomes a bad thing. It seems that Pro's standards of a quality protagonist are that of the idea that the player, and thus the player's character, have a choice in the events of what transpires inthe game. What he fails to understand, as I explained in Round 1, is that the fact that Jack had no choice was the entire point of the game's theme. Jack was a slave when he was being ordered about by Atlas. This was the whole idea--and it was meant to make an impact on the player. It was not, to me, some flaw. It was, as I said in Round 1, the thing the game wished to have the player experience, and be moved by.

Summary of my Response
In other words, I say that, when speaking about BioShock, the worst one could say about the gameplay, is that it's average. And now for my arguments.

Additional Arguments

Now, I'd like to look at BioShock as a whole game, including all of its components--common components that most video game reviewers agree that all games should be judged on. After all, how could one determine its worth without looking at the whole game? I'll be examining the Graphics, Sound, Gameplay/Playability, Story, and Replay Value.

When looking at BioShock, I think it can be agreed that even now, and especially in 2007, the game is beautiful. The art deco Rapture and interior areas of the city were all very representative of what was clearly trouble in paradise--and the city looks it too. The infrastructure of Rapture looks abandoned, broken, and the inhabitants of Rapture appear appropriately mad for the pitiful state that they are in. Big Daddies look very behemoth-like next to the pitiful, diminutive Little Sisters. And one could continue. Basically, the graphics of BioShock are stunning, and deserve the praise they received.

Just as the graphics draw the player into the world of Rapture, the sound does the same. Oldie's music plays in the background on radios, giving the feel of the 40s and 50s. Guns and explosions sound fairly well. The voice acting and dialogue is absolutely top-notch--admittedly only for the main characters and dialogue. to be honest, after a good hour, the cries of splicers and Little Sisters grow uninspired. However, as the extras' voices and dialogues are bland, the voices and dialogue of the main characters are some of the best I've heard. Andrew Ryan's voice and speeches in particular I found to be very stirring and powerful. This is why I most definitely found the sound to be, though sometimes dull, significantly above average.

gameplay, as I believe I have successfully proved, is, at worst, average. However, because it is average and not poor, this is the key to the gameplay. Because the gameplay isn't broken, the other elements of the game can still shine through, and, in my opinion, more than compensate.

While I already discussed the story and theme of BioShock in the last round, I will gloss over it here. In short, the story of BioShock is simply spectacular, and original, in that it was one of the first games I played that really felt like a philosophical piece--one that made the player think about things from a different perspective, and learn. Not to mention that the story itself draws you in and holds your attention. So, the story, to me, could be considered stellar, and thus more than deserving of its praise.

Replay Value
Some would define replay value as having a different experience every time. But in simpler terms, the real question is whether a player would want to experience the game a second time. I think that, at least for me, the game is most definitely playing at least a second, and possibly third or fourth time, to re-experience this great game. Thus, the replay value of BioShock, I feel, can be considered well above average too.

So, to surmise my second round argument, I'd like to focus on the fact that the average gameplay does not destroy the game's deserving of a 9 or so from a reviewer. he graphics, story, sound, and replay value completely make up for the relatively minor setback of BioShock in its gameplay, and so, the game is not overrated.

Thank you, and I look forward to Pro's response.

Debate Round No. 2


Responses yet again:

Weapons:Well then in that case, you've stated that plasmids are more or less sidearms, and plasmids being a key feature, is kind of contradicting the whole argument.?????Enemies: Can you please elaborate on those elements that compensate for the narrow AI? Like taking out a camera in a firefight and snapping at enemies like paparazzi? Jack: Fair enough, I'll agree with Con's statements concerning jack.

Im going to have to agree with Con's overall argument, and conclude that bioshock is not overrated. There is simply not much more i can debate about and so i close my argument . Thank you for accepting the argument and taking time to debate it. :D

In fact now, I'm going to play through it again, with this debate in mind to reconsider my opinion on the game. Thanks again.


Thanks for the response. Although you've conceded the argument, I'd still like to address your rebuttals really quick.

I don't think that, to be a key feature, something has to be the main thin you use. The plasmids certainly made an impression, and was an intriguing feature. Simply put, I think that the plasmids could still be considered a key feature while still being a bit of a side arm.

What I meant was that the enemies could be made up for by other elements of the game, not the gameplay.

I want to thank my opponent for providing the opportunity to revisit and re-evaluate the game. I will admit that while you agree it wasn't overrated, your argument left an impression on me as well. Your arguments made me look at the game more realistically, which I think was one bit of success for your argument. I hope to perhaps debate you once again in the future on other things, as well as from you in general (on the forums as well).
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Saracen1337 5 years ago
Played through it again.....only on stage 4, and forcing myself to enjoy it but i cant. LOL, i guess its just not for me.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by seraine 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's excellent arguments made Pro concede.
Vote Placed by crackrocks 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded