Leviathan902 is a technology/engineering/shipping consultant for the largest transportation company in the world and a life long gamer. From the time his father casually passed him the Intellivision controller in the early 80s, to the Xbox 360 controller in his hands nowadays and everything in-between, he has been playing games on systems by nearly every major console manufacturer since the '80s. Now married, he fits gaming time in where he can between work, marriage maintenance, home maintenance, and a social life. This usually amounts to 3-8 hours a week. He can be found perusing Destructiod and posting the rare comment/blog while at work in a tiny window in the corner of his screen so his bosses don't notice.
If you’re like most people (myself included when perusing blogs), when you clicked on the link for this blog, the reason you did so was for one of two reasons: 1) to spew vitriol upon me for spiting your love of the week, or 2) to seek my reason for agreeing with your decision to not buy it as well. I may disappoint both parties.
I’m sorry 2K Marin, please don’t be sad.
First, I shall disappoint those seeking agreement. The reason I deny 2K Marin my money is not some misguided fan-boy rage at the sequel’s very existence. Due to the success of the first game, its sequel was inevitable (especially when hits are so few and far between for struggling publisher 2K) and I do not begrudge its existence.
Also, I find the original Bioshock to be far from perfect (I felt it became repetitive and ran out of steam about two-thirds of the way though) and I do not consider it some sacred cow that a sequel can only defile and not enhance.
Furthermore, I care not that the sequel wasn’t developed by Irrational Games. I’m glad they are free to explore other things. I’m not boycotting because of an unnecessary multiplayer, and I’m not making some (minor) statement about the irritating sequelization and annualizing tendencies of the game industry.
In fact, I quite sympathize with poor 2K Marin, as I feel they were given an impossible task; to create a quality sequel to one of the most beloved games of this generation and do so without the luxury of the primary components of the first game’s success: originality and the exploration of a wholly unique place. 2 things the sequel can not, by definition, provide.
Now I may disappoint those looking for me to spite the game. By all accounts (see: metacritic reviews), they have succeeded in the aforementioned unenviable task by providing an entertaining, quality, video game worthy of purchase.
Yet still I deny them my greenbacks. Why?
Why hasn’t Leviathan just got to the point yet?
Quite simply, the game does not provide a compelling enough value-proposition.
I quite enjoyed the first Bioshock. It provided me with everything I wanted from the game and left me in want of nothing. The new environment was a joy to behold and explore and I did so to my heart’s content, fulfilling that desire. I shot and burned and buzzed and froze splicers throughout the halls of Rapture until I could shoot and burn and buzz and freeze no more, and I was satisfied. The story was good (not great) and the big “Would You Kindly” twist caught me totally by surprise and answered the question I had been asking myself the whole time “why the hell am I doing all this crap for this guy?”. It was singularly brilliant. Those are my reasons for enjoying the original Bioshock, so when I read the reviews of Bioshock 2, I wonder: what will this $60 provide that will move me in the same way?
According to the reviews: nothing. They say it’s a good, maybe even great game. Yet their seemingly minor reasons for detraction are the very reasons I won’t be playing it anytime soon.
In short the detractions are: the game-play is largely the same, the environments lack the impact of the original, and the story is not as good and feels a bit forced.
The additions are: dual wielding, protecting little sisters (ick), the ability to walk the ocean floor, and multi-player.
Dual Wielding: Now that is pretty cool. $60 cool though? I’m not so sure…
Those things lacking were the entire reasons for playing the first game. Those last added are not reason enough for me to play this new one.
It is said the game is good, and warrants a purchase. But for me, a game being good is not reason enough to purchase it. It has to provide me with something I want. It doesn’t have to be original or innovative, but it does have to give me a reason to muck about in its world. Despite how exciting Rapture is, Bioshock 2 fails in this. Therefore my relegating the game to “bargin-bin” status is not because I think an 8.something is a bad score. It is merely because an 8.something combined with 60 dollars and a lack of new interests does not motivate me to open my wallet. Now that you have slogged through this massive blog, dear reader, why are you purchasing or not purchasing Bioshock 2?
First things first, this my first blog...ever, on Destructoid or anywhere. I have been on this site for a few years now so please be gentle :P
Anyhow, after reading the Daily Hotness recap for yesterday's news (10/15/09) I noticed that the infamous Micheal Pacther has been making headlines again, bringing upon himself the ire of fanboys everywhere and general ridicule from the gaming community as a whole. However, being something of a business man myself, I can understand where he comes from in his comments. His job is to make predictions about the gaming industry based on current trends. After all, for him gaming is not a hobby or even entertainment, it’s a business. From that perspective the things he says often make sense, even if they’re sometimes proven to be wrong.
That said, what I’m driving at here is that I often find him to be wrong, or at least the logic behind his assumptions to be faulty. Therefore, I decided to write this to provide my own sort of insights into the topics he discussed and why I think he might be right or wrong.
If you can’t be arsed to read the original article linked above, allow me to summarize. Basically, Pachter claims that Sony’s “EyeWand” (what he refers to their motion controller as) is being targeted at people shopping for a Wii, hoping they will choose a PS3 instead and that this will be less successful than Microsoft’s strategy of targeting current 360 owning households and grabbing the attention of non-gamers therein. He believes this will lead to Natal out-selling the EyeWand. You know what? I think he’s right, but for all the wrong reasons.
First of all, I think what he considers MS and Sony’s target markets to be wrong. If he thinks MS isn’t trying to use Natal to sell more systems, he’s out of mind. Here’s what I consider the target market of these products:
1) People who don’t own any current generation consoles (wii, xbox360, PS3)
2) People who only own a Wii currently
3) People who currently have a current-generation system in their house, but don’t use it (it’s used by their son/daughter/husband/wife/you).
Now, you and I can debate all day back and forth over the relative strengths and weaknesses of the EyeWand vs. Natal: whether we are talking about accuracy, responsiveness, force feedback, buttons, immersion, or accessibility. However, the truth is, none of that really matters when it comes to how well the products will sell. Those things only matter to the real gamers: you and I (the people who already own consoles). What really matters is how each appeals to these target markets. Natal appeals to all 3, while the EyeWand appeals to just 1, maybe 2. Here’s how I figure it:
1) How does Natal appeal to people who don’t own any consoles but are considering buying one? It’s a novel technology. It’s unique. It’s not available anywhere else. It sparks the imagination. Let’s face it, if someone was all that convinced about the virtues of waving a wand/remote around, they would have bought a Wii already. The only way you’re going to pull these people in is to offer something new. Natal does that, and despite the virtues of the EyeWand and all of its potential applications, it does not. In other words, Natal has that “Wow” factor that the EyeWand’s me-too approach is lacking. To Joe Average, EyeWand is just another Wii-mote, while Natal seems futuristic (Minority Report anyone?)
2) Again, Natal appeals because it’s something new. If Joe Average already owns a Wii but is ready to step up, he’s not going to step-up to basically the same stuff he already has (a remote to point at the screen). He’s going to go into something new. The strongest thing the PS3 has going for it in this scenario is the Blu-Ray player, the EyeWand simply doesn’t enter into it. Natal at least offers a new gameplay experience (in theory). It doesn’t guarantee an Xbox360 sale over a PS3 sale, but it certainly has more of an impact than what the EyeWand offers.
3) In this scenario, both are about equal. They both offer the ability to draw Mom in front of the console when you’re at school or your wife while you’re at work. Natal offers a couple of advantages though. The first is that you’re not going to need to go out and buy 4 controllers (or up to 8, 2 for each person for the EyeWand) to get the whole family involved. All they have to do for Natal is step in front of the screen. The other is that I see Natal as having some significant advantages in terms of the fitness-game arena, such as a Yoga game that will actually critique and help adjust Mom’s Crapping-Dragon-On-A-Stick form.
Conclusion Wow, this blog got really long. I’ll sum up my thoughts on his other 2 points really quickly:
1) While his reasoning makes sense for Natal costing only 50 bucks, I just don’t see this happening. MS’s track-record shows them pricing their consoles reasonably, while overcharging on accessories to make up the cash. I don’t see this strategy changing, though it wouldn’t surprise me if a Natal 360 bundle didn’t cost much more than their current 360 pricing.
2) Contrary to what he believes, I don’t think the I-Phone will never be a true gaming platform until it offers button controls. I-Phone games aren’t played to played games, they’re played to waste time. Also, Apple will never sell an i-Product for less than 100 bucks. They’d phase it out and offer a new model first. Plain crazy.
So, provided you read this whole thing, what do you think? Do I make sense or Am I pants-on-head crazy like Pacter? :P