Why do people say SS2 is so much better than Bioshock?

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#1 Posted by catlin_czirr (2545 posts) -
You sound like the people who say Morrowind is sooooo much better than Oblivion, when the only thing that is better about Morrowind is the world, everything was done better in Oblivion. So what makes SS2 so much better than Bioshock?
#2 Posted by Velocitas8 (10748 posts) -

You sound like the people who say Morrowind is sooooo much better than Oblivion, when the only thing that is better about Morrowind is the world, everything was done better in Oblivion.catlin_czirr

Eew..not another one of these..

It wasn't just the world. Morrowind had better dialogue, better quest lines (especially the House quests,) MUCH more interesting and unique characters in general, more fleshed-out and varied stat/skill systems, a more diverse set of spells, a better enchantment system, greater item variation, and more backstory tidbits (delivered primarily through books.) Most importantly, Morrowind contained no level scaling..which translated to a far more diverse, immersive, and challanging world.

Oblivion had...better visuals? I guess "better combat" is arguable as well, but let's face it: the combat and magic systems in both games absolutely suck. Especially melee. Voice acting is another plus for Oblivion depending on the player; I personally am not bothered by reading text..and I'm not a fan of every character in the world being voiced by 1 of 5 voice actors :|

As for your topic question: Try playing and completing System Shock 2. The game not only conveyed an amazing atmosphere, but also brought a great blend of RPG and FPS elements, adding a great deal of variety and replayability. Bioshock, in comparison, is just a run-of-the-mill shooter with a great presentation.

#3 Posted by mfsa (3328 posts) -

Imagine if all the chocolate companies started manufacturing fecal matter instead of chocolate, and the whole world was eating it and loving it. Imagine if you remembered what chocolate tasted like. Wouldn't you want to let people know?

Story

BioShock literally steals System Shock 2's story. I think this is a big thing. Imagine if The Usual Suspects got a sequel, and it had exactly the same story with exactly the same twist at the end - would anyone say it was awesome? Anyone who said, oh, I haven't seen the first one so I thought the second was great would be lynched. Shock 2 has, basically, the same story and narrative structure.

But SS2 does it better. Shodan is an absolutely magnificent antagonist (often considered the greatest game character of all time), while Andrew Ryan is merely a pretty interesting character - but even he is far overshadowed by the wonderfully insane Sander Cohen (who only has a bit part, which is tragic). The Many is also a far more fascinating and horrific plot device than greed and corruption.

SS2 has much better audio logs, as well - and these are an extremely important means of exposition. The game relies on them. We slowly are able to piece together the horrors that the crew of the two ships faced - the dialogue is sharp, and the voice work is astounding. BioShock just doesn't do a good job on either front. Part of the reason for this is that (as Levine said himself) if you just want to play the game as a shooter, you can ignore the logs and just go ahead. They don't matter.

The ghosts are also pretty poor in BS. They're rarely used, and when they are used, it's for generic things. In System Shock 2, we got to watch a man say goodbye to his wife and children before blowing his brains out. It was seriously moving stuff.

There was a lot of great passive storytelling in Shock 2 as well. Just simple stuff like corpses scattered around or blood on the walls, it was used to amazing effect. Who can stumble upon the slumped corpse surrounded by bottles of booze, with a gun in his hand and a blood splatter on the wall behind, and not feel moved? He was so scared he drank himself into numbness and then killed himself. In BioShock, the corpse are just corpses. The blood is just blood. All of the subtlety, the nuance and, most importantly, the emotion is gone.

The level design structure is practically the same as System Shock 2's as well - I've tried to put most of it out of my mind, but one bit I do remember is where you have some sort of plant investation which has overgrown the lift, making it unusable. You have to collect three vials or something and get them where they need to go to progress. The exact same thing happens in SS2. Exact. Same. Thing.

Gameplay

System Shock 2 is a horror masterpiece. The effect The Many hybrids had on me was intense - is intense. They still scare the hell out of me. All of the enemies have an amazing wrongness to them, and it scares the hell out of me. The fact that the game is also hard and complicated, and often confusing, just adds to the wonderful horror feeling. The entire game is oppressive, chlaustrophobic and challenging.

BioShock, on the other hand, has no horror at all. At all. The enemies have no real fear factor, and even if they did, the easiness of the game utterly negates it. BioShock is so boringly easy, even on hard, that it's hard to really feel anything. There's a damn near unlimited supply of money, which means that health, ammo and eve are also in damn near unlimited supply. BioShock's gunplay is quite similar to System Shock 2's, but in Shock 2, it plays off the horror excellently - when you engage an enemy, you aren't thinking about the gunplay mechanics, you're thinking it's him or me it's him or me it's him or me and you're desperately trying to survive. In BioShock, there is no horror, so all you have is the gunplay - and that gunplay is not very good at all.

Most of the weapons are pretty generic, and they are not realistic in context. There is no particular incentive to use the shotgun over the machinegun, for example - while in other games (games worthy of the monicker Shooter 2.0) weapon choice is very important. The plasmids are great on paper, but in practice - thanks to some poor balancing from the designers and some awful contrivances - you only really need to use a few. They are also little more than weapons thinly veiled as some amazing new gameplay mechanic. The electrobolt is a tazer, the fireball is a flamethrower, they even snuck a gravity gun in there.

And it doesn't matter which you use. You can (and probably will) play the whole game using nothing but your wrench and electrobolt for standard enemies, and the grnade launcher and the decoy plasmid to drop big daddies. No two fights are the same? Right.

Dumbed downedness

One of the great things about SS2 is that it's an intelligent game. BioShock, on the other hand, is straight up dumb. There's absolutely nothing in the character development - because you can collect everything (and swap it out at conveniently located spots everywhere), you can use every weapon, you can hack anything. Hacking pauses the game now, so there's no risk once you're in hack mode. And if you fail the hack (which you won't because it's piss easy), no problem. Just try it again! The security system is so simple now that it practically works in your favour. You also have no inventory, meaning you don't need to make any choices about anything. You get enough adam that you can buy just about every plasmid in the game.

And even the moral choice - an element they really sold as being cool - makes no difference. You get a different ending. Wow.

In SS2, you are a human beind. Your skills are limited, you can only carry so much. It adds to the atmosphere of the game immensely. In BioShock, you're somekind of mixture of Rambo and The Terminator, able to carry a dozen weapons and a billion bullets for each one.

BioShock has everything that made System Shock 2 awesome - even its story - but everything has been twisted into something inferior. It's impossible, having played SS2, to go and play BioShock and really be impressed by anything except how much brown coloured Irrational's nose is after its trip to a 360 convention.

System Shock 2 is the better game in just about every way, and the reason that the people preaching about it are so... preachy... is because SS2 practically went under the radar, and is considered a cult title. BioShock, a game which is just much, much worse, is a game everyone knows all about, and thinks is amazing.

System Shock 2 is chocolate.

#4 Posted by Velocitas8 (10748 posts) -

(insert essay here)mfsa

:o

Wow, great post.

#5 Posted by Lithos_ (1016 posts) -

You sound like the people who say Morrowind is sooooo much better than Oblivion, when the only thing that is better about Morrowind is the world, everything was done better in Oblivion. So what makes SS2 so much better than Bioshock?catlin_czirr

Well, I never heard people say that; I played both games (well, by SS2 you mean System Shock 2, right?), and IMHO both were groundbreaking (each at its time) in the "immersion field" (IYNWIM). SS2 was a bit (if not a lot) more complex, and at least as scary as Bioshock. But Bioshock is more fluid, more intuitive, and succeeds further in involving and convincing the player that its world is real, the story believable. Of course, from the scientific point-of-view both are absurd, but hey, if we consider anything "scientific" we wouldn't have fun, would we? All that epic Star Wars battles in space, without a sound (there can't be sound in space), and so forth.

In SS2, when you are near the end you just can't stand it anymore, you had your share; so great, the game ends. In Bioshock, you already miss it before it's over.

Anyway: the sole reason I got interested in Bioshock is because I heard it was created by the same team behind SS2, and that alone speaks tons about System Shock 2, IMO one of the all-times best.

Both great, GREAT(!) games, and if I liked Bioshock a bit more, others will say the opposite. It's a matter of taste... ;)

EDIT: I started typing, went for a cup of coffee, and it seems that someone already told the opposite, with furor and passion. As I said, a matter of taste...

#6 Posted by Velocitas8 (10748 posts) -

Both great, GREAT(!) games, and if I liked Bioshock a bit more, others will say the opposite. It's a matter of taste... ;) Lithos_

Indeed. This is one of the reasons I hate "CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE" topics like this. Very little constructive discussion ever takes place when matters of preference enter the picture.

#7 Posted by Darth_Kane (2966 posts) -

[QUOTE="mfsa"](insert essay here)Velocitas8

:o

Wow, great post.

He always makes huge posts

#8 Posted by doctor_kaz (3340 posts) -

You sound like the people who say Morrowind is sooooo much better than Oblivion, when the only thing that is better about Morrowind is the world, everything was done better in Oblivion. So what makes SS2 so much better than Bioshock?catlin_czirr

System Shock 2 was better at a few things. It was a terrifying game -- much scarier than Bioshock, and it had a pretty good role-playing system that added a lot to the game. Bioshock really lacked that. Plus, it felt like a lot of stuff was copied and pasted from SS2 to Bioshock, so the original game gets the credit.

#9 Posted by artur79 (4679 posts) -

F me, mfsa. That is the longest post I've ever seen.

Anyway. SS2: better gameplay, deeper shooting mechanics, waaaaay better music, the tension in that game is insane, the feeling of isolation is awesome and the story is great. To put it simply: SS2 = masterpiece (if you can call a game that...)

Bioshock: great art-design, great graphics, cool atmosphere... Just not in the same league as SS2, I'm afraid. Someone said, tastes differ, I agree, but I have problems respecting opinions like "Bioshock >>> SS" and "Oblivion>>>MW".

#10 Posted by HaloEleven (250 posts) -
The gameplay in Bioshock was terrible imo. Just terrible.
#11 Posted by JP_Russell (12893 posts) -

Oblivion had...better visuals? I guess "better combat" is arguable as well, but let's face it: the combat and magic systems in both games absolutely suck. Especially melee. Voice acting is another plus for Oblivion depending on the player; I personally am not bothered by reading text..and I'm not a fan of every character in the world being voiced by 1 of 5 voice actors :|

Velocitas8

There were 11 generic voice-actors, not 5. The only reason there seemed to be so few is because there are roughly 860 NPC's in the base game, and over a thousand if you count all the plug-ins and the expansion. It wouldn't matter if there were 20, 30, 40 voice-actors, it still would have sounded like the same ones were used too often.

#12 Posted by foxhound_fox (90820 posts) -
There is no amount of wit or creative humour that could surpass mfsa's post in terms of intelligence or quality of presentation. To sum it all up, BioShock is a dumbed down, simplified, more tedious and boring carbon copy of System Shock 2. The only redeeming factors of BioShock is its artistic styIe, the Big Daddies and Sander Cohen. Everything else is very forgettable. It really isn't a matter of opinion, objectively, System Shock 2 is a better, more complex and satisfying experience than BioShock. Whether you like one or the other more is irrelevant, SS2 is the better game, hands down.
#13 Posted by drgoth2006 (449 posts) -

mfsa say's it all....

and its all so true.

#14 Posted by gozalo (1102 posts) -
mfsa said just about everything that i would have said, kudos to you my good sir, as a SS2 fanboy I feel the need to congratulate and thank you, its good to see that there are still people around who remember the taste of chocolate.
#15 Posted by gotcha455 (2611 posts) -

I love Bioshock!!!

What's System Shock 2?

#16 Posted by madrocketeer (2645 posts) -
(Long post comparing System Shock 2 and Bioshock)mfsa
I approve of this message. Don't get me wrong, Bioshock is still a great game, but it's a mere shadow of the masterpiece that was System Shock 2.
#17 Posted by GoodkupoBan (646 posts) -
I think your tastes prefer something that is easy and simple and not something difficult and complex.
#19 Posted by mfsa (3328 posts) -
*Takes a bow*
#20 Posted by Velocitas8 (10748 posts) -
There were 11 generic voice-actors, not 5. The only reason there seemed to be so few is because there are roughly 860 NPC's in the base game, and over a thousand if you count all the plug-ins and the expansion. It wouldn't matter if there were 20, 30, 40 voice-actors, it still would have sounded like the same ones were used too often.

JP_Russell

Indeed, that was an overstatement (or, numerically, an "understatement.") Considering there are 10 races in Oblivion with 2 genders each, there would of course have to be more than 5 (or even 11, for that matter) generic VAs (unless they re-used some voice actors with different races?..though they all sound quite distinct.)

You make a good point, though. With ~20 generic voice actors you get used to hearing the same voices over and over. Even if they had doubled their VA cast, the voices would quickly become familiar due to both the encounter frequency and the sheer number of NPCs in the world.

#21 Posted by mrbojangles25 (32002 posts) -

First thing first: people that say SS2 is better than Bioshock A.) miss the point entirely, and B.) are correct despite this.

Allow me to explain:

A. SS2 is an action-rpg hybrid. Bioshock was just an action game. Unfortunately, the diehard SS2 fans thought (incorrectly on their part) that bioshock would somehow carry on the legacy. It didnt; Bioshock was, as stated before, an action game completely free of any RPG elements such as skills, experience, leveling, etc..

B. SS2 is an amazing game, plain and simple. Some may not like it, and thats ok, but they at least give it respect. Bioshock on the other hand is a dumbed-down, neutered-for-console action game that fell short for many PC gamers.

SS2: an epic acheivement in gaming history; great story, great gameplay, and original
Bioshock: a good game, but it fell short and just didnt distinguish itself.

#22 Posted by JP_Russell (12893 posts) -

Indeed, that was an overstatement (or, numerically, an "understatement.") Considering there are 10 races in Oblivion with 2 genders each, there would of course have to be more than 5 (or even 11, for that matter) generic VAs (unless they re-used some voice actors with different races?..though they all sound quite distinct.)

Velocitas8

Yeah, they did re-use some of them. There's only a few races that have their own VA that isn't used for any others, like the Imperial male VA, the Redguard male VA, Redguard female, and the Breton male. The three elf variants are all done by the same two VA's for the male and female counterparts, same scenario for Argonians and Khajiit, as well as Orcs and Nords, and the Breton and Imperial female is the same VA. So, yeah, they do re-use some VA's. Some of them should have gotten their own VA's and not been repeated, the female Orc in particular, but 11 still isn't bad, not when you consider just how many lines had to be recorded for those eleven people.

#23 Posted by foxhound_fox (90820 posts) -
the arrogance is strong in this one...that statement (how it's objective on which is the better of the two (even though it really is subjective)) is on the same level as system wars fanboys...there is no better game it's a matter of taste. You're usually a great poster, why post that garbage?achilles614

The qualities of SS2 far outweigh those in BioShock. It isn't a matter of taste. You can objectively analyze a game based on its qualities. And objectively, SS2 has more defining and redeeming qualities than BioShock. There is no way around it.

It isn't garbage.