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THIS IS THE REVIEW 2K Games DOES NOT WANT YOU TO SEE
on 8 September 2007
Let's keep this sweet, organized and fair.
BIOSHOCK will only install for a limited number of times (it was 3 but - after a deluge of eMails and bad reviews - it was upped to 5). So, if you install it you will be reluctant to uninstall once finished and will have to carry those 9GB on your HardDrive for a long time. On top of that, its resale value is down the drain the moment one pops the box open...
One has to ask: even after paying £30 for it, WHO ACTUALLY OWNS MY COPY?
The game utilizes an overzealous version of SecuROM 7. They either activated all its available options or had a special version custom made. No other game company dared behaving in such heavy-handed way. This means that the game will not even install if you operate virtual drives and will block certain non-DRM certified Drives.
DISPUTED FACT :
It has been widely reported that BIOSHOCK installs a RootKit. Both MICROSOFT's ROOTKIT DETECTION TOOL and AVG ANTI-VIRUS detected either the RootKit or its actions. Recently, AVG was made to release a special update (just for BIOSHOCK) to ignore this alert.
In hacker lingo, to "take someone's Root" means to insert a procedure that "will allow the intruders to maintain root access (highest privilege) on the system without the system administrator even seeing them" (Source: WIKIPEDIA).
Official BIOSHOCK announcements (and their "unofficial" reviewers here at AMAZON) will try to persuade everyone who would listen that there is nothing there, so stop looking and don't even mention it.
Understandable reaction since, the existence of a RootKit would be a solid basis for class-action litigation.
Weight the facts and judge for yourself.
BIOSHOCK effectively revokes our Administrator rights on our own computers. Here is what happens: even after completely uninstalling the game there is a mystery folder that canNOT be removed, no matter what!
On WinXP it is located here:
"C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\SecuRom"
As administrators, we could (unwisely) delete even Windows System folders - yet BIOSHOCK's mystery folder apparently claims a higher authority level? What this folder does and why should it get placed into OUR computers so that we cannot remove it even as Administrators, is beyond me. And I, for one, do NOT appreciate it one bit. (A quick internet search revealed a number of suggestions on how to get rid of it, ranging from clearly unsafe to catastrophic...)
True, almost every game leaves one or two folders behind after uninstalled - but this NEVER REVOKES OUR ADMINISTRATOR RIGHTS to delete them!
I do understand that there are production and publishing costs to get recovered as well as profit projections to be reached. Companies that wish to protect their investment will always try to fight piracy. This is only reasonable and expected.
However, with BIOSHOCK, as it is currently available by 2K GAMES, it gets WAY OUT OF HAND & WELL BEYOND RIDICULOUS!!
No one in the game-publishing industry seems to learn from past mistakes: every security system eventually gets cracked and every "OnLine activation requirement" eventually gets bypassed. So, utilizing an overly intrusive, inconvenient and possibly dangerous security kit only serves in penalizing the people who actually paid good money for their product - and manage to shoot their sales in the foot at the same time.
Look what happened with HALF-LIFE 2: legitimate buyers still have to put up with activating the game every time we want to play - and of course VALVE paid the price: unprotected HL1 had sold TWICE as many units as STEAM-"secured" HL2 ever did (8million and 4million respectively, Source: THE WASHINGHTON POST)
Since I would NEVER install a contraption such as BIOSHOCK onto my computer and wished to have hands-on experience before I reviewed the game, I asked around and a colleague of mine had already made the mistake of purchasing it and installing on his laptop.
THIS IS NOT A BAD GAME.
The environments are well designed and have a pleasant retro patina; the graphics are very nice, even though they do not meet the hype. They are subpar even to older games such as HL2 (not to mention STALKER).
You see, dark is not always moody, and blurry cannot always be mistaken for dreamy.
I did love the music though! Both the collection of happy-go-lucky and romantic 1940's songs (contrasting with the bleak environment) as well as their smart timing, added to the overall experience.
It was the gameplay I was the least impressed.
Totally linear - as it is has come to be expected from any FPS today I am afraid. To be fair, I cannot imagine a Single Player holding a storyline without being more or less linear (even "free"-roaming FAR CRY did not escape this curse) - but then again, that is why I am not a game designer. And unless the publishers release their creative suffocation of the true game artists, there is no hope for a worthy successor to SYSTEM SHOCK 2.
The controls are not hard to get used to; if not, they are remapable; nevertheless, I would love to have an inventory: cycling between which plasmid and which ammo for which gun can get pretty frustrating. Fast.
And, finally: dying. Regeneration chambers turn the game into a check-point one - and I hate checkpoint-games. Most often than not, they are chosen in order to artificially augment the gameplay duration (having us replay the same segments over and over - instead of saving wherever we feel like it). Moreover, when progressing, you usually end up getting killed just before the next regeneration chamber (and having to repeat quite a distance from the previous one) whereas, when facing a Boss, regeneration takes away all the suspense. Keep respawning, you will eventually get him, his health does not increase if you do.
So, all in all, BIOSHOCK IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH WORTH ITS TROUBLE.
It is only a slightly above-average game; and if 2K GAMES did not have the guts to publish it for PCs (and is hiding it within an intrusive security Kit) it should have stuck with X-BOX.
Even BIOSHOCK designers acknowledge there is a serious issue with the security measures forced upon them by the publisher. These measures are hurting their game and, so, THERE IS AN UPDATED VERSION COMING IN THE NEAR FUTURE TO FIX THIS!
Don't take my word for it. Google for "Ken Levin-Interview" and "BIOSHOCK-Fixed-Version" and see for yourself. (I tried to add links but Amazon, apparently, does not allow them)
BIOSHOCK has it all: temperamental and Limited number of Installations, overzealous Drive-Blockers, possible cloaked RootKits, irremovable folders...NONE of which is Clearly marked on the product description!!
As it is, it will come NOWHERE NEAR MY SYSTEM!
I would advise waiting for 6 months, they will either clear it up or it will find its way to the clearance bins...Just last week I bought RISE & FALL: CIVILIZATIONS AT WAR for £0.99 (less than 8 months after its release) - and that nugget featured STARFORCE of all things!