These days, my other gamer friends are getting more and more surprised whenever I tell them I still haven’t gotten around to playing Bioshock. I’m a bit surprised myself, considering one of the reasons the game was so highly praised was its method of storytelling. As far as I can tell, it’s learned from the Half-Life school of putting the player in the body of a voiceless protagonist and never withdrawing. No cutscenes, just scripted sequences. Since I consider the Half-Life series the current pinnacle of narrative gameplay, you’d think I would have grabbed Bioshock as soon as possible, right?
In reality, though, there were three reasons keeping me from playing the game.
- I’ve always believed that a console just can’t pull off an FPS as well as a PC. The reason Halo has become so successful is that it was the first series with an FPS control scheme for consoles that was tolerable. No, Goldeneye doesn’t count. You can’t jump in that game. In any case, I didn’t want my enjoyment of Bioshock to be tempered by having to wrestle with the controls.
- My PC isn’t powerful enough to play it. The last time I upgraded was four years ago, when I built a new desktop from scratch specifically so I could play Half-Life 2. An upgrade at this point would probably cost at least $1,000 that I can’t really afford to spare.
- Bioshock on the PC used SecuROM, a disk-security system that prevented players from installing Bioshock more than twice. Ever. Although uninstalling the game normally reset the count, the system had bugs which still locked out a bunch of paying customers.
Even though that gave me two strong reasons to buy the game for the 360 over one seemingly minor reason to buy it for the PC, my dislike of FPS games on consoles really is that strong. I caved with Call of Duty 4 and bought it for the 360, and although I enjoyed the game, the controls bugged me enough that it’s now sitting in that stack of games I pick up only occasionally.
So the “which system?” battle that’s been raging in my commercial consciousness has resulted in simply not buying the game.
Well, Kotaku reports that as of now, all activation limits on Bioshock are gone. No more disc activation, and you can install the game as many times as you want. I guess the game’s been out long enough that 2K figured that everyone who was going to pirate the game has already, and they might as well stop screwing over the people who actually paid.
For me, this has turned the tide of battle back in favor of the PC, so now all I need to do is upgrade. I mean, I’ll have to do it eventually anyway, and in the meantime, I’m in the market for a new laptop. So my plan now is to get a laptop that’s just over Bioshock‘s minimum specs, and then upgrade my desktop to a true gaming machine when I get the money.