I agree with brer here. The levels of BioShock 1 were both a joy to play in (mostly) whilst maintaining the facade of real places with real purposes. BioShock 2 tried to do this but was nowhere near as successful.
Take the ur example of Fort Frolic. It's a shopping and entertainment district. It follows the design of real world examples: there's a main soace, with offshot branches containing stores and a theatre at the top end. It's instantly recognisable and relatable. It's also an incredible space to play in: at once open and oppressive with a variety of different environments and engagement spaces.
Now take B2's equivalent of Siren Alley. Firstly it's constrictive; narrow corridors and tight corners. It's so narrow, and so closeted that it's not recognisable as a real world space, it immediately feels like a video game level. It also feels oddly out of proportion, cartoonish in its design. It's still fun to play in, bit lacks that certain something that B1 had going on in the background, an odd form of realism.
Interesting points about the lighting too, and thinking back I reckon you're right. B1 was all about the feel of the atmosphere; the closeness of the Tea Garden, the eeriness of the Fort Frolic cellars, the sadness of Apollo square. I can't think of any areas in two that were expressively atmospheric like that.
Bioshock had some AWFUL later areas though, Hephaestus, Point Prometheus and Proving Grounds are to me worse than anything in Bioshock 2, Proving Grounds in particular had that awful escort mission. Medical Pavilion, Arcadia, Farmers Market, Olympus Heights and Apollo square are all stunning Locals, I didn't like Fort frolic, thematically it was amazing but architecturally I found it bland compared to other places.
Bioshock 2 again has poorer later levels but I honestly thought everything up to and including Siren Alley was stunning. Overall maybe they didn't reach the highs of Apollo Square or the Medical Pavilion but they didn't have the lows at all, Ryan's Amusements and Paupers Drop are among the best of both games. Ryan's Amusements may be very blatant and heavy handed in its delivery but it was a good locale. Bioshock 2 has neons of flora and Fauna which made for some truly breath taking rooms, the outside buildings had also been in 3D replacing the originals textured ones.
I love both games, and revisiting them just in conversation has me itching to boot them up. It's telling that only the first 2 hours of Infinite come close to 1 & 2. Graphically though it certainly holds its own.
I really disliked Ryan Amusements, although that's mainly from a gameplay point of view. It was linear as hell and you hadn't unlocked enough powers at that point to make it interesting. Thematically I loved the concept but the execution wasn't up to the idea behind it.
The more I think about it, the more I think brer hit the nail on the head when he spoke about lighting. B1 had a mood to it with the darkness doing as much as the light to give areas an individual identity. In B2, even in the screenshots, everything's lit so blandly. All the levels look samey, even when their designs are radically different.
But yeah, I took a few comparisons from the remasters.
A bedroom scene:
An office scene
The entrance to the pink pearl vs the entrance the the funeral parlour
Everything in Bioshock 1 just feels more lived in, like its an actual room that people actually used, whereas Bioshock 2 feels like the designers created an empty box, put a few assets and decals in it, and moved on. I think siren alley is the worst offender, as the next map, Dionysus park, looks nicer. but its still just lacking atmosphere.
Tafdolphin wrote:Now take B2's equivalent of Siren Alley. Firstly it's constrictive; narrow corridors and tight corners. It's so narrow, and so closeted that it's not recognisable as a real world space, it immediately feels like a video game level. It also feels oddly out of proportion, cartoonish in its design. It's still fun to play in, bit lacks that certain something that B1 had going on in the background, an odd form of realism
Photek wrote:That's some very selective comparisons man.
Umm...if you say so? I didn't go out of my way to find gooseberry fool areas of bioshock 2 and great areas in bioshock 1, I literally just turned them on and took screens of rooms that were somewhat comparable. The lighting and atmosphere in 1 is head and shoulders above 2, theres no two ways about it.
finally picked up No Man's Sky, as the Steam review score has gone way up since the most recent update. four and a half hours in and I'm definitely enjoying it so far, even if it doesn't feel like I've achieved a whole lot
nice to just throw a podcast on and explore space for a while
10days into it and still hadn't found a gun. Then noticed an out look post on top of a cliff top in the distance so made my way towards it, outlook posts tend to have rifles, looting cabins along the way and sheltering if the weather took a turn. Something very relaxing about it all while at the back of your mind you know that you could run out of food if you don't keep on going. Made it to bottom of cliff to find a rope was dangling, I couldn't use it cos I was carrying too much so I dumped off supplies in a nearby cabin and head back to the rope to find a Bear was nearby.
In The Long Dark Bears and Wolves attack you on sight, they explain it as because of an 'unnatural phenomenon' but basically if you see a wolf or hear one, you best have had a flare or fire nearby cos you're mullered if you don't. Anyway I retreated into the woods and the Bear tracked me down, I couldn't scale hill behind me so just ran at it with a flare and thankfully made it to cabin, ate some supplies and heard wind pick up so slept in for the night, the next morning the coast was clear, made it up to look out and no gun, some food though, through a series of trips up and down cliff face I finally had everything i needed to trek on, there was a trail nearby that had to be leading somewhere so I followed it.
I got attacked by a wolf on the trail and stabbed it, now they run off and bleed out meaning you have to track them if want meat and pelt but I couldn't really as it was getting late, a cabin was just ahead and low and behold as I made my way through a blizzard it was dead on the doorstep, sheer luck. I holed up in cabin and ate well, the next day the storm had subsided so I kept on going, ended up in an old Coal mine, it was creepy as fook but had kept onto my lantern so I could see. found load of ammo for a rifle but no gun, made my way out of it and I was in familiar territory, I'd been in the area before (pleasant valley), once I go to the road I knew where to go so made my way to a big farm house again stopping off in cabins and houses on the way if a storm was blowing and slept in when it got dark. I had a scary encounter with a bear and found a gun but I'll talk about that more maybe later, love this game. Took a screenshot of all the food and medical supplies I garnered in new home, which it will be now I can hunt.