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Post news RSS Bioshock, P.T and Half-Life 2 : The Masters in Atmospheric Gameplay

Let us dive into the worlds of "The Masters of Immersion and Atmosphere". We discuss on games that changed the history of visual interactive story telling, with the continuation of the previous article.

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BioShock


“Bioshock” is a first-person shooter game which was developed by 2K Boston and 2K Australia, more commonly known as Irrational Games. The game was initially released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 in 2007 but was later ported to other platforms such as PS3 and OS X.


Bioshock


“Bioshock” is set in the 1960’s where Jack (Main Character) is boarding a plane that crashes in the Atlantic Ocean. Once Jack manages to get to a nearby lighthouse he finds a bathysphere that takes him to Rapture, a massive underwater city. Jack has to navigate through the dark corridors of Rapture and face several kind of opponents in order to find out what is truly going on.

"I am Andrew Ryan, and I am here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? 'No,' says the man in Washington, 'it belongs to the poor.' 'No,' says the man in the Vatican, 'it belongs to God.' 'No,' says the man in Moscow, 'it belongs to everyone.' I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose... Rapture. A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well."

―Andrew Ryan, Founder of Rapture

The thing that makes “Bioshock” one of the greats is its very well created environment which eventually leads to its great atmosphere. Firstly, it is apparent that the developers were treating Rapture as if it was one of the characters, giving us the feeling that it was “alive”. This resulted in a very immersive world which made the players feel as if they were in Rapture while playing the game. Furthermore, whilst developing the game, great attention was given to Rapture’s origin story. This gives a lot of depth to the game as it allows developers to add many minute details in the environment related to the story. It also gives characters clear and understandable motives as far as their actions are concerned.

Additionally, a fairly large portion of the game’s story was revealed by examining the environment and by finding audio diaries of the citizens of Rapture. This means that the player has to explore, pay attention and generally be an active participant throughout the game in order to discover more about the game’s story. Finally, the charming 1950’s music that is combined with the creepy and dark setting of Rapture creates this contrasting, spine-chilling feeling that something is not right. This really sets the mood for a place such as Rapture.

In conclusion, all of these elements put together create a world that feels very much alive not only when actually playing the game, but even after years of having finished it.



P.T (Playable Teaser) – Silent Hills


P.T was a psychological horror video game directed by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro and published by Konami in 2014. P.T used to be a playable teaser for the newest installment in the Silent Hill series (named “Silent Hills”) before Konami announced its cancellation and removed the game from the PlayStation store.


02_silent_hill_p.t


The game focuses on the protagonist who awakens in a suburban house. The player starts off in a dark room that leads to an L-shaped hallway which loops indefinitely. The only way for the player to progress is to complete puzzles set around the house. As the game progresses several of paranormal activities occur and the difficulty increases respectively. When the game is finally completed the protagonist who is played by Norman Reedus walks off into Silent Hill and Silent Hills is announced.

P.T perfectly combines and incorporates the use of Next Gen Graphics, Puzzle and Horror into its gameplay in order to create an immersive and truly disturbing environment. Even though the game was just a demo, it is obvious that it was very well constructed as it did an excellent job of balancing and tying together the realistic feel of a suburban household with the existence of supernatural beings.


01_silent_hill_p.t


The puzzles seem to increase in difficulty as the player progresses through the game. This means that the game is treating the player as a real entity whose choices influence the progression of the game. Furthermore, there are no weapons available for usage and this results in the player’s heightened sense of danger and helplessness. Kojima even stated that his intention was to make you, the player, “…shit your pants”.


Half-Life 2



“Half-Life 2” is a science-fiction first person shooter which was developed by Valve Corporation and was released in 2004, following a five year development.

The game takes place sometime in the near future and follows Gordon Freeman who is a theoretical physicist. Gordon is awaken 20 years after the events of “Half-Life” and finds that the world has been taken over by a multidimensional empire called Combine. Gordon now has to try and fight for the freedom of humanity using various weapons, including the famous Gravity Gun.


01_half-life-2-


It is no coincidence that “Half-Life 2” is considered to be one of the best first person shooters ever made. When the game was released in 2004 it really raised the stakes as far as game development was concerned. First of all, this was the second game to use the Source game engine which was developed by Valve and was new at the time. This new and improved engine allowed developers to include advanced physics, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and graphics. This meant that there were plenty of new features in “Half-Life 2” which were not included in the first one. For instance, the advanced physics made the inclusion of environmental puzzles possible, as opposed to button based puzzles. In order to solve these environmental puzzles the player had to pick up, move and place different objects. The physical properties of the objects such as weight, shape and buoyancy was also of importance when trying to solve the puzzles.

In addition, there is also the more advanced AI which means that not only is there great diversity in enemy types but also in the way that they choose to attack and kill the player. As a result, the player must take different approaches when trying to defeat enemies in order to be more successful. Moreover, even though the game is linear in nature, a lot of effort has been put into making world exploration rewarding and motivating for the player. The reason for this is because much of the backstory is told through the environment but also because the player starts off with zero weapons and slowly builds his arsenal through game progression and exploration. Speaking of weapons, once Gordon obtains the Gravity Gun he is able to manipulate the environment by drawing distant objects near him or forcefully shooting them away as well as moving large and heavy objects which could not be manipulated without the gun. This really helps in making the world interactive for the player and it also allows solutions for the puzzles to become more interesting.


Half-Life 2 by Valve


Lastly, the game never separates the player from the gaming experience by using cut-scenes. The story progresses only via exposition from other characters or events that occur while playing the game. This is really important for the overall gaming experience as the narrative doesn’t feel sequenced or perfectly arranged. In contrast, the game allows players to be fully immersed as they are solely responsible for letting the story naturally unfold.

“Half-Life 2” is an overall excellent game. By utilizing the Source game engine for creating better graphics, sounds, animation, AI and physics the developers were able to create a great atmosphere and a game which completely immerses the player in the world.




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