Having recently found myself with an influx of all the free time in the world, I’ve finally gotten around to finishing Bioshock.

Given I bought a new machine specifically to play it, bought the special edition on launch day and then played it until my mouse broke, I’m a little suprised it’s taken me this long to do so. Mostly, I got frustrated with it at one point (About ten minutes before the single most awesome scene in the entire game, as it happens) and never really got back to it. I did now (The secret to getting it running on Windows 7, incidentally, is to run it in DirectX 9 mode) and completed it. Everything I said in my original review still holds water (aha, ah ha ha), with the addition that the denouncement about 2/3 in is wonderful, but the game never really becomes as narrarivly awesome again.

Bioshock is a game that had more wanky articles written about it than any game since Deus Ex, and I’m not going to add to them, it’s very interesting that it’s pretty much the only game I can think of with a philosophical point to make. Ben of Critical Distance has compiled a great list of a lot of the articles on the game (as opposed to reviews of the game).

Instead, I’m going to talk on the subject of “Easy Mode”.

In the playthrough of Bioshock, I completed it on Easy, defined in the options as “I’m new to shooters”. I think I died twice in my playthough, entirely because I failed to notice I needed to use a health pack. I didn’t really run out of ammo or mana at any point either. Basically, I romped though the game without really having to try to hard. It was significantly more fun than my first play though.

The most common reason why I don’t finish games is that I get too frustrated with them. I hit a point where I have no ammo, or low health, and the save point is just before a massive ruck. My last save is several hours ago, and the very concept of going over exactly the same thing over again is enough to drive me to giving up. Playing games on Easy isn’t so frustrating, but it’s not really very satisfying either. I haven’t beaten Bioshock, I’ve just completed it. For this, I’m pretty much happy. My main enjoyment of Bioshock is the universe, the storyline, the history, the relationships, the resolution. The mechanics of repeatedly firing frag grenades at a Big Daddy to get me the last bit of ADAM I require to upgrade to Covered In Bees level 3 isn’t that interesting. The mechanics of setting up a perimeter before I do the thing that starts the invasion interests me more, but I can go play Left 4 Dead 2 to get that. Mostly I start games on Normal, but I think in the future, if I really care more about the world than the game, I might go for Easy.

So, those of you who are also gamers, what level do you tend to go for, given the classic “Easy”, “Medium”, “Hard” selection?