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BioShock Review

Developer: Irrational Games Publisher: 2K Games
Release Date: August 21, 2007 Also On: PC and Xbox 360

To me, August was shaping up to be a very demanding month for gaming. I was looking at about 4 games to pick up for my enjoyment, yet when I found out Mass Effect and Too Human jumped ship, my choice was narrowed down to Two Worlds or Bioshock. I believed Bioshock to be extremely ambitious and might flop, so I ended going with Two Worlds since it was comparable to one of my favorite games, Oblivion. After playing Two Worlds and reading all about Bioshock, it was obvious that I made the wrong choice. So after swapping out the two, I found Bioshock to be one of the best games available on the 360. If you are looking for an outstanding single player experience outside of Oblivion, look no further.

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Welcome to Rapture, an underwater city created by Andrew Ryan. Taking all the brightest minds and architects from the surface, Ryan hoped to create a Utopian society separate from all the politics of the rest of the world. Apparently, something went wrong during its creation, and you will find yourself in a horrible situation upon your arrival. Crumbling into ruins and overrun by maniacs with genetic enhancements, Rapture is quickly becoming a failure. However, Andrew Ryan believes Rapture can be saved, yet is destroying everyone who gets in his way; yourself included. Besides Ryan and the other maniacs, you will be faced with Little Sisters, girls who have been enhanced to feast on the life-force of people known as Adam. Though they are rather simple to deal with, their body guards are no cakewalk. Known as a Big Daddy, their ferocious beast will tear through you if your aren’t careful. Once they are out of the way, you are faced with the decision to save the Little Sisters, or Harvest their life force to help yourself evolve. Truly, it has one of the most intriguing stories in video games.

Though Bioshock is a first person shooter, you do have a lot of things to upgrade your character and powers that are unconventional in other shooters. Your body will become genetically enhanced with powers known as Plasmids. These powers include things such a thunder bolts, fire balls, freezing enemies, telekinesis, and so much more. In addition to that, there are three other categories that you can upgrade for your physique, engineering skills, and combat techniques. Weapon upgrade stations are also available that will improve your weapon effectiveness against your enemies. Together, all of these elements make for amazing combos with devastating effects on your enemies.

Visually, Bioshock is gorgeous. Real time lighting and cast shadow effects add an eerie feel to the city, making you wonder what exactly is lurking around you that you can’t see. Every character is brilliantly detailed. which helps because you will fight a lot of clones. There are no true cutscenes as everything is played through the game engine, but it makes the experience much more enjoyable. With a game this good looking, you don’t need CGI at all. The physics engine works very well as the whole environment seems interactive. You can move loose objects and even fling them long distances with telekinesis. The frame rate doesn’t lag behind at all which is a huge bonus when a game looks this good. Together, it makes Bioshock feel extremely real and believable.

While famous voice talent was not used in Bioshock, some truly talents actors made the experience even better with their exceptional work. Updates are played right into the action as you will find your companions and enemies contacting you via the radio. These real time updates play in nicely with the whole atmosphere and is well written. It helps progress the story well, and foreshadow future events. Each character has a distinct feel and personality which is portrayed brilliantly by the talent. The score is excellent and ties into the game’s feel and sets the mood right from the start. Sound effects are rendered nicely and even echo in areas. All of these things tie together to make you not even realize the city is underwater.

There are a lot of retrieval missions that you would think would get old, but really don’t. With each play, you encounter different obstacles in your way that make each experience different. You also receive a camera later on into the game that is used as a level up system against your enemies. You can study the pictures and learn to do more damage to each type of enemy. You can hack every type of machine in the game which is the only tedious thing you will do in Bioshock. It becomes more of a hassle after a while and you will wish to skip it more often then complete it. You can create items from scrap parts and use three different types of ammo for each weapon. With so many things to do in Bioshock, it’s a shame it is only 20 hours long. A game like this should be much longer, but you will immediately want to play the game over again to try and find everything. Bioshock could challenge every competitor this year for Game of the Year. With that being said, go out and buy this game, “Would you kindly?”

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 10
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 10
Replay Value/Game Length: 9
Final: 9.7
Written by Shawn Review Guide