Posted by SadExchange
Released on: 8/21/2007
Developed by: 2K Boston
Published by: 2K Games

Believe the hype this is one of the best single player experiences you'll comes across for the next couple of years.



Being what most would believe the spiritual successor to the ever great System Shock 2, Bioshock explodes onto shelves on August 21st of 2007, along with quite a few great reviews that praise the game up and down, but are these reviewers smitten with the hype that's been flowing out of the game for the past few months? Can this game be the great experience that everyone's claiming it to be? Can it revive the first person shooter genre that's been kicked around the last few years because of their lack of gameplay elements including horribly clichhà stories, simple combat, and lack of motivation to actually complete a game that's not only monotonous, but redundant? 2K Boston, formerly known as Irrational Games up until Bioshock's release, wanted to make a game that not only told an enriching story, but also a game that the player would be talking about for years to come because of their overall experience that they took away from it. Could they achieve this feat? We'll have to wait and see, but it seems like they definitely have a good start from what the general public has been posting, but lets delve deeper shall we?

The story element of any game can really make or break your experience and most times in the first person shooter, the story is some clichhà action plot where there's a good guy, being yourself, and a bad guy, the person you face at the end, but 2K Boston actually turned the genre around with Bioshock. The story that you're presented with throughout the game's 15-20 hours of gameplay is not only engrossing, but it'll have you thinking back to different points and twists in the plot to fully see the whole picture and design that the developers created for your leisure. But I'm getting ahead of myself; the setting for this game is what must be told in its entirety for you, the reader, to fully realize the atmosphere that you, the player, are thrust into. 2K Boston created an entire underground city named Rapture where a man named Andrew Ryan wanted to have the greatest minds in the world come and have an open environment to create the perfect place through objectivism, science and reason. Now, some of your might draw some similarities between Andrew Ryan and Ayn Rand, so pat yourself on the back, because she was definitely a great inspiration for not only Andrew Ryan himself, but the life that he wanted to create. Back to the story though, which I'm not going to spoil for you, it is set in the year 1960. Somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic, you find yourself a passenger in an airplane that crashes into the waves below where you seem to be the only survivor, but lucky for you, not too far in the distant, you see a light house, which is actually the entry for your way into Rapture. Taking a bathysphere down to the city below, you're presented with a dark, manipulated city where chaos has ensued for who knows how long, but in that bleak darkness, you hear a voice on a portable radio from a man named Atlas and from there, your journey begins to figure out what happened in this underwater utopia.

Although Atlas, and even Andrew Ryan both speak to you over the radio at multiple times throughout your journey, there still is quite a lot of gaps in their stories and this is where you must find audio diaries that are left around the city of Rapture for you to find and listen to. These diaries are only twenty or so second recordings that tell the stories of certain individuals in the city during its rise to greatness, but also during its fall into complete chaos. Also along your way, you'll come across different ghostly events that took place during Rapture's rise and these add more helpful hints to the overall story. One thing you find out early on is that in Rapture, Andrew Ryan and multiple other doctors and scientists created what are known as Plasmids, 'upgrades to become a better you..â? These include an Electrobolt, which shoots electricity from your fingers, Inferno, which throws fire from your finger tips, Telekinesis, where you can lift and throw objects with your mind, plus many others that can be upgraded and made more powerful throughout your journey. Along with these plasmids, are tonics which also enhance your overall character and these can found across the city of Rapture. But you come to see that this idea of perfection within Rapture is what led to its downfall. Tarnished human beings, known as splicers because of their enhancements, roam the halls looking for their next kill to hopefully secure Adam. Adam is what makes the genetic rendering possible and it's what everyone wants, including yourself. But be watchful, because not only and the splicers want Adam, but also the Little Sisters. Demented and changed little girls taken from birth to harvest Adam from dead bodies, or Angels as they aptly name them, around the city of Rapture. These little girls may seem like easy prey, but they're protected by some of the most formidable foes in Rapture, called Big Daddies. These monstrosities are garbed in old style diving suits, but some have a large mining drill connected to an arm instead of a hand. Some others are equipped with massive weapons that will take out foes with ease. These behemoths are sole protectors of the Little Sisters, so if you're in the need of Adam and come across a Little Sister, you better be ready for a fight. But, if you do end up being able to take down the protector, you'll have a morale choice to make. You can either harvest of Rescue the Little Sister for Adam. Harvesting them grants you more Adam, but you ultimately kill the little girl, while rescuing gives you less Adam, but you'll save the girl's life.

But you won't be left empty handed when going against the multitude of splicers in the hallways of Rapture. Along the way, you'll come across a wrench, pistol, shotgun, machine gun, chemical thrower, grenade thrower, crossbow, and even a camera to do some research along your travels. Each weapon was designed from the times of 19500â?s and 19600â?s to fill its part in the city of Rapture. You'll come across different ammunition for each weapon, meaning electric or exploding bullets for the shotgun, armor piercing rounds for your machine gun or pistol, and trap bolts for your crossbow. The different combat situations that you'll find yourself in can be handled in so many different ways beginning with your choice of weapon, whether it's a plasmid or gun first, and then how you'll take out your enemy or enemies. The developers have been quoted saying that 'No two players will play the game the same way..â? And this is very much true in Bioshock because of the multiple ways that you can enter and leave any combat skirmish. To either help or hinder you throughout your time in Rapture, there will be security cameras and gun turrets to watch out for, but they can be helpful in the respect that you can hack them, by completing a pipe-dream style mini-game. If you succeed in hacking the turret or camera, you'll not only be able to walk by unhindered, but it will attack any enemy of yours if they come across their paths. These can be quite helpful during your time throughout the story with adding that extra helping hand or letting you know that splicers are coming. One thing of note, although you can die in the game, you never really have to reload a save. Around the city of Rapture, there are Vita-chambers, which restore you back to health when you are actually killed. The game, enemies, and situations don't reload; they're just how you left them when you return back to them. Some players may be put off by this lack of difficulty, but they always have the option of loading up a previous save. The developers just did it because it plays a role in the overall story of Bioshock.

Let me just explain one combat situation I was in to help you fully understand the realistic feel that the city of Rapture is and how interactive the environment is. I came upon a splicer in a hallway onetime. So I took my inferno plasmid and lit up a teddy bear that was lying on the floor, after doing that, I took my telekinesis plasmid and picked up the teddy bear with my mind and threw it at the splicer. Catching fire, the splicer ran around some rooms, with me following, looking for water to extinguish itself. While jumping into the flooded bathroom, I took my electrobolt plasmid and electrocuted the water while it was wading around, instantly killing it with electricity. This is just some of the creative ways to use a mixture of your plasmids and the environments you're in. If you find yourself running around the world of Rapture toting your shotgun the entire time, you won't take away half of the experience that could while messing around with the enemies and you'll soon find yourself running out of ammunition.

This only covers some of the gameplay that can be had in Bioshock, the developers gave every enemy and NPC in the game great artificial intelligence so that they've act of their own volition during their time in Rapture. You may come upon some splicers fighting over something in the next hallway, and you'll be left with the choice to let them fight it out, or choose a side and help one take the other out, and then take that one out, but never believe that just because you help one enemy with another, you'll become great friends, because that'll never happen, at least not in Rapture. Just make sure you have enough gun/plasmid power for the guy you're helping before you engage in the conflict. And all of the situations and bits and pieces of the game world look absolutely beautiful powered by the Unreal 3 engine. 2K Boston took this engine and definitely created a dark atmospheric experience for the player to trudge through. Every room and hallway looks different from the next and whether you're in the medical ward or mercury suites, you'll find yourself picking your jaw off the floor at the detail given to each nook and corner in Rapture. The developers really took their time in creating a haunting experience filled with disturbing images and grotesquely horrid imagery, but it only makes the gameplay that much better and the your experience that much more involved because you'll feel as if you're actually in the underwater city exploring while waters dripping in through cracks and blood is smeared across the walls. Enough can't be said about the entire environment that you're thrust into, only that it makes your overall experience more fulfilling until the very end.

The sound is also very exceptional in creating the atmosphere within the game. Not only will you be enticed with a musical score within the game to make the overall story feel more epic, but you're also be treated with different songs from the period of the 19500â?s that make the city only become that much more alive in front of you. My favorite was towards the end where you hear a juke box play the always delightful tune of 'Oh Danny Boy..â? Just sets the mood for your gameplay experience for sure. The voice acting by the different main characters and those on the audio diaries are superb and well done. You can tell that 2K Boston wanted everything to fit perfectly into the overall experience for the player.

Although there isn't any multiplayer in the game, there doesn't necessary need to be. Bioshock is an awesome single player experience in its entirety. There may be some drawbacks, such as not really having a penalty for death, but there are ways to change that experience yourself by a simple reload. There are 50 achievements that can be had ranging from easy to very hard to complete, but these achievements definitely quite a bit of replay value when trying to complete each one. You'll enjoy running through the game multiple times just because you'll find that you'll never really have the same experience more than one.

With the engrossing and rich storyline, superb graphics, atmospheric music, and fun gameplay, Bioshock is a game that should be in everyone's gaming library. We can only hope that the game sells well enough that 2K Boston will invest some more resources into creating the next chapter in the Bioshock experience, but judging from the hordes of reviews that have been popping up across the internet, the question isn't 'if they'll make another one?,,â? but 'when will the next one come out??â?
Replay Value9.00
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Gotta say this game was a ton of fun. It was a creative and enjoyable story and the game had a very dark and suspensful feel all the way through. I liked how they used lighting to set the mood and make the game a bit more suspensful. Worth playing through for sure and getting a handful of good hours into a fun game.

Posted by: thoughtprocess | 9/16/2008 1:23 PM

Definitely a fun game! I agree, the dark and suspenseful atmosphere really added a huge amount to the enjoyment of this game for me. I was reminded a lot of Call of Cthulhu, mostly because of the older style weapons offered (although Bioshock offers a lot more powerful options) and the creepy vibe through the whole thing. As usual, I'm a few years late in getting through it, but I'd recommend it to anyone.

Posted by: DJ I.Z. | 5/24/2009 10:51 PM

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