Review by pyroman93
"Doubtlessly the best FPS since Half-Life 2"
Bioshock isn't the average "shoot-at-them-until-they-die" FPS. Developed for five whole years, Bioshock takes you into another world, not only in the setting but also in the way the game is played. Set in the underwater city of Rapture in 1960, this masterpiece is the most memorable and atmospheric game I've played.
The graphics in Bioshock are pretty. The characters and environments all look great, but where the real beauty is at is the water. The water effects are simply astounding. Watching water at your feet (well not really, because you can't see your feet!) just flow is mesmerizing. If there is water pouring from the ceiling and you walk through the falling water, the screen looks like water is slowly sliding down it, which is a nice effect. However, the graphics only got a 9 for a reason. With the water so amazing, it almost makes the rest of the game seem uglier in contrast. Also, I have noticed a lot of problems in texture-popping. Overall the graphics, especially the water, are wonderful, but there's still room for improvement.
The sound in Bioshock is beautifully done. Walking through Rapture, you can here the subtle water dripping, or the occasional moan of a nearby Big Daddy, or even the manic cries of splicers, previous citizens of Rapture who have gone mad. When you play this game you can just stop and I can guarantee you will here something. The guns sound real, too. When I fire the pistol, I don't here a muffled squeal of a puny weakling; I hear the loud, quick blast of a machine ready to kill. Overall, the sound is simply astounding, all adding to the immersing atmosphere in this game.
The story is where Bioshock really shines. With inspiration from philosopher Ayn Rand and movies such as Fight Club, the developers have really crafted one of the best video game stories yet. The game starts with a plane crash, you being the sole survivor. However, you find a mysterious lighthouse near the site of the plane crash and venture inside. There you find a submarine that leads to Rapture. Rapture was created by genius/maniac Andrew Ryan. When you arrive in Rapture, you are guided by a friendly man named Atlas via radio messages. The story for the main game is gripping and keeps you on your toes throughout, but I think the real greatness of the story is in audio diaries you find. In a similar sense to Metroid Prime, you find these audio diaries all around the world, listening to bits and pieces of the stories of previous citizens; their romances, their scientific research, the beginning of the end of Rapture, their deaths, etc. Some give insight on other characters of the game, such as Atlas and Andrew Ryan, and some are gruesome and disturbing. These usually involve the immoral scientific practices of Rapture which eventually brought it down. If you are not into having to find the story for yourself, however, that is fine because again, the main story is superb.
The beauty of the gameplay is that everyone will do it differently. Bioshock has the usual set of weapons for the FPS: revolver, machine gun, shotgun, grenade launcher, etc., but the twist is plasmids. Plasmids are essentially the magic spells of Bioshock, although they're really supposed to be genetic modifications of the body that were created as a result of the extensive scientific research conducted in Rapture. Combined with weapons, plasmids can be devastating. There are about 10 plasmids total, and the game leaves you to experiment with the plasmids and think of deadly ways to end enemies with them. This works exceptionally well. For example, if you see a group of enemies, you can use the "Enrage" plasmid on one, which will cause him to fight the others, or you can use "Target Dummy," which will make the enemies attack whatever you pointed at, while you sneak past them, or you can even set enemies on fire and when they jump in a pool of water, zap them with electricity. These examples are just the beginning. Combining multiple plasmids and creative traps can lead to advanced strategies which will leave a great feeling of satisfaction. And trust me, you'll need advanced strategies for Big Daddies. Big Daddies are the hulks of Rapture, although they will not attack you if you do not attack them. So why would you attack them? They protect Little Sisters, the only source of ADAM in the game. ADAM is how you grow your character to become more powerful, as well as buy new plasmids. Everyone in Rapture needs ADAM, but the only way to get any is through the Big Daddies. Big Daddy fights can be epic, and setting up traps and having a plan beforehand is almost essential. Another thing Bioshock does differently is the death system. Instead of having to load a previous save or starting again from a checkpoint, Bioshock incorporates a "respawn" system. As implied in the name, instead of actually dying, you merely respawn in the closest "Vita Chamber." All the damage you did in your last life has been done. This was done to make the game accessible to casual gamers, although some people do not approve of the idea. Frankly, you will be enormously grateful for the vita chambers later on in the game when it gets really tough, even on medium. Without the vita chambers, this game would become frustratingly difficult and as a result there would be less focus on exploration and following audio diary stories than just trying to get through alive. Speaking of exploration, there is a LOT in this game, at least for a first-person shooter. If you enjoy exploring game worlds like I do, then this game will take up to 20 hours on your first run through, but there's so much replay value that I'll probably have clocked in 100 hours of gameplay by Christmas. This game has no multiplayer, but trust me, there are enough play styles and different runs to do in this game to make up for it. This is the Resident Evil 4 of the Xbox 360 in that sense.
Be warned, this game is a thinking man's game. If you are a casual gamer and only play Madden, Halo and Need for Speed, then maybe this game is not for you. Then again if you're hardcore enough to even visit this website, ten to one says you'll love it. ;)
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 08/26/07
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