Review by zyzzvya01
"Is That A Crack In The Glass? Oh Dear..."
I wasn't really looking forward to BioShock up until about 2 or 3 months before it's release date. It started to become more and more publicized, and eventually the countless articles caught my attention. How glad I am that they did.
BioShock is a fantastic game, one of the best on 360 and a good candidate for game of the year so far. 2K have done exceptionally well in almost every aspect of the game, with great graphics, incredible art direction, very solid gameplay and some new ideas concerning enemies (one in particular...).
BioShock has some of the best graphics in a 360 game I've ever seen. The way the shadows compliment the light, the stunning Art Deco inspired hallways and buildings and the ever present views of Rapture outside the city's thick glass windows help to immerse you in the world of Rapture beautifully. The Art Deco is probably the best-done and most prominent feature of BioShock's graphics. From huge, god-like statues like those in the Rockefeller Center to giant wheels towering over the ground, to the advertisements littered around Rapture, the Art Deco theme is ever present and stunningly beautiful. The shadowing only further helps to compliment the design of the levels, silhouetting your enemies against incredible backdrops.
The biggest problem with the graphics is that textures on certain objects can take a long time to load, leaving you staring at a blank corpse or tube for up to ten or fifteen seconds. This can get very irritating towards the end of the game. The other problem is the almost constant freezing the game experiences. Although easily fixed by clearing the cache on the 360, this can get very, very annoying when you're trying to listen to main characters' dialog and their words are stuttering like crazy. Other than those two glitches, the rest of the game runs smoothly, and the textures for the most part are great looking and very clear.
Now we get to the core of what BioShock is all about. The gameplay in BioShock differs from standard shooters in several ways; most notably the ability to use plasmids and gene tonics. These are basically spells and character buffs such as reduced damage, the ability to shoot fire from your fingertips and telekinesis. They affect how you approach situations by giving you the opportunity to think about what the best strategy to use would be. Rather than going in all guns blazing, you can choose to pit enemies against each other, or hack Rapture's security system to fight for you.
The currency with which you buy plasmids and tonics with is called ADAM, with your mana being EVE. The quest for ADAM impacts on gameplay and story, and brings us to the core of what differentiates BioShock from other games. Big Daddy's and Little Sisters are the guardians of ADAM in Rapture, and have an odd relationship with each other. The defenseless Little Sisters rely on the Big Daddy's for protection, and the Big Daddy's will do anything to stop them from being hurt. The only way to get ADAM is via a Little Sister, and the only way to a Little Sister is to kill her Big Daddy.
Once you kill the Big Daddy (which is difficult at best) you are presented with two choices: Harvest or Save. Harvesting gives you more ADAM, whereas saving the Little Sisters will get you goodies from them later in the game, such as extra ADAM, more tonics and extra supplies. This interaction between you and the Big Daddy's and Little Sisters often presents new and fun gameplay opportunities, and on the whole makes the game much more interesting.
The weapons are fairly standard, but can be upgraded at several stations around Rapture. These upgrades increase the effectiveness of your guns, and are very useful later in the game.
The story in BioShock is pretty good, but it is on a basic level just like most other hero stories. The back story of Rapture is found in Audio Diaries scattered around Rapture and is interesting for the most part. The main story has some memorable moments, the scene in Ryan's office being the most poignant in the story (you'll have to play the game to find out).
The voice overs aren't bad for the most part, and the Audio Diaries are well read. The clicking of Spider Splicers on the roof really sets the mood in some areas, and on the whole, the enemies sound good and more importantly, sound like they belong in Rapture's derelict halls.
Overall, BioShock is an exceptionally good game, with a couple of minor flaws that hold it back from being truly great. But with it's great graphics, interesting gameplay and story, and Art Deco designs, it's definitely worth playing. Make sure you do.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 09/10/07
Game Release: BioShock (Steelcase) (AU, 08/24/07)
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