Review by DandyQuackShot
"Never Question the Masculinity of a Man Named Mr. Bubbles"
At least this is what you are going to first think when you step into the depths of the most bizarre underworld you can imagine. But this underworld creation by what you would imagine to be one of those James Bond villains is what happens when bad ideas go really bad. An underwater utopia is set up by Andrew Ryan to offset what he believes is a nice vacation getaway from your typical Twentieth Century woes of government and hypocrisy. Instead of trying to change society, Ryan creates his own in the depths of an ocean and you get the ever so loved opportunity to go take a visit. You will not even get the opporunity to relax on board an airplane as it starts to take a nose dive and send you right into fate. Only by swimming to a very isolated lighthouse will you discover that going down is not exactly the best way to get rescued. You will discover a world transfixed in the 1930's and 40's period with a lot of weird stuff having taken place since the utopia was created. In fact it looks and works just like any other society with plenty of things dedicated to the arts and all of your society's amenities spread out around in one place or another. However, you will discover that some pretty weird things have happened and there obviously has not been any recent visitors until you had the unfortunate opportunity to discover it for yourself.
I would go further into this story because it is very much like reading a book as you play this game. You will have to make some costly decisions that will ultimately decide your ending. There are so many twists and turns to this game however that all I can say is trust no one except yourself and whatever sense of morality you still hold on to. Not everything is what it appears to be. You enter a world that has collapsed on its own principles and with no way out things got real ugly. All of the residents have basically turned into drug crazed maniacs and the not even you are immune to having to get through this game without experimenting with the plasmids. What was once a one mind creation turned into a twist of who is actually holding who up by the strings. So it may come as no surprise that the characters in the game actually do sort of resemble dolls or puppets.
BioShock plays in the first person with two alternative modes of attacks. The first is obviously your use of various weapons from a pipe wrench to grenade launchers. The second mode is switching to your plasmids. You get introduced to the plasmids early on in the game and you will have to find other new plasmids throughout the game to continue on. Plasmids are telekinetic powers of energy which you utilize to melt icy areas and nail bad guys with bolts of electricity. You can also catch grenades and shoot them back at the guy that shot them at you. The choices you have in the game are to rescue or harvest little girls that carry the juice you need to extend your recharge your plasmids, but these girls are protected by giant and very brutal beings that the girls refer innocently to as Mr. Bubbles. You will have to kill these guys to either rescue or harvest the girls and of course your decision will affect the outcome of the game.
Other aspects of this game will have you do a lot of exploring and tracing back to what really happened in this submerged habitat. Tape recordings will be lying around everywhere to give you an inside look at the people behind this place and what was going on to make it go very wrong. All of the people in the place have gone insane and will attack you on spot and although they look human you will note the various differences between your enemy the splicer. Some will attack you on spot, others will use more conventional methods like weapons, and then you will have to avoid the splicers that like to jump around and hide in the shadows. Everybody in this game is insane in one way or the other and nothing is as it seems.
What I like about the gameplay is simply the engrossing and isolated adventure you go through. It is very hard to just stop and save the game as you want to continue on and discover new things about what happened and how you are going to actually make it out alive. The game really captures your attention from the get-go and the controls are very easy to get used to. A lot of the game depends on how well you can find things in the game so you will have to do a lot of back tracking at times and then you have to go back through the whole game again to see the different ending and this is where I felt the game gets very repetitive.
I really love the graphics and sound in this game. You get an immediate sense of a world gone bad the moment you break through the surface of the water after your plane crashes. You will experience ghostly reenactments of people and events that took place prior to your arrival and the whole environment just looks hostile to you as you go through the game. Rapture is what happens when you put all of your faith in humanity and think that you can be better by doing the same thing all other governments do underwater. The underwater environment in itself will give you opportunities to see just how big of a metropolis the place used to be and it also gives you a very isolated feeling that you are the only survivor to still be sane in a world gone mad. The different areas you explore also contribute to this feeling of isolation and madness as you go through the different amenities set up for a civilization living underwater. How exactly Andrew Ryan could afford the power bill and all the other city costs is beyond me, but of course that can be left to the imagination. The graphics really set the mood of a city frozen in the 40's period and there are plenty of old records playing around on loud speakers throughout the game. So you get to listen to some of the top hits of the 40's and 50's while bashing someone in the head with a pipe wrench. Only in video games.
There is not much to do once you beat this game and have seen both of the endings. Technically there are three but two use the same video that you watch. There are no online capabilities for BioShock so that somewhat limits replaying this game. The achievements are definitely the main reason why you will replay BioShock as it is almost impossible to unlock them all the first time through. Of course replaying the game means you have to go through exactly what you did the last time which can be very repetitive.
Final Recommendation 8.75/10
Today I think BioShock would be more of a rental than a buy. The reason being if you have already played this game it is very likely that you have not gone back and replayed since beating it or getting all of the achievements. There is not much replay value to BioShock and if you bought it then you bought it when this game was in its prime. It is a classic to own but to be honest I think you would get more value by buying BioShock for the PC rather than for the Xbox 360. I do recommend that whether or not you think it is a buy or a rental that if you have not played this game it is definitely worth your time. Sticking adventure into a dystopian city with a first person shooter aspect is more than what you need to enjoy this game. BioShock is quite the experience.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/12/08
Game Release: BioShock (US, 08/21/07)
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