"A true ambience game - one that manages to work on almost all levels..."

I was , at first , reluctant to play , and indeed , waste money on Bioshock. I had never really played System Shock , Deus Ex , or anything of that sort , and having not followed Bioshock's pre-release hype , it turned out that I ended up buying the game purely out of mere boredom.

I was not bored for long.

Bioshock is an absoloute belter of a game. It presents itself very early on in a way that shows this - and though it may let up every now and then and divulge into something less that interesting , the game still stands undoubtedly as one of the top thre or so games to have come out for the Xbox 360 so far.

The game takes place in an alternate-past , art-deco setting. The underwater academic city of rapture is the stage that is set for this hybrid blend of First Person Shooter and Role-Play elements. The man in charge of rapture , and indeed the Big Brother of the underwater metropolis , is none other than Andrew Ryan. The city was set up with the aim of being a safe haven for esteemed academics , scientist , and those who believe in reality and the power of nature.

The setting rings of both Dystopia and Objectivism , but it is the year , 1960 , that lends the game some of its biggest traits. Frank Sinatra , heavy advertising , smoking , swing clubs , and neon lights all play a part in creating a massive world and one of the most interesting and original atmospheres to be seen in a game for a long while.

The graphics and sound only play a further part in immersing you in all of this. Bioshock is powered by the Unreal Engine and pulls off graphics that will have you a believer in Rapture in no time at all. Sound is a big plus also , and as great as the music is , its the soudn effects that steal the show.

Gameplay is basic yet not so basic. Easy yet intuitive. The game centres around two facets. The first , and by far most intereting , is the concept of 'Plasmids' through gaining a gene-modifying substance named 'Adam'. Adam allows you to puchase varioud abilitys for your character to use with the right trigger , with the left trigger being reserved for the second , and much less interesting facet , the shooting. Shooting features some conventional with some not-so-conventional weapons.

My main problem with the game stems from the fact that Bioshock sometimes lets itself not be as amazing as it can be by divulging into basic point-a to point-b shooting gameplay against endless Splicers - overly-modified-to-the-point-of-madness citizens of Rapture.

Looting corpses ala Elder Scrolls and using vending machines ala Oddworld are all included as entertaining components of the gameplay.

The story is not told directly. At least not all of it. Your going to have to pay attention and keep your eyes open if you want to take it all in - and if you dont , you are only going to lessen the experience even more.

Bioshock is a riveting game from start to finish , but not always in between. Its intuitive , complex , and at the same time , really , really easy to play. best of all - its fun.

THE GOOD

+ Excellent setting.
+ Some nice gameplay tricks.
+ Fantastic presentation.

THE BAD

+ Endless splicers.
+ Endless process repetition to gain Adam and buy Adam.
+ Game becomes uninteresting in places.

THE UGLY

+ The neon lights make my eyes hurt.
+ Your going to be strutting about like a 50's mogul for weeks.
+ The word 'Rapture' is mentioned with terrifying frequency.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/13/07

Game Release: BioShock (EU, 08/24/07)


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