Review by Snuffy_Mccrack
"Rapture is a Beautiful Underwater Utopia that will leave you Bioshocked."
For a few months I had heard nothing but praise over Bioshock, but still I was reluctant to buy it. After seeing the commercials, I really wasn't all that impressed. There was something about the game that didn't quite look right to me. As it turns out, that's just what makes this game flawless.
Bioshock is the gaming standard for graphics. The beautiful textures and lighting effects bring an atmosphere that I have not seen since Gears of War, and yet, Bioshock takes it one step further. The 50's, and 60's Art-Deco style leads you to believe you're actually playing this in that time period. You are the character, you are in the game. Playing this game on an HD Television does that much more as well. After playing games like Halo 3, which while looking nice, have jaggies on HD TVs, there's none of that with Bioshock. The weapons look nice, and even the little whisp of smoke after you've unloaded into a Big Daddy looks nice. I honestly cannot say anything bad about Bioshock's graphics. One could argue that all of the splicers look very similar, and this is true, but after three playthroughs, I have rarely, if ever, found this to be a problem.
Innovative, and yet, classical. Bioshock mixes classic FPS game play and an innovative plasmid system. Allow me first to delve into the more classical game play first.
Well, Bioshock starts you off by introducing you to a Wrench. Learn to love it, as you'll be using it later on to conserve ammo. This is very reminiscent of Half-Life, where the main character, Gordon Freeman, is given only a crow-bar. Personally, I like the wrench a little better. Shortly after you're introduced to your first little pal, Mr. Wrench, you meet your second, Mr. Pistol. This will be your main weapon for most of the beginning of the game. Initially, you aren't given much ammo for your pistol, and this won't change very much, though ammo does begin to stockpile quickly if you stick with Mr. Wrench for long enough. Next, prepare yourself for Mr. Machine Gun. Mr. Machine Gun acts the same way most Machine Guns do, he sprays more bullets than the pistol, doing less damage per hit, but still doing a considerable amount due to sheer quickness. You honestly won't use the Machine Gun all that much, except if ammo runs slim on your Shotgun, or Pistol, while fighting a Big Daddy. You may use it for a while, but ammo is scarce until quite late, and really, it isn't very effective until you upgrade it. The other weapons, save for the chemical thrower, are quite straight forward and you've probably seen them before. The one weapon that I think is really out of place is the cross-bow. It doesn't really fit in with the atmosphere, and the game forces you to use it rather than a real sniper rifle.
Now to the interesting part, plasmids. Plasmids are these injections that re-write your genetic code to give you various abilities that allow you to do anything from pick up objects with your mind, to shooting hornets (that you hatched in your veins), out of your hands. It's quite an innovative idea, and really adds depth to a game that otherwise would have been relegated to the shelves of "great" rather than the shelves of "superb" or "flawless." You're at first given the ability to shoot lightning from your hands, pretty cool. It's especially cool when you fry a pool full of splicer scum. Yes, as in the real world, water conducts electricity. Later on you'll be able to light people on fire with a snap of your fingers, lift things with your mind, and freeze people effortlessly. There are also numerous upgrades for each plasmid as well. In addition to plasmids, there are also these things called Gene Tonic. You can use Gene Tonics to tweak the game play a little to your advantage. There are combat tonics, to give you a little edge on your opponent. Security tonics to help you hack that turret or dodge that camera, and many more. The only problem I have with Plasmids, or Gene Tonics, is that you really don't need to use them to get very far. Sure, you can freeze that Big Daddy to get the advantage, but in the end, you just won't find yourself using too many on the average splicer.
I won't spoil too much, but the grand scope of things is enough for me to say "Wow!". So you're this man named Jack. You're on a flight in the mid-Atlantic to go God knows where, when it crashes. Oddly enough, it crashes extremely close to this light house, in the mid-Atlantic! How odd. Well, you enter this lighthouse and after some exploring find a bathysphere. The bathysphere will consist of most of your post-walking transportation. Well, in this bathysphere, you witness some of the most talented writing, and voice-acting I've ever heard in a video game. Again, I don't want to spoil too much, but it's amazingly written, and has enough plot twists to keep you entertained throughout. Despite being well written however, the game keeps you emotionally detached from most of the characters, including your own, but this matters only very little the first time you play through. After a few tries though, it leaves you wanting a little more. Also, the "decisions impact the end of the game!" thing has been done before, but Bioshock implements it in such a way that it really doesn't feel recycled.
This is a game that will make you want to play it over and over. There are just so many decisions and mistakes that you can make, that you truly can't do it all in one play through. Between the research, inventing, and hacking, there's little chance (unless you want to spend upwards of fifteen hours playing Bioshock once) that you'll get it all done in one try.
Pros and Cons?
-Hacking and inventing are pretty cool added features
-Free download content available on XBL Marketplace that offers extra Plasmids
-A wonderful idea executed perfectly
-Pretty interesting and gruesome characters that you might miss if you don't really pay attention
-No real sniper rifle
-Game can leave you feeling like maybe the endings should have been different
-Detachment from characters you should probably feel a little bit for
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/10/07
Game Release: BioShock (US, 08/21/07)
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