Review by Unholy6
"This is one game you shouldn't pass up."
Bio Shock is one of the best games I have had the pleasure of playing. There was not one point in the game where I thought "I wish I was doing something else." although a period of sleep had to be edged in somewhere.
No surprises here considering it is based off of the Unreal engine the fluid animations as well as the physics kept me constantly satisfied, some small clipping issues here and there but rarely noticeable. Lighting is very well done, the times it was used to build up tension and atmosphere presented enjoyable experiences to say the least. The only unfortunate part was the recycled character models, however the pace and thrill of the game makes it hardly noticeable.
From the music and ads of the P.A. system, to the *THUD* *THUD* *THUD* of a big daddy's boots, I thought the sound was orchestrated very well. Voice acting was superb, when you hear people talking it feels as if you are overhearing a real conversation and not just an exchange of pre-rehearsed words.
Game Play: 8/10
Based off the Unreal engine, this game is naturally a First Person Shooter. Although there is the wrench, some baddies to knock around, and the occasional scavenging quest the real meat of the game is in the Plasmids. Now when you first use them (think of mutant powers from x-men) you think that you are just going to run up and just set everything on fire or shock anything in a puddle of water. After a few hours, that idea takes a back seat as each bolt of lightning, spark of fire, or swarm of insects depletes your EVE (mana bar basically) fairly quickly. This usually makes it more worthwhile to save it for disabling tougher enemies while you use a weapon to finish them off rather than a primary means of attack. Of course you also have various Gene Tonics you can collect/find that boost many skills such as hacking or combat. With the proper augmentations YOU can become the predator, sneaking up and dispatching many enemies with a mighty wrench swing. Guns are not to be overlooked however, you DO NOT want to attempt to take down a big daddy with anything less than a grenade launcher or a few hundred armor-piercing machine gun rounds. I think the balance of weapon design, as well as customization of ammo and upgrades, was done well enough to not make any weapon so useless that there would be no reason to use it. The only problem seems there is no consequence to dieing, quickly being returned to a nearby chamber to be respawned and keeping all of your weapons and progress. While this does shave off a massive portion of difficulty and fear of the unknown, it seems needed at times when you encounter an area with too many enemies to fight, or a Big Daddy crushes you like an insect.
The enemies here fall into 4 categories: Splicers, Machines, Bosses, Big Daddies and Little Sisters. Splicers are the most common enemies you will encounter, genetically unstable and borderline psychopathic, these guys attack anyone and anything if it means more ADAM (very valuable resource which the game explains) even risking the wrath of a big daddy. There are many different varieties from the trigger happy Leadhead Splicer, to the fireball-slinging Houdini Splicer. Machines include flying sentry bots, stationary guns, and cameras. These can either be your worst enemy or your best friend if you manage to overload one of these with a small shock. You can quickly run up, and after a short hacking minigame, make them help you instead of attack. The most hostile areas can become a degree safer after taking the time to hack into a few bots and cameras to set up a worthwhile perimeter. Next are Bosses, these guys are pretty much stronger versions of splicers with more health and damage. Nothing too special although they are usually required to fight in order to progress along the level. Big Daddies are those armored behemoths you see on the cover and they are as mean and tough as they appear, able to dispatch a crowd of splicers before they get 2 dents in their armor. Initially neutral, they can become aggressive from a stray bullet or attempting to interfere with a Little Sister. Little Sisters are small girls who go around harvesting Adam from dead bodies, attempting to mess with them to gain that Adam usually results in a drill to the face from a Big Daddy.
It isn't easy to make a good storyline, and Bio Shock does not fail to impress. Your journey begins as the plane you are on crashes into the Ocean and you manage to swim for your life to the city of Rapture, a place designed for the artist and scientist without fear of persecution from the outside world. It doesn't take long before you realize the place has gone to hell. Your only friend is a voice over the radio who just wants to get to his family and go home. You plunder the depths of human morality and morbidity, emerging with a different perspective on life. I run the risk of spoiling this fantastic story by saying more, however I was enthralled from the beginning to the end. Each new recording you find, each place yoy visit decorate the story to the point of sheer enjoyment the entire game. There are a few slow spots where you need to gather a few things before you can continue, however these are few and far between. One of the best story lines I have had the honor of playing.
Replay Value: 5/10
While there is certainly enough value to earn 2 or 3 more runs through the game in order to get all of the recordings and upgrades, encountering the same enemies and the same surprises wears down the enjoyment as it does any other game.
This is just a fantastic game, the story, the characters, and the atmosphere come together so well to make a game, that is truly worthwhile to play and remember for years to come.
Since this has become a "Platinum Hit" at the time of this writing I definitely suggest buying, a title like this should be part of any collection. In the event you are strapped for cash, there is no shame is borrowing from a friend in order to experience the thrills Bio Shock has to offer.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 01/05/09
Game Release: BioShock (US, 08/21/07)
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