Review by CriMsOnC0bra

"A little over-hyped, but still game of the year material"

I first heard about this game a few months back, and I wasn't really interested, just another FPS trying to include some snazzy magic.. blah blah, I've seen it all before. But then I started hearing all the reviews.. all of them 9+, and a few places gave it the highest rating yet for a 360 game. So now I was interested, and decided to at least rent it and see if all this hype was worth it. I must say after the demo, I thought it did have potential.

Game play 9/10:
The amount of content crammed into this game is immense. You can use melee weapons, guns, get physical upgrades, upgrade your weapons and get different types of ammo for them (armor-piercing etc.), hack everything electronic from turrets to make them fight for you, security cameras that will detect enemies and send your bots after them, all the way to vending machines, which you can hack to lower prices. And of course, plasmids. Plasmids are a sort of magic, but not the usual sort found in today's games.

You can hold up to 2 plasmids at first, and once you get more than that you must store some away and assign them later, but you can also purchase more slots for plasmids, more health, more EVE (energy needed to use plasmids) and even new plasmids themselves. Buying these sort of upgrades will cost you ADAM, the energy found in Little Sisters. When you find Little Sisters, you have a choice to kill them and harvest a lot of ADAM, or rescue them and get less, but get rewarded. And of course, whichever you decide to do will effect the game's ending. Little Sisters are also guarded by Big Daddy's, huge, mean, and armored. Any attempt to get near the Little Sister and you'll have to deal with one of these.

You can pick up or buy First Aid kits and carry up to 9, and use them with B at any time to give your health bar a boost. Same with EVE, you can carry 9 of the injections needed to pump your bar back up. Overall, the game play is very fun and with so much to do, should be fun even through your second and third plays.

Graphics 10/10:
So many words could go here and sum it up quickly.
Amazing. Phenomenal. Fantastic. etc. etc.
I don't think there is a game out today that can top, or even match what BioShock brings to the table visually. Explosions, blood effects (which there is a lot of), all the shadows and lighting, the character models. Everything looks great. The WATER. The water effects are the best I have ever seen, and water is of course a big part of this game, seeing as Rapture is a city built underwater.

Controls 9/10:
This will throw you for a loop at first. They start out very simple. Press Y to jump, move around the control stick and once you get your weapon, pull the right trigger to swing (wrench) or shoot (gun). Then you will start to pick up your plasmids, which are used with the left trigger. Slowly, you get more and more plasmids and weapons and must switch between them a lot.

LB switches through plasmids and RB switches through weapons, you can also hold either button and see a menu of each plasmid/weapon you have and move to one with the control stick. You can also switch between your bullet types (once you get more that is) with the D pad. X reloads, as in most games, and when you are using your plasmids you can press X to inject yourself with more EVE if the meter is low.

It becomes easier and easier as you go, as you will be pressured to switch to the right plasmid or use the right weapon for the current situation, and become more prepared. It will be confusing for a short while, but in time it will be like second nature switching to the the right plasmid at the right time, to pick up that grenade someone just threw and toss it back just in time.

Sound 10/10:
The sounds are chilling, and constantly keep you on your toes for whatever might jump out from behind the next door. From the creepy conversations of your foes, to their screams of pain when you light them on fire, it is all satisfying and well done. The ambiance really adds to the mood and makes for a more enjoyable experience.

While the music is not amazing, it was most of the time not even needed. With no music, it's easier to hear the little creaks of the floorboard in the next room, or the distant cackles down a hallway that really make you cautious and leaves a lingering fear of what might be waiting to ambush you. Because if you were really down in Rapture, unless you brought your iPod with you, you wouldn't be hearing music. It adds to the realism and horror in my opinion.

Replay Value: Fairly Low/Moderate:
I can't see myself playing through BioShock more than once on each difficulty, if that, just to see the difference, and of course to find the different endings. But alas, there are different endings and many things hidden throughout Rapture. It's unlikely you will find them all your first time through, so there is some replay value there. It just doesn't have the Oblivion kind, where there are literally thousands of things that could be different your next time through.

Story -/-:
I'm not going to list a review on the story, because I have not completely finished the game yet, and I don't think it is good to judge it before I've seen it all. Many other reviews around should be able to give an insight to the story's quality.

The Good:
+ Amazing visuals
+ The RPG elements add a bonus to the game by being able to customize your weapons and construct your own ammo with components you find
+ Solid controls
+ Involving horror theme, that doesn't push itself upon you

The Bad
- No multi-player!
- The concept can be confusing at first and may take longer than most shooters to get used to
- The beginning to me seemed rushed. Your plane crashes and then suddenly you take a submarine pod under the ocean into a secret city and start following orders from a strange man. ((NOTE: The lacking beginning may be because, like I said I have not finished the game yet and there may be key points I am missing))
- Very gory and brutal, such as the mangled bodies in all the medical wards, and the plastic surgeon cutting a woman up alive in front of you with 3 dead patients hanging behind him. This may turn away a lot of people.

Rent or Buy
Honestly I think this is a rent. It's a GREAT game, don't get me wrong. But the replay value is really not enough to pay 60$ for it to me, and with no multi-player on top of that, it's just not worth owning. Rent it, beat it and then if you really think it's something you want to play over and over, buy it. It's better to know first than to spend 60$ to find out it's something you don't enjoy THAT much.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/24/07

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