Review by Def Freak7
"This is the standard now. Sorry Gears of War!"
At first, I didn't think much of BioShock. Then I started seeing more previews and impressions from it, and I started to get curious. Soon after, it went to E3 and cleaned house on the "Best of E3" awards for many video game magazine and website editors. That's when I got hooked on wanting it. Now it's here, and it proves why it got so much attention. This game is a standard of excellence that ALL Xbox 360 games should aspire to be.
I think we all know by now how powerful the Xbox 360 can be when it comes to graphics. Even with that knowledge, this is one of the best looking games I have ever played. EVER! The world of Rapture is so beautiful and so realistic, you'd think that there could be an underwater world. Along with this, there is also a '60s feel to it, which makes sense since that's when the game is set in. It's kind of nostalgic and cool in a way. Also, the enemies and other characters you encounter are also realistic (provided some of them are real and creepy little girls or robots, more on that later). The physics in this game are top-notch, and it's no surprise considering that this game uses the Valve engine that was in the stellar Half-Life 2. Ragdoll physics all around! Does this mean the graphics are perfect? No. Sometimes the enemies will just have a body part twitching uncontrollably after they're dead. I can only assume it's a glitch, but it's still there. Not to mention that sometimes even the realistic characters aren't exactly the best, but only when you're up close. Still, these are very minor details and not enough to keep a perfect graphic rating from happening.
Of course, the sound effects are very realistic when it comes to you walking around and other enemies running around trying to hurt you as well. You can hear your own footsteps if you walk fast or run, you can hear water dripping or pouring like it would in real life. Even the kabooms are realistic, especially the plane crash (although I don't know how I can judge that one, more on the crash later). Now, the robots' sound effects aren't realistic. Why? Because they're ROBOTS! They're not real! But provided that, the sound effects are still pretty cool for them. One of the things that I was pleasantly surprised about was how the friendly characters communicated with you. They talk to you via radio, and the radio itself sounds like an authentic '60s radio! It's even got the static and everything! The music is also a throwback to the '60s, which keeps in with the setting very well, but I'm not a big fan of '60s music anyway. Kudos on keeping with the time though.
Wow. Just wow. This is the best story I've seen in a game. Hands down. It starts off with you on a plane heading to...wherever...and your plane crashes. And right from that point, you take control in the water surrounded by debris. That's a pretty cool touch. You swim around and then you find a lighthouse-ish tower. You go in figuring there's someone there, but instead you're transported to this underwater world known as Rapture, created by a man named Andrew Ryan. From that point on, you're in for a treat as you're confronted by crazed citizens of Rapture, giant robots and little sisters, and an underwater world that's literally sinking around you. The story itself adapts to some of the choices you make, like whether or not you save a little sister, which are these kids who are guarded by the giant robots. You can either let them go, or harvest them for ADAM, which is used to buy your powers you get early on in the game. The ending to the game is also effected by what decisions you make, and I love those games, because then not only does it add replay value, but it immerses you into the story even more. This is an excellent story and is one of the best ever written.
This game is just like your basic first-person shooter. One twist that the creators of this game have added, though, is the ability to use powers, as I stated earlier. These powers range from electricity to telekinesis to incinerating your enemies. Using these powers in certain situations can help you defeat enemies easier than with just a gun or a wrench (which is the weapon you start with). Because you have so many powers at your disposal (although not at the start), you have almost infinitely many ways to take out your enemies. And you're gonna need ingenuity to take on the Big Daddies, which are the giant robots I was talking about earlier. They can take you out easy. Luckily, there are these things called Vita-Chambers around the world of Rapture than can restore you back from the dead. The good thing about that is, the enemies don't heal when you do. Meaning if you have an enemy down to about half their health when you die, they'll still have only that half. Also, the enemy AI is fantastic. If you light one of them on fire, they'll try to put it out, and not keep going at you. You can even hack little security bots and turrets and even vending machines (?) to help you. This is made up of a mini-game in which you have to switch around pipes so that a liquid goes from one point to the other without interruption. There are a couple of things that keep this game from being perfect. For one thing, other than the powers, this game doesn't offer much new as far as gameplay goes. Regardless, the game is still pretty fun to play. Another thing is backtracking. I HATE BACKTRACKING! You have to do it often in order to find things you'll need to progress. The last thing is that sometimes this game gets DANG hard. I'm all for a good challenge though, but the casual gamer might get turned off because of that. There's also no multiplayer, but I can easily forgive that. This game is just so immersive even with its little flaws.
BioShock is a new standard of excellence for the Xbox 360. It puts together so many incredible elements flawlessly. It is truly one of the best games I've ever played. If you are fortunate enough to have an Xbox 360, go get it. NOW!
FINAL SCORE: 10/10
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 08/26/07
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