Review by PickHut

Reviewed: 09/12/07

Plunged into Chaos

You're just never safe in Rapture, an underwater city that was once a utopia, but now an anti-utopia. Forced to enter this unique world after surviving a plane crash, you'll have to roam through halls splattered with blood and flickering lights, not knowing what awaits you around each corner. You hear noises: footsteps in the distance, concrete pieces crackling under your shoes, and vending machines turning on at random, each putting you on edge.

Then, you hear someone talking, mostly to himself. With your wrench in hand, you enter the room to face this disturbed individual. You don't see the person at all, and instead you're yet again captivated by the art deco of Rapture. The structure looks very slick and sturdy, and 1950's-esque posters are hung everywhere, telling you to smoke, drink, and be safe. But you hear the person speak again, now aware of your presence. He then starts screaming and runs towards you. Still not knowing where he is, you desperately look at every corner, and at the very last second, you finally spot in, lunging towards you with a club. You get whacked, and before he gets to strike again, you frantically beat him to death with your wrench. Once a crazed, energetic freak, now lies lifeless on the ground at your feet. You take a moment to observe this man, wearing an odd, white mask, and dressed in dirty, torn-up clothes. Then you take his possessions.

While you feel relieved that the attack is over, you know it won't be long until another one of these oddities, these Splicers, walk in your path and give you trouble once more. They were once normal human beings, inhabitants of the city, but after overdosing on certain drugs, they now wander around pointlessly, giving trouble to anyone that looks at them funny. Thankfully, throughout the course of your "stay", you'll gather more useful weapons that'll help you survive this madness. With a machine gun, shotgun, flamethrower, and more in hand later on, you'll start to feel a bit more safe. To add to this, you'll also be able to possess interesting abilities once you mess with your DNA with something called ADAM. Just with the movement of your left hand, you'll be able to freeze your foes, electrocute them, and even send a swarm of bees to keep them busy. But just because you have all these items at your disposal, don't get carried away, because you'll eventually have to replenish.

There may be items lying around that you can pick up to help you restock, but most of this stuff has to be bought with money, which is normally hard to come by. You can check dead bodies, registers, drawers, and so forth, but you'll usually get small change in the process. With luck, you'll enter a locked room using a code from an audio diary of a deceased citizen (not to mention slowly figuring out just what the hell happened down here), and find a whole lotta money, but that happens rarely. So, if you're really desperate for some cash, you're forced to go up against the only beings that normally carry a lot of it...

Big Daddies.

These huge... things... wearing metal diving suits, venture the many rooms and corridors of Rapture, really just minding their own business. They don't even attack you at all unless you're the first to lift a finger at them, and even then, it's still uncomfortable being in the same room as them. They make loud, clanking noises with their boots, stop to bang on walls, and their moans can be heard way off in the distance, easily alerting you that they're nearby. You almost feel bad having to fight one, since they never really did anything to deserve it. But you need the money. So, you point your rocket launcher in their direction, fire, and watch them hit the ground. Well, they don't die instantly, but if that's what you thought, then you're funny. Oh no, once you hit that calm, ghostly diver, it transforms into an enraged demon that's hell bent on destroying you. There's different types of Daddies, so their battle tactics will vary with each one. Sometimes they'll rush you with blind rage, pick you up, throw you away, and then drill you in mere seconds, and then other times, they'll keep their distance while firing life-threatening shots in your direction. Either way, battling a Big Daddy is never a safe thing to do.

Combine them with the often random encounters with Splicers, and they end up providing the most intense moments you'll ever have in Rapture. There are times where you'll be running away from a Big Daddy, both you and it heavily injured, and you're rushing towards the nearby vending, ammo, or health machine, and try to replenish with what little money you have left. But on your way there, you'll end up bumping into one, two, or even three Splicers. You quickly try to dispose of them, because you hear that Daddy approaching with those loud stomps, and you're just in a panic. Add in security cameras, which summon flying bots with machine guns, and turrets planted at specific locations, and you're gonna be in a world of hurt.

That's what makes BioShock fun to play. Sure, gameplay-wise, it's not the most original first-person shooter in history, and it's easily comparable to past titles in the genre, like Half-Life 2 (lift objects with telekinesis), Doom 3 (audio recordings), and Condemned (the disturbing settings, mind games, and attack tactics from foes almost make it a cousin to this title). But what really makes BioShock are its random encounters that occur at an unforgivable rate, and then there's its unique style and setting, which easily make it stand out from other fps titles, not to mention every other video game out there. And, of course, there's its plot, which thrusts you into a conflict between multiple sides with plenty of twists and turns to boot. Shoot, if that's not enough, you can even hear classic music like "Papa Loves Mambo" and "Beyond the Sea" randomly pop out of speakers and jukeboxes throughout the course of the adventure.

Hey, that's Rapture for ya.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: BioShock (US, 08/21/07)

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