- Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
- Suggested Platform: PlayStation 3
- Developer: 2K Boston and 2K Australia
- Genre: FPS, Survival Horror.
- Release Date: 08/21/07 (NA, Xbox 360)
- Why Play It?: Unique, creepy title with a great atmosphere and storyline.
- Why Skip It?: If you’re not into FPSs. The black and white ending. The change from survival horror to action FPS halfway through. The hacking mini-game.
BioShock is a title that really grabbed me. It’s got a great presentation, a fast paced and exciting opening, a deep and interesting story, and really good gameplay. For me, BioShock is a really hard game to put down. It’s just a great game.
BioShock takes place sometime in the 1960s, on a plane which crashes somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Swimming through the wreckage of the plane crash while oil on the water sets the ocean around you ablaze, as you eventually make your way to a lighthouse-looking structure, alone, in the middle of the ocean. As it turns out, the only way to go is down, into a bathysphere, a personal sized submarine. Here you’re greeted with a recording from the city of Rapture’s founder, Andrew Ryan, who, apparently built an entire city underwater. Once you finally make it down to Rapture, you realize that Rapture is not a utopia, but instead a run down city, inhabited by people who have lost their minds and will attack the protagonist on sight. With your bathysphere now inoperable, you realize that you can’t go back the way you came and are instead guided by a man on the radio by the name of Atlas, who claims that Andrew Ryan has a submarine the two can use to escape, as well as Atlas’s family, which Andrew Ryan holds captive. The story throws many twists and curve balls at you to keep you guessing what you think you know about Rapture and the characters within.
Rapture is a fantastic setting. Creepy and rundown, with structures starting to give-way as seawater leaks in. You can hear the entire structure creak and moan, which only adds to the terror. It truly feels like you’re alone, deep under the sea, and does a great job of unsettling you.
Throughout your time in Rapture, you’ll come across Little Sisters who are guarded by Big Daddies. Little Sisters have a source of Adam and the ability to gather more, a power that everyone in Rapture wants, including you, as Adam will help you level up your stats and purchase certain things. Big Daddies are not so easily felled, however, so usually, the Little Sister is in safe hands. When you defeat a Big Daddy, you can confront the Little Sister and choose to either harvest the little girl and obtain the maximum amount of Adam from her, but killing her in the process, or save the little girl, gaining little Adam, but saving the girl and eventually getting rewarded. You must not harvest a single Little Sister if you want the good ending; harvesting even 1 will get you the bad end.
The gameplay is an FPS with RPG-like elements and a bit of a focus on stealth. You’ll shoot your way through hoards of crazy folk, Splicers, throughout your time in rapture. A unique feature of BioShock is the plasmid ability. Injecting plasmids alters your DNA and gives you powers, like the ability to shoot flames or electricity from your hands, as well as telekinesis and even swarms of bees. You’ll need Eve to utilize your plasmids, which is like a form of Mana or MP from other games. Throughout the game, you’ll find upgrade stations to upgrade your weapons, and tonics, which are kind of like accessories, enabling you special abilities, like the ability to turn invisible if you’re standing still, or making hacking machines easier. Hacking is a puzzle. You have a limited time to direct the flow of a fluid between pipes to lead it to the exit. Succeed, and you’ll successfully hack the machine, lowering prices in a vending machine, or getting turrets to fire for you. Fail, and you’ll receive damage or possibly set the alarm and get security bots sent after you.
A few gripes now about BioShock, firstly, the hacking mini-game puzzle isn’t fun, and you’ll be doing a lot of it. Next, the ending is very black and white. Like I said above, if you harvest even 1 Little Sister, you’re getting the bad end. Lastly, the first half of the game is survival-horror style and really keeps you on your toes as you scavenge for ammo and deal with plenty of great horror style set-pieces, like the lights going off and things moving around the room. It’s great and terrifying. The bad part is that once you hit about the half-way point, the survival horror sort of dissipates and you’re left with a more action-oriented shooter. Maybe this is just a personal complaint of mine, but I would have preferred to be creeped out the whole way through.
BioShock is a fantastic game that shouldn’t be missed. Whether it’s the great and creepy atmosphere of 1960s art-deco Rapture, the intense storyline or the tight gunplay that keeps you coming back is up to you, but all of these things roll up into a wonderful package that is BioShock.