Product Type: Take 2 PS3 games
Newest Review: ... turn on and you get your first glimpse at the art deco architecture and a huge statue of Andrew Ryan saying 'No god or kings, only man'. Th... more
I've never liked underwater games. But Bioshock just does it for me.
Member Name: Zack131
Date: 11/02/10, updated on 12/02/10 (214 review reads)
Advantages: Method of story telling, super powers, fear, tension
Disadvantages: Minigame / research can become a little tedious
2K Games successfully manages to create an immersive underwater art Deco city that has had its society spliced with chaos. The incredible city known as Rapture promises no boundaries and a life free from political questioning and morality where only the strong prosper without being held back by the weak. As a scientist of Rapture you are free to excel in previously deemed inhuman experimentation which ultimately leads the city to ruin. The city is wrecked, sanity is absent and the majority of the city is overrun by 'splicers' who are genetically altered citizens of Rapture. The city is run by that of Andrew Ryan who believes that Rapture can flourish once more.
The player's silent protagonist comes close to death with a plane crash into the sea. With walls of fire, despair all around you and a mysterious lighthouse in the distance, you are given no indication on what you are doing. Making your way through the tragic scene you enter the mysterious lighthouse which serves as the gateway to Rapture. Entering the bathysphere you begin the plunge towards Rapture as you are introduced to the cities ruler known as Andrew Ryan. The feeling of seeing Rapture for the first time is possibly my favourite part of Bioshock. It is somewhat difficult to describe, it feels claustrophobic and stunning at the same time which really makes a difference to setting as you see a Whale pass by the window of the bathysphere. Entering Rapture, you are quickly familiarised with the various foes of the game and the eerie atmosphere it can produce is truly astounding. Rapture itself becomes a vital character to the game as it unravels the majority of the history through its trashed interior areas, scenes of death and audio logs which can be found throughout Rapture. The story telling and atmosphere of Rapture is what made Bioshock unique for me. It was up to you to understand Rapture's past, collecting audio logs or examining your surroundings are not necessary so its history is told without your hand being held. There are a host of great sequences which will definitely make you jump adding to the intensity of the game.
Bioshock is a first person shooter horror game with a little bit of customisation thrown in. However, those who are quite partial to the FPS genre may be in for a bit of a surprise. Weapon ammo is extremely scarce much like System Shock 2 and the player must conserve money for the likes of healing items. The weapon roster includes a wrench, pistol, machine gun, shotgun, grenade launcher, crossbow and a flamethrower. Each of the guns can be upgraded at 'power to the people' machines which don't function once you upgrade 1 weapon. A variety of different ammunition such as anti personnel bullets, anti armour bullets and heat seeking missiles are obtainable. The player can also choose to use a series of 'Plasmids' which are genetic modifications to your body which can perform abilities such as freezing an enemy, setting it on fire, or picking up objects to throw at an enemy via telekinesis. Plasmids can work together effectively, such as setting down what is known as a cyclone trap and setting it on fire to cause the enemy to become both immobile and receive fire burning damage. Experimenting with combinations can prove fun once you have mastered your own technique. Since a maximum of 5 active usable plasmids are allowed, you need to prioritise which you want to take with you until you meet another machine which allows you to swap them. There are also skill enhancing 'tonics' which can be equipped for increased melee damage, hacking time and movement speed. Unlike tonics, plasmids cannot be bought with money. Instead, ADAM (which I won't tell you what it is) is required to purchase new and upgraded versions of plasmids and certain tonics. The combination of both weapons and plasmids is an interesting one. You must decide which of the two is more important at the time, will you use your money for ammo or more 'EVE' which depletes after the use of a plasmid. I liked the assortment of weapons (the crossbow being my favourite for its immense power) and plasmids. Bioshock lets you choose what kind of route you want to take since you will not manage to obtain all of the plasmids upgraded and all. I really enjoyed using such a plasmid at max level which cast a huge gust of wind to your front thrusting enemies across the other side of the room like dolls.
The sound of moans and heavy footsteps indicate the presence of what is known as a Big Daddy. These beings are large and intimidating and use weapons such as a giant drill or a rivet gun. A Big Daddy is the most difficult foe in the game to defeat requiring a much more tactical approach.
A Big Daddy is a guardian of little sisters whom collect ADAM from splicers. A Big Daddy will not lay a finger on you unless you attempt to hurt its little sister or itself. The bouncer type Big Daddy can thrust at you with ridiculous speeds so mines and traps are definitely necessary to keep as much distance between yourself and these foes. You may find yourself fighting a Big Daddy for a good few minutes before defeating it which gives you the choice of healing or killing the little sister. To take full advantage of the combat system you must take part in research of enemies which involves taking photographs of enemies in action to boost up levels of research allowing more damage to be done to it and unlocking new tonics. I always found the research a little tedious considering you did not have unlimited film and had to purchase more. Eventually you end up taking photos every time you spot an enemy which isn't fun. Flying sentry bots and security cameras can be hacked to do your bidding, such as a hacked sentry bot will fire at enemies. A hacked security camera calls in sentry bots to kill the enemy if the camera happens to pick up the enemy up. This also happens on reverse, unhacked bots and cameras will be hostile towards you. Hacking involves a mini game which you are given the task to join pipes to complete a piping circuit. This is quite enjoyable for the first 20 hacks, but quickly becomes a chore after that. Luckily auto hack tools can be 'made' from machines at the cost of materials.
The soundtrack can really contribute to the immense atmosphere of Bioshock, such as the piece 'Welcome to Rapture' accompanies the descent to Rapture excellently with some eerie and spine shivering violin and piano. The soundtrack is great for building up tension and striking fear into the player.
With its crazy inhabitants and the image that Rapture was once a place of beauty, not chaos, it creates an atmosphere that I can only describe as brilliant. Bioshock is full of unexpected events that bring fear and enjoyment to the player. Accompanied with an excellent soundtrack, these feelings are only intensified. The game gives you the moral choice of what to do with the little sisters and unlocks different endings depending on your actions which isn't something I'm so keen on, but works well in this title. The gameplay is fantastic with the twist of genetic enhancements giving you powers such as casting a swarm of bees on enemies. For me, Bioshock is possibly my favourite PlayStation 3 game to date and one of my all time favourites which really gets up close to System Shock 2. The only thing I felt was missing from Bioshock 2 was the ability to play co-operatively with a friend. But, this perhaps would dampen the atmosphere and epic storytelling with subtle messages which is truly one of a kind.
Summary: Its 2010, if you have't played a Bioshock, buy one this year.