Product Type: Take 2 Xbox 360 games
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Bioshock (Xbox 360)
Member Name: MisterMarston
Bioshock (Xbox 360)
Date: 30/01/10, updated on 31/01/10 (6 review reads)
Advantages: Fantastic graphics, one of the greatest, most compelling emotive narrative-driven games of all time.
Disadvantages: The pipe mini-game can get a bit frustrating and repetetive.
"Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?" exclaims Andrew Ryan; commencing this horrific, fantastical narrative-driven action tale. After crash landing in the mid-atlantic, Jack finds a perculiar, uncharted lighthouse surrounded by flame. Faced with either a prospect of drowning or burning, he decides to enter the building and thus makes the first step into the horrific bowls of Rapture.
Rapture is a dystopian environment unlike anything you'll have ever played in a game before. It's oppressive, emotive and above all - creepy as hell. A private sanctuary intended to free earth's greatest minds from the constraints of law and order is now a bloodbath, housing some of the biggest "nutters" you'll ever encounter.
These "nutters" are called Splicers; regualar artists, scientists and doctors who have genetically modified themselves to the point of oblivion with the aid of a chemical called 'ADAM'. Everybody wants it, everybody needs it. Even Jack needs it, to gain powers enough to survive in the haunting world.
It can already be argued that BioShock is home to one of the most unique and intreguing narrative premises you've ever encountered. Things, from there, only get better (or worse, if you look at it from Jack's perspective).
GAMEPLAY - 9/10
I picked this game up on release day in the summer of 2007 without any preconception of what it was going to be about, or play like. Suffice to say, I was mesmerised. BioShock is a first person shooter with a slight twist on the theme, and that being that in your left hand you can harness the magical abilities that the consumption of ADAM permits you. Problem is, ADAM is stored within mutated little girls (named the 'Little Sisters') who are guarded by gigantic hulks in diving suits, named the Big Daddies. For anyone who has played Left 4 Dead - you may relate to this: Fighting regular Splicers is like fighting regular zombies, it is, however, when you encounter a Big Daddy that all tactics have to change (much like fighting a Tank) in order to just get the job done without too much mess. Different people approach the fight in different ways - some with all guns blazin' and some with tactically placed mines. All I know is, these options and diversity make for some brilliant and interesting gameplay, another great design choice by the developers.
The magical powers (PLASMIDS) can be purchased from a store dotted around the environments - and grants the player such powers as Incinerate (blasts of fire) and ElectroBolt (blasts of electricity) etc. You select and shoot with the left trigger - a nice design choice so that the player does not accidently waste their power whilst meaning to fire a gun.
The gameplay primarily consists of fire-fights, small bouts of exploration, puzzle-solving and mini-game playing. The exploration of Rapture is fantastic and rewarding, as the environments are so rich and detailed that you find yourself really wanting to explore, as opposed to feeling forced into it. Puzzle-solving plays only a small part in the game, bringing certain items to certain people in order to achieve certain outcomes, and the mini-game whilst at first is fun, slowly gets monotonous. This is the only criticism I have on the gameplay (making it a 9/10) - and that is the mini-game the player has to solve to hack n' crack machines and safes can get very repetetive and dull. It's essentially that "pipe" game many of the retro generation of gamers may have played, where water is slowly filling pipes and you have to connect it all together the right way in order for it to flow successfuly, a little bit like a jigsaw puzzle.
Aside from that repetetive task, everything about BioShock's gameplay is bang on the money.
GRAPHICS - 10/10
You just can't knock it. Released for Xbox 360 in 2007, then ported to the PS3 late 2008 - the graphics for BioShock have remained consistent as some of the best graphics in video game history. There are still games being produced today which don't have a graphical patch on this game - created 3 years prior!
The water effects are some of the best in the industry, and there's a certain special sensation you recieve from running Jack through dripping water to make the screen waver and distort. Beautiful. The environments are fresh, colourful and vibrant - despite being situated in the middle of a bomb-shell hell-house. The character models are fantastic, especially in the case of the mutated Splicers and the gigantic Big Daddies. When you get up close to a mutilated and grotesque Splicer, seeing every inch of their face - torn or bloody or disjointed like a Picasso painting, you can really understand why the graphics of BioShock make for a compelling atmosphere and brilliant enemies.
AUDIO - 9/10
At first, the soundtrack may feel like nothing special. I felt that way first time through, but then I realized whilst replaying that this was only because I was so engrossed in the game first-time that I didn't have chance to listen out for it. The music can be beautiful, haunting, entertaining and indeed creepy as heck. The entirety of the soundtrack is made up of original scores, which feature some fantastically beautiful piano playing, guttural choral sounds and freakish orchestral pieces. The music kicks in at really appropriate moments - in the midst of a battle, a faced pace violin and drums piece will play to engross you further. In the middle of exploration, faced with a creepy corridor - single notes will play and drag out, building up suspense and expanding upon the horror atmosphere.
Voice acting is fantastic - nothing to write home about, but it is emotive and fits very nicely into the BioShock universe. Some standout characters in particular are Atlas and Andrew Ryan, who offer some of the most realistic and convincing in-game voice acting I've ever heard. The sounds for guns, robots and Splicers are also extremely impressive and just help BioShock stand out a bit more as being one of the greats.
OVERALL - 10/10
Yes, there is no multiplayer... And the campaign isn't extremely lengthy. But, none of these things matter in the slightest - BioShock is a story driven, brilliantly compelling game that deserves to go down in the books as being one of the biggest videogame achievements of all time.
The PS3 version features some downloadable content, but it is nothing to write home about (some small, rather interesting challenge rooms) - so I would reccomend folks wait for BioShock 2 for its fully immersive online multiplayer experience.
Overall - if you're a rather sentimental gamer, BioShock warrants a purchase and deserves to sit on your shelf for the rest of your videogaming career. If you aren't one for replaying, and you don't much care for a game to pick up and play a few years later, then I would reccomend you rent it.
Thanks for reading!
Summary: Overall - I feel every true gamer needs to experience BioShock at some point. Utterly brilliant.
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