Have you ever dreamed of an alternate 1960’s, where the music was the same, the world was the same, except that some guy has built an underwater paradise that was hidden from everyone except for a select few? Of course not! It’s hidden! Silly readers! Bioshock is just that, and a lot more.
Released in late 2007, Bioshock is 2K games’ first entry in the Bioshock series, and let me tell you this straight away, this game is magnificent, all the way from the story telling, to the twists, to the gameplay.
The story in Bioshock starts out as you’re in a plane crash that happens to land on the entryway to something, you don’t know what yet, anyway, you swim to it, seeing your plane drown in the big ocean, and the fires roaring, you go in and you’re introduced to a statue of a guy called Andrew Ryan, after a bit of looking around, you find a bathysphere that you go in, it takes you down, and you start to see Rapture in all it’s glory, you see buildings with big neon signs under the ocean, with fish swimming around, you see a tunnel with someone in there, you see marvels you thought were never possible. Then you arrive to Rapture itself, and the electricity goes out, so you’re left in an almost blacked out room, and a radio starts to talk, you’re introduced quickly to Atlas, a former Rapture resident who briefs you on everything that has happened down in Rapture, then you hear the screams of a man, and you see a creature ripping him apart, all from the comfort of your bathysphere. After the electricity goes back on, you go out of the bathysphere and take your first walk inside of Rapture, only it’s destroyed, completely, and abandoned. After walking around a little you start to notice some very strange things, a woman crying over a baby stroller, though she doesn’t look all that, alive, you go closer and before you know it, you’re being attacked, I did go look inside the baby stroller after I defeated the woman, and to my surprise, there was a gun in the baby stroller, she was crying over a gun. You’ll start to realize that the remaining Rapture residents aren’t all that sane, Atlas confirms this as well. After a while, you’re introduced to a Big Daddy ripping apart an enemy, but thankfully, early on in the game, you don’t have to fight him, you do get to obtain your first Plasmid though! Plasmids are DNA altering powers that I’ll cover more in the gameplay section of the review. Later on, you see a Big Daddy and a little girl who Atlas calls “The Little Sisters”, they drain Adam from fallen enemies, Adam is basically what keeps Rapture running, and this is where your first choice needs to be done, you can either save the little sister as Tennenbaum suggested, a Rapture resident who asks you to spare the little girls since they can actually be saved, or follow Atlas’ advice and drain the little sisters of their Adam, giving you considerably more Adam, but killing the little sisters in the process, regardless of what you decide to do, it will affect your game. Throughout the game you’re trying to find where Andrew Ryan is so you can find a way to get out of Rapture, along with other plots and twists I won’t share here so you folks can experience the game.
Bioshock is a story driven first person shooter (something we don’t come by a lot nowadays), but that does not by any means say that the gameplay is lackluster, the complete opposite actually; throughout the game you’ll find weapons and plasmids, plasmids alter your DNA so you can have special powers, like shooting lightning bolts that stuns enemies and bots, or freezing enemies and security cameras, or just burning them alive! The game offers a plethora of genetic upgrades in the form of Plasmids, along four different paths, that are Plasmids and gene tonics which are divided to Combat, Engineering, and Physical, or passives in other words, these powers come in handy a lot during the game. Bioshock also offers a nice array of weapons, all unique in their own way, which I personally like, kind of old school-ish, instead of having every single weapon be similar with some minor stat differences, weapons in Bioshock are actually so different, you’ll find yourself wanting to use specific weapons or ammunition types in certain situations, instead of picking a favourite weapon and just going by it.
Through out the game you’ll have the option to either rescue or harvest little sisters after beating their (EXTREMELY hard) Big Daddies, which ever you choose will alter the game’s ending, and a lot of the ending levels are altered as well depending on your choice, on one hand, if you rescue the little sisters, you’re doing the kind thing, though you only get 80 Adam per sister, however, if you harvest them, you kill the little sister, though you get 160 Adam instead!
Let me explain how Adam is crucial, Adam is basically the rarest, most niche kind of currency in Rapture, you get to spend it on Plasmids or Gene Tonics that you won’t get other wise, so, basically, the more the better!
The game also features a mini game in the form of hacking turrets, flying bots, vending machines, saves, doors, whathaveyou. If you remember the old “pipe” games in which you have to redirect the flow of the water, you’ll be familiar with this, though after a while, the hacking does get boring, hacked bots and turrets will fight for you, hacked vending machines will lower their prices and make more items available, you get some pretty nice bonuses like that. There’s also another mini game, and the RPG factor of Bioshock, actually, where you have a camera, and you get to take pictures of enemies in the name of research, each level gained gives you a bonus against that certain enemy, so it’ll help (A LOT) to take as much pictures as you possibly can.
You can also invent automatic hack tools at the U-Invent stations, along with some ammunition types and even plasmids at times!
Difficulty wise, on Normal difficulty, Bioshock isn’t ridiculously difficult, but it is challenging, though the Big Daddies are hard, extremely hard, you’ll find yourself dying over and over at the beginning until you get the really good weapons.
Even though the game came out in 2007, it is very competent where visuals are concerned, Rapture is a beautifully designed city with lots to see, the models are nicely made and the frame rate is usually stable through out the game. A plus point for 2K though is including an option not to stabilize the frame rate, so you can have even better visuals, and this is the first time I see that option on a console game to be honest, but it’s a nice move.
At times though you might notice a little texture lag, though it is not annoying, it’s just, noticeable.
The game features a 1960’s style soundtrack, which can be a little haunting around Rapture, which gives it a nice feel and authenticity.
As far as sound effects are concerned, the game is very nice, giving attention to every little detail, midway through the game you’ll be able to know when a Big Daddy is around so you can either get ready or flee.
Bioshock features multiple endings through the choices you make in game, which makes playing through the game more than once a good idea, not to mention that you’ll be wanting to play the game anyway because of how amazing it is!
Recap and final comments:
Bioshock is a beautiful artistic video game that features the charming music of the ’60s along with some sick twisted people in a city called Rapture, what more do you need! A flamethrower? It’s in there too!
The game is absolutely fantastic, I personally beat it in three days which is a record for me, but it is by no means short. You can find Bioshock easily nowadays pre-owned for about $10 maximum, or you can get it through the Bioshock Ultimate Rapture Edition (which I did) that includes Bioshock, Bioshock 2 and all of their DLCs, all that for $30, or you can just wait till Bioshock Infinite comes out since it will include the original Bioshock on disc!
Let me know how you felt about Bioshock in the comments, and how badly you’re waiting for Infinite to release!