Bioshock is an FPS that has you playing through the submerged city of Rapture. Throughout your time in Rapture you’ll locate interesting choices for battle that are as pleasing and complex as the narrative and characters are, something that just a few games can claim to offer.
But to call this game just a first-person shooter, a game that fuses story and gameplay in such a beautiful way, is actually doing it a disservice. It is one of those monumental encounters you will never forget, and the standard against which games should be held against. It is a shining example of how a game should bring together all components of game design.
Matters in the game kick off with your airplane crashing into the ocean, and to survive you must enter Rapture. The game plays on the traditions of the first person perspective genre by throwing you through encounters to greatly reinforce that delicate, intangible bond between yourself and the game’s protagonist that you play. Sometimes you’ll find yourself having minutes of reflection in the game, which is uncommon in most games, which I can not get into for fear of spoiling matters within the game. The game places a comparatively straight narrative course for you, but it never feels all that linear.
Andrew Ryan, the villain of BioShock, is a guy of extreme aspiration who constructed a city under the sea, obsessed with the notion of what makes a man, and what distinguishes a slave and a man. His vision, Rapture, is certainly a gigantic failure. You can not help but sympathize with Ryan, while he spits out what appears to resemble totalitarian propaganda. He talks about them with confidence, has alluring thoughts, and comes off as a sympathetic visionary despite his serious eccentricities.
As you continue through Rapture, you will find it not unlike reading a novel, allowing you to form your own impressions of the events that take place, and come away with a unique point of view. The thematic blending and twining of the characters of BioShock is so strong, it plays like any great novel or film, expanding your comprehension of what a game can actually be, and attacking you with its notions.
You will hear a few of the voiceovers muse about certain elements in the game. Things like, “Why do they wear the masks?” Small bits of immersion like that get tossed at you. These types of small elements are instrumental in making BioShock as immersive as it has shown itself to be, although they are not vital to the actual storyline.
The game is broken up into big parts, each divided by load times. The load times never cut short the experience or mar the concentration and are logically set. Each section comes with its own form of NPCs who are not just stage leaders–oftentimes you’ll find that they do not even engage in battle.
The standard enemies in the game still manage to present quite a bit of style, simply because the various variants of the splicers, genetically altered people, are still who they are. They are not zombies; they still have conscious, cohesive thoughts. They are regretful of their current state, yet recognize that there is no release for them, no chance, like an intellect crippled by drug addiction that is despairing over his situation. It is almost as if BioShock’s enemies need you to kill them, to place them out of their distress. Occasionally you’ll see some that are a bit whimsical, prancing around with a wry sense of humor.
They are such eerily, lively foes that you might come to feel for them. The Big Daddies, the lumbering guards in Rapture, will roam around different parts of Rapture while slamming on exits from where their wards, the Little Sisters, would generally emerge. If you have killed or freed the little girls, the Big Daddy will always knock and look truly perplexed over why no one comes out, then stomp and groan to the next spot. It is another example of the amazing details which make Rapture look so lively.
Then there is the real fight, which presents a tremendous collection of choices. Each weapon in the game has three kinds of ammo, all with changing effects. This is not a game where you are just restricted to grenade launcher or an SMG to assault, though you can use those if you so choose. Tell a Big Daddy to shield you with a plasmid and he swats away any attackers. Set shock snares with your crossbow darts and rearrange them as you see fit with telekinesis. Bees to throw at your enemies. Then, as they are fighting, place one of them on fire and throw a seat at the other. While some plasmids are more useful than others – incinerate and electrobolt in particular – the variety of methods to dispatch enemies is actually restricted to your own inventiveness. Had this game been filled with AI issues, the battle system would have been much, much less enjoyable. But as it stands, enemies run in interesting attack patterns, and the plasmids that change enemy behavior really work quite well, though I did see a couple of occasions when the AI seemed to glitch out, making the splicer stand in place as it was hit.
If you needed to, it is not completely impossible to plow through BioShock using just the plasmids, but where is the fun in that? While there definitely are processes of assault which can be deemed the best, you are actually missing out on what makes this game so thrilling if you don’t test out a variety of battle tactics.
Experimenting is something you will practically be driven into against Big Daddies, who appear in every phase of the game. You’ll discover the game was made to compel you to fight with these things, and the damage and punishment they are able to consume needs creative, on the spot problem solving and fast reflexes. Should you perish, which you surely will on any mode after the easiest setting, you get restored at checkpoints called Vita Chambers. With such chambers you get back some of your health and some Eve, which is what regulates plasmid use. Since enemies won’t recover their health when you get sent to a Vita Chamber, it ensures that foes can be killed with enough continuity, which might be a nagging attribute for some gamers.
The mini game of hacking (which happens a decent amount in the game) needs you to match sequences of tubes to enable a liquid to flow uninterrupted from one particular point on the display to another. How hard it is can be modified by various tonics, and you will discover the system possesses quite a lot of depth. Should you finally get tired of hacking everything, you always have the option to make auto-hacks through the creation system or, if you are facing security bots, load up some shotgun shells and smash them to bits.
A pleasant characteristic of BioShock is that it is possible to revisit preceding periods of the game. Another thing I was pleased to see is how powerful the game’s only melee weapon, the wrench, stays throughout the entire game. Through various tonic power-ups it may also become more powerful than a bulk of your firearms.
The greatest facet of BioShock is how nicely all components combine together. Story plays out mainly through voiceovers, letting you remain immersed in the activity you’re currently engaged in, and storyline is very fleshed out. Every character’s voice is nicely played. Andrew Ryan in particular is a delight to listen to, with vocal gravitas that is simply exquisite.
To truly appreciate the sound in this game try cranking up the speakers or headset when not in battle. You begin to hear the metallic clanks, the rustles that are otherworldly, piping up at various distances, impressing upon you the belief that this world does not cease being real at the walls around you. Wherever you end up going, there is always the water, a dripping undercurrent of sound, reminding you of your shaky situation within this crumbling city being smashed on all sides by a massive ocean.
The visuals will always amaze, from the selections of which places to light up and which to leave in the dark, comprehensive industrial constructions to the weapons and plasmid effects. And then there is the water. It is so magnificent, rippling and gurgling through every one of the halls of Rapture, tumbling from ceilings and, needless to say, encasing the city itself.
There’s artwork here that goes beyond what many would say is possible with games. But the artwork is there in BioShock–it is in the gorgeously watery halls of Rapture. It is in the record cartons, in the way the characters develop. It is in the way the story blends seamlessly with the ongoing gampelay. They did not only give us something that is enjoyable to play, a standard so frequently mentioned as what makes a game rewarding. BioShock stands as a monolithic case of the convergence of amusing gameplay and an irresistibly scary, engrossing storyline that encompasses a host of characters that are very multifaceted. This is a vital gaming experience that everyone should partake of.