Warning: Spoilers for the DEMO ONLY will be from here on in…
I’ll go ahead and let you know this: BioShock will definitely be in the top three best 360 games to come out this year- that’s with Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed, and Halo 3 in mind, too. The Plasmid system is fantastic, and the game’s nice and fast, and there isn’t a dull part at all (aside from the lame cutscenes…). The game’s extremely creepy- maybe even moreso than the Resident Evil series (!)- all thanks to the underwater setting and eerie noises (creaking metal, dripping water- so cliche, but so cool). You find a radio real early on (first minute) and use it to talk to some guy who’s trying to find his family. He acts as the tutorial, guiding you through the game- not button-wise, but goal-wise, telling you where to go and such.
There are little compartments in the game called Vita-Chambers, and if you’re in a room with one, it acts as a checkpoint. If you die, you wind up back there- you don’t have to interact with it at all. Personally, I didn’t die or run out of ammo once in my demo playthrough (which only took 10-15 minutes- short demo, albeit awesome)…my brother, however, died many times, and the Vita-Chambers helped quite a bit. A nifty feature to the game, I must say. I’d rather a Vita-Chamber to a “YOU HAVE REACHED A CHECKPOINT”. That would look too unrealistic…
…which takes me to my next point. There’s very little to see on the HUD- a teeny health bar in the upper-left, a EVE bar below that (more on that later) and ammo in the bottom-right. Oh, and your hand. It’s real nice and helps the game not just feel like an FPS with new characters. The controls are also fantastic (on the 360, at least)- LT to shoot a Plasmid, LB to switch Plasmids; RT to shoot/use your weapon, RB to swap. In the demo, you can only pick up the Tommy Gun, Revolver, and the Wrench, weapons-wise, and Incinerate and Electro-Bolt Plasmid-wise. Incinerate’s quite the powerful Plasmid, too. The Splicer’s (read: citizens of Rapture) health goes down real fast.
You can pick up ammo as well as EVE (EVE Hypo is basically Plasmid ammo- scratch that, that’s exactly what it is) from dead Splicer’s (and dead Splicer’s only), which can hold up to three items- money’s usually one of the objects. On that topic, ADAM, the “currency” of Rapture, can be used at U-Vend vending machines to purchase more Plasmids/Tonics (Tonics are just defense/speed/etc. upgrades and stuff, like badges in Paper Mario). To be more precise, ADAM is like…genetic material that you find. That’s the best I can put it.
Also, the AI is awesome in the game. They’ll fire, then take off if you see them, or if you’re low on health, they won’t run, just shoot at you (Splicers + guns = bad news). In one cutscene, you see a Little Sister taking ADAM from a dead Splicer. Another Splicer comes in and decides to try and kill the Little Sister…bad news. The oddly-agile Big Daddy runs and jumps from upstairs, picks him up, throws him against the wall and proceeds to- actually, this poor-quality video I filmed could sum up their encounter more nicely.
All in all, the demo was awesome, but short. BioShock is well worth the $60 on the 360 (PC review of BioShock will likely be on GameSpotting! after the game comes out, too), or the $70 for the Collector’s Edition. The game flat-out rocks, no questions asked- if you were on the fence or even in a “probably not getting it” mindset, after playing this, you’d be nothing short of insane if you didn’t run out and preorder it (ok, maybe just want it). BioShock comes out for the Xbox 360 and PC on August 21 of this year for $60 and $50, respectively. The game is rated “M” for Mature.