BioShock Review

If you’ve played the demo, the opening sequence is identical, as is the story: it’s 1960, and you (Jack Fontaine- how do you not remember your own name?) are on a plane over the mid-Atlantic for a reason only you would know. For some reason, the plane crashes, and your lucky self doesn’t explode, but nearly drowns. In an effort to live, you find a lighthouse, which is all too convenient. You swim over to it and enter a Bathysphere, and pull a lever…probably not the smartest thing you’ve ever done: welcome to Rapture.

Rapture is a city built underwater in 1946 by a scientist named Andrew Ryan. All of its resources were to come from “undersea volcanic openings”. Ryan was selective of who he would allow in, in an effort to build an underwater utopia: this all unraveled when a biological war broke out between Ryan and a fellow scientist- apparently sea slugs near Rapture secreted pure stem cells, the substance being dubbed ADAM, and this ADAM could alter your genetics to give you never before possible abilities…and thus begins BioShock.

Let me start off by saying this: BioShock plays better than any other game I’ve ever played. Protectors, known as Big Daddies, protect Gatherers, also known as Little Sisters. As these Little Sisters find dead Splicers (standard enemies- all these terms!), they harvest the ADAM- the Big Daddies stand by them to protect. And, quite frankly, they kick [butt] at their job. If you don’t mess with them, they don’t mess with you- you’d probably ask, hey, why can’t I just avoid them?
Well, good news- you can, at a severe cost, to the point where the game is unbeatable. When you defeat a Big Daddy, you have two choices: save the Little Sister by taking away its evil, and get some ADAM from it, or harvest all of their ADAM, resulting in their death. There’s a substantial difference in ADAM, too, but there’s some lady that says not killing them will be worth your while in the end (and, well, in my opinion, it is). You need the ADAM to get Plasmids- power-ups you obtain from vending machines found around Rapture- or Tonics, which affect you physically (take less damage, deal more damage, run faster, etc), both of which are vital to winning the game. You need to get out of Rapture- but far too many things disagree.

Now, the graphics for the game are stellar. Very well done, and not just the graphics and polygon count, but animations, I guess, too. One of the Plasmids is a ball that oozes with the power, and (this sounds odd) but it looks…awesome. Seriously. The game’s not exactly on par with Gears of War (not many games are…if any?), but really, it’s awesome. I don’t know if I can go into much more detail. The graphics are fantastic. If you were wondering…they’re great. Yeah. Next?

Well, Visuals are down (did I mention how much I liked them?)- now onto Audio. I’m going to try to explain it differently than graphics…the sound is, oh, amazing. An incredible orchestral score throughout, distant footsteps, amazing voiceacting, creaking metal, dripping water: it doesn’t get much better than this, people. It’s one of the best games I’ve ever played on the audio-front; not to mention it’s even better on a surround system. The game excels in this, and you can tell, seeing as the Collector’s Edition comes with a three-track soundtrack (I got mine free with a preorder at GameCrazy, yahoo!)

Nothing’s perfect. I don’t care how many tens a game gets, it’s not perfect. There’s always something that doesn’t appeal to everyone. Now, with that said, this game is perfect.
Ok, I’m kidding- the game does have a few problems (but really, it doesn’t get closer to perfection, people!). Namely difficultly, but that’s just me: I died sixteen time (I counted…) trying to beat one part. When you die, you go back to the checkpoint with no penalty, equipped with half-lives as well as half-EVE (ammo for the Plasmids, if I didn’t mention). For some odd reason, the game randomly freezes for about three-fourths of a second. It’s only happened in the single digits for me, but…well, a minor annoyance. I have to say something’s wrong, or I’m not credible.

Don’t get me wrong, though- this game is amazing. Fantastic. Incredible. Astonishing. Mind-blowing. Jaw-dropping. Extraordinary. Phenomenal. Awesome. Breathtaking. Abso-freaking-lutely unbelievable. Even if you don’t want this game (in which case, well…), buy it to support 2K Boston/Austrailia for making BioShock. The game’s SPECTACULAR!
Anyway, rating time.

[Sound]: 10/10 – The sound in the game is so, so creepy. A great orchestral background complements very well-done sound effects, as well as stellar voiceacting.
[Graphics]: 9.5/10 – I don’t think I need to go into this one much. It’s not the best the world has ever seen, but still, pretty darn good.
[Difficulty]: 9/10 – Pretty hard for me on Medium, but the fact that you can adjust how hard it is makes it complete for everyone.
[Story]: 10/10 – BioShock has one of the best stories I’ve ever seen in a video game, ever- and quite frankly, I can’t think of another game with a better story. This is probably the strongest point of the entire game.
[Controls]: 9.5/10 – Typical FPS controls, with the especially nice dual-wielding tactic, with LB and LT serving as changing and firing a Plasmid, respectively. Nothing wrong here, except the B button can be hit an accident and cause you to waste a First Aid Kit to heal yourself.
[Playback]: 8/10 – The game lacks multiplayer, but the single-player campaign’s multiple endings will call for you to play for a second round in Rapture…not much after that, though.

[Overall, not an average score]: 10/10 – Yeah, I think this is called hypocrisy or something like that. I know I said no game is perfect, but in the world of video games, for me, it doesn’t get better. This is the best video game I’ve ever played- ever- without a single doubt in my mind. The story grabs you from the first second of the game and never lets go until the end, and the Plasmid system is extremely cool. As advertised, the game doesn’t require you to just shoot-’em-up and win (actually, conserve ammo. REMEMBER I SAID THAT!)- it requires brainpower to win. Only the smart and powerful can make it out of Rapture alive- will you be one of them?