Bioshock quite simply is one of the best games to come out for the Xbox 360. With that out of the way—2kGames’ Bioshock is an instantly action-packed cinematic game that has hours of entertainment, an incredibly engaging and interesting story and most importantly, beautiful graphics and easy-to-use but challenging gameplay. Bioshock outshines every game to date for the Xbox 360.
The game begins in 1960 with a plane crash that you are the sole survivor of; swimming in the water all you can see is a nearby island, once there the only place to go is what seems like an elevator. From there, you enter the city of Rapture, a splintered off society that is an underwater retro-future marvel of technology. Under the ocean a real gigantic city has been created for Bioshock, this isn’t a half-assed production; we are talking giant skyscrapers (oceanscrapers?) a subway system and everything else that a city would have. Much effort has been taken in the artwork for this game and it is totally worth it, every environment is dynamic, full of brilliant colors and details. Rapture was supposed to be a utopia with some brilliant scientific minds behind it, but unfortunately it seems they went too far.
Through body modifications, the people of Rapture gained various abilities (such as being able to shoot electricity from their hands, telekinesis, fire, etc) but these plasmids as they are called caused more damage than good. When you enter into the city of Rapture you find a place with dead bodies everywhere, rampant destruction and citizens looking for blood. Fortunately a mysterious voice from a radio calls out to you and starts explaining some of the situations for you, in exchange for helping him rescue his family he promises to help you get out of Rapture. Thus begins your journey through the ruins of Rapture.
This once beautiful and bold city has seen its denizens turn into extremely strong and powerful beings whose brains are corrupted. The structure of the city still remains, the radio station still plays music, announcements come over the loudspeakers, elements of what the society had been remain, but all is not right in Rapture. Grabbing a wrench to start you can bash your way through the crazed residents who have become splicers, genetically modified person who are none too happy to see you. These vanquished enemies often are carrying other weapons, ammo, cash or other useful things that you might like to collect. Gathering up items is an important and simple part of the game, the world is highly interactive and searching trashcans, ashtrays, dead bodies etc will lead to many constructive finds that will make your way easier. With auto-restore points—called Vita Chambers—where if you are killed you will respawn, the game needs very few load points and so there is almost no break in the action whatsoever.
The story of the game starts to reveal itself quickly and it seems like finding out what exactly went wrong in Rapture is a good start. All around the city are tape recorders from various characters, all of which reveal more about the story, the city and what went on. These recorders are great because they do not take away from the action, can be played while you are doing other things and are not separate cut scenes.
Using the weapons that you find throughout the world you take on all kinds of enemies while keeping an eye out for “Little Sisters,” children whom carry large amounts of Adam, the compound that the plasmids are based from and which everyone is desperate for; your plasmid power is based upon how much Eve you are carrying: get it, Adam and Eve. In order to get the Adam you need to harvest it from the Little Sisters, which can be violent or peaceful depending on which way you choose, but before that point you need to get passed the girls’ protectors, the Big Daddies. These hulking men in iron suits are difficult to fight but yield lots of great goodies after you take them down. It is worth it though, Adam gives you points that you can spend to upgrade your plasmids, get new ones and other power upgrades throughout the game.
As the game progresses the story gets more and more interesting, and, for the sake of not ruining it we will not go any further, but suffice to say there are twists and interesting developments that you definitely will not expect but are extremely clever and interesting.
Controlling your way around the game is very easy, with directional arrows providing you a guide while on quests; anyone familiar with any recent FPS will find the controls familiar and easy to navigate. Switching weapons is very easy with on-screen pop-up menus that allow you easily to go from one to another or to switch the various types of ammunition that each weapon can use. With one trigger for gun weapons and the other for plasmid weapons using both types of attacks is easy and useful strategically.
The only really negative part of the game is the hacking of various electronic machines to get them on your side. These include video cameras, gun turrets, vending machines and more. While useful and helpful (hacking video cameras for example will send flying attack robots after enemies who trigger it) the process is a slightly tedious and generally boring minigame of connecting pipes together before water shorts out the circuits. This part of the game just gets annoying after having done it so many times, but even it has its entertainment value.
The game takes you through a myriad of interesting places and you encounter over 10 different types of enemies to battle your way through. The AI is incredible, every foe is a dynamic character, there are no real tendencies within the characters and they will viciously attack you until one of you is dead. Even similar splicers will all act differently and attack differently. Be warned, they often pop up out of seemingly nowhere and can often be actually quite startling.
With wonderful voice acting and stunning graphics—the Art-Deco designs around the city are truly beautiful—and a really well written interesting story, Bioshock will blow you away. There are plenty of game hours to keep you occupied and loads of places to explore and go through. Check out every room, there is always something useful around, whether its weapon upgrades, plasmids or other useful items. Bioshock will rock you every which way and you will want to keep coming back for more. This game is why people were excited about Next-Gen gaming, you couldn’t ask for a better game.
Learning Curve: 15-20 minutes
Bioshock is available exclusively for the Xbox 360 and the PC and is in stores now