This had to be one of the best games I have had the privilege of playing on the Xbox 360 so far. From the first moments to the ending moments, and all in between they were truly spectacular. Itís been so long since a game has come along and captivated me as BioShock has done. I think the last time I enjoyed myself like this was Zelda, and 007 on the N64 all those years back.
Well letís get this review underway shall we?
In BioShock, you take the role of an isolated crash survivor who discovers a city under the sea. This city, also known as Rapture, was once a utopia for scientists, artists, and industrialists. However, by the time your character takes his first steps into Rapture, the civilization has ceased to exist, and the place is nearly desolate. The signs of life your avatar finds are nothing like he's seen before. Creatures known as little sisters roam the streets of Rapture with enormous bodyguards called Big Daddies. Mutated humans drag their warped bodies around the city and attack you on sight.
The goal of the game is to find your way out of Rapture while uncovering the mysteries behind its existence. As you explore the open environment, you must defeat Big Daddies and little sisters to obtain a material known as Adam. The Adam can enhance your in-game attributes and unlock over 60 genetic skills that come in handy for all sorts of predicaments. The city of Rapture is almost completely interactive, and you may collect objects for later use. There are also six modifiable weapons to use including two types of guns.
Stunning! From the moment you are dropped into the game, the engine is shown off. The truly spectacular water and fire effects really blew me away. It must have taken me 5 minutes to finally get on dry land; I sat and was in awe of my surroundings. It was very refreshing from the lack luster releases of late.
This has got to be the best rendering of water to date, that Iíve seen in action. Itís almost as if youíre watching a cut-scene. Even after I had seen it, Iíd catch myself later on in the game stopping to just look around. You are encased in water, so itís pretty hard to get away from it.
Water isnít the only awesome effect rendered in BioShock. Fire is also done very well. Iíve seen some pretty convincing fire, but when you light up a splicer it looks like the real deal. I can almost feel the heat blazing thru my screen, itís just that real.
Every model in the game is well done as well, the games based in the 1960ís so itís a bit different I must say. From the weapons, to the Big Daddies, itís all just incredible.
*A power you posses in the game, and it falls under graphics, so it will have its own subcategory*
Plasmids are done extremely well. You really get the feeling of having brute power in the palm of your hands. From the incinerate plasmid lighting up flames from time to time in your palm, to the icy spikes that shoots thru your hand with the freeze plasmid. They all look very stunning. It shows that this had quite a bit of forethought put into it. When you use your plasmids they all look wonderfull. From the splash of a plasmid that brings Big Daddies to your aid, to plasmids that enrage enemies making them attack on another they all look stunning. With the exception of one plasmid that I think could have been done a little better.
That being the freeze plasmid, you use this plasmid to freeze enemies. Your enemies look really good frozen, but when you destroy them (e.g.. break them apart as something frozen this deep is prone to) it just shoots a blast of frozen blocks. I think perhaps if limbs and torsos were to shatter it would look a bit better. That is the only plasmid that didnít catch my fancy. The rest all react in a way thatís very believable.
While BioShock may be an Fps, it doesnít fall into the overdone, been there done that aspect that you find yourself in most Fpsís today. It keeps you guessing from the moment you start the game. But itís the ending that just sets this game apart. You think you have a grasp of whatís going on, but truly you donít. Itís just a great breath of fresh air. I think what pulls you into BioShock is the ďfreshnessĒ. Its not your go from point A to point B game. Thereís no telling where the enemies will be. Unlike quite a few games, where you know on the other side of this door will be a monster. Nor will you be wary of hidden doors opening up, producing an enemy. You have many options of which way you would like to take this game on. You can set up traps, go head on, and use your environment. I spent about 10 minutes one time, setting up a trap to snare some unsuspecting enemies. Every minute of it was a blast!
But here in lays the first problem with BioShock. Yes itís small, and really doesnít take away from the game to much. But at random times during game play the game will freeze up for just a few seconds. I was only engaged in combat a few times while this happened. But it does take away from the experience, so it is a problem.
The second problem I have found, that might not bother others is the way you select your plasmids. You use the left bumper, you can either click it to go thru each plasmid one by one, or you can hold it down and select the plasmid of your choosing. But it does take away from the experience from time to time in a heated battle. You can simply hold it down, freeze game play and select the plasmid of your choosing. I think a d-pad option would have been a nice addition. It doesnít present a problem all the time, but from time to time it can get tedious bashing that bumper to get to the plasmid of your choosing.
Another large part of the game is hacking. You hack bots, cameras, and vending machines. Itís done by lining up a series of tubes to an outlet. Itís very innovative, and at times can be quite a challenge. After a few goes at it you, get a better understanding and are able to pull off even the hardest of hacks. There are auto-hack guns around the levels that are defiantly handy. So keep your eyes peeled.
From the splash of water, to the crackle of fire, itís all rendered in great detail. You feel very submerged in BioShock. As if you are on the bottom of an ocean in a rundown city. From the footsteps, to the gunfights, BioShock does an excellent job in treating your senses. From the eerie little sisters, calling out to their Big Daddies for protection, to the tortured cries of splicerís that live a tormented world of self inflicted rage/pain.
Scattered around the levels are audio diaries. That gives you an insight into the world of rapture, and gives you some background into what has transpired to bring down this great city of Rapture. The character voices are portrayed extremely well. You really get a felling for what the person was going thru as you collect more and more diaries they have left behind. To feeling sorry for some and seeing just how sinister others are. It really helps move the story along.
I went through the game on the hardest setting. It really did present a hard, but fun play. I do think perhaps the respawn part of the game made it a bit too easy. Even on the hardest setting. But by no means do you fly thru the game. I took my time, but still beat the game in around 12-14 hours. Well shy of the 20 hours as advertised. But I turned around and started playing thru on the easiest setting, and it really gives me more time to enjoy all the eye candy this game gives you. So I think there is a high level of replay value with BioShock. It wonít simply go in your game collection to never be pulled out again. You will get the urge to play it again a day or so after you beat it.
- Graphics: Solid 10
- Game Play: 9.7
- Audio: 10
- Replay Value: 9
- Total Scoring 9.6
- Incredible graphics
- Great Game Play
- Large levels with fast load times
- Everything is just well polished, its truly a great experience that will leave you very satisfied.
The BioShock: Ultimate Rapture Edition includes the critically-acclaimed BioShock, BioShock 2 and add-on content for both games valued at more than $40. It also includes a trip to the never-before-seen Museum of Orphaned Concepts, providing a rare look at early concept art and character models that never made it into BioShock...
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