BioShock was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated games of this year, mainly due to the teasing trailers and the developer walkthroughs demonstrating some novel ideas to the now rather lame first Person Shooter genre. After all there are only so many times you want to shoot people, throw grenades and punch them in the face. BioShock promised to be different which is what interested most people about it.
The release of the demo incurred so many downloads some were mentioning it took them more than a day to download it. Luckily for me I downloaded it over night and was able to play it the next day!
The full game was released in the UK on the 24th of August and since it’s released it’s been the second most played title on the 360. This statistic captures all people that are connected to Xbox Live and can be found over at Major Nelson who constantly blogs about Xbox360 and other gaming related news and features.
One of the more disturbing scenes
Today I finally finished the game and I have to say it was definitely one of the better games I have played in a very long time. This is one of the earlier trailers showing some of the gameplay features and the general mood and setting for it.
DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED IT. THIS PART CONTAINS MULTIPLE SPOILERS!
BioShock is set in the fictional town of Rapture, a town deep underwater in the Atlantic Ocean. It was created by Andrew Ryan, an idealist who aimed to create a perfect town for the intelligent, a place where the creative can be amongst themselves. Surprisingly enough it fails thus setting the premise of the game.
It started on New Year’s Eve…
The game is set in 1960, months after the town descended into chaos following an uprising of the lower class, established only since the arrival in Rapture just ten eleven years prior, led by a man called Atlas. There was also another collaboration between the scientist Dr Tenenbaum and the smuggler Fontaine who further undermine Andrew Ryan via various campaigns. The final push was made on New Year’s Eve of 1959, leaving a lot of the city with celebration decoration and populating it with enemies such as splicers.
A scientist called Dr Tenenbaum discovers ADAM which are stem cells from a sea slug species and converts them into active and inactive plasmids which are anything from firing electro bolts and insect swarms to allowing faster hacking and emitting a static discharge every time an enemy approaches the player. ADAM can be used buying said plasmids and they have to be recharged using EVE. Every person in Rapture has ADAM and once they die it is harvested from the dead bodies by ‘Little Sisters’ who are little girls with sea slugs embedded in their bodies. They are protected by their bodygards called ‘Big Daddy’ who are mellow and slow unless provoked thus turning them into a real killingmachine.
A Big Daddy or called ‘Mr Bubbles’ by the little sisters
The protagonist is Jack whose plane crashes conveniently next to the lighthouse leading via bathysphere to Rapture. As it turns out over the course of the game [and don’t say you weren’t warned about spoilers!] Jack is one of the children of Rapture or rather a genetically modified child, with accelerated growth, of a stripper and Andrew Ryan. Jack was born only two years prior, sent to the surface and implanted with many memories of a family and a house that occasionally appear in rather confusing back flashes.
Hacking plays a big part in the game. Security cameras, vending machines, safes and other objects can be hacked to gain an advantage or aquire certain items.
He is guided through the game with radio messages from Atlas who not only sends him to save his family, which dies in an attack by Fontaine, but also bosses him around most of the game. Close to the end of the game a twist sees Atlas and Fontaine being the same person and controlling Jack via mind control which then kills Andrew Ryan.
“A man chooses, a slave obeys.”
With the help of Dr Tenenbaum and the little sisters Jack dons a Big Daddy suit and is able to defeat Fontaine and depending on whether he chose to save or harvest the little sisters for ADAM throughout the story has a different ending which either sees Jack returning to the surface with the children or a group of splicers.
A figurine as sold with the Limited Edition
The setting of the game is just beautiful, every area is imaginative and has it’s own feeling to it and by licencing some original songs from the era, such as Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, it makes it that much more believable. Small detail such as the ingame advertisement are genius and help to make the gameplay even more immersive.
The only downside[s] to an otherwise excellent game are the slightly abrupt ending, the lack of strong main characters and the extreme hype which promised more morale choices than the ones present.
This is definitely a must buy game for anyone who is still debating purchasing it and judging by the reviews it’s not only scored a 10/10 in the OXM, but also from Eurogamer and other sites.