It’s time to review what is considered one of the greatest video games of all time. The game that sparked the games as art debate. It is considered one of the most revolutionary games of all time. This…is the review of Bioshock. Bioshock was released back in 2007. It was developed by Irrational Games, who considered it a spiritual successor to the System Shock series. This probably won’t surprise you when you actually play the game. Bioshock has many similarities to System Shock 2. In fact, it may have too many similarities to System Shock 2. Although, that doesn’t detract from this amazing experience. I would normally explain what happens in the beginning to introduce the game, but I don’t think I should. This is the type of game that you need to experience for yourself. So I will have to hardly talk about the plot in this review.
To start off, I want to introduce the game’s biggest pieces. It’s a FPS with an extra bonus called Plasmids. These are genetic overwrites that give you special powers like lightning or levitation. This system can be as boring or as organic as you want. For instance, your electricity power stuns people and can deal extra damage to anyone in the water. Also, the Incinerate plasmid can light people on fire who flee the fight in order to find water, leading to a deadly shock. It’s a very unique and very well structured system, but in order to get your plasmids, you need ADAM.
ADAM is the substance which lets you buy plasmids and buy tonics which level up your health or give you little perks. In order to get ADAM, though, you need to find the Little Sisters. These little girls harvest ADAM and if you find one, you can get some ADAM. However, you can’t simply find a Little Sister; you need to find its guardian. That guardian…is the Big Daddy. These are nearly unstoppable and can kill you very easily. If you manage to kill one, however, you can choose what to do with the Little Sister. This is where the game’s moral choice system comes into play. You can either save the Little Sister, which means she lives but you don’t get as much ADAM (Though they do make it up to you…). Alternatively, you can harvest the Little Sister. This process kills her but you get the maximum ADAM. These branching paths don’t have any impact on the story however. They only affect the gameplay and the ending. Yes, you can get two alternative endings. Three if you save some and kill some. Now only if these endings were good…..
The game is technically survival horror, but I don’t really see why. The first two levels can scare the s**t out of you while the entire rest of the game is just an action game with RPG elements. So while it’s really only creepy in the first few levels, the game still retains its sense of mystery as you don’t know how everything turned upside down. Also, there are characters in the game. Your main companion is an Irishman named Atlas. While he really doesn’t appear that much in the game physically, he does contact you over the radio frequently. However, Atlas is only one of the few characters actually in the game. There is actually only two who have their own unique character models, while the rest don’t really show themselves. However, this doesn’t change the fact that all these characters are written superbly and acted beautifully.
Now, I’m just going to make it easy for you to see what’s good and what’s bad:
- The game is too easy. When you die there are revival chambers to revive you and there is no cost to doing so. Since they are practically everywhere, the game can turn into wound this and die. Then kill it when it’s weak. Rinse and repeat.
- The game loses its creepiness after the third level.
- The final boss is lackluster, anti-climactic, and EASY.
- The endings are very weak for a game that has such an amazing story.
- The game has too many points where a wall collapses or a door shuts and you have to spend two hours trying to fix it. Funny enough, it’s actually mentioned by one of the characters.
- The RPG elements are very weak.
- Hacking. It just sucks. Trust me.
- The moral choice system is a joke.
- The game is masterfully written.
- The game is very well acted.
- The story is absolutely amazing with outstanding twists and turns.
- The lore is very rich and detailed.
- The game is full of suspense and mystery.
- The Big Daddies are awesome.
- Plasmids and weapons can be used in various ways that can be very smart and organic.
- The game still looks nice and the art style is still one to be proud of.
- The level design is amazing with big levels that can have numerous secrets or provide better trap spots.
- The 60s-esque theme is a very nice touch.
- It’s pretty scary in the first few levels.
Now, I think I’ve said all I need to about Bioshock. Although I’ve already talked about its main gameplay features and parts of its story, I’ve only scratched the surface of how good this game is. This is the game that will stand by Shadow of the Colossus in the games as art debate. So do yourself a favor and go buy this game. You owe it to yourself to play it. Even if you don’t like it, Bioshock is how the future of video games should look. This game is artistic and an inspiration to all media claiming to be art.