Level Up: Review of Bioshock
There are some games that are unforgettable, and Bioshock from 2K Games is one such game. When it was released in 2009, it left an impact on the gaming community. I never played it until about 2014, yet even then friends were recommending it to me. This game is a suspenseful first person shooter that can be exceptionally creepy at times.
Your name is Jack, and the year is 1959. You are on a plane flying over the Atlantic Ocean, and the plane crashes, leaving you as the only survivor. Despite being in the middle of the ocean, you see a lighthouse and swim to it. It is abandoned, and contains a bathysphere, which takes you down. In the deeps of the ocean you find a city on the sea floor called Rapture. It looks like a bustling metropolis from the outside, but looks can be deceiving.
The city has been plunged into chaos by an uprising of the poor against the wealthy, and while both sides are full of lunatics, you are mostly on the side of the poor. You learn that this was largely caused by the discovery of a strange genetic material known as Adam, which can be made into an enhancement called a Plasmid, which gives powers such as the ability to shoot lightning from your hands.
Adam was originally found in sea slugs, but a method was developed to implant them in young girls, allowing them to produce large quantities of Adam. These girls became known as Little Sisters, who are rather disturbing to look at. They have grey skin and glowing yellow eyes, and carry a needle apparatus that is used to harvest Adam from corpses. These children need protection, so they have Big Daddies, which are large men in diving suits equipped with drills and rivet guns. A Big Daddy will fight to the death to protect its Little Sister. Your interaction with the Little Sisters shapes the story. When you have eliminated the Big Daddy, you are given the choice to either kill her for a large amount of Adam, or make her a normal child again for less Adam. This choice will shape the story for better or for worse.
The extreme use of Plasmids has rendered much of Rapture’s population insane and psychotic. Most people are devoid of reason and will attack on sight. Running and hiding is not an option, so you must defend yourself. You have a variety of tools for this purpose at your disposal, including guns, Plasmids, and a wrench. My favorite Plasmids were always the classic lightning and the telekinesis. There is another kind of Plasmid that acts as a passive ability boost, which can be a lifesaver at times.
Big Daddies are consistently the most difficult enemies to deal with. They are not aggressive, but will not tolerate any interference with their Little Sister. When angered, a Big Daddy will attempt to repel attackers with brute force, which considering their size and strength is effective. The crazy people inhabiting rapture are commonly referred to as splicers, which come in a few varieties. Some use conventional weapons, some can climb on the walls, and others can use their plasmids to teleport.
You have access to a camera, which can be used to “research” enemies, giving bonuses when fighting them in the future. There are different grades of pictures you can take. The best have the subject front and center, not too close. In the worst, the subject is deceased or on the edge of the field of view. Another game mechanic is the ability to hack certain mechanical items. Hacking involves a puzzle in which you move pieces so that a pipe goes from one point of the board to another. There are some spots on the hacking board that are unmovable and will produce an undesirable effect if the pipe connects to it, such as inflicting massive damage. Sometimes, these pieces can make the puzzle impossible, which can be frustrating. However, hacking can yield positive results, such as gaining a mechanical ally or access to a safe. The only real flaw I can find between story and gameplay is that interaction with intelligent humans is very minimal and you have no choice in your conversations.
I found the graphics to be satisfactory. The environment is dark and gloomy, with many pools of water that leaked in from the ocean. The whole place is dilapidated, and the graphics convey that fairly well. Considering the game was made in 2009, the graphics are decent in general. I’d say the least advanced graphical element is the faces of the people, as they are not animated convincingly. The music most definitely adds to the ambience. For example, a sad violin plays when you travel between areas of the city by bathysphere and view the ruined metropolis.
Considering all of this, I give Bioshock a 9 out of 10. It has an interesting story that takes you to a once wonderful deep sea city. It has an immersive gameplay system that has you facing the world’s most fearsome creatures: humans. The graphics are satisfactory and considering the time frame not too bad at all. This is a game of quality, which was followed by more quality games under the same name. Bioshock is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, iOS, and Macintosh operating systems.