After the atrocity of last weeks choice, Alone in the Dark, I was forced to evaluate my life, as well as my game selection methods. This week, I stuck with something familiar, and something amazing, with 2K Games 2007 mega hit, BioShock. Now, for those of you that have never played BioShock, what the fuck are you doing with your life? You can find this title just about anywhere for under eight dollars, so all the excuses are over, there is absolutely no reason for any fan of video games to have never played this title. Time to man up.
BioShock takes you on a journey through Rapture, a beautiful underwater paradise, created by Andrew Ryan, where Man ruled, not Kings or Gods. It is a place where science would not be restricted by morals or bureaucrats, but allowed to evolve into anything it wanted to be. It is a place where man could reach his full potential, or at least, it was. Rapture had already seen its glory days by the time you arrive. Genetically altered ‘splicers’ litter the trashed structures, looking for more ADAM (the stuff that makes you feel good) and avoiding Big Daddies (we will get there). Elaborate decor has taken a backseat to chaos and ransacking. As you look around, you can quickly catch a glimpse of a future that never was.
The story begins with your character on what appears to be a small, commercial airliner. After a brief intro about how you are destined for great things, you plane unfortunately crashes in the middle of the ocean leaving no survivors other than yourself. Lucky for you (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it), you just so happen to land a few hundred feet from a large, protruding object. After you enter through a large doorway, and make you way into a small pod at the bottom of the stairs, you are treated to a glimpse of the amazing sub-aquatic marvel that is Rapture. After you descend into the depths, you are greeted, via portable radio, by Atlas, the man who will lead you about this underwater labyrinth.
From there you will encounter genetically deprived, civilians of Rapture, known as ‘Splicers’. These men and women, have an addiction to ADAM, a genetic modification that allows one to dramatically alter their DNA in order to obtain amazing powers. There is a BIG problem with that, however. As you explore Rapture, you will also encounter some other inhabitants of the city. The small girls, knows as Little Sisters, gleefully skip the halls of Rapture, looking for the same ADAM that the Splicers are. Now, one might think that a little girl stands no chance against a crazed human with an insatiable addiction, but these little angels are not alone. They each carry with them a large, drill-armed Big Daddy for protection. These over-sized behemoths wear what can only be described as ‘diving armor’ and will destroy anything that he deems as a threat to his little girl. They are dangerous, and damn near impossible to kill when you encounter them, but if you want more ADAM, you had better deal with them to get to the Little Sisters. Once you obtain this ADAM, you can then use it to buy various Plasmids found throughout Rapture. Plasmids are a genetically altering injection that gives you specific special powers, such as the ability to fling lightning from your wrist or shoot fire from your fingertips.
The game itself controls beautifully. The left hand Plasmid, right hand weapon mechanic is both fun and well executed. The fluidity of the combat system is fantastic and the ability to choose between Plasmids, conventional weaponry or a mixture of the two, is both innovative and welcoming. As far as the visuals are concerned, for its time, 2007, the graphics are amazing. The way the water is rendered is better than most games to date. When it comes to Rapture, nothing could be more imperfectly perfect. The attention to detail in every nook and cranny of the city really gives you the feeling that you are standing in a place that once had such great ambition and life, but has since been subjected to failure and chaos. The beautiful environment and vivid storytelling set up an atmosphere rarely seen in most games, and if you have yet to experience it, you are really missing out.
The game is amazing, winning numerous Game of the Year awards back in 2007 with such stiff competition as Mass Effect, Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The gameplay is tight and polished and the story will keep you engaged down to the very end. The graphics are excellent and the visuals you will encounter are spectacular to say the least. This game is a must buy for those who haven’t played it. If you have played it, but don’t currently own it, now is the best time. You can find this game on nearly every major game retailer or auction site for around eight bucks, if not cheaper. It really is a steal for that price. Hours of gameplay, intriguing story line and a breathtaking underwater “utopia” will yield a very rewarding experience, and for around eight dollars, you really can’t do any better than that.