BioShock (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 21.08.2017 6

Review for BioShock on PC

Believe it or not, shooters used to not care all that much about story. Now, there has been the likes of Halo and GoldenEye, and plenty of arguments could be made to support the stories of older first-person shooters, so, please, don't take that as saying that there weren't great stories in your favourite FPS. Still, one moment arrived that transcended what many gamers had come to expect from game stories, especially FPSs. On its tenth anniversary, journey with us under the sea to BioShock.

BioShock opens on a fairly trivial note. Apparently, as the first scene suggests, people used to smoke on planes all the time. Then, the plane crashes, and you find yourself desperately swimming towards a lighthouse. The Stalin-esque doors in front slowly open, and you are greeted with a moment that rivals the introduction to many video games, before or since. From the moment Rapture is entered, you know this isn't a world you've ever seen.

The world is desolate, and a voice comes over a ham radio, practically screaming for help through its calm cantor. Everything about BioShock oozes with this calm malice. Truth be told, the softer someone speaks to you, the more you should avoid them. The world of Rapture feels like a real place. Architecture, businesses, even the décor, all feel so true to the time period that it's almost too interesting. You may find yourself wondering what happened in a bathroom ten minutes before you stopped on by.

Screenshot for BioShock on PC

The inhabitants aren't all evil, but it's safe to say many of them aren't all together. Splicers, as they are called, are often just looking for their next fix of Adam, the game's equivalent of skill points. Oh, yeah, there's some light RPG stuff here, too, but more on that in a minute. Different splicers all behave differently. Spider splicers claw across the ceiling, while Houdini splicers… well, that's part of the magic. The enemies are all distinct enough that they should keep you on your toes.

Of course, you don't always have to worry about splicers. No, because Big Daddies are capable of killing you much quicker. Mutants in large diving suits, Big Daddies and their angelic Little Sisters traverse the halls of Rapture, usually just minding their own business. Brilliantly, they won't bother you if you don't bother them. Of course, you're going to bother them, because those Little Sisters have a lot of precious Adam. Naturally, after they bash your head against the wall, you'll at least consider approaching them differently.

Those Little Sisters brilliantly showcase how BioShock manages to present all the choices. There is the option to kill them and get a bunch of Adam right away, or you can save them and get rewarded later. It's entirely up to the player, just as how plasmids are used. Plasmids, which are sadistic magic coming from the main character's hand, are so varied and intense you could easily become a walking wizard. Trick a Big Daddy into helping you, then freeze a splicer and watch the Big Daddy destroy him. The variety is amazing, and just like any good FPS, for some reason, most time will probably be spent with the starting equipment.

Screenshot for BioShock on PC

It's hard to say why the wrench became so important in games, but it makes a triumphant return to the hallowed halls of Rapture. Freeze an enemy, and shatter them with the wrench. Be careful, because then their corpses cannot be searched for goodies. Scavenging is important in Rapture, and BioShock makes the loot hunt so easy, and yet so powerful. You won't just be digging through suitcases and pockets for goodies, though. You'll also be taking pictures, which allow you to weaken certain enemies' defence and unlock new tonics, or the game's take on passive skills. Machines and safes can also be hacked, although the hacking minigame is often a bit too frustrating to enjoy. It doesn't detract from the story, but just know the first trip will be filled with a pipe matching game that feels a bit weird.

Still, the hacking minigame comes with the abundance of choice that the rest of the experience has. Freezing a vending machine makes the game move more slowly. This is the kind of choice that made BioShock the absolutely juggernaut it is. This degree of decision making mixed with a story so wonderful and riveting that even if you know about the twist, it's extremely enjoyable diving into it. With personalities like Andrew Ryan and Sander Cohen, players will get lost in the mythos.

Screenshot for BioShock on PC

It is with a heavy heart that it must be said that BioShock, much like the city of Rapture, isn't quite as perfect as it felt when it first released. The boss fights, what few there are, are just too easy. There's also the occasional glitch that messes with dead bodies or lets gun turrets shoot through walls. Occasional is important here, because these issues are rare. On a slightly funny note, sometimes, at least on the PS4, one boss can actually disappear, and when you go to fight them, you can just proceed with the story. Again, this is mostly just a funny aside, and shouldn't be viewed as a mark against the game.

The story, despite being absolutely brilliant, suffers from one of them most anti-climactic endings seen since Cloud Strife and his buddies beat Sephiroth. Nothing feels resolved; instead it feels like you beat the boss at the end of the game. Now, it should be pointed out that you did just beat the last boss of the game. However, it just doesn't hold the weight the rest of the story does. It's the equivalent of the hero driving away into the sunset, and the killer's hand reaching into the sky, revealing he still lives to kill. It's interesting, but nowhere near as much as the rest of the game.

Where BioShock succeeds the most is its ability to blend genres together. Mixing in light RPG elements and survival horror storytelling with traditional FPS combat made the whole experience feel like a Choose Your Own Adventure book. However, instead of changing the ending, you just change how many bees were floating around that guy's head before you blasted him with a shotgun and then listened to another man's existential crisis. Oh, how can you possibly measure that on a scale of 1 to 10? Simple, like this.

Screenshot for BioShock on PC

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

BioShock is one of the best games ever made. Ever since games were just Pong with different translucent plastic laid on top of it, people have been waiting for an experience that manages to blend intensity, great storytelling, and a universe so lifelike it still feels real all these years later. While it suffers a bit for not having ironed all of its kinks out, it's so close to perfect it's easy to get lost in all the glamour. Welcome to Rapture, the dystopian utopia of your dreams.

Developer

Irrational

Publisher

2K

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I don't know, but, just like Half Life, this never clicked with me...

I respect it for attempting to be something different, both in terms of gameplay, look, and narrative, but I just couldn't enjoy it. More like a 5-6/10 for me

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

I loved the setting and 1920s style, I'll give it that. Can't remember too much else about the story unfortunately.

*1960

Huh...the whole thing, especially the old school music, reeked 20s to me... But looking it up, it does say 60s :/

thats because the people of rapture havnt gotten out much. they have alot of their sensibilities and stylings still stuck in the 20s and 30s.

the story to bioshock is really well thought out and rewarding if you piece the clues together.
 

...So I wasn't wrong then lol. It was set in the 60s, but has a 20s style Smilie

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