Saturday, February 27, 2010

BioShock Review

In the last three days I have finished Mass Effect 2, BioShock, and Final Fantasy XII. No doubt there aren't that many high-profile games out there, so days like this may never come again. Here now is my review of the critically acclaimed BioShock.

When a flight goes wrong, you find yourself in the middle of the ocean, treading water to survive. Swimming for any sort of land, you find yourself headed to a tower that leads down, down to the underground city of Rapture. Your trip, and the survival that you claw to there, is one of the strongest suits of the game. The setting is very strong; the dystopian, 1930s feeling is there and never leaves.

An Atlas Will Tell You Where to Go

Navigation through Rapture is easy enough, with a certain Atlas directing you with a radio that you find. Much of the narration of the story comes from this simple tool, but it is used very effectively. Of course, Atlas is not the only person you'll talk to, but you can find that out yourself.As for missions, most of the time a helpful arrow a la Crazy Taxi will direct you towards your destination. It works well most of the time, though will occasionally struggle when there are more than one floor to work with.


Weapons in BioShock start with your handy wrench and expand from there. By far the strongest part of combat in BioShock are the "plasmids," or genetic mutations, you gain throughout the game. From psychic abilities to strengthening your body, plasmids are a good upgrade system.
Unfortunately, throughout the game I couldn't shake the feeling that combat was a little unpolished. Too many times did I have something in my cross-hairs (or circles) where I missed; after playing for more than ten hours, the annoyance adds up.

In line with an unpolished feeling was the normally interesting ability to hack turrets, safes, and vending machines. While this is a good feature, in the later stages of the game at times it was literally impossible to hack some systems. Once again, it felt unpolished.

The Plot's the Thing

BioShock features one of the best twists in this generation of video games. It takes you by surprise, but definitely makes you wonder how you could miss it. The only problem with it was that it wasn't quite built up enough.

However, the very ending of BioShock is not good. It's about a minute and mine (there are three possibilities) didn't really make sense. I was very disappointed by this very subpar ending, and moderately easy final boss fight.

A City on an Underwater Hill

BioShock is a good game, but it is not a great game. Without a big payoff in the end, especially after a great twist, leaves the experience dull. The setting is good but the gameplay feels a bit unpolished; pick it up and enjoy it, but don't expect too much out of it.

The Final Verdict: 7.75/10 Good

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