So a few years ago I managed to pick up Bioshock and Bioshock 2 from my local game shop after watching a video done by a friend where she made a list of her favorite games ever and while I beat the first game I never got around to putting out a review for it after I did because I was still in the process of building up my WordPress so since Bioshock 1 has been remastered and rereleased for the Xbox One and Ps4 in the collection I thought now would be a good time to finally do a review on the first game.
Bioshock is a first person shooter that was developed by Irrational Games while they were 2K Boston and it was released on Windows and Xbox 360 back in 2007 with a PS3 port released in 2008 and then remastered and brought out again in 2016 for the Xbox One and Ps4 so this game has been out a godamn long time and I am sure most if not all of you have played it along with the other games in the franchise.
Now what can I say about Bioshock that hasn’t already been said especially since I am years late to finally putting out a review for Bioshock, well to be honest there isn’t really much I can say that hasn’t been said by someone else but I thought I would try and explain why I liked this game so much.
Bioshock is set in the 1960’s and the player assumes the role of Jack, a passenger on a plane that goes down in the Atlantic Ocean and as the only survivor, he makes his way to a mysterious nearby lighthouse that houses a bathysphere (deep-sea submersible) and with nowhere else to go in sight he enters it and is taken to the underwater city of Rapture; a sprawling underwater city created by a extremely wealthy business man and visionary Andrew Ryan but once there he discovers that the deep sea city is anything but a utopia.
Rapture was a utopia where society’s elite flourished in every form outside of government control especially in the realm of scientific progress, the discovery of genetic material named “ADAM” created by sea slugs on the ocean floor allowed the creation of Plasmids (special serums made from processed ADAM that introduced modified stem cells into the body, allowing for genetic modification and mutation) therefore giving its users to alter their DNA to grant them super-human powers like telekinesis, pyrokinesis and so much more but at a terrible cost.
The result was a horrific civil war in Rapture, ending most of the lives of it’s inhabitants and the ones that did survive became what are called Splicers, remnants of Rapture’s human population that are addicted to ADAM and have had their bodies and minds deformed beyond all hope of repair via the substance and now they wander the corridors and the tunnels of Rapture searching for more ADAM.
The opening sequence with the elevator going down to Rapture was without a doubt one of the best bits in the game for me because it shows the sheer scale of the underwater city and believe me it will blow your mind if you haven’t played the game before which is a good thing because opening moments of a game are the most important because it sets the tone for your entire experience.
So after you reach Rapture, you are greeted by people fighting while still being inside the elevator, its incredibly dark and you can barely make out what is going on and but you realise that these aren’t normal people but you are greeted by a guy named “Atlas” who you hear through the radio and he needs help with finding his family and escaping the city much like you and thus concluding your introduction to the fallen utopia that is Rapture.
Gameplay wise Bioshock introduces some very unique mechanics such as the aforementioned “Plasmids” which alter Jack’s DNA and give him various abilities with telekinesis, pyrokinesis and the ability to shoot electricity out of you hand Sith Lord style (which is one of my personal favourites) to name a few.
There are also Gene Tonics which are passive plasmids that offer a variety of benefits like an increase in Jack’s strength, more efficient use of EVE serum, resistance to damage and hacking related things but other than that its the usual FPS with you getting basic means to defend yourself like a heavy duty wrench and a basic pistol which is your first proper weapon pretty early until you get your first Plasmid.
Now shooting electricity and fire out of you hands is without a doubt one of the most awesome things ever but you will eventually run out of juice for your powers requiring you to find syringes filled with a substance called “EVE” to replenish yourself so you can’t just rely on Plasmid powers alone, the game requires you to make use of a mix of found weapons and powers to get you through encounters.
Combat is awesome and requires to use a of plasmids and traditional firearms and you have alot to choose from in the ass kicking department when it comes to both of these; for example you have a wide choice of firearms ranging from your pistol to a extremely lethal crossbow and each weapon has three ammo types that have different effects.
The pistol and machine gun for example lets you have a choice of standard rounds, armour piercing rounds (which are suited to taking down armoured targets like Big Daddies and machines) and anti personnel rounds which do extra damage to splicers and just so you know weapons you acquire throughout the game can be upgraded at upgrade stations located throughout levels.
Then there are the Plasmids, you can buy new plasmids or upgrade existing ones with ADAM (the mutagen collected by the Little Sisters that wander Rapture’s halls) at special vending machines called Gatherer’s Garden scattered around Rapture and you receive ADAM in form of rewards from completing some tasks, as well as from either saving or killing the Little Sisters after defeating their Big Daddy guardian.
If you save them you get a reasonably sized pay out of ADAM and they help you out later or you could harvest them and receive a huge bonus, I personally save the Little Sisters because it works out far better in the long run than killing them.
You can also find and buy new tonics that provide passive bonuses or improved versions of already owned tonics that have better bonuses but the draw back is the player can only have a limited number of plasmids and tonics active at any time but can swap between various plasmids and tonics at certain stations located throughout Rapture so find what works and go from there.
The game also has alot of RPG style mechanics such as giving the player different approaches in engaging enemies like stealth and evasion, hacking machines like security cameras to bring out security drones to defend you, hacking vending machines to give you discounts and safes which can have items like EVE syringes, money and so on.
Bioshock also has a crafting mechanic, while shooting and looting throughout Rapture you will no doubt collect bits of junk like glues, empty syringes and rubber hoses to name a few and at special U-Invent stations throughout Rapture you can turn said junk into things like Ammo, Gene Tonics and single use items like a tool that automatically hacks various machines like turrets, cameras, vending machines etc.
Hacking is also a key part of the game and it pretty unique as far as hacking mechanics go in video games, you have to lay some pipes and no that was not a perverted joke, basically you have to play a simple (not to be confused with ‘easy’) mini-game in which you are to move the puzzles around so they form a pipeline connecting one end to the other allowing liquid to flow and complete the circuit.
And there is one final mechanic I should probably mention before I completely forget, the camera mechanic and yes I did just say camera, there is a fatal frame style camera mechanic that allows you to take research photos of the various denizens and machines in Rapture and while the camera itself does no damage it allows you to take pictures that unlock biological weaknesses and find hidden secrets through research of every Splicer, security device and Big Daddy.
In each research tree there are five levels which require increasing amounts of photos to complete but its worth playing paparazzi because on the first, third, and fifth levels of completed research, a permanent damage boost is applied against the researched enemy type.
The second and fourth levels of completed research yield various Gene Tonics and other bonuses that are extremely useful. Little Sisters are the exception, as a permanent increase to health and EVE is given for each completed level of research so long story short take as many photos as you can and don’t worry about running out of film, its pretty easy to find and even when you can’t find any you can buy some from a vending machine.
So that’s about it for the gameplay and combat portions of this review so now onto graphics, graphics wise Bioshock has a very unique art style and it kind of reminds me of Dishonored which is another game I plan on adding to my reviews section and it suits the game really well, the visuals are amazing, the environments are extremely well designed and incredibly creepy at points.
For example one area I found to be the most unsettling was the second level which is the medical pavilion where you have to find a key to access the next area and the key is in a plastic surgery and honestly to god I walked in there went “Nope, not doing this, no way, now how and no thank you” and walked out again because it was incredibly disturbing.
There were incredibly disfigured dead bodies in wheelchairs that were clearly patients of the surgeon once upon a time, blood smeared on the floors, walls and the various black and white photos showing his”pioneering treatments” along with rather unsettling statements written in blood like “Above all, Do Not Harm” as seen in the image above on the floor and “ADAM denies us any excuse for not being beautiful” and it gets even worse when you uncover the audio diaries but more about those later.
Everything in Bioshock from the environments to the enemies to just the general look feel of the game works together perfectly to paint a picture of a pseudo progressive paradise that went incredibly wrong and I found that to be the scariest part to be honest and with the game looking better than ever after being remastered and rereleased its even better looking now which is bound to make the above level even more creepy.
Sound is extremely well done and all the characters are extremely well voice acted both in person and in the numerous audio diaries scattered throughout Rapture before the city became a rusting nightmarish hell hold and it just immerses you even more into the world of Rapture, every squeak and every bellow will make you feel like the city itself wants you dead and it is amazing.
I am Andrew Ryan, and I’m here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? ‘No!’ says the man in Washington, ‘It belongs to the poor.’ ‘No!’ says the man in the Vatican, ‘It belongs to God.’ ‘No!’ says the man in Moscow, ‘It belongs to everyone.’ I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose… Rapture, a city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, Where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.
I was checking my back every few minutes because you can hear your own footsteps on the tiles when you walk, the blaring advertisements telling you about the latest Plasmid and numerous others things and the sounds of the various enemies stalking around Rapture like the heavy footed Big Daddies or the manic ranblings of nearby Splicers and believe me when you play Bioshock on full blast with Turtle Beach headphones at like 10 at night in the dark….it really does a number on you because it’s really atmospheric.
So now lets talk replay value after all that is what is most important in a game but anyway Bioshock 51 achievements with a total worth of 1100 gamescore and most of them are pretty easy to complete while others are a bit tougher to get like one involving the audio diaries and the one where you have to beat the game on the hardest difficulty without using the Vita Chambers which is where you respawn if you die and its harder than is looks.
Then there are the aforementioned audio diaries which are the collectibles in Bioshock and they give you a small glimpse into Rapture before and after the city’s demise and there are 122 Audio Diaries in the game and you must collect them all during one save if you want the achievement so I would recommend looking up a guide on where they are so you don’t miss any and make sure you listen to them because they will give you a deeper understanding of the people of Rapture before and after ADAM twisted them into monsters.
So we have reached the end and I can honestly say Bioshock is well worth playing and even more so now it is on the new consoles, its unique setting, way of story telling and gameplay makes it a great purchase, you could probably buy all three Bioshock titles for dirt cheap online now and have a great time making your way through the city underneath the sea and the city above the clouds but I would recommend buying the remastered collection because everything got a major upgrade and that’s well worth it to be honest.
If you like games that are a good mix of FPS and horror than give Bioshock a go and then the others because they are also good, like seriously you get to play as a Big Daddy in the second one so that’s awesome in of itself and in Infinite you get the greatest wingman/woman in video games helping you out so I say buy the collection and play it because you will really enjoy it even though it gets a bit weird in Bioshock Infinite and that’s all I will say about it and with that I will end this review so please like, comment down below and share with the hashtag #Slay3rNation so other people can read it and I will se you in the next post.