Bioshock: Review

Bioshock is a first-person shooter video game developed by both 2K Boston, also known as Irrational Games since 2010, and 2K Australia. 2K Games published the game in 2007 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.

Developers released a port for the Sony PlayStation 3 in 2008, while Feral Interactive did another version for OS X in 2012.

Back in the mid 2000s, Irrational Games had a lot of games under their belt since the studio’s creation in 1997, including the critically acclaimed System Shock 2.

But, it wasn’t until lead developer Ken Levine made the choice to create another title with a design similar to the original System Shock series that Irrational Games saw massive financial success.

They focused on solid gameplay and presented a compelling narrative centered on themes such as Orwellian literature and objectivism. This particular mix gave birth to one highly-praised and successful video game.

Bioshock won countless awards since its release. For example, it got an award for Best Xbox 360 Game at the 2007 Leipzig Games Convention, and during the same year, Spike TV Video Game Awards selected it as Game of the Year as well as Best Original Score.

Review

Bioshock takes place in the alternate year 1960; the setting is similar to a utopian timeline.

In this reality, an eccentric billionaire named Andrew Ryan grew disappointed in how the world governments handled things. Which is why he built an undersea utopia called Rapture. There Ryan could run everything as he saw fit.

This underwater city becomes a haven for the élite and exceptional individuals, where everyone is free from things they deemed silly such as morality and altruism. In time, Rapture grew into an epicenter of scientific and artistic progress.

But, peace didn’t last in Rapture. Despite looking like a utopian world, class distinctions grew, which caused political skirmishes between two movements. The upper class led by Andrew Ryan and the lower class led by Frank Fontaine.

This clash eventually escalated into an all-out world. After Fontaine’s death in battle and the rise of a man named Atlas as the new leader of the lower class, the civil war got even worse.

When Atlas staged one last desperate attack on Ryan’s forces, the city finally crumbled and became a nightmarish dystopia. Most of Rapture and its inhabitants got left broken and decimated; while Ryan stubbornly refuses to relinquish control.

And that’s the player comes in. In Bioshock, you take the role of Jack, a passenger aboard a plane that crashes into the Atlantic Ocean near Rapture’s entrance.

Jack survives only to find himself caught in the middle of the ongoing war between Andrew Ryan and Atlas. He stumbles upon a shortwave radio which puts him into contact with Atlas, who explains he won’t leave Rapture until rescuing his family.

The protagonist agrees to save Atlas’ wife and child who got lost somewhere in the city. So, Jack sets out to stop Andrew Ryan and escape from this dystopian world.

But, with all sorts of genetically enhanced and crazy foes, surviving Rapture is not an easy task. The world, atmosphere, and plot are elements that help players to get invested in this game.

Bioshock isn’t afraid to present its themes prominently, but instead of having characters discussing these subjects over and over in cut scenes, they get subtly reflected in the characters’ actions and the setting itself.

The game is visually and aesthetically appealing. The luxurious and exuberant art deco atmosphere clashes wonderfully with the wrecked and poor state of Rapture.

The juxtaposition of these traits is both pleasing and jarring, providing with unique gaming experience. Just when players get immersed in the visual appeal of the areas, the game throws something disturbing which matched the themes of the story.

The many audio diaries players may find while making their way through Rapture help to show how life in this world was like before its fateful fall.

These tapes offer the most substantial world-building in the game. The players can control the character even as the plot develops around them.

Bioshock uses its entire suite of audio and visual tools to present the content and themes of the story over time, allowing players to piece things together by themselves.

Instead of showing the war that brought Rapture to ruin from the beginning, players start the game at the point where the dust is finally settling, and the gamers have to slowly recreate past events based on the evidence they find.

Bioshock’s gameplay has a lot to offer; combat, puzzles, RPG elements, and even a bit of stealth. The players start with a mere wrench as their only mean of self-defense.

However, as you make progress you’ll eventually gain access to an entire arsenal of firearms. But, what makes the combat stand out is the plasmid system.

In the world of Bioshock, scientists manufactured a serum that genetically enhances anyone. There a several of these mutation potions that give the protagonist a variety of superpowers.

Puzzles play a significant role in Bioshock. The most recurrent one is the pipe puzzle, but many of them are optional.

The game also has a few environmental challenges that need a specific weapon or ability for the player to progress. Gamers will need careful thinking and navigation to get through some rooms.

The stealth elements can help players to avoid some skirmishes. And photo mode can help you (if you take a picture of a foe) to get combat bonuses when fighting a specific enemy in future battles.

The primary kind of enemy in Bioshock is the splicers. They’re former citizens of Rapture that got genetically augmented and psychologically twisted to serve Andrew Ryan.

The ability to choose is something relevant to Bioshock. The game gives the player the freedom to decide how to play and how to beat the enemies. And the story has its own share of plot twists.

Bioshock provides enough narrative and challenge to become a memorable gaming experience. It starts simple but ends up being a ride filled with thrills and intriguing themes. It’s a fun game that still holds up to this day.