Monday, September 26, 2022

BioShock (PC) Review

I finished this game on Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 9:45:00 PM. This review was first published on Saturday, May 1, 2010.

BioShock for me is one of those games that I had a hard time getting into. Unlike most people who were mesmerized with the setting of Rapture, I sort of found it a little dull. I persisted nevertheless and it paid off.

It has a very unique setting - an underwater city. Set in the 1960s, the game captures the feel of the era very well. Beginning with a plane crash in the Atlantic that leads the main character Jack into the underwater city Rapture, which is the brainchild of visionary, Andrew Ryan. The story is not very clear right from the start, but it unravels soon enough. The idea of telling the story through audio logs is not particularly revolutionary, we have seen an attempt made in Doom 3, which had a huge collection of audio logs and diaries. That went by virtually unacknowledged, and Doom 3 was accused of not having a story at all. Not so here. Voice acting is brilliant. Story is a little complex to understand at the beginning, its easy to get the big picture, but the nuances aren't very clear. It took me a little bit of time to connect all the dots.

Having gone through the process of connecting the dots, the story makes a lot more sense, and I can tell you, this game has one of the most interesting plots in games, its way up there with Deus Ex. To those of you who did not play this game, there can't be that many of you, don't read any more, just play the game. The plot twists are going to come as a bit of a surprise.

It was important that BioShock had a strong plot because initially the gameplay was a bit of a let down. The gun play is very weak. The Unreal 2.5 engine looks surprisingly dated at times, and plays poorly in the beginning. That is not to say its bad, but the weapons seem very unwieldy. Perhaps this is intentional? I don't know. This was one of the reasons I found it hard getting into the game. As the game progresses, there are better weapons available, along with different kinds of ammo. Machine gun initially handled very poorly for me. I preferred the pistol a lot more. There are much better weapons to be had in the later part of the game though. I loved the crossbow and the shotgun the most. The chemical thrower comes in very handy towards the end.

The plasmids however, steal the show. The fire and electric plasmids were by far my favorites. There are a whole lot of other plasmids available but I didn't like them a whole lot. The Telekinesis is something like the gravity gun in Half-Life 2, but the physics in the game were not as good. It is a fairly useful ability to have though. Apart from the core plasmids, there are tons of tonics that will add abilities. There is a lot of room for customization here, it sort of reminds me Deus Ex.

There are some really bad design decisions that I found really irritating, such as re-spawning Big Daddys. It just gets really pointless after a while.

The vita chambers are not among the bad design decisions though. They were controversial but I cannot imagine why. They made the game more free flowing for me. This sort of a setup won't work for every game, but it did here. Considering how strong the a Big Daddy is, I am glad the vita chambers exit.

There are a few different endings for the game. It depends on how much ADAM the player harvests. Harvesting ADAM would involving killing the Little Sisters. The characters will play some psychological games trying to either encourage or discourage the player from harvesting ADAM. This is quite well done.

After a slow start, BioShock turned things around, and I have immensely enjoyed it. It is not your usual game, and but the story telling, and atmosphere are top notch. There are traces of the game being a console port, which were really disappointing.

+ Atmosphere
+ Story
+ Voice acting
+ Plasmids
+ Vita chambers

- Weak gunplay initially
- Re-spawning enemies

Verdict – Must play.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Had to include word verification to prevent spam.