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BioShock Review (X360)

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 3 Star Rating (1 Review)

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BioShock Review (X360)
2K Games
BioShock is a great game. It is the best game that the Xbox brand, not just the Xbox 360, has ever seen, and will likely go down as one of the best games ever on any system. It is one of those rare games that combines not only amazingly polished graphics and sound, but very solid, deep, complex gameplay, a great story, and an overall feeling of immersion that sucks you in and keeps you playing that few other titles can match. BioShock is a must play game for Xbox 360 owners.
Quick Hits

  • Title: BioShock
  • Platform:Xbox 360
  • Publisher: 2K Games
  • Developer: Irrational Games
  • ESRB Rating: “M” for Mature
  • Genre: First-Person-Shooter
  • Pros: Amazing graphics and sound; good story told through audio tapes and radio conversations; excellent gameplay that gives you tons of options for any situation; good weapon balance
  • Cons: No multiplayer

Story

2K Games
BioShock tells the story of a plane crash survivor that somehow ends up in the underwater city of Rapture. Rapture was designed in the 1950’s to be a utopia, but drugs and greed have twisted the inhabitants into monsters and turned the city into a run down nightmare. To spell out any more of the story would spoil much of what makes BioShock great, so I'll leave it at that.

In addition to the great story, BioShock is also noteworthy for how the story is actually told. Rather than ruining the pace and flow and immersion of the game with cutscenes and long periods of non-interactivity, in BioShock the story plays on top of the action so you are constantly moving and always seeing and hearing things through the eyes and ears of your character. You learn everything from conversations either face to face or over the radio, and there are also audio tapes hidden throughout the world that help flesh out the story and characters. Important conversations typically happen during lulls in the action, so it is easy to catch the main story, but you usually listen to the audio tapes right in the thick of battle, which can make them harder to follow. You can listen to them at any time afterward on the menu, though, so it isn’t a big problem.

Gameplay

If the gameplay wasn’t stellar, all of this storytelling would be a moot point, but BioShock is amazingly successful here as well. At its core, BioShock is a very solid shooter, but it also gets high marks for weapon balance and the special powers you can pick up through Plasmids and Tonics that ensure that you have a ton of options for every single encounter you have with enemies. Plasmids are basically what led to the downfall of Rapture. They genetically modify the people that use them to give them special powers such as the ability to shoot out electricity, fire, or ice, enrage enemies, and many other things. Tonics improve your skills at hacking, hand to hand combat, and more. As you play through the game, your character becomes more powerful, you unlock more powerful Plasmids and Tonics, and you can also upgrade your weapons, so there is a nice feeling of progression and a very noticeable increase in power as you play. A nice touch is that the weapons each have their own uses and strengths, and even at the very end of the game when you have powerful Plasmids and standard weapons, even the lowly wrench or pistol that you find early in the game are still very useful. Just like every weapon has its uses, every Plasmid does as well. You can shock enemies standing in water, freeze them and then shatter them, burn them, turn them on eachother, and more. In every combat situation, you have a ton of different ways to fight, and no two battles ever have to be the same.

Hacking

Another important part of the gameplay is hacking. You can hack vending machines as well as security cameras and robots. There are a few ways to hack. The first way is to manually do it, which requires you to play a Pipe Dream-style game where you have to build a path of pipes to transport energy from one point to another. It isn’t too difficult, but takes time. Your other choices are to find or invent automatic hack tools, or to simply pay money to automatically hack the device. Once it is successfully hacked, you get more items to choose form and lower prices out of vending machines, and the security cameras and robots will now fight for you. This is a vital aspect to surviving in Rapture, and yet another way you can play out every battle differently.

Inventing is also a big part of the experience. As you play, you fill find items that you can take to special invention stations so you can make your own ammunition and other things. Health and ammo are plentiful in the beginning, but get harder and harder to find as you play, so creating them yourself is key.

Review continued on Page 2 ...

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 3 out of 5
Bioshock - Please hold my hand. (just kidding), Member JDintheOC

After playing the game for a few hours I got the feeling that I was in a totally manufactured environment with a carrot dangling in front of my face every step of the way. In real life when I go to the store, there isn't a floating arrow hovering above my head indicating which direction I should take. When walking by a Bus Stop, there isn't a popup stating [Homeless Person, click X to search]. If I get hit by a car, I can't expect to arise from the dead nor can I expect criminals to respawn after being executed. This is the problem that Bioshock holds for me. How can I be afraid of something if I never feel as though anything I'm experiencing is real? If something kills me, so-what, I'll just be reincarnated. If I get lost, so-what, I'll just follow a floating arrow or a disembodied voice to my destination. If i don't have enough money, so-what, I'll just hack a vending machine and get it cheaper. Being led around by the nose and getting hints every step of the way just doesn't give me any excitement or satisfaction to what I'm doing. Bioshock does that in a way that prevents me from the true experience of adventure. It's all done for you...why bother?

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