Believe it or not, my article about the linear versus sandbox titles actually started out as a Bioshock review article. Then I got all ranty and it turned into a purely theoretical discussion, entirely useless to you, the reader. So here, for your viewing pleasure, is the actual review of the game Bioshock.
Suffice to say, this game was a large reason I got the Xbox30 to begin with; I had heard plenty of wonderful things about it, and it did not disappoint me in the slightest. Set in an alternate version of 1960, you play a plane crash survivor that stumbles… er, swims… upon a passageway that leads you to a massive underground utopia gone horribly, horribly wrong. Excessive genetic splicing has driven nearly every inhabitant on board insane, and your first ‘tourist’ moment is seeing a man disemboweled before your very eyes by a hook-wielding maniac. Thanks to a helpful person named Atlas, however, who speaks to you on the radio, you set off to find a way out of the damned city without getting killed.
The level bosses, for example, are just so colorful. And, no, I don’t mean as in fashion coordinated; while one game will pit you against some hulking brute with a total of five lines of dialogue and a mean left hook. Actually, those would be the Big Daddies, gigantic drill-armed sentinels who protect the Little Sisters you need to save/kill to gain new powers.
The level bosses themselves are these fundamentally egotistical, nearly comical, and perpetually insane characters who have no problem trying to kill you repeatedly. Even the introduction of new kinds of enemies play out like a boss battle, with fore-shadowed events stringing you along until the final conflict with your first (insert baddie name here.)
The settings are gorgeous, both in game rendering and overall artistic design, with different districts having different personalities and styles.
The plot will throw a few large twists at you, as most plots do, but one of the interesting elements I came across was in the Fishing District; by then I’d amassed quite an array of weaponry, turning myself into a borderline Terminator, but I then found I had to give up all my guns to get any further. I was only left with my ‘plasmids,’ genetically modified traits and powers that let you do things such as hurl fire, lightning, even insects. Even after I killed the people that attacked me with it, though, and got some of my weapons back, I was greatly weakened in terms of my arsenal. Just an interesting quirk, for me.
As for the weapons themselves, they do have a sense of 60s nostalgia about them, with old style pistols, machine guns, chemical launchers (fires napalm, liquid nitrogen and even electric gel,) grenade launchers and even crossbows. These weapons can be upgraded at various places, adding modules to them that might give them more of a sci-fi look and feel.
One of the downsides, (some will say,) is that the game can be a little too easy, due to Vita-Chambers that will resurrect you at a certain location any time you die, with no real penalty. Of course, if you’re the sort who’d prefer a challenge, my only suggestion is that if you really feel strongly about it you just load your last saved game, to add some level of difficulty to it.
Suffice to say, it’s a game I would strongly recommend you buy, or maybe only rent. I had no problem playing through it twice in a row, as the game spans a long enough plot to feel relatively fresh the second time around.