Sunday, September 09, 2007

BioShock (Completed)

BioShock is an FPS about Rapture, an impossible city under the sea where the invention of genetic modifications has turned the residents of a once prosperous city into power hungry vampires. I see BioShock as a counter argument to Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand a book is about the evils of a stagnating socialism society and why society needs to recognise individual achievement to progress. Which is very true, but people can be greedy, controlling and shrug responsibility when it is in their interest, which is what BioShock shows.

The Good
The combat in FPSs over the years hasn't changed much and is my primary complaint against WW2 games in general. BioShock tweaks things are a little as you have two distinct weapon classes. The Right Trigger and Right Bumper (on the 360 gamepad) controls standard weapons like a shotgun, machine-gun, pistol and rocket launcher. And the Left Trigger and Left Bumper controls a second set of weapons called Plasmids which are genetic modifications where you fight with fire, lightning, frost, telekinesis, you can also turn foes into friends and command swarms of bees etc.

The combat in the game works well and in many fights I found myself switching between standard weapons, between ammo types and using plasmids alot, and that's easy to understand when you realise that a group of enemies standing in water can all be killed with one lightning blast instead of a drawn out fight with a shotgun, that doesn't have that much ammo to begin with.

The voice acting in BioShock is great and the dialogue is mostly good, but sometimes it is exceptional with dialogue that deepens characters greatly and the world they live in. You might even find BioShock as one of those games that people quote dialogue from, from time to time.

Level design is all done in a Jules Vern meets US 1930's architecture which is carried out exceptionally and consistently all the way through the game. Although some of the environments lend themselves better gameplay environments than others there are no repeated or dull environments in BioShock. The whole game looks great from start to finish. Level design also plays a large part in advancing the story with many scripted events that changes the environment and deepens the story. My personal favourite section of the game was certainly Fort Frolic where you are kept captive for a time at the pleasure of Sander Cohen:

The Bad
BioShock is quite linear, the advertised moral choices are lame, the story is a little predictable in the end and could have easily been less cliché. Item hunting becomes a chore at times and sometimes you will be lost trying to find an objective, the game has little replay. And not long after starting a new game you will have encountered all the enemies that you will be facing for the rest of the game.

BioShock isn't revolutionary, but it does a few things very well. When BioShock is good, it is exceptional and when it is bad, it is passable. I don't know wither BioShock will win Game-Of-The-Year, but it is certainly a contender.