Should I Buy? – Bioshock

Yes. Now. In fact, you should buy it yesterday. Better yet you should go back in time to buy it on launch day so Irrational Games get more money to keep doing things like this. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a gamer, this is something that everybody who loves a good story should play.

The story of the game is that you’re the last survivor of a plane crash in the middle of the ocean. Waking up, you see what seems to be an ornate lighthouse not too far away and so you swim towards it. Soon you enter the once great underwater city of Rapture, now a place of madness and anarchy. You become embroiled in a battle between two powerful and enigmatic men to decide the future of the city.

The actual story of Rapture, its denizens, its purpose and its downfall are slowly revealed throughout the game. You can collect diaries of various characters to help you piece together the game’s timeline. And what a story it is. The founder of Rapture and its nominal leader Andrew Ryan’s personal philosophy is based on the ‘Objectivist’ philosophy of Ayn Rand.

You don’t have to understand any of this philosophy to understand the game, I didn’t and I still had a blast. The game is basically deconstructing this philosophy and showing how a world based on the philosophy of only furthering your own goals and living under no restrictions leaves a lot of people angry, betrayed, or virtually enslaved to the few who rise to the top. It also shows what happens for example, when doctors are free to research and refine their techniques with no ethical inhibitions.

That’s long enough without talking about the gameplay. It’s a first person shooter with some minor RPG elements, mainly in the way of buying and equipping upgrades. The weapons are fairly standard fare, at least until you get the gun that can shoot fire, ice and lightning. As well as weapons, you get access to a range of ‘Plasmids’, special tonics that alter your genetic code so you can use magic-like abilities such as telekinesis, the  ever reliable lightning and even keeping a swarm of killer bees in your hand. Though you can only use either your weapons or Plasmids at any given time, switching between the two is as easy as pressing the other shoulder button.

The environments you move through are all dark, chaotic and semi-destroyed but each looks different and has a different person whose carved it out as their personal kingdom. Particularly chilling are the mad plastic surgeon of the medical centre and the sociopathic artist of the pavillion, both of whom seem to have developed serious perfectionist/thanotos complexes.

Like most FPS’s these days you’re lead through each area by people giving you objectives over the radio, though things aren’t quite as plain as they seem.

Each of the game’s systems are well balanced and together with the novel challenges of Rapture this means that while this game follows many of the conventions of the FPS genre the game never feels cliché or formulaic.

This is a game of brilliant storytelling and solid atmosphere. It’s hard to think of a time when this game missteps. Instead of trying to think of one, I’ll just say that you need this game now.

Price: PC: £5 (CEX) £13 (Steam)

XBOX 360: £6

PS3: £8


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Willow Wood
    Jul 01, 2011 @ 14:20:00

    This is your best written entry yet, I found no fault with it.

    I REALLY WANT TO PLAY BIOSHOCK. The only problem is it’s the kind of game someone else has to play while I sit next to them and watch, enraptured. I’m terrible at the controls and even worse at shooters. I’ve sat through and watched my friend play the first 20 minutes and I agree, the atmosphere and gameplay is like woah.

    Have an awesome Bioshock GMV: WATCH IT NOW.


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