BioShock (PC) review
"First Impression: "
My first experience with BioShock was an uneasy makeout sesh. No lie, at the time of its launch, the aesthetics were nearly at the top of the chart and - though I can only rightfully speak for myself - drew every interested gamer, nutsack first, into its dark, damp depths. An hour into the game's cryptically unveiling plot; into the masterfully designed 1930's environment and I was feeling gold.
Then I got bored.
That does tend to randomly happen to me, but hear out the rest of the story - please. It was when memories of another game, a heavenly piece of old PC software, struck the Deja Vu chord in my brain that I immediately felt ashamed: that even though such a substantial amount of time had passed, it seemed that this generation of game industry successfully baited me and punched me in the pocket.
You might be wondering if I missed the hype-fog that was on BioShock's back right until the release; but no. That would have been a damned hard trick to figure out. Even people who had absolutely no idea what the phrase meant were walking in circles, spouting out that it was a "spiritual successor to System Shock 2" - so of course I knew that this was designed with that vibe in mind.
Arguably so, for many, that was the most pivotal problem with the game. It was so similar to its predecessor that I thought of it as System Shock 3 and was let down after the initial excitement wore off. There was this wry, inescapable notion turning over in my head that the last game was superior by far and so I felt finished after the first handful of hours. That was that.
A Dedicated Look:
Months after I put together an official, e-peen flaunting, renob rocking gaming rig, I was finishing up a D&D (3.5) marathon with a group of friends. The DM of us fished around in his desk and threw me a DVD case. He loved the game, so I couldn't blatantly state my elitist opinion, pretend it was a brick of ancient turd and recycle it back at him. Had I, there was the chance I may have damaged a friendship (we're nerds) and even worse (I told you), killed my chance of fully enjoying the game in the near future. Or ever.
No surprise, the PC edition of the game looked amazingly better than its console counterpart*. By the time round two with BioShock came to be, I had already gotten over its surface beauty and found myself enamored now - and truly - by the story at hand. More than that, the way the story is told. You're trapped at the bottom of the ocean, toe-to-toe with a remnant community of psychopathic, plastic surgery obsessed, divine interfering druggies and your only freckle of sane conversation comes from a hard to tag Irishman.
And that precious little bit is given over a radio feed.
While it is completely absurd to think that every person in the Utopian city Rapture, at one point carried an adding machine sized tape recorder around with them, it is a very unique way to get all of the details of the world across. These monologues are always chilling to listen to, in the way that the speaker is abysmally aware of what their home would eventually become. The method delivers a whole new insight into the setting by revealing BioShock's inner machinations through a system of unbiased messengers who were simply reflecting on their lives or making a just-in-case memo. It allows you to see the unfolding events through your own, clear eyes, by managing the task of filtering truths out of the information that you're force fed, and the self discovered.
Speaking of truth, I feel obligated to apologize for my hasted dismissal. BioShock is essentially System Shock, from the general point of the atmosphere down to the later twists in the plot - but it has managed to claim its individuality. By introducing Plasmids (biological super powers) and including systems for all manner of 'getting into areas that you weren't supposed to', there's enough to do between and on top of the shooting to have you constantly suspecting, endlessly on your toes.
Now that I think of it, also take into account the weapon customization and the ammo/tool creation aspect and I have never seen a game that has as many ways to impale, ignite, explode, freeze and shock people - it's insane. Whether it be in the clever writing or what you're allowed to do, BioShock has a way of relating insanity back to you, the player. It wasn't until I froze a man into a block of ice, innocently tried to cool him off with fire, extinguished the flame by shotgun-blasting him into some water and then attempted to save him from asphyxiation by reeling him out with a crossbow bolt attached to electrified trip wire. . . that I fully realized how thought provoking the entire experience is.
In fact, it keeps the pristine pace all the way until the very end, when it unfortunately falls victim to a mainstream finisher scenario and loses steam. Set that aside and don't let the petty errs in the script latch onto your nerves, well, it amounts to something that you'll be sad to miss - trust me. In this era of gaming, there's not been anything that can match its presentation or exploitation of intentional steroid injection in order to make you strong.
That's to say, the only one where the protagonist uses them openly and in such a fun, memorable way.
* - 'Puters: the natural peen enhancement.
Community review by VASID07 (August 10, 2008)
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