BioShock XBox 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 9.6
Graphics 9.7
Sound 9.3
Value 9.6
Distributor: 2K
Review Date:
August 2007
Reviewer:
Andrew Bistak

9.6


BioShock

It is very rare for a game to leave its mark on the gaming industry and the last game to really give the market something unique was the original Half Life game,  however the award-winning System Shock 2 "sequel", BioShock is just one of those games which will leave you mesmerized from start to finish and craving for more once you have completed the title.

Although BioShock is a first person shooter, it's sets itself as far apart from this genre as possible with developers Irrational Games creating an almost living gaming entity in this unpredictable shooter. The game also has a healthy dose of fighting, puzzles and adventure to give gamers almost everything they want in a first class game.

Features

  • Take control of your world by hacking mechanical devices, commandeering security turrets and crafting unique items critical to your very survival.

  • Upgrade your weapons with ionic gels, explosives and toxins to customize them to the enemy and environment.

  • Genetically modify your body through dozens of Plasmid Stations scattered throughout the city, empowering you with fantastic and often grotesque abilities.

  • Explore a living world powered by Ecological A.I., where the inhabitants have interesting and consequential relationships with one another that impact your gameplay experience.

  • Experience truly next generation graphics that vividly illustrate the forlorn art deco city, highlighted by the most detailed and realistic water effects ever developed in a video game.

  • Make meaningful choices and mature decisions, ultimately culminating in the grand question: do you exploit the innocent survivors of Rapture…or save them?

The story of BioShock is set in the world of yesterday gone mad and when your plane crashes into uncharted waters, you swim about frantically until you discover a rusted bathysphere that leads you into the biosphere of Rapture created by billionaire genius Andrew Ryan. This underwater Mecca is unlike any city of your time and hosts some of the world's greatest and diabolical scientists, artists and industrialists who have not only tampered with life itself but abandoned their morals.

Unfortunately for the denizens of this majestic and futuristic city, something has gone awry and it's up to our hero to uncover the mysteries and dangers of Rapture and needless to say, BioShock is a game that must be experienced and if readers are interested in more "spoilers", they should look elsewhere because it will definitely impact on your enjoyment of this title.

The first thing you will notice about BioShock are the spectacular graphics and amazing gaming dynamics which will make this one of the most impressive looking and playing games on the XBox 360. Irrational Games have truly outdone themselves with BioShock as the attention to detail is not only awe-inspiring but probably pushes the XBox 360 to its limits, dare I say.

The graphics go hand in hand with the storyline and the gameplay and when you first appear in those uncharted icy waters, you are really thinking to yourself what the hell is going on here as you make your way to the bathysphere that leads into Rapture. Once in Rapture, the detail and special effects truly shine such as the realistic water effects and highly detailed backgrounds.

Every character in the game has been professionally designed, almost as if "God" himself has had a hand in the creation of this game because while I was playing this title, it was as if I was part of the this amazing in-game universe and is one of those games that can truly focus on the word escapism. The characters are also extremely realistic and move with a human like grace, especially once your genetic powers have forced them to catch alight as they run around the rooms of Rapture, attempting to dowse the flames.  

Without spoiling the story of BioShock anymore, lets just say that the greatest minds of Earth have been tampering with mother nature and have unlocked the powers of genetics. These scientists have allowed men to possess supernatural powers such as telekinesis, pyrokinesis and the strength of giants. Your genetics and the citizens of Rapture are controlled by Adam and plasmids which is the life force of the game.

Apart from running through the hallways of Rapture and visiting various realms in this city such as the greenery of Arcadia or the amazing shops of the Farmer's Market, the player has access to a variety of classic first person shooter weapons such as pistols, shotguns and other futuristic yet retro looking weapons of the 1950's.

The weapons in BioShock are also upgradeable which is achieved by finding specific items in the game and of course using cash which allows you to purchase additional items such as ammunition and health. Almost everything in BioShock can be searched and you will always find items on the bodies of the slain or even in trashcans.

Fortunately your trip to Rapture has given you the powers of these genetic modifications that must be used in conjunction with your  other physical weapons. For instance, security drones do not take kindly to shotguns or pistols, however if you set them alight, they will languish around even more before finally accepting their death. "Big Daddy's" who protect the little sisters in the game are extremely difficult to defeat with brute force, however the player can use their modified genetics to force them under their control in order to attack your foes. Once their health is low, the player can then finish the deed and collect the essence from their little sisters. Feel for something a little bit more creative, gamers can also "hack" security drones in order for them to become your allies.

BioShock is almost RPG-like in its presentation because as you progress through the game, your powers also increase and the game even suggests that certain areas of the game should not be accessed unless your "Adam" is higher. Adam is basically like experience points in BioShock and the more Adam you have, the more powers you will have in order for you to take on the varied denizens of Rapture. There are also a variety of genetic modifications available to your character which really puts the "spin" in this game and sets it apart from stock standard Doom and Quake-like shooters.

Although in order to keep the game fair, your character has a set number of genetics available to him which can be changed at genetic workstations that are littered throughout the gaming environment. These genetic modifications must also be used in conjunction with your other powers, for instance, you will need fire to melt your way through ice or telekinesis in order to catch grenades that are being thrown at you. As the world of Rapture is quite dynamic, the developers ensure that there are a variety of different ways this title can be completed. I completed this game in around 15 hours and needless to say, I was glued to our Plasma TV.

Rapture also contains auto-saving, however the player can save the title any time they like, ensuring less frustration and more enjoyment. If you do happen to die, Rapture contains pods that will restore you to your former glory in order to get on with the job. I did have one gripe though, the save system seems a little strange and for some reason, the title did not continue with my previous save and I'm the kind of gamer that likes to have a hundred different saves which did make for some fiddling.

Although Rapture may seem like a huge place, your character is fortunate to have some allies who will assist you to complete the title. You will meet other characters along the way who will ask you to perform a variety of entertaining missions but it should also be noted that those in Rapture are not always what they seem. The mad genius behind Rapture will endeavor to destroy your journey but your human spirit will win, thanks to your allies and the items available in Rapture.

The control system of BioShock makes good use of the XBox 360 wireless controller, especially force feedback which allows you to experience all the bumps and "shocks" of BioShock. Move over PlayStation 3 because force feedback is definitely far superior and useful than the SixAxis! The layout of the controls are self explanatory and seasoned gamers will have no problem in mastering the control system with more inexperienced gamers taking a little longer.

Basically, the left shoulder buttons are used to change between your genetic powers and to use them which are mirrored with the right shoulder button for your weaponry. The keypad is used to replenish your health and genetic powers and also to activate objects in the gaming environment and finally, Y is for jump. The analog stick is then used to navigate your character through the wondrous city of Rapture.

Musically, BioShock is first class and features a great soundtrack that suits the genre perfectly. Match the soundtrack with excellent voice acting and some brilliant sound effects and this title has it all. Nothing in the title seems too contrived or forced, so turn those speakers onto high. With this in mind, the developers ensure that "sound" is used carefully throughout the game such as enemies hiding or the moans of "Big Daddy" protecting their little sisters.

In conclusion, BioShock is one of the best games out for 2007 that features innovative gameplay, amazing graphics and an immersive storyline that will draw in even the most staunchest gamers. Extremely short load times, human-like AI, the only complain with BioShock is the save system which becomes confusing if you save too many games, nevertheless, a brilliant game.






 
 



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