Daniel Taylor tells us about the game from last gen that he believes changed it all.
The first time I had ever heard or seen anything about BioShock was when the first CGI trailer was realised and posted on YouTube, the trailer itself was nothing more than a tease giving you the smallest insight into Rapture and what dwells in this broken utopia. With that being said, it didn’t stop me and a lot of other people foaming at the mouth for the game. It was originally set for release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC but was dropped from PlayStation as Microsoft bought a timed exclusive deal.
So because of this I was around a year late to the BioShock party, but it did not disappoint me one bit. For me, the game does a great job combining the fluent smooth controls and gameplay expected from an FPS as well as incorporating that eerie, creepy atmosphere you would expect from a horror game. The games story does a good job of keeping your attention as it throws a few curve balls your way and making you second guess your actions.
In BioShock, you play as Jack a passenger on a flight somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean until an accident rips the plane apart and sees you land in the water as its only survivor. After looking around, you see a lighthouse and make your way towards it. Once inside, lights start to turn on one by one lighting the way down some stairs where you fist come across a bathysphere (a submarine type vehicle). You then go in and pull a lever which shuts the door and plays a video message from Raptures creator Andrew Ryan. When the video stops the screen rolls up and you can finally see Rapture a massive city built at the bottom of the Ocean hidden from the rest of the world where people can live the way they want and do whatever they want, or so they thought.
Once you finally reach Rapture you see some sort of human/monster kill two men with a hook and then jump away. A voice comes on over the radio inside of the bathysphere, it is a man named Atlas who promises to help you escape if you would kindly help him save his family from Andrew Ryan. After exiting the bathysphere and walking around Rapture, you pick up your first plasmid called “Electro Bolt”. This gives you the ability to shoot electricity from your hands to stun or kill people and machines as well as open doors. Plasmids are a man-made serum made from ADAM that re-writes your genetic code giving you all sorts of different abilities. Later in the game you run into a little girl known as a little sister and her “Big Daddy”. Big Daddy was once a man, but is now a monster stuck within a deep sea diver’s suit that has just been killed. Atlas wants you to harvest her and get her ADAM. However, a women named Dr Tenenbaum gives you a plasmid and begs you to save her instead, you now have a moral choice. Kill the little sister and gain more ADAM or save her and be rewarded later in the game as well as these options it will also change the ending of the game as well.
There are 11 different plasmids in the game some are acquired through finding them, some can only be purchased and some are gifted to you for saving little sisters. Each of the plasmids have their own effects and benefits in certain situations of the game. Each of the plasmids can be upgraded, this can improve their effects and possibly give them new abilities. The plasmids on their own can be used as weapons or tools to get around enemies and objects. Or used with an actual weapon to make enemies easier to take out. As well as the plasmids there are 7 actual weapons for you to use from pistols and machine guns to a grenade launcher. These can also be upgraded in the game using Power to the people machines. Although, the machines can only be used once and one or two require you to do specific things in game to access them.
Gene tonics are also in the game. These are serums made from ADAM that can be used to upgrade your combat, engineering and physical abilities that can make the game easier on you. Just like your plasmids gene tonics require ADAM to purchase and you can only have so many equipped. You can buy slots for the both of them allowing you to use more but again these require ADAM to purchase. This is where moral choice in the game comes into play and makes it interesting. As I have said, you have the choice to harvest or save the little sisters in game and each choice has a different outcome. Harvesting the little sisters will give you the “bad ending” but you will end up getting more ADAM per each little sister you harvest. The other option for you is to save them which will give you the “good ending” to the game. However, you will receive less ADAM per little sister saved, but Dr Tenenbaum and the little sisters will give you gifts through the game to help you.
BioShock also adds in a variety of enemy’s to try and kill you just for that last drop of ADAM in you. The main and most common enemy in the game are the “Splicers”, these used to be the normal everyday people living and working in Rapture until they started taking plasmids and becoming addicted to ADAM. Now all they live to do is hunt down little sisters or anyone who they don’t know and kill them for it. They come in 5 different types, each with their own taste in weapons and some have special abilities. You will also have to fight some boss splicers to get through each level but they will be similar to one of the splicer types. Big Daddy’s on the other hand are not as easy to kill and will require you to use you plasmids or burn through your ammo. You will want to kill them so you can get a hold of the little sister with them so you can get more ammo. Some will attack you with rivet guns, grenade launcher or charge at you with a drill causing you to stagger. For me the Big Daddy’s were the toughest enemy throughout the game and made me wish the other bosses were tougher.
For me it’s not just one thing in BioShock that makes it a great game but the coming together of the gameplay, story, setting and audio that really makes BioShock a fantastic game to play. Both at its release, now and I would not hesitate to say that the game will still be played for years to come. Rapture itself even though it is very dark and grimy it still has a certain charm to it. It pulls you in and gives itself a place in your memory so that you wont forget it. This is why I think BioShock is one of the best games of the last generation and I would advise anyone who hasn’t played the game yet to pick it up. Sit with the lights off, plug in some headphones and get lost in such a fantastic game. One that I feel does not disappoint.