The Game Table (Review 3) – BioShock

By Nickolas Brooks

nibrooks@lc.edu

(SPOILER WARNING! Do not read this review if you are interested in playing this game for yourself!)

BioShock is a retro-futuristic first-person shooter developed by 2K Games, a company based in California. 2K is best known for series such as Borderlands, Civilization, Mafia, X-COM and their two sports games, NBA 2K and WWE 2K. BioShock was released originally on Aug. 21, 2007 for the Xbox 360 and Steam. A year later, in October, it would be ported to the PlayStation 3. Then, it would get an OS X/Mac port in 2009 that same month. BioShock, along with its two sequels, BioShock 2 and BioShock: Infinite, would go on to be a part of a collection, released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam in Sept. of 2016, May 2020 for the Nintendo Switch. The collection included a remastered version of the first game. BioShock received critical acclaim from critics and fans alike, particularly for its story, setting and environment; being called one of the greatest games of all time.

 

The premise

Captured by Nickolas Brooks

In 1960, the protagonist, named Jack, explores an underwater biopunk city named Rapture located in the Atlantic Ocean after being the lone survivor of a plane crash. On a radio, he is contacted by a man named Atlas, who is his guide in a way. He requests for Jack’s help in tracking down a businessman named Andrew Ryan and rescuing his family.

 

The gameplay

Captured by Nickolas Brooks

The gameplay for BioShock is amazing. Not only are you going around shooting enemies with a pistol, a tommy gun, a shotgun and even a grenade launcher, but you can also beat them with a wrench. Another thing I love about the gameplay is that you inject “plasmids” into you that can give you special abilities, like “Electro Bolt”, “Incinerate”, “Enrage” and “Telekinesis”. Not only are you fighting regular humans, but advanced humans that are called “Big Daddies”. They protect these “Little Sisters”, who refer to the enhanced human beings as “Mr Bubbles”, from being harvested for ADAM, which has the ability to rewrite genetic materials. ADAM can be used to develop and upgrade Jack’s plasmid abilities.

 

Although, one thing that can bug me a bit is dealing with the Big Daddies. They are usually a pain to fight against, especially if I run out of ammo. When Jack ends up dying, he would spawn in these Vita chambers that are spread throughout the game. This function helps so I don’t have to redo anything. 

 

Another function that I love is that the player can “hack” into security cameras, robots, turrets and machines to purchase medkits, plasmid shots and ammo so the price is lowered. You have to connect these pipes together to get them from point A to B for it to work.

 

The story / Graphics

Captured by Nickolas Brooks

The story of BioShock takes on a more morality type of storytelling mixed with RPG and survival horror elements. The way the story plays out and how certain scenes are shown reminds me of Half-Life 2 because of its very limited usage of cinematic cutscenes. Instead, most of what happens is occurring in the gameplay itself, which fits very well for what the game is going for. 

 

The best part about the story are the tape recordings that you find throughout the game that tell a lot about the city itself and why it came to be. I played BioShock remastered, and the game, for what it is, looks stunning as heck. Its biopunk style and underwater setting is like mixing chocolate and peanut butter. It’s just so darn good.

 

The conclusion

 

I’m going to give BioShock a 9.5/10. While the gameplay is slightly annoying in terms of the Big Daddies, everything else about the game is worth your while— the morality-based storytelling, blending FPS with roleplay and survival horror, the secrets to be revealed and the setting, they are all worth checking out! If you want to try it out yourself, then buy the collection on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, or Steam.

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