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Old 03-17-2011, 03:14 AM   #40
GrantXP
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Bioshock – Xbox 360
Also available on PS3/PC

To create a new IP is risky business. Why? Well it costs a lot of money in a time of recession and there is no guarantee it will sell. Great games sell next to zero copies all the time nowadays because the industry is mainstream. It needs advertising, good reviews and luck. Add to that the insane dev costs of HD consoles and you get the picture. Bioshock not only is a new IP but is one of the best to come put this generation. You take the roll of Jack who has crash landed in Rature, an underwater city with a disturbed past.

At first glance the game seems extremely messed up. You will hear unnerving voices and see movement on the shadows, ghosts and a disturbing scene where a little sister is stabbing a corpse. Little girls are freaky but seeing them in this nature will initially shock you.

The story unfolds beautifully. As you play the plot develops but what really deepens and thickens raptures plot is the audio diaries. Why is this so special? After all we have been picking up Audio diaries for a while now... Doom 3 for example bit you had to stop and listen interrupting the flow of the game. Bioshock plays all it's audio diaries on the fly while you progress like in 2K Boston's previous game System Shock 2 and they are so engrossing and add to much to the game, characters and backstory. Even when you don’t feel like you are listening you absorb the information. Its a method I think should be used more. You really start to feel the horrific nature of Raptors past.

Visually the game is beautiful. It uses the unreal engine but the art design is spectacular. Rapture is stunningly created down tithe last detail and you can feel the love the designers put in. Each character is wonderfully crafted and polished and feels like it has a direction. In fact the entire presentation of the game is great. All the dialog is really well voice acted. Never in the game did it ever feel cheesy and the plot developments are carefully thought out.

The game uses a first person perspective and has an array of weapons but I wouldn't class it as a FPS. The combat system is as deep as you want it to be. On the one hand headshots and close up shotgun hits will do the business. Alternatively you can use the many plasmids to be more creative, this could be as simple as stunning your enemy with an electro bolt and hitting them with a wrench or electrocuting the water supply to fry anyone in it, you can even use telekinesis to hurl things at your enemies. Then there is a weapon upgrade system, the ability to create custom ammo and a camera that will allow you to research specific enemies allowing you to inflict more damage.

All I have done is talk about the good in this game. But is there any bad? Well the game doesn't have the standard FPS checkpoint system. Instead you regenerate in chambers. It sounds ok but the problem is that enemies retain there health following your previous battle. If you have got a big daddy down to 10% health and he kills you, he will still be on 10% when you get back. It means that sheer persistence will get you through the game and for me took a dimension away as I didn't really learn characters weaknesses and tended to stick to the bullet to the head method. I also ignored any health upgrades etc focusing more on abilities and whilst you can turn these chambers off it makes the game brutally hard for the average gamer. Still this is more a minor niggle and to be honest I still haven't decided if this system is bad or not... The other issue I had was with hacking. Initially the mini game associated with hacking is fun and a great addition. However, after hacking 50 or so it becomes a little tedious. Each hackable item has a hack difficulty and anything over half the difficult bar you know you probably won’t do. Anything beneath you know you will. Sure there is a buyout system and auto-hack tools but they get dull after a while.

Bioshock’s music and sound effects are top notch. The music
perfectly let's you know you are in the 50's whilst the games art style compliments it whilst still letting you know that it was the cutting edge of technology in the 50's. It just went horribly wrong! The voice acting in the diaries is superb and the characters talk and scream at you making the game creepy but giving every character a sense of depth.

The other great thing in my opinion is the game doesn't have a multiplayer. It's a classic old school single player game and I love it for that. So many companies become consumed with making a multiplayer just for the sake of it. The game doesn't need it. So I commend the developers or not tacking some afterthought on and letting the main game shine through.

Bioshock is without question one of the best games this generation. You walk into a ruined world and gradually unfold the horrific events that took place here. There are multiple endings depending on your morale choices to saving or harvesting the little sisters and personally I did go back for a second playthrough. It is one of the must experience games of the generation.

Pros - Spectacular environments. Superb voice acting. Deep and disturbing story. Innovative combat mechanism.
Cons - Vita chambers... Although only if you let them alter your play style. Hacking machinery becomes boring after a while.

Overall - 93%
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