Video Game Review: “BioShock”

    BioShock isn’t always considered a survival-horror video-game from some aficionados of the craft, but I don’t care. I think it definitely has enough elements about it, and I knew for certain that I couldn’t even imagine doing a set of reviews in October without tossing a bone over to BioShock. I can’t not review BioShock anymore than I can go this month without looking at Resident Evil or Silent Hill. I’ll be honest with all of you for a second, I have been numb to all-things horror for over a decade now. I haven’t been afraid and I haven’t been scared about it. I don’t watch horror films for being afraid but I watch them for the vicarious thrills of survival and merely to see how demented and built-up they can make characters. I don’t watch A Nightmare On Elm Street to be terrified, I watch them to see how Freddy will bend reality. I like Resident Evil for the puzzles and mere entertainment value and Silent Hill usually wins me over through its demented storytelling and dark-imagery. I will say though, BioShock is the only video-game that ever actually made me jump or feel a little leery while playing.

    I can’t really say for certain why that is… The graphic imagery definitely participated in it though, and I remember the sounds adding a whole lot to the atmosphere. I think in the end of it though, there was suspense and build to their characters. The Big Daddy’s were such a mysterious set of creatures and we knew so little about this. I went back and played BioShock recently and I don’t have that same initial uneasiness I once had but the fact that the initial experience from it was so impressionable really says it all. I couldn’t possibly have spent October without this particular game-series because it is one of my all-time favorites.

     BioShock is a first-person shooter video game developed by 2K Boston which eventually became Irrational Games and published by 2K Games. It was released for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A lot regard it has as a spiritual successor to the System Shock series, which had been worked on by several from the team that worked on this one.

    I can’t remember exactly when I first played BioShock but I remembered that it happened during a time when I was completely turned off about first-person shooters. In-fact, a lot of me completely despised them and approached them with as cringe worthy response. Set in 1960, BioShock follows the lead character named Jack after his airplane crashes in the ocean and leaves him at the underwater city of Rapture. All of this is run and controlled by a fella named Andrew Ryan, who I think it legitimately one of the best antagonists that I have ever seen in a video-game. Jack tries to escape from it all but finds himself forced to survive fighting hordes of ADAM-fueled enemies like the Big Daddies. He also encounters various sane humans still roaming about Rapture and discovers more about the past that has worked toward making Rapture what it is today.

     I think what I like most about the story is the fact that it isn’t completely thrown in our faces or shoved down our throats. Andrew Ryan’s character is the perfect antagonist because he feels so ‘larger’ than the usual antagonist. We discover little audio-files that allow for us to slowly piece the intricately embroidered story together and it’s from that we discover what Andrew is all about. He isn’t kept at arm’s reach and he is built up as this strikingly manipulative and opportunistic person. A lot of that reminds me of the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler. Hitler is one of the most infamous humans on the planet and there’s isn’t a lot known about him as a person. All of you can focus on is the act, and from that, he stops becoming just a very, very bad person and instead begins to become the stuff that monsters are made from. Besides that, there are a lot of very demented and presentable creatures roaming throughout the area. The Big Daddies definitely have a presence about them and while the novelty dissipates in time, the initial feeling is so numbing and powerful.

    They are an interesting thing and stand as one of most striking of creatures throughout the experience as a whole. The game-play is terrifically well-done and there are elements brought into it from role-playing and survival-horror. First-Person Shooters are hit-and-miss, and usually when they hit, they succeed at only being fun experiences and not ones that are absolutely wholesome and worthwhile. BioShock has terrific controls that make the experience feel very fair and polished. Everything seems well-done and without criticism… I honestly can’t think of anything that would possibly discredit this. Sometimes I think maybe the Vectors might take away some of the challenge, but in-fact, in the end, I think that’s brilliantly done as well. I think the fact you can respawn enables it to be whatever you as a gamer assigns for it to be. If you’re like me, you’ll die a shit-ton, but if not, you might die only a handful of times.

    I believe that BioShock has terrific controls and game-play but that isn’t what really brings it all to the table. The illustration and imagery throughout the experience are absolutely gorgeous in a demented sort-of way. A literal masterpiece of ideas went into making this magnum opus and more importantly, these ideas stand to excel past their own standards by the conclusion. I wish I could say more about the scenery and how well everything came off like the Big Daddies and the audio-tapes that allow you to find more and more about the in-depth world-building that seems to have went into it all. The Little Sisters definitely add a sense of style into it.

    A lot of the choices that BioShock has you make throughout it all are actually irrelevant to the final picture. With them, I believe you get what you give and what you are willing to invest into the ideas. From a storytelling standpoint, I think the ‘twist’ they do in this is kind-of silly. I know a lot of others like it and maybe it is just me and if so, would you kindly forgive me but it didn’t really shock me and in-fact, I didn’t really love that aspect as much as some others do.

    That is as far as the criticisms go for me…

     BioShock is a terrific experience that offers a lot of fun. First-shooters are often able of achieving a level of fun and BioShock succeeds at that, but it does the rare thing in the video-game industry, BioShock is capable of making you think, feel, and be amazed through its progression.

Rating: – 4.2 out of 5.0