Bioshock, one of the best first person shooter/role playing games of all time was released in 2007 to an overwhelming critical acclaim. The hellish underwater city of Rapture is known far and wide throughout pop culture and the iconic character of the fearsome big daddy has become one of the most recognisable and popular characters in video game history. Bioshock changed the face of gaming and gave us a memorable story line, gruesome atmosphere, exciting action and so much variety that two peoples play styles are rarely ever the same.
Bioshock was created by Irrational games and 2K Marin and was published by 2K games. The story was written by Ken Levine, who previously worked on Thief: The Dark Project and System Shock 2, two more excellent games if you get a chance to try them out. As I mentioned, Bioshock was released in 2007 but a remastered collection was released in 2016 which I will be talking about. The other games in the collection are Bioshock 2 and Bioshock: Infinite. I will be talking about each game separately.
The story of Bioshock is set in 1960. The name of your character is Jack, and Jack was just in a plane crash in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. As Jack is drowning he notices a giant lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. As you reach the lighthouse you notice a submarine which takes you down underwater to the sprawling and beautiful city of Rapture. Rapture was built by Andrew Ryan during the 1940’s as a break away city from societies constraints. No more religion, no more ethics when it comes to science, no more government telling you what you can and can’t do. It was meant to be a paradise to people who wanted to break away from the norm, it was meant to be a Utopia.
As Jack reaches Rapture he starts to realise there is something very, very wrong with this place. The citizens of Rapture have all become drug addicted genetically altered mutants called Splicers. The drug that is going around Rapture is called ADAM. It was taken from sea slugs and it was found that it had properties that gave people fantastic powers such as setting things on fire, creating electricity from their finger tips and sending people into an uncontrollable rage.
A criminal named Frank Fontaine found a way to harvest ADAM by putting the sea slugs into little girls which were transformed into ‘little sisters’. These little sisters could around to dead bodies and with a special needle they would extract the ADAM from the corpses. Frank Fontaine was making money hand over fist doing this. Andrew Ryan did not like this at all, so he launched an all out attack on Fontaine and killed him. Ryan took over the whole operation, but he also made some genetically altered freaks and stuck them in diving suits, this would be called ‘big daddies’ and these would protect the little sisters through the horrors of Rapture.
From the ashes of Fontaines empire a man came about named Atlas. Atlas is a down to earth, kind Irish man who stirred the working class folk of Rapture to rebel against Ryan. Ryan became worried and created the splicers to protect him and his city. During this, Atlas’s family gets kidnapped by Ryan and this is where Jack comes in, he must get them back.
As Jack makes his way through the depressing and doomed city of Rapture he meets all kinds of people who have completely lost their minds and need to be put down. There are voice recordings left all over Rapture which were recorded by the people while they still had some semblance of sanity and they paint a bleak picture of Rapture going from a Utopian paradise to a depraved and degenerate hell, full of freaks, lunatics and vile people and what’s worse, they have no restraints.
Atlas keeps asking Jack would he kindly carry out some missions, as I said he is a very polite man. These missions go from killing super powered splicers to getting certain objects and opening certain areas. During the game Jacks also speaks to Doctor Brigid Tenenbaum, one of the founders of the ADAM. She begs Jack not to hurt the little sisters, which you have a choice to do during the game. If you kill a little sister outright you get a lot of ADAM which can be used to buy more powers for Jack or you can choose to let them live which gives you less ADAM but at some points during the game you’re given presents by the little sisters in the form of ADAM or other useful stuff.
Later on in the game Jack finds Ryan. He is in his office playing golf without a care in the world. Ryan tells Jack that he’s his illegitimate son and that Atlas had him mind controlled to kill Ryan. The phrase “would you kindly?” was the trigger phrase that but Jack under Atlas’s control. Ryan tells Jack to kill him by constantly saying “A man chooses, a slave obeys!”. Jack kills Ryan and Atlas reveals that he is actually Frank Fontaine. He tries to kill Jack but Tenenbaum saves him. Not only does she save Jack but she removed some of the mental control that Fontaine has over him.
Tenenbaum tells Jack to go and deal with Fontaine and take him out once and for all. As Jack reaches Fontaine he finds out that Fontaine has injected himself with a cocktail of powers and he is now a complete genetic freak. The fight does not last long and Jack is helped by the little sisters who rush Fontaine and stab him to death with multiple needles. Jack takes the little sisters and leaves Rapture for good. The good ending is where the little sisters get to have a nice normal life. Get educated, find love, find happiness and on Jack’s deathbed they all come to him to say thank you for giving them the chance of a normal life. The bad ending is Jack takes over Rapture and unleashes the splicers on the rest of the world and it leaves with an ominous ending focusing on a nuclear warhead. END OF STORY.
Now onto the actual game itself. Bioshock, when I first played it, blew me away, I mean it completely caught me off guard. I thought it was going to be another bog standard horror game, which don’t me wrong I love horror games but some of them are very, paint by numbers shall we say. Bioshock was not like that at all. The story was exciting and interesting. I loved the fact that the bigger picture is told through voice recordings and conversations through out the game. There is a whole world underneath the ocean and some of the tales you hear and very human. Lost love, problems with the boss, people feeling very worried about their looks, just common every day problems. I think this was amazing because it showed Rapture as a lived in city before everything went tits up.
The combat in this game is fluid, exciting, sleek and tactical. You will be dealing with a whole myriad of enemies that all have different ways of dealing with and different weaknesses and strengths and you’ll be fighting them all at the same time. This means your combat and the way you fight has to change and evolve all the time which keeps the game interesting.
The plasmids also change the combat up big time. The plasmids are just another name for powers and as I said earlier you can set enemies on fire, you can freeze them, shock them to death, throw insects at them and so, so, sooooooo much more. This keeps the combat versatile and can make it quite exciting.
Onto the graphics, listen I’ll put it to you this way, I was impressed with the graphics back in 2007 so in 2016 with the remaster I was still bloody impressed. The game looks absolutely beautiful from the 1940’s inspired decor to looking out a window and literally seeing the vast ocean and everything in it absolutely blew me away. The monsters and enemies were stylish and creepy looking and big daddy has got to be one of the coolest looking enemies in video game history. The dark, dreary halls and the utter chaos of broken pipes and destroyed places really adds to the atmosphere and gives you a taste of the chaos that choked and ultimately killed Rapture.
The sound, again my word is the sound good. You can hear old music throughout the game and the soundtrack is made up from real bands and groups from that era. Also listening to the sounds of big daddies walking through Rapture and the sounds of the ocean in certain parts really adds to the atmosphere of the game. The casual conversations of some of the splicers really gives you a look into what they think is going on and some of them even sound normal, if not a little messed up…well maybe a lot messed up.
So with that I’m onto the scores now:
Graphics: Impressive, fantastic styles and design and messed up monsters and atmosphere 10/10
Sound: Amazing soundtrack from the era, humorous but dark conversations that compliment the overall story and eerie ambiance throughout 10/10
Game play: Fast game play, fun, destructive and ever changing 10/10
Worth: Bloody hell yes! If you’ve never played Bioshock, go now and play it. 10/10
Story: Amazing story from the start to the finish! Utterly fantastic story telling that keeps you wanting more 10/10
Total: 100/100 A+
I hope you enjoyed my review and as always, thanks for reading!