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FPS with RPG elements, Bioshock invites players to experience horrors of underwater isolation in the city of Rapture, the failed project of the better future. After surviving the plane crash, the protagonist has only one way to go – to the giant lighthouse that opens a way to the underwater utopia. Players will have to unravel the complicated history of Rapture, relying only on themselves, their guns and Plasmids, a mystical substance, that allows it’s user to obtain near magical abilities.
The atmosphere of isolation and threat is conveyed through the environmental sounds, subtle electrical buzzing and audio logs, telling the story of societal decay and despair. Players will shape the story, making moral choices along their way, saving Little Sisters or extracting ADAM, the mystical fuel for your abilities. While exploring the underwater city, players will complete missions for the last sane inhabitants of Rapture, while fending off the less fortunate ones.
System requirements for PC
- Operating System: Windows XP (with Service Pack 2) or Windows Vista
- CPU: Intel single-core Pentium 4 processor at 2.4GHz
- RAM: 1 GB
- Video Card: Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 128MB RAM and Pixel Shader 3.0 (NVIDIA 6600 or better/ATI X1300 or better, excluding ATI X1550)
- Sound Card: 100% direct X 9.0c compatible sound card
- Hard Drive Space: 8GB
- Game requires Internet connection for activation
- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo processor
- RAM: 2GB
- Video Card: DX 9 - Direct X 9.0c compliant video card with 512 MB RAM and Pixel Shader 3.0 (NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GT or better), DX 10 - NVIDIA GeForce 8600 or better
- Sound Card: SoundBlaster(r) X-Fi(tm) series (optimized foruse with Creative Labs EAX ADVANCED HD 4.0 or EAX ADVANCED HD 5.0 compatible sound cards)
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BioShock reviews and comments
Note: It is recommended you read the novel Bioshock: Rapture before playing this game (or after) as it serves as the prequel of the game, explaining the beginnings of Rapture until the prologue of the game. Also, the vanilla version includes the Remastered version (and vice-versa) when purchasing it on Steam. Keep in mind the Remastered version is not recommended due to many port issues in existence.
+Depending on the choice made either by saving the Little Sisters or harvesting them, the game offers multiple endings so players can see the causes and consequences of their actions.
+The attention to detail was very noticeable. Not only they developed a thrilling atmosphere while navigating the corners of Rapture, but they even developed precise effects emulation such as the blurriness in the player vision when passing through smoke or water, how the left hand mutates depending on the Plasmids equipped, and also the effect of using them against an enemy, such a watching fried enemies when using fire, electrocute them when entering the water and also the accuracy with the reproduction of videos when obtaining Plasmids and the overall architecture, and the way the ads are shown in the game akin to those found within the 40s, 50s & 60s.
+The cast of characters and their participation is as real and natural as if they were portraying a novel, a movie, a TV series, etc. While not the full cast appears as NPC within the game, some appear personally, some appears dead throughout the game and some only left their recordings:
Andrew Ryan. An industrialist founder of Rapture and biological father of protagonist Jack Wynard. As per the recordings found, he founded Rapture after the bombing of the two cities of Japan as retaliation from the USA in World War II, he found the surface unsuitable to continue living if the nations continue to bomb each other. An immigrant from Europe, he was forced to leave due to the Bolshevik Revolution and become a wealthy man in American soil after several intelligent inversions. He killed Jasmine Jolene, his mistress, and Jack’s mother after she sold her fetus to Fontaine due to financial issues, she had. He is found within Hephaestus waiting for Jack.
Brigid Tenenbaum. A co-worker of Dr. Yi Suchong and one of Rapture brilliant minds. She was responsible for the discovery of the ADAM after she found that a sea slug bit a retired veteran with a paralyzed hand, recovering his hand. After finding that a single sea slug was not enough for sufficient ADAM capacity, she started experimenting the bonding of the sea slug with different hosts until coming to the conclusion that when the sea slug bonds with little girls, they yield ADAM by dramatic amounts without any side-effects, creating the Little Sisters in the process. Tenenbaum is found within a secluded place she escaped after Fontaine Futuristics was nationalized by Ryan.
Frank Fontaine, the game main antagonist. A crime lord back on the surface, Frank changed his last name to Fontaine after killing the owner of Fontaine Fisheries which resembling him and taking over his business so he can use that opportunity to receive an invitation to Rapture from Ryan. Arriving at Rapture, he started a smuggling ring, creating a considerable wealth in the process founding Fontaine Futuristics, the place where all the Plasmids were created after he employs Dr. Yi Suchong and Brigid Tenenbaum. After he was getting the upper hand of Ryan in the power struggle of Rapture, feeling the inevitable attack from Andrew, he ordered Dr. Steinman to do a surgery on him to appear as another person, creating the Atlas persona and surgery to his henchman Reggie so he can have the look of Frank Fontaine, so when the war with Ryan started, he tricked Ryan into thinking he was dead so he can put his plans of using Jack in motion.
J.S. Steinman. Rapture renowned surgeon and first boss of the game, he developed a complex for creating the perfect surgeries after the introduction of ADAM, unlocking the potential to fully shape the human body to his liking. Before coming to Rapture, he suffered from hallucinations of the goddess Aphrodite due to the high consumption of cocaine and ether, and after abusing ADAM for many years, he lost his sanity as well. He was responsible for the surgeries of Ryan’s girlfriend, Diane McClintock, and for giving Fontaine the Atlas appearance and giving Reggie the Fontaine appearance. He is found in his ward called Aesthetics Ideals.
Jack Wynard. The silent protagonist of the game, son of Andrew Ryan and Jasmine Jolene. After Frank Fontaine purchased the fetus from Jasmine Jolene, due to her difficult financial crisis, Jack was since his inception an experiment of both Dr. Yi Suchong and Brigid Tenenbaum as by orders of Frank Fontaine, they genetically engineer him to be fully obedient to Frank will and somehow increased his aging, sending him outside of Rapture in one of the smuggling operations with the fabrication of having a normal life until the time comes where he will be of use for Fontaine, putting the events of the game in motion after boarding the plane that supposedly was to visit his uncles in the United Kingdom.
Julie Langford. The expert botanist in charge of resurrecting entire forests in Arcadia so they can supply oxygen to Rapture. Before arriving at Rapture, she was hired by the Allied Powers to design toxins that can burn entire forests so they can reveal the location of hidden Japanese bases. She is found in her office within Arcadia before being killed by Andrew Ryan.
Sander Cohen. Rapture's most prolific but eccentric artist. After the war between Ryan and Atlas started he became extremely paranoid to the point of abusing ADAM, rendering his mental state questionable at best, as he developed a genocidal pattern of inflicting pain in other as part of the “new kind of art” he claims people do not appreciate well. He is located within Fort Frolic after Jack decimates his apprentices Silas Cobb, Martin Fennigan, and Hector Rodriguez as he feels betrayed by them.
Yi Suchong. Rapture’s brilliant mind, the creator of the Plasmids through ADAM injection, the creator of the Big Daddy program, with the objective of creating super-strong beings with either a drill attached to their right hand or a rivet gun responsible for performing maintenance in the areas of Rapture where no human is capable of surviving, and later he created a way to bond both Big Daddies and Little Sisters, so the former can also be the guardians of the latter, so the Little Sisters can be protected from the Splicers when extracting ADAM from dead bodies. He was also the responsible alongside Tenenbaum for the genetic modification on Jack Wynard as per the instructions of Fontaine. After the shutdown of Fontaine Futuristics, he was employed by Ryan Industries but was later killed after accidentally hit a Little Sister which screams was heard by a Big Daddy near the vicinity, killing Suchong in the process.
There is also a decent repertoire of secondary characters relevant to Rapture lore either found within recordings or with their dead bodies such as Sullivan, head of security of Ryan Industries, who resigned his position after he saw what Ryan became after the civil war between him and Atlas, Bill McDonagh, Rapture general contractor who turned on Ryan after he wanted to control everything, Anya Andersdotter, an assassin turned shoemaker who attempted to murder Ryan for stealing her girl and turned her into a Little Sister and many more.
+The collectives expand the lore of the game and ties to the main story narrative. The collectives are called Voxophone Recorders, containing recording personal events of a certain number of key characters, responsible for both the rise and fall of Rapture, explaining the things they did, their relationship with others, and their life in Rapture.
+The gameplay is superb. BioShock is a First-Person Shooter with RPG elements, combining a fast, responsive, and polished FPS experience by using weapons on the right hand and the power called Plasmids on the left hand dictated by a mana bar called EVE, although both weapons and powers cannot be used simultaneously, only one at a time but creating a certain degree of immersion to players by providing them full control of all of their actions. Weapons can be upgraded by using special stations called Power to the People, where one upgrade can be applied to one weapon per station and can use a total of three types of ammo per weapon, ranging from a selection such as Shotgun, Pistol, RPG launcher, Machine Gun, etc while Plasmids can be upgraded to a total of three levels, granting power such as Electricity, Fire, Telekinesis, Ice Powers, etc. Players can use multiple types of vending machines to improve their resources such as Circus of Value, a general purposes vending machine, El Ammo Bandito, exclusive to replenish ammo, Gatherer’s Garden, to obtain new Plasmids power, Gene Bank to swap between the Plasmids obtained. All of the vending machines use money except the Gene Swap which does not use resources at all and the Gatherer’s Garden which uses ADAM instead of Rapture dollars, the game currency and when players die, they are resuscitated on the nearest chambers called Vita Chambers. The game also lets players save the game anywhere, avoiding limiting players sticking to save points.
+The OST, sound effects, and voice acting were top-notch. The OST is full of classics from the 30s, 40s, and 60s, where songs like “La Mer” & “It had to be you” from Django Reinhardt, “If I didn’t care” & “The best things in life” from The Ink Spots, “Beyond the sea” from Bobby Darin, “Bei Mir Bist du Schon” from The Andrews Sisters, “God bless the child” from Billie Holiday and many classical Jazz songs characteristic of such eras. The sound effect sound as crisp and high quality from leakages throughout the city, to weapon shooting effects, to explosions, the automatic bot motorized sounds, the alarms, and even the growling of the Big Daddies provides quite the immersion. Last but not least, the great participation of the cast of voice actors behind the voices the iconic characters, giving players vivid emulations of the characters by voices of Anne Bobby as Brigid Tenenbaum, Greg Baldwin as Frank Fontaine, Susanne Blakeslee as Julie Langford, Ritchie Coster as Bill McDonagh, etc.
+The story is the highlight of the game because of the precise but mysterious ways of explaining the events, the good plot twist, the atmosphere matching the suspense of the plot with the sense of survival in an unknown place, and how everything connects at the end of the story. The story revolves around 1960 at the bottom of the middle parts of the Atlantic Ocean within an underwater city called Rapture being navigated by protagonist Jack, the city now in critical conditions. The city was founded by industrialist Andrew Ryan, which believed the surface is no longer suitable for living due to the constant bombing between the nations, and the segregation of the nation’s preventing what he believes is the great chain of commerce. He created Rapture with the goal of imposing free-market practices and to prohibit any big government constraint that did not permit the individuals to grow financially. His archnemesis, Frank Fontaine, saw this as an opportunity to overrun the city with smuggling operations, so with the money obtained, he contracted two brilliant minds Dr. Yi Suchong and Brigid Tenenbaum that discovered a substance called ADAM for which they created powers called Plasmids thanks to the discovery of a substance called ADAM, capable of rewriting the genetic code of humans. After the population was using the Plasmids in their daily basis, the side effects started to shine, ranging from physical disfiguration to mental deterioration, such addicts were called Splicers, individuals for which Fontaine was secretly creating an army to overthrown Ryan of Rapture control, later ensuing a Civil War between the two, thus setting the events of the game in motion, starting with the plane crash boarding protagonist Jack.
+There are three choices of difficulties (four if playing the Remastered version) so the player can select between Easy, Normal, or Hard, the difficulty that suits the players the better.
-A lot of the Voxophone Recordings throughout the game are left ambiguous, forcing players to search for external information in order to make sense of the lore of the game, as the game only explains a portion needed to understand what is happening in it, but not the whole picture of what was with life in Rapture before the collapse.
-The hacking mechanism of the game can become very repetitive, as it involves creating a path with a series of tubes that due to limited time, players need to create the path as fast as possible. The hacking mechanism would have been fine if it were not for the so many times it needed to be done in a short amount of time from one to another. They should have created a shorter method for simple hacks and leave this method to complicated ones.
-The port is not correctly optimized. Not only sometimes it resets the configuration saved within settings, but sometimes it suffers from sudden crashes (crashed a total of 4 times before finishing the game) and there’s also glitches regarding the general lightning effects. They should have polished the port a little more before deployment.
-While the graphics were fine on its own, it seems the levels have more graphical fidelity than the models, which at times seems like low-quality models. They should have matched the graphical fidelity of both models and levels.
-While the inputs in both controller and keyboard are responsive, they missed an opportunity to create a proper transition between the two, as the keyboard/mouse combo is the one activated as default so, in order for using the controller, you need to go to settings and activate the use the Xbox 360 controller, changing the layout to accommodate controller players in the process. They should have created a way so when players press an input, it automatically switches to such input.
Other than the plasmids, the player of course also gets access to an arsenal of firearms, everything from a revolver to a crossbow. Combining the use of firepower with the plasmids feels very satisfying, and offers the player control of the battle in ways that very few games do. While the gunplay might not be the most advanced, the simplicity of it has it's charm.
Then there's the story. It's simply one of the best video game stories I've ever experienced. It's also very unpredictable, mainly because of the many twists and turns. I, of course, won't spoil anything, as I feel you should experience it for yourself. The story of Rapture is mainly told to the player through audio logs found throughout the city, giving the player more insight into how Rapture ended up how it did. The level of environmental storytelling in the game is impressive, and this is further improved by the great graphics, for a 2007 game at least.
I can not recommend BioShock enough. Whether you're looking for an interesting main story which questions the way our society works, or simply a unique shooter game, this is the game you're looking for.
Overall Score: 10/10 - Exceptional
+ Mind-bending main story
+ An unique FPS experience
+ Immersive environments