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Customer Review

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bioshock. A game like no other., October 28, 2008
This review is from: Bioshock - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
Note: there are basically no important spoilers here. Just minor gameplay and story spoilers which aren't a big deal.

Wow. I've never had a videogame experience like this one. Everyone should experience this game at least once, even if you might hate it. And actually, I hated it after the first few hours of playing. Luckily I plowed through the rough patch in the beginning. This isn't a run and gun shooter. You have to think. You have to use strategy. You have to search for stuff, figure out what weapons and plasmids and tonics you're going to use, and figure out how to hack.

I wasn't used to this because lately games aren't complex. Games are afraid these days to be hard, we wouldn't want to annoy the player. Before Bioshock I had just beat all the missions in Saints Row 2, and in that game you basically show up, shoot everyone on site, and you're done. It was too easy. It's just a matter of getting it done with basically very little thinking involved, with gameplay or story. Don't get me wrong though SR2 is a lot of fun and I loved it.

Bioshock throws some challenges at you. First there's the story which is not easily explained and put on a silver platter. There are no long cutscenes. You're thrown into this eerie underwater world that resembles New York's Times Square. The look of the game is beautiful. You get bits and pieces of information along the way from your audio guide Atlas, and these audio diaries left behind on recorders throughout the world. If you really want to understand what's going on you have to listen closely, and it's worth it. Because if you don't listen you'll miss a lot of stuff and that takes away from what this game is all about. There are interesting themes and ideas to ponder.

That brings me to the voice acting. It was top quality. My favorite being Andrew Ryan. He sounds exactly like he should as the leader of this city, and he has some great quotes. He makes it hard to decide whether to hate him or like him while he's throwing Objectivist type philosophy at you--that you may find yourself agreeing with.

The tense atmosphere of Bioshock never lets up. You never really get a chance to relax and take a breath. There's these crazy splicer enemies walking around and sometimes you can hear them off in the distance ranting away. They sound sad and desperate. You have to tip-toe around every corner because you never know what's going to jump out at you. There's turrets ready to shoot at you, and the security cameras that you dread, because if they get a long enough look they set off alarms which triggers flying bots that are a huge pain.

As you're walking around the levels you can walk right past one of your enemies, the Big Daddys. It's funny how you can walk right past them when they're in non-attack mode, knowing that eventually you're going to have to battle them, ultimately to make a decision about the little girl they're protecting: a Little Sister. And in the first half of the game they are a tough battle. Later on when you get some decent weapons they become much easier, thankfully.

The best level for me was Fort Frolic. It's the centerpiece of the game. I would like to talk more about it but I will avoid spoilers. I'll just say that there are moments that are the most surreal I've yet experienced in a video game. There are scenes that a lesser game would have used a cutscene to present. In Bioshock you're free to walk around while this cutscene-like stuff is happening. The whole thing is colorful and brilliant.

I found the hacking minigame to be addictive. It's a nice little diversion to take a break from the regular gameplay. But that doesn't mean it isn't stressful. To be honest at first I sucked at it. I used a few tonics to make it a lot easier as the game progressed. Sometimes it's damn near impossible. You can even decide how to deal with these things, whether to spend an autohack tool, buy it out, use tonics, ignore it completely or just try to hack it and risk setting off alarms or get shocked by a short circuit. That's what I liked about Bioshock. Even in this little minigame, they give you choices. It's up to you what strategy you're going to use.

There are a lot of different weapons and plasmids to use, but I have a feeling a lot of people rely on the same trusted ones, like electricity. I tried experimenting with all of them. I noticed the guns are underpowered in this game. Which is good, it forces you to strategize instead of just blowing everyone away. Thankfully they got the shotgun right. As we know there's nothing better than blasting somebody ten feet with exploding buckshot.

Another nice little thing which adds yet more gameplay is the camera. You can research your enemies by taking pictures of them, and you gain different bonuses depending on picture quality. It's funny when a splicer is storming at you like like a maniac, before you fight them you're frantically trying to hurry and get a good picture.

Bioshock can be difficult at times, especially if you try to rush. To ease things there are Vita-chambers spread throughtout. They respawn you close to where you died, and any enemies loss of health remains. So you can keep dying and keep trying and some people complain that makes the game too easy. But who wants to keep dying over and over until you get it right? I like to play right in the first place. Just because the chambers are there doesn't mean you should use them as a crutch. Not to mention you lose all your health kits and start again with very little health. The chambers didn't make the gameplay easier, just less frustrating because you don't have to redo the same thing over and over.

One of my problems with the game is switching between all your weapons, ammo and plasmids, especially in the middle of a fight. It can get awkward. Sometimes it isn't smooth and mistakes are made. There are also a few framerate problems here and there. Other than that the game looks beautiful on the PS3, particularly the water, which is gorgeous. I was also happy there were trophies and I racked up quite a few.

Towards the end of the game I was getting disappointed because I didn't want it to end. That's why I started it again on hard mode. Games like this only come around once in awhile...actually they never come around. There is no game quite like this.

Here's a cool quote by Andrew Ryan:

"What is the difference between a man and a parasite? A man builds, a parasite asks 'Where's my share?' A man creates, a parasite says 'What will the neighbors think?' A man invents, a parasite says 'Watch out, or you might tread on the toes of God...'"
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