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Bioshock - Xbox 360
Format: Video Game|Change
Price:$19.56+ $3.98 shipping

on August 5, 2013
Bioshock is a transcendent piece of workmanship. It is a whole package of arts from many media: visual design, architecture, acting, literature, direction, music, sound design, choreography, narrative, pathos, humor, emotion, philosophy... In my opinion, all art, regardless of media, is judged by only one criterion: how well it immerses the audience. It is highly difficult for a videogame to work well with all of the artistic elements it must from other media, but when it can, results are breathtaking. For videogames have an artistry trump card should all other elements come together brilliantly -

The audience affects them.

I can't begin to say how much this can add to the immersive experience of art. Fallout and Deus Ex and a handful of other games have had a marriage of elements that made in-game actions true epiphanies and sometimes truly difficult decisions, but no game has had quite such a successful integration of the arts and interaction as Bioshock.

To start, the world of Rapture, the undersea self-governing utopia of the late 1940's, is as fully realized as a fictional arena can be. The narrative begins with a plane crash in the middle of the Atlantic. As the only apparent survivor, you swim to the only nearby shelter, a skyscraping spire jutting out of the sea. Upon entry, you're greeted by the larger-than-life bronze bust of the larger-than-life antagonist of the tale, Andrew Ryan. His austere face hangs just above a placard which succinctly states the vision of his that became reified with the construction of Rapture, "No Gods or Kings. Only Man." A later banner declaring "Altruism is the root of all wickedness" rounds out Ryan as a man whose will is singular and formidable and who believes that man's progress truly comes through serving one's self. I don't wish to divulge much more of him. He's somehow omnipresent. His dream world that became as abyssal as the ocean in which it sits, is clearly his world, a full manifestation of one man's vision. Ryan pulls off complexity in a singular character with aplomb. However much you might hate him, you admire him in equal measure. He's an iconic villain, who is actually able to perhaps shake your long held beliefs with surprising charisma, gaining with sheer will your empathy.

Ryan's dream is an art deco, mid-19th century cityscape with impeccable design. Neon signs with bold lettering mark every locale. 40's style public service announcements chime through speakerphones, littering propaganda from Ryan's mind and often featuring a domineering man speaking to an unsure woman as though she were a neurotic child. Heavy, steam-powered machinery powers the city, replete with worn and bulky looks of the period's real engineering. Posters of idealized men and women from the age paint the walls with advertisements for the newest products and services. A highly curvaceous and opulent architecture is present throughout; it's beautiful, beautifully realized and extremely cohesive. There are even cases in which period music plays, from Perry Como, Billie Holliday, and others, used to better effect than almost any feature film soundtrack.

The atmosphere is complete and compelling, but clearly crumbling. Hypnotizing trickles and even larger floods of water flow in through cracks of the foundation, most places are unkempt, or in ruins. There's evidence of a struggle between Ryan and an enterprising businessman named Fontaine. You find out about his smuggling ring whose importing of the "parasitic" ideals that Ryan so abhors caused a war between the two men over philosophical matters and financial ones. "Adam," discovered in Rapture and studied by parties supported by the two men, is a substance that changed Rapture, by allowing the grafting of stem cells that can radically rewrite DNA sequencing to give a man or woman virtually any characteristic they so desired.

A war over Adam is taking place. Fontaine and Ryan fought over its rights and nearly everyone else is fighting to obtain it, and as much as they can. Homemade weapons dot the underwater fortress. Genetically altered quasi-humans walk the city, ever searching the premises for Adam as though it a powerful drug, hurting and killing for it.

Inhabitants exhibit behaviors that are powerfully disturbing. They retain and relive memories of their former lives, giving hints of the trials and tribulations they faced before becoming hideously disfigured in every sense of the word. Some seem like they were broken of their former ways by force, some seem to have arrived by greed or the jealous need to usurp, some seem to have fallen in because of tragedy, and still others, such as the Little Sisters, were simply bred into their monsterhood.

Little Sisters are Rapture's Adam harvesters, and while the game allows for numerous and wonderful player choices in terms of evincing enemies, Little Sisters provide the moral choices. Your guide, a man named Atlas, encourages you to harvest them for the Adam they posses so that you might be better able to survive with the improved genetics by killing the filthy girls with glowing eyes, strolling through the halls with a syringe drawing the blood from corpses they call "angels." The woman scientist who developed the children asks you not to do so, but givesno immediate reward. The system creates a great dilemma both morally and from the virtue versus instant gratification aspect.

Though this is really the only immersive hinge in Bioshock, the story is so closely tied to the Little Sisters and the narrative so tight, this one recurring choice manages to be thoroughly compelling. Bioshock is the only experience I've had in recent memory, where I actually as the audience felt deceived, the effect of which I could hardly put into words. Suffice to say, it managed to find through a simple motif, a way to bring me to feel disgust, regret, hatred, and disbelief. Bioshock makes everything that occurs within it your real experience and it makes what is a brilliant social commentary into a frightening self examination.

Is it perfect? No. There are issues with immersion that remind you that you are playing a game. For instance, the penalty for death is nearly non-existent, which takes away from the feeling of fear and discourages tactical thinking. The physics, particularly in death animations, are quite wonky in some cases. There are clipping instances. Corpses twitch.

...That's it though.

Bioshock is truly Dynamic art and comes with my unequivocal recommendation.
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on October 29, 2014
Finally got around to playing this and was not disappointed. It was such a great game with an atmosphere that you'll probably step back and take a minute or two to admire. There are certain areas of the game where you can become more spooked...but nothing over the top. The story grasped me and I had to find out what was really going down in Rapture, the twist that happens mid-way through the game was a nice touch and changed things up a bit. The combat is solid with the use of plasmids of all variety, you'll find yourself scavenging bullets for your weapons and saving eve to purchase new plasmids. I like the way the game enticed you in a sort of "moral dilemma," should you save the little sisters and get less eve or kill them and get more...accessing more plasmids. Depending on which route you choose, it determines the end sequence you get. It's an enjoyable game from start to finish.
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on December 4, 2014
For some perspective on my gaming background, I was very into Nintendo and Sega (showing my age). However, for various reasons, I got out of gaming, except for playing at buddies' houses and stuff. I still enjoyed "top 100" lists and the like, both on TV and the internet.

This was a game that always seemed to show up highly on those lists. The images and descriptions I saw on TV or articles were very compelling to me. Quite frankly, seeing the reviews and clips of this game pulled me back into gaming after a 15 year or so hiatus. Needless to say, I had very high expectations for those game.

All of those expectations were exceeded. The last FPS I had played was Doom on my old Packard Bell computer. This game had a story that pulled me in with its twists and turns. The environment and settings pulled me in quickly and had me thinking about them long after I stopped playing. The gameplay had variety, with different weapons and plasmids allowing for varied strategies in going up against enemies. It was creepy and fun. There is huge replay ability because there are so many different options and ways you can play. Amazing game and great introduction to how much games have advanced since I was a kid playing Mario and Sonic!
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on December 15, 2012
There isn't a lot I can say about this game. Well, there is, but its one of those things you just have to experience firsthand. The combat style, the powers, the abilities, the enemies you run into, it all is so amazing and fantastic, you really have to just do it yourself.

This game in particular is one of the better games I have ever played. The story line is WONDERFUL, the characters are great, the combat is unique, and the general older-timey feel of the game (like the addition of the music which is pretty much the highlight of my whole gameplay experience) is pretty sweet. This game has twists and turns that you wouldn't be expecting otherwise, and really is a fantastic play. I have gone through it a few times and know I will do more and more as time goes on. The Bioshock line of games is very exciting, mysterious, difficult, but rewarding. The boss battle in this game isn't much to speak about, you can run through it REALLY quickly, but other than that, this game is nearly the perfect gaming experience. Do yourself a favor, play it.
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on March 9, 2015
It's 2015 and this game is getting up there in age, but that doesn't take away from the fun. I've never been one to enjoy a horror game, and while this is mostly an FPS, it does have some horror elements in it. It makes you jump. It makes you think twice before moving too quickly. It slows you down. And it works great in this game. While I did get use to the presentation as the game went on and the horror aspects did decline as a result, I still greatly enjoyed the game. You basically have one hand with "magic" and one hand with a gun. You are "solving" an intriguing story; I won't ruin any of the plot. I went into the game not knowing anything beyond the critical acclaim it had received and immensely enjoyed myself. That said, I love a game with a great story -- I can forgive a lot in the graphics and gameplay if the story is awesome. If I had played this game when it was new, I doubt any forgiveness would be in order. Even by 2015 standards I wouldn't call it ugly -- just older. Most of the games I play fall in the 3-4 star range. I give this one a solid 4.5 (no halves on Amazon sadly), but worth upgrading to 5 for amazon vs downgrading to a 4.
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Playing BioShock for the first time is an intense and very rewarding experience. Playing it for the second time is just as much fun, with a few more surprises to be found. After playing and beating this game three times, I can say that this is definitely one of my top ten XBOX 360 Games. We had come across this game by chance, and it had positive reviews, which could mean a good game or a group of people that have lost their collective minds together in a mass mental suicide. In the case of BioShock, I am happy to say that this game delivers. No spoiler here, so read on with safety of knowing the the characters are vibrant, the story is intriguing and engaging, and you will not regret this game at all. Minor things could have been left out, but overall 4 and 3/4 stars out of 5. The closest game to perfection that I have played in a while. For First Person Shooter / Sci-Fi RPG fans. This game is a must for your collection.
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on May 28, 2016
Of all the Bioshock games, the original is probably my favorite. While I'm an FPS guy through and through, this game had its own unique ambiance. The graphics were almost cartoonish, but it was okay in this game. Some of the gameplay gets repetitive, and I really don't see any serious replay value. But it was fun the first time. And now when you can get it used for less than $5, why not?
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on August 11, 2014
I originally wanted to get CoD: Black Ops and CoD: Ghosts to kinda keep up with the franchise, being as I'd already beaten Cod 4: MW, MW2, MW3 and Black Ops 2, but then I thought I should get something different, so I went with this, and I don't regret it at all. I love the setting, the guns and how everything works. The ability to hack vending machines to get cheaper prices on items and get machines to work with you instead of against you by hacking is really cool, and the overall plot is interesting. The graphics aren't bad either, as opposed to some people on here saying they look "cartoonish", which I don't think is the case at all.

I haven't gotten too far into the game yet, but I've come far enough to tell whether I like it or not. That being the case, I'll definitely continue playing the game and working my way through it, and maybe update this as I progress to see if my views change on any aspect or element of the game itself.
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on February 13, 2012
This is a first person shooter (FPS) that takes place in an underwater city that has met with crisis and has been all but destroyed. You have to find your way from one location to the next while battling crazed individuals and avoiding "the sisters" and their bodyguard(s).

It is typical as for as playing an FPS is concerned, but what I found most interesting was the added background noises suited for the environment - the underwater creaks and moans of metal succumbing to decay and the pressure of the water against the walls - that give the game an extra creepiness that makes you jump. Play this alone at night with no lights on in the room - great for a heart thumping experience.
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on November 30, 2017
One of my favorite games!! Dark, mysterious, puzzles, huge plot twists. Everything to keep you on your toes. This started an incredible line up of games to keep you busy for years!
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