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BioShock

Developers: 2K Boston2K Australia Publisher: 2K Games
21 August 2007
BioShock - cover art
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3.89 / 5.0
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2,926 Ratings / 12 Reviews
#226 All-time
#7 for 2007
In 1960, a lone survivor of a plane crash named Jack discovers an abandoned underwater utopia, only to find out that the mystery behind its creation is much more sinister than he first believed.
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2008 2K Boston 2K Marin  
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2012 2K Boston 2K Australia  
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Bioshock Remastered
2016 2K Boston 2K Australia  
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BioShock Remastered
2016 2K Boston 2K Australia  
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BioShock Remastered
2020 2K Boston 2K Australia  
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BioShock Remastered
2020 2K Boston 2K Australia  
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BioShock Greatest Hits
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This games holds up decently. The atmosphere and production are still very gripping. I was surprised how many moments still affect me, like various twists and audio logs. The themes about objectivism tie the world and story together.

The game loses points in how unsatisfying it can feel at times. Sometimes enemies are too resilient, shooting guns doesn’t feel visceral, and the movement feels like its from a PS2 game. I like the customization though, with swapping out tonics for different active and passive powers.

Even if this game has shown its age, it’s a good single-player FPS adventure and deserves a revisit.
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DoubleCakes 2021-07-09T16:29:03Z
2021-07-09T16:29:03Z
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2007 was and still is the most important year for gaming. At this point, the medium had made leaps in progress from the vestigial, black and white bleeps and bloops of Pong and the crude pixels of Atari, and 3D graphics had filed off the blocky textures to a point of realistic refinement. Paving on uncharted territory in terms of gaming’s technological potential had seemed to have reached a point of a confident resolution. However, 2007 remains the fulcrum point in the medium’s history. The impact made in this landmark 365-day period in the late 2000s has resonated strongly enough to the point where we still feel the effects of it fifteen years later. It was the year when video games reached a point of mainstream ubiquity and acceptance. Video games became as prevalent in the artistic and commercial realm as films instead of a niche hobby with a slight social stigma attached to it. Erasing this stigma can be credited to many games that emerged during this year that thoroughly convinced every separate faction of gaming skeptics. Wii Sports may have accompanied the Wii’s launch in 2006, but the ripple effect of making everyone’s grandparents stop faulting video games for all of the world’s foibles was felt in the following year. Rock Band expanded the potential that Guitar Hero established by including three more instruments into the fray, blossoming the rhythm game craze into an accessible party experience. The appeal of playing games online on a console hit a breaking point with both Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, expanding the margin of young non-gamers who I suppose needed a more proper gateway genre. There was still one group of people that stuck their noses up at video games, and this was the stodgy art critic crowd who saw the medium as nothing but sophomoric tripe for people suffering from serious cases of arrested development. This group was arguably the hardest to persuade, but the one seminal title from 2007 that made some heavy leeway in convincing them of reevaluating their views was BioShock.

To make things clear, I’m not saying that BioShock was the first “artistic” video game, nor am I stating that BioShock was the cutting edge of video game narrative or subversive mechanics compared to all other narratively and mechanically ambitious games that came before it. Gamers even felt more confident in cajoling renowned film critic Roger Ebert of gaming’s artistic merits with the slightly older Shadow of the Colossus. One also can’t forget that BioShock is a spinoff of the System Shock games, two immersive sim games that only mechanically-savvy PC gamers could proudly flaunt in the 1990s. BioShock was not the visionary revelation that some credited it for being, for the fact that its source material stems from another IP with a substantial following and many artistically-driven games predate it. However, these points of contention do not diminish BioShock’s impact. BioShock had a Resident Evil 4-like explosion of popularity and praise upon its release, prematurely taking its stand on the highest podium alongside classics that shaped the medium. Many of the aforementioned games released the same year were exceptional in their own right, but BioShock took home the gold. People were profoundly awestruck after playing BioShock, including many of those who had never given the medium of gaming an honest chance. The seventh generation of gaming signaled a time when immersive sim games could be produced accessibly on consoles, and Bioshock was the game that brought mainstream attention to the niche genre.

The immersive sim genre is difficult to define. They exist somewhere on the spectrum between the FPS and RPG genres, but are more subtly paced than the average FPS game and lack the character customizability of an RPG. Stealth and horror elements are also sprinkled into the mix even more deftly. Obviously, one of the core characteristics of the genre is immersion, but a game being defined as immersive tends to be a subjective, case-by-case factor depending on the tastes and sensibilities of the player. Immersive sims are not compromises on both the FPS and RPG genres, for they amplify the weight of every aspect that is present, making for a meatier experience than any typical game in either genre. BioShock isn’t considered to be a proper immersive sim compared to its System Shock predecessors, but it upholds the specific elements of the genre in principle.

Something common across all immersive sims is a striking setting that crushes the player with the monumental scope of both its breadth and lore building. Given that BioShock was released after the golden age of the immersive sim game, it’s a wonder how the developers of these games hadn’t thought of something like Rapture when the genre was in its prime. After the catalyst moment of the plane crash, Jack, the sole survivor, swims over to a nearby lighthouse, the only source of solid land to hoist him up over the perilous, dark, open waters below. Jack’s curiosity leads him to a submarine that entertains him with an introduction slideshow accompanied by a narration. Once the slideshow ends, the blinds of the submarine’s portholes open to reveal Rapture; a city submerged in the deep waters of an unknown ocean, created from Andrew Ryan’s untethered ambition. Revealing Rapture to the player through the dynamic opening narration is one of the most effective introductions to a video game that I’ve experienced. Not since Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent masterpiece Metropolis has there been a shot introducing a cityscape that was so breathtaking. Rapture’s sublime magnificence from this opening shot is mesmerizing enough to captivate the player for the entirety of the game, and its effectiveness never diminishes upon subsequent playthroughs.

Upon entering Rapture, the player soon learns that the interior isn’t as immaculate as the exterior. Rapture is in a state of decade-long detritus due to Ryan’s fanatical ideas being too unstable to be practical for those who have joined him on his underwater venture. ADAM, a genetic-altering substance extracted from sea slugs, has corroded the intramural walls of the city like a flesh-eating bacteria, both in a literal and figurative sense. The Rapture the player is seeing is the purgatory fallout period of Ryan’s once-great utopia, signifying that Andrew Ryan failed. The extent of Rapture’s decline is not detailed in the narrative as it probably would’ve bloated the experience and bored the player through bloviating exposition. Events surrounding what caused the downfall of Rapture are detailed in numerous video diaries, an immersive sim trope that serves as an optional method of elucidating BioShock’s lore if the player feels inclined. Video diaries are a fine source of information pertaining to Rapture’s past and the notable people responsible for its downfall, but BioShock tells Rapture’s story through more effective means. Atmosphere is BioShock’s strongest element, and it’s also the most engaging means of giving the player insight on the sunken city. We assume that Rapture was once a flourishing beacon of radical progress that greatly expedited the information age before it even began, judging by its location and scope. The bedraggled insides not only give the impression that Rapture failed, but that failure stems from a sordid history of horrific events. Rapture’s upkeep is in a state of ruin, with hazardously sparking neon light fixtures being the only source of illumination and ocean water seeping through cracks in the fractured foundation. Blood of unknown origin smears the dimly lit vestibules of what used to be divinely bohemian architecture and hundreds of corpses litter the grounds. The old-world quaintness exuded by the vending machines and vocal jazz music should be charming, but these relics of the past only serve as reminders of how long it’s been since Rapture was prosperous. Rapture’s sorry state is as melancholic as it is chilling, a haunting depiction of monumental atrophy like an abandoned amusement park or gothic mansion. All the while, the sub-sea level setting crushes the player with inescapable claustrophobia. Yet, the sheer magnitude of Rapture is too grand to make the player feel uncomfortable enough to want to leave it.

As vast and monolithic as Rapture is, the player cannot excavate every corner of the city at their leisure. Open-world exploration is not a trait of the immersive sim genre; rather, the game seperates the world into levels that act as their own smaller, non-linear sandboxes. While Rapture seems engrossing enough to make the player yearn to liberally frolic through its walls, the restraint set by an immersive sim’s design benefits BioShock. Each level makes up a unique district of Rapture that details a specific faction of Rapture’s enterprises such as science, medicine, agriculture, art, mechanical engineering, etc. Dividing Rapture like this themes each section of the city concisely and the player gets to explore the past events of the area and how it caused its calamitous present. Usually, a level will revolve around one notable figure of Rapture’s past and their specific machinations in the area relating to their vocation like Dr. Steinman the plastic surgeon in the Medical Pavilion or Sander Cohen the artist in Fort Frolic. Whether or not the figure is deceased or is still roaming the grounds, the player must either use that person’s research to aid them in traversal or become aware of how they operate so as to not become another victim of their madness. Each district of Rapture also has its own distinct layout while maintaining that drowned, ruinous aesthetic. The map may be difficult to follow because the branching paths are illustrated with arrows, but the areas are compact enough where the player will never get too lost anyways. Unfortunately, BioShock’s levels conflict with the immersive sim's core design philosophy. The districts of Rapture are designed like sandboxes composed of connected subareas, but Bioshock does not offer the same level of explorative freedom compared to the levels of System Shock. It also doesn’t help that exploration in BioShock is cultivated through a lot of tedious fetch quests instead of organic, puzzle-intensive traversal.

Another means of expressing the loose parameters of an immersive sim that BioShock executes accurately is Jack’s arsenal. Every immersive sim offers a staggeringly large and varied arsenal that rivals the weaponry found in Ted Nugent’s garage. Jack will start modestly by whacking the player with a wrench that does middling damage to enemies, but gradually increase the firepower to firearms such as a pistol and shotgun to explosive rounds and even a crossbow. Each weapon even has its own type of special ammunition like armor-piercing rounds for the machine gun and shotgun shells with alternating fire and electrical damage. Every weapon persists throughout the game, so BioShock offers the player a weapon radial so they won’t have to juggle through their inventory trying to remember the chronological order they obtained each weapon. BioShock strides to make the abundant arsenal convenient in lieu of console owners not having a mouse and keyboard to select weapons in a typical immersive sim game on a PC, and a console bumpkin like me felt nicely accommodated. It however does not help the inconvenience that comes from having to reload every time the player wishes to change the ammunition for their gun as it makes the player unnecessarily vulnerable. Alternate ammo also isn’t any more sparse than the regular ammo for any given weapon, so their “special” status that might come with their additional properties has no reason to be conserved. Reloading while trying to find a suitable weapon for a given scenario was the cause of so many unwarranted deaths in BioShock.

BioShock does offer alternative means of offense, and this isn’t to supplement the faulty weapon loading system. The secondary tools Jack uses to defend himself from the horrors of Rapture are plasmids, placed alternately on the left trigger opposite from the firearms on the right. Plasmids are serums made from ADAM that genetically modify those who inject the serum into their bloodstreams, granting them superhuman abilities depending on the nature of a specific serum. Plasmids are also a highly addictive substance, and the excessive use of them is one of the core factors that contributed to the decline of Rapture. Even with the evident fallout surrounding him that these plasmids caused, Jack quickly gives into peer pressure and starts imbuing a syringe-like aparati into his left wrist, plunging down the path of a plasmid junkie. Jack was already stacked on his dominant right hand, but the various plasmids assigned to his left are the piece de resistance of Jack’s arsenal. There are just as many different types of plasmids as there are firearms and they also cover a wide range of uses. A group of plasmids run the gamut of elemental powers such as electricity, fire, ice, and wind, and these are mainly used in specific situations regarding both combat and traversal. Other plasmids have properties used to manipulate physical matter like the sonic boom and telekinesis while others manipulate the minds of the enemies. My personal favorite plasmid is the insect swarm, unleashing a plague of buzzing bees to distract enemies while also stinging them to slowly dwindle their health. Plasmids are truly the expansive touch to BioShock’s combat that broadens it to the degree worthy of an immersive sim game. The range of firearms is already extensive, but only offering standard FPS weapons with a steampunk-flavored tinge would’ve made combat slightly stale. That being said, the player shouldn’t expect to use the plasmids as secondary weapons. Even when fully upgraded, most of the plasmids will not be powerful enough to dispose of enemies besides certain circumstances like frying enemies in water with the electro shock plasmid. Plasmids that are strong enough like the upgraded sonic boom quickly deplete Jack’s EVE, the “magic” stat below his health bar which can be recharged with another injection only a finite amount of times before Jack has either buy or find more of them. The smart way to use plasmids are sort of like debuffs that make combat scenarios more manageable.

BioShock makes for a more FPS-intensive game than the average immersive sim with the copious amount of splicers that stalk every corner of Rapture. These lanky figures are the commoners of Rapture, prime examples of ADAM’s negative effects and the most unfortunate victims of Rapture’s cataclysmic civil war. Splicers are condemned to fester in the dank pits of the lost city with their minds as marred by ADAM as their bodies. Think of the Splicers like deranged crackheads one might spot down a dim inner city alleyway, but if that dark, narrow passage was the entire city. Usually, the game will prepare the player for a Splicer encounter with an audio cue of the incoming Splicer shouting something incoherent around the corner, so the player has an opportunity to reload their weapons or refuel on plasmids. While Splicers are the generic enemy type in BioShock, they are anything but formulaic. Some Splicers like the Thuggish and LeadHead breeds use melee weapons and machine guns in combat, but others like the Houdini and Spider Splicers show off the extent of their plasmid-induced genetic adulteration. Splicers are naturally more dangerous in groups, but they become irritatingly sturdy by the end of the game. Other common non-Splicer enemies often found across Rapture are machines like turrets and flying security bots armed with bullets, the furthest extent of steampunk technology present in BioShock. Overall, it’s quite impressive that BioShock supplies a varied amount of enemies with consistent encounter rates without compromising on the atmosphere.
Splicer’s may have a high pervasiveness in Rapture, but another enemy that roams around Rapture in sparse numbers has a greater impact on the collective consciousness of those who have played BioShock. They’re even front and center on the fucking box art for the game. Like the shrieks of the Splicers, the thunderous stomping of the Big Daddy’s boots will indicate their bulky presence. Unlike Splicers, the Big Daddy’s only attack if the player makes the first strike which should probably be a relief considering their introduction involves liquifying a Splicer with their enormous arm drills. Rosies are another type of Big Daddy that is smaller in stature and wields a rivet gun, but the Bouncers are more notorious due to their striking similarities to fighting a steampunk bull. Either or, both types of Big Daddy will easily eviscerate the player in battle.

Given that Big Daddies are generally passive, why would anyone provoke these monstrosities? Because they protect the Little Sisters: little girls that house the purest essence of ADAM found in Rapture. ADAM can be used as a sort of currency at a special vending machine called “Gatherer’s Garden” where the player uses the ADAM from the Little Sisters to purchase upgrades like tonics and power ups which will make Jack stronger. Taking down the scuba gear-wearing beasts is enough of a daunting task but upon defeating a Big Daddy, the player also has to make another strenuous decision. Inside every little sister, there is one sea slug, the sea creature that produces ADAM. When the Little Sister is sobbing mournfully over the body of the recently deceased Big Daddy that was accompanying her, the player is given the option of harvesting her or rescuing her. The former option involves Jack processing her to nothing but the slug inside of her and the latter option sees Jack performing a borderline sensual exorcism to return her to a normal little girl as she escapes in the shafts along the walls. Several video logs detail why prepubescent girls are the ideal hosts for these slimy, opulent creatures, but the real reason was that the developers wanted to test the player’s conflicted morals about killing children. Reducing these little girls to nothing but the slug housed in them will reward them with more ADAM, but Brigid Tenenbaum, the “mother” of all the Little Sisters, will brand the player as an unscrupulous monster. It seems like a clever means of implementing player choice, but there is little consequence to harvesting the Little Sisters while the more paltry amount of ADAM received simply from rescuing them will prevent the player from affording all of the upgrades from the Gatherer’s Garden machines. I’d rather endure the scrutiny of one woman over the onslaught of enemies around Rapture.

Then again, that same onslaught of Splicers and steam-powered machines isn’t really all that formidable. BioShock’s glaring flaw that has kept me from echoing the vocal sentiments of its glory is that the game is too easy. Sure, enemy fire from any given enemy, especially the Big Daddies, will tear through the player like tissue paper, but all of that is mitigated by the Vita-Chambers. Upon dying, Jack will respawn in one of these futuristic tubes with half of his health. To restore Jack’s health to its full capacity, the player must either visit a health station that costs 16 dollars or use a medkit. Besides respawning with an easily replenished half-full health bar, there is no consequence to dying in BioShock. Being subdued by an enemy is merely an inconvenience as Vita-Chambers are placed generously around each level and Jack will retain all of his supplies. Not only that, but the enemy that killed Jack will retain the same exact amount of health they had upon reencountering them. A Big Daddy may be as strapping as a rhinoceros, but the challenge one would assume they present is assuaged almost entirely because the respawn system makes me feel like an impervious, vengeful spirit. There isn’t even a monetary fee for dying like in many other FPS games. It’s already easy enough to stock up on health items, EVE, and ammunition to prevent the player from dying. The fee of the health machines and price of items in the vending machines can also be reduced significantly by playing the pipe-connecting mini-game, whose repetitive nature is enough to acclimate the player to the point of expertise by the later levels. Being facile in the gameplay department is almost enough to turn the harrowing stakes of Rapture into a joke. Dying in BioShock remains consequenceless up until the very final boss in which the game strips the VitaChambers as a crutch. If the player dies, they have to start from the beginning at the first phase of four. I’m delighted that the game finally presents somewhat of a challenge, but not offering it until the last moment of the game sweeps the rug out from under the player and leaves them unprepared.

Fortunately, BioShock’s story is more than enough to offset the breezy difficulty set by the gameplay. This aspect seems to be the source of BioShock’s accolades which is ironic considering how simple it is. Obviously, Jack is merely visiting Rapture and does not want the city to be his watery tomb. To escape what seems inescapable, Jack heeds to the direction of Atlas, a Rapture iconoclast who spurred the rebellion against city founder Andrew Ryan during the city’s heyday. Atlases first task for Jack is to save his family who have been captured by Andrew Ryan, but a bomb kills all of them in a single blast upon spotting their location. Naturally, this makes Atlas upset and extend’s Jack’s mission to kill Andrew Ryan who is located in his office at the core of the southern district of Hephestus. Once Jack makes his way to Andrew Ryan, Rapture’s founder doesn’t seem to be the least bit threatened as he speaks to him nonchalantly while playing putt-putt. Ryan sees Jack as nothing but a pitiable pawn, diminishing the scope of the protagonist’s heroic role like every other immersive sim game. To make a point relating to Jack’s submissive position, he gives Jack the putt-putt club with the illusion of the choice to either submit to Atlases will or quit while he’s ahead. Jack then bludgeons Ryan to death with the club, and this moment is the revelatory turning point which made player’s jaws drop to the floor back in 2007. Atlas and his family were merely ruses devised by the presumably dead Frank Fontaine, another powerful magnate in Rapture who discovered the power of ADAM and cultivated its power into a business. He was also the main opposing figure in the power struggle against Ryan that caused Rapture’s downfall. In another attempt to usurp Ryan, he used his Atlas persona to control the actions of Jack, using his trademark phrase, “would you kindly?” as a sort of Pavlovian trigger to make Jack do his bidding. Jack was merely a tool used in Fontaine’s takeover, but that’s not all. Jack’s memories have also been altered as he discovers that not only was he born in Rapture, but he’s the estranged child of Andrew Ryan. The rest of the game onward is dedicated to Jack breaking Fontaine’s control over him and stopping him from taking over Rapture. Although I’d argue that Jack’s backstory gives him more significance than the role of a mere pawn, it’s no surprise that this plot twist hooked so many people when BioShock was released.

BioShock’s plot in of itself is well-paced and fluid, but the true intrigue of the game lies in divulging its inspiration conveyed in its linear notes. BioShock’s apparent influence that serves as the backbone of its plot, setting, and characters is Russian-American philosopher Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged. Besides some characters like Andrew Ryan and Atlas being obvious references, Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy permeates through the fabric of BioShock. Objectivism, in a simplified manner, is the belief that human knowledge and values are objective. In a context that relates to practical uses, objectivism states that a man’s work should not be subjugated by any political or religious power. A man should be entitled to the benefits of his optimal potential, neglecting the morals and sensibilities of others by proxy. It’s kind of like an unbounded version of libertarianism. Andrew Ryan expresses in the introduction reel that he became fed up with the socialist governments and organized religious groups above the surface supporting the “undeserved parasites” who suckled at the teat of his labor. He founded Rapture as a way to foster his own potential without the prying eyes of big government or religion and brought along with him the sharpest minds in their respective fields to do the same. Rapture’s grievous state upon seeing it implies that Rand’s philosophy is not a practical one. By setting himself as the unfettered leader in a blank-slate establishment, Andrew Ryan is quelling the potential of those under him as much, if not more than, the establishments in the surface world. The same goes for other elite members of Rapture with Dr. Stienman taking subjects to violently experiment on without their consent or Sander Cohen taking his artistic pursuits to morbid extremes. BioShock is an interactive depiction of exposing the hypocrisy behind Rand’s ideology while simultaneously tributing Atlas Shrugged all the same.

How did the fuddy-duddy, non-gamer critics respond to something like BioShock? With nothing but accolades for the most part, but there were some dissenters in the mix. One critic, a man who most likely consumes his own farts like after dinner mints, coined the term “ludonarrative dissonance” to criticize the narrow results given by the ending. As pretentious as the term is, he may have a point. Once Jack makes his way to Fontaine’s lair, he fights Fontaine who has been using all of Rapture’s ADAM to transform himself into a demigod-like Dr. Manhattan being. Upon stopping Fontaine, the ending cutscene will depend on how the player interacted with the Little Sisters. Unless the player saves every Little Sister they come across, the player will receive the “bad ending” where Steinman chides the player for their “brutality,” and an ADAM-corrupted Jack returns to the surface, killing four members of the coast guard. The “good ending” involves the saved Little Sisters forming a lifelong bond with Jack that extends to Jack’s final moments on his deathbed. Those are the only two outcomes. It’s evident that the idea of “ludonarrative dissonance” was coined by someone that doesn’t play video games because it shows a lack of understanding of the medium. Teabagging the corpses of Splicers or foolishly blasting the grenade launcher at Jack’s feet is admittedly counterintuitive to his hero narrative, but the interactive part of gaming is what fundamentally separates the narrative schematics of film from gaming. A game’s plot and the player’s specific gameplay choices to traverse through that plot should not be mutually exclusive because of gaming semantics. All that does is mitigate interactivity entirely. However, I wish BioShock had more endings to perhaps convince non-gamers that narrative in games can offer satisfying resolutions.


I am still somewhat unconvinced of BioShock’s status as one of the most exemplary titles of the video game medium. Upon further research regarding BioShock’s gameplay roots in the immersive sim genre, I’ve found that the “groundbreaking” elements that people credit BioShock for pioneering are nothing but watered-down tropes that were already presented in a myriad of games that predate BioShock by more than a few gaming generations. By diluting the elements of an immersive sim game like difficulty and level design, BioShock made the genre more accessible for the general public who were unaware of System Shock, or any other immersive sim game for that matter. BioShock just felt more weighty compared to the FPS games the public was used to. Despite being comparatively hollow compared to its predecessors, BioShock made a powerful boom in the gaming industry that no other immersive sim before it could ever fathom creating. One could chalk it up to being released at a pivotal era for the medium, but 2007 wouldn’t have been as impactful without BioShock. Mainstream shooters needed a title whose impeccable atmosphere, varied gameplay mechanics, compelling story, and intricate world-building elevated the genre above its usual meat-and-potatoes direction. I’m sure some PC gamer snobs give BioShock a Nirvana-like reputation as the title that exposed the games of the underground to an uninitiated crowd that didn’t know any better, but that doesn’t diminish BioShock's importance.
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We all make choices
Bioshock is a game about choices. I mean all games are, really. In most games you can choose what sword to use, what Pokémon to summon, or what strategy to engage in. But I've always felt it's clear that Bioshock goes a bit deeper, doing so in a way that is immersive and of service to the narrative and setting, the post civil war period in a failed underwater free market utopia, Rapture, with its uncanny Art Deco architecture.

You choose which Guns and Bullets to use, how to upgrade them, what Plasmids to buy and use, use stealth or not, when to combat the intimidating and terrifically designed Big Daddies, "Harvesting" (killing) the Little Sisters for more ADAM: most of these characteristics regarding choice are in most RPGs (genre Bioshock is heavily inspired by), but by the ways of Bioshock being an FPS with a very fast-paced gameplay, it pushes the gameplay to new frontiers.

Bioshock indulges in this really interesting "metanarrative". The story progresses completely linear, you get to a level, you complete the objective, you advance to the next one, simple as. The only real choice you have is Harvesting or Saving the Little Sisters, guarded by the Big Daddies. You are led around throughout the whole game, being given instructions, but you decide whether to kill 7-year old girls or not, you decide whether or not to give these girls hope. Even with all the freedom that not only this, but all video games give you, you aren't really free from a narrative standpoint, until the Little Sisters. Bioshock makes fun of the notion of freedom of choice in video games, while also remaining really serious with the morality of killing.

In the end, our choices make us.

The game is far from perfect, here are my three main issues: first, Vita-Chambers suck, I think they encourage save-scumming and when you die there's no real punishment, all your progress continues and I believe even the enemies' life bars stay with the damage the player did before dying, you could turn them off (I did after my 2nd play-through) but you'd have to save manually and that's where save-scumming comes; second, in the higher difficulties, the enemies don't receive that big of a bump in their intelligence, only in their health bars, essentially becoming damage sponges, I'd have liked if difficulty manifested on other ways like giving you less ADAM; and third, the game should punish the player for Saving the Little Sisters, I guess the developers wanted to make something wholesome with Tenenbaum and the Little Sister aiding you if you decide to Save them consistently, but it makes the Harvest/Save distinction useless in terms of gameplay, leaving it to be a purely narrative thing.
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DavidRose 2022-03-20T16:44:35Z
2022-03-20T16:44:35Z
4.0
8
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Highest Difficulty Completed: Survivor
Last Played: March 2022
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Title
Underwhelming, repetitive, and bland.
Story:
Bland, uninspired, underwhelming, uninteresting, and cliché. Filled with a tremendous amount of blatant plot holes. Obvious ideas taken from other franchises, with next to no new takes on anything. I mean seriously, how many times do we have to have videogames, books, movies, etc, about someone trying to create a perfect society and then it all going wrong? Even though I genuinely wanted to enjoy it, I immediately found it difficult to immerse myself in a story as basic and flawed as the one this game runs with.
Gameplay:
I've played at least 150 games in my lifetime, and this might just have the worst gameplay of any. Down even to the mouse movements, which are limited to only vertical and horizontal movements... even in the remastered version. This completely ruins the enjoyment of the puzzles you must solve to hack things, which is an extremely annoying and repetitive task that essentially never changes. Gameplay elements are completely stolen from other (better) games but made much poorer. Sponge based enemies which eventually make some of your weapons useless, but the game never really even gets difficult. Even the very final boss fight was unbelievably underwhelming. Absolutely nothing unique about the gameplay in this game, and even the basic elements it completely failed at.
Graphics:
Graphics, in my opinion, are always the least important part of a game. To give some credit, this game looks quite nice, especially for its release date. However, the art style for the characters looks very poor to me. The graphics still hold up decently well.
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TristanRipley 2022-03-08T19:43:33Z
2022-03-08T19:43:33Z
1.0
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Mecanicamente, não é o melhor FPS que existe, há no gênero gameplays bem mais polidos e satisfatórios

Mas não é por isso que Bioshock é especial. Sua força reside em um dos melhores universos e narrativas já criados entre video games. É o ápice - ainda inigualado - do que Half-Life começou quase uma década antes.
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gabrielctps 2022-02-23T22:36:22Z
2022-02-23T22:36:22Z
5.0
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A Brief Rant
Imagine System Shock 2 - a groundbreaking game that resulted in inspiring dozens of mechanics that are used to this day in every game you play - also inspiring a game called Bioshock. Now, I think Bioshock is a playable game, there are shooting mechanics, you can hack a vending machine! I mention these instead of praising them, because essentially everything done within this game was achieved with more grace in System Shock 2. Bioshock's big reveal is directly taken from System Shock 2, but is the opposite of unmoving. I don't understand people praising Bioshock like it has the greatest story showcased in a video game, when a significantly better version of the story was done in 1999.

Bioshock does something right with its setting: an underground city is just cool. Now, a great idea in theory results in a stumbled execution with how goddamn cramped the entire game feels. I understand that a feeling of claustrophobia can be nice and fitting within the theme - but I feel like I would just enjoy the game more if it was set on an Arctic base or something.

Seriously, play System Shock 2, or Arkane's Prey if you want a game like Bioshock that has an actual impact.
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Charcoal_irl 2022-01-20T21:37:49Z
2022-01-20T21:37:49Z
2.5
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Catalog

roaft BioShock 2022-08-16T07:19:56Z
2022-08-16T07:19:56Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tinchou BioShock 2022-08-16T06:25:59Z
2022-08-16T06:25:59Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
goddamruskies BioShock 2022-08-16T06:17:57Z
2022-08-16T06:17:57Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
flymetothestar BioShock 2022-08-16T03:12:25Z
2022-08-16T03:12:25Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
cotybear BioShock 2022-08-15T18:13:13Z
2022-08-15T18:13:13Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
inunonaizo BioShock 2022-08-15T03:43:53Z
2022-08-15T03:43:53Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
kitten199X BioShock 2022-08-15T02:06:24Z
Windows / Mac
2022-08-15T02:06:24Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
kitten199X BioShock 2022-08-15T02:06:08Z
Windows
2022-08-15T02:06:08Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
liamsams BioShock 2022-08-14T15:10:45Z
2022-08-14T15:10:45Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Delete_Forever BioShock 2022-08-13T07:27:28Z
Windows / Mac
2022-08-13T07:27:28Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
man19572160 BioShock 2022-08-13T01:41:01Z
2022-08-13T01:41:01Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
revivalcamp BioShock 2022-08-13T00:59:00Z
2022-08-13T00:59:00Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
ESRB: M
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x DVD
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  • Previous comments (48) Loading...
  • SNAFS 2022-03-10 21:01:48.294841+00
    Best game ever. Ken Levine is god.
    reply
    • alliterativeAlpinist 2022-03-21 12:12:47.824233+00
      Every time you feed Ken Levine's ego, he drives another junior dev to tears
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • alliterativeAlpinist 2022-03-21 11:36:35.831405+00
    Never forget that the term "ludonarrative dissonance" happened because some guy thought that this game was supposed to be Libertarian Simulator 2007
    reply
    • Previous replies (3) Loading...
    • ThrashingFairy 2022-04-15 15:19:55.015171+00
      hide Removed by mod
      This post was removed by a site moderator.
    • Xantha_Page 2022-04-22 02:24:42.747378+00
      No, his point was that Bioshock wanted to be a critique of individualism on a narrative level, but the gameplay is basically a distillation of rugged individualism in its purest form, regardless of the player's choices.

      And you know what? He was right.
    • alliterativeAlpinist 2022-04-27 16:08:17.139941+00
      Probably, but it's also easy to read it the way I have lol
    • Xantha_Page 2022-05-01 06:05:02.542983+00
      I mean that's fair, he is kind of a Silicon Valley boy genius type isn't he?
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Zhix 2022-04-19 12:43:40.557304+00
    still the best setting I've had the joy of visiting in a game
    reply
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  • ResetRPG 2022-05-30 12:57:18.826526+00
    Definitely my favorite Bioshock
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • Max200404 2022-07-02 03:26:10.00613+00
    hide Flagged by users
    Awesome game with pretty bad gameplay
    This post was flagged by users for potentially violating community rules. It will be reviewed by a community moderator soon.
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
  • m_crowley 2022-08-01 23:15:38.069917+00
    a twist so good people thought it was postmodernist
    reply
    • More replies New replies ) Loading...
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