Friday, November 02, 2007

Bioshock PC review - *SPOILERS*

From 2K Boston/2K Australia, comes Bioshock a "spiritual successor" to their previous titles in the System Shock series.

Set in 1960, the game has the player assume the role of a plane crash survivor named Jack, who must explore the underwater Objectivist-dystopia of Rapture, and survive the mutated beings and mechanical drones within it. The game incorporates elements found in role-playing and survival horror games

I say RPG but its a FPS at the core. You can carry use any gun, hack anything, and any power so the only RPG elements in the game is that you can only carry 5 powers (in 5 different *catagories*) but you generaly stick to whats best and the only time I feelt the need to change this was when I got a upgrade to the power that I was already useing or got something new that I wanted to test out but I just changed it back right after.

The game is also suprisingly easy even though I played on "hard" settings. This might have something to do with the whole "console thing" since System Shock was for Pc only, and felt like splitting the atom with boxinggloves while the room is on fire. System shock was hard. So I was really let down when I found out how easy it was to kill the big daddys. Just a couple of rounds with electric shots from your shotgun and he`s down. He is by far the most interesting "enemy" and the most profiled one. Its just a shame that the battles are over so quick.

Ammo, weapons and upgrades are almost thrown at you. If you die, you just respawn with no "sideaffeckt" there is no wear and tear on your character or weapon but the enemies have the same life so you can, if you want, take down a boss with just using the wrench, hit them alittle, die and repeat the process. Rendering the horror aspect of the game down to meer chores. The best part is in the start where you had little to no ammo to the already small selection of weapons as you where tumbeling around in the *claustrofobic* barely lit hallways, watching the decay of a once great "sosiety"

Bioshock looks great and has a rich and dense atmosphere. Despite some glitches in skinning, texture, levels, animation, floating corpses, ragdoll physics etc, the moood in Bioshock is well crafted and extremely charismatic. It has a retro-1930th art deco style thats so perfect and is constantly reflected trough the art, posters, films and even the dialoge creating one of the best settings yet

Characters looks generaly a bit weird and the same and I had a hard time recognizing them from their picture when they where talking to me trough the radio and when "we" were face to face.

The big daddys are perhaps the best designed and interesting character so far this year. Not just by his looks but his persona. "Its" task is to protect the "little sisters" that are small girls who extract a substance called "Adam" from corpses that you leave around as you are trying to find out exactly whats going on.

The best thing about this is that they dont attack you, unless you harm the little girls or attact the daddy. In other words.. being a jerk. He is extremely useful since you can trick your enemys to attack him instead of you making it possible for you to slip by unoticed or just sit back and watch nature take its couse.

Controls are spot on and precise. The most irritating thing about Bioshock is something so simple as that the subtitles on the screen is faster then the dialoge but simply turning the subtitles off will fix this.

As for the whole "killing small girls" moral issue dident really bother me that much. Its not like I got the craving to go to the nearest kindergarden after a gamesession or anything. I did try to get the good ending by saving all the girls but I had already testet to harvest (kill) one little girl and that makes you into a baddie and you get the bad ending. To save 10 girls, isent one sacrifice fair?

The animation is for the most part decent and does its job. But there are some animations that are just wrong at times and is extremely difficult to read. Such as the little sisters rescue or harvest scenes. I could barely tell whats going on. I understod the consept of what was happening but it was aweful at times.

The musical-score here is fantastic and adds nicely to the game. I just wished that they hadent used so many cliche songs thats playd troughout the game. (sings: somewere beneath the sea..)Sound effects are spot on. Atlas, your helping friend has a extremely annoing irish accent that you get really sick of listening too but this is broken up by the tons of other *dialoge* delivered from tapes that you find around the place filling you inn on how the place went to hell as well as give you clues about door-codes, secret stash. But mostly how the place went to hell, yeah mostly that..

Final thoughts:
Its one of the most important games in recent history. Its well crafted and has an absolutely amazing atmosphere spiced up with charakters that have their own agendas. Last "think-em-up shooters" must have been Deus Ex (yeah, I skipped hl2) so in a marked flooded with generic a - b shooters, it was about time!

I was a bit bummed out by the fact that since we are underwater, how come water dident play a bigger role? Why wherent there any levels tthat got flooding and you may have to swim to another room or escape a dangerous place by shooting the windows etc.

Also the twist at the end is a good one and most enjoyable but the "boss-battle" felt really out of place. It should rather have been wave apon wave of splicers while "he" wathced and after defeating them you get to fight "him" As it is now, its way to straight-forward, laughable and uninspired. It just felt uncomplete

Other then that, the game is a must try and its easy to understand why its gotten the hype it so clearly deserves.


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