Bioshock – PS3 (Review)

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Well I’m a little late to the party on this one seeing as it arrived late last year (December) but in my defence Q4 of 2008 saw the release of a glut of great games and I’m still clearing the backlog! 🙂

This was heartily recommended by a friend of mine who said it was one of the best games he’s ever played. Available everywhere for £24.99 (and probably cheaper online) it seemed as good a time as any to pick it up.

Bioshock sees you take you on the role of ‘Jack’ a man travelling on board a flight over the Atlantic Ocean in 1960.

The plane crashes into the sea with Jack seemingly the only survivor and the only thing nearby is a solitary lighthouse, so you make your way over to it as the remains of the plane sink into the sea.

Graphically this opening is truly stunning, the fire on the water and the water effects themselves… they looked great on a standard small TV in my office but trying it on a bigger HD TV really made a difference. The level of presentation is great throughout the game and apparently 2K Games did the cut scenes again in higher definition for the PS3 version.

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Once inside the lighthouse the dark, creepy journey to the underwater world of Rapture begins.

Upon arriving in your mini-sub you are contacted by a rebel leader called Atlas who says he needs your help to rescue his wife and child, who are trapped elsewhere.

And so the story kick starts but you’ll find that the excellent use of low lighting and shadows will make sure your first steps are tentative ones.

The majority of enemies you will meet are Splicers, people controlled by the ‘leader’ of Rapture, Andrew Ryan. They will attack on sight and are sometimes wearing face masks, which cover their often disfigured faces.

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As well as ‘human’ enemies you’ll also encounter plenty of security bots which are annoying as hell but can be hacked for your benefit.

You will also encounter Little Sisters, who are accompanied by their bodyguards – huge, diving suit types that are called Big Daddies. Now these aren’t enemies as such – they won’t attack you. But the Little Sisters, who are small girls – aged about 6 or 7 I would guess, take ADAM from the dead and store it.

ADAM is a substance that grants the user special abilities or Plasmids. Shortly after starting the game you inject yourself with ADAM to make the playing field level.

This gives you the ability to electric shock opponents and you unlock more abilities the greater amount of ADAM you get. Once you have the abilities a different substance, EVE, is needed to top the power up.

This system works really well in tandem with traditional guns and other weapons.

R1 selects your weapon (pistol/machine gun etc) with R2 firing. L1 selects your ability with L2 ‘firing.’ The switch between the two takes a second and is often welcome when ammo is scarce.

There are a great deal of abilities ranging from the electric shock or fire throwing right through to more sophisticated choices like hypnotizing a big daddy to protect you etc.

It certainly adds another level to the game.

Something else that adds a deeper level to the game is the fact that Little Sisters are your main source of ADAM – so once you defeat their Big Daddy you have the choice to Harvest (kill and take all their ADAM) or Rescue (cleanse them of some ADAM but they survive) the small child sobbing over the dead bodyguard.

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I honestly couldn’t bring myself to kill them so I decided to rescue them – less ADAM for me but my conscience felt clear 😆

Bioshock has a great story to tell and it does it well with some interesting objectives and the levels are brilliantly designed.

There are several twists and turns in the plot, most of which are not obvious and it’s no surprise to me that a film version is in the works (although I believe currently suspended due to budget concerns).

My only complaint is around halfway through when you have to complete what is essentially a ‘shopping list’ to make a potion of sorts. Not usually a big issue and I needed Chlorofyll, Enyzmes and Distilled Water. Ok no worries… only it turns out I need 7 (yep you read it right), 7 of EACH! 😡 21 items? I just found it a bit of a slog and fairly repetitive.

It’s not much of a complaint though and with a complete time of around 8-10 hours the majority of the game was a great experience.

Bioshock is a touch on the weird side and I’d recommend anyone to try the free demo first. If you like the style of that get yourself a copy of the game.

Dark worlds like Rapture aren’t to everyone’s tastes but you really would be missing out on an awesome story if you decided not to book a trip to the underwater city.

Rating: 9/10

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6 Comments

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