BioShock game review: This could be game of the year!

Gaming RPGs Xbox 360

BioShock game cover

Published by: 2K Games
Developed by: Irrational Games
Genre: First-Person Action RPG
Number of Players: 1
US Release Date: August 21, 2007
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: Mature 17
ESRB Content Descriptors: Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
Also Available On: PC

First impressions of 2K Games’ BioShock on the Xbox 360 are fantastic. A genuinely unique and fully immersive first-person action RPG, Bioshock easily beats the best shooter games out this year on the Xbox 360 – Lost Planet and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2. While all the games have amazing graphics, BioShock offers more of what’s important – a mysterious and exciting story. This is clear right off the bat when your plane crashes at night in the middle of the ocean. You are the only survivor. Surrounded by debris, flames and icy water, you swim to the only place you can – into a rusted bathysphere that takes you into the heart of Rapture, an underwater, decaying city created by billionaire genius and entrepreneur, Andrew Ryan.

image of Rapture (400px wide)

In his words it’s: “A city where the artist would not fear the censor. Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality. Where the great would not be constrained by the small.”

BioShock environment

From there you walk through dark hallways where zombie-like mutants try to kill you – and each other. The mutants are actually citizens of Rapture who were corrupted by the overuse of genetic enhancements. The dark and creepy factor is 9 out of 10 with plenty of shocks and suprising moments to keep the excitement going. It’s a disturbing environment to say the least, with lots of blood, gore and violence around every turn. You get an assortment of weapons to use to defend yourself (wrench, guns, etc.), but the sci-fi highlight is the use of plasmids, instant genetic modifications that empower you with different abilities.

BioShock plasmids

Basically, you jam a shot into your arm (which is a cool, painful moment every time) to change your genetic code. Enhancements include ElectroBolt, Incinerate, Telekinesis, Teleportation and more. In between getting freaked out and trying to fight for your life you also get the chance to hack various cameras, machine guns on tripods and helicopter machine gun bots and use them to your advantage. You can also hack other machines to get money or discounts on goodies. Eventually you come into contact with a “Little Sister” and are given a choice to eliminate her to get a bunch of ADAM or save her to get a little. (ADAM is a deep sea parasite that allows the host to process new plasmids and gene tonics, altering their genetic code and giving them powers. EVE is the serum that gives you the power to use acquired plasmids, much like “mana” in fantasy RPGs.)

BioShock little sister

This is where another RPG aspect of the game kicks in and your character’s moral or immoral decisions change the course of the game. Richly colored, and extremely detailed graphics are everywhere in this game. With 1080p resolution, the details are incredible and hold up looking at objects up close. In fact, there’s so much vivid color and detail that I often find myself straying from the mission just to look a various disturbing objects in rooms.

BioShock environment2

The gameplay is incredibly smooth. It’s easy to move around, switch between different weapons and plasmids, and you can manipulate almost everything in the environment which is great. Another perk is that you can save the game at any time instead of having to wait for a checkpoint, but in case you forget it periodically autosaves. It’s still early but I can’t seem to find anything wrong with this game. I can only imagine it getting better and better as the story develops, bigger and crazier monsters show up, and you discover new powers, places and possibilities. The biggest criticism online is the lack of any co-op or online multiplayer features. I don’t see that as a problem at all. Most games have trouble being good solo and multiplayer games. I’m sure if they added those multiplayer functions they would’ve had to get rid of some of the amazing qualities that are present in this game. We’ll all get enough multiplayer action when Halo 3 comes out Sept. 25.

Online reviews/ratings I found:

IGN 9.7/10

Gamespot 9/10

GameZone 9.8/10

Firing Squad 94/100

Game Revolution A

Extreme Gamer 9.5/10

Daily Game 9/10

Worth Playing 9.2/10

Thunderbolt 10/10

Computer & Video Games UK 9.5/10

Ace Gamez 10/10

IC-Games 97/100

GameAlmighty 9.7/10

Gamer Within 9/10


Discuss Literary Adventures at the Facebook group 'For the Love of All Things Edgar Rice Burroughs.'


Here and there ...

Scott Kirchhofer
One of Nerdvana's founding bloggers, Scott Kirchhofer is a graphic artist and designer of the Nerdvana logo, as well as a gamer and comic book movie fan.