|Posted by DisneyOtoko on June 19, 2013 at 12:25 PM|
After hearing the praise and excellence of Bioshock Infinite I decided to get it. Since I have a PS3 I obviously bought the PS3 version and wouldn’t you know it the PS3 version comes with the original Bioshock. Since I wanted to get used to the controls and see how the gameplay evolved when I eventually played Infinite I played the first Bioshock and beat it. I was a wimp and played on Easy because this is my very first FPS game (First Person Shooter) so I may not be the expert on the various ins and outs of the gameplay I did experiment and used various techniques to have a more rounded experience simply out of curiosity because it was my first FPS. While I do think some aspects of the game is a little bit overrated it is still a remarkable achievement with a solid story excellent themes, excellent atmosphere and art direction, and fun gameplay! Also I added this to Mermaid Month simply because of a College Humor Music Video and Rapture is about 3 miles from Atlantica in some locations you can actually see Atlantica in the distance!
STORY AND THEMES
When people talk about this game they always compliment the story. I actually think the story in terms of the immediate plot and beginning middle end is actually quite average. What is amazing is the opening, the themes, story elements, and the backstory of the dystopian city. The story is basically this. It’s 1960 and you play a nameless and faceless hero (he’s named Jack, but as the plot goes along I highly doubt that’s actually his name) and he’s flying on a plane in the middle of the Atlantic and the plane crashes and everyone dies, but you. You see a strange lighthouse like structure in the middle of the ocean. Since it’s the only stable structure you’re not going to question its existence. As you enter the structure you see the writings and sayings of a man named Andrew Ryan and the steps lead you downward into what looks like an underwater elevator submarine called a Bathysphere. You descend and you listen to Andrew Ryan’s dreams for his city. His philosophies are based on the ideas of writer and philosopher Ayn Rand. This is Andrew Ryan’s utopia called Rapture. The City at the Bottom of the Ocean. When you land in Rapture you immediately see that things aren’t right and that Rapture has clearly seen better days. Almost immediately you are attacked by a frightening creature that you think is human. Then a helpful voice is heard over the radio and he introduces himself as Atlas. He gives you hints and helps you out and serves as your guide throughout and your journey to escape and possibly save some of the innocent people of Rapture begins. The immediate plot leads you by the nose around the city and the events in the story are pretty basic with the exception of a certain plot twist that I WILL DARE NOT SPOIL!!!!!!!!!!! The scene where you confront Andrew Ryan is absolutely amazing and even the excellent opening and buildup of Rapture is excellent! The themes are absolutely excellent that discuss Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy as well as the concepts of free will. “A Man Chooses! A Slave Obeys!”
I will keep this section very brief because many of the characters like Atlas, Andrew Ryan, Dr. Tenenbaum, Cohen the Artist and Fontaine are all characters that are best experienced for oneself. You can’t really explain them without giving major spoilers and since the plot twist is in service to the experience and themes I won’t say anything. Since the playable character is essentially a blank slate hero the playable character is actually whoever plays the game. Still in terms of character it’s a little inconsistent because the game actually gives the playable character a backstory and connection to Andrew Ryan yet he’s a blank slate hero which means you have to project your own personality and experiences onto the playable character, but his backstory conflicts with your own personal experiences because I highly doubt you had the backstory of this character. Even though the twist is shocking and unpredictable the way the character is set up is a little clunky. There are also countless side characters revealed in the audio diaries scattered throughout the environment that provide wonderful backstory to the city of Rapture!
The basics of the gameplay is a First Person Shooter. In the character’s right hand holds the weapon which can range from wrenches to all manner of guns and once a gun is picked up it can be cycled through at anytime by tapping one of the right hand shoulder buttons. In the left hand is where things get interesting. The left hand essentially has genetically altering superhuman powers called Plasmids. Plasmids are basically injected into the arm and different plasmids have different effects like electrifying people, setting them on fire etc. Using these plasmids uses up something called EVE which is displayed along the top left hand side of the screen along with health. EVE can be replenished by finding hypodermic needles scattered around the environment. Enemies called Splicers (people addicted to Plasmids and the essence of Plasmids called ADAM and driven insane by it) will rush your position and can be completely stupid to maddeningly difficult. Taking them down is a manner of balancing bullets and EVE using whatever resources at your disposal and equipping weapons and Plasmids accordingly. When you die it’s no big deal as you are immediately restored and walk out of something called Vita Chambers ready to fight once again.
EXPLORING AND VENDING MACHINES AND HACKING
One of the things that you’ll be doing A LOT in your time in Rapture is exploring and looking through every nook and cranny trying to find useful items amongst the debris such as food, beverages and cigarettes that will help you increase various stats like Health and EVE or in some cases like alcohol and cigarettes increase one gauge and slightly decrease another. Also you need to be on the lookout for ammo, EVE hypos, money, first aid kits, and audio diaries. When you have enough money you can go to vending machines scattered throughout to buy upgrades to your weapons and overall performance and abilities that offer various advantages in situations. Is the vending machine being a dick and charging you too much? You can hack it which starts the primary minigame simply called hacking. You simply connect and rearrange the sections of tubes so that the battery fluid gets connected properly so the hack can be successful for every failure it hurts you quite significantly so watch your health. Sometimes though it can be very unfair because the courses get harder and harder and there’s no way you can possibly hack it in time and some of the directions they want the tube to take can be stressful almost to the point where it’s not worth it.
LITTLE SISTERS: HARVEST OR RESCUE? AND GATHERER’S GARDENS
Another brilliant story element of the game is the morality system. Little Sisters are little girls that have been genetically experimented with and have the urge to gather ADAM (the essence of what EVE is created from) and are protected by big intimidating behemoths in old school diving suits called Big Daddies. The player must get ADAM to survive so that the player can upgrade their Plasmids as well as get more abilities at special locations called Gatherer’s Gardens. The player can do this in one of two ways. The Big Daddy MUST be killed first and then the player is given a choice whether to Harvest the Little Sister which will kill them or Rescue the Little Sister which will change the girl to back to normal. The introduction to this was perfect! I thought I was going to do this Epic Mickey style where I would do the “good” thing one time and the next choice I would do the “bad” thing, but when I saw that Little Sister look at me with fear and uncertainty in her eyes I just couldn’t do it. I RESCUED every Little Sister I saw! Now harvesting Little Sisters will get you a lot of ADAM, but Rescuing Little Sisters will still give you quite a bit of ADAM for what you need as well as a gift for every 3 you save so I think it actually is worth it to save all of them in the long run. In fact the very ending will change depending on your choices. From what I’ve read about the “Bad” ending where you Harvest the Little Sisters it looks just stupid the “Good” ending is where it’s at! That’s clearly the better ending and it makes more sense and it makes you feel more satisfied when everything is said and done!
For a game that was released 6 years ago it’s still amazing! The graphics, attention to detail, and the attention to lighting, atmosphere and mood are all splendid! Rapture is one of the prettiest mess of a ruined dystopian city almost like how Arkham Asylum and Arkham City is a pretty and nice looking mess! The world feels lived in and things have gone to hell and the audio diaries add more to that. The opening is one of the best because of how well everything was built up and sometimes the game is genuinely creepy and frightening if you don’t know what’s coming. The music is a combination of styles that were popular in the 1950s and earlier and are used to create authentic atmosphere and the voice work is top notch.
Bioshock is certainly an entertaining, thought provoking and unique experience and it is one that I’ll never forget. With it’s wonderfully realized world, excellent themes and rock solid gameplay it’s an acclaimed game for a reason! If you haven’t played it “Would you Kindly” go out and get it?
VERDICT: 4.5 wrenches out of 5