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Author: Franky Moops
Monday, 19 November 2007
Xbox 360

BioShock begins in an airplane plummeting toward a lonely lighthouse surrounded by a black ocean. It is set in a haunted underwater world named Rapture. Formerly a utopian metropolis, built to see if mankind could flourish in a city without religion, government and society’s moral norms, Rapture is a city where every dream has been destroyed. Unless your dream is total decay of the social fabric where it’s a case of kill of be killed. Then, welcome to paradise.

The city is populated by mutant addicts with amazing physical and mental abilities. Luckily, the player gets to pump up his or her character with the same powers and enhancements. Inject yourself with some blue juice and suddenly your DNA starts to morph and you gain some kickass powers too. Nothing quite feels as good as a DNA shoot up – unfortunately you have to get straight into battle, whereas I rather go sit in the park for while and ride it out.

BioShock has a compelling storyline, with shocking twists worthy of a feature film. It also has excellent gameplay, and while BioShock is technically a shooter, that classification does not do justice to the range of combat, strategy, role-playing and puzzle solving within the game. Enemies can be defeated in a number of ways, from straight-up violence to the strategic defence. The puzzle solving games may seem a little weird at first, but they’ll grow on you. I thought, at first, the puzzles were lame. Turns out I’m just an idiot and anyone over the age of 10 can beat them.

If you want to run gung-ho through Rapture shooting everything in sight you can, but BioShock encourages thinking above all else, providing you with plenty of tools to fight smarter. You can creatively attack, set traps, purchase special ammunition, hack and rewire a robot to join your side. You can even hypnotise the bad guys ‘Big Daddies’ to protect you, and there’s nothing like having a Big Daddy on your side.

BioShock is at times a pretty standard first person shooter. Some of the encounters can be really tough, especially combats with the Big Daddies. One of the best elements of the BioShock plotline is the Big Daddy / Little Sister interaction. The creepy Little Sisters have the task of wandering around Rapture mining for ADAM (the power source for the mutations of Rapture and a kind of currency in this strange new world). The huge, armored Big Daddies are the coolest bodyguards ever seen in a game. These will scare the crap out of any small children in the house that may wonder into the room while you’re playing. Sorry Billy.

BioShock also has a bunch of mini-games and other great features such as ‘U Invent’ kiosks, and the multiple ways to take out enemies to clear levels. This game just offers so much yet asks so little in return. No wonder it’s getting rave reviews all over the place.

All in all, the graphics are sensational, and the storyline and gameplay are second to none. While some may be disappointed that the game does not have a multiplayer feature, this game should be thought of predominantly as being a haunting and masterfully told solitary first person shooter with the lot. Some people, like me, may not be won over at first. But once you really get into it you’ll realise that it’s actually one of the best titles to come out on Xbox 360 this year.

Three thumbs up!