Bioshock lives up to the hype and continually sucks you back into Rapture, even when spooky themes scare you away.
xMarex wrote this review on .
The world of Rapture is quite possibly one of the most immersive worlds in existence, sitting quietly next to ours, waiting to be discovered by one with questionable luck.
Bioshock, a shooter taking place in an underwater city, actually starts off in the sky. As a plane crashes with no explanation, you take control of your character and swim away from the wreckage. The game wastes no time and immediately impresses you with its visuals, with cool water effects and slick, shiny wet floors. A minute or so into the game, and you'll be saying hello to Rapture.
The city of Rapture was an ambitious attempt at an underwater utopia, which has since utterly failed. Your first taste of the city leaves you completely defenseless and at the mercy of an unseen ally by the name of Atlas. Atlas guides you through the city and explains how the world works and how to take down the threats that lie ahead. In this way, the game lets you feel as though you aren't always alone, with a friendly voice to keep you on the right track.
The game's story is told almost completely in-game, often through recordings that you pick up along the way or written on the very walls of Rapture itself. The art style definitely complements the plot and pacing of the game, adding a thin coating of atmosphere atop pleasing graphics. The city is covered in advertisements of all sorts, as well as cryptic messages scribbled by its various inhabitants. Don't expect to strike up a meaningful conversation with them, though, as conversing is the least of your worries.
The city is filled to the brim with horrific Splicers, who, just like the city itself, have degenerated greatly. Once normal humans, these people exploited a substance called Adam and have reduced themselves to near-mindlessness.They also make up the bulk of your enemies. In order to defeat them, you'll need to undergo the same process. Adam, a substance found in the body of a previously undiscovered creature at the bottom of the sea, is capable of altering the consumer's genetic code. These alterations are guided by Plasmids and Tonics, which are essentially doses of Adam that are modified to produce specific results. Results, however, vary wildly, ranging from offense-oriented modifications (Plasmids) like shooting lightning, using fire, etc. to more passive modifications (Tonics) that beef up your strength, make hacking easier, and many others.
In order to make it out of Rapture, you'll be constantly splicing, and in order to continue doing so, you'll need more Adam. Unfortunately for you, Adam is extremely hard to find. There are, however, beings that are dedicated to finding and collecting Adam, essentially making them a concentrated source for your splicing needs. It's too bad that these beings are Little Sisters, strange little girls that extract Adam from dead bodies. Alone, Little Sisters can be either harvested for maximum gain or rescued from their terrible condition, albeit for a bit less of your precious Adam. Little Sisters are never alone.
Big Daddies are the reigning behemoths of Rapture, and care about nothing but protecting their assigned Little Sisters. They care nothing about you or any of Rapture's other inhabitants, and will ignore you until you prove yourself to be hostile. Then, they become relentless, red-eyed creatures that will blast you with heavy Rivet Guns or drill you into smush. Big Daddies are tough, especially on higher difficulties, but losing to them or any other creature brings little penalty. In most cases, you'll respawn a short distance from where you died, and all damage you dealt before dying remains. Therefore, you're never really too afraid of dying.
One of the game's advantages is that it doesn't overstay its welcome. I didn't explore every single inch of the game, but I did spend about 12-13 hours running around Rapture. Any monotony that could've arisen is broken up by activities like listening to recordings, hacking safes and cameras (via a fun, challenging mini-game), and testing out fancy new Plasmids on the first Splicer to come around the corner. Rarely did I feel that I was doing the same thing over again.
Although you might laugh in the face of death, you surely won't laugh in the face of Rapture or its insane mayor, Andrew Ryan. In many ways, he IS Rapture. Ryan taunts you throughout the game, spewing memorable lines that will haunt you for quite awhile. His quotes are everywhere, and his influence is unwavering. Soon after playing, this game's charm will be, too.