E3 '07: BioShock Updated Hands-On

We emerge from the depths in our hands-on look at this frighteningly great game.

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The upcoming BioShock from 2K Games and developer Irrational Games is the ultimate "slash" game--as in horror-slash-sci-fi-slash-first-person-shooter game. Of course, the "slash" could also refer to the extreme amounts of damage you'll be inflicting on enemies as you move through this incredibly atmospheric and gorgeous game. During a 30-minute demo of the game during an E3 press appointment this morning, we got a quick overview of the myriad of ways you can take down enemies in the game, as well as a chance to play its opening level.

We've played the opening segment of the game in a previous look at the game, so our attention was firmly focused on the different ways of taking down enemies in the game. In the level shown off during the demo, you're tasked with restoring life to an underwater forest with a mysterious device known as the Lazarus Vector, which by that point in the game you will have created using the BioShock's invention system. Once the Vector is in place, you're tasked with defending the perimeter around the station from an invading horde of bad guys intent on messing you up.

Click to enlarge!
Click to enlarge!

Luckily you'll have plenty of methods for taking down foes. The first is proximity mines, which are handy in that you can set them wherever you like (on the floor, wall, or ceiling). When an enemy gets too close, boom goes the proximity grenade. The most basic use of the grenade is to set one on the floor and let it do its work. With a little creativity, however, the proximity can be much more interesting. You can attach it to a barrel, for example, then use your telekinesis to pick up the armed barrel and toss it at an opponent, effectively creating a superbomb. You can also use the proximity mine in conjunction with other accessories like the cyclone traps, which create miniature cyclones on the floor; when an enemy steps on it, he or she will be tossed to the ceiling, where your planted mines can be waiting for them to turn them into mincemeat.

A electrified trip wire crossed between two walls can electrocute baddies if they trip it, and you can use an enrage item that, when tossed at an enemy, will anger them to the point that they will attack the first thing that gets in their way, be it friend of foe. This tactic worked particularly well in the Lazarus level we saw demoed, when the main player was joined by the lumbering, hulking Big Daddy and his diminutive sidekick, the creepy Little Sister. Tossing an enrage item at Big Daddy caused him to toss grenades in every direction, blowing up any bad guys that happened to be in the wrong position at the wrong time.

The environment can also be a weapon when combined with your special, genetically enhanced abilities. Find a pool of water which your enemies are running through and you can immediately electrify the water and shock your opponents. A burning corpse can be lifted with your telekinetic powers and tossed at enemies. You'll also have the ability to freeze foes and smash them with hammers. And if you're not up for using an innate power, you can always dispatch them the old-fashioned way--with the various weapons the game, such as revolvers, shotguns, and more.

The game design behind BioShock should challenge your creativity and intelligence, leaving a relatively open-ended approach to uncovering the game's many mysteries, and dealing with the nasty consequences. We'll have more on the game in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

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