Tech: "Bioshock" Review
"Bioshock" is the spiritual successor to "System Shock 2," one of my favorite games ever. It's a first-person shooter that strands you inside an undersea dystopia called "Rapture," perhaps one of the most vividly detailed gaming milieus ever to grace a PC monitor:
The production values are fantastic - everything from the period music, to the retro advertisements lining the walls (which look convincingly like '40s and '50s throwbacks), to the steampunk design of the weaponry exudes clever attention to detail. There are grisly corpses
strewn about the city, water and fire effects galore, and numerous optional nooks and crannies to explore.
As the silent protagonist, you'll gain access to genetic modifications that give you strange new powers, like sending swarms of insects at your enemies. At the heart of this system is the central choice - do you rescue the child-like "Little Sister" gatherers, or kill them to fuel your abilities? It's a moral mirror that doesn't get seen in games too often.
The game has a good deal of problems that keep it from being all that it could be. The instant resurrection chambers scattered around the levels essentially remove all penalty for death, robbing the gameplay of most of its challenge. There are only a few enemy types, so you'll be beating in the same foes over and over and over again. Finally, even generic baddies eventually gain so much health in the latter half of the game that it takes multiple shotgun blasts to the head to kill even one.
Even with all these issues, it's not hard to recommend "Bioshock" to everyone looking for a great new FPS to play.