Bioshock, released over a year ago for the Xbox 360, has since then been applauded for its dark tenor and terrifying gameplay. Now, with the rather recent Playstation 3 port, we’re ready to give the final word on this widely acclaimed first person shooter. But is this port the frighteningly good game we’ve all come to love, or will it be shocking a disappointment? (pun intended)
By now, every avid gamer would have at the very least, heard of Bioshock, let alone play it. For those who haven’t discovered the remarkable deity that is this game, undoubtedly overlooked one of the greatest experiences of this generation. Not only does Bioshock possess the makings of a breathtaking horror game, but it recognizes just how those elements need to be employed. From its terrifying gameplay to its first-class storyline, there isn’t actually much to criticize here.
To begin with, you’re immediately thrown into the action with a beautifully rendered plane crash, of which you are the only survivor. No more than a hundred feet away you discover a seemingly abandoned building, inside of course though, is a Bathysphere, leading directly to Rapture. Without delay, you are contacted by Atlas, who from the get go, tells you exactly what you need to do. As marvelous as the introduction is however, it’s intimidating to be thrown straight into the action within the first five minutes without any explanations as to why you are there. The speed in which the game progresses doesn’t leave much for a learning curve either, but it still maintains a glowing appeal.
Gameplay is undeniably fun, and scary! You’ll find yourself sleepless and disturbed by its scare factor, yet attached to it as well. There aren’t many weak spots we can notice in the gameplay, you’ll find Rapture’s environment is exceptionally varied, allowing for large replayability. Along with that, you’ll frequently find yourself often trapped between a herd of Splicers or an enraged Big Daddy. With each situation you are forced to employ new tactics, utilizing both your plasmids and weapons. This brings us to the sensitive subject of munitions; the weapons manage well with Rapture’s atmosphere, but the minuscule selection will leave you unsatisfied. However, the wide range plasmids will service in a pleasurably opposite way, allowing for demented yet enjoyable fatalities.
It’s no secret, judging from the widely praised Xbox game, that Bioshock looks amazing, while it’s not up to par with some of the more recent titles; it still holds a true next-gen feel. The Playstation 3 version expands on graphics only slightly. Only a handful of textures were upgraded, beyond that though, the difference between the two goes unnoticed. Minor graphical errors do exist throughout, including pop-in textures, which sad to say, is quite abundant. This does nothing to particularly distract from the game, being as immersive as it is, but it’s certainly an annoyance worth noting. The lighting, while handsomely directed, isn’t anything too different from what we encountered before in previous versions of the game. All the same though, the distribution of the lights remains an accomplished task, aiding in the trademark scare factor. While graphics do play a rather large part in the game, and the developer’s effort is fairly clear, it’s only the primer to this wonderfully painted masterpiece.
The artificial intelligence is a rather… troublesome issue in my eyes. While some may argue that the AI is near perfect, I would only respond with “it’s good at what it does”. What I mean by this is that Splicers (your common enemy) do just about one thing, which is to run at you screaming, weapon in hand. This isn’t very advanced, while it gets the desired job done, it’s nothing special, particularly because we’ve already experienced such games as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which now showcase some of the best videogame AI we’ve ever observed.
In the end, the splicer AI is nothing to really be impressed by, as its quite simplistic, on the other hand, the AI that of Big Daddies and Little Sisters is more than enough to cloud out any other issues. They have the ability to scavenge dead bodies and travel via the pipelines seen throughout levels, and when angered, they reply with deadly force. The only concern with this is that when you do anger a Big Daddy or Little sister, their behavior can be compared to that of the Splicers, which, while it adds to the difficulty, is again, nothing impressive. I was made to expect that the AI was shining, but I was slightly dissapointed, if the enemies had a more complex range of activities, I would’ve been much obliged.
Sound is one factor that excels above all in the game. The score is very original, keeping the old nostalgia setting true while also expressing the terrifying mood. The voice acting is superbly done, notably by Armin Shimerman for his breathtaking role as Andrew Ryan. His performance pulls the story together; he creates a believable character and portrays him just right, as do the other actors, but Shimerman truly stands out.
If you happened to miss the original game, then consider this port a must-buy, though it may be riddled with small problems, these are insignificant enough to be graciously ignored. Ultimately, you should only have ask yourself one question beforehand…
…am I ready for Rapture?