It is like a beautiful rose with thorns scattered sporadically all around its stem
Platform Presentation Controls Variety Audio Depth Value & FunOVERALL
Xbox 360 9.50 8.00 8.50 9.00 8.00 8.008.35
General Information
Bioshock contains a pretty well written storyline, well at least the body of it is well written, and the method in which the player can become engaged with it is very refreshing. Note that I said, "can", Bioshock's story is not thrown in the player's face and he or she can chose to ignore it if they just want to get on with the action. The ending of the story, or at least the ending I got (don't know if the other ends are any better), was extremely disappointing given the buildup I received from the franticly paced body.
Gameplay Description
This part of the review contains SPOILERS!!!!

One thing that I recognized that every other reviewer seems to have taken a blind eye to, is that Bioshock is really much more linear than the developers lead on, in fact at times arrows are even put to use. I don't really like the way the developers chose to handle death, especially when you get to the end of the game and you're no longer able to be instantly revived by the vita-chamber and it just seems inconsistent. Speaking of inconsistencies, the enemies seem to greatly level by the end of the game on hard mode, and trust me at times you will be struggling to take on even a few of the lower powered enemy types such as the spider splicers.

Inconsistency seems to be one of the main themes of this game, by the time you finish the level Hephaestus you are going to be thoroughly satisfied with the game, and I would recommend that you just stop playing there because at least then you wouldn't have to be tortured for the rest of your days with thoughts of what could have been. After you beat Hephaestus you will go on a mission to become a big daddy, but please don't get too excited, being a Big Daddy is like being a fatter slightly more resilient version of yourself with crappy vision. At this point in the game you will have realized just how powerful the real big daddies are, they can kill splicers in a nanosecond, and take as much damage as an armored tank. However, you are not a real big daddy, the enemies seemed to take the same amount of damage, and you even seem to take about the same amount of damage from attacks. So basically you sound like a big daddy, see like a big daddy, and even take up as much space as a big daddy but you yourself are not a real big daddy.

Further pissing me off, and inarguably the worst part of the game is the mission that will follow the hunt for fool's gold that you were just taken on. So if you were playing Point Prometheus and thought it was bad please just stop there...For the mission that follows you will be escorting a little sister through various points so she can open up doors and collect adam, but keep in mind that really you are just a mere pseudo daddy, oh yeah and remember that rule that little sisters can only be hurt after the big daddy is taken down, well throw that completely out of the window. Apparently the developers realized that it was an idiotic idea too, but they decided to change it only for you, you should feel special huh? The escort mission is much less escorting and more following as you have virtually no control over where the little sister goes...and she doesn't care too much about her life either, you'll be hoping that she'll know to run away from that killer houdini splicer, but no trust me she won't. Okay there is one thing that makes this mission less frustrating, but also even more idiotic, and that is that when a little sister dies you can just go get another one...did I mention that there are an infinite amount of little sisters...yeah dumb huh?

So anyway I get to ending, and I'm thinking to myself please just end this on the marvelous note that I've been expecting since I first laid my hands on this game, and I'll forgive all of my past irritations with you. Let me just say, that I was not pleased at all, you're lead into a completely boring ( see also trite, conventional, predictable, insert similar adjectives here) boss fight in which you fight another of those stupid juiced up bosses that follows an easily guessable pattern and is more than willing to run into whatever explosive canisters you like. Basically he's the bull, and you're the matador, but I wouldn't even call it as much of a sport as bullfighting (at least the bulls have like a 10 percent chance of spearing the matadors).


Dedication Meter 0.00
The difficulty never really is much a problem, as the game features a rather lenient system for handing death, in that you instantly respawn at areas called vita-chambers. However, it is rather easy at the start with the difficulty ramping quite a bit up in the latter, despite a rather uneven end.
Presentation 9.50
The graphics are some of the best you will see this generation, and that includes all platforms. The atmosphere is littered with lost sea ridden valuables and relics, and the the water effects are probably the most amazing I've laid my eyes on, so much that I think the game could have used a few more aquatic encounters. Basically, the atmosphere is what really elevates this game to "great status", and it is what gives this game some ties to the survival horror genre. However, the framerate can and will drop a few times during your playthrough.
Controls 8.00
The controls are pretty good, but leave a bunch of room for improvement. It may have been hard for Irrational to make the inventory as smooth¬ ¬ and accessible on the consoles, as that of System Shock or System Shock 2, which were on the PC. Despite the probable rough transition from a platform with many buttons, to a console with few, the controls are well enough to not become a real annoyance...But they can break the action or deter the game's amazing atmosphere ever so slightly.
Variety 8.50
For a game that was suppose to offer so many ways to play, you'll find yourself relying on only a few different powers, as many of the prove rather useless in tough situations. And you'll find yourself using the hacking system mini-game quite often, which is fun at first but becomes rather destracting and annoying after a while. It is one of many "irrational" decisions, the developers implemented into this game, as if you could hack anything when half dead fiends are hot on your heels. You will also find yourself encountering the same types of enemies over and over, with only a few different variations overall.
Audio 9.00
The score focused on an early 1900s era is one of the best I've ever heard, and fits seemlessly into the game's environment. And much of the game's story is driven through audio records, which does a great job of enforcing the game's atmosphere and making the half dead monsters seem that much more human by lending them background.
Depth 8.00
The few ways that you can play the game are fun, and you will find yourself coming back to use powers that you neglected in your first playthrough.
Value & Fun 8.00
The game suffers from its up and downs, and offers a rather unsatisfactory ending, when compared to its fantastic potential showing start. The game keeps you on your toes, and offers plenty of incentive in the first half to lock you in to Rapture's mysterious past and of course that of your own character. More chapters of the game are fun than are aren't, but a horrible escort mission, and another collecting mission prove to be much of a pain. Overall though you will be glad you experienced Bioshock, and will appreciate it for what it did right, more than be disappointed with its many flaws.
Overall 8.35
SPOILER_By the end of the game you'll be wondering if you were really the master the whole time, and in fact Mr. Fontaine was your little puppet slave._End SPOILER The ending was also not satisfying at all, but I do have to say it was at least surprising, because well I was expecting one of decent quality. Overall: 3/4's of the game was amazing, and the last quarter was a complete piece of crap, the game therefore gets an 8.35
Posted by hiresdes Sat, 21 Jun 2008 23:36:45
 
Sun, 22 Jun 2008 05:45:33
Some would call part of this review spoilers, just a note.

You're the first person I've seen to not call Bioshock either one of the best games ever or a watered-down System Shock 2.
 
Sun, 22 Jun 2008 16:34:30
Oh crap, at GS I had a huge spoiler tag in bold print, but I guess it didn't transfer over right, so I'll fix it right now.
 
Mon, 23 Jun 2008 02:01:12
I fucking love Bioshock, but I'm not really too pumped for the sequel.
Kind of wish they'd leave it as is.
 
Sun, 16 Nov 2008 18:56:26
You really loved it Edge? I initially thought it was 9.0 then it bored me to bring it down to lower than an 8.5

Game just becomes too repetitive for my liking, I couldn't even be bothered to finish it.
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