Hands-on: BioShock

Talk about terror from the deep, Bioshock is just that. Or maybe it’s simply a gift from the gaming gods. 2K Boston (formerly Irrational) has been hard at work on this spiritual successor to the System Shock series for quite some time now, and from what I have seen it is WELL worth it.

As of yesterday, eager Xbox 360 owners have the opportunity to play a demo version of the game before it releases on the 21st. Being an eager Xbox 360 owner, I have played through the demo twice now, and it has skewed my personal most anticipated games list heavily in Bioshock’s favor.

The game is set in an underwater city called Rapture. This city is a post-WWII metropolis, reminiscent of New York City in the years following the war. Established by a man who seems to be a transhumanist social architect, the goal of the city was to escape the backwards thought processes and inhibitive parasitic ideals that plagued the land above.

It has since fallen to ruin, lasting a mere 14 years. As you explore the forsaken, foreboding environment, one can almost envision what the lavish city was like prior to its collapse. The vestige of the urban culture reveal the former bustle and prosperity of the art deco -emblazoned Rapture, before it’s apparent fall into disarray and dystopia.

To summarize, it feels awesome to place yourself inside of this world – especially since it is a graphical marvel. Bioshock is visually stunning, with crisp graphics running at a smooth frame rate. Lighting and water effects are especially nice, and the game makes use of physics technology to give the world substance. The era-appropriate music, excellent sound effects, and solid voice acting complete the experience.


He looks friendly


The game opens up with an unexplained plane crash in the Atlantic Ocean. After swimming to a strange, monolithic island structure and taking a submarine elevator deep below the surface, the completely unequipped protagonist is met with the aforementioned Rapture, and its genetically mutated inhabitants.

Bioshock, as developer 2K Boston has said in the past, is a shooter first, and an adventure second. While it doesn’t quite approach the level of gameplay depth that can be found in the System Shock games, it is most certainly a step up from the average FPS. Like The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, players are able to search various parts of the environment, such as bodies and trash cans, for helpful goodies. These range from money to various food items to hypodermic needles filled with superpower-bestowing chemicals.

As for combat, many options are in place to make the action more free-form than standard point-and-shoot procedure. Players can make use of their environment and special powers to defeat enemies in many creative ways. For example, delivering a charge to a pool of water will fry any hapless enemy wading in it, and bottles of alcohol make great molitov cocktails. These, plus plenty of regular weaponry such as the demo’s wrench, .45 magnum, and machine gun will all be at your disposal.

Bioshock is sure to be very action-packed, easily eclipsing the fervor found in the System Shock games, but will still refrain from drifting into the realm of mindless gunblazing. Certain portions of the game promise to exercise the old noggin, such as the miniature puzzle game that players must conquer in order to hack computer systems.

All in all, Bioshock looks extremely promising, and GamerNode can’t wait to get our hands on the final version. This is one that you, dear readers, will not want to miss.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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