A coworker lent me their copy of Bioshock for the Xbox 360 a couple weeks back. I’ve been playing it in my free time, and hopefully this weekend I’ll actually finish it. I’m shocked in that I haven’t played an FPS in quite some time that actually entertained me. Most FPS’s will happily immerse you in amazing graphics, obscene amounts of ammunition, and gallons of blood in the hopes you’ll overlook the lack of plot and shoddy gameplay… Not this one. Finally, someone else got it right.
The gameplay is outstanding. AI, even on the easiest level – is challenging. The weapon selection is fairly standard FPS fare, a combination of mildly realistic and otherwise fantasy weapons. Each weapon has a choice of 3 different types of ammunition as well as several upgrades scattered through the game to amplify their lethality. That, and certain enemies may be dispatched more quickly by applying the right weapon at the right time. Thankfully weapon switching is achieved by either tapping a bumper to switch, or holding it down (and freezing the action) to select. Very nice.
In addition to the weapons, the nefarious genetic experiments in Rapture (the vast underwater city which you shall call home for the duration of the game) have provided the average human with superhuman upgrades. From electrocution, to launching fireballs, to freezing someone and more… The methods of destruction in this game are nearly infinite. In addition to distruction, the game is not without puzzles.
Various upgrades and powerups are available through vending machines and other containers throughout the game. Most can easily be accessed by using cash you pick up along the way – but should you fancy a challenge, hack the machine. Hacking any machine involves a brief stint with an upgraded version of the classic Pipes game. Connect the pipes so that the green goo flows from the start to finish in time, and you get free access, less expensive upgrades, more upgrade options, etc… If you fail, machine gun robots will be dispatched to cut you down if you don’t have your health immediately revoked as the system overloads. Don’t worry though, the robots can be hacked as well.
Throughout the game you get to hear more bits and pieces of the plot come to fruition, how the genius who designed the underwater paradise slowly went mad, along with just about everyone else. Also, you will be equipped with a camera that allows you to research (photograph) various enemies and systems to learn new ways to kill, as well as upgrade your character. Last but not least, a handy arrow will guide you to the eventual conclusion of your mission just in time for a few more bad guys to come out of the woodwork and try to squish your little head.
With all the First Person Shooter’s on the market currently, it can be pretty tough to decide which are worth investing your time and money in completing. I can’t imagine anyone being dissatisfied with Bioshock, easily the best FPS of 2007.