Bioshock Review (PS3)

I missed out on Bioshock.

I didn’t own a PS3 until 2009, and while I had heard all about how great it was, I was never particularly interested in it. A timed Xbox exclusive that boasted a great story with FPS gameplay and audio logs was… intriguing, but never something that grabbed me. Upon my return from Uganda, I found myself with a handsome amount of cash and an eagerness to jump back into video games, and Bioshock was one of them. For only $20, I purchased Bioshock mostly in order to find out what all the fuss was about. What I found was a great game, though not as amazing as I had hoped.

The story is probably something everyone already knows: You play a man who survives a plane crash and “stumbles” upon a lighthouse that leads him to a submersible which leads him to Rapture, an Underwater city/utopia, gone stereotypically horribly wrong. Now I am an avid podcast listener and was did not care for Bioshock *spoilers* as I imagined the time for it had come and gone and so I knew what I was getting into.

I knew the secrets behind Andrew Ryan, “Would you kindly” and the opening sequence reveal of Rapture. And I suppose all of this made the story second-hand to me. I don’t know what my characters name was, and the story dialogue didn’t interest me since I knew what was going to happen. I was especially let down by the Andrew Ryan part, I thought I would be in control for this confrontation, but having no input made me sit back and not care about what I was doing. Sure you’re technically being “controlled” but every other time I was told to do something I wasn’t pulled out of control of my character. I wanted to be the one pressing the button, sorta like at the ending of God of War III, where you can continuously beat down on the trigger until you tire and just stop. A missed opportunity, though others may think differently.

Things did catch me though, the audio logs were great and I was annoyed when some character would interrupt them, leading me to stand still whenever I found one for fear of moving forward and triggering a disruption. I loved exploring the crumbling city and the sound of enemies yet unaware of my presences, as well as the rumblings of Bid Daddies and the oldies soundtrack (which reminded me greatly of Fallout 3).

Big Daddies were my favorite part of the game. In the beginning I knew I was weak, I knew I was gonna die often, and the booming vibrating footsteps of a Big Daddy as it walked past made me nervous. I was afraid of them, scared of how I had to confront them to get at the Little Sister and the precious ADAM used to upgrade myself. While I knew I would mearly respawn at the nearest Vita-chamber, I was still afraid of dying at the hand of a Bid Daddy. And that is an accomplishment to me, as games rarely make me afraid to confront an enemy, since I know I’ll just respawn and do it again and again. However a majority of the Bid Daddy confrontations were me preparing my ammo types and plasmids to figure out how I would go about it. Later on however using the trap ammo on the crossbow proved most effective in taking out a Bid Daddy easily, but by that time I was a god in Rapture and no one could stop me and my wrench.

Gameplay is what matters above most all else (besides story) and Bioshock’s is good. Right hand has guns of various types, left controls Plasmid powers. As you progress you slowly unlock more and more guns, plasmids, tonic support and take research photo’s that give you the upper hand. This was my favorite part of Bioshock. Killing insane Splicers, looting the bodies and the city itself, hacking and buying ammo to kill and gain more cash, killing Bid Daddies and gathering ADAM to gain more power. The only letdown is that New Game+ is not included on disc, which was very disappointing. I plan on buying the DLC that enables it eventually, but I wish it had been included on-disc instead. A slight error to me. Combining plasmids and gunplay is good, though rarely did I use anything besides Shock and Incinerate for plasmids. My main weapon was the crossbow, man did I love that powerful device.

Graphically Bioshock has aged fine, I didn’t find myself thinking it looked ugly, though low-res textures did remind me I was playing a port of a game. I also found my PS3 freezing three times during my first playthrough, requiring a hard reset. As a precaution I would save often, usually immediately following a Big Daddy confrontation and after long periods of progression/exploration. The freezing only happened in the last sections as the Save Game file neared 9MB or so. A problem yes, but nothing that made me hate the game.

Overall Bioshock is a great game still, while it didn’t blow me away with it’s story, that is mainly my own fault for letting myself listen and read about the plot. The base game at it’s core is great. Fun gameplay, Big Daddies that produce fear of confrontation, and an all around amazing soundtrack make it worth the $20 I paid for it, and I am glad to have the experience of playing through all of it and some on Survivor difficulty. I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it yet, whether you’ve spoiled the story yet or not.

I would give Bioshock on PS3 a 8.5 out of 10. Great.