Until about a week or so ago I'd heard very little of Bioshock. I rarely follow the release dates of games, and prefer to experience a game than read about it online or in mags. However, I noticed it when browsing Amazon and decided I'd buy it as the Big Daddy grabbed my attention.
Now, it's my most played game on the 360.
I'm not going to talk about how much hype this game got as I was honestly not aware of it and don't know the limits. But what I will say is that Bioshock is amazing. And not just amazing - as most games are described - this is THE game for 360 owners.
If you're reading about this game then you know already what the basic plot of the game is, and I won't say anything more in order to preserve the great twists that you'll find within the game. However, it's important to know that the story to Bioshock is a roller-coaster of a ride that will leave you wanting to know more each and every time you lay down the controller.
Gameplay wise, Bioshock is a step above most FPS games on any console. The Darkness was a great game with it's unique abilities, Halo was (and hopefully will remain) a fast action shooter, but this game takes the gameplay from all of the best shooters and mixes it all up, before throwing in a handful of fantastic new features to leave you in awe.
The game claims that no player will be the same, and it's probably true. There are plenty of ways to kill an enemy within the game, from indenting their skull with a handy wrench to pumping them full of lead, but how about creating a bit of chaos and forcing each enemy to attack another - whilst you dodge around them taking them out one by one. Or if that's not your thing, and you find groups of enemies a handful, you could hypnotise a Big Daddy and go into battle with a huge diving-suited, drill-armed warrior at your side.
The weapons that are found in Bioshock are also fully upgradeable, with each weapon being given the option of two upgrades that enhances their abilities. Depending on your favourite weapon you can upgrade each weapon once at a 'Power To The People' machine - but beware, as the machine closes after a single use (there are multiple machines however in each area).
Another great attraction are the PLASMIDS. Inject them into your arm and you can possess the elements, swarms of wasps, and mini-tornados that are each useful for wiping out groups of enemies in a few seconds.
However, and this is a great catch, in order to upgrade your PLASMIDS and buy more slots to place your new found should-be-lethal injected friends, you have to find and 'release' the Little Sisters within the game. The great thing about this is that you can't just 'get' to them; you must first take out their hulking protector: the Big Daddy!
Aside from being the most iconic character within the game, the Big Daddy has the unusual characteristics of an innocent enemy. That is, to say, they will not attack you unless you attempt to harm them or their Little Sisters. It's your choice entirely whether you fight the Big Daddies or not, but you essentially have to unless you plan on facing the tougher enemies, later on in the game, with weapons alone.
Then, if you can power your way through the increasingly-strong Big Daddies, you must make the choice of sacrificing the Little Sister in order to gain a large amount of power (which is needed to buy more PLASMIDS and more slots for your abilities) or save the child from the possession and gain a smaller amount of power. It's all psychological; do you feel guilt for killing a small girl when they consist only within a game, or will you feel better for saving them and letting them flee?
This is the effect that Bioshock has; it absorbs you into the action and forces you to make choices that you wouldn't expect to have to make.
Bioshock is also the owner of some of the most beautiful graphics in any game. The locations within Rapture are a combination of natural beauty - looking out into the ocean around you - and sheer destruction. There are a good number of character designs, and whilst you will find yourself facing an enemy that you are sure you killed an hour before in a totally different area, it's not as annoying as you may expect.
The water itself is possibly the most realistic in any game I've ever played - the first few minutes of playing leave you wondering just what is to come.
The game is also quite lengthy, and has great replay value as there is always other ways to complete the game. Lasting between 10-20 hours (depending on your ability), and with several modes of difficulty to present easier or more difficult challenges to those who require them, you'll find yourself restarting the game just minutes after you've finished it the first time around.
Bioshock is a game that introduces you to the idea of 'survival of the fittest', and leaves you longing for more as you become submerged in the ocean depths that is Rapture. With fantastic voice work, you feel as though you have become the newest citizen of the fallen city. Are you a man or a puppet? Would you kindly buy it now?