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Bioshock (Xbox 360)
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2011
Underwater Utopia named Rapture, built by brilliant but slightly mad industrial tycoon Andrew Ryan but population descends into civil war and begins to mutate and kill one another in order to survive. Then you show up after a mysterious air crash...WHATS NOT TO LOVE!!! Bioshock may be coming up to nearly the ripe old age of 4 years old, and many of the games on Xbox have progressed quite far and possibly beyond the scope of imagination when Bioshock was first introduced to us, but it still feels as if it was released yesterday and continues to draw me in with its dialogue, settings and game play mechanics. This may be a review that will never be read or given much attention, but I feel it is important that a game of this calibre remain one of the greats, a game we all love to play and can never lose enjoyment in. Seriously just think about it, when was the last time you played a truly magnificent game? A game that you still remember playing and no matter how old it gets, you will still be able to pick up and play it even 10 - 20 years or even longer down the road? That's why Ocarina of Time is, well timeless or Goldeneye on the N64.

Bioshock is probably the first Xbox 360 game that totally absorbed my time. I would discover a thought of "I will just have a quick go, to the next save point and go to bed" would turn into 5 hours very quickly, with it now being 2am. After a few weeks of these sessions, I believe and still believe to this day that my silhouette was burned into my bedroom wall where I had not moved for so long in front of the HD TV. Only a few games have ever had this reaction for me. Fallout 3, Assassins Creed 2 and Dead Space being the main culprits.

I have owned Bioshock since it came out and though I was impressed with Bioshock 2, I was not totally blown away and felt that the original was still very much its superior. It reminds me of my favourite films or music. I may have seen them hundreds of times before, heard the tracks inside out, but I always find a rekindled sense of enjoyment and appreciate the experience more each time. So where to start?

I love the story and how it progresses up to its conclusion. Being given the choice to play the good guy or tear the place apart in the hunt for ADAM seemed at first nothing no other game had done before, mainly because the moral choice was so stark concerning the Little Sisters. It is just entertainment but at times during the harvester or rescue scenes I would always find I would rather rescue. Why? I didn't want to hurt the Little Sisters! Hopefully deep down that means I'm a good person. Or just rather simple as I would find I would never have enough ADAM for all the plasmids I wanted. With a mix of different weapons that you can upgrade and choice of special powers known as plasmids, there is plenty of playability and combos you can make with a variety of weapons and the different ammo you can collect for each weapon. Playing through the game a few times, you certainly appreciate the tactics of upgrading your weapons. Just because you have the grenade launcher does not mean it's the most useful weapon. Think before you upgrade and the same goes with plasmids. The urge is to buy each of them so you have a full arsenal but this is folly. Focus on the essential plasmids which tend to be the elemental ones (you can get extra plasmids which include ice from XBL and are free) and upgrade these. I found the fire plasmid the single most useful in fights and solving puzzles.

Now this is a shooter and can be quite frantic at times. Unlike other shooter style games, ammo is not always in abundance and if you go running round Rapture unloading every weapon you have, you won't make it passed the first area. Rapture is HUGE and can be quite unforgiving if you don't plan ahead. The harder the difficulty, the more shots it will take to bring down the enemy, which leads me perfectly onto the enemies and other grisleys that populate the underwater Utopia you are to face. They range from the everyday folk of Rapture who are hell bent on killing you and taking your ADAM to the Big Daddies and Rosie's who protect the Little Sisters. These larger enemies tend to pay you no attention as you walk around the destroyed city but will react if you get close to a Little Sister and can sometimes attack you if you stay around too long. Only ever take these lumbering juggernauts on if you have enough ammo and a decent strategy as they will take you down within seconds. They are super strong and can bolt at you knocking you back. It may not seem like the strongest weapon but I always use the cross bolt on the Big Daddies as it packs a serious punch but is let down slow reload times. The "everyday" enemies are easy to kill but in numbers can be overwhelming. These are the Splicer's and are the residents of what was once a great society, turned upside down by over exposure to ADAM, a kind of drug that allows for plasmids to function. Many of the areas you visit are filled with these and like The Big Daddies and Rosie's, you can hear them usually making noise before you get close to them. They vary in style and appearance allowing you to distinguish them and choose the right weapon. All I can say is when dealing with Spider Splicer's, take them down quickly as they are a huge pain and will tear you apart.

The Splicer's are a minor annoyance, the bigger enemies are tough as nails, but the bots that fly and the sentry guns are not only quick, agile and lethal but can re-spawn during alarms. If it was not for the camouflage plasmid, I would be dead 10 times over. Instead of aiming for them to destroy them, you are given the opportunity to hack the turrets and the flying bots to use to your own advantage and can help you in defending areas and yourself. Camera turrets can also be hacked and act as your early warning system. Essentially hack everything as when you return to areas that are patrolled by cameras you hacked earlier, sometimes you will find dead Splicer's and they have left behind some goodies for you. You have the ability to search your enemies but can also search in other areas like filing cabinets, bins and suitcases. These yield some interesting rewards for you to use during the game. At first I did not understand why I kept running out of ammo even when I was trying to be frugal with it. I kept find these random pieces of inventory such as brass pipe or rubbing tubing and just storing them. It was like Christmas as you can covert the odds and sods into ammo and when I left the ammo converter, the floor was littered with shotgun shells and grenades. Admittedly I got carried away.

This is a great game, possibly one of the greatest ever made. It produces a fantastic and engaging story, easy to use controls, amazing action and puzzles and is a beautiful modern piece of gaming gold. The price of this title now is a complete bargain. Why would you not want to take up this bargain????
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117 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2007
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?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2010
Irrational games presents `Bioshock' a first person shooter mixed with elements of RPG. The year is 1960 and by chance (or so you are led to believe) you are involved in a fiery plane crash in which you are the only known survivor. Landing in the sea leads to your discovery of the underwater city of Rapture, a city built to live without the laws that restrict the every day man. The city is in a state of anarchy and instructed by a man known only to you as `Atlas' it is your duty to restore order and bring down the evil dictator, Andrew Ryan.

You fight your way through the game using a mixture of genetically modified weapons known as `plasmids' and a whole menagerie of guns, chemical throwers and grenade launchers. The game pays serious attention to detail and you will spend as much time checking out your surroundings as you will actually playing it. The graphics are simply incredible. The game is dark and intensely creepy with a somewhat sickening storyline to boot - a must play for horror fans!

The only things letting this game down are how ridiculously easy it is and its disappointing end. If you die whilst in battle, instead of starting from your last save if you die in battle, you respawn at the nearest `vita-chamber' to find the enemy you were originally locked in combat with still has the same amount of health knocked off as they did when you die. This can lead to playing the game rather hap-hazardly without much strategy, as you don't need to worry about keeping your health up - not good for people who enjoy a challenge. Finally, the end - it seems rushed and the twist in the plot that is supposed to shock and surprise feels more like a race to the finish and after hours of gameplay spent immersing yourself and enjoying the rich storyline you are then left with an anti-climax.

However, do not let these two flaws put you off playing! This game is essential if you're lookng for something original, scary, want to ease yourself into first person shooting games or are simply not brave enough to play System Shock!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 August 2007
I think that listening to hype has raised peoples expectations too high for this game - in fact most games never reach that level of perfection, 'Bioshock' isn't perfect but it is stunning and I enjoyed it immensely for what it is (and not what the hype said it would be). A brilliant world to play in, a good story and many varied ways to deal with the viscious enemies. Its too short? I got thirty hours out of it on the hard difficulty level - perhaps those who completed it in a day and a half might try doing this instead of playing through on an easier level, maybe try exploring thoroughly as well (you know, really get your money's worth...). The AI isn't quite as revolutionary as the hype said? true but so what! Its still very smart and the game maintains a brilliant balance between frantic action and strategic choices - it could well be that certain things had to be toned down so that other areas still remained fun (the developers of 'S.T.A.L.K.E.R' on PC had to do the same thing - ambitious plans dont necessarily make a good game). Will it be better than 'Halo 3'? The two are going to be very different games despite being FPS's and personally I think single player Halo is incredibly overrated, it seems like most people who rave about it are referring to the multiplayer because there are tons of better games out there ('Halflife 2', 'Chronicles of Riddick' and 'Deus Ex' for example) where story meets action. Add 'Bioshock' to that list as its much better designed than both of the 'Halo' games put together! Every second I played it was well worth it and it didn't get rubbish at the end (unlike both 'Halo' games), I bought a 360 to play this game and I'm very glad I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 August 2007
At last a game that justifies the outlay for a next gen console. This game raises the bar in terms of gameplay, graphics and sound effects. This coupled with the amount of choices and influence the player can have on the enviroment and enemies makes this a staggering game. To date I hadn't thought that the games on the 360 were much different to the old Xbox. This one combines RPG, Horror/Sci-fi and 1st person shoot em up mixed together to really offer the gamer a rewarding experience. You can spot the gaming influences of: Travellers tales, Splinter Cell, Fable and Pys-ops as the best bits combine to offer a immersive experience. A must buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I am not a great fan of first person shoot-em-ups, having got to the sort of age where I lack the speed of reaction required to do them justice. I've therefore avoided playing them on my daughter's Xbox 360, and the only reason that I came to the Bioshock party - several years after it started as it happens - was because a friend of mine nagged me into getting it. I thought the premise of the game was a bit ludicrous: an underwater adventure where there is no underwater action, where little girls harvest genetic material from corpses in an Art Deco milieu based on the writing of Ayn Rand. Still I suppose in retrospect it seemed so bloody obvious. Someone just had to get there first, that was all.

Enough of the irony. Having played Bioshock through many times now I can honestly say it is the definitive first-person adventure of the past decade. The reason the game works so well is because the disparate plot elements are knitted together by a first-class script and performances (especially Armon Shimerman's), sumptuous graphics and challenging game play. A better name for it would have been `Postmodernshock': today's take on yesterday's vision of tomorrow. Andrew Ryan's dystopian and decrepit `Rapture' is threatening, oppressive, decadent and seemingly fatally flawed, even on the drawing board. If the surroundings weren't menacing enough, the game sets you up against opponents that are mostly corrupted humans, convincingly enough realized to scare one half to death. Walking, talking Pictures of Dorian Grey.

The game play is beautifully thought out: survival is constantly challenged by lack of resources, ammo, healthcare, you name it. Its richness is owed in part to the variety of ploys you can use to get around sticky situations. For instance, the act of co-opting some gun turrets or security bots to back you up in a skirmish requires that you hack their workings, which is quite a challenge in itself.

As for the game's central quest, it won't be giving anything away to say that you soon become aware that you aren't a hero but a glorified junkie vagrant. There is always a lumbering Big Daddy standing between you and the next fix and you're reduced to scrounging half-eaten candy from waste bins and jury-rigging weapons from bric-a-brac. Survival becomes the order of the day and the quest, when it reveals itself for what it is, is far from heroic. You're even confronted with a profound moral dilemma early on in the game that determines your trajectory thereafter.

Bioshock isn't perfect, though. My major complaint is that the gut-wrenching dénouement comes halfway through the game and the action thereafter is the fulfillment of a standard revenge fantasy. But oh, several Hollywood scriptwriters would give their right arms for such a plot twist. The opportunity for some real underwater game play has also been missed which, given the setting, seems either an oversight or laziness.

However, Bioshock transcends its initial concept to become something far beyond a video game. Despite its violence and shocks, it is always a thoughtful and intelligent experience, and in an age when rampant individualism seems even more entrenched than ever, it puts the boot in to the whole wretched `philosophy' far more effectively than many films or novels. In fact, we might even be watching the emergence of the Eighth Form of Art.
Now, Would You Kindly leave me to my Xbox? I have some deep philosophical issues to grapple with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2009
Welcome to Rapture, the underwater City with a bunch of crazies ruling the roost!

Story overview: You crash land in the middle of the ocean, find an entrance to the underwater city and get involved with the locals. Things go from bad to worse and you're trying to regain your freedom.

Bioshock offers some jaw dropping visuals and novel ways of killing people. There are standard weapons e.g. guns, machine guns crossbows etc, although the most fun is had with your mutant powers. These include things like 'iceblast' which allows you to freeze bad guys and beat them into a thousand tiny pieces with your wrench. Theres loads more but that was my favourite.

While playing it I found myself stopping to take in the surroundings and marvel at how beautiful the game looks. Water effects are the best I have seen.

You follow a set path throughout the game and are often prompted by an arrow which helps guide you on the correct path to take. It doesn't feel linear unlike COD:WAW (wtf). It actually feels like theres plenty of places to explore.

My only problem with Bioshock is that after the initial wow factor the gameplay becomes a little repetative. Sometimes it feels like you are killing the same individual over and over again. The fun part is you start to kill people in more inventive ways. Without this ability it would get really boring.

I would still recommend everyone give Bioshock a go. Its fun while it lasts, although there is no replay value. It offers alternate endings depending on your actions throughout the game, which means you might want to play it again. I just watched the multiple endings on Youtube. Could'nt be arse doing it for a few achievements.

Shame there's no multiplayer, although I'm not sure how good they could make it. COD4 still rocks too much, so anything else would need to be outstanding.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2008
As the title and the scores might give away, I rather liked this game. Tell a lie, I adored it. I adored it so much that the first time I completed it, I was straight back on the first level trying to go through the game to find anything I missed on the enormous and immersive levels. I'm now playing it through for a third time, and I'm still finding huge chunks of levels that I had missed. So, despite the lack of a multiplayer (which is almost blasphemy on a FPS these days), there is more than enough to keep you coming back.

Let's skate over the basics. The graphics are superb and detailed, particularly in the water effects. The voices of the various monsters never get repetitive and the voice acting on the audio diaries that are scattered sporadically (left by the former inhabitants) is absorbing, atmospheric and sometimes even genuinely moving; a vast improvement from the flat and flavourless audio logs in 'Doom 3'. The music is a mix of nostalgic gramophone warbles to chilling eerie violin howls and odd clangs that are almost certainly a direct steal from Kubrick's 'The Shining' and the original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. Absolutely nothing wrong with that at all - it just helps to ramp up the tension.

Walk down a dark corridor and hear that single high pitched wail getting louder and louder. Then be ambushed by multiple monsters whilst a nearby jukebox happily bangs out 'How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?' Yes, this game does have a black sense of humour.

The way the character can use ordinary weapons and his psi-powers is handled easily (using both triggers, one for each). The powers range from fireballs to telekinesis to electro-bolts. As the entire game is immersive, you can kill in almost any way you see fit. You can shock people standing in water, you can set fire to oil slicks and burn them alive or you can hurl explosive barrels, chairs, cash registers, bodies.. well, you get the idea. You can go through the entire game and not have to fire off a single bullet in anger.

I don't really want to ramble on too much more, so I'm going to have to skim over the fantastic plot, the impressive AI of the creatures, the moral choices you have to make in the game to determine your character and the way you can hack security cameras, gun turrets and other enemy equipment. You've probably got the idea by now anyway. Forget Halo, forget Half-Life, this is the best FPS I've played since.. well, probably Goldeneye for the N64. And that's just about the best game I've ever played.

Faults? Erm.. Hmm.. Well.. I suppose, if I wanted to nit-pick, the weapon reload can be a bit dim. Sometimes, you'll think you've reloaded your gun, then switch to a plasmid, then switch back to the gun and find it is empty. And the ending is a bit.. short. But then, there are three of them. You may even see it as a blessing - a short no nonsense ending means you can get back into the game to do, as I have done, and revisit all the wonderfully crafted levels.

So there you have it. If you're looking for an absorbing, moving, challenging, occasionally terrifying, immersive, massive, atmospheric FPS then you cannot do any better than this. If you aren't looking for any of the above, I suggest you change your outlook, alter your tastes and raid your piggybank.

I dare you to be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2008
I played this a few months after its release, and was startled to find that a game that lived up to the hype. It is frightening, compulsive and while it isn't especially difficult, it is a large game and offers terrific replay value.

Based on the writings of pseudo-philosopher Ayn Rand, this game paints a horrifying picture of a Utopia torn apart by greed, madness and hubris. Rapture, a city built by a visionary billionaire, and hidden beneath an ocean, is a stunningly realised environment, atmospheric, beautiful and extremely creepy. Beautiful Art-Deco environments crumble as the sea slowly seeps into the vast complex, and the inhabitants, driven mad by over-indulgence of genetic enhancements, assault you from all sides. There are also the Big Daddy's to contend with. These mysterious creatures patrol each level, and they act as end-of-level baddies and although you don't have to fight them, the game becomes very difficult if you shy away from these battles.

The story is excellent and genuinely thought-provoking. The structure of the game is absolutely brilliant, and it offers a fresh, immersive approach to story telling (something that a lot of video games still struggle with). For me, it is on a par with Resident Evil 4 but with a much stronger narrative and a genuinely fascinating approach to art design. I will go as far to say that it is the X-Box 360's killer-app. A brilliant game that shouldn't be missed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2011
Okay. So I'm a few years behind the times, seeing as this was a 2007 release but better late than never!

Bioshock is, in my very humble opinion, a gaming masterpiece. Fantastic concept/story line and a beautifully rendered 'world' in which to explore and ultimately, kill a lot of crazy, mutated people. Between the insane/deranged ramblings of the inhabitants, the creaks and groans of the ruined city, and the strange 'little girls', the sights and sounds within the game genuinely made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up at times. I love the '1950s America' backdrop too. I'm all for realism and being current in my real life but I prefer my games to allow me to escape to somewhere I would never be able to go (in my lifetime anyway). For that reason, I tend to steer clear of warfare games as they don;t interest me.

I won't go into the details of the gameplay because there are plenty of other reviews that fulfil that role. This is just a reccomendation to say that if you have not got Bioshock yet, you're missing out! If you haven't played Bioshock yet, what are you waiting for? Especially at this price! Less than a tenner for an absoloute gaming classic?!? It may not be the ultimate FPS but it more than makes up for that in other ways. Quite simply a must-have for RPG fans.

I repeat "Would you kindly" get yourself to Rapture ASAP...
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