Every once in a while, a game is released that raises the bar for everyone else. Two years ago Bioshock was released and did just that. Since then very few games have managed to be as immersing as this one. Rarely we see a game of that quality and so high production values. I was late to trying it, but when I did, I did not stop until the credits were rolling. I was so thrilled by it that when I was not playing the game I was thinking about the game. Every aspect was so masterfully done that I simply can not find anything to bitch about.
Bioshock is one of those games/films/books that can create really strong emotions through its story and setting. You start the game as a lone survivor of an airplane crash in the middle of the atlantic ocean. Soon you find yourself in a city(Rapture) built under the sea. NO GODS OR KINGS, ONLY MAN. This is the banner that greets you into Rapture and sets the tone for the mind of the inhabitants of this city. Something though, has gone terribly wrong and all those bright minds; the scientists, the artists, instead of freeing themselves and excel, they where enslaved by greed and power. You soon find yourself in sick situations and witness horror and perversion. This game is not for the faint of heart. You will have to find out your place in the story and try to save yourself.
Even though the game at first appears as your usual FPS, it is not. I mean it is definitely not. The gameplay is so rich and offers so much depth that you simply can not call it an FPS. The game has numerous RPG mechanics built in to it. You acquire a certain resource by killing powerful enemies (the infamous Big daddies) and squeeze it from helpless kids (the little sisters) by force or kindly. You use this essence to advance your skills, and powers. Besides your weapons you can use your powers (plasmids) in various occasions. Your plasmids range from simple attack powers to freeze, burn, control and defensive mechanisms. You can use them in many different ways and the environment is highly interactive to help you with that. For example, if you use your lightning plasmid on an enemy that is in the water, besides stunning him for a few seconds, you will damage him due electrocution as well.
The levels are full of items to gather and there are many machines to interact with. You can use vending machines to buy ammo, health packs and any other items using the money you got from the mad depraved inhabitants of the city you just killed. There are slot machine, health station, turrets, weapon upgrade machines, you name it. All play a very important role in the game and you better use them effectively in order to survive.
The sights and sounds of Rapture are breathtaking. Wandering around the city's corridors haunts you with the destruction that has taken place. The misery of the city is present in every corner and the blood that has covered the walls reminds you not to let your guard down to check out the fantastic job the game designers and artists have done. On the same level are the ambient sounds the music and the voice acting.
This is a unique game, one, I dare say, of the same quality as Half Life 2. It is one of those games that make other developers hide in shame because their games will be laughable before this masterpiece. Bioshock is not a game, it is art in all its interactive glory. Now, that Bioshock 2 is around the corner if you still, like me, had not played this one get it. It will be a revelation. It's so good you will crap your pants.