Saturday, 3 January 2015

First Impressions: Bioshock

I got this game because of two factors. The first factor was the awesome reviews it had gotten and the general feedback of this game being immersive and atmospheric with a great story (which recent games have failed to do). However, I don't really like horror games too much, preferring comedies and this is when the second factor comes in to play. The Steam sale. I got Bioshock 1, 2 and Infinite for less than I would've paid for one of the games. With that I jumped in. Warning: slight spoilers.
We start with a voice over of our character (who is called Jack) giving us some backround information, then suddenly crash! The plane which you were on crashes into the ocean and you are thrown into its murky depths. When you surface, you are surrounded by fire. You swim to an abandoned lighthouse, walk in and slowly make your way down the stairs. Already the atmosphere is almost unbearable, you know something is going to happen but you're not sure what.

You see a vehicle of some sought and climb in (for some reason). A clip is shown detailing the journey of Rapture's growth (the city the game is based in) by the charismatic creator Andrew Ryan. When you get to Rapture you hear two people talking. Then you see them. At least one of them isn't human. After the argument 'ends', the non-human one comes after you. You are stuck in a pod, you can't move, let alone defend yourself. You crouch in a corner, praying to whatever God or mystical being you believe in, all the while you hear the banging of this beast slowly breaking into the vehicle you are in.

The monster is just about to come in and then it stops and runs. You nearly faint with relief and you hear a voice telling you to grab the radio which is magically highlighted inside the pod. You grab it and hear the voice of Atlas who serves as your guide. Any dialogue that happens through the radio can be replayed via the menu which is good because often many things happen at once and it is easy to miss little pieces of information. And with this game, every word counts.

You can pick up audio diaries of NPC's which outline the darker backstory of Rapture and their own sick desires. Atlas tells you to get to higher ground so you unlock the door of the pod and step out. You grab a wrench (a staple of FPS's it seems) and are thrust into your first battle. Most things are lootable and you will need every med pack you can find.

Soon you find a Plasmid, a magic substance which grants you the ability to fire electricity out of your fingertips (as well as many other things). However, the Plasmids are hard to control and you faint. A little while after, you hear voices discussing whether to kill you. You are powerless at that point and so all you can do is lay there and hope. Thankfully they move on and you can get up.

From the wrench you quickly unlock many other weapons including the pistol, machine gun and shotgun. You have to use the limited ammo sparingly as you will soon find yourself running low. If you die (and have the option active) you will respawn at half health at the nearest Vita-Chamber. However the enemies keep their health, so it is possible to just hurt the enemy, die and repeat with more health until they fall, which is one of gameplay choices which takes away from the atmosphere a bit. However, the game soon throws you into another situation.

I've played around 2 hours of this game and have been terrified and amazed in equal measure. This is one of those games where you have to go away and think about the story for a bit due to the subtext and themes surrounding the characters. I suggest putting subtitles on because even if it does make you lose some immersion, it means that you can catch every word, especially the names.

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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