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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

BioShock

“BioShock” is an ambitious first-person shooter that develops a world that is both unique and involving. The primary focus of the game is its story, which takes the player to the vast, decaying underwater city of Rapture, a meticulously detailed urban environment overrun by mindless genetically altered humanoid creatures that possess a broad range of special abilities. The game opens in 1960 when your plane crashes in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. You are the sole survivor and soon find the entrance to Rapture which rests on the ocean floor. The story and setting of the game clearly received the primary attention of Quincy-based developer 2K Boston. Unfortunately this comes at the expense of game play, which at times can feel repetitive and painlessly undemanding.

Upon entering the city, the player is quickly introduced to the genetically modified splicers, your principal adversaries in the game. Splicers are sadly undifferentiated, as most have just slight alterations in weapons and attack styles but are otherwise identical. The real excitement when it comes to enemies comes in the form of the big daddies, massive walking tanks that dole out extreme amounts of punishment. These monstrous opponents come in two varieties, neither of which are easy to bring down.

The action in the game is generally fast-paced and the player is given a myriad of choices when it comes to combating enemies. The player may attack their enemies directly employing a conventional arsenal of weapons such as a shotgun, revolver, and grenades, all of which can be modified to fit your personal style. However the player may also choose to handle things in a less direct fashion, using the special abilities the game grants you, known as tonics and plasmids, to take out the opposing forces. Plasmids and tonics allow you to do things from telekinesis to shooting fire from the tips of your fingers. Players can also choose to hack into armed security drones to do their bidding or cause two enemies to attack each other.

The source of these powers and the genetic mutations that abound in the city of Rapture are the result of two substances referred to as ADAM and EVE. Raw ADAM is, in essence, a form of currency in Rapture; young girls, known as little sisters, roam the city guarded by the hulking big daddies, and harvest it from the bodies of the dead. The raw ADAM is then processed within the bodies of the little sisters and once obtained by the player can be used in various amounts to upgrade and modify their arsenal and genetic makeup. The player has a choice when it comes time to obtain ADAM, which comes in very limited quantities. You may either free the little sisters from their miserable existence and get a little bit of ADAM or heartlessly kill them for double the amount.

The biggest downside that the game faces is the low level of skill required to win. Despite the claims by the developers that the game is open and not just another linear shooter you probably won’t stray too far from the main course. There isn’t a whole lot of thinking or strategy needed to win. That isn’t to say there isn’t strategy involved, just that you can get through the game with ease by just charging forward into hordes of enemies. This is possible because the game allows the player to re-spawn infinitely without loosing any of the progress or inventory they’ve obtained. Worst of all enemies will retain the damage you’ve inflicted on them even after you die so you can essentially wear any enemy down through suicide charge after suicide charge. While this will certainly be welcome to novice players, experienced gamers will find it terribly easy.

In the end “BioShock” is an entertaining shooter that relies heavily on the strength and depth of its story development. Players can spend hours collecting audio recordings to fill in the intricately crafted back-story and learn more about Rapture’s creator, and why the city was founded. However, once you’ve grown tired of experimenting with all the different tonics and plasmids the game has to offer you’ll find the action tedious and unexciting.

BioShockPublisher: 2K GamesDeveloper: 2K BostonPlatforms: Xbox 360, PC

Highs: Immersing environments. Deep and involving story. Plenty of customization.

Lows: Not enough of a challenge for veteran players. Too little variety in terms of enemies.

Final Thoughts: “BioShock” falls short of the must-play status many FPS fans were anticipating; if you don’t enjoy a complex story with your FPS, “BioShock” probably isn’t for you.

Grade: B