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Bioshock is a survival horror first-person shooter adventure set in an undersea Objectivist dystopia. You stumble into a once-blooming haven for free-market capitalists wanting to be free of the controls of government and religion, a haven that has since turned into a wasteland inhabited by the psychopathic victims of unchecked gene therapy.
As in many first-person shooters, the player's weaponry starts out simple (i.e. the trusty wrench) and gets increasingly advanced as the game progresses (e.g. machine gun rounds for use against specific types of enemies). There are also unlockable special talents called plasmids, not unlike magical spells in their use, which provide passive bonuses and abilities which can be useful both in combat and in solving environmental puzzles. There is a mini-game puzzle, used for "hacking" electronic devices, where the player creates a path from Point A to Point B using a series of connected tube pieces - plasmids help here as well, and may even be necessary for hacking the more advanced machines.
What really made this game stand out for its time, though, are its gripping story and rich environment. The city of Rapture is a vast and intricate ruin whose secrets do not readily reveal themselves. There's a linear narrative with a couple of branching points to keep a sense of progress, but it's largely possible to explore the world at will, exploring every horrifying little niche and taking down the enemies you find there for items and currency. Vocal recordings of the city's past (and current!) inhabitants, scattered throughout, provide the context for what you see around you as you explore.
Sam's Protip: Keeping track of the map can reveal hidden areas with special items, although it can be confusing and even inaccurate at times. Would you kindly leave a comment if you've found a secret place off the map?
- Videogame classic with a well-written branching plot and unforgettable imagery
- Awesome weaponry, from incendiary crossbow bolts to fistfuls of lightning
- Keep out of reach of children, unless you want them to be profoundly disturbed
- For that matter, you might be disturbed too if you play for too long