September 19, 2007


I just finished playing Bioshock, the recently released Xbox 360 shooter/adventure. Bioshock is everything people that sneer at video games don't know about the medium. Like comics, people see video games as a pursuit for children. They remember Mario and Spiderman and while they may make for campy fun as an adult it's really something people should grow out of. Where comics answer that with Neil Gaiman's Sandman or other "serious" works, video games have games like Bioshock.

Bioshock did what few stories can do for me; they kept me guessing all the way through. It reels tidbits of information out to you through discovered audio diaries of characters, most of whom have long since died. What happened in the underwater city of Rapture and the relationships between the characters isn't presented linearly, but it's still one of the most engrossing stories I've experienced this year in any medium. Underneath all of that is a pretty sophisticated political tale as well.

On the gameplay side I thought things were very nearly perfect. I had a little bit of slowdown in the last couple of levels, but the controls were tight and intuitive. Personally, the most surprising thing for me was that the difficulty was almost perfect. I died plenty of times but rarely in the same spot twice. Unlike most games where the player increases in power linearly throughout the game Bioshock has a nonlinear progression while amazingly making every change in the status quo seem perfectly logical.

I could go on and on, but if you have either a powerful PC or an Xbox 360 you really owe it to yourself to play this game. I know I'm probably going to play through again eventually to see another ending, which is pretty unheard of for me. Hell, me even finishing a game these days is pretty unheard of. Count that as very high praise indeed.


Noumena said...

I'm rather sad that I have neither the powerful PC, nor the Xbox, nor the time necessary to play BioShock.

MosBen said...

Well, even if I were working I think I'd have ferreted away an hour or so a day to finish this particular game, but the semi-unemployment I'm experiencing while I wait for my final approval papers come in (annoying, I know) has done wonders for my video gaming.