Recently, whilst I was suffering from a furious head cold that ripped away my soul and left me curled up with a hot water bottle and drowning in my own sea of tissues, it occurred to me that I had not immersed myself within a game I really love for quite some time. After the joy I received from playing The Last of Us, I had been too scared to risk tampering with the sweet aftertaste of such a breath-taking game and being left disappointed by anything else. What could possibly live up to a zombie-apocalyptic game with loveable characters and impressive gameplay?
With two deadlines out of the way so early on in the year, I thought why not treat myself? I began to search the Internet for ‘Games to play if you loved The Last of Us’ but ended up coming away from that research task without much luck. I moved my search mission over to Steam, and realised that I had a game downloaded but not yet installed. I couldn’t believe I had forgot about it – Bioshock was glinting back at me, as though it knew I had been looking for it all along.
Immediately I set the game to install, and waited eagerly until it was complete. I confess, I set the game to the easiest difficulty level as my poor pounding head could not take the frustration of getting stuck at numerous points throughout the game.
In the game, you are introduced to the underwater world of Rapture, where the citizens have gone crazy from their excessive use of the drug-like substance called ‘ADAM’. This can be harvested from the Little Sister’s that the Big Daddies are so intent on protecting. I was hooked.
A Big Daddy (above) who’s purpose is to protect the Little Sisters and their syringes of ADAM (below)
The game captures your intense attention from the outset, when you are welcomed as a survivor of a terrible plane crash floating about in the middle of the ocean. Amidst all the burning wreckage there is a lighthouse that leads you to the safety of the city of Rapture – or so you’re made to think.
With the assistance of characters such as Atlas, you begin to make your way through the failed Utopia hoping to find a way back to the surface, but there are many unexpected twists to impede your escape and keep you entertained throughout. The psychological thrill this game offers is truly worth your time. Also, the protagonist’s ability to gain Plasmids (gel-like injections that give you powers you exude out of your hands such as, electricity, fire, ice and so on) make it all that more compelling.
Bioshock did not disappoint! Even at the easiest difficulty level, at times the game stopped me in my tracks to solve puzzles and even had me surfing the internet at one point to find a letter that held an elevator code I needed to access. The plot is so cleverly contrived that the game becomes more than a template to be judged on the depiction of the world and the way it is presented through the standard of the graphics. For a game created in 2007 I would still give the graphics credit even in comparison with our next-gen consoles.
On PC, Bioshock must be played with keyboard and mouse. After I overcame the shock of having to play a first person shooter with elements of stealth gameplay and controls I was not very familiar with, I found it so likeable I didn’t move for the next four to five hours.
The truth is, to get the true feel of a game is to watch a play-through on YouTube, but if you do that you risk exposing spoilers and with such momentous plot twists within Bioshock – you should refrain from doing this, as it will steal all the wonder from the game.
Unfortunately for my student work it didn’t end there. Two days later I had completed Bioshock 1, 2 AND Infinite. That’s right, three games in three days. It’s safe to say I was on an ultimate gaming binge and I didn’t care that I woke up and spent all day gaming, only taking breaks to eat food, staying up until 4am every night. I’d taken the physical form of a hermit.
Bioshock 2 gives you the opportunity to play as Big Daddy to satisfy the curiosity of knowing what is behind the big water suit. Although this was an interesting perspective, the gameplay was slightly repetitive and I found myself longing to finish so that I could begin the next game.
Overall, the games were so compelling that I had to continue until the end, and the developers (2K Boston) really did save the best until last. Bioshock Infinite, which is no longer set in Rapture but has inhabited a world that takes place in the sky, was so beautifully administered from the setting to the story that I was left wonderfully perplexed with the same emotional confusion that I felt at the end of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.
If you are looking for a game that will blow your mind and leave you longing for more, the Bioshock series will definitely not disappoint. Take a trip back to the 1950s and discover a world that portrays the chaos that can occur when chasing a perfect world. The series is available on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.