This game has received generally positive reviews from pretty much every critic across the industry. And, I frequently found myself wondering why. Sure, the graphics are decent, but everything is so linear that the stages are basically just painted sewer pipes. Many people have talked about the story, which I found to be alright, but nothing to write home about.
The story is really just another attempt from a group to try to capitalize on someone else’s ideas while fundamentally misunderstanding them. In this case, they create a dystopian world that is very loosely based on the works of Ayn Rand. Anyone that is even faintly familiar with the principles will release that Bioshock missed the mark. For example, in a objectivist society you wouldn’t have a black market, because the regular market goods would already be at the lowest prices.
Even though you could talk about the visuals, story, and atmosphere all day those aspects really just cover up the crux of the game, the game play. When you get down to the core mechanics of the game, you quickly release the game is average to mediocre.
The game essentially plays as a first person shooter. But, the sensitivity is slow, and all the weapons feel clumsy. However, the weapons don’t matter a whole lot since the ammo is so limited / ineffective that you will probably spend most of your time clubbing things with your wrench, because that is what I ended up doing.
There is a cheap “magic” system in the game called plasmoids. Unfortunately, you can only have a few equipped at a time, and you are constrained by “eve” which basically makes them an ineffective as the weapon as you will find yourself quickly running out. To a certain extent it balances out, because while there are multiple different plasmoids you could possibly use, you really only need one, electricity, for a majority of the game. And, there are two, telekinesis and fire, that you are forced to used early in the game. But, other than that you can pretty much ignore everything else.
“Hacking” is a “mini-game” that has been shoe horned into the system, and is far too over used. Essentially the way it works is that you have pipe tiles you need to use to guide a fluid from one end to the other. It isn’t really difficult, but it does get tedious when you find yourself having to do it a hundreds of times throughout the game. And, it is hilarious that you can be right in the middle of a firefight and then “hack” a machine in peace. Seriously, if I were in a battle with someone for my life and they stopped to play some DS I wouldn’t just stand there and watch.
Vitachambers I believe was the excuse of the developers to justify how unbalanced the game is. While I did play the game on hard, I died countless times, but it did not really matter because you are instantly resurrected in a vitachamber and can come back and beat some more ass. It is annoying that you die so often, but it is better than being faced with the prospect of having to load a saved game every time. Really, between the ammo scarcity and strange balancing this game would be absolutely brutal to play without vitachambers.
However, this all dwarfs in comparison to the end sequence of the game. You are forced to collect the pieces of a big daddy suit, which you are then forced to wear. I suppose it would not be such a big deal, but the bubble overlay they put on your screen is unforgivable. I actually had to enable FOV lock (treats the game as 4:3 and crops to 16:9) just to bring down the motion sickness enough to get through it.
Also, I am not a fan of how hard the game punishes you if you are trying to get some of the achievements. For example, if you kill Cohen in your first encounter it is impossible to upgrade all the weapons. But, that isn’t that big of a deal. The bigger travesty is the audio logs. There are two towards the very beginning of the game, and if you missing one you cannot get it, period. You have to start the game over. It is seriously wretched.
On that thought, I shall bring this rant to a close lest I let this post grow to insurmountable length. When I take into consideration the good things in this game, and the unforgivable, I have decided to give this game a 0 on my undecim scale. Thus, I neither recommend nor dissuade anyone from trying it.