Welcome to Rapture
Bioshock was one of the most eagerly awaited games in a long time. It was conceived as a new concept for a exploited genre that needed a breath of fresh air, we had many good FPS games like Half Life 2 or Prey, but Bioshock is something different.
System Shock 2 was a great game, and Bioshock is the confirmation that a new sub-genre of FPS has been created. A new sub-genre that doesn't need just the action to be a good game, what's more, the action isn't the best thing of the game, not even one of the good things remarkable.
In this game, you can customize your character with plasmids, you can configure your genes to acquire special attack powers like flames or electricity, or just acquire some plasmids to avoid alarms, easy hacking or be invisible if you're not moving. You can also customize your weapons upgrading them, and there are many weapons with many kinds of ammo to use. Every enemy has their weakness, and you'll need to know which is the best weapon/ammo for every situation.
The story is the main attraction of the game, the main concept is so good that everything's good because of that. The attractive beginning is a good proof of this, and the rest of the game is as good as it should. Some stages are really good, and the characters, the residents of Rapture, are strident and insane people, corrupted by money, freedom... and plasmids.
Game's really long and three different endings are available depending on what you've done during the game. The game is not easy. You can't die, but you'll be sent to the vita-chamber many times.
As on System Shock 2, you can search everything, dead bodies, desks, bags or anything that could be searched. You can find ammo, some drinks, cigarettes or food. Everything has an effect on you, so, be careful what you take. You can buy things with your money, inventing some items with some things that you take in the game or buy new plasmids with the Adam taken from the Little Sisters.
Places are big, with many details. It's really easy to get lost because everything's ruined, it's a totally mess. There are many particles in the air, you can see the dampness, the water effect, broken objects everywhere, furniture lying crosswise... And this is not one of those games with many details during the first levels and nothing more, here you have details during all the game. Stages are filled with so many things that sometimes it's uncomfortable to play, but this is how it should be (if you want a more realistic experience, of course).
The range view is small. It's like you were zooming all the time, and as I said there are many details and places are big. Aiming is difficult because of that, and because enemies run fast (and without any sense, they just run). Action is not the best thing of the game, it could be much better, but it's not a big problem anyway.
The volume for logs is low, you can't listen some messages and you will stop doing what you're doing when a message is coming because you won't here nothing unless you stop. If you're in the middle of a fight it's impossible to know what messages are saying to you. Sound's good, music is good, but the volume for the logs are really bad.
The weapons aren't as effective as they should. Most of them need a lot of time to be reloaded, and you'll be changing your weapons all the time because some of them have just a few shots 'til they need to be reloaded. Plasmids aren't spectacular, maybe just the first time that you use them, and many of them has the same effects as some weapons that you have, so, they're a bit stupid.
The game was conceived to be a non-linear game but it is. The only difference between other FPS games and this one is the fact that you can customize some things like plasmids, but nothing really important, the genre is still the same. If we have System Shock 2 as a reference nothing has changed so much, just better graphics and some minor new things. Maybe a sub-genre, but not a new genre of games.
Maps could help you during your game, but they're imprecise and they'll confuse you many times. You don't have a map for each floor, you'll have the entire map at your help for every location of Rapture. If you enter a building with many floors you'll need some time to know where you are in the map.
The use of water is attractive at the beginning, but when you're progressing it becomes more secondary. Maybe a pair of floods more would be much better for the game.
The Bottom Line
"It wasn't impossible to build Rapture at the bottom of the ocean. It was impossible to build it anywhere else."