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In the year 1960 a plane crashes in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with a man named Jack as the only survivor. He has the apparent luck of resurfacing in front of what looks like a door to an underwater complex. Without hesitating, Jack enters the door and is greeted by slogans that praise the city of Rapture, a paradise of free will built in the 1940's by a business magnate named Andrew Ryan. However, even before he assimilates all this new information, the descent to this supposed paradise ends and he can only see ruins and chaos. Learning about the destiny of Rapture will be now Jack's main motivation while he tries to survive the horrors that the free will can create.

BioShock is a first-person shooter with gameplay elements and storytelling technique reminiscent of System Shock games. Rapture, the once proud social experiment inspired by the real-world objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand, has been nearly destroyed, its inhabitants either dead or fallen victims to bizarre scientific experiments. The retro-futuristic setting incorporates elements of sci-fi with art deco and steampunk influences, featuring interior design and propaganda posters reminiscent of 1950's.

The game's plot is largely revealed through recorded messages left by Rapture's inhabitants before they were killed or mutated. Much of the plot development is therefore dedicated to reconstructing the events of the past, similarly to System Shock games. Limited usage of stealth, the possibility to hack security cameras and other devices, and character customization are the gameplay elements that further tie BioShock to its spiritual predecessors.

In its core, however, the game is more action-oriented, restricting the role-playing mechanics of System Shock 2 to abilities and upgrades that can be acquired and equipped by the main character. Most of the enemies in the game are Splicers, the deformed and insane citizens of Rapture. The protagonist has an arsenal of firearms to combat them, but is also able to use plasmids, which act similarly to magic and deplete a special energy called EVE. Various types of plasmids may directly hurt enemies, sabotage their movements, or enhance the player character's defense. Combat tactics often rely on successive usage of different types of weapons and plasmids. For example, encasing an enemy in ice with a plasmid makes it possible to shatter it to pieces with a single shot; protecting himself with an electric shield, the protagonist can electrocute enemies and strike them with melee weapons, etc.

The player can only equip a limited number of active and passive plasmids, and also has an inventory limit for every type of item. Restoring and enhancing items can be found by exploring the environment or purchased from vending machines. These can also be hacked, similarly to turrets, cameras, safes, and other types of locks. Hacking is presented as a Pipe Mania-like mini-game.

Plasmids, on the other hand, are mostly purchased by spending certain amounts of a mutagen known as ADAM. This mutagen can be obtained from mysterious creatures called "Little Sisters" - little girls that can be seen in most of the game's locations, accompanied and protected by very strong, genetically enhanced humans grafted to armored diving suits and nicknamed "Big Daddies". In order to capture a Little Sister the player normally has to defeat her Big Daddy. Afterwards, the player has the choice of killing the girl, harvesting large amounts of ADAM in process, or sparing her life. Depending on the player's moral decisions concerning the Little Sisters, the game's story will be concluded with different endings.

The Playstation 3 version adds a harder difficulty level called "Survivor Mode" to the game.


BioShock Xbox 360 We're armed now, for what good it will do us.
BioShock Xbox 360 I guess New Year's wasn't so happy.
BioShock Xbox 360 Rapture's falling apart in every way you can think of.
BioShock Xbox 360 We'll need more than a wrench to fix this leak.

Promo Images

BioShock Avatar
BioShock Screenshot
BioShock Wallpaper
BioShock Wallpaper


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User Reviews

Beautiful and Bone-Chilling Nick Rycar (201) 4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
not the review you've been waiting for.. so buy or rent Bioshock, I don't care lasttoblame (427) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
Wow! Scott Monster (1014) 4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars4.43 Stars
Shock The Monkey! MasterMegid (902) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

Critic Reviews Aug, 2007 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Game Informer Magazine Sep, 2007 10 out of 10 100
Game Vortex Aug, 2007 98 out of 100 98
Atomic Gamer Aug 17, 2007 96 out of 100 96
GamesCollection Apr 03, 2008 9.5 out of 10 95
TeamXbox Aug 17, 2007 9.5 out of 10 95
JustPressPlay Sep 03, 2007 9.4 out of 10 94
Worth Playing Aug 21, 2007 9.2 out of 10 92
ActionTrip Aug 20, 2007 92 out of 100 92
HonestGamers Aug 04, 2008 8 out of 10 80


Topic # Posts Last Post
German PEGI (uncut) Steelbook Cover Art 8 Zerobrain (3093)
Oct 15, 2010
Yikes. 10 Indra was here (20851)
May 16, 2009
They're doin' it for themselves 13 Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze (589)
Mar 21, 2009
Since I can't reply to the old topic... 2 Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze (589)
Mar 07, 2009
BioShock postmortem 1 xroox (3970)
Sep 07, 2008
Why Video Game Stories are Stupid? 56 Kit Simmons (264)
Apr 13, 2008
This is a thread about reviews that aren't 30 Oleg Roschin (181646)
Apr 04, 2008
Activation Revoke Tool available for download! 1 HandofShadow (55)
Oct 22, 2007
Before you buy the game: DRM issues 27 Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze (589)
Sep 04, 2007
Demo Problems 4 St. Martyne (3655)
Aug 30, 2007


1001 Video Games

BioShock appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

German version

To ensure that the game wouldn't be put on the infamous list of BPjS/BPjM indexed games, 2k Games released a slightly modified version of the game and the Collector's Edition with only the German language on the disc in Germany. The changes include less blood, some changed cutscenes and no wounds on burned bodies. This version got rated "Not free for minors" by the German rating organisation USK.


The hacking mini-game (which can be performed on a variety of devices including safes, security cameras, item dispensers, robots, etc.) is basically a slightly altered version of Pipe Dream.


According to Wall Street Journal Take Two's shares increased by nearly 20% after early favorable reviews of BioShock.


In Farmer's Market cantina, you can find a piece of cheese that resembles Pac-Man, even with the dots!

References to the game

BioShock was parodied in an episode of "Die Redaktion" (The Editorial Team), a monthly comedy video produced by the German gaming magazine GameStar. It was published on the DVD of issue 12/2007.


On August 24, 2007 2K Games released a 12 track compilation with songs from the orchestral score composed by Garry Schyman. The compilation can be downloaded for free here:

One of the songs that were included on the Bonus EP in the Collector's Edition, was made by Moby. It's a remix of "Below the sea".


2K Games had to hire a water programmer and a water artist to implement the pools and the pouring water around Rapture. This involved modifying the Unreal 3.0 engine to create realistic water effects.


  • Games for Windows Magazine
    • March 2008 - #4 Game of the Year 2007
  • GameSpy
    • 2007 – #2 Console Game of the Year
    • 2007 – #2 Xbox 360 Game of the Year
    • 2007 – #3 Game of the Year
    • 2007 – #3 PC Game of the Year
    • 2007 – Best Art Direction of the Year
    • 2007 – Best Sound of the Year
    • 2007 – Best Story of the Year
    • 2011 – #2 Top PC Game of the 2000s
    • 2012 – #2 Top PC Gaming Intro
  • Mac|Life
    • December 2009 - Editor's Choice Award
Information also contributed by Agent 5, Apogee IV, bakkelun, Emepol, PCGamer77, Scott Monster, Sicarius and WildKard

Related Web Sites

MichaelPalin (1420) added BioShock (Xbox 360) on Aug 22, 2007
Other platforms contributed by Sciere (506647), MichaelPalin (1420) and Zeppin (8426)