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BIOSHOCK (9.5/10.0)

Game Review by: Mike Kurnat, game played on 360 platform.

Platforms: Xbox 360 & PC
Publisher: 2K Games
Developer: Irrational Games
Resolution: 720p Widescreen, 480p, 1080i, 1080p
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Release: 082107
ESRB: M for mature.
"Having so many different locals really helps the game stay fresh and engaging. "
I can write this review with three words, buy this game, but thatís not fair to you and doesnít do the best first person shooter since Half-Life 2 justice.

You are a nameless and faceless character forced to take refuge in the underwater world of Rapture after a plain crash. You are immediately thrust into this immersing world. Rapture is the brain child of Andrew Ryan, a man with a vision of a world without government and religion but a world the awards invention and a dedication to personal excellence.

The game is set in the 1960ís and it is clear that Ryan has completely failed because Rapture is basically in ruins when you show up. The whole game has this retro 50ís feel with much more technology developed in Rapture. The varied environments are creepy to walk through and fun to explore.

Like most mad scientists, their experiments turn on them and take over the city. Rapture is crawling with these crazy baddies that range from melee attackers to teleporters all with their own sets of strengths and weaknesses. The toughest enemies and most fun to fight are the Big Daddies. These brutes are the body guards of these weird little girls who hold something called Adams. Adams are what is used to boost your characters abilities and weapons and that forces you to take on these monsters in some intense battles.

Speaking of weapons and abilities, there are quite a few options of each. Each weapon can be upgraded throughout the game and have three different ammo types which gives players many options when choosing how to take out an enemy. As for abilities, you collect plasmids. Plasmids are a chemical solution that mutates your character and gives him special powers like pyrokinesis, throwing electricity and telekineses just to name a few. Mixing these abilities with the conventional weapons really opens the game up for the creative gamer.

The story is told through voiceovers on a radio you have without interrupting the game. The game very rarely stops to show a video during the 20 or so hours of gameplay. Throughout the game you will also find audio diaries from key players in the story and innocent bystanders to the collapse of Rapture. These diaries give more periphery story details and make for eerie side notes in some cases. The voice acting is all done by professionals and it shows. Even the ranting voices of your enemies are crystal clear and believable. The sound track and sound effects shine and should be appreciated.

This game isnít without its faults though. Some technical problems crop up from time to time that takes you out of the world too much for my liking. The biggest distractions are the hands and feet of the dead enemies. They flop around for no reason and it looks really awkward. The rag doll physics which is greatly appreciated at times fails in this instance badly. The other major problem is with the textures of the game. Everything in the game has a high resolution texture on it when you are close to it. When you are far away the game lowers the resolution to free up processing space. On quite a few occasions the games textures didnít switch correctly so I would be starring at a blobby wall that would snap into a highly detailed wooden wall. This isnít unforgivable but again, it takes you out of the world. Trust me you want to be in this world as much as possible. Rapture has many different environment types and all of them are outstanding in their own way. Having so many different locals really helps the game stay fresh and engaging.

I loved this game. Every aspect of the game felt coddled and loved for by the developers, even the really creepy and disturbing parts. There are plenty of freak outs to witness and to have yourself during the game. I lost count how many times I entered a room and stopped dead in my tracks by what I walked into. A game like this comes around once every few years and should be embraced for what it is, great, beautiful and progressive. 9.5 out of 10

BIOSHOCK © 2007 2K Games
All Rights Reserved

Review © 2007 Alternate Reality, Inc.

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