The beauty in games: Bioshock-would you kindly?
Hey reader! Once again I’m here to bring you more of the gorgeous and mind stimulating games you and I love. Now how about you jump into my totally real DeLorean and ride back to 1960 with me. Make a couple rights, couple lefts, find out the breaks are shot, crash into a lighthouse, and sink down into the sea… as you sink you see an underwater city: Rapture, the utopia made for brilliant minds and people of vision. Unfortunately for you, you just dropped into a utopia turned dystopia. Bioshock has a depth to it that takes more than just a single moment of thought, but will keep you hooked during the entire playthrough.
This game has a great story with spectacular ideas. A failing paradise has always made for a good story, but this is different. I adore the idea of this hidden place somewhere out there. The game’s plot is heavily focused on the narrative, which helps to keep the story moving. Seeing how far the seemingly perfect society has fallen is a major push in the plotline. Each individual has their reasons for pushing you to each action. Watching the decay of morality and humanity in Rapture makes you feel a disconnection to the people, but strangely you slowly begin to fit into their world. The game can make you feel like a protector or sociopath as you influence moments that lead to an ultimately good or horrid ending.
Beauty can also be found in the effect on your own mind. I love the quote, “A man chooses. A slave obeys.” It has such a deeper meaning that is hard to interpret at first. This game opens your mind to many problems of today’s society. Although subtle, the game does show some influences from social and political structure. There are so many psychological movements within the ideas of Rapture, such as objectivism, anti-religion, and political influence. The game also features a subtle message regarding drug use: the Plasmid (superpower) is used to make you better, but can cause its users to turn into mutant psychopaths called Splicers. Finally, child abuse is displayed in the form of both your and the Splicer’s interactions with the little sisters. The amount of thought put into this world and its history fuels the story’s progress like a wildfire.
This game has an interesting mood. It feels like a shooter, but it also has survival horror aspects as you creep through the city. You are in an underwater city, so there is no escape, causing feelings such as claustrophobia, isolation, and psychological stress. The city is a dark, wrecked mess, with psychopaths, kiddies with big syringes, and men in giant suits. Even with superpowers, it is easy to feel overpowered by large amounts of Splicers. Then there are the daddies…terrifying unstoppable behemoths that defend the little sisters that hold your power. You are simultaneously fighting yourself, the psychopaths, and seemingly every power in the game.
The gameplay is immensely and insanely fun. This is a FPS with basic firearms and Plasmid Power (lighting, fire, and telekinesis). The combat with weapons or Plasmid feels smooth, to put it best. You can choose to use your guns, plasmid, or both, depending on how you want to play. Your character only speaks once throughout the whole game, which is odd. The lack of dialogue can give you the feeling that you are losing yourself as you are slowly altering your character’s DNA. Another huge feature is the ability to drain or rescue the little sisters, through this you can gain more ADAM (boosts Plasmid) or save a child. The game is also very good at subtly robbing you of your free will, but you won’t even notice as you play through. Through the process of interacting with these children, you build your story in your own way.
I gave Bioshock a shout out due to the series being remastered and being brought to this most recent generation of consoles. The game looks and feels fun, so I’m pumped to get my hands on the remakes. The psychological effects this game has on yourself, if you open up to the history, can easily leave you thinking, as a game should. The game looks good now and will only look better, but playing through the series and seeing it play out is still phenomenal. Whether you want to fight through as a classic shooter or make use of the new Plasmid style, you will enjoy this game. Be a cruel power hungry abomination or a great hero, the choice is yours.