BioShock Reader Review
There's no point in babbling on for ages about how wonderfully designed and executed Bioshock is because I can't tell you anything that you don't already know. Yes, it's got a great plot. Yes, it's a highly original setting. Yes, it's difficult to find fault in its presentation. Yes, it's an excellent experience.
It's an excellent experience that also happens to be a first person shooter and as such, I feel that certain quarters are overlooking some glaring omissions, the most notable one being that it�s not a particularly great first person shooter.
I know, this has been touched upon before and will no doubt enrage the 'it's all about the atmosphere' crew (who probably used to whine on about how gameplay is more important than graphics) and I have to agree that the atmosphere is sublime, but just as we take the wonderful world around us for granted, so too will you begin to take Rapture for granted and then what are we left with? Mechanics.
Poor AI? Check. Repetitive combat? Check. Repetitive environments? Check. A myriad of power ups that look great in reality but in practice you find a couple of 'bread and butter' moves that remove any sense of adventure? Check. Find yourself just running up to folk and bashing them with the powered-up wrench instead of using one single gun for the entire last third of the game? Check. Insanely easy even on the hardest setting? Check. Infinite lives like some stupid kids game? Check. Re-spawning enemies? Check. Kind of just waiting for it to finish instead of willing it to never be over? Check.
You get the picture.
There's no denying that Bioshock raises that bar in many areas and raises it well, but the simple fact of the matter is that, as a shooter (or rather as an example of it's chosen genre), it's at best old-school and at worst severely lacking.
Metroid Prime, Halo and Half-Life are games that manage to tick all the right creative and atmospheric boxes without neglecting their genre (better still, they did so whilst pushing forward their genre).
Deus Ex, Darkness and Bioshock are games that deserve your respect and push forward certain ingredients but leave you asking 'what the hell were they thinking, neglecting the most basic 'shooter' mechanics?'
Until someone is brave enough to make a 'first person adventure' without guns, it's a question I'll no doubt be asking again in the near future.
7 / 10