I wasn’t planning to play anything other than hidden object games this month…but along came the first person shooter, BioShock, and as it turns out, it was a worthwhile deviation!
You are in a plane that suddenly crashes into the ocean. Wading your way through the burning jet fuel you come upon a lighthouse, and you think “thank God!” But, soon enough, those thoughts change to “OMG!” as you are under attack by mutant zombie-like creatures. Suddenly you have the ability to shoot fire from your fingertips and are armed with a large wrench.
You hurry into an open elevator which takes you down into an underwater city called Rapture. This city looks like something out of 1950s New York: the buildings are in an art deco style, and iconography reminiscent of a long lost era. Music from Bobby Darin and Bing Crosby play. The interiors of buildings are “under glass” and interconnected by tubes underwater. Whales and other marine life swim by the windows. Stepping out of the elevator, Rapture has the appearance of a dream-like magical utopia. But, something isn’t quite right about this place…and you soon discover this city’s name should be changed to “Rupture”as it is in complete decline. Those interconnected tubes are leaking water. The “town-folk” for the most part have mutated into an un-dead state and are out to kill you. Meanwhile figures in old-fashioned Jacques Cousteau diving suits protect possessed little girls and do so at all cost. And finally, there are people trying to tell you stuff about the history of Rapture, and what you are supposed to be doing. What an unsettling and surreal experience. This was the first 20 minutes of BioShock, people!
The rest of the four hours I spent on the game that evening were a total blur, aside for a brief pee break when I noticed the dark clouds in the distance, and later the violent thunderstorm that blew through my town. Severe weather normally distracts me to the point I have my head pressed against the glass, taking pics and watching the sky above. Not this time – no. Not with BioShock on the tube and the Xbox 360 controller in my hands. I was riveted. Every evening for a solid week was spent playing this game.
BioShock was one of those games that I stumbled upon more by encouragement than by accident. It started when the hubs asked me if I would like to participate in a game of the month project, called the Cartridge Club. A group of gamers choose one game of the month to play. At the end of the month the group reports back on their experiences. The Club is overseen by the Cartridge Bros, two brothers from Halifax, Nova Scotia who are into gaming and have their own YouTube channel. The hubs has been a part of their community for a while now. Several gamers from the Cartridge Club followed my Mass Effect diary, and encouraged me to join the club. I agreed to join to maybe expose myself to different kinds of games. This month’s Cartridge Club game is BioShock and shortly after I agreed to join the team, the hubs got so excited that next thing I knew, I was riding shotgun on the road to the nearest EB Games to get the Xbox 360 version (because a lady deserves her own copy of course!).
The game is gorgeous and much care was put into the environment. No stone was left unpolished. The music was atmospheric and really set a mood. I have read where other gamers consider BioShock a scary game; I definitely wouldn’t say it was scary. Creepy, yes definitely. I found this game surprisingly forgiving with a lot of room to screw up. I was playing it on the easiest setting, but I have played other games that were much harder, which leads me to conclude that either the games are getting easier, or I am getting better at them. From my experiences with Mass Effect and Borderlands, switching and managing my weapons was not a problem at all. Gaming first person shooters is getting easier for me, thank goodness. It’s all about the experience!
I am not going to delve too far into BioShock’s plot, except to say it was a tangle that I found a bit confusing without my friend Wikipedia (haha). There are voiceovers that tell the player elements of the story and what to do, but often I didn’t catch them because I was too busy kicking some mutant’s ass to listen. So much goes on in BioShock that grabs your attention – it’s hard to multitask in this game. There is a whole back story you can follow too, by collecting audio logs in the game which can be played and replayed in the menu system. I am sure I missed several of them, and thankfully I didn’t feel like they were necessary to the overall enjoyment of the game. I loved BioShock, and I feel it deserves another play-through which I look forward to in the future.