Bioshock: Game of the year?

Even people who don’t play video games have heard of the BioShock series. The reason for that is because it’s a legitimately good game.

The game is set in an alternate reality – specifically, in an underwater city called “Rapture” that has long been filled with brainless, drug addicted mutants called “Splicers”.

Glen Creeber and Royston Martin, authors of “Digital Culture: Understanding New Media,” saw the first BioShock game as a true art form. The ending is as complex and philosophical as any book in bookstores today. The game itself will shock even those who have played it, and the subsequent games have yet to disappoint.

An image from the Bioshock 2 game. Image from Creative Commons.
An image from the Bioshock 2 game. Image from Creative Commons.

Without getting into the details, BioShock 2 takes the setting of the first game, streamlines the game play and makes you feel sympathy for characters you never thought you’d care for. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the two games, it’s rather impossible to give an in-depth review of BioShock 2 without giving away spoilers for the first game.

The third game, BioShock Infinite, has yet to reach a plateau in terms of popularity. Set in the age of American Exceptionalism, BioShock Infinite takes place in floating city called Columbia under the control of a despotic dictator named Comstock. The main character, Elizabeth, is a girl whose only memories of the outside world are from her strange ability to tear holes into reality. Unfortunately, there is a mercenary hired to kidnap her named Booker.

The game play of Infinite shows significant improvement from the two previous games. The incorporation of Elizabeth, as a non-player character, that helps you along the storyline is revolutionary for the game series. The plot’s also a lot more fun than the previous two games, despite becoming highly political in certain places. Unlike in the previous BioShock games, the player may find it difficult to develop sympathy for the opposing side, especially with the repugnant, rampant racism typical of that era.

The ties to BioShock and BioShock 2 are tenuous at best until the end, and (without providing spoilers) even then they only exist within the confines of Elizabeth’s character. The existence of Columbia, coupled with the initial opening scene, provides slight references to Rapture from the two previous games. It’s clear from the opening scene, however, that Rapture may not even exist in this reality, let alone in the time period. In the context of the plot, Rapture is best left forgotten when playing BioShock.

The game play of the BioShock series is a little difficult to manage if you don’t know how to play first-person shooters, so it’s usually best to cut your teeth on games like Left4Dead before trying out BioShock. If you’re a gamer who hasn’t played BioShock yet, the games are a treat. The first game is about $20 on Steam, so get it if you can!

This series gets 5 out of 5 stars.