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Bioshock – Into the Gem Vault

Bioshock is an FPS horror game, released in 2007. It is a spiritual successor to the slightly older System Shock series, being produced by much of the same team. This game spawned 2 sequels, a remaster, and formed a pretty solid fanbase.

You can get some more details from PC Gamer here but there is also confirmation of a new game. So with some kind of “Bioshock 4” at least in the works, what a good time to take a look back!

So, would you kindly read what I’ve written about Bioshock?

What’s the message?

Set in the fictional underwater utopia of Rapture, created by one Andrew Ryan, the gist is that Mr Ryan reaaaaaaally doesn’t like to pay taxes. So, instead of just paying taxes yearly, he bankrolls the creation of a gigantic city deep under the ocean. Makes sense… kinda.

bioshock rapture

In Rapture, people like scientists have much less red tape to hold them down. Allowing them to basically do whatever they want, without consequences. They can do things like messing with little girls or surgically attaching an old diving suit to a guy. You know, normal things that would definitely benefit all of mankind… 

More useful though are the Plasmids. These little suckas can be injected by a person to alter their genetic code. Literally altering your DNA so that YOU CAN SHOOT LIGHTNING FROM YOUR HAND. Also you can shoot fire, gain telekinesis, or most importantly shoot bees from your hand… Look, it’s all very odd but just go with it.

As anyone could really have realistically predicted, things go horribly wrong. It turns out that tampering with the DNA of everybody within Rapture has caused some issues. To put it lightly, as everyone is now disfigured and deranged and the whole underwater city is on fire. So everything is fine.

This is where you come in, after a big ol’ plane crash by a lighthouse that takes you to Rapture. You take a kind of diving orb thing to make your way down to Rapture. When you arrive, things are already not great, a helpful bloke comes to get you out of the pod. Great guy really… he dies, obviously.

Oh daddy

A man named Atlas, whom you have been radioing wants to get out of Rapture with you. He has asked, would you kindly go and get his family too. Shenanigans ensue.

Whatcha doin’?

Bioshock is a first person shooter, for better or worse. It’s focused around 2 main combat types, guns and plasmids. You have all of your weapons, like a revolver, shotgun, and my fave, the tommy gun. Then you also have the plasmids, that I mentioned above. These can be used to set enemies on fire, shock them and the like.

Plasmids come in passive versions too, giving you passive buffs along your jaunt through Rapture. Ones like improving your hacking abilities, or ones that make your wrench do more damage.

Most of your time is spent fighting your way through each department of Rapture. Beset by countless former residents of the city, constantly in danger and mostly alone. It’s honestly such an absolutely terrible place to have to explore. I mean that as a compliment as well, it has a similar feeling to the Ishimura from Dead Space. Just less walking corpses, more mask wearing, hook handed psychos.

bioshock whoopies

The combat mostly is pretty clunky, especially with basically all the guns. Without having an effective ADS, all weapons having ridiculous recoil, and slow reloading. That makes it sound really bad and it technically is, however in my opinion it makes the experience better. You’re more on edge, trying to be more careful because it’s easy to get caught with your pants down.

This follows on into the biggest threats in Bioshock, the Big Daddies. These hulking men in bronzen diving suits are the strongest denizens of Rapture. Fighting them can be insanely tough, taking up all of your ammo and healing items. The rewards are great though, being able to harvest or save a little sister to gain Adam. Giving you more points to upgrade your different plasmids.

What do I like so much?

The biggest thing for me is the general horror aesthetic in Bioshock. It’s not exactly Resident Evil or Silent Hill with the horror but it’s not friendly either. Everywhere you go, there’s nothing but dark hallways, shadows moving, and everything trying to kill you. This feeling of trepidation is surprisingly not overshadowed by the inclusion of literal superpowers.

Then there’s Rapture itself. As you first descend from the lighthouse, it is enthralling. It has an Atlantis feel, with it being an underwater city but with that “modern” look. It’s a fantastic looking city, or at least it was before all the bad stuff of course.

Bioshock fontaine finished

This is something that cannot be talked about without spoiling it but I wrote about it before. So here’s what I’ll do, the main villain in Bioshock is great. If you want to read about why, then read my article about it here. This way, if you don’t want to be spoiled, you don’t have to!

Finally, my favourite thing in Bioshock are the Big Daddies. As I mentioned above, they are the biggest threat in Rapture. What I like even more about them, is that they’re non-hostile until you attack them. Unlike most games, where everything stronger than you is trying to kill you, Big Daddies aren’t. They’re only desire is to protect the Little Sisters and that’s it. Not to mention their full introduction, where you get to watch as a Splicer is beaten to a pulp. All this goes on whilst you’re on the other side of some glass and it is brutal.

What does it all mean?

In the end, Bioshock is one of the best, if a little clunky, gaming experiences of the Xbox 360 era. I say 360 because that’s where I played it originally. It even holds up today, especially with the remasters on previous gen consoles. Having just played it again recently on the Xbox Series X, it’s still one hell of a game.

You should be able to play the remaster on Xbox, Playstation, PC, and even Switch. If, for some totally not good enough reason, you haven’t played it yet, do yourself a favour. Plunge into the depths of Rapture and experience this absolute must-play classic. There is literally no way you can regret it, it’s such an incredible game.

Bioshock lighthouse

In my personal opinion, of the 3 Bioshock games, the first is the best. The others just do not capture the same intense unease of your first trip to Rapture. Now we just have to wait god knows how long for Bioshock 4. Here’s hoping it takes more from the first game than anything else!! 

Bioshock – Into the Gem Vault.

Written by Kyle Munn.

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