If you’re a fan of Single player story games, it is likely you have heard of the Bioshock franchise. These games sparked a new life in the dystopian game market, and they are still worth playing to this day. With the first game releasing in 2008 and altering how we view horror forever, this article aims to highlight the beauty and elegance of this steampunk world, whilst also noting the drawbacks.
To kick off the series we begin in Rapture, a society that has fallen due to its greed and ideologies. Led by Andrew Ryan, Rapture was meant to become a utopia, built under the sea and untouched by other civilisations. However as soon as we step into Rapture we can see its demise. The place is overrun with splicers (people who have gone insane in Rapture), Big daddies and little sisters. The place is in pandemonium. This game was one of the first games I properly played from start to finish and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. The environment and world of rapture is done perfectly, to the point where it feels as though you truly are in this distorted place, and that makes it so unsettling.
The combat in Bioshock as a whole feels absolutely brutal, and it makes it thrilling. Going from the use of pistols and wrenches, to the magic of Vigors and how they alter your entire perspective of the world really immerses you in your journey. Furthermore the sound design of Rapture creaking and groaning, to the sound of your wrench embedding itself in a splicer, It is brilliant. The horror and storytelling in this game isn’t too cliché but super unsettling and altogether disturbing. I screamed at one too many hidden Big Daddies and I’m not afraid to admit that.
The next instalment of the Bioshock series is Bioshock 2. Set in Rapture again, this game was thrilling to many people. However there was also a number of people, including myself, who didn’t think the game was as strong. For a lot of people Bioshock 2 was a reskin of the first game, just with a new narrative. I still believe however it is worth playing for the following reasons.
Firstly, the story is moving and the characters brilliantly designed. Each standoff between characters will leave you wanting more. This is due to the relationships built as you wander through rapture as a Big daddy. As I mentioned becoming a Big Daddy, I love the decision to do this. This adds a whole new dynamic to the game because this time you are higher up on the food chain, and you are made aware of it. You can slice into enemies with the giant drill you once ran from, whilst also running away from the spider-like big sisters. This game brought a lot to the Bioshock franchise, and although it at first feels too similar to the first, it does have a lot of unique concepts which make it worth playing.
Bioshock Infinite changed the style of the Bioshock games, and personally I love it. It still has the backwards and dystopian feel of Rapture, but in the bright and beautiful Columbia instead. You start the game as Booker DeWitt who has been told to find a girl and bring her back from Columbia. Easy right? Not quite. As you attempt to find Elizabeth you are labelled a false Shepard who is prophesised to be the doom of Columbia. So naturally you are hunted down by everyone. To me this game is stunning.
As you progress through the game, you notice that it isn’t too different to Rapture. Apart from its location and appearance, a lot of it’s ideals are the same. These metaphors and motifs make the game so intriguing and topical today and it really elevates the game. Alongside this, you get a partner in crime, and your bond with them is heart-warming. The new Vigors (Plasmids) are beautiful and each animation gave me chills as you watch them cover your arms.
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