BioShock Review

RPG Codex has a pretty belated review of 2K Games’ BioShock, and they sure didn’t like it much.

While there is an in-story explanation it simply doesn’t work as a believable game concept. That is, if they only work on certain people as explained in-game, why would they be all over town? Why not just have the one in that special person’s office? The other problem is how come people are trying to kill me if I can just pop right back in a Vita-Chamber? Don’t they realise I’m going to win? If I was facing an unkillable respawning enemy, I’d sure as hell be thinking about surrendering. In short, it actually makes you question the brilliantly designed world… until you realise that it’s a device designed for the mentally challenged gamer who, after playing BioShock for an hour or two, just no longer gives a shit.

Like Prey and many other first-person shooters, it seems death is too much of a chore these days and it needs to be removed at all cost (in this category are Crysis which had auto re-generating health suits and Doom 3’s magic healing cube). The problem is, that cost is the “care factor” you have when it comes to dealing with enemies. Simply put, why should you bother trying to save your own life when you’re only going to pop back alive a few seconds later and not very far away (Vita-Chambers are literally everywhere)? Imagine fighting the CyberDemon in Doom if you could just get your health back (oh wait, they did that in Doom 3 with that stupid cube). The point is, it removes the challenge, it removes the fun.

Lure a Big Daddy outside of a Vita-Chamber and what would’ve been a challenging and fun gun / Plasmid fight to the death using up all your first-aid kits, just becomes a case of whacking him repeatedly with the wrench until he dies. He’ll kill you several times but you’ll just pop right back. You don’t even need to try. Because of this, you eventually cease to care about death as a consequence and sadly, death is used everywhere in the game. Found an instant-death trap that if you aren’t careful enough, you’ll set it off? Don’t worry, just set it off, die and come back with the trap safely de-activated. Accidentally set off the alarm and you’ve now got security copters annoying you? Just let them kill you. You’ll pop right back at the nearest Vita-Chamber with pretty much full health and the alarm will have de-activated. There are even explosive barrels about the place which cause massive damage to bad guys, like Big Daddies. So what do you do in a game with unlimited lives? You stand right next to them, wait for the Big Daddy to get near and you shoot the barrels. It’s instant death for you and some massive damage for the Big Daddy.

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