While BioShock is a first-person shooter, the game’s two best features are its storyline and stylistic innovations. The game is set in a massive underwater city called Rapture, a utopian society where scientists, artists and other great minds work unhindered by common morality. But something goes horribly wrong, as your character — the sole survivor of a plane crash near Rapture’s entrance — discovers. Rapture is in chaos, with most of its inhabitants either dead or genetically warped by a substance called ADAM. The game provides an assortment of awesome weapons and powers to help unravel the mysteries behind Rapture.

The game has an immeasurable amount of style (it’s set in 1960, and features matching architecture and music), but also forces you to think about certain aspects of humanity and morality. The whole concept of the hidden city of intellectuals comes primarily from Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, an idea that’s solidified both by references to Rand’s work and Rapture’s ties to the philosophy of Objectivism.

BioShock is an important game simply for what it means in the gaming community — it is an engaging, mature, adult work that addresses complex philosophical concepts, while remaining one of the coolest and most enjoyable games I have played all year. It blends higher art with what many consider to be the low art of video games.

While the game is an immensely fun landmark, it does have some flaws. The cut scenes at the beginning and end of the game seem underdeveloped. While the fighting is enjoyable, there isn’t much variety in the enemies, and the weapons you receive later in the game are not strong enough to deal with your foes. But despite any problems, I give my wholehearted recommendation — the choice is yours. As Andrew Ryan, founder of Rapture says, “A man chooses. A slave obeys.”

-Andrew Wright


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