Up until a little while ago I thought that Lockdown Gaming posts were done and dusted but here we are. Unfortunately we are now entering a different flavour of lockdown this time around, though one which is required all the same. I won’t go further into this topic as it is saturating the news and the Internet at this point in time, but the overall mood of this week has been a pretty lousy one and I started thinking about hitting the games again to lift my spirits.
The game I’ve been playing as my main just now has been Bioshock, or Bioshock Remastered (I guess? I don’t know, it’s part of the Collection, so I assume so?), and this marks the third time that I have seriously put the hours in with this game. The first time was with the original over 10 years ago and became fairly frustrated. I played again a few years back and enjoyed it enough to see it through. This time, I just wanted something creepy to play, and on this occasion everything just clicked.
While it doesn’t seem like I’m giving this classic its due, in the grand scheme it’s mainly just down to poor timing on my part. Bioshock was originally released in 2007 and passed me by at the time, being a title that I picked up years after and felt even then that it was somewhat dated. I’ve grown up (somehow) since then and can appreciate the masterful nature of the environment, the characters, and the story, which is delivered mostly (and masterfully) through audio logs.
The premise has been written and described numerous times, so I’ll be brief. Following your plane going down in the sea, you end up in the underwater city of Rapture, a sprawling cityscape torn apart by civil war and now populated with the remaining psychopathic inhabitants known as Splicers. Addicted to the substance ADAM, the Splicers are vicious and unpredictable, turning the elegant halls of Rapture into a bloody horror show. And that’s really all I’m going to divulge, though I will say that Bioshock builds the tension so well with every aspect of its design, especially from a voice acting and audio design standpoint. The environment is so chilling and tragic, the Art Deco beauty of the city being a distant memory as locations lie partially flooded, collapsed or smeared in blood.
One thing that I love about the series in general is the mix of gunplay and powers that you can weave into combat. The environmental effects are one of the game’s strong points and makes for some exciting conflicts, such as zapping enemies with a shock plasmid while they stand in water, or using an incinerate plasmid to melt ice around the level and thaw out a door. The ability to fine-tune your character through upgrades that offer various perks gives you the chance to make a build that is all your own too, and tweaking these throughout the story was rewarding and felt weighty.
If I had any gripes with the game it is mostly down to the ‘juggling’ you do with your weapons in one hand and plasmids in the other; Jack can only have one hand on-screen at any one time, making the player switch between them in combat. This makes sense because some of the guns are two-handed, like the machine gun and shotgun, but it feels like an odd design choice when you start playing.
Also, there are some irritating bugs present with the game’s difficulty dropping in secret for no reason; I played through on hard mode and figured that I was just getting stronger as I reached the last boss, only to find that the game had knocked itself down to medium. At the end of the day though, these issues were minor and didn’t sour the overall experience that I thought was a remarkably positive one.
That’s all for this post, anyway. If you have any thoughts on Bioshock or indeed the Bioshock Collection then feel free to let me know. Until then, stay safe and take care.