PS3 Reviews: Bioshock Review

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Bioshock Review

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Replay Value:



Overall Rating:       9.3



Online Gameplay:

Not Rated


2K Games


2K Marin

Number Of Players:

1 Player



Release Date:

October 21, 2008

The name Bioshock brings up some really heated debates among gamers. It was arguably last year's biggest and best game as it swept internet videogame forums and websites left and right, submerging gamers into one of the most dense atmospheres a videogame has ever seen. And it's no surprise that the end result was so popular, seeing as how the developers of Bioshock were also the same group of folk that gave us the System Shock games. Years ago, Bioshock was originally announced to be in development for all next generation consoles, which meant both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game would later be announced as an X360 exclusive, but rumors of a PlayStation 3 version never died.

Considering that development was well underway for the PS3 version before the exclusivity, it made little sense for 2K Games to just cancel the project and we kept reaffirming our readers that the game is still on its way. Tidbits and rumors from magazines would emerge saying the same, despite 2K denying it. We eventually got wind that a PS3 announcement is imminent, and that turned out to be true. Fast forward past the deluge of insanity that ensued after the X360 lost perhaps its biggest exclusive and we're here. Having had the final copy of the game for weeks now, I've played the game thoroughly to tell you that the hype is well worth it. Admittedly, I never purchased an Xbox 360 simply due to fears of its build quality, so I never played Bioshock prior to this.

So after spending many hours with the game, I've come away extremely impressed, habitually blurting out "brilliant" during every one of my sessions with it. What separates Bioshock from other first person games is one of many things. For starters, there is no reliance on firepower as a means of killing and progressing through the game. That is not to say that there are no weapons in the game, there are quite a number of them, it's just that shooting to kill isn't the only way to get things done in the game.

In addition to handguns, shotguns, and the sort, there are also objects you can pick up and use during melee confrontations. You'll often see various objects on the floor that you have the option of picking up and carrying around as a melee weapon. You can see the object as much as you want, so don't worry about it breaking like some other first-person games with melee combat. And to add to that, a third combat mechanic grants you the ability to use Plasmids, a powerful psionic force that lets the player expel shots of electricity, fire, telekinetically grab/throw objects and more.

The cool thing about Plasmids is how intuitive using them feels. For example, you can shoot a charge of electricity onto a pool or just a puddle of water, and it'll electrocute any nearby enemies. You can take that one step further by setting an enemy on fire near a pool of water. If you do so, what usually happens is the enemy will try to use the water to put the flames out. In that instance, here's where you switch your Plasmid selection and charge the water with electricity to electrocute the enemy. It's a cool little trick I've heard and read about, and it's even cooler to pull it off. So yes, the attention to detail in Bioshock is that spectacular.

Another facet of this game that makes it so brilliant is its atmosphere, as I'm sure you may have heard before. No other first-person game takes you to a world that is so...unique. In other first-person games, you're either in the modern-day world or some sort of brooding environment possessed by the supernatural and your objective is to shoot mindlessly. Bioshock changes that, as it boasts an atmosphere that is so rich and enticing that it immerses unlike any other first-person game. Instead of running and gunning, you'll stop and look around to appreciate the demolished beauty of this underworld. But you'll also stop and listen to any unusual activity, because practicing caution is something you'll want to do when you're walking through Rapture.

An important aspect of Bioshock are the bits of technology scattered around, be it a vending machine or a bot. These objects can be hacked into, allowing you to utilize them for your own good. For example, hacking a damaged security bot will reprogram it to help you during your quest; the bot will hover around you and fend off nearby threats by shooting at them at will. Another example are the vending machines, which, when hacked, will display more items for purchase, as well as significantly reduced prices. The hacking mechanics will require you to link a set of pipes together, allowing the flow of water to successfully go from one end to another without interruption. While simple, there are twists to the mechanic such as only having two pipes at your disposal at any time, and picking up another pipe angle will require you to explore the board. The other twist is that the water is flowing, so you don't have all the time in the world; you have to think fast, otherwise if the water spills, the hack ends and you endure damage. If you've ever played the game PipeDream, it's very much the same concept.

My gripe with Bioshock is that, while yes, it's a superb single-player game, its offering ends just about there. There are no multiplayer modes to speak of, so if you're looking for a game where you can play through the story and then keep playing it online, Bioshock isn't that game. What you can do to extend the experience is one of two thigs: wait for the Challenge Rooms to be made available, or play the game on the all new Survivor Difficulty mode. Playing the game in Survivor greatly changes the difficulty by diminishing the amount of money and ammo you pick up, thus the difficulty's description of "every bullet counts."

Visually, while the game engine is about 18 months old and there are better looking PS3 games out there, Bioshock is still a superb looking port marred by nothing more than just a few nit-picky issues. It's worth noting that I didn't find Bioshock to be a visual tour de force last year, so pardon me if I don't come off as excited about its technical prowess. With the visuals, the one thing everyone is dying to know is just how well the game stacks up to the X360 version. Well, there are trade-offs. For the PlayStation 3 version, the game no longer has any screen-tearing when the enhanced framerate option is enabled - this is in contrast to the X360 version. Furthermore, with the enhanced framerate on, the engine renders 60 frames per second more consistently than the X360 version did, which would often drop below 50fps. As far as what was sacrificed, the PS3's Bioshock has marginally lower texture quality in some places. The differences in texture detail between both games is really small, and considering the trade-offs and that this is also a port, Bioshock for the PS3 is still every bit as impressive as the X360 version.

The audio boasts an immense sense of the game's atmosphere, as Bioshock's Rapture comes to life with a haunting aural presentation. I highly urge the game to be played with a proper audio setup, but if you can't spoil yourself with a proper audio setup, then at the very least pick up a pair of high-end headphones that are capable of replicating surround sound to give you the effect of being right there in the environment. Voice acting is also superb, but surprisingly, the game isn't that heavy on it, which is unusual for such a great story -- but that is just a testament to how well done Bioshock is.

Bioshock is one of the most superbly haunting and unique gaming experiences you will play for a long time. If you've wodered what the hype was all about, then wonder no more. Now that Bioshock is available for the PS3 and not just the X360, there is no reason why you shouldn't own a copy today. With an amazing story, diverse gameplay, brilliant atmosphere, solid visuals, and incredible audio, Bioshock is one of the most complete adventures out there. All that we ask to see from the sequel is a multiplayer mode. If you're on the fence about this port, well jump down with your wallet in hand. Bioshock for the PlayStation 3 is a terrific experience that you must not miss out on. No other first-person game has an atmosphere like this and with such fantastic attention to detail.

10/18/2008 Arnold Katayev

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (28 posts)

Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 11:16:26 AM

I seen the Ryan guy temptin me to buy this game but i still feel it's old,if it was new,i would have.
"there is no reason why you shouldn't own a copy today".
Arnold can you send me a free copy,cause i honestly don't wanna spend money on this.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 12:42:09 PM

I gotta agree man, they should have released it at a lower price, maybe as a greatest hits release. I mean, it sold like a zillion copies on 360 already right? lol

I loved the demo and am totally looking forward to playing, but will wait.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 11:26:36 AM

Ghana, you don't know what you are missing. I know $60 is a lot for a 1 year old game, but Bioshock delivers a grear adventure. If you don't belive the reviews, go and give it a rent.

You'll be amazed

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 12:01:30 PM

That would be cool if they had multiplayer in Bio2. Especially if they made a mode where the Big Daddy was incorporated somewhere!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 12:56:15 PM

I would buy it but I have it for the PC already. Amazing game though :) If you haven't played it, pick it up for sure.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 1:21:03 PM

I'm in the same boat. I also got it for PC when it first released so I will not be buying it again. But for those who haven't ventured through Rapture, this is an amazing game that you must experience. Though I still prefer their previous offering, System Shock :) And I don't understand how people say they wont buy it since it's a one year old game. When people are paying $80 for ten year old games on Ebay, that excuse gets you nowhere with me lol.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 1:40:41 PM

Agreed, it's new to me.

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Deleted User
Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 1:57:22 PM

why is it still $60? i'll just stick to my 360 version.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 2:13:54 PM

Why is there an option to enable enhanced frame-rate to reach 60fps? Do you sacrafice visual quallity for enhanced frame-rate? Or is it the same with enhanced fps? If its the same texture quality then why would anyone have it on less frames per second?

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 3:05:20 PM

Man I hate not being prepared, but wasn't there some other game that came to PS3 later and the company was kind enough to offer it at a reduced price? Whichever it was I think that's a reason people don't want to pay full price: precedent. At any rate I hope Bio2 is better cuz (Dont flame me) the demo had me seeing a great story wrapped around a typical gimmicky FPS, and a candybar with raisins is still full of fruit. (Thats for you halloween fans) Too many new games, I'll be waiting on the bargain bin myself.

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Tim Speed24
Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 3:53:27 PM

Not buying it. Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3 are almost better spent.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 6:15:30 PM

OMG Im so tempted to get it now....argghh................................................

cause i got LBP and dead space on my list!! and im dont wanna spend to much cash on games. aghhhhhhh

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 6:30:31 PM

i know this is kinda out of topic. but i don;t see any news about heavy rain anymore.. lol

maybe the fact that so many great games are being released this month that everyone forgot about it. =D

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 7:28:29 PM

Okay i hear y'all,Bioshock is cool

motorstorm PACIFIC RIFT is sumn else maaan,am luvin the demo,graphics have been improved,this is not to say the first had bad graphics,but it's now better.This gives me a reason not to purchase Bioshock.Pacific Rift all the way.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 8:09:14 PM

I don't think Pacific Rift is that good, I was disappointed in the demo. I won't be buying it!


"I aM HoMe"

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 8:27:28 PM

Man all of you act like some stubborn folks, "looks weird, Im not buying, Money better spent." Come on, we all have our opinions, but jeez must some of you act like that. Personally Im getting Motorstorm, Fallout 3, and Bioshock. Never played Bioshock all the way through, and i think it's well worth the price tag considering they gave us new content and the game is worth it. I understand it's not everyone's cup o' tea, but cut it out with the snobbery 'tudes guys.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 9:45:37 PM

I'm new here and I just got myself a PS3. I've had the 360 since launch. I have Bioshock on 360 and played the demo on PS3. The graphics should not be a deal breaker if it's the main thing peeps that are on the fence here are worrying about. Each version has their strengths and to tell you the's negligible. This is a gaming experience not to be missed. Think about it. You are thrown in an effed up place where morality has been thrown out the window and you are forced to survive by any means necessary. Unbelievable when playing with surround sound. I still here the voices of those damn splicers in my head. Buy it, you won't regret it!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 10:36:06 PM

LittleBIGPlanet need I say more

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Saturday, October 18, 2008 @ 11:59:51 PM

I HAVE DECIDED.. im getting this game :D woohoo.. ill buy LBP for next month. huhu

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Sunday, October 19, 2008 @ 2:44:31 AM

you guys need to do a review for Dead Space, THAT GAME has renewed my faith in EA to make awesome new IPS. Yup, its that good

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Sunday, October 19, 2008 @ 4:58:48 AM

Bought Bioshock ps3 version on friday an im luving every bit awesome game an great review arnold.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008 @ 8:53:02 AM

Amazing review! I should be getting my copy in the mail on either Monday or Tuesday. Can't wait!

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Sunday, October 19, 2008 @ 10:17:32 AM

yeh, got mine today.... and head phones are essential! unless you have a decent surround sound going on.

so far its an amazing game!

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Monday, October 20, 2008 @ 6:59:17 AM

Good review, im really enjoying the game, however is it me or is our character a midget? Does anyone else notice this?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008 @ 5:57:07 PM

I think when I got the Telepathy power...I pretty much stopped using everything against the normal guys except tossing stuff in their faces lol. Fun stuff, I never knew that you could pull those traps out of the walls and replace them until I saw the PS3 Bioshock trailer after you play the demo it shows you likes tips and such. Cool stuff!

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Friday, October 24, 2008 @ 10:41:40 AM

So happy to be playing this finally. Great game. Hacking is so much better on the ps3, the xbox d-pad is woefull.

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aV muse
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 @ 5:49:34 AM

Pff this game is over-rated, played once on the xbox and it's replayability is more like a 7 or 6.5, since you would want to do it again for a higher difficulty. An 8 should usually be for a multiplayer game like COD4 or RPG.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009 @ 3:20:11 PM

I'm really not ready to return to Rapture. I beat it on Xbox like 3 times.

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