BioShock is a first-person shooter which includes elements from role-playing and survival horror games. BioShock was released for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows, developed by 2K Boston (which would later become Irrational Games). BioShock is the spiritual successor to System Shock 2. The game was influenced by utopian and dystopian literature, and the conflicts and challenges of the modern world, such as stem-cell research.
While the game will run on an AMD Radeon X1300, the X1550 chipset is not supported. While BioShock enjoyed a Mac OS X release, this version is not currently available on the Steam platform.
BioShock is a first-person shooter with aspects of survival horror and RPG games. The player collects weapons, health packs, and Plasmids which give him special powers such as telekinesis or electro-shock, while fighting off the deranged population of the underwater city of Rapture. Plasmids also allows the player to manipulate the AI and use the environment in combat. Rapture is an underwater utopia created after World War II. The player can use stealth to slip by security cameras and foes, and has the ability to hack into security stations to turn automated drones to his side.
The resources in the game are ADAM, EVE, and Money. ADAM is a genetic material used for character growth, EVE allows the use of Active Plasmids. EVE is similar to Mana in an RPG game. Money, in the form of U.S. Dollars, allows the player to purchase weapons, upgrades, and ammunition, as well as 'buying off' security bots and turrets.
The player is also able customize his abilities as well as his weapons through the use of Plasmids. These plasmids are grouped under Weaponry, Engineering, Active, and Physical trees. There are also plasmids that gives the player abilities to enhance himself by making him stealth or move faster, and these are referred to as Tonics. The plasmid powers also have the ability to interact with the environment. For example Incinerate can set enemies on fire and will send them running to water to put it out, ElectroBolt shocks all enemy who are in the same pool of water, and Telekinesis can pick up any objects not nailed to the ground and allows the player to catch and throw back grenades.
Players can customize weapons by: having bigger magazines, augmenting fire-power, and using different kinds of ammunition. If the player dies or quits the game in BioShock he will respawn at the nearest Vita Chamber once the game is loaded.
- The player is able to manipulate and exploit the AI
- Interactive environment
- Biologically modify your body with plasmids and tonics, which can be used for a strategical advantage, such as summoning bees to attack enemies, or to send bolts of electricity shooting through your hand.
- Upgrade and change your weapons and ammunition
In 1946, Andrew Ryan built Rapture, an underwater utopian metropolis in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Rapture was designed to be entirely self-supporting, with all of its electricity, food production, water purification and defense systems powered by undersea volcanic openings. In the early 1950s, Rapture's population peaked at several thousand and was composed of what Ryan viewed as the best examples of mankind. A large and tiered economy grows among the people, catering specific products to different levels of the society.
A young German scientist named Bridgette Tenebaum discovered a species of sea slug that had the ability to secrete pure stem cells. These cells can be used to enhance one's body, improving physical or mental capabilities as well as curing diseases and healing injuries. Tenebaum had been turned down by all respectable labs and needed a financial banker and supplies for her research. She later turned to Frank Fontaine, the leader of a smuggling ring inside Port Neptune, for finances. The discovery was said to have upset the balance of society.
The player assumes the role of Jack, a passenger on a plane that suddenly crashes near Rapture in 1960. Jack descends into Rapture using a bathysphere terminus vessel and discovers the city in chaos. One year earlier, genetic mutations had caused the population in the city to go insane, leaving a few survivors, called Splicers. The Splicers scavenge for ADAM, the genetic material used for growth, from dead corpses. As Jack arrives, a man named Atlas directs Jack to safety, communicating with him through a short-wave radio. Andrew Ryan watches Jack, contemplating that he may be a CIA or KGB agent, and sends his Splicer troops after him.
Atlas tells Jack that the only way he can survive is to inject himself with plasmids and use their abilities. Jack must also kill Little Sisters, whom are products of Dr. Tenenbaum's research that drain ADAM from the dead. He must get their ADAM, and use them to become more powerful. Dr. Tenenbaum, who is also watching Jack, tells him to only kill the sea slug on the Little Sisters and rescue the human girl within each Little Sister.
As Jack works his way through the city, he learns that Ryan's power was challenged by many groups before the collapse of this underwater society. Frank Fontaine, a mobster who smuggled goods into the city, had sufficient money, power, and supporters to fight against Ryan. Atlas was a leading political figure in an uprising group against Ryan. His wife and child were kidnapped from him and locked away in a bathysphere. The only way to free them would be with Jack's help. As Jack and Atlas arrive at the bathysphere, Ryan causes the bathysphere to explode.
Atlas tells Jack that he must kill Ryan. Jack moves through the wreckage to Ryan's residence,which is guarded by many Splicers. Jack eventually makes his way to Ryan and Ryan reveals that Jack was born in the Rapture. Using an audio diary, Ryan also reveals that Jack is Ryan's son and he was sold for a scientific experiment which trained him to be an assassin to perform and kill on verbal commands. Jack was trained by Fontaine and was given the instructions to hijack a plane, crash it near Rapture's surface entrance, and assassinate Ryan. Jack was then put into the surface world. Ryan demonstrates this by ordering Jack to kill him by using the phrase "Would you kindly...". At which point Jack realizes his entire "adventure" up until now was guided by that phrase.
Atlas then reveals to Jack that he is Fontaine. Since Ryan is dead, Fontaine no longer needs Jack and he leads Jack to the security system of Ryan's residence. Jack is later saved by Dr. Tenembaum, who undoes some of Fontaine's mental conditioning. After recovering from the attack, Dr. Tenembaum helps Jack undue the rest of the mental conditioning by guiding him to where Suchong (another of Rapture's gifted scientists and the mastermind behind Jack's mental conditioning) kept an antidote. Jack then uses a Big Daddy suit and follows the rescued Little Sisters through passages that only they can access and approaches Fontaine.
Fontaine then injects himself with all the ADAM that he had stored up and becomes a monster. Jack and the Little Sisters eventually defeat Fontaine by stabbing him with ADAM needles.
If the player rescues all the little sisters: The little sisters then all start jumping on Fontaine and start stabbing him with ADAM needles until he dies. The Little Sisters are shown leaving Rapture in a bathysphere. Tenenbaum goes on to explain that thanks to Jack, they can have a chance to live normal lives in the outside world and the screen shows a little sister's hand getting a diploma, receiving a ring, and holding a child's hand. The game ends after it shows Jacks hand on his death bed being held by five adult little sisters.
If the player kills any little sisters: The little sisters then all start jumping on Fontaine and start stabbing him with ADAM needles until he dies. Jack then is shown grabbing a little sister. The scene then changes to a submarine near by Rapture and Tenenbaum begins a monologue in which she discusses how disgusted she is with Jack for his brutality and lack of control by taking all the ADAM, implying that he killed the Little Sisters. Several bathyspheres then surround the submarine which is at the surface of the water. Splicers come out of the submarine and slaughters the submarine crew, and the camera shows a nuclear warhead on board before the game ends.
BioShock fans created a petition for a limited edition for BioShock on March 28, 2007 and 2K Games said that a Limited Edition would be released if there are 5000 signatures on the petition. In less than twenty-four hours, over 14,000 people and fans got to vote on The cult of Rapture website for what they wanted in the Limited edition. On April 23, 2007, the Cult of Rapture website confirmed the items included in the Collector's Edition. On May 18, 2007 the cover-art for the limited edition was released.
The BioShock Limited Edition included a BioShock "Big Daddy" Figurine, a soundtrack CD, and a behind the scenes DVD. The box features an embossed graphic designed by graphic competition winner Adam Meyer. The Limited Edition was released in North America and in Europe under the name BioShock: Collector's Edition.
BioShock was first developed by Irrational Games which was later acquired by Take-Two Interactive on January 9, 2006. Take Two then announced that they would be publishing BioShock under their 2K Games publishing label.
On April 27, 2006 the first official screenshot for BioShock was released. Ten more screenshots were released to Gamespot on May 9, 2006. At E3 2006 a demo of BioShock was shown.
On September 21, 2006 Ken Levine showed a demo which begins with the player being in a utopia-under-the-sea which called Rapture. It explained that Rapture was fine until a genetic material called Adam was discovered. The demo then shows a big daddy and explains that it is a genetically modified protector. Levine show off and explains the AI design for the big daddy and little sister. He explains that their job is to find Adam. Adam has the ability to enhance one's physical attributes and abilities. Levine explains that player is able to manipulate and exploit the AI. The environment is dynamic. The enemies are genetically modified humans and security bots. The interactive environment and the plasmid abilities were also shown off.
The first trailer was released on September 27, 2006. The trailer explained the setting and showed the city Rapture. Following the city the trailer showed a fight between a human and a big daddy.
On September 28, 2006, Take-Two Interactive announced that BioShock was exclusive to the Xbox 360 and the Games for Windows - LIVE digital platfirm. The second trailer was released on December 15, 2006. It features gameplay clips from the game.
On December 22, 2006 the BioShock official website went live.
On May 9, 2007 G4 X-Play interviewed Irrational Games' Creative Director, Ken Levine on BioShock. It featured the main concepts of the game.
On June 6, 2007 the box art of BioShock was revealed.
On June 8, 2007 2K Games released the third official movie, which features the Big Daddy and Little Sisters. On June 20, 2007, three short demos with director's commentary were released to GameSpot.
On July 6, 2007 Ken Levine shows a demo in which he goes through the same scenario in three different ways. The first time he enters the room and just tries to shoot all the enemies. The second time he uses the environment, resets traps and hacks turrets to his advantage. The third time he manipulates the Big Daddy into attacking his enemies for him. The requirements for BioShock were revealed on July 9, 2007.
On July 11, 2007 the third trailer for BioShock was released. This trailer featured the environmental aspects of the game and ends with the player fighting an enemy that is on fire.
On August 13, 2007 the BioShock art book became available for download.
On August 12, 2007 a free demo was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace. On August 20, 2007 a PC demo became available on Steam, Filefront, and FilePlanet. The demo contains the first 45 minutes of the game and includes a beginning cinematic that established a setting and beginning plot lines. The demo also introduced a few weapons, such as the pistol and the machine gun, along with powers that can be used by the main character, such as ElectroBolt and Incinerate; some of these would normally be found later in the game, but were added in the demo in order to give players a taste of the full game. The demo also contains different modes of play from easy to hard.
Irrational Games also released a television advertisement for BioShock on August 17, 2007 at 8-9PM on SpikeTV in the United States. The commercial featured the song Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin and starts by showing Jack, the main character falling into the ocean towards Rapture. Then, the scene changes to Jack fighting a Big Daddy with his weapon. After that the commercial shifts to Jack using plasmids to combat Splicers. The scene then skips to a big daddy and little sister being attacked by a security bot that Jack manipulated. The ad ends with the ocean and the words BioShock. The ad was 60 seconds long.
The ad caused anti-video game activist Jack Thompson to complain to the Federal Trade Commission that the game commercial was being played during family hour. Unfortunately for Jack Thompson, the ad was run during a commercial break for WWE Smackdown!, a professional wrestling programme.
BioShock: Breaking the Mold
BioShock: Breaking the Mold is an art book which was released for free on August 13, 2007 by 2K Games on their official website. The book is in PDF format and contains art from the game. It is available in high and low resolution. 2K Games has stated that a printed version of the art book will be sent to owners of broken Big Daddy figurines as compensation for the time it will take to replace them.
Most of the technical issues lie in the PC version of BioShock. The game uses Shader Model 3.0 for its graphic engine, which is unsupported by older graphics card. A user created work-around for graphics cards supporting Shader Model 2.0 was created by community members.
When BioShock was released, the client only allowed for two installations, and required an Internet connection in order to activate the product. After a five activation limit is reached, the user must manually activate the product again via telephone support due to a new version of the SecuROM protection system.
The content that SecuROM installed has caused problems running software such as Microsoft's Process Explorer and other games with similar protection systems. SecuROM also inserts null keys into the Registry which cannot be removed by using the Registry Editor. These registry keys will remain on the system even after BioShock and SecuROM are uninstalled.
2K Games has responded to the criticism by stating that a special-purpose pre-uninstallation utility that will refund activation slots to a user will be developed and made available in the future. If the yet-to-be-released application is not used before uninstalling the game, SecuROM considers the player to still be using the game, and the activation is unrecoverable without contacting SecuROM and sending them a picture of the DVD and the booklet with the CD key in order to get a new key or deactivate old installations.
SecuROM has also been reported to be responsible for a cancellation of a midnight release in Australia due to downtime of 2K Games' servers on August 23, 2007, as the game would be unplayable until the servers were back up.
BioShock has received a positive response from critics. The game was praised for its plot, environment, soundtrack, and audio effects. The combat system is smooth and open-ended which allows the player to use various tactics during combat. The game runs on Unreal Engine 3, and features stunning graphics, particularly the water effects, for which Irrational Games specifically hired a water programmer and water artist.
- Gamespot: 9.0/10
- IGN: 9.7/10 (press average 9.6)
- 1UP.com: 10/10
- PC GamerUK: 9.5
- Eurogamer: 10/10
- Game Informer: 10/10
- BigPond GameArena: 5/5
- Official Xbox Magazine: 10/10
On August 22, 2007 the New York Post reported that Take-Two Interactive's (TTWO) stock jumped nearly 10% on the strength of BioShock sales. BioShock also had reached #1 selling game on Amazon.com.
There are few points of criticism to BioShock. The recovery system through Vita-chambers, which restores the player's health but does not alter the enemies', may make the game too easy for more experienced gamers. The PC version has slightly better graphics than the Xbox 360 version and the controls when switching between weapons and plasmids are easier on the PC game.
The game was also criticized for its wide screen format. Players noted that BioShock "seemed to use a cropping method for its widescreen display, cutting down on the vertical view rather than expanding the horizontal width." 2K Games stated that the field of view (FOV) was designed this way intentionally, and that the "stretching" criticisms were due to a decision to heighten the FOV in the 4:3 ratio, versus releasing a la letterbox with black bars, allowing 4:3 users to see more of the screen. On August 23, 2007, 2K Games announced that they will release a patch that will allow PC users to change the FOV value.