While one has to realize that to review the entire BioShock series is sort of a ridiculous task in itself as it covers an immense and radically diverse amount of ideas, gameplay, and characters, one must also have to come to the conclusion that to not to do this review would have been extremely parasitic as well. Despite this terrible catch in the end, a hand was forced to write this review by the recent disbanding of the Irrational Games team, the creators of the BioShock series. Recalling that a man chooses while a slave obeys, and in an effort to do the game some justice and possibly influence someone who has not played any or one of the three segments of the series, a basic overview of its titles are provided.
The original “BioShock,” released in 2007, can only be described as a classic. Storyline and characters changed the way first person shooters have been done ever since. With delightful characters like Andrew Ryan, Atlas, and Brigid Tenenbaum and, of course, Jack, the iconic protagonist. The environment is equally as thrilling and immersive and one can actually believe such a place as Rapture could exist. While the gameplay might be bit slow or even awkward for modern gamers, this is easily overcome by the use of different types ammunition and the powers given by ADAM. These various differentiations along with the general lack of resources and diverse variety of enemies make for a more intelligent and strategic style of first person shooter.
“BioShock II” was designed to continue the storyline from the first game. While following the general design of the first, it did allow the player to play as a Big Daddy, something only teased at in the original. It also put significant amounts of work into increasing the fluidity of gameplay with innovations such as allowing for the equipping of both plasmids and guns at the same time. These as well as return to the original storyline provided another chance to explore the extremely immersive world of Rapture and created for another excellent game. However, while most could agree that the game was excellent, it was not nearly as innovative as the first and Sophia Lamb was not nearly the antagonist that Andrew Ryan or Frank Fontaine was. In the end, it was critically received for its overlapping ideas with the original “BioShock” and its lackluster multiplayer, but was still considered a fairly good game and a must buy for fans of the series.
In the final installment of the BioShock series, “BioShock Infinite,” Irrational Games took the complaints from the original two and proceeded to make a game that was both smooth to play and remarkably immersive and creative. With new weapons and entirely new characters that are just as memorable as the first, “Bioshock Infinite” ended up being a real joy to play. The game brings back the plasmids in the form of vigors and provides new ones that have entirely different effects, and, while getting rid of the different ammunition types, it adds more weapon upgrades, skylines, and tears through which various other-dimensional support can be through in support to create an entirely new style of gameplay. The storyline took place in Columbia, a city in the clouds, and attacked the tough topics in its storyline like racism, socialized labor, and even the American dream while also providing its fair share of interesting characters. Memorable names included Songbird (BioShock and BioShock II’s Big Daddy Cousin), Slate, Fink, Comstock, and of course the Booker/Elizabeth tag team with all of them playing significant and interesting roles in the storyline. A winner of over 80 awards, the series once again changed the public’s expectations for first person shooters with “Bioshock Infinite.”
In the end, its most defining characteristic is how the player develops a connection with both the world of BioShock as well as with its characters, something that certainly cannot be said for comparable first person shooters like “Call of Duty” or even “Halo.” Shoulders above the rest and a near video icon of the last decade, the BioShock series is a must play, and even if not interested in going through the first two, one should at least purchase Infinite as the newest addition to the series.