Universal acclaim - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 44
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 44
  3. Negative: 0 out of 44
  1. 100
    The hours spent playing this masterpiece were the perfect encapsulation of why videogaming is such a favourite waste of time for so many of us. Thrilling, terrifying, moving, confusing, amusing, compelling, and very very dark. BioShock isn't simply the sign of gaming realising its true cinematic potential, but one where a game straddles so many entertainment art forms so expertly that it's the best demonstration yet how flexible this medium can be. It's no longer just another shooter wrapped up in a pretty game engine, but a story that exists and unfolds inside the most convincing and elaborate and artistic game world ever conceived.
  2. 100
    It will challenge you, it will move you, and it will force you to make hard decisions. It is unbelievably immersive and tenaciously inventive. It is a game that sets the bar high for others to follow—for its art direction, narrative, and gameplay.
  3. Bioshock is that rare game where the plot, environment, and combat are all steps above the normal video game experience. Games at their very best, like this one, can create amazing alternative worlds for us to inhabit, doing those things we can't do in real life. This is one product the free market should be very happy to have.
  4. 100
    The first-person shooter's great looking, has an engrossing storyline, a perfect balance of action and exploration and a totally customizable combat system that can be described as nothing less than video game rapture.
  5. 100
    The art direction is outstanding; mixing art deco architecture, classic 1950’s graphic design and tons of great old music from the early jazz era that adds a musty creepiness to the overall atmosphere of the game. It’s definitely not your typical Space Marine fare, and that’s a very good thing.
  6. Everyone will play it differently, and have a different experience. Some like myself will find it drenched in tension and atmosphere, having run into many a situation where the poop was scared out of me. Others, like a friend of mine, will claim that its intuitiveness, combative freedom, and creativity puts it above the spiritual predecessor "System Shock 2," and wonder at how convincing the whole affair can be.
  7. 100
    [A] few PC quibbles aside, BioShock is a triumph, an absolute masterpiece that needs to be played by anyone with the slightest interest in gaming. It's a high-water mark not just for the FPS genre, but for the hobby in general.
  8. A technical masterpiece with a story that reaches too far—but Andrew Ryan would have it no other way.
  9. It's not just the fact that BioShock is a real looker, or the fact that as a first-person shooter alone it stands up to all of its competitors; it's the thought and craftsmanship that went into realising Rapture, its emotionally-jarring denizens and its compelling and seamless narrative that pushes you willingly forward from chapter-to-chapter.
  10. 100
    If BioShock ends up being yet another critically acclaimed game that the general public ignores then we’re all wasting our time writing reviews in the first place. Folks, this is just about as good as it gets.
  11. BioShock is on the same par as those great classic films that have won awards for years and this one will for the video game industry. The combination of a great story and fantastic gameplay with wonderful scenery has been so well created into an all around well crafted game that it would be a shame to miss out on playing it.
  12. 100
    The truth is, I've never been so emotionally involved in an escort mission before. Games don't normally warrant the kind of discussions I've had about BioShock. This is something special.
  13. 100
    BioShock is one of the few games that I’ve reviewed in my entire career that I feverishly want to go back through and play again to not only enjoy the dynamics of the gameplay, but also appreciate all of the effort put into a great story and an amazing underwater city named Rapture, which sucks you into its world the second you step through its doors.
  14. The most amazing thing about Bioshock is that it never comes off as preachy or self-indulgent. For all its many themes, it is, and can be enjoyed as, exactly what Ken Levine has always said it is: a shooter. One of the very cleanest, best-executed shooters ever made.
  15. It’s neither perfect nor as revolutionary as some might make out, but it is one of the most progressive, gripping and downright fun games to hit the market in the last decade.
  16. Make no mistake, BioShock is a masterpiece, as pure a gaming experience as exists today.
  17. 97
    There is art here, despite what many would say isn't possible with games, from Roger Ebert to game designers like Hideo Kojima... BioShock stands as a monolithic example of the convergence of entertaining gameplay and an irresistibly sinister, engrossing storyline that encompasses a host of multifaceted characters. This is an essential gaming experience.
  18. Without doubt, BioShock is truly a next-gen masterpiece, more than worthy of your attention. It simply blows everything comparable out of the water and for now we challenge you to find otherwise.
  19. Bioshock has got everything that a great triple-A title needs, and it’s got it in spades. Intense combat, amazing and deep story, beautiful graphics, awesome sound – yes please.
  20. 97
    Overall, BioShock is definitely worth a purchase. There simply isn’t a better experience to be had on the PC.
  21. Never has the medium been used as a storytelling device in such a beautiful and engaging way, and never have we been drawn so deeply into a gameworld. Long live Rapture. [Oct 2007, p.62]
  22. Some of Bioshock's storytelling techniques are unprecedented and will perhaps set a new standard for storytelling excellence in gaming. It doesn't hurt that Bioshock's great story is framed by incredible visuals and solid controls as well.
  23. A dark and astonishing masterpiece...I spend my career, and my gaming life, waiting for a moment when a game just astonishes me, when I can't believe what I'm seeing, what I'm doing. BioShock has five. [Sept 2007, p.66]
  24. If you're looking for another run 'n gun game to play while you chug down a few Cokes, you'll probably be better off not picking BioShock up. If you want a good game you can play in the dark, immerse yourself in, and love well-crafted plots and great writing, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't go get BioShock tomorrow morning.
  25. The atmosphere, the water, the story, the architecture, and the perfectly tuned challenge all come together to create one of the greatest experiences of this generation of consoles. Rapture is awaiting. Bliss is inevitable.
  26. A paragon of single-player, story-driven gaming that outdoes "Deus Ex," "STALKER," and even "HL2." Taste the air, and smell the fear. [Oct 2007, p.52]
  27. No gamer should miss out on this one.
  28. The first-person shooter is, simply, one of the best games ever made. [Oct 2007, p.86]
  29. What Irrational has achieved with the narrative is, quite simply, incredible.
  30. Yes folks, we have played BioShock and we loved it. The minor flaws in the game's design didn't keep us from having an all night session to get to the end and we think that will be your conclusion as well.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 3050 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 90 out of 671
  1. Dec 4, 2012
    It is a beautiful but strange world. Fascinating environment that is eerie, elegant music that is mysterious, lovely children that is underIt is a beautiful but strange world. Fascinating environment that is eerie, elegant music that is mysterious, lovely children that is under external control, dramatic plot and touching ending depict a unprecedented world in the game of bioshock. Maybe, this is the most artistic violent game, almost all would be "shocked" after finishing this game. Maybe, this is the game with the deepest content. 9.7/10 from IGN really says it all.(My rating: 10/10 absolutely) Full Review »
  2. DavidM.
    Sep 1, 2007
    Essentially an overrated and glitchy remake of System Shock 2. It has some pretty graphics, where they work, but it is very linear, has Essentially an overrated and glitchy remake of System Shock 2. It has some pretty graphics, where they work, but it is very linear, has little atmosphere and feels clunky to play. Full Review »
  3. HarrieH
    Jan 3, 2010
    Bioshock is one of the best games I've ever played, game play, storyline, sound, and graphics all top notch, loved the water effects. Bioshock is one of the best games I've ever played, game play, storyline, sound, and graphics all top notch, loved the water effects. I've played it several times through, always found content I missed before. Can't wait for BS2! Full Review »