Metascore
96

Universal acclaim - based on 44 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 2795 Ratings

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  • Summary: Going beyond "run and gun corridors," "monster-closet AIs" and static worlds, BioShock creates a living, unique and unpredictable FPS experience. After your plane crashes into icy uncharted waters, you discover a rusted bathysphere and descend into Rapture, a city hidden beneath the sea. Constructed as an idealistic society for a hand picked group of scientists, artists and industrialists, the idealism is no more. Now the city is littered with corpses, wildly powerful guardians roam the corridors as little girls loot the dead, and genetically mutated citizens ambush you at every turn. Take control of your world by hacking mechanical devices, commandeering security turrets and crafting unique items critical to your very survival. Upgrade your weapons with ionic gels, explosives and toxins to customize them to the enemy and environment. Genetically modify your body through dozens of Plasmid Stations scattered throughout the city, empowering you with fantastic and often grotesque abilities. Explore a living world powered by Ecological A.I., where the inhabitants have interesting and consequential relationships with one another that impact your gameplay experience. Experience truly next generation graphics that vividly illustrate the forlorn art deco city, highlighted by the most detailed and realistic water effects ever developed in a video game. Make meaningful choices and mature decisions, ultimately culminating in the grand question: do you exploit the innocent survivors of Rapture...or save them? [2K Games] Expand
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. A technical masterpiece with a story that reaches too far—but Andrew Ryan would have it no other way.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. No gamer should miss out on this one.
  6. Without a doubt, BioShock is a shoe-in for hordes of Game of the Year nominations. It’s certainly among my favorite titles of the year, and I highly recommend it to all gamers, whether you’ve got an Xbox 360 or a gaming PC. If you haven’t played it yet, then I suggest you at least go out and give the demo a try.
  7. So BioShock is not a revolutionary game, or even a particularly innovative one; by the time I reached the end, I felt as though I had played a rather standard and predictable first-person shooter.

See all 44 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 90 out of 654
  1. Jun 21, 2011
    10
    How do you write a review for a title close to being the best video game ever made? It's soundtrack is a mixture of classical and 40's - 50's era contemporary music which both combine to give Bioshock a wondrous sense of contradiction in it's atmosphere, what with it's crumbling, leaky architecture and dramatic lighting, yet and mellow and angelic orchestral sounds backing the resonance of sheer destroyed beauty laying before as you wander through the world intrepidly. This dual atmosphere is a constant throughout the entire game, which is a good thing, as it keeps itself consistent, unlike other titles i could name which tried something similar but came up short, thus breaking the illusion that it had. The story is nothing short of brilliant, with your entire life being revealed before you to be none other then the artificial workings of someone else, breaking the characters and your own perceptions of what you really knew. Voice acting is also top notch, with slick accents that are spot on, mature sounding voices, voices which sound real and have some authenticity to their tone and behaviour, and fit the characters their assigned to. You may be thinking "Well it seems like the sound and story are the most effective parts of it", but you'd be wrong. The gameplay sacrifices nothing as there is rather deep customization to skills and powers you can gain. The ways you can go about and manipulate the environments and enemies can only be described as vast and dynamic, would you prefer to sneak past a foe or clobber them over the head with a wrench? Carelessly walk into an open area or set traps with your weapons/powers in some doorways or on the floor before continueing to search the area? Hack a sentry to help you in a fight with multiple enemies or maybe use a power to make one of them fight for you? The possibilities and combinations are nearly endless and it only gets even better when i say that it's all dynamic. That's right, there are very few scripted enemy paths or actions compared to the huge amount that is unscripted. The developers managed to create a living, breathing, fully organic world that feels like it could be real and that you're some nameless joe exploring what was once a glorious city that is decaying because of the very foundation of it's demeanor. This is a revolutionary game which is worthy of the title of "Art" in the highest sense of the term. Expand
  2. Jun 3, 2014
    10
    Bioshock is a game series produced by 2K studios and is honestly one of my top game series on my list. Sit down kids, it's time to learn about art.

    The first game starts in the year 1960 with your protagonist, Jack, the sole survivor of a sudden plane crash over the Pacific Ocean. After seeking refuge in the lone light house surrounded by water, Jack finds a submarine called a 'bathysphere' and unintentionally activates it. The submarine then locks him in and proceeds to descend into the underwater city of Rapture. Not only does the name of the city references the bible. But you are introduced to two of the most influential men in the game, Atlas and Andrew Ryan. Andrew is the multi billionaire who founded and established the city after World War II representing the spoiled, and dictatorial upper class, while in contrast you have Atlas, a blue-collar worker from the lower class who is everyone's favorite and leader in the working class.
    Because of the way the city was set up, with such a huge caste difference, tensions naturally began to rise; it also was apparent in the years before this civil war amongst the difference in caste a new bio-chemical drug was uncovered called ADAM. The properties of this drug were breakthroughs in all levels in science, ridding residents of deformities and even gave them superhuman abilities such as elemental control, teleportation, telekinesis, etc and those who used it were called 'splicers' (in reference with ADAM tampering with their DNA). But in its cheapest and most common form, it doubled as a highly addictive drug that heightened violent tendencies, thus eventually sparking a civil war. Jack arrives in the city a year in the aftermath of the war's resolution. Jack teams up with Atlas to leave the city, fighting these violent splicers along the way.

    Bioshock 2 follows roughly ten years after the conclusion of the first game in the same city with a different protagonist, a brainwashed man named Delta. Delta was assigned to protect a young girl named Eleanor from the splicers rampaging the city. But after a surprising ambush, he finds himself waking up from a 10 year coma and Eleanor desperate to reunite with him and escape Rapture. When he wakes up, Delta finds himself with a newfound freewill he forgot he was able to have. His time to save Eleanor is almost a race against the clock for Delta because the city is dying, and Delta chose to survive with Eleanor and find salvation in the surface world.

    Bioshock : Infinite has a completely different setting, cast, and story, while still twisting the end to relate to its predecessors, is set in the flying city of Columbia in 1912. Booker Dewitt is a man deeply in debt, suffering from PTSD as a veteran of the Battle of Wounded Knee, must find a young girl named Elizabeth amongst a flying city in the middle of another civil war amongst the high and working classes. This city in the sky was founded by Mayor Zachery Comstock, who establishes this city as a very patriotic district of the United States. Booker has no choice but to fight his way through the city and bring Elizabeth down the ground.

    The city of Columbia is almost in its bright and patriotic coloring, an American paradise, throughout the entirety of the play through, the weather is bright and happy sunlight, almost blinding in the idea of paradise in contrast to Rapture's overall grim, gritty and abandoned darker tones in the setting. In biblical comparison Rapture is Hell; one filled with murder, savagery, drug abuse, cults and lies. Columbia, however is a well-kept with love and an overwhelming sense of American Patriotism. In each game though, the sheer amount of detail in the scenery of both an underwater city and a city in the sky were amazing and powerful in conveying messages beyond simply setting and artwork.

    Throughout the games, the player must make choices through Jack/Delta/Booker on whether or not to kill characters, these do affect your ending, as Andrew Ryan stated:

    "We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us."
    This is a HUGE theme across all three games, because how you play, affects how your play through ends., also applying to real life where what a person does defines them. Another huge motif mentioned by the same man goes

    "A man chooses, a slave obeys."
    This quote challenges all protagonists' expression/ideal of free will and its definition not only to the player but to the protagonist as well. This also may relate to the earlier quote where if a choice is made, it gives him free will while also letting the choices shape him. This quote, or really the significance of it, plays a huge role in each game and potential choices.

    The antagonist of Bioshock 2, Sofia explains:
    "For every choice, there is an echo, with each act we change the world. One man chose a city free of law and god, but others chose corruption, and so the city fell. If the world was reborn in your image, would it be paradise
    Expand
  3. Dec 4, 2012
    10
    It 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) Expand
  4. Sep 27, 2012
    9
    Its now 2012 and i still haven't played a game with an original story and atmosphere like this. The opening scenes of Bioshock, where you crash and discover Rapture, are still one of my favorites in any game or film. Expand
  5. Jun 13, 2012
    8
    BioShock is a really good game, but how it got a 9.6 is beyond me. The game looks great and plays decent, however it housed a lackluster story line which offered very little to the "survival horror" aspect that the game was attempting to accomplish. Now, I'm not saying that it was a bad title, in fact it's far from that, because it still managed to keep my attention. I'm merely questioning the high metascore the game received. Expand
  6. KenH.
    Sep 11, 2007
    7
    I have to 2nd others here. There is no death penalty so the game is easy even at hard difficulty. The atmosphere is great but the story falters quite a bit near the end. Its a must-play game but it carries lots of faults. System Shock 1 and 2 are still far superior games to Bioshock. Expand
  7. RobertG
    Aug 28, 2007
    0
    I'm sure the game is great, if you get it to start. The 1000+ posts in the "outstanding pc problems" thread on 2k:s support forum bears witness to major problems though. In said thread not a single reply from 2 k can be found. In short - no game performance can nullify the complete and utter disregard from 2k against the thousands of buyers that are reporting trouble even getting the game to start (on more than adequate machines, I might add). Nope, sry - 2k flunks in my book. Expand

See all 654 User Reviews

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