Metascore
96

Universal acclaim - based on 88 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 88 out of 88
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 88
  3. Negative: 0 out of 88
  1. 100
    BioShock is the ultimate rarity: not only does it live up to its lofty promise, but exceeds it through simple, old fashioned talent and imagination - not to mention verve, style,class, wit, and sheer bloody-minded ambition. It takes the tired, worn-out FPS genre by the scruff of the neck, reinvents and bend it out of shape in such a breathtaking fashion that it's going to take something very special to top this in the months and years ahead.
  2. 100
    In the vast majority of games, and particularly first-person shooters, quality is entirely dependent on minutiae such as weapon choice and enemy variety. In Bioshock these are merely details, adornments to a far deeper and more complete experience than any game since "Half-Life 2." [Oct 2007, p.104]
  3. BioShock is a title that gamers spend their whole lives waiting to play. Something that delivers on an absurdly high level in every department, and one that never dips in quality for the 15-20 hours that it lasts.
  4. 100
    You'll notice really small but crucial touches throughout your descent in Rapture that make it easily one of the most engaging, fun and unique shooters of any console. Whether you're looking for an action game, an adventure game, a good story, a unique concept, or hell, even an RPG, BioShock's brilliant campaign will make you realize that the first person shooter genre can and needs to be so much more than it is.
  5. Really, though, the only glaring weakness we can find in BioShock is that it may be too unusual, too original, too artistic and too genius to be embraced by the general public. Please don't let this game become that forgotten, one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
  6. 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.
  7. BioSchock is amazing. Not only are its visuals, music, sound, gameplay and plot superb, but it's highly polished and runs beautifully on the 360 without any noticeable drop in frame rate. [Issue 23, p.70]
  8. 100
    There are very few games that can provide a universe so intriguing that they force players to ask themselves questions about their own morality and decision making in the medium of video games. It’s easy to see that many gamers will walk away from their Xbox 360s having played BioShock feeling some emotional attachment to the events that unfolded right before their eyes and for that 2K Boston have succeeded in their goal.
  9. 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.
  10. The most creative and compelling experience of its generation, BioShock is a stunning piece of work. It blends great ideas with brilliant gameplay, a superbly immersive storyline and quite simply gets just about everything right. [Issue #31]
  11. 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.
  12. It never once became boring and the use of mixing weapons and plasmids makes for some pretty spectacular battles.
  13. It’s ingenious, enthralling, and a masterpiece of the most epic proportions. So without further delay, would you kindly enter Rapture so that you too can experience the best that video games have to offer?
  14. Play it, talk about it, experience it--a game like Bioshock won't happen again for a good long while. [Nov 2007, p.80]
  15. This is a beautiful-looking game. This is a beautiful-sounding game. And this is a beautifully designed game with a story and atmosphere that sticks with you long after you've emerged. [Oct 2007, p.96]
  16. HOLY SH..! With stunning visuals, immersive sound, and an epic story, BioShock hearkens back to a time of fantasy and wonder, blending elements of Jules Verne and John Carpenter into a cinematic masterpiece of sci-fi horror that you won’t want to miss. I can’t think of any game more deserving of a perfect ten than BioShock.
  17. 100
    Taken as a whole, as an experience that's richly and utterly complete, and one that engages the player in a constant dialogue, BioShock is virtually unassailable. And that makes you feel good.
  18. 100
    While Bioshock doesn't necessarily do anything remarkably new once looked at from afar, what it does achieve is a literal masterpiece of all the elements presented. Most shocking of all is the deep customizable weapon system which gives it an almost RPG feel.
  19. 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.
  20. 100
    One of the most engrossing experiences in the history of interactive entertainment.
  21. Amazingly written and beautifully constructed, it's a complete emotional rollercoaster which we can't drawn any parallels with...You'll be playing this game for months to come, exchanging story elements to build up the bigger picture, and arguing about what it all means. [Sept 2007, p.88]
  22. An excellent mix between FPS, RPG and adventure, Bioshock challenges conventions to bring us a game where the choices available to the player are the focus of its innovative and creative gameplay. It’s not a perfect game, but it’s without a doubt an unforgettable experience. The main candidate to the GOTY award rests its case. [Sept 2007, p.59]
  23. Rapture is so thoroughly realized that it genuinely feels like a place that very well could exist -- not so much something created by the art and design team, but rather lifted from some preexisting pocket of hell deep under the ocean. It's an absolutely stunning game with some of the best graphics you're likely to see on the 360, bringing to life the gorgeous art deco environs of the city.
  24. 100
    BioShock has everything that "Doom 3" wanted to offer and keeps all the essence and horror elements of the classic "System Shock 2."
  25. The most salient fact about BioShock is that it's different. If it doesn't sell well, perhaps it's time to abandon hope and resign ourselves to the eternal recurrence of space dungeons and World War II. Games like BioShock are what we need. They are what we deserve.
  26. 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.
  27. 100
    An unparalleled achievement. No other game comes even remotely close to it in terms of raw emotional connection.
  28. 100
    Enthralling from beginning to end, and the fact that it deserves its place alongside some of the greatest games ever made is achievement enough.
  29. A technical masterpiece with a story that reaches too far—but Andrew Ryan would have it no other way.
  30. 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.
  31. 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.
  32. 100
    It's a tale of moral imperative, the nature of man, tragedy, betrayal, right, wrong, and the gray that lives in-between. And if you're not interested in the depth its story line explores, it's also an immaculate action game, with enough ways to bludgeon, maim, and blow stuff up to hold you over until "Halo 3" arrives.
  33. Whether you're a nice guy or not and whether you tackle System Shock 2 beforehand or not (or (re)watch The Shining!), you owe it to yourself to own a copy of Bioshock.
  34. 100
    What if a game's narrative was as intricate and as immersive as its graphics? What if as much attention went into dialogue and atmosphere as went into pixel shaders and high-resolution textures? What then? Ladies and gentlemen, the answer is BioShock, one of the most playable, thought-provoking, and just downright impressive games to emerge on a home console since, well, ever.
  35. 99
    Bioshock is everything we've been hoping it could be. It defines the action/adventure genre, combining the thrills of a FPS, the strategy of a RPG, the looks of a visual masterpiece, the sounds of an epic, and the story of a full-blown mystery. It's not perfect, but it's damn close.
  36. 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.
  37. You simply will not find a game with finer audio. From the murky and creepy background noises to the spot-on voice work, there simply is no better game on any system in any genre that sounds better then this.
  38. 98
    By far and away the very pinnacle of first-person shooters, with 2K achieving those heady heights by braving to not just push against established genre barriers and expectations but to rip them out and place BioShock atop the pile as a landmark pseudo-RPG first-person shooter that will be a benchmark of quality for many years to come. Staggering.
  39. Simply put, BioShock is a must for anyone who’s over 17 and has a 360. So far, this is the best game of 2007.
  40. Make no mistake, BioShock is a masterpiece, as pure a gaming experience as exists today.
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. Bioshock is one of those rare games that completely sucks you into its world.
  44. 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. Add to that the level of customization and the multiple endings, and you’ve got something worth talking about.
  45. A modern day gaming masterpiece. Simply put, it's one of the greatest games of the current era and serves as a high watermark that may not be surpassed for years to come. From the compelling plot and completely convincing atmosphere to the fantastic graphics and attention to detail, Bioshock is the total package.
  46. 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.
  47. 96
    Don’t miss this masterful shooter.
  48. With strong voice acting, a solid array of weapons and abilities at your disposal, a great score, wonderfully creepy atmosphere, beautifully detailed environments, nearly unparalleled art-design, solid game-play and an engine that runs smooth as silk, BioShock stands testament to just what the term "next-generation" should mean.
  49. I cannot say enough good about Bioshock so I will sum it all up in the same way I described the experience to my wife, "This is why I play video games."
  50. BioShock is one of those games that goes down in history as a shining example for other developers to learn from.
  51. Graphically, Bioshock is simply a masterpiece. The graphics are equally measured by fantastic technical excellence, showing without a doubt the best water effects in any game and an art style that flows through the city of Rapture, providing a streaming masterpiece.
  52. It's inventive and entertaining, with a number of twists and unexpected situations that'll have you on the edge of your seat...It's rare to find a game that has both quality in its engineering and quality in its gameplay.
  53. The first-person shooter is, simply, one of the best games ever made. [Oct 2007, p.86]
  54. BioShock has more cool elements than any ten other FPSs combined. I would say there is more variation in two play-throughs of BioShock than there is between most FPSs and their sequels.
  55. Engaging, immersive, repulsive, beautiful and challenging on every level, all at the same time. The bar has been raised...An experience of this calibre only comes around every few years and should be played by as many people as possible.
  56. The atmosphere is second to none, the action frantic and fun, and the ease of access means you can play the game however you want without being punished for it.
  57. If ever there was an example of how a first person shooter should be made, then this is truly it.
  58. Bioshock delivers an outstanding adventure deep into a psychotic world filled with wonder and interesting plot developments and characters.
  59. 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.
  60. 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.
  61. 95
    Like the game's maniacal entrepreneur himself loftily aimed, Irrational put art and intellect above and beyond schlock of the common game. They accomplished something wonderful.
  62. 95
    The graphics are amazing; the audio is possibly even more stunning; the sheer cohesiveness of the world of Rapture is absurdly impressive; the gameplay is very tight, polished, frantic, and fun; and all of these elements combine to create an experience that is even greater than the sum of its (already remarkable) parts. This is simply a game that everyone needs to play.
  63. BioShock is one of those rare titles where considerable attention was placed on every facet of development, resulting in an extremely polished, fun, and engaging adventure.
  64. It is not a game that tries to shock with new exciting gameplay twists, nor does it confuse with new fangled control methods. It just takes everything most gamers have grown to love over the years, wraps them up in a beautifully realised world, and refines them to near perfection.
  65. 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.
  66. Like Half-Life 2 before it, BioShock is a breath of fresh air in a genre that has been saturated with the same old settings, the same old abilities, and the same old lame storylines that mostly serve as just a reason to shoot things up.
  67. Bioshock leaves you to figure things out for yourself. It's a gruelling game of resource management, and as the ammunition dries up, you end up having to improvise. And more often than not, Bioshock will reward you heavily for thinking outside the box.
  68. Overall, the game has a solid atmosphere, which entirely suits the vintage 50’s style décor which is in every aspect of this wonderful game.
  69. 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.
  70. It meshes impressive graphics with an inventive gameplay system, and uses them to push an amazing story in a refreshingly unique setting. Unless you faint at the sight of blood or you absolutely despise FPS games, you should consider this game a must buy.
  71. While BioShock has an intriguing back story, the game’s episodic, mission-based structure lacks the propulsive momentum of games like "Half-Life" or "Max Payne." The story is better than that of many action games, but BioShock’s gameplay and visuals are so utterly brilliant that it is a shame it fails to reach the same level of greatness in its storytelling.
  72. In a nutshell, beyond any shadow of doubt, BioShock is an excellent single-player shooter experience. The undeniable quality of this title and its emphasis on true and not pseudo-mature storytelling and character development make it a must-have for every self-respecting gamer.
  73. If Bioshock has one notable flaw, it lies in the game's difficulty level, or lack thereof. On the normal difficulty level, it's just a bit too easy. It is still fun, but once you start getting a solid number of plasmids, you can tear through every Splicer in your way as if they were nothing.
  74. The story, the huge decaying city, the personalities of the people you see, hear, and listen to...all of it combines together to create a masterpiece of gaming.
  75. BioShock gets everything right with the storyline and the setting. Rapture is a seriously creepy place to be in. While the combat differs from a standard first person shooter, Bioshock's extra tricks do not require much creative thinking. The same routine of hacking everything in sight to bits and setting oil slicks on fire just keeps on repeating over and over again. A pity, really. [Sept 2007]
  76. BioShock feels too long, even though it's actually not. This is the result of your being given too many item-collection goals, which will often mean backtracking for those who've been diligent explorers. [Oct 2007, p.64]
  77. BioShock is one of the best games of 2007 for any platform, not so much because it offers new wonders - there are a few - but as a result of meeting high standards, as any diamond should.
  78. 90
    Flawed though it may be, it's one of the most atmospheric first-person games ever made and perhaps the standout title of the generation so far. Dazzling, thought provoking, compelling and engaging, it's an experience which refuses to lessen its hold until you've seen it through to the end, and in doing so, lodges itself in the memory in a way that few other titles can.
  79. Rapture is a beautifully stylised city that provides plenty of mystery and intrigue. Definitely a game of the year contender.
  80. Bioshock is a real triumph, a wonderful story told in a beautiful world gone terribly wrong. Xbox 360 owners may balk at a game that doesn't feature multiplayer action but this really shouldn't put you off.
  81. Trying to usurp "System Shock II" in the scary stakes is no easy feat, and whilst Bioshock doesn't quite manage to replicate the fear I remember in 1999, it does have its moments. Plenty of times I found myself eager to progress, but at the same time, terrified to take a step further in fear of what lay ahead.
  82. Its weak link is its unsatisfying no-skill-required combat, which might aim this one just over the head of the average Halo fan. But if you want to get a little fancy, there's a lot of fun to be had with some of the game's more indirect fighting methods. It builds an amazing atmosphere by using terrific graphics and sound to set a creepy mood. But BioShock's real strengths are as a compelling work of interactive fiction, and as a unique ride through a warped world with some great payoff built into its mysterious plot. If that description has you even the least bit interested, you won't be disappointed one bit.
  83. Games don’t get much better than this and if you are into shooting adventuring and general gaming then Bioshock is well worthy of a purchase.
  84. You owe it to yourself to experience BioShock, by far one of the most compelling games of 2007.
  85. 90
    BioShock's combination of a compelling story, increased interactivity and fantastic gameplay raises the bar for all future first person shooters.
  86. Bioshock does something that video games rarely bother to do: Break new ground. A combination of endlessly creative combat, mixed with a captivating story make for an experience that I can promise you've never had in any other video game before.
User Score
8.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1995 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 53 out of 565
  1. Jun 1, 2011
    10
    Original and refreshing, has an amazing storyline aswell as an amazing atmosphere and setting. Enjoyable combat, maybe a little bit repetitive for some, the game paces well too. Full Review »
  2. Bio
    Oct 1, 2007
    10
    Intense, breathtaking, and original. If you don't like this game, take a break and detox from the Halo hype, and try again later. Ahh, isn't that better? I thought so. Full Review »
  3. Apr 27, 2011
    10
    The most political game you will play on an Xbox, a great art direction, and simply brilliant. If you haven't played this yet its a must. Its not a game you can play for a couple of minutes then leave. Its a game that requires the user to be warped into its world Full Review »