Universal acclaim - based on 44 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 44
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 44
  3. Negative: 0 out of 44
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  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. netjak
    Overall, BioShock is definitely worth a purchase. There simply isn’t a better experience to be had on the PC.
  21. PC Zone UK
    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. PC Format
    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. Play Magazine
    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.
  31. In the end, even if most of you (myself included) will go out on other adventures, be it exploring a tropical island in a hi-tech nano-suit, duking it out in professional arenas or fighting hordes of aliens on distant planets, Rapture will stay with you long after you will leave it.
  32. PC Gamer
    Those niggling criticisms aside, Bioshock is one of the best 15-20 hours of gaming nirvana you'll spend this year or any other. [Nov 2007, p.66]
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. From the superb visual design to the enchanting audio soundtrack, this futuristic period piece is a delight to play and accomplishes a rare feat for a video game: It leaves you with plenty of weighty existential questions to think about.
  37. Otherwise, get updated drivers, play the demo to make sure your system definitely meets the minimum requirements and hold on for the ride - BioShock is definitely worth your gaming dollar if your machine can power it.
  38. 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.
  39. In spite of some technical issues, BioShock creates an amazing world that you'll want to explore and a compelling mystery that slowly comes together as you play.
  40. You owe it to yourself to experience BioShock, by far one of the most compelling games of 2007.
  41. The graphics and art direction, the slow unveiling of the story of Rapture’s fall, the sheer creepiness of it all, and the gameplay which, quite often, makes almost every shooter until now seem rather dull in comparison.
  42. Bioshock looks fantastic, sounds fantastic, has more vending machines than all other action games put together and dares not to tell the whole story to inspire your own fantasy.
  43. Overall we were deeply impressed with Bioshock for the PC, but do wish that the developers had made available the toolkit used in its construction - I shiver contemplating what the fan community could make from its art and building resources.
  44. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 5680 Ratings

User score distribution:
  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 »