If it wasn’t for having to install Azureus Vuze after the required clean install of my Vista machine, I wouldn’t have even heard of this game. I seem to have avoided all of the media hype surrounding it.
Now that I have played it I can say that it’s well worth buying. I can see how reviews have awarded so much praise (95%, 10/10 etc.) based on the originality, graphics, environment and of course gameplay. The atomsphere of the game is very convincing, thanks to the sound and graphics.
There is sufficient gameplay to last the average player about 20 hours, which is pretty impressive in my opinion. It probably took me about that long, most of it accomplished during the 3 day LAN party I recently attended (and the rest completed after work). Unlike most fps games, I feel that I can play this one again without repeating the same plot because of several choices available in the game which alter the direction you head in.
Contrary to what I would have thought, the method of ‘checkpoint’ recovery when you die doesnt make the game any easier – but it makes it a whole lot less frustrating. Whereas most shooters would take you back to your last save or automatic checkpoint once you’ve drawn your last virtual breath, losing any progress you’ve made since that point, Bioshock returns you to the nearest reanimating capsule (the actual name of it escapes me at the moment) and you keep your progress. This makes things slightly more challenging when you’re down to your last bit of health and no ammo, but as I say it takes a lot of frustration out of the game.
If you end up getting stuck, another relief from the frustration of not finding the next step to take is the in-build hint system. This meant that not once did I have to find a walkthrough on the web (which probably wouldn’t have been available at the time anyway).
I can’t think of anything that I would criticise in this game. It’s amongst my favourites (up there with HL/HL2). I hope that there’s a sequel planned – the ending I received certainly allowed for it. I would recommend it to any fps fan.
Oh, if you’re wondering about hardware, I ran it at top quality without any problems whatsoever. My machine, after it’s recent upgrade is now specced as such: Core 2 Duo E6550 (2x 2.33Ghz, 4MB cache), 2GB DDR2 800MHz, 2x250GB SATA in hardware RAID0, X1950 Pro 256MB. I think the progressive texture loading feature that seems to be incorporated in the game helped make the most of the 256MB graphics memory I have – there was absolutely no need to uprgade to 512MB or higher, which I had considered based upon the recommended specs.