Undersea Sickness

JoeI’ve been spending time in Rapture, slowly making my way through that underwater FPS game everyone is talking about. And the truth is, there’s a reason everyone’s talking about it. Bioshock is one of those rare games that gets it all right. The controls, the graphics, the sound, the gameplay; it all comes together to immerse you in an incredibly stylish and original sci-fi story that creeps me the hell out!

I realize there’s probably nothing I can say about Bioshock that you haven’t already read elsewhere, but since you’re here, I’ll start by confirming that it does live up to the hype. I suppose if you were really cynical you could say it’s just Jedi Knight with an Art Deco skin, but that would mean you were this guy:


Comic Book Guy

To even call Bioshock a first person shooter is an extreme and unfair generalization. Despite its first-person POV, Bioshock is actually a horror-adventure-RPG with more depth than any FPS I’ve ever played. One of the things Bioshock does particularly well is create an atmosphere that really draws you into the story (and your role in it.) This is a game that makes full use of surround sound, and for more than just bullets whizzing by your head. Disembodied voices haunt you from every direction, random bangs and clangs ring out leaving you to wonder (and worry about) what the hell is causing them, and even environmental effects like sparks from decrepit neon signs give life to this weird world that’s unlike anything I’ve seen before. There’s as much for your ears here as there is for your eyes, making it all the more engaging—you truly lose yourself in Rapture.

Bioshock definitely sets a new standard for its genre (whatever its actual genre might be.) But beyond that, it raises the bar for the gaming experience in general. It takes a game like this to remind us of how many derivative, half-assed games see the light of day. Hopefully, Bioshock will also raise gamers’ expectations and we’ll see more publishers stepping up to meet them.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this shot of what looks like Homer in a playable Land of Chocolate level from the upcoming Simpsons game!

The Simpsons Game - Land of Chocolate


joe at dpad dot ca

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