The Bioshock franchise is a series of first-person shooter, horror/action-adventure games published by 2K Games. So far there have been 2 games in the series; Bioshock (2007) and Bioshock 2 (2010). The third game in the franchise, Bioshock Infinite, saw it's release on in 2013. There are plans for up to four more sequels. The franchise (particularly the original game) have been widely praised for their innovative story-telling, a trait many consider rare in video games.
The Bioshock franchise takes place in the 1950s and '60s in the underwater world of Rapture - a utopian city that has no government, no religion, just man. The city was created by a man named Andrew Ryan who was sick of the pressure and anxiety from the political, religious, and social world on the surface. He decided to create his own world underwater, free of any Gods or government, a place where people could achieve things for themselves rather than for the benefit of anyone else.
In the upcoming Bioshock Infinite, Rapture is traded out for the hovering city of Columbia. The game takes place several decades before the original game, at the turn of the 20th century. While not being a direct prequel, the developers aim to deliver everything you expect from a Bioshock game; dense atmosphere, deep storytelling, a fantastical location and varied combat.
In Bioshock, you play as a man named Jack who is unfortunate enough to be in a plane crash that lands in him in the Atlantic Ocean. Emerging from the wreckage, Jack finds a lighthouse and enters a bathysphere that takes him into the world of Rapture. It becomes apparent rather quickly that the citizens of Rapture have gone insane, and it's up to Jack to figure out what's going on. It is towards the beginning of the game that you hear one of Andrew Ryan's most infamous quotes:
I am Andrew Ryan and I am here to ask you a question:
Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?
No, says the man in Washington. It belongs to the poor.
No, says the man in the Vatican. It belongs to God.
No, says the man in Moscow. It belongs to everyone.
I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something
different. I chose the impossible. I chose...
- Andrew Ryan: The intrepid creator of Rapture, Ryan occasionally taunts the player throughout the game
- Atlas: The player's enigmatic assistant throughout the game. Atlas contacts the player at the very beginning and helps them survive Rapture's greatest dangers.
- Tenenbaum: Tenenbaum gives the player a plasmid that allows them to save Little Sisters.
- Jack: The game's protagonist. He discovers Rapture after surviving a plane crash that conveniently landed right next to the entrance
Bioshock is a first person shooter that relies heavily on story to immerse the player into the game world. Throughout Bioshock, you battle multiple enemies. There are a variety of weapons in the game including a revolver, a machine gun, a shotgun, and more. Every weapon in the game can be upgraded. Not only do you have guns, but you have strange powers called plasmids at your disposal. Plasmids are injections that rewrite your DNA allowing you to shoot lighting, perform telekinesis, and more. These plasmids run on EVE, which is like mana. In order to buy more plasmids, you need ADAM, a special material coming from a deep sea slug that has turned most of the Rapture residents into mindless maniacs. You also have tonics which, at certain points in the game, allow you to improve certain stats or buffs, like doing more damage with your guns or taking less damage.
There are no cutscenes in Bioshock. The game relies on audio diaries to give the player more information about both the world and events that have taken place. A lot of the characters are built up solely through their diaries and audio logs of them speaking. As you play, you can collect these diaries and listen to them whenever you want, but they are optional. Also, you will often be talked to by characters in Rapture through a modified radio, and it's through this that you will receive instructions as you play. The game achieves much its character and tells lots of the story through clever set dressing - the environments of the game have been designed to show the player events that have taken place, build up the character of certain citizens of Rapture and to create the general atmosphere of the game.
You fight enemies called Splicers which have over modified their bodies and have gone mentally insane. There are many different types of Splicers. Some will just hit you with pipes, others climb on ceilings, and others throw bombs and shoot at you. There are also large creatures called " Big Daddies". They are big submarine suit guys that will not attack you unless you attack them. They protect little girls called "Little Sisters". Big Daddies go around Rapture protecting the Little Sisters, whose job is to collect a substance called ADAM from human bodies. At a certain point in the game, you gain the ability to either save the little girls for 80 ADAM or extract the ADAM from her, which kills her, but you get 160 ADAM. The scientist Tenenbaum gives you a plasmid to save the little girls, and if you start saving every 3-4 Little Sisters, she will reward you with 200 ADAM, a special tonic or plasmid only available only by saving little sisters, and ammo. The rewards are presented at a nearby Gatherers Garden in a teddy bear.
- Released: February 9, 2010
- Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
- Main article: Bioshock 2
- Giant Bomb Review: (Jeff Gerstmann)
Bioshock 2 takes place in the year 1968. With Andrew Ryan out of the picture, Rapture was left without a ruler and nearly collapsed as a society (although it wasn't very stable when Ryan was around either). A woman named Sofia Lamb, who's ideas and views conflicted with Ryan's, took control and not only brought religion to Rapture (although the religion basically states that she is the Goddess) but began spreading her collectivist philosophy throughout the society. At the beginning of the game, Sofia Lamb takes the Little Sister your character (a Big Daddy named Subject Delta) was bound to and leaves you for dead. You wake up 10 years later and must go on a hunt to find your "daughter", since the bonding left you with a side effect that causes your body to shut down if you're apart for too long.
- Sofia Lamb: In Bioshock 2, Lamb controls Rapture. She has influenced people so much that a religion was created where she is the Goddess.
- Augustus Sinclair: Basically the Atlas of Bioshock 2, Sinclair helps Subject Delta with his goal of reuniting with Eleanor
- Eleanor: Subject Delta's Little Sister that was captured by Sofia Lamb
- Subject Delta: The protagonist of the game. Delta is on a mission to rescue his Little Sister from the clutches of Sofia Lamb before he goes into comatose as a result of the separation.
Because you play as a Big Daddy in Bioshock 2, there are a few new gameplay additions. One of the more notable ones is the ability to fire weapons and plasmids at the same time rather than having to switch between the two. You can also upgrade certain plasmids to fire in a stream, dealing out continuous damage to your foes.
An important aspect of Bioshock 2 is the ability to adopt Little Sisters. Because you are a Big Daddy, the Little Sisters trust you and will gather ADAM for you at your command. While they are gathering ADAM from a corpse, they will attract the attention of the Splicers. Before this happens you can set up traps and prepare for the onslaught. Once they gather ADAM, you can then decide to either rescue them or harvest them. If the player deals with every Little Sister in a level, a Big Sister in summoned. They are the most powerful foes in the game due to their incredible agility and unmatched strength. Players need to utilize all of their abilities to bring one down; simply shooting the Big Sister will almost never be enough.
Bioshock 2 is similar in gameplay to the first game, although players cannot enter an area once they leave it. Players use a train to go from one place to the next, and the train is incapable of moving backwards. Thus, those that wish to deal with every Little Sister must do so before leaving the level, as there is no going back.
A surprising addition in Bioshock 2 is online multiplayer. Several traditional modes are in place, including a unique twist on Capture The Flag where the flag is a Little Sister. Dubbed the "prequel" to Bioshock, players will run around levels from the first game in the series as they were before the fall of Rapture. The appearance of the Splicer you play as can be customized, but only the melee weapon and the mask/hat they wear. Players also have three loadouts that can be customized. The loadouts include two primary weapons with or without unique perk-like abilities, two plasmids, and three tonics. During a game, players can hack vending machines so that they kill an enemy should they get to close. Turrets in each level can also be hacked so they shoot enemies. However, both of these can be re-sabotaged, although an already-hacked vending machine needs to be frozen before an enemy hacks it for their team, lest they get killed by the grenade that falls out.
In most game modes, a Big Daddy suit will occasionally spawn somewhere on the map. The person that finds it can don the suit, gaining increased strength, a powerful weapon, and the ability to throw proximity mines. In addition to these features is the ability to research dead enemies. By taking a picture of a dead enemy (done by holding a button, not by equipping a camera) the player will gain a damage bonus against that person. The damage bonus remains until the person kills the enemy that has the bonus against them. (When you become a Big Daddy, all damage bonuses are removed).
The third installment in the Bioshock series represents a major change for the series. Players will explore a city in the sky called Columbia rather than a crumbling civilization under the sea. The plot centers around Booker DeWitt, who is a voiced character. He visits the city to locate and rescue a woman named Elizabeth, and the two will go through many perilous adventures in Columbia together.
The city of Columbia itself was created by the US as a sort of symbol representing their superiority in the world and perhaps their arrogance as well. It was meant to be flown to countries all around the world to show off. During the Boxer Rebellion in China, Columbia attempted to provide aid but was called off by the United States. The floating city saw this as an act of betrayal, and promptly succeeded from the United States.
- Booker Dewitt - The main character of Bioshock Infinite
- Elizabeth - Booker's companion throughout the game
- Comstock - The leader of Columbia who holds a grunge against the people who betrayed the city and practically anyone who isn't white
Bioshock Infinite features Plasmid-like abilities called Vigors. Rather than stabbing a needle into the arm, Vigors are consumed simply by drinking it. Players have more ways to use their Vigors than they could with Plasmids in previous Bioshock games. Vigors can combined for varying effects. In addition are some unique and never-before seen abilities such as one called "Murder Of Crows" which summons a swarm of vicious crows. During combat, Booker is aided by Elizabeth who possesses the unique ability to summon "tears," which are portals to other dimensions or times. Through these portals Elizabeth can pull in everything from crates of health to weapons to additional pieces of cover and more. She will also throw Booker ammo, health, and money that she finds.
The inhabitants of Bioshock Infinite are crazy, but maybe less-so than in Rapture. In fact, they aren't hostile towards Booker until he is discovered to be the "false shepard" who will supposedly bring down the city.