Why Bioshock is Good

Everyone loves the Big Daddies in Bioshock!

Bioshock is a bit of a modern classic when it comes to first-person shooter games. With RPG elements and a semi-open-world setting, there are many things that make Bioshock a good - and, to many, unforgettable - game.


1. Story

Would you kindly explain?

In Bioshock, we pick up and play the whole way through as Jack, who survives a plane crash and finds himself in Rapture, a dystopian underwater city. We must navigate through Rapture to find a way out, fighting mutated monsters along the way, guided by a man named Atlas via a radio. 

Through Jack’s eyes, we see the strange world of Rapture unravel, and we are introduced to the Little Sisters and Big Daddy, who are all part of the warped experiment of Rapture. 

The story of Bioshock is what attracts many to the game; it is haunting and often questions your morals. As you travel through the world of Rapture at your own pace, Bioshock allows you to use all the rich background information and exploration to assemble the pieces of the story - a trait of all good games with RPG elements.

In short - the storyline of Bioshock and the rich, complex world it is set in is a big part of what makes the game so good, causing you to question your own values and ideas as you drink it all in.


2. Graphics

Welcome to Rapture! The gate welcomes us...

Another thing that adds to the storyline of Bioshock - as all elements of a game have to work together well without a weak link - is the graphics. 

Bioshock’s graphics are still impressive to this day - and would have been even more so when it first came out. There is now a remastered version available with even more spectacular graphics. 

Every part of Rapture is equally well-detailed and, just like your favourite painting in a gallery, every time you play, you see something new - but we’ll talk about replayability in more detail soon. 

The graphics are crisp and clear, and they give Rapture a dark, eerie glow. It is clear that everything in this world was once shiny and golden, but is now abandoned and silent - and the graphics show this perfectly. 

Are the graphics alone good enough to make Bioshock a good game, and worth playing? Perhaps not on their own, but with the storyline and other elements of Bioshock - like cogs in a wheel - graphics make up part of the great game Bioshock is. 


3. RPG Elements


The hallways of Rapture are calling...

Just like some of the other best games out there, Bioshock blurs the lines between game genres. While it is mostly a First Person Shooter game - or FPS - Bioshock includes RPG elements like scavenging for ammo and collecting interesting items like alcohol and cigarettes, which affect Jack in different ways. 

In Bioshock, you are always interacting with the world around you, exploring every part of Rapture, which makes the whole experience much more fun and rewarding. Whatever you put in, you get out!

It makes the gameplay challenging at times, but never frustrating, because you can always go back to another area to pick up some ammo or upgrades you missed out on before. That way, you can always be prepared for whatever scary mutated character you’re about to fight. 

The level of interaction that comes with the RPG elements really helps you feel immersed in the world of Rapture, which helps you understand the storyline, and is aided by the great graphics. 

Again, we can see that the different parts of Bioshock as a game are good individually - but together, they make Bioshock one of the best FPS - and potentially one of the best games altogether. 


4. An open world - for an FPS

The Little Sister and Big Daddy wandering the halls of Rapture.

For a First Person Shooter game, Bioshock - as we’ve discussed above - shares a lot of similarities with a lot of RPG games.

One of the things which make Bioshock feel like an RPG game is how open-world the setting of Rapture is. There are so many different options when you’re exploring Rapture; you can just look around and listen to the atmospheric jazz, or you can pick up objects with different stories and meanings to learn all about the history and creation of Rapture. Or, you could choose to explore a new room behind an unopened door or find ammo between some dark shelves. 

Whatever your style of play is, chances are, Bioshock will find a way to win you over; whether you’re there for the high-intensity, graphic combat or the sleek, impressive graphics, you’re bound to find something to enjoy.

Bioshock is bursting with opportunities to do something new or different, and that’s what makes it such an enjoyable game. The gameplay is varied and differs based on who you’re fighting and how high or low your ammo and plasmids are. There’s always something to do on Bioshock, and that’s part of what makes it a really good game!


5. Replayability

The U-Invent Machine.

So, we’re back to one of our previous points - I told you I’d circle back! Bioshock is so replayable. 

There’s always a new area of Rapture to explore, more ammo and XP to gain, more stories to learn. There are even a few different outcomes - no spoilers - so feel free to play around with your decisions every time you play. 

With Bioshock, the options seem to be endless. You can walk down the same corridors hundreds of times and spot something new with every single step. There are always different ability configurations to explore and more mutants and Splicers to fight your way through. 


6. Fun factor

The Big Daddies can be pretty tricky to fight!

Now, we all know the most important part of gaming - the fun factor. The main point of gaming, the part that unites geeks from across the world, spanning genres, is that they all want to have fun. So, how is Bioshock fun?

Of course, what someone finds fun depends on the person. For some, Bioshock might look a little too dull or eerie, but this is very much balanced with lighter moments. The game may also seem too horror-based or scary, but moments of peril never last too long, and are always more exhilarating instead of terrifying.

Bioshock is fun in a number of ways. The difficulty levels are appropriate, and nothing is ever too hard or impossible, and when you win, it’s so rewarding.

The fun factor is made up of a lot of different elements - combat, characters, levels, all of which we’ll take a look at soon - and overall, Bioshock is a great game to play. It’s thrilling, and it makes your heart race with adrenaline, but the good kind, as you fight your way through the beautiful, haunting hallways of Rapture. 


7. Plasmids

One of the more... electrifying plasmids.

Without spoiling too much: Bioshock has some crazy combat options! But we’ll discuss combat as a whole in a bit…

In Bioshock, part of the combat relies on plasmids, which are serums you can inject to give you special powers to help you fight the mutants. These plasmids can be upgraded in stations and vending machines in every corner of Rapture. 

The plasmids make Jack a much more exciting character to play; they give him superhero-like powers, which he can use on objects and characters alike. With one of the plasmids, you can set flammable items on fire, distract your attacker or freeze a mutant to make your way closer to the point of escape.

This element of the game is so much fun - but only if you make your way to the stations and machines in time! Sometimes, running out of powers and ammo - whilst having to fight your way through Rapture’s horrific mutants - on your way to the upgrade station can be frustrating, but Bioshock is well-equipped with checkpoints should you be overpowered by the snarling Splicers. 

Plasmids are a fun part of Bioshock’s gameplay, but they can only really be used briefly, which means ammo-based weapons are also core to surviving Rapture. 


8. Combat

A tete a tete with the splicers.

A big part of gameplay in Bioshock - as it is primarily a FPS - is combat. As you move through Rapture as Jack, you are exposed to the creatures the city houses, and none of them mean well.

Part of the gameplay includes puzzles, but this is mostly to open gates and doors - the rest is all about combat and decision-making. 

In Bioshock, you can choose your combat modes depending on what or who you are fighting. There are the more “standard” - at least, for Rapture - options like Molotov cocktails and a wide range of guns, for which you can gather ammo. Then there’s the plasmids, and that’s where you can get creative. 

No matter what mode you use - even if it’s a combo of both - the combat in Bioshock is always enjoyable. The shooting is intuitive and never clunky, and the plasmids always feel super powerful and useful. 

As a Pegi 18 game, Bioshock is graphic but never in a gratuitous way; the damage is satisfying, and the violence is suitable for the game’s tone.

Overall, Bioshock is a satisfying and fun game to play and a lot of that is down to combat, which definitely makes it worth playing!


9. The Characters

Seeing our first Big Daddy.

A key part of every storyline is the characters. This is even more so the case when it comes to gaming; to play as a character, and to help them escape somewhere like Rapture, we have to care about them, and we certainly care about Jack.

To give us that motivation to escape, there also has to be bad guys - like the Splice, the deformed mutants who roam the corridors of Rapture, usually with bad intentions. They are strange and tragic creatures, though, clearly experiments of a much bigger baddie; the creator of Rapture.

He is almost seen as some great God or leader, and the mystery behind him and Rapture in general is what makes the storyline of Bioshock so intriguing, making us want to play on and discover more about how Rapture was founded. 

Without great characters, there would be no great storyline; and without no great storyline, there would be no great game, and that’s why the characters of Bioshock definitely make it a good game, and one that is worth playing, because it is easy to become invested in Jack and the world around him. 


10. Philosophy

Rapture's philosophy in one banner.

Now, bare with me on this one, because it may seem pretentious, but it’s an interesting point. Of course, Bioshock can be enjoyed without a deeper understanding of the philosophy behind it and the morals and values of the characters and Rapture in general.

But, for those who really like to get to know the games they’re playing on a more intellectual level, Bioshock, like the best of onions, has a great many layers of depth and philosophy to peel back, which can definitely enhance your enjoyment. 

Rapture is basically built on the idea of objectivism - the idea that society is served by people focussing on their own interests without the state caring all that much. There’s even a famous banner found in Rapture which promises us, “No Gods or Kings. Only Man.” 

Bioshock is an interesting look into what an objectivist society could look like, and what its issues would be, and how it would eventually fail. 

There’s a lot more philosophy to dig down into around Bioshock, but that’s for the real philosophy nerds out there. 

The game can definitely be played and enjoyed without understanding the philosophy and intellectual questions behind it.


So, what really makes Bioshock a good game?

Well, all of these things, really! As we’ve said, for a game to truly work and be enjoyed, all the cogs that make up the greater whole should be good in their own right, and they should work together to create a good game - which is definitely the case with Bioshock. 

An FPS with a sprinkling of RPG here and there, It challenges you and makes you question yourself at the end, and your morals and values. It holds a mirror up to all of us and our ideas. 

It’s a game that truly makes you think, in all the good ways.


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With a penchant for impressive graphics and heart-wrenching storylines, I have had the pleasure of delving deep into the philosophy and storytelling of my favourite games through my writing.
Gamer Since: 2007
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: BioShock
Top 3 Favorite Games:BioShock, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, BioShock 2

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