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Arts & Entertainment Staff _ 

After so much hype and drippingly 
sweet reviews, someone needs to say 
it: BioShock is not the best game ever. 
That said, it’s a pretty damn great one, 
albeit without major innovations. 

This review could regurgitate all the 
inordinate praise that lias been lieaped 
upon the new Xbox 360 and PC title, 
but that would lie redundant. If you 
haven’t already bought the game, you're 
probably planning to once you've fin¬ 
ished the slew of titles you didn’t com¬ 
plete during the past four montlis of 
academic liberation. If you somehow 
aren't interested in BioShock, you're 
probably waiting for Halo 3. In that 
case, you probably don't care about epic 
single-player games that make a legiti¬ 
mate case for games being art. 

Set in 1958 in an twisted underwa¬ 
ter paradise called Rapture. BioShock 
puts you in the shoes of a nameless 
protagonist whose plane crashes 

in die middle of the ocean, with 
Rapture lieing the only refuge within 
a thousand miles. Through the game’s 
20-some hour campaign, you’ll come 
across numerous memorable char¬ 
acters good, had. and somewhere in 
between—in the process of solving 
the mystery of Rapture: what went 

Where BioShock excels is in evok¬ 
ing emotions that few other games 
are able to hint at. While it doesn’t tra¬ 
verse the postmodern political heights 
of Metal Ciear Solid 2. BioShock is a 
steady game with a steady story, tliat, 
while smattered with twists and niras 
for gamers to manoeuver themselves 
around, doesn't pull too many gra¬ 
tuitous hairpins just for the sake of 
another plot twist. 

The story tugs at heartstrings usu¬ 
ally reserv ed for sappy chick flicks and 
miracle touchdown throws: watching 
a Big Daddy—the game’s iconic and 
intimidating foe—knock futilely on 
walls in hopes of coaxing a I Title Sister 
out of a drainpipe is heart-breaking. 
A tale of twisted ideals and utopian 
misdirection, BioShock asks some 
compelling questions about human 
nature, and some pretty relevant ones 
at that, alluding to modern-day issues 
such as stem-cell research. 

But games are about one tiling first 
and foremost—how they play—and 
the developers are well aware of this. 
BioShock is a technically a first person 
shooter, but it’s just as much an adven- 
turegameand an RPGasa Doom-style 

It also just happens to lie really, 
really good at being all three. The 
enemy AI is balanced to perfection; 
die weapons are of the run-of-the-mill 
variety but still manage to feel differ¬ 
ent from other sets of killing devices 
in other games, and the level design is 

What separates BioShock from other, 
more traditional, shooters are its plas¬ 
mids—essentially, genetic enhance¬ 
ments that allow you to wield jiowers 
ranging from the ability to sIkxji 
flames from your bare hands to lifting 
lift objects tiirough mind control. The 
gameplay possibilities plasmids open 
up are nearly endless. 

BioShock is quite easily one of die 
best games oft his new generation, and a 
breath of fresh air in the gaining indus¬ 
try, even with the game's claustrophobic 
atmosphere Nothing in the game is 
that innovative—many, if not most, of 
its elements are lxirrowed from odier 
games—but few games are diis finely- 
tuned. And just plain fun. 

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