My logic was sound and I think very similar to what must go through the mind of women who dare sleep with me; if I am drunk, maybe I won't be as critical of the experience and I might still manage to enjoy myself.
While it certainly wasn't magical, my one-night stand with Bioshock kept me interested enough to get through to the end. I might even give it a replay one of these nights...
Here's a list of my thoughts after completing the game.
The sunken metropolis of Rapture is one of my favorite fictional settings. I love the city, its style, its look and its implied history. Everything about it is memorable, gritty and leaves enough space to dream. As far as world-building, Irrational Games are peerless.
There is a certain elegance in the controls. Most games would have assigned the right-mouse button to an alternate firing mode and relegated the plasmids to an obscure button on the keyboard somewhere but Bioshock knew what it had and tweaked the control scheme to best serve its purpose. Few games manage to pull off a control scheme which deviates from the established standards and I applaud it for this. Elegant, simple and focused.
The game grows on you, rendering anyone who has completed its story in a position where it is quite hard to criticize the game. Everyone should play through Bioshock at least once; It is entirely worth it despite its negative aspects.
The part leading to the final showdown is almost perfect. The role you must assume in this section really sent my mind in "what if?" mode and made me ponder all the possible outcomes. To be fair, the game doesn't really deliver but the fact that it made me
The cutscene ending was cool and makes me wonder about the alternate scenarios which might have followed these events.
The combat is anything but tight. Sometimes it is fluid and responds very well but at other times, shots will fail to connect. Couple that with weird UI bugs and you get one annoying game experience.
I know the game was originally meant to grace the Xbox 360 and PS3 so I am not 100% sure if this is an issue exclusive to the PC version.
It took me until Sander Cohen's challenge (which marks the halfway point of the game) to really start feeling comfortable with the game. That's a hard sell.
Referring to my initial post on the Ghostbusters rule, where I stated that shooting Plasmid juice in my arm is not something I'd consider doing if I found myself on a deserted island, the last quarter of the game really feels...what's the word...pretentious. The game's story introduces themes of player agency and free will but fails to really deliver the gameplay to back it up. It feels as if it tries to tie all the loose ends when leaving unanswered questions would have added a lot of mystique to the experience as well as provide for a better endgame.
The ending was disappointing. A boss fight makes sense but feels out of place. The fact that Vita-chambers are disabled at this point is a really jarring disconnect from the rest of the game and give me a Deus Ex : Human Revolution boss fight vibe. That being said, the fight itself is fairly easy even on the hardest difficulty setting.
The audio logs Atlas talking to you on the radio, all narration/dialogue was 90% of the time drowned out by gunfire or music. Other times, it was cut in half due to a Vita-chamber respawn. I missed most of the details and frankly, that might have played a big part of why I didn't get invested in the story as much.
While I feel like I might have fun replaying the game with the experience and knowledge gained through my first playthrough, I don't see the point in restarting powerless. The story twists won't be as effective and the first half of the game really feels like a tutorial. The latter half of the game lets you experiment with the plasmids and weapons, which is something that would have made me a fan from day one if it were like this in the first half as well. If finishing the game gave a "New Game +" mode, I would be doing my second playthrough right now.
The main story is not that interesting. Its dramatic twists make it a compelling reason to get through the end of the game but at no point was I really invested into Ryan, Atlas or Tenenbaum's narrations. It does the job as a framing device but the real beauty of the narrative is unspoken, lost in the details of the city itself.
The Vita-chambers break the game for me. The game's difficulty seems balanced with their use in mind but they feel like dying has no consequence. It must be stated that the reason why they affect you and "no one else" is explained in the story and is a quite ingenious twist. Which makes me even angrier at the option to disable them, since they are indeed an integral part of the game's story.
When it was released, BioShock might have broken new ground. The world of Rapture is still beautiful even though it was rendered in Unreal Engine 2.5. I think that the game has aged very well due to its visual design. Judging by Bioshock Infinite's story and reception, I think Irrational Games have truly mastered their art over the years and even though the studio has been disbanded, I would be extremely curious to see a Bioshock HD remake which fixes some issues I've had with the game while remaining true to the original.
The last PC game I've played was Dishonored, which borrows a few elements from Bioshock, notably the Plasmids system..
I have played through Dishonored's main campaign 4 times, completed the DLC stories and will replay them again. I love that game, it seems built for my tastes.
Dishonored avoids many of the pitfalls which Bioshock stepped into but its acting is not as good as Bioshock's and it probably wouldn't even exist if it weren't for Bioshock clearing the path first.
All in all, while not a perfect game, Bioshock deserves all the praise it received over the years. I get it now.