Some games are absolutely fantastic.

Some games are BEYOND fantastic.

Some games are so amazing you wish everyone around you would play them just so you could talk about how amazing they are.

Bioshock, as a series, is one of these games. It is not just an amazing set of games but is truly an engrossing and amazing piece of science fiction, easily up there with some of the time tested SciFi story greats.

The problem with games like this, however, is that is simply does no good to merely tell the story. To merely read about it does it no justice. Indeed even if they were to make a movie, or if you watch a compilation of the cut scenes on YouTube, you cannot begin to fully experience the story as it was meant to be. It MUST be played as a game. Bioshock is a delight for all the senses, and everything, from the protagonists to the antagonists to the very locations themselves extract emotional investment, then uses that emotional investment to bring about amazing experiences unlike any other! The only improvement to this game would be to play it in actual VR, and it would be totally worth it.

I won’t go into great detail in my praise of this series, but will only provide some basic information as to the story and my own feelings on it in hopes that anyone reading this who is not a gamer but IS a lover of amazing stories and/or science fiction, will make a singular exception and buy and play these games. They are literally a steal at 20-30$ for all three and you can set them on easy difficulty to blow through much of the gameplay yet still experience the story.

Bioshock (2007)

You play as protagonist, Jack, who’s trip on a plane takes a turn for the worst when it crashes into the ocean. The wreckage splashes down close to a nearby lighthouse, in the middle of nowhere, which in turn leads to the underwater city of Rapture, created and kept by business mogul, Andrew Ryan. By the time you arrive something has gone horribly wrong, and the apparently once shining city has been overrun by its former citizens hopped up on something called ADAM, which has given them interesting abilities. Tasked with helping a man who calls himself Atlas with finding his family, Jack must slog through the underwater city while avoiding these people, called Splicers, while at the same time dealing with creepy, undead looking little girls dubbed “Little Sisters” and their guardians, the Big Daddies.

But not all is what it seems, deep under the surface of the sea.

My Take

I’ve heard people praise Bioshock for years but never in all of my imagination did I imagine such a fantastic and well crafted gaming experience. Rapture itself incredible and frightening, made even more so by the fact that I hate, and I mean HATE, deep, dark water. It’s disturbing to see what holds evidence of once being an industrious society now a run down, dilapidated shell, taken over by people who are not really people anymore.

The voice acting is top notch and the actor that plays Rapture creator, Andrew Ryan really, really sells it, but overall ALL the voice acting is great.

The game itself is really well done with unique abilities, called Plasmids, and a fairly simple system of play. The small “morality” system, which allows you to save or destroy certain characters, is unique and will really make you think about what you want to do: save someone and fight harder or sacrifice them and power up faster.

Bioshock II (2010)

As a Big Daddy, Subject Delta, you once protected the girl named Eleanor until her mother forced you to take your own life. Now, ten years later, you have been awakened, mysteriously, and Eleanor, no longer a little girl, beckons you to save her from that same mother, who now plans to use her, along with the chemical ADAM, in an attempt to create a perfect being, free of the desire of “self”. Knowing only your desire to protect your Little Sister, and aware that failure to do so will end your life again, you take to the mostly abandoned city of Rapture to find her. In your way stand endless hordes of Splicers, other Big Daddies and now, Big Sisters – those Little Sisters who have become wild and uncontrollable with age.

DLC – Minerva’s Den

Along with Bioshock II was some downloadable content entitled, Minerva’s Den. The DLC told the story of another Big Daddy, Subject Sigma, tasked with obtaining and escaping Rapture with the cities central computer system, called, The Thinker.

My Take

Another fantastically done game that furthers the story of the original. Though still set in Rapture its visuals are still incredible and the game system is just as quick and simple to grasp. It’s odd playing as the titular Big Daddy, of whom you were made to greatly fear in the first game, and its unique to peer into the mind of one, who’s only real purpose for living is to protect the Little Sister to whom he is paired to.

The early American art-deco aesthetic is still there and the soundtrack is incredible. I spent a lot of time on loading screens just listening to the music!

Though the ending to the game was satisfying I would say the ending to the DLC, Minerva’s Den was doubly satisfying and one of my favorite jaw-drop moments in my own personal gaming history!

Bioshock Infinite (2013)

The year is 1912. You are Booker DeWitt, a private detective deep in gambling debt. You have been offered to have all of your debts settled if you can complete a single task: “Bring us the girl”. Unfortunately no one told you the girls was located in a secret city hidden floating amongst the clouds: The city of Columbia! Once an American marvel it seceded from the union years ago when it’s “prophet”, one Zachary Hale Comstock, decided the U.S. government was too restrictive after he used the cities military power to stop the Boxer Rebellion in Peking, China. Subsequently the city disappeared, simply rising up into the air and away from the eyes of the populace below. Along the way you will discover that Columbia has it’s own problems in the form of a rebellious movement, the Vox Populi, and Comstocks own desire to rule the world through the airborne military might of the city.

And everything you know will be turned on its head.

DLC – Buried at Sea Episode 1, Buried at Sea Episode 2

I don’t want to discuss the DLC too much because it ties directly into the story line of the game, unlike the DLC for Bioshock 2, which was its own story. I will say this, however:

Episode 1 is mind-bending and sad. It takes a bit of mental gymnastics to fully wrap your brain around what is taking place, but in the end its a sad tale.

Episode 2 will take what shards remain of your mind and turn them inside out, backward and scatter them to the winds. It contains one of the few truly “something is oddly not right here” opening scenes, one scene that I could scarcely sit through as it is, not gory, but visceral and disturbing, and an ending that will leave your mind reeling when you realize what is happening. I mean REELING! It is, in my opinion, one of the finest moments in gaming and science fiction history.

My Take

My understanding is that this game was not very well received for a number of reasons, I, however, found it fascinating and, upon completion, found that it created what I can only call one of the greatest science fiction stories I have ever seen.

The city of Columbia is a visual feast, mimicking early, turn-of-the-century American aesthetic, just miles and miles above terra firma. Being a more recently created game the games graphic engine takes full advantage of graphical hardware to create awe inspiring and beautiful locales.

Columbia itself is alive with people, though I can see why some might have been turned off by the obviously racist overtones throughout. Black Americans are second class citizens who’s only reason for being in the city is as slave labor. It is, however, only a story and I can see only those feeble minded snowflakes being offended by fake, digital racism. The facade of the city is one of prosperity and perfection, but walking around shows you it is much like any city, with its shiny exterior put at the forefront, while the dirt and grime is hidden away but still very much there.

The Plasmid system is still there, though the abilities are now referred to as Vigors. There are some interesting and unique ones, with Murder of Crows being my favorite.

Voice acting is, again, great, and you really feel the actors were not just reading a script but FEELING their characters. It gives them a lot of depth and believeability!

This game literally put me in awe from the very beginning. The opening few minutes, when you “discover” the city of Columbia is breathtaking AND jaw-dropping. You simply must play this game with headphones one, and not earbuds, either, but some good, quality, fat headphones.

The story is….wow. I cannot even begin to describe it. It is, seriously, one of the most fantastic and incredible science fiction stories I have ever had the pleasure of going through, and the downloadable content only further augments it.

The story is both amazing and heartbreaking at its conclusion, but so satisfying that you may find yourself thinking or talking about it for weeks afterward. Its just that good.


IF you are a fan of great stories…

IF you are a fan of great science fiction…

IF you are a fan of the genuinely creep and fantastic…

EVEN IF you are not a fan of gaming…

DO yourself a favor and, even if these are the only games you ever play in your lifetime…

PLAY THESE GAMES.

I cannot adequately describe my insistence.

Its like people telling you that you must see the Grand Canyon before you die.

Or that you must view the great sculptures of Europe.

You don’t know how right they were until you stand before them and take in the awe inspiring beauty and enormity of them.

That is BIOSHOCK. I can stand here all day and expound on how overwhelming one game is, and how overwhelming they are as a whole compilation…

but you must experience them to truly EXPERIENCE them.

If I had to make a list of top three games to play before you die, this would be in the top three, easily.

Don’t just take my word for it: https://store.steampowered.com/sub/127633/