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Rapture is a mixed bag, but definitely worth a visit.
OK, let's get one thing out of the way first: Bioshock is about as soft as sci-fi gets. Your "plasmids" (power-ups) supposedly work thanks to genetic re-engineering, but their abilities range from shooting fire out of your finger to conjuring magical tomatoes out of the air that you can throw at enemies to mind-control them, defying the very laws of physics much less physiology. So if you're looking for a game that makes any darned sense, turn back now.

That said, Bioshock has a surprisingly good story — or rather, backstory — told mostly through "audio diaries" (personal tape recorders) you pick up as you go. It's a toss-up whether the best aspect of the game is this or the visuals, which are absolutely jaw-droppingly fantastic, in terms of design as well as graphics quality. And the level design is mostly well thought-out and believable, with linear paths cleverly sculpted out of a once-nonlinear city layout.

Unfortunately, once the gilt is stripped away — as the game itself is kind enough to do for you in the third level — the game's flaws become clear. The main one is combat, which feels clunky and unresponsive even when your enemies are dropping like flies at your feet. There's almost no feedback; just a HUD bar that ticks away until they die. Which is a shame, because combat is supposed to be the big selling point of shooters.

However, what combat does offer is spectacle. Siccing swarms of bees on enemies, blowing up Big Daddies with their own proximity mines, and throwing dead corpses at live ones with your gravity-gun-like Telekinesis plasmid never gets old, and there are enough solutions to any given combat scenario to make for serious replay value. Which is good, because if you're like me you'll want to revisit the city over and over because, as I said, it is GORGEOUS.

Bioshock is not without its minor annoyances. There's the hacking mini-game, which you'll have to play a lot in order to unlock useful items and get past security. It gets old really fast, and there are only so many opportunities to bypass it. And there's an escort mission towards the end, and you know those are. But neither was enough to be a deal breaker for me.

It's hardly the flawless masterpiece it was hyped as, but Bioshock crafts a world you simply have to visit, even if just as a rental.
One of the flaws for me was the silent protagonist. The voice acting is scorching, the characters are compelling — but they are giving their all against this vacuum. I lost count of the times when I was dying for some way of responding — even a few clunky response options would have helped, or for the protagonist to say something. It took me out of the story: no-one would be silent under those circumstances, at least before they were surgically mutilated and only able to make whale sounds.
comment #1806 Camacan 5th Feb 10 (edited by: Camacan)
I just want to add my appreciation and adoration for the twist. I mean, they gave us a logical and believable explanation for the rampant But Thou Must present in these games. It was awesome.

Now if only they had've put an explanation for muteness in somewhere near the beginning...
comment #1838 Nndaia 9th Feb 10
all the water from the start must of been cold :-P
comment #2040 joeyjojo 10th Mar 10
@Nndaia Someone probably told him when he was young, in a fit of rage 'Would you kindly STFU FOREVER?!!' Not knowing it would be taken the way it was...
comment #2056 Sinclose 13th Mar 10
^^^Maybe it was an intended side effect of the brainwashing, or (more probably) a part of sending him to Rapture. I can think of a couple of reasons why Ryan and/or Fontaine wouldn't want him talking to anyone in Rapture. He might... ask questions...

Edit: Granted, they couldn't exactly have put that anywhere near the beginning of the game.
comment #7761 Artemis92 23rd May 11 (edited by: Artemis92)
I have a theory about his lack of speaking parts. It's because you are supposed to place yourself in his position, see some of your own mannerisms reflected in him by the choices you make. In essence, you are the actor. If there is a slience, it's because you aren't reading your lines, so to speak. I actually started talking to it, and sometimes, there were these wierd coincidences where when I said something, when the other person spoke, it was like they were responding. You decide what Jack says in response... which is Ironically, one of the only things that you do choose, though you don't know that straight away.
comment #7824 Dragon573 30th May 11
^ I expect your theory is right and that's an overt design choice. But I find it's a risky decision. I've had many moments in Half-Life 2 where Gordon's silence makes no human sense. Pulled me right out of the setting. Also had moments In Red Faction: Guerrilla where the opposite happened: I was worried about the task at hand and Alec says "Don't worry, I've got this." in a really smug voice. I had to say out loud "Speak for yourself!"
comment #7907 Camacan 3rd Jun 11 (edited by: Camacan)
It's called a silent protagonist people...you don't need a freaking explanation.
comment #11264 LaLiLuLeLo 7th Nov 11
Well, and considering Jack's personality is entirely malleable via the choices the player makes regarding the Little Sisters, it wouldn't make sense for him to have any lines. Jack is, in essence, the player. He doesn't have his own mind, feelings, or even free will. When you look at it that way, his silence seems a deliberate and effective way of reinforcing the eventual plot twist.
comment #12085 radishson 29th Dec 11 (edited by: radishson)
I actually like the brainwashing-for-silence explanation, since it makes sense from Fontaine's standpoint. However, it's still only speculation.

So if you're looking for a game that makes any darned sense, turn back now.
You seem to be confusing a Suspension Of Disbelief with pointing out plot holes. It's not a problem that Jack can throw tomatoes that make people angry or shoot fire from his hands, because it makes sense within the game's context.

For example, Magneto can manipulate electromagnetism due to being a mutant, which makes no sense in real life but makes perfect sense when the reader accepts that mutants in X-men are simply people born with superpowers.
comment #12088 BoulderSmolder 29th Dec 11
"Throwing dead corpses at live ones." Best line ever.
comment #13873 AmazingLagann 17th Apr 12
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