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YMMV / BioShock

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This page covers the franchise as a whole. If you're looking for the original BioShock game, see: YMMV.Bio Shock 1.

  • Anvilicious: The series isn't subtle in its imagery, which unfortunately means that the messages that are subtle are easily overwhelmed. The message of extremism in any human endeavour is bad, represented with all of the major villains and settings. Critics argue that such tendencies to paint in extremes, or see the main focus on extremism itself, ultimately makes the concept cheap and not a true exploration of any idea. For instance, if the message of the first game is that Objectivism taken to the extreme is bad, does that mean that "moderate" Objectivism is good? Likewise, if Zachary Comstock an extreme of white nationalism and manifest destiny, does that mean moderate versions of that are good or tolerable? As noted by critics and historians the point about these ideas, or any other contentious ideas, is not about the most extreme version, but about the fact that ordinary people can buy into it, nor is it any real critique or exploration of concept (many critics for instance argue that any Objectivism is bad and academically it is not considered a valid idea at all).
    • Accidentally, the game can serve as a critique of Israel, in that wanting to find a safe space free of oppression, the founders then proceed to oppress those they see as beneath them, as represented by the Ambiguously Jewish founders. Andrew Ryan was a just a boy when his family fled the Russian Empire during the Pogroms and made his fortune in the U.S., despite hating the fact that his business was subject to government regulation; Tenebaum was an inmate in a concentration camp but was recruited by the Nazis due to her intellect, and wanted to find a place where she could pursue her scientific curiosity unimpeded; and Sander Cohen was an artist who found societal norms too prudish for his artistic style. When Rapture was founded they found relief that they could be free to pursue their passions, however: Ryan, a critic of government censorship, felt threatened whenever anyone who spoke against him or Rapture, and censored them; Tenebaum conducted a number of inhumane medical experiments on numerous subjects; and Cohen praised himself as an artistic genius, and demanded anyone that disagreed to be censored, and his artistic style aside from being bizarre often included the torture or murder of others.
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  • Awesome Art: One of the most praised aspects of the series is its Bio Punk visual style, with the first two games going Diesel Punk in its Art Deco environments, and the third retroceding a bit to Steampunk.
  • Complete Monster: Frank Fontaine, Dr. Yi Suchong, Dr. J. S. Steinman; Stanley Poole; Father Zachary Hale Comstock; Pat Cavendish. See those pages for details.
  • Contested Sequel: Infinite is either the best or the worst game in the series. Although many fans consider Infinite to be a worthy, if still gameplay-wise inferior, sequel to BioShock 1 that is still superior to BioShock 2, you can expect opinions to range broadly on this subject.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: Many critics had this reaction to every entry in the franchise, praising their respective stories and settings but criticizing for their relatively simple gameplay, particularly in comparison to their spiritual predecessor System Shock 2.
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  • Love to Hate: There are many despicable characters in the franchise, from Andrew Ryan to Sofia Lamb to Sander Cohen to Zachary Comstock to Jeremiah Fink — and that's not even mentioning the undisputed heavyweight champion of evil BioShock villains, Frank Fontaine. But damn if they don't tend to be great orators.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Lots. Between claustrophobia, hydrophobia, Body Horror, deadly doctors, mad artists, deadly doctors who ''think'' they're artists, fear of surgical implements, fear of needles, fear of the dark, Mind Control, child cruelty, creepy children, Soundtrack Dissonance, animal cruelty, fear of being hunted through a decaying city by gene-spliced psychopaths, and seafood allergies, there's something in the series to terrify everybody. All three games have their own pages.
  • Ugly Cute: The Big Daddies in a way. They are Gentle Giants, and their relationship with their Little Sisters (as protective guardians whom the Sisters call "Mr. Bubbles" and play with) can be endearing... unless you dare trigger them by harming a Little Sister.


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