WARNING: THIS BLOG POST WILL CONTAIN GIANT GIANT SPOILERS ABOUT PLOT POINTS IN THE FIRST BIOSHOCK GAME. PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.
I realize that at this point I am probably one of the few people in the world who still cares/cared about avoiding spoilers for Bioshock, but I feel the need to put that spoiler space there anyway.
I finished Bioshock last night. I didn’t actually intend to beat the game, though I knew I was getting pretty close. (Which is almost exactly what happened when I beat Mass Effect, actually…) I just picked up the controller for a couple hours of gaming and when those hours were over, the game was over as well.
Beating a game is a weird experience for me, possible because I don’t do it very often. Whenever I finish a game, I’m left with a sense of elation and sadness at the same time. I feel almost… Empty. It’s like Christmas afternoon. The thing that I’ve been looking forward to and working toward for so long is finally over, and now I don’t know what to do with my time. Bioshock was a very awesome, creepy, well-written experience that I don’t get to look forward to anymore, and that’s a sad feeling.
As for the game itself, I don’t feel the need to review it in a whole lot of depth since I’m way behind the times and plenty of other people have done that, but I am going to talk about the effect it had on me. First of all, I really wasn’t sure how far I’d get through it to begin with. I’m not a shooter player. I have terrible aim, to be quite honest, and my reflexes are not the most amazing. Bishock handled that well by letting me beat people with a wrench to start out with, something that I can do all day long. Then it let me electrocute them and hit them with the wrench. Then it let me light them on fire, or freeze them, or shoot bees out of my hand at them. (As a beekeeper’s daughter, I quite enjoyed that last one.) There were times when I found myself getting a little sick of running and shooting at things, and those were times when the game had me do something else for a little while to keep me interested. And the story! Finding little tidbits of Rapture’s past on recordings was addictive. I know I didn’t get all the tapes, but the tapes I did find made the whole world more tragic one tape at a time. A woman comes down to find a better life for her daughter, only to have her daughter taken away and turned into a Little Sister. A physician seeks to help people and has his mind twisted by the very substance that allowed him such new surgical techniques. Rapture was a city founded on selfish, flawed ideals from the start, but that wasn’t the fault of the people who came seeking a dream and found a nightmare. Oh, no, that was all Andrew Ryan’s fault.
One of the things I found impressive was how thoroughly the game made me hate Ryan. By the time I got to the confrontation with him, I desperately wanted to kick his teeth in. He was a selfish, evil man who cared more about his Objectivist ideals than the suffering of the people in his city. I was… Disappointed that I didn’t get to beat the shit out of him on my terms. I hated him so much it was almost frustrating to find I’d been manipulated. (I mean, I didn’t have a choice inside the strictures of the game design, but it was still jarring.) I was still pretty satisfied with the result, but not nearly as satisfied as I was after I beat Fontaine.
Oh, Fontaine. Honestly, if you hadn’t tried to kill me immediately after I killed Ryan for you, I’d have been happy to leave Rapture with no real hard feelings. But you just had to go and betray me, after all the work I did… So I had to come kick your face in with Tenenbaum’s help. Oh, sure, you tried to convince me that she’d betray me just like you did… But really. She’s the only character who hadn’t tried to kill me yet, and was in fact actively helpful. Honestly, I expected that she’d betray me at some point (and was pleasantly surprised when she did not) but I figured it was smarter to stick with the person that wasn’t actively trying to kill me than to trust the person who was. Silly Fontaine. When the Little Sisters swarmed you at the end, I actually yelled at them to kick your ass for me.
Speaking of the Little Sisters, I saved them. Every last one. And can I just give props to the developers for showing them graduating from college in the ending montage? A lot of media makes getting married and having kids the end-all and be-all of happiness and success for women, and I was thrilled to see getting a higher education included in that ending. Yes, I notice these things because I am a dork. College graduates, represent!
To sum up, Bioshock is awesome. I am very glad I played it, and I’ll pick up the sequel as well. You know. Eventually. Probably two years after everyone else has already played it.
That’s just how I roll.