It only took me, what, 8 months to finish BioShock? 10? And yet, that puts me well ahead of any number of games that I still intend to finish, much less the ones I’ve long given up on. At any rate, it was well worth it. On top of fantastically fluid gameplay that allows for practically any tactics you can imagine, the enemies vary from simplistic to extremely challenging but without the penalty of being unable to proceed because of constant death-resets. It may not be my favorite gameplay, but it’s easily in the top ten.
Where BioShock shines, though, is in the storyline. I’ve never read Atlas Shrugged (though I intend to retry someday), so I can’t tell you exactly how stood on their head Rand’s theories are, but I can certainly tell that she would be entitled to quite a lot of energy generated by her grave-spinning corpse, were she ever to see it in play. The premise is simple: while on a trans-Atlantic flight in 1959, your plane crashes near the entrance to an underwater city commissioned in the mid 1940s by suspiciously-initialed industrialist Andrew Ryan, who built Rapture to escape from the communists, governments, and religions that wanted to steal his money and ideas. The sole survivor of the crash, you naturally enter the city as it’s the only place to find shelter from the elements. Before you can draw a breath to admire the fantastic art deco architecture, you’re plunged into the middle of Rapture’s civil war between Ryan and newcomer Atlas, who seems to be a rallying point for the people but now only wants to escape with his wife and children. And everyone you meet is infected with plasmids that give them strange biological powers, such as the ability to shoot fire and lightning from their fingertips. (Plus, they’re infected with Randian libertarian philosophy, and half of them appear to be undead; hooray for Objectivist zombies!) And then, things start to get mysterious.
So, much as I loved Portal, this game here? Best game I’ve played not merely in 2007, but probably in most of the decade. I cannot realistically praise it enough. I know I’m late to the party here, but if you haven’t played it yet? It’s on the “must” list, I promise. It’s even forgiving to people who do not play first-person shooters.