Sunday, August 19, 2007

BioShock (Xbox 360) Demo Impressions

By now most of you have played the Xbox 360 demo for BioShock, and with the game's release less than 2 days away, I'll keep this post brief: Based on this demo alone, BioShock will be one of if not thee must own Xbox 360 title of 2007.

Most of you have already formed your own impressions, however I also know most of you have never played System Shock 2, one of the most amazing and underrated shooters of all time, and for me I can not help but compare both games.

While playing the demo for the first (and then second and then third) time, I needed to keep reminding myself that this is not System Shock 2, but rather a whole new game. BioShock takes many of the RPG additions to the shooter genre that was featured in System Shock 2 and simplifies them, meaning that BioShock is much more a shooter than its spiritual predecessor.

You do not have Classes to choose from, and the Plasmids don't seem anywhere near as complex or evolving as Psi Powers did, however BioShock still contains the most important element that made System Shock 2 so grand: Atmosphere.

From the moment you first enter that lighthouse, not only have you been astounded by the game's visuals and amazing water effects, but the tension begins to build, and once you leave the Bathisphere, there's no going back. The halls of Rapture are dark and creepy. Dread lurks around every corner and you're just waiting for the next Splicer to pop out of no where and say "Boo.", and no, I'm not talking cheesy, repetitive Doom 3 monster closets.

You can also tell from the demo that the game will have some nice, psychologically disturbing moments. Aside from the great audio logs and music, you'll also be treated to some great scripted sequences that will mess with your mind (such as the Splicer and the baby carriage). BioShock will be the kind of game to play late at night with the lights off and the sound up.

The demo also gives you a taste at hacking security cameras and bots, something that will be most invaluable to helping you get the drop on your enemies. While I found hacking to be ridiculously easy, I'm looking forward to the increased difficulty as the retail game progresses.

You also get a nice sight of a Big Daddy, and just how fast and lethal they will be, but we'll need to wait for retail to fully experience them, as well as most of the other more challenging foes in the game.

The demo for BioShock is certainly a demo that leaves you wanting more, and all I can say is two days can't go by fast enough.

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