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[GC2006] Bioshock hands-on

So there we are. Two exhausted journalists and two exhausted developers getting ready for a hands-on demo with Bioshock. We were completely unprepared and the developers admitted that it was their 40th demo already. Good thing they had some cold Red Bull cans for us.

Bioshock is developed by the same team that made System Shock 2 and builds on the succesful combination of FPS and RPG elements. But they clearly stated the game isn’t a System Shock sequel. It’s very open ended in the way you play it and you’re free to choose your own way of handling the different situations. You can use ‘plasmids’ (spells) or guns to kill enemies and advance through the level. You can shoot whoever you want although some NPC’s will attack you as soon as they notice you. One thing Irrational was quite big on were consequences. Normally when you play a game there aren’t many consequences for your actions but when you shoot certain people or if you go about and shoot everything that moves, you’re screwed. Irrational promised us the ammo would be scarce and you have to think twice before you go Rambo.

The game is set in a war-torn underwater utopia where mankind has abandoned their humanity in their quest for perfection. It’s a pretty unique and weird environment to walk around in. It has some sort of weird 30’s art deco thing going on. The world is inhabited by creatures who appeared to be humans once. Those ‘humans’ all have their own agenda and draw their own path if you don’t disturb them.

Irrational is trying to create a horror like experience but the way they’re doing that is quite extraordinary. They didn’t go with the dark environments you’ll see in games like Condemned and Doom 3 but they went with a colorful twisted world with characters who appeared to be human but are all sorts of messed up. For instance; when we first started walking around in the world there was this little girl who saw a corpse laying on the floor. The inhabitants of the Bioshock world are always looking for a substance called ‘Adam’ which is some kind of mana stored in dead bodies. When the little girl noticed the corpse, she went down there and put some sort of sucking device with a needle attached to it in the corpse. After she sucked up his blood she started drinking the canister attached to the device while coughing up some blood. This whole deal wasn’t grim or dark at all but it sure was messed up.

After this slightly awkward situtation we were introduced to a couple of other rooms displaying a variety of enemies. The developer said that a certain female wallcrawling enemy wasn’t going to be in the full version but was only used for showcasing how the enemies reacted to eachother. After using some sort of attraction plasmid, the woman started attacking a large guy with a helmet, but she failed miserably and died. The helmet guy then continued his daily routine with his underage mistress. But what if you didn’t have the plasmid, the woman would’ve attacked you instead, how would you handle that situation? The game’s full with this sort of stuff, getting through the levels, from point a to point b. How you do that is your own business.

At E3 Bioshock received 22 awards including a couple ‘Game of the Show’ awards. What we saw was pretty impressive and we bet that the System Shock fans will be all over this game. But is it good enough for us ‘normal’ folk? It’s hard to tell. Bioshock had a couple of very interesting features and the atmosphere is down-right amazing but is that enough to justify a first day purchase? Who knows, we’ll have to see it for ourselves when Bioshock hits shelves sometime in 2007.

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6 comments on '[GC2006] Bioshock hands-on'

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Cool, nice “hands-on” preview. Did they say anything about multiplayer or how many Frames Per second they’re going for?

No multiplayer. Didn’t ask the ever-important framerate question but it looked like a solid 30FPS.

Oh and thanks :)

looks real nice.

Comment by Kenny K on 2006-08-28 20:34:33 | Reply

i can not wait for this game. one of the most impressive U3E games in development now IMHO. what i want to know is why arent there any videos ANYWHERE on this game. for a game gathering so much praise they should let us see it in motion at least

Comment by acromyth on 2006-08-29 15:28:36 | Reply

This game hasn’t really floored me as it apparently did to everyone else. The whole utopia concept is a neat idea, and I like some of the design aspects that I’m seeing, but it just doesn’t sound that exciting. BIA. Now theres a game that floors me.

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