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Put simply, BioShock is an unparalleled achievement. No other game comes even remotely close to it in terms of raw emotional connection. It may still be too early to name a Game of the Year, but after experiencing BioShock in all of its haunting artistic glory, every other game will have to try that much harder to even be considered as a candidate.
The second is at 1Up with an overall score of 10/10:
Some might miss certain elements that were unique to System Shock 2 (BioShock's spiritual predecessor), while others might lament that there weren't enough compelling reasons to revisit areas you've already cleared. The mechanics of the final battle are somewhat familiar, and the enemy voice samples do repeat a bit too frequently. But taken as a whole, as an experience that's richly and utterly complete, and one that engages the player in a constant dialogue, BioShock is virtually unassailable.
And that makes you feel good.
The third is at IGN with an overall score of 9.7/10:
There is art here, despite what many would say isn't possible with games, from Roger Ebert to game designers like Hideo Kojima. But it's in BioShock--it's in the gorgeously realized, watery halls of Rapture. It's in a Little Sister's expression of thanks when you choose to save her, or the utter silence if you harvest instead. It's in the way the characters develop, in the testimonials of the recording boxes you pick up along the way. It's in the way the narrative is structured, and the way it blends so seamlessly with the action. Irrational had a clear vision with this game, something pulled off with remarkable precision in every department. They didn't just deliver something that's fun to play, a criterion so often cited as the benchmark of what makes a game worthwhile. BioShock stands as a monolithic example of the convergence of entertaining gameplay and an irresistibly sinister, engrossing storyline that encompasses a host of multifaceted characters. This is an essential gaming experience.
The fourth is at CVG/PC Gamer with an overall score of 9.5/10:
I spend my career, and my gaming life, waiting for a moment when a game just astonishes me, when I can't believe what I'm seeing, what I'm doing. BioShock has five.
The fifth is at TeamXbox with an overall score of 9.5/10:
It's rare to find a game that has both quality in its engineering and quality in its gameplay. But BioShock is certainly that in a nice package. Best of all, it sets the bar high right at the start of the pre-holiday season, in a year when we're expected to see a lot of Triple-A games. At the end of the year, let's see if they belong in the same ocean as BioShock.
And the sixth is at Console Gameworld with an overall score of 99%:
For an hours worth of gameplay, this may just be the greatest game experience of my entire life. A few small things did stick out after a second run through, like no shadow from my body and some odd movement while in certain sections of water. Bioshock, however, cannot be listed as anything but a triple-A title, right off the bat. It's near-flawless gameplay and design leaves me shaking for more.