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The hype and hyperbole surrounding BioShock prior to its release left 2K with a steep uphill climb to avoid seeing its game labelled as merely 'good, but not as good as promised'. The final product is by far and away the very pinnacle of first-person shooters, with 2K achieving those heady heights by braving to not just push against established genre barriers and expectations but to rip them out and place BioShock atop the pile as a landmark pseudo-RPG first-person shooter that will be a benchmark of quality for many years to come.
The second is at PALGN with an overall score of 9.0/10:
BioShock is a really compelling piece of work. While there has been a bit of streamlining and trimming of features from its spiritual predecessors, the game's compelling story, satisfying action, pleasing aesthetics and brilliant atmosphere more than make up for it. BioShock may not do anything particularly new, but the combination of many important gameplay elements, a gripping narrative and interactivity with the game world in such an impressive fashion will undoubtedly raise the bar for many first person shooters to come.
The third is at Gameplay Monthly with an overall score of "A-":
It looks fantastic. It sounds fantastic. It plays fantastic. The combat with the huge amount of plasmids and weapons makes combat incredibly fun and varied, and there are tons and tons of ways to take out foes. The sense of redemption as you choose to rescue the Little Sisters is something special, and so are the fights with the Big Daddies. The game is pretty much everything it could be and exceeds it and will remain one of the great new classics of gaming. It is an experience, and it's hard to not look back at it and think "That was a great, great game." Most importantly, it's a game that it's actually fun to replay.
The fourth is at Gaming Target with an overall score of 9.7/10:
Bioshock is one of those rare games that completely sucks you into its world. And that's just referring to Rapture itself; the game makes you feel like you're stuck in a total disaster where everyone's crazy and yet the place still has life thanks to what's remaining of the city's amenities, as both a reminder and a demonstration of what things used to be like in this once-utopia. The plot is mature, realistic, and critical without shoving it in your face, and the voice acting matches the weight of what's going on. Of course, the gameplay also delivers by bringing depth and ease together in one package to make it truly playable with a bare minimum of frustration. It's not flawless, but Bioshock is a legitimate candidate for the best game of 2007, and any game that wants to compete with it will have to raise the bar to insane levels to match what's been accomplished here. For Bioshock is the total package.
The fifth is at Gaming Heaven with an overall score of 94/100:
We could carry on writing this review for ever, such is the richness of this game, the sheer amount of stuff to see, the hacking of security systems, the touching interplay between Big Daddies and Little Sisters, the list just goes on. No, instead imagine a game with the wit and believable characters of Half Life 2, the moral choices and weapon/skill pallet of Deus Ex and the unique and complete universe of STALKER. Imagine a game that is greater than the sum of all those parts, and you have Bioshock!
The sixth is at GamingExcellence with an overall score of 9.8/10:
Make no mistake, BioShock is a masterpiece, as pure a gaming experience as exists today. It will take something beyond outstanding and phenomenal to take this game's rightful place as game of the year. My earlier comparisons to film classics such as Casablanca were not meant as a casual comparison and were not made lightly. I make those comparisons while still paying every compliment possible to those artful and important moments that those classic films represent within our culture. The comparison still stands; what Casablanca was to movies, BioShock is to gaming. There's nothing else to say except buy it now, and then buy another copy for a friend.
The seventh is at Frictionless Insight with a perfect score of 5/5:
So, should you play BioShock? Yes! Absolutely, yes! It's simply brilliant. It's barely been released, and it's already a classic. When I tried to explain the game to an English major, I told her to think of it as the Pride and Prejudice of the video game world. Only, instead of young, handsome soldiers, there are genetic monstrosities in an underwater, Art-Deco utopia. Oh, and D'Arcy is a power-mad industrialist. Of course, if you hate Jane Austen, you'll still love BioShock.
And the eighth is at VGPub with an overall score of 9.9/10:
Bioshock is everything we've been hoping it could be. It defines the action/adventure genre, combining the thrills of a FPS, the strategy of a RPG, the looks of a visual masterpiece, the sounds of an epic, and the story of a full-blown mystery. It's not perfect, but it's damn close.