The tide of BioShock reviews has slowed down to a mere drip, but here's two more for you to enjoy. First up is Gameplanet with a 4.5/5.
Big Daddies are enormous humans pimped up on ADAM to give them super-human strength, dumped into a diving suit with a massive steel diving helm on. Pretty horrific when one of these guys charges at you! When you take on a Big Daddy, you will have the option of harvesting the Little Sister for ADAM, or rescuing her for less ADAM. This was touted as an emotionally charged moral event, however the consequences of your actions are virtually non-existent, except that it will impact the game ending. Although some people certainly will find it harder to harvest Little Sisters than others...And Gameshark gives it an A, noting "simply put, BioShock delivers."
What makes the game special is that it blends nearly every perceived category of what makes a game great into one, big pot luck dinner of brilliance. The graphics, art direction, controls, sound, atmosphere, weapons, abilities, enemy AI, storyline it's all here. BioShock's funny, insane, disturbing, political, timely (despite its 1960s setting), redemptive, and fun. Oh, boy, is it fun. And last is GameCritics with no grade. They seem happy, but critical, marking the game as "not revolutionary".
And yet despite its aesthetic brilliance and the near-overwhelming variety of weaponry, BioShock never left me with a feeling that it was truly an evolution of the genre. Its rote linearity feels dated compared to S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl or even 2004's Far Cry. Its core gameplay structure of upgradeable weapons and abilities has been done many times in first-person shooters, not only in the System Shock games but in the Deus Ex series as well. What's more, I found the multiple approaches to gameplay considerably imbalanced; for example, in Deus Ex, a character with an affinity for stealth and computer hacking is significantly less formidable in head-to-head combat. In BioShock, however, there is little to prevent the player from acquiring a broad but disparate array of lethal skills. Frequent conflict is an inevitability, and the myriad of tactics mostly serve to provide visually flashy ways of dispatching similar types of foes. Sure, there are Splicers that run around maniacally, crawl on the ceiling or teleport, but there is little to differentiate them aside from their theatrics; all of them will charge head on eventually or, if they are armed, spray bullets in an erratic fashion. Save for the Big Daddies, the enemies never display a sense of awareness or uniqueness that make them truly satisfying to kill. I would have liked to have seen the Splicers make better use of the dark, confusing environments to create combat with a cat-and-mouse kind of tension, rather than the more brute force approach that is prevalent throughout the game, save for a few well-crafted scripted sequences. The (Vita-Chambers) are also problematic. Their frequent placement renders death more of a momentary inconvenience than anything of real consequence. Their abundance combined with the litany of power-ups scattered about the levels, makes the game a fair bit too easy. The game already provides both checkpoints and quicksaves, so the inclusion of the Vita-Chambers is quite superfluous.