BioShock 6-Years Later ReviewGuest_Jim_* -
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As mentioned in the introduction, the game begins with your character becoming trapped in Rapture. This happens after your plane crashes over water, leaving yourself the only survivor. You must then swim to a nearby lighthouse to get out of the water, and inside you find it is more than just a lighthouse.
Rapture is filled with denizens, not from the deep ocean, but from the darkness of humanity. Splicers who were people that mutated their bodies for power, beauty, or any other reason are now the primary residents, and they all seek a substance called Adam, which is what enables one to mutate their DNA. Little Sisters are young girls that have been mutated and programmed to find dead bodies and withdraw the Adam from them. This would make them prime targets for Splicers, except for the hulking Big Daddies that guard them. The remaining citizens of Rapture are still biologically human, and can be placed in two groups: the insane and those who suffer the insanity.
To escape Rapture, you work with a man named Atlas. He has agreed to help you escape, if you help him save his family. Along the way you pick up a variety of weapons and mutations called Plasmids. Plasmids can give you many abilities, including throwing lightning bolts, freezing targets, and setting targets on fire. In order to collect and equip every Plasmid in the game, you will have to acquire it from the Little Sisters, which requires killing the Big Daddy guarding them. Once he is down, you can either harvest the Little Sister, killing her; or rescue her from this life, which grants you less Adam, but a warm feeling inside.
That is about as much of the story as I am willing to share, because despite the game's age, I would still prefer to not spoil it. There is a lot to spoil too, with the multiple twists the game takes you along.
When you first play BioShock you will very possibly interpret the story as just another action-FPS story. You are trapped somewhere and in order to escape you have to help some people, and as you play you learn more about the place you are in and the people you are helping. On a second playthrough though, you will pick up the little hints throughout the game of the twists that are revealed about two-thirds of the way through. In this respect, you can see how well exploited the almost stereotypical, superficial action-FPS story is, as it pulls you in and gives you no reason to analyze until later in the game.
What I have described above is only half the story; the half told to you by others. The other half is told by Rapture itself, as well as diaries that you can find around the map. This story is of a once splendid place, where people lived, laughed, and loved, but now it is a crypt for the dead and dying who were too foolish and too late to prevent the fall of Rapture. In some places the city has been damaged by the ocean trying to reclaim its territory, and in others the damage was caused by the disturbed and depraved citizens. Nowhere is the city being healed.
The story of BioShock is a well-told example of dystopian truths and how the greatest ideas become the most corrupted. While it is certainly possible to read about the story on any number of websites, it is something best experienced for yourself. In the game you receive the proper pacing of the story, the hints at the truth, and the many shocks and scares only mediums like video games can deliver.