You are Jack, the protagonist of the game, in a plane that’s heading to an impending doom: crashing into the ocean. Being the sole survivor, you scout the endless amount of sea and notice a strange light in the middle of a watery desert. Heading there through the plane’s burning parts, you notice a quite small construction that, when you enter it, leads you down to what is basically an unexpected gory adventure.
You get superpowers from some syringes called Plasmids and journey through a classic steampunkish environment, enemies and weapons. You choose whether to be a criminal or hero which will have an effect on the story, but that will (maybe) be detailed a tad later. In the meantime, I will decide if the little detail spoils the reaction you might have when you reach that moment.
Gameplay and Features
Bioshock is pretty much a plain first-person shooter with the possibility of using superpowers (Plasmids) along with your weapon to give you advantages or just even the battlefield against the enemies. The Plasmid effects range from plain shooting lightning bolts or fire from your hand, to enraging an enemy or even telekinesis.
Acquiring the Plasmids is done in 2 ways. Either received from NPC’s or purchased from a vendor. The Plasmids vendors use a separate currency called ADAM and it can be obtained by killing or saving ‘Little Sisters’ (will be covered later).
Another mechanic that stands out a bit is the possibility to hack various objects from vendors to turrets, receiving different perks like discounts from vendors, or making machines fight for you – until they are destroyed by enemies. The hacking is presented as a mini-game in the form of the legendary old game ‘Pipes’ where you have to connect point A to point B through a bunch of different shaped pipes in a limited amount of time.
In addition to the Plasmids, the player can also equip ‘Gene Tonics’ which, basically, are stat modifiers. Giving you more effectiveness on using first-aid kits or extended time for the hacks. They can also be purchased at ADAM vendors. Other vendors include ammunition, health, food (which also acts as health) and weapon upgrades.
Weapons, Maps and Enemies
The weapons in Bioshock are of a wide variety from realistic ones to the science-fiction kind. Starting with a revolver, you usually find the other weapons right before an arena-type battle – with waves of enemies to defend, giving you the basic tutorial of how to use it the hard way. Other weapons included the Machine Gun based on the popular Tommy Gun, a crossbow and even a grenade launcher designed in a ‘Steampunk meets Team Fortress 2’ way.
Another item present in your arsenal is a camera equipped to scan the enemies you encounter. Each enemy type has 5 research levels that when reached, grants you a certain bonus depending on the enemy and the level you’re at. From new tonics to damage increases to certain small perks. Each weapon supports a variety of ammo types sometimes changing the whole weapon completely as the ‘nade launcher becoming a heat-seeking missile launcher.
The maps have a ‘60’s vibe along with that generation’s advertisements, music and costumes. You will visit diners, theatres, gardens and even luxury places which, of course, are packed with enemies. The transportation through the maps is usually made with a submarine, since, well, you are underwater. There’s not much more to add here unless I want to make the player less impressed about the places he visits … which I don’t.
As for the enemies, the most often occurring are the splicers, a basic enemy gone nuts on surviving instincts, scavenging and killing everything in its path … except for the other splicers. They are of several types like Houdini (which have the capability to use the Plasmids and turn invisible), Nitro (Some sort of demolition expert) and a few more.
The second most encountered type of enemy is the security defenses like cameras, turrets and their flying version. The last two mentioned can be hacked in order to help you in combat, though they broke quite fast. And last but not least, the Big Daddy and Little Sister. Big Daddy is a heavily armored and weaponized bio-mechanical creature created to defend the Little Sister, a genetically modified prepubescent girl made to collect ADAM from the dead people (or angels as the Little Sister calls them) with the help of retractable needles.
In order to get to the little girl you have to defeat her bodyguard. After that, you have 2 options where each will give you a different amount of ADAM than the other: You can either ‘harvest’ her and in the process, kill the Little Sister and gain a high amount of ADAM, or you can rescue her, curing the genetic programming and receive only half of the harvest amount, future rewards being promised. The choice you make regarding the Little Sisters affects the ending of the game.
– Intriguing story plot
– Gorgeous graphics for its year of release
– Nice voice acting
– It can become a bit repetitive
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Price: 19.99 $/€
Steam Store Page: Click Here
2. Max Payne
The story of Max Payne revolves around a detective with the same name whose wife and new-born child have been murdered by a psychopathic junkie. After mourning his dead family, he starts to investigate about this new drug, called V but with no success for a few years. Suddenly, a new lead shows up and he goes for it.
Though the first of the trilogy is over one decade old, some of its mechanics still hold up pretty well, like the bullet time attacks and dual weapon handling. The variety of weapons allow the player to choose a suitable weapon for the area he’s in – like shotguns, pistol, smgs and even crowd dispensers like grenades or even a grenade launcher. As any old game there are secrets to find usually being rewarded with weapons that are regularly found only later in the game.
I picked this game to be on my second place mostly due to its way of storytelling, the main character directly engaging with the player through voice narrated comic strips. Another reason why I enjoyed this game are his nightmares. Though, due to the reason that if I explain more about it, I will give spoilers – the action inside his bad dreams will be left for you to explore. Since the story takes place in New York City, the levels include a whorehouse, subway station, docks and even a satanic club, in each of them enemies barely waiting to claim your life.
The HUD is quite minimalist, a human shape and an hourglass beside it providing info about your health and bullet time while on the right you have the weapon type and ammo count.
Painkillers can be found throughout the game to heal your wounds but you need to be careful since the medikit doesn’t work instantly but it actually takes time to heal to its best.
– Great story
– Unique way of narration
– Effective use of bullet-time mechanic
– Variety of weapons
– The nightmares might creep you out a bit if you get scared easily … like me.
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Similar Games: Max Payne 2, Max Payne 3, Total Overdose, Matrix: Path of Neo
1. Freedom Fighters
Freedom Fighters follows a dispute old as time itself between Americans and Russians. In this instance, Russia, under the command of General Bulba, invade New York trying to take over the whole country. Meanwhile, you and your brother are 2 plumbers going, on a Monday morning, to your first client, named Isabella Angelina – a TV star that tried to warn the nation about the incoming invasion without much success as it seems, since the Russians march into the apartment with you 2 in it and kidnap your brother in hopes to obtain information from him. Once you get back on your feet, you start your journey to save your brother and the country. And you thought your Mondays were bad!
Gameplay and Features
Maybe the thing I enjoy more than the story and soundtrack of this game is the weapon firing mechanism. Taking into the account that you’re actually a plumber and not a Black Ops soldier, each shot you do, even the first one will not hit the dead-center of your crosshair most of the time, so a headshot is rarely likely, depending mostly on luck.
Another thing to enjoy in this game is that it’s not just another mindless shooter. Due to your new acquired rank as a Freedom Fighter, you get (after a few missions) people that will fight alongside you. You are able to issue one of the commands: Attack a person, defend an area, or return near you. You will start with 2 people and a tutorial will be presented along with the original objective.
In order to get more people to follow you in the line of battle you have to perform optional objectives, like saving workers, detonating things that help you overall in the missions and so on. At the end of the game you will be able to command 16 people, which is already quite the small army.
You can shout out different commands to each of the soldiers but unfortunately you cannot choose which one will obey, so sometimes you will have to withdraw all of them just for one guy. You can also attack multiple enemies at once with the help of the commands, so it’s quite important that you quickly get as many karma points as you can.
The game’s story is spread across an entire year, each season acting as a chapter composed of 3 to 5 to missions each, with only one of them being the main mission. The rest of them existing to ease up the main one. The side missions mainly consist of blowing up the reinforcements you would be getting on the other maps.
For example, one of the map contains a helipad with a helicopter on it. Blowing it up would prevent the helicopter from spawning on all the other maps within the chapter, and as aforementioned it also gives you karma points to get more units to command. Other side objectives include blowing tanks and bridges up to stop troop reinforcements.
To ensure an easy main mission which can take a few dozen minutes it is recommended to take care of the side objectives, but if you enjoy hard gameplay, leave them alone.
Enemies, Weapons and Maps
The enemies are class-based, each with their own type of weapons, design and voice pack. Starting with the basic grunt that you’ll meet 90% of the time, which yields an AK47 or a pistol, to the rare tanker that will be most mostly met towards the end of the game with a machine gun as his toy, and completely armored. Other enemy types include female special ops with SMG’s and snipers that are usually seen on high spots.
As an arsenal you have quite a variety of options that can be easily accessed through an inventory wheel. You can use pistols, revolvers, assault rifles, smg’s, shotguns, snipers, rocket launchers and even the bulky machine guns. Your trusty wrench and medikits complete the arsenal alongside with the grenades, molotovs and the binoculars.
As for the areas that you will be visiting, most of them will be around NY from theaters, to news and police stations, and even schools. All of them filled to the brim with enemies that will not hesitate to shoot you down. Since this game comes from the same people that made Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, each map has multiple pathways that allow you to come up with attack strategies for.
Honestly, after I completed the game 10 times I still found some hidden pathways that ease up my advancement, so do not be afraid to explore the game. As an additional note I would like to mention that when you reach the initial end of the game, if you quit the mission and attempt to start it again, a hidden chapter will be provided which contains 4 more missions, and the initial endgame mission is erased from existence. Apparently a friend of mine finished the game 20 times and he did not know about this.
– Intriguing story
– Great voice acting
– Amazing soundtrack
– A good level of realism
– One or two plot twists in there.
– One certain map can become Hell on Earth.
Genre: Tactical Third-Person Shooter
Publisher: EA Games
Similar Games: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six series.
So, this is it, my list of ten favorite games that include a great story and an equal amount of great gameplay. I know I have left out many games like Bioshock Infinite, but the reason is the same like before: I either have not tried them or I didn’t personally like them. I would like to stress again that this top ten represents my sole opinion and it doesn’t have to reflect yours as well, but here’s hoping that you agree at least with some of it.