I absolutely love FPS, however generic it may sound, don't get me wrong, the genre is more than just run and gun, there's quite a bit of strategy involved(at-least in some games) but when they're flavored with some RPG elements, what you play is an incredibly entertaining piece of work that will leave you wondering and Bioshock is a perfect example for such a mish-mashed genre.
Great stories are a combination of good characters, voice overs and a brilliant plot; 2k studios didn't compromise on any of that. The game takes place during the 50's in an amusing however grim location - Rapture, an underwater metropolis which was built and glorified by a sociopath named Andrew Ryan. And amidst the chaos that mysteriously struck Rapture, Jack, the voiceless lead protagonist has to battle through psychopaths and murderers due to unforeseen circumstances but ultimately, he only wishes to escape from the madness infested place but gets caught up running errands for its mysterious residents while surviving the hurdles set up by its malevolent mayor(Andrew Ryan). The mystery as to what went wrong in Rapture is revealed eventually as you play through the game and what you come across are some drastic twists and surprises, enough to say that spoilers are best avoided. These murderous psychopaths a.k.a. splicers are after two powerful elements - Adam and Eve, its no child's play getting your hands on some but once you've did, the result is rewarding because they basically provide you the ability to alter your very DNA, impressive as it sounds, it unlocks various abilities which are very essential for Jack to survive.
The residents of Rapture, like Da Vinci, only sadistic
Basing on what I've stated earlier, it should be obvious that Bioshock isn't a plain run and gun, its gameplay involves a brilliant combination of your conventional weapons namely, the wrench(melee), pistol, shotgun etc. and plasmids. Now, plasmids are special tonics that gain you various abilities like shooting bolts of electricity, freezing an enemy rendering his entire body brittle or perhaps, turn a bit sadistic and release a horde of bees towards your enemies; they're available at the price of a considerable amount of Adam at numerous children of Adam stores. Relying entirely on your conventional weapons is a bad idea, it is vital that one orchestrates between plasmids and weapons when dealing with enemies. Also, your weapons are pretty much rendered useless when you have to deal with stronger bosses and thankfully, the game includes some weapon upgrade outlets which are available every now and then but technically, they don't upgrade the weapons, instead they fix the various problems in them making them appear upgraded/better in the process. Another essential activity in order to play-through the game is "Hacking", it may sound inappropriate for a game set in the 1950s but the game has its own take on it; all you need to do is direct water-flow from one end of a pipe to the other end - it may sound nonsensical but it is more of a like it or hate it feature, I personally found it addictive so I got into this frenzy to hack into anything hack-able. Brilliant level design also adds credit to the gameplay since plasmids aren't necessarily a weapon, they're more of a tool to get through various environmental obstacles in the game.
The underwater metropolis involves a lot of water, lighting, details and textures; despite being a considerably old game, it did manage to look good or should I say pleasing. Most importantly water, whether leaking off the roofs, near the fountains or a puddle is given quite a bit of a realistic touch due to some decent water effects. However, I did experience some texture delays when the game loads, it is a minor issue but apart from that, the game ran pretty smooth.
Its various residents are given a cartoon-ish look with a creepy twist adding a grim appeal to the setting. The game does have a few scares here and there but not enough to give you the goose bumps.
Overall, the game's art style has clearly been inspired from a 50's thriller! Rapture does manage to give that impression, it is only short of being in black and white.
In conclusion, Bioshock is a terrific game that manages to appeal fans of both FPS and RPG while introducing an incredible story line that will leave you in shock and awe at every instance.
Pros - brilliant story & voice overs, fun and engaging game-play, good implementation of RPG elements, neat visuals
Cons - A few technical issues, hacking can be an overkill.
Rating - 9/10