BioShock Demo Walkthrough/Impressions - 20/08/2007

While you're waiting for the eternity that is the BioShock demo download time, see what we had to say.

We here at TGSN are an indecisive bunch. We just couldn’t, for the life of us, decide which kind of BioShock article we should write to celebrate the recent release of the demo, as well as inching ever closer to the game arriving at stores. Having already written a preview a while back, (which you can check out here) we wondered if another was on the cards. Similarly, some of us were inspired by the demo, and wished a mini guide to be the order of the day. So, fellow gamer, we all decided to bash our noggins together and see what kind of article exploded out. The results are splattered below.

BioShock demo. Are there two sweeter words in these droughty august months? Well the drought is over my friend, the wet n’ wild world of BioShock is here! Join us as we swim, stumble and smash our way through the entirety of the demo, giving our own impressions along the way.

First up, for those of you who like a challenge, we recommend playing on the hardest difficulty. Although disabled at first, there’s a sneaky solution. Go to your gamer profile, and enter the gaming defaults section. On the default difficulty for first person shooters, highlight hard mode. Bingo, you're in. If you’ve managed to prise yourself away from the sweet piano sounds that emit from the game whenever you highlight a different option, then you’ll be brought to a swanky real-time cutscene set aboard an ill-fated aeroplane. Oops, I think that may have been a spoiler. Never mind, it won’t be ill-fated for long. In about 3 seconds, when the plane has exploded above the Atlantic and your character is fighting to reach the surface, ill-fated will be a distant memory.

The great thing about BioShock is the consistent 1st person view. The developers try to maintain an immersive quality throughout the game, so even cutscenes will be fully rendered from in front of your eyes rather than your whole body. Once you’ve reached the surface, the game will hand you the controls while you marvel at the wonderful flame effects dancing on the surface of the water. See that huge, ominous lighthouse a few yards ahead. The one you can’t really miss? Make your way to it, making sure not to miss the awesome sight of the planes back-end slowly getting sucked down into the depths. Climb up the rain-lashed steps and take one last look over the flaming wreckage of your once dull 50’s lifestyle before heading inside, where you’ll spend the remainder of the game.

If you're afraid of the dark, you might want to close your eyes at this next part, as it made me a bit jittery. As soon as you walk in, it sounds as if the place erupts. Not to worry, it’s merely the 15ft door slamming shut and blocking your only escape. Not to worry indeed…Luckily you’re now living in the technologically advanced 20th century; the place will automatically light up, revealing the towering bust of the creator of an underwater city called Rapture. Underneath, a plaque reads: ‘what place is there for men like me?’ By heading downstairs and into the biosphere, (think that underwater gondola type-thing from Halo 2’s ‘Delta Halo’, only 50’s style) it’s revealed that creator Andrew Ryan intended Rapture to be a city free from tyranny or morality. Where capitalism, communism, and even religion will be kept from reaping ‘the sweat from a man's brow’. Not a bad idea, but through out the demo, it’s slowly revealed that Mr Ryan is more of a mad scientist than man's savoir…

The war-time propaganda-style documentary that projects the ideals of Rapture on the wall ahead looks authentic enough to give you the willies, and adds a nostalgic sense of believability to the doomed city. Make sure to listen out for Atlas over the short wave radio on the left-hand wall. The ominous commands he issues to his friend, that ‘the Splicers are coming’ are made all the more mysterious by his thick, Irish accent. I mean, what's an Irishman doing this far out to sea?

You’ll be hearing Atlas over this makeshift intercom a lot over the course of the game, and while some might complain that a guiding hand ruins the thrill of discovery, most will enjoy the sound of another human being amidst the undersea desolation. When your biosphere docks, you’ll just be able to make out the silhouette of a man with pointy arms. Wait, you’ll think as the lights flicker on and off, those aren’t pointy arms, those are big bloody knives! The nasty Splicer will carve up Atlas’s mate good and proper, while all you can do is watch from the darkness. You won’t be able to move at this point, only watch in helpless desperation as the Splicer climbs onto the roof of your biosphere and commences hacking away at the casing. Don’t worry, you're in safe hands. Pick up the radio and Atlas will open the door, scaring away the sharp-armed bugger.

Make your way to what looks like a registering or docking area, and turn left. Another Splicer will drop from the ceiling and walk slowly towards you. Good thing down here, even the dramatic ‘I’ve got you now’ walk governs Splicers who think they have you cornered. Don’t fret, Atlas will shine a light on the enemies position, alerting the flying sentry bots who give chase to the creature. Pick the wrench up from the floor and swing away at the debris ahead. Go through your homemade doorway, while taking note of the FLAMING GRANDFATHER CLOCK TUMBLING DOWN THE STAIRS. This is where Irrational's organic engine comes in to play. I’ve completed this demo 3 times, and each time the grandfather clock bounces down in a different pattern. Choose what angle you throw yourself at carefully, (I realise the irony of that statement).

Prepare for the first of many combat scenarios littered throughout the demo. You’ve only got your wrench for this one though, so try and dodge the enemies first attack until you're in the big hall- there you’ll have more space to strafe and attack. The combat feels solid and meaty, a bit like condemned 0.5 (well, there’s no block, and BioShock really isn’t a melee orientated game). Get your health up the hobo way-by exploring trash cans and turned-over tables for pep bars and crisps, and make your way upstairs for your first plasmid injection…

To be continued.

(We here at TGSN think BioShock is a game best left to be played how you, the player, wishes. There are so many surprises and variables that we think it would be BANG out of order if we revealed all of what 2K Games have in store. Therefore, go download the demo, give it a whirl, and see how insanely your experience differs to ours)

- Ben Griffin



2K Games
Irrational Games
360 - PC