IV. Convention Defied
Not unlike its spiritual predecessors System Shock 1 & 2, Bioshock is quite the genre bender. It's pretty novel in a FPS to be presented with a task like "collect seven enzyme samples and seven bottles of distilled water". While on the hunt, one comes across a corpse and a recorded tape. The message cautions someone to stay the fuck away from someone else's bees if they aren't willing to pay. When searched, the corpse has an enzyme sample. Hmmm...
Similarly, another recorded message is entitled "Water into Wine". Now, I don't remember the exact details, but the plot device is simple. Go to the Farmer's Market, and then to the Apiary's hives for enzyme, and the Winery's cellar for distilled water. The method by which the player is motivated to explore the area feels organic, and the conclusion of the fetching task takes you to a previously visited, deadend location. The sequence ends with being trapped in the cul-de-sac laboratory and having to hold off a platoon of splicers until the process is completed. (Luckily I was holed up with a Big Daddy that was willing to help me pass the time.)
Varied gameplay and excellent level design are making the game a joy to play, and a pain to put down. I really haven't focused on it, but part of what really makes this a stand-out experience is the audio design. It makes for a completely immersive environment, and the ability to listen to backstory while going about hacking, searching, and strategizing precludes any dull moments.
Sander Cohen's freaky artistic antics have me snapping pics and taking names. Stay tuned.
(You know, I couldn't find the Houdini splicer icon anywhere... Sorry for the lo-res.)