If you’ve been following the saga known as BioShock, and come on who hasn’t, then you’re aware of all the reviews out there hailing the game as the second coming of Christ. I can’t remember the last time we saw reviews of 10 practically across the board. Well I’m glad to say I just managed to get a peek at ol’ Jesus and it was grand. All the hype surrounding this game is indeed justified.

Developed by 2K Boston and 2k Australia, it was Creative Director Ken Levin that created the world of BioShock. Levine’s talent, which makes BioShock such a great game, is coupling gameplay design and graphics with a storyline, characters and originality that compliments each other. Unfortunately there are so well made games that are released that are nothing more than an update to previous games (cough, cough, GRAW 2). BioShock can best be described as a first person shooter with elements of role playing and adventure games, and it makes for one exciting ride.

I’m not going to get into the details of the story here because I don’t want to ruin anything, but I’ll give a brief rundown. The story starts as you’re traveling by plane over the Atlantic Ocean in 1960. You’re involved in a plane crash, for reasons unknown, and find yourself swimming to a tall structure sticking out of the ocean. From there you enter the gorgeous underwater city of Rapture. Created by the game’s central character Andrew Ryan, he tells you via a taped message that he has created this city as a place where scientists can create their greatest work without the pressures of the outside world.

Once you enter into the city you find that it’s gone to hell in a handbasket. The objective is to get your ass out of there with the help of some of the city’s residence. All along the way you have to battle Splicers that are reminiscent of the Reavers from Firefly/Serenity fame. You’ll also come into contact with Little Sisters and the infamous Big Daddy’s. Little Sisters offer you your lifeline, a genetic material called Adam. Adam allows you to become more powerful with your use of Plasmids and allows you to use more Plasmids as you progress. Don’t be fooled by the Little Sisters though, they can be quite the menace when confronted. But you should be even more wary of the Big Daddy’s, the Little Sisters protectors. These hulking protectors are quick moving when provoked and extremely dangerous. If you want to get to the Little Sister you’re going to have to go through the Bid Daddy first.

One thing you’ll quickly notice within BioShock is that traditional weapons are only half of your offensive system. Plasmid powers are available for your character to use throughout the game. Plasmids are an injection into the system that re-writes your genetic code to give you abilities such as telekinesis, the ability to fire bolts of electricity, shoot flames, turn things to ice and more. They add a tactical feature to the game giving you a number of different ways to solve obstacles and save your ass.

One of the most noticeable things in the game is the gorgeous look and feel to it. Propaganda posters and instructional films serve as brief history lessons on the ins and outs of Rapture. I would often find myself stopping to look at all the artwork hanging on the walls and reading the posters, which give a lot of insight into the underwater utopia. The bright neon lights look superb and just add to the feel of a retro art-deco type society that once thrived. Not enough can be said for how great it looks.

It’s amazing to think that a number of publishers passed on this title because it’s another first person shooter. I can only imagine how much they’re kicking themselves in the ass right about now. Needless to say, BioShock is absolutely worth its $59.99 price tag, or $49.99 in my case (hey, Circuit City was having a special on it). It definitely has what it takes to win game of the year and with gorgeous visuals, a great story and most of all fun gameplay you can’t miss with this title.