The Broke Gamer: BioShock 1 & 2 (PS3/360)

In this edition of The Broke Gamer, we decided to change things up a bit and add a new twist with two writer’s giving their say. Daniel will talk specifically about BioShock 2, while Abel will touch on both the first game its sequel.

Abel Girmay

It’s about that time isn’t it? Friday paycheck just rolled in, and it seems you just can’t muster up enough money for those hot new releases. That’s why The Great Gaming Crusade is here, navigating the bargain bin for the best games under $25. This time we thought to hit you guys and gals with a one-two punch. After watching countless demos at this past E3, the one that stuck out especially to me was BioShock: Infinite. So what better way to get ready for Irrational Games’ next philosophical dystopian shooter than by catching up on the last two? As it just so happens, BioShock 1 and 2 are each under 10 dollars, leaving you with an extra 5 bucks for Red Bull and Slim Jims.

BioshockThe first BioShock has players in the role of Jack. The semi-mute protagonist finds himself stranded in the water after a plane crash; desperate to cling to life he swims to a nearby lighthouse and takes refuge in the underwater city of Rapture. To say more about the story would go into spoiler territory but rest assured that it’s a great tale filled with eccentric characters, poses philosophical questions of morality, and features one of the best twist endings in gaming history. What struck me the most, though, about BioShock’s story was the way that gameplay and narrative are married together. Sure, there is the occasional cutscene. But taking a page from the Half-Life handbook on telling a story, BioShock tells its story as you play via audio logs and ghostly residual images. What this means then, is that the more you explore and play the game, the more story and context you will receive. This can be annoying, as on my first playthrough I missed a good chunk of audio logs and the story with them. When I finally got to the twist halfway in, I didn’t really understand much and it and ended up feeling really random. Final nitpick about BioShock’s story is that after the big twist (about two-thirds in) the game seems to lose steam. You just want to get to the end and wrap things up now that the air of mystery (which makes the game so compelling) is gone. The gameplay is no slouch. A standard FPS at first glance (with a standard assortment of shotguns, pistols, rocket launchers, etc) , BioShock wastes no time introducing players to plasmids, gene modifications that allow you to shoot lightning, fire, insects, and host of other powers from your fingertips. Mix this with gene tonics, BioShock’s version of passive upgrades, and the RPG elements provide players with a myriad of ways to customize their gameplay experience.

As for BioShock 2, there isn’t much to say since the gameplay and themes are relatively unchanged. You play as a Big Daddy (the mini-bosses of the first game) and have access to a few new weapons like the rivet gun and drill. You can now dual wield plasmids and guns which does make you feel more badass, but comes with the task of micromanaging weapon ammo and plasmid type; not the easiest task when being attacked by splicers and security bots. Also, the philosophical overtones of the first game were attempted to carry over, but comes off as pretentious and hollow of any meaning. Not much was shaken up with the gameplay or story for the sequel, but that’s not a bad thing at all. BioShock 2 is a worthy sequel that lives up well enough to its predecessor in most areas. One significant addition is the inclusion of a legitimately fun and engaging multiplayer, but getting into a match these days takes monk-like patience and mostly ends up an exercise in futility.

But for $10 a pop what’s stopping you? Amazon is listing prices as cheap as  $7.00 and $5.00 for BioShock 1 and 2 respectively. GameStop also has pre-owned copies for $10 each. Wherever you go bargain hunting just play BioShock 1 and 2, would you kindly?

Daniel Hernandez

One way to beat the summer heat is to stay indoors. And the best thing to do if you’re staying indoors is to play video games. But nobody said gaming would be cheap; and that’s why we at The GGC are here to help you. This week’s edition of The Broke Gamer brings you a game that is perhaps the most cost efficient game out there – BioShock 2.

BioShock 2 takes place 10 years after the blockbuster and fan favorite BioShock; bringing all the drill-arms, cute little girls, and underwater paradises us fans have come to love. In this entry, you actually get to play as a Big Daddy who is looking for his Little Sister. The single-player campaign clocked in roughly at eight hours for me; and I took my time beating the game. The game almost feels like an expansion to the first entry of the series. The same plasmids from the first are back with some newcomers as well. The weapons have also been redone, and in my opinion were more enjoyable than the selection from the first. (I’ll take a drill arm over a wrench any day). BioShock 2 also has online multiplayer, but after how long it has been out there aren’t too many players online.

The real beauty in this game is the price. Gamestop has this game listed for $10 brand-spankin’ new and $9 used. Sure the game isn’t very long and the online multiplayer is a graveyard. But if you were a fan of the first entry, there is no real reason to not pick this title up simply for how cheap it is. And now wouldn’t be a horrible time to brush up on your BioShock lore with BioShock: Infinite hitting stores early next year. Plus for $9, what are you really losing anyways?

We hope you enjoyed reading this edition of The Broke Gamer with its two-writer format. Do you like having multiple views in the article? Let us know your thoughts on that or the anything in or about the article in the comments below.

Music Credits: BioShock Soundtrack – Song 1“The Ocean on His Shoulders”

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