Originally written on August 29th, 2007
One character that I absolutely fell in love with was the city of Rapture itself. Walking through the various corridors you could just tell that the city had history. From blood stained walls, to busted sinks, there is so much opportunity for rich story telling. The little things help paint a bigger picture for this game. While it isn’t a requirement to hunt down every single audio diary in the game, there is an intense need to do so just to hear the stories of the citizens of Rapture. The audio diaries in the game just add broad strokes of color to an already intense painting.
The gameplay is an elegant dance of Plasmids, which are various spell like attacks, and the use of guns. The genetically modified bunch of Splicers you fight present interesting enough targets, not a single encounter will be the same. The true testament of the game though is when you are fighting a Splicer and he darts for a nearby Health Station, healing himself back up to full health. It is the small attention to detail like that that makes the game’s Artificial Intelligence shine. It gets even more hectic when you are fighting splicers that climb on the ceiling, teleport, use guns, or hit you with melee objects. The battle field gets complicated fast, but it never feels so overwhelming that you can’t deal with it, assuming you are perfect in your combat execution that is.
However, the splicers take a back seat to the center piece of the game, the Big Daddy. They are, sadly, limited to only two types, the melee rage that is the Bouncer, and the ranged valkyrie Rosie. However that does not mean the encounters themselves are bland. Most end up with you pinned up against the wall getting hit with a drill consistently in the face. The true reward is the moral choice that follows. Do you kill the Little Sister the Big Daddy is protecting, or do you save her life? While not just a moral decision, it is also effects the game, granting you more ADAM, a genetic currency, for killing them and less for saving them. ADAM is in turn used to purchase upgrades for yourself, be it the ability to have more plasmids at your genetic fingertips, or increasing your physical abilities.
I cannot stress how scary this game is though. From sound design to lighting, it makes the game spooky as hell. Hearing the gargled speech of a splicer singing ‘Jesus loves me’ sends chills down my spine. Then add to the fact he is singing it from the ceiling, crawling backwards and throwing fish hooks at you. All while he has a sadistic disgruntled smile on his ugly face. The design just seeps with connections so strong that you feel that Rapture is a real place, that you are sickingly attracted to. I would trade a year of my life, for one day in Rapture.
But only if I had a really big gun…