Bioshock 1 (rather the series) has a unique concept,a distinct visual style,beautiful environments and a refreshing game-play. Bioshock stands out as a perfect blend between Violence and gore of a typical video game,philosophical themes of a Theater play and art gallery level environment design.
Bioshock was the brainchild of former System shock developer Ken Levine which introduced the Video game industry and the critics to the fact that Video games,in fact could be works of “Art”.
It was the first time that a Video game was produced with focus on the art and design which inhabited Bioshock’s in game world.
In terms of Gameplay
The game allows you to combine Conventional weapons with superhuman powers called Plasmids which results in a wide range of tools and combinations in your arsenal and makes each encounter with your foes(Splicers) unique rather than feeling repetitive.The game flawlessly and effortlessly combines core FPS mechanics with a robust RPG system.The weapons and powers are balanced and complement each other perfectly.
In terms of concept and story
A city under water built by a business magnate to provide a political ,social and scientific refuge,to realize his doomed vision of a Utopian society.
The discovery of “ADAM” which alters your genetic code to grant you supernatural powers.
The characters and objects which populate the game world(ex-security bots,turrets etc) feel outlandish but not impossible. Bioshock is a Steampunk Dystopia which explores various philosophical themes like Objectivism(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_(Ayn_Rand)) and Orwellian worldviews of living under a Totalitarian government.To add another layer of consciousness to the story,the game features Morality based “Fork in the road” style decisions.
The way the game states and explorers the idea that “We are human,we screw up” is quite interesting.
In terms of Art and environment
The early 20th century French art-style called Art Deco is used to build the world of bioshock.
The decoration and designs of the the game levels feels realistic and rich.The colors they have used,and the textures in the game are spot on. For instance the texture of the gold colored metal used in the bathysphere,the color of the rapture shotgun,the neon signs,the clown vending machine and the Mexican ammo dispenser are just plain awesome.
Bioshock succeeds where many other video games have failed-Creating a believable world set in an entirely different universe connected to our world only by the means of ideas and thought process common to the human condition.
Bioshock has a rating of 96/100 on Metacrtitic and is the third highest rated game of all times. Bioshock’s game mechanics and visual style have served as an inspiration for Games like Dishonored,Prey(2017) and We happy few.