This is Objection Network’s countdown of the top 25 video game series of all-time. We’re counting down to the best franchise ever on March 31. For more info on the voting process, click here.
19) BioShock (2 votes, 78 points)
Chris: I missed the initial wave of excitement around BioShock. Living with roommates, there were somewhere between two and four Xbox 360s in our household at a given time, so I never owned one myself. That meant waiting for other people to play it and trying to avoid spoilers all the same. But when that window finally opened, it was months later and I’d forgotten about it.
Once I finally dove into the world of Rapture a few years ago, I quickly realized what I’d been missing. The underwater city is a breathtaking dystopia, and the ability to choose how to approach situations with powers and plasmids and weapons was phenomenal. As an added bonus, you got to decide what to do with the Little Sisters and it affected your ending.
Then the sequel says “hey, you wanna be a Big Daddy this time” and you’re like “k.” Then the third game is like “lol alternate dimensions” and you’re like “…k?”
To be clear, there are people who would vehemently claim that each of these titles is the best. I’m a fan of the first, if my descriptions didn’t make that clear enough already. 2 does some interesting things with the combat, and Infinite gets a ton of effective mileage out of Booker and Elizabeth and Columbia as a whole. Everything is really good. But to me, you can’t top the experience that Rapture had to offer.
Shaun: I actually just replayed all the remastered BioShocks. They hold up.
….okay, I’ll elaborate. BioShock suffers from being a decade old:
- some of the gameplay is dated
- the silent protagonists haven’t aged particularly well
- you start to wonder if the character models are all that tremendously ugly, the studio just doesn’t know how to draw faces
- the first one’s ending felt like they ran out of budget the moment you down Fontaine.
And still, I gave the BioShock series a nice vote. The atmosphere of the dystopian city is as suffocating as the Atlas’ Shrugged inspired themes about the ugliness of human nature the games explore. Packed to the brim with side story, it’s one of the few games where I desperately seek out the journals (in this case, audio diaries) to color in the world.
It sounds trite, but with BioShock, you don’t just play it, you experience it. This is true from the first game’s opening moments to the curtain closing on BioShock Infinite’s DLC.
Side note: If you haven’t played the DLC, do it. It connects BioShock 1 and 2 to Infinite in a way you never knew you needed.
Cary: Okay, I know I can’t officially comment as I’ve only just played the first BioShock. But boy, what an excellent game it was. Like, it was just an amazingly enlightening and solid experience. It really made me remember what a good video game is like. The fact that the series broke the top twenty here means that I should probably get on with playing the rest of the games!