Like many people I had to wait until Monday to play the BioShock demo that went up on Xbox LIVE Marketplace on Sunday, but when I finally got it booted up, the demo delivered in spades. The demo clearly starts at the opening of the game and it’s clearly the most logical place to start both from a story perspective, a gameplay perspective and so you can enjoy the water porn in full effect as you are dumped into the ocean. It only gets better from there.
While the area shown in the demo feels fairly closed and linear with seemingly only one direction to go next, the experience is absolutely immersive and there were a few jump in your seat moments. It was all just enough to get the heart pounding ready to push forward until it was all over after an incredibly suspenseful interlude. The end of the demo was followed by a short attract-style video that showed the different plasmid abilities and how to use them creatively in a game that just capped off how amazing BioShock had played throughout the demo.The demo and ending video perfectly served to increase my own anticipation for the release of the game next week. I wasn’t the only one as stories of the street date being broken by a retailer sent NeoGAF into a frenzy with folks calling stores and cooking up wonderful schemes to get other stores to break the street date so they could get their copy. Of course the story made the internet rounds, hitting up a number of blogs, before retailers got wise and they stopped sales. I didn’t manage to get a copy after calling all of one store. I can wait though.
Another cause for all the excitement was the art direction in BioShock. There have been many quality games released since the last holiday season and while I can’t say I’ve played them all, like The Darkness for example, there haven’t been many I feel that have the deliberate thought and creativity that Gears of War brought to the table. BioShock is indeed one of these rarified games, art deco objectivist roots and all. This is my impression mostly just from the demo. I think 2K Boston/Australia (nÃ©e Irrational Games, if you haven’t been following current news) knows this quite well and despite the fact that they couldn’t put together an art book for the collectors edition of the game, they did a great service to their fans and put an electronic version of the art book up on their Bioshock site, The Cult of Rapture.
Can I also say that I’m totally in love with the design of that site? No idea why, but I am… it’s hot.