I bought BioShock, oh, must be close to three or four years ago now. I found it at Gamestop for $10 and said to myself, “Hey, that’s supposed to be a great game. I’ll take a gander for ten bucks and see what all the fuss is about.”

I’ve never beaten the game. Hell, I’ve never gotten more than a few hours in. The game was so ridiculously frustrating to play that I eventually gave up. I was dying every two minutes, and it seemed like the only way I was progressing was just to re-spawn, go back to wherever I had been, and whittle down the enemy a little bit more. It was infuriating, so I quit.

And aside from a couple times when I pulled it out just to see if anything had magically changed (it hadn’t), BioShock sat on my shelf un-played. Until today, I hadn’t touched it in over a year.

But it’s been in the back of my head since then. I told myself that I was playing the game wrong, that I was charging forward headlong like some FPS when I needed to embody the character more. Sneak around. Don’t engage enemies you don’t have to. Immerse yourself.

So this afternoon I deleted all old BioShock save files and popped the disk in to start completely fresh. And despite still feeling that the game played more linear than it ought to (granted, maybe it opens up a couple hours in; I wouldn’t know), it was actually kind of enjoyable. I like atmosphere. The Shadow Temple from Ocarina of Time? Money. BioShock has that in spades, that’s clear from the outset. (Ok, all the temples in Ocarina are like that, the Shadow Temple is just a great example and the most directly relatable to BioShock. But I digress…)

I enjoyed it, that is, until I got to the first major fight. It wasn’t even the first Big Daddy you have to go toe-to-toe with. It was the stupid doctor with the tommy gun. Initially, I fought him pretty evenly. I had to use some first aid kits, but I was whittling him down. Then I discovered the water in the basement and decided it’d be smart to lure him down there and then electrocute the water. I did, and he was nearly dead when…

He reappeared with a full bar of health. He’d used the stupid first aid dispenser down there, and then, as I’d run out of ammo, he promptly shot me dead. Which mean I re-spawned with no first aid kits, no eve hypos, and no ammo. But I was not deterred. I went to the nearby vending machine and bought everything I could…which shook out to two first aid kits, two eve hypos, and a few pistol rounds. I quickly died again. Now I not only had no items, but I had no money. But I persisted. In the course of dying about three times, I got him low on health again. But when I came back the next time, he promptly rushed for a first aid station. No matter how valiantly I whacked him with my wrench, he was able to heal himself, and I died again.

And that was the point that I turned off my Xbox and decided to sell BioShock for whatever meager cash I can get on a trade-in for a new game. I’ve given BioShock its chance, and I honestly don’t see why everyone loves this game. It seems flawed on the level of basic mechanics. So I don’t care what anyone says. BioShock sucks.

But really, if there’s something fundamental I’m somehow missing, please let me know!

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