Platform: Xbox 360Year: 2007
Original review score: 5 out of 5 Stars
A sleeper hit with brains and ideas to spare, BioShock was a frightening, action-packed, and gorgeous first-person shooter. But the most important thing about this best-selling Xbox 360 title was that it gave you the choice of being a survivor, a Samaritan, or a malevolent menace.
Why It Was Innovative:
Morality and free will played major roles in BioShock, with the fate of a damned world resting on your feeble shoulders. Would you take the easy path to power and harvest the Little Sisters who fed off the dying world of Rapture? Or would you strive to be Mr. Nice Guy and save them instead? Beyond being a kind of virtual Rorschach
test, BioShock is also enormously influential for advancing steampunk chic in the form of its beautiful but decaying Art Deco environments, as well as for condensing highbrow philosophical concepts (particularly Ayn Rand's Objectivism) into a gripping, digestible game experience. But the real spark in the BioShock experience was the realization that you could choose to be the hero or the villain, and that killing the protective Big Daddies would leave you face-to-face with a helpless Little Sister who could do nothing but shiver at you in fear. Rescue or harvest: What would you do?