But that's not to say your normal weapons are useless. At first glance, they seem like the kind of usual suspects that could have been dreamt up by Irrational's Doom-obsessed work experience kid. But, as with everything else in Bioshock, the more you experiment, the more rewards you reap. When you use a steel-tipped arrow to tag a Daddy from afar, and watch in glee as his charge towards you is disrupted mid-flow by that tripwire you placed earlier - and is that a proximity mine he's about to land onto helmet-first? - you'll realise that this is one of the most solid, flexible, authentic game worlds you've ever encountered. Everything you throw at Bioshock, it throws back at you.
Criticisms? There are a few. The non-replenishable nature of Bioshock's many resources mean that poor players are often punished by the game becoming even harder. And the weird way that enemy health doesn't reset after you die means that if you're blessed with the kind of robo-endurance usually required for Boxing Day family get-togethers, you could hypothetically kill a Big Daddy with your wrench, if you had the time.
But these faults are few and very far between, and are simply the by-product of an incredibly complex and incredibly complete gaming experience. Any game that can have you frantically scrabbling through drawers and cupboards searching for the rusty nail you need to be able to create a round of pistol bullets, and have you actively enjoy doing it, is deserving of frenzied applause.
So, better than Halo 3? Let's go there, shall we? Since we at Xbox World are too busy making this mag to complete that time-travel gymnasium we've got loitering in our garage, we don't yet know precisely how highly Halo 3 will score, in all honesty - it's eminently possible it could come in as less. But despite both games being about pointing a gun at all and sundry, they have very little in common. Bioshock's cerebral pace will be a culture shock for those more accustomed to bouncing around with the Chief, but we implore you to take a chance on Bioshock. Turn the lights out, take the plunge, and make this the wettest summer on record.
Gameplay with the potential to be limitless. It is, in a word, rapturous.
- Visually and aurally haunting
- Elegant game design
- A worthy update to SSII