The genre of horror is one that has been carefully refined and adapted throughout the ages. One of the most common mediums for scary stories is video games, and as the years have gone by, scary video games have only improved. Though there are countless examples of wonderful horror games, there are only a few that have been hailed as masterpieces by critics and fans alike. The “BioShock” series is one that has been consistently and excessively praised as being one of the best in the horror genre.
The series is made up of three different games, and each game features a different protagonist in a different time period. However, when most people discuss the series, they’re discussing “BioShock,” which really sets the dark and unwelcoming tone of the entire series, and features some of the best twists and turns in gaming history.
The setting is in a city at the bottom of the ocean, automatically isolating the player and forcing them to explore an increasingly hostile and unfamiliar terrain in an attempt to get back to the surface. With the only companion being a distant voice on the other side of a radio, the player must navigate the world almost entirely on their own.
It is this world that makes the entire game as creepy as it is. Situated at the bottom of the ocean, the only light is artificial and often flickering or dimming. Distant towering buildings can be glimpsed through windows, distorted by the movement of the water and often surrounded by various marine animals. The derelict interiors of the buildings are covered in blood and gore, with torn posters and graffiti covering the walls and water leaks filling the room.
The monsters take the form of “splicers,” humans who have genetically modified themselves past the point of sanity. Erratic and primal in their attack strategies, they can be heard muttering to themselves in the darkness long before they are seen. There are also “Big Daddies” and “Little Sisters,” more terrifying in appearance and theory than any other creature encountered in the game. They are rare to run into, but the weight that they carry for the entire narrative, and the context that they are encountered in makes them some of the more nerve-wracking monsters one comes across.
The entire concept of the game, coupled with the setting, pacing and story make for an extremely entertaining experience. There are plenty of moments that are genuinely scary, as well as moments that allow the character to catch their breath. All of these components together would have made for an good enough first-person shooter game, but the plot twists, character developments and story line make “BioShock” a masterpiece. The subsequent sequels are also worth noting, as both “BioShock 2” and “BioShock Infinite” were critically acclaimed and live up to their predecessor.