BioShock

Common Sense Media says

Superb but gory gameplay in first-person shooter.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Players are forced to make moral choices, such as whether or not to kill "Little Sisters" (needle-toting girls) to absorb their powers.

Violence

Plenty of shooting, gore, and blood, including the option to kill mutated little girls. You can use regular weapons including shotguns, machine guns, grenades, and crossbows; as well as special powers, thanks to Plasmids, including incineration, insect swarm, ice blast, lightning strike, and more. Some of the puzzle solving is about how to kill your enemy, such as giving enemies a fatal electric shock by using your lightning strike power on water they're standing on.

Sex

The game contains a strip club that is advertised throughout various levels. There is no sexual activity but at one point you will see the ghost of a brutally murdered stripper laying on a bed.

Language

Examples include "f--k," "s--t," "Goddammit," "hell," "bastard," "son of a bitch," and "piss."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

You can drink alcohol in the game, which affects your vision and performance, as well as shoot up with a needle to obtain special powers. There are also advertisements for smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game contains graphic violence and gore, and the controversial option to harvest "Little Sisters," mutated 10-year-old girls who extract a coveted fluid called "Adam" from dead people. The game presents you with a moral dilemma: Kill a girl for the most "Adam," or save her life for less. Choosing the latter yields payoffs including bonus items and support from other characters. This game is adult in nature across the board with some sexual overtones, foul language, and references to alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

2K Games' BIOSHOCK from 2K Games begins with you as a survivor of a plane crash in the North Atlantic. After swimming to shore through flaming debris, you find a lighthouse with an elevator that takes you on a one-way ride down into Rapture, a hidden underwater city that has been torn apart by civil war. Not only must you find a way out alive in this non-linear underwater world dominated by biologically mutated citizens, robotic enforcers, and little girls who steal life-giving fluid from the dead, but you have to solve the mystery of what happened here. You can biologically modify your body to create superhuman weapons, and dozens of unique plasmids and gene tonics (often found in vending machines throughout this world) must be consumed to enhance your abilities.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

BioShock is an exhilarating adventure that breaks new ground in interactive storytelling and digital art design. More so than any other game in recent memory, it is dripping with atmosphere and intrigue, and it's one of those rare titles where story, dialogue, and character development are just as important as the action sequences. Xbox 360 players who are 17 or older will not want to miss out on this extraordinary interactive adventure.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the game introduces very mature themes. Could the game makers have delivered the same kind of visceral experience without pushing the mature envelope? And how about the moral decision to kill or save the "Little Sisters"? Do you become heartless when choosing to kill them or is this acceptable within a game setting, especially given its creepy sci-fi context?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, Windows
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:2K Games
Release date:August 20, 2007
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for blood and gore, drug reference, intense violence, sexual themes, strong language (Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of BioShock was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byNicoDeJaVu March 23, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

A review from a Teen

I myself am 14 and got an Xbox 360 just to play it. I have only heard one curse word throughout the game so far. Violence is not an issue for me because I know in real life i'm not going to pick up a rusty red wrench and go around hitting people with it. There is some gore, but not too much. I know my eldest sister who is 17 can't play the game because she can't stand the sight of blood, put them again she couldnt stand one pg13 movie with alot of blood in it without getting sick. My family is a good catholic one and my mother still lets me play this knowing that you have to make the choices between saving the little sisters or harvesting them. My mom was with me the first time i came across a little sister, after slaying the big daddy of course, I was given the chance to decide which path i would take. I decided to save them. It wasnt a hard choice to make seing that their sweet innocent little girls, and around the same age as my little sister. You gain less ADAM than harvesting, buy hey you will be rewarded with a nice ending and other gifts for saving little sisters. It is an amazing, sometimes scary game ex: In Neptunes Bounty when you crawl under grates you can see and hear the splicers above whispereing at you to come out. Sometimes the game can be too much and I have to take a break, but this is simply due to the fact that the splicers arent dont when you kill all the ones that attacked you, if you linger too long more will come. There are some light drug references and my mother stated disgust when she saw me use EVE. EVE is a type of drug like purplish fluid you have to shoot into your wrists to use plasmids. I believe the negatvie connotation of these drugs outweighs the positive, seeing that all the splicers roaming Rapture are quite literally Drug Addicts due to EVE. It shows a good representation of what will happen if you choose that way to live. All in all its a great game, fun to watch and play.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Parent of a 12, 14, and 16 year old Written byChrisTom March 17, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Good for Kids who are Mature

I've seen alot of reviews on here that only focus on the negatives of the game. Alot of people are misinformed or are the parents who simply take 2 looks at something and make a decision. So here is a brief rundown of the entirety of the game so that you can make a proper decision from somebody who has done the research and played the game in full. You start as a Character named Jack, whose backstory is never delved into. You are traveling by plane when your plane suddenly and inexplicably crashes into the Atlantic Ocean. Luckily you are the only survivor, and an ominous Lighthouse is nearby. You enter the Lighthouse which is filled with Statues and Propoganda for a City known simply as Rapture. At the bottom of the Lighthouse lies an Autopiloted Submarine-like Pod which flies you through a Fabulous UnderWater Art Deco City while a Man named Andrew Ryan narrates from speakers within the Submarine. Andrew Ryan was sick of all forms of Government and in the 1940s he decided that he would build a hidden city where People would not have to worry about Religion or Politics so that they could be free to focus on themselves and their careers. So he built Rapture to allow a... Rapture. As you enter the City you find out that something has gone horribly wrong. Citizens maul each other for the smalles quantities of a "SuperHero Juice" called ADAM. ADAM is a drug extracted from a Sea Slug and it can manipulate DNA and Spinal Cords to give people special abilities like shooting Lightning out of their Fingers or Telekinesis. There are downsides to using this drug however, including Tumorous Growths and Mental Depravity. Because of this, Citizens or Rapture who abused the drug (which was nearly everybody) have now become insane and bulbous with lesions. You end up using this substance several times (though no effects of Tumors or Lesions ever seem to appear on you) to give yourself superhuman abilities. You take this ADAM by mainstreaming it with a needle into your wrist, which is the closest reference to illegal drugs you will find. You are lead through this City through a walkie-talkie by a man named Atlas who claims that if you help him he will help you. You have to dodge your way pasts hordes of grossly mutated citizens while all the while trying to accomplish these tasks in an Underwater 1940s Dystopia. Now while this involves alot of Violoence, Gore, and Cursing from a menagerie of characters, what people fail to realize is that this Video Game is essentially an Ayn Rand novel in Video Game form. Look into the plot and you will find so much more. The story is educational and teaches players about Government, Laissez Faire Political Systems, even about the processes of Mental Conditioning. And many have said that there are not Positive Messages in this game but I disagree. The biggest one is this; If you help others, others will help you. Depending on how you play the game you get different endings. If you play as a Liberator you are rewarded. If you play as a Savage who will do anything to survive, the ending of the game will portray you as such. I don't think age is a Concern, what matters is that your child should be able to look past the Game aspect of it and try and understand the story. Ask them about what they thought of characters, if what they did was for the good or for the bad. For instance, Was Andrew Ryan right for trying to make a society where people could live in peace, but forcing them to stay there? Was Fontaine right for trying to break the laws because he thought it was justifiable?
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bymjetter432 December 5, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
This game is very well done! I just want to say that! Most parents will only be offended by the violence, but there is no gore, just a dash of blood. Then some foul language can be heard frequently but nothing worse than a day at middle school. Also the game has some educational puzzles that you need to solve, so this game does deserve an M rating so I say good for 14 and up!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value

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