Bioshock series changed a lot in how we perceive first-person shooter games. By blending mechanics typical to the genre with RPG elements, the developers at Irrational Games managed to create a thrilling experience. What’s more, all three games in the series had much care put into their writing and worldbuilding. Combining those two features made the Bioshock games one of the best titles in the history of FPS games.
Now that the series is over and Irrational Games had closed its doors, the players will have to look elsewhere for their dose of well written FPS games. Luckily for them, they won’t have to look far.
|Black Mesa||2015-05-05||Adventure||Crowbar Collective||24%|
|Dead Space||2008-10-20||Adventure||EA Redwood Shores||78%|
|Dead Space 2||2011-01-27||Horror||Visceral Games||44%|
|Dead Space 3||2013-02-08||Adventure||Visceral Games||34%|
|Deus Ex Human Revolution Directors Cut||2013-10-25||Action & Shooter||Eidos Montreal||83%|
|Deus Ex Goty||2000-06-22||RPG||Ion Storm||71%|
|Deus Ex Mankind Divided Digital Deluxe Edition||2016-08-23||Action & Shooter||Eidos Montreal||83%|
|Dishonored Definitive Edition||2012-10-11||Action||Arkane Studios||71%|
|Dishonored 2||2016-11-11||Action||Arkane Studios||85%|
|Dishonored Death Of The Outsider||2017-09-15||Action||Arkane Studios||82%|
|Half Life||1998-11-08||Action & Shooter||Michael Pelletier|
|Half Life 2||2004-11-16||Action & Shooter||Valve||5%|
|Metro 2033||2014-08-27||Horror||4A GAMES|
|Metro Exodus||2020-02-14||Adventure||4A GAMES||89%|
|Metro Last Light Redux||2014-08-27||Adventure||4A GAMES||86%|
|Prey 2006||2017-05-04||Action & Shooter||Arkane Studios|
|Prey 2017||2017-05-04||Adventure||Arkane Studios||79%|
|Return To Castle Wolfenstein||2001-11-20||Horror||Gray Matter Studios||25%|
|System Shock Enhanced Edition||2015-09-22||Adventure||Looking Glass Studios||93%|
|System Shock 2||1999-08-11||RPG||Irrational Games||89%|
|Wolfenstein The New Order||2014-05-19||Action & Shooter||Machine Games||73%|
Wolfenstein: New Order
|Release year||5 May 2017|
Bioshock was well known for its well-structured plots filled with shocking plot twists.
Atlas’s identity, the mystery behind Elizabeth’s powers – all these moments made the player’s jaws drop to the floor. Most of these twists were revealed late in the game, delivering that final punch before the epic finale. In Wolfenstein: New Order, the twist comes soon after the game starts – the Nazis won World War II.
The alternative history setting of New Order is not the only feature the game shares with Ken Levine’s series. The game takes the player on a wild ride, filled with fast-paced combat against the hordes of German soldiers.
Like Bioshock’s Splicers, Nazis waste no time on tactics, instead opting for overwhelming the player with numbers. The only way to get through them is to meet them halfway and drown them in a burning-hot hail of lead.
|Release year||5 May 2017|
Prey is a first-person shooter action game in which the player takes control of Morgan Yu, a human survivor of an alien attack on a deep space station. Morgan works together with the station’s AI to uncover the secret behind the alien attack and survive long enough to find a way out.
Another game that takes significant liberties with real-world history to deliver an interesting setting and plot. In Prey, the space race between the USA and USSR was sped up after a failed attempt at president John F. Kennedy’s life. Does it matter for the game as a whole? Not really, or at least not as much as it did in Wolfenstein. Here, alternative history is only a pretext to shoot aliens with futuristic weapons in a sci-fi setting. And in that avenue, Prey does a really nice job.
|Release year||9 October 2012|
Yes, we know that Dishonored can be played without dropping one body.
The game’s approach to non-linear completion of objectives is, in fact, one of its strongest points. Then how is it like Bioshock, you ask? Thanks to the well-written story of a man trying to atone for the sins of his past. And also magic.
Similarly to the protagonists of the Bioshock series, Corvo Attano can use a variety of magical skills to make his way toward completing the goals of his missions. While he can use his powers to directly attack his enemies, tearing them to shreds, burning them, or feeding them to an army of rats, the more eloquent way is to use magic to distract and elude guards.
Either way, Dishonored gives the player unparalleled freedom in creating their gameplay experience. And we appreciate it for that.
Deus-Ex: Human Revolution
|Release year||23 August 2011|
The continuation of the cyberpunk classic does not disappoint on any level.
Deus-Ex: Human Revolution brings the excellent story and gameplay mechanics into the modern age, letting the player feel like a cybernetically-enhanced human. But what similarities does it share with Bioshock?
The Deus-Ex series is known for its combination of action and stealth, and while Bioshock might not have been the stealthiest of games, it has action setpieces to spare. Another thing is the story, unafraid to ask big questions.
In Human Revolution, the player character Adam Jensen is tasked with tracing terrorist groups attacking his employer’s factories of cybernetic augments. Throughout the game, both Jensen and the player will face moral dilemmas of upgrading our bodies and questions about how much humanity is left in us afterward.
|Release year||16 March 2010|
Metro 2033, based on a popular series of sci-fi novels, takes the player into the dark tunnels of the titular Moscow metro – the only haven left after the world is devastated by nuclear war.
The protagonist of the game, Artyom, is one of the rangers – people responsible for providing resources to the metro’s inhabitants. When a group of mysterious mutated creatures attacks Artyom’s home station, Artyom is sent out to seek help from other groups living in the dark tunnels.
If you have claustrophobia, you probably should avoid playing Metro 2033 games serie. While the Moscow underground railway infrastructure is known for its architectural beauty, you will find none of it here. Only dark, damp corridors, filled with members of enemy factions and dangerous mutants.
The atmosphere of fear is palpable, with the ambient noises raising the hair on the player’s necks. If you liked the eerie atmosphere and creepy beauty of Rapture, you’ll feel right at home in the tunnels of Metro.
|Release year||19 November 1998|
There probably wasn’t a title as important for the history of gaming as Half-Life. The first-person shooter game developed by Valve is considered to be “the thinking man’s FPS.”
It required the player to not only shoot through waves of enemies but also use their head in solving puzzles. The story focused on an interdimensional invasion of Earth and the efforts of dr. Gordon Freeman to stop it.
Portals to other dimensions are something that fans of the Bioshock series will surely recognize. In Bioshock: Infinite, Elizabeth could open up tears into alternate realities or summon support units from beyond the veil of reality. While Half-Life doesn’t share the same useful mechanic, its gameplay was still a breath of fresh air after Wolfenstein and Doom’s mindless gorefests.
|Release year||20 October 2008|
Our list had already had a few FPS games that tried to go against the grain. We’ve had Dishonored, which could be played without firing a single shot. We’ve also had Half-Life with its puzzles.
Now it’s time for an FPS game, which gives the player only one gun, which isn’t even a real gun. In Dead Space, the player controls Isaac Clarke, an engineer on a space station infested with alien life forms known as Necromorphs. Armed only with a plasma cutter, he has to traverse the dark corridors of Aegis VII to find out what happened there.
What makes DS similar to Bioshock is its atmosphere. The empty corridors of Aegis VII can remind the player of the halls of Rapture. The game builds suspense with unnerving noises coming out seemingly from everywhere. Then there are Necromorphs, monstrous mutants who can only be killed by dismemberment.
They have a nasty tendency to jump out at the unexpecting player, slicing with their sharp claws. These undead monsters bear a resemblance to Bioshock’s Splicers, who also hand a penchant for jumping out from nowhere to club the player to death.
System Shock 2
|Release year||11 August 1999|
Last but not least, the game that laid the foundation under the Bioshock series.
System Shock 2, a second installment in the series developed by Ken Levine and Irrational Games, blended the mechanics of action-RPG and survival-horror. The player could equip their character with various items, acquire cyber-modules to upgrade their skills, and the backstory of the game was told through collectible logs.
All these features would later find their place in Bioshock games. Of course, the names of things were changed – for example, in Bioshock Infinite, the player used Infusions to upgrade their skills – but the general idea remained the same. System Shock 2 is an excellent example of how ideas can evolve, and solutions once thought to be a domain of one setting can find use in a completely different story.
Will the circle be unbroken?
In our list, we tried to present games that matched the eerie atmosphere of these titles and ones that possessed unique gameplay features that made them stand out from among the crowd of same-ish releases. Games like Bioshock and its sequels happen very rarely, so we have to make do with what else is left. And in this instance, “what else” is still pretty good.