Normally when you shoot someone in the head, you’d want that to be the end of it. Within a game, that is. At best you’d expect the defeated foe to flash briefly before dissolving into a pile of ammo or health. At worst, they’ll remain on the floor indefinitely, their innards staining the nearest textures. But whatever happens, there’s one thing you could bank on - once an enemy’s down, they’re goners. No one will rush to see if they’re alright.
No one gives a damn.

BioShock, though, revolutionizes the relationships between you and your foes. Enemies mourn one another, go into a sulk when their partner dies - or, worst case scenario, go on a killing spree. One of the eeriest parts of BioShock is hearing the voice of a far-off splicer talking soothingly to their off-spring - and then turning the corner and realizing that her child has long since left the land of the living.

When your enemies are actually able to evoke emotions other than anger - of pity, disgust, sadness, empathy - then you begin to realize what the developers at Irrational mean when they say they’re creating an “AI ecosystem.” With around 30 to 40 inhabitants per area, you get the impression that anything could happen in this warped and warping Davy Jones’ Locker.


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