Crazy fun. Predictably great atmosphere and storytelling, but the gameplay actually works out pretty well. Tricks like setting someone on fire and then electrocuting them when they go in the water *sound* like gimmicks that lose their novelty after approximately one try, but at least for me they have continued to feel very classy. It seems as though many useful facts about what makes games fun could be extracted from the fact that combat in Bioshock is, in fact, very fun. I hope these facts will be duly noted by the rest of the industry. The most prominent features of combat are: 1. You never really die. Well, when you die you respawn with no penalty (in fact you gain a little energy if you were low) and can just walk right back to where you died and continue the good fight. Somehow, nevertheless, (at least for me) combat still feels fairly exciting, and while I never get frustrated by getting stuck (since by the third or fourth time through you have generally killed everything by brute force) I still feel that normal feeling when I die (you know the one). 2. The game rewards you absurdly for even a little cleverness (or equivalently punishes you absurdly for an abject lack of cleverness). If you place a body double on the other side of a mess of tripwires or proximity mines you might skip a 5 minute firefight entirely. This makes things very easy, but at the same time you feel like quite the ninja (at least I do ^^). This type of thing is generally set up by what you happen to have on hand at the moment and what enemies happen to be around rather than some heavy-handed feature of the environment, which increases how clever you feel significantly. 3. In total there are probably about half a dozen viable approaches to a given situation. Most of them are fairly redundant or unnecessary (like jumping through hoops to get an enemy to set off the security system). This sounds like a small number, especially since often one approach strictly dominates several others in a technical sense, but it still feels like you have a lot of different approaches available and whenever an encounter is easy this tends to make you feel as though it was easy because of choices you made (the reverse is also true, although it happens much less after the first couple hours of the game). 4. Depending on how you play, you can spend a fair amount of time watching enemies kill themselves / each other or watching your destruction unfurl itself gradually. Because of point 3, this is actually entertaining instead of tedious most of the time (a fact I would not initially have guessed). I think the main issue is that the game manages to make everyone feel clever and cool, not just the people who are in fact clever or cool. I expect even people who aren't familiar with video games could progress at a reasonable rate and feel a sense of accomplishment not infrequently. Some people seem to get hung up on the actual difficulty level (see, for example, the Gamespot review) but I haven't found it to affect my enjoyment of the game at all. Not sure if this is because I am an atypical gamer (I haven't really played an FPS since half-life 2, and before that Goldeneye) or because reviewers are jaded and far too analytical. Maybe after having written this forum post I will cease to feel clever and the magic will be gone. I guess I'll see. Other thoughts, experiences, reflections? If anyone managed to miss the hype surrounding its release, I would highly recommend the game (obviously).