Our friends at 2K Games graciously gave us a code to download Bioshock for the Xbox 360 to test out the system’s new capabilities. The new dashboard update today has changed a few things and given us a few new features, like being able to browse Netflix movies and watch them with a party, or items and clothes that you can purchase for real money for your Avatar, if you’re a moron. But perhaps the most exciting new thing is that a number of full retail games are available for download through the Xbox Marketplace. It’s just like buying an old Xbox game through the service except there’s one big change with these- you can pay for it in cash! That’s right, no more having to figure out how many stupid Microsoft Points you’re spending, there’s simply a price tag. Most games are reasonably priced at 20-30 bucks. Bioshock is $29.99, an incredibly reasonable price for what remains one of the best games of this decade.

In preparation of downloading the game I went through my hard drive and deleted a ton of stuff- my Fallout 3 and Call of Duty DLC, any trailers I had had downloaded, etc. This is the biggest problem with the service- the games take up a bunch of space and for anyone with a 20 gig hard drive there’s just not enough room for more than around one game at a time. People with an Elite system are much better off, of course.

Bioshock thankfully ended up only being 4.66 GB large. Note that of course it doesn’t come with a case or manual for the game, but the manual is available online here.

I started the download just before 3:00 pm and it finished at 4:40. I have a decent high speed connection (10 Mbps) mind you but that’s not too bad at all. Don’t forget you can set your Xbox to download even when it’s off, so if you wanted to shut it off and download it overnight to save some energy that’s an option. Once it’s downloaded it can be started up instantly, no installation required.

Here’s a little video I made showing how quickly the game starts up. As you can see there’s nothing in my hard drive, and I just go to the game library to boot it up, like any of the other Arcade titles.

The loading seems to be a bit quicker, but everything else is exactly as you’d expect. 360 owners still don’t get those Challenge rooms that that the PS3 version has but there’s really no easier way to pick up and play this game right now. If you’ve got the hard drive room and have yet to experience Rapture, now might be the time (you expected me to say “would you kindly”, didn’t you?)

As for me, it’s time to get cracking on that Brass Balls achievement…