But Bioshock has like 95% Meta and is considered a borderline masterpiece by many people. Personally I don't think it's as good as Half-Life 2 but it's a great game.
And Bioshock 2 wasn't made by Ken Levine's studio.
I said that Bioshock was good, but it has some serious flaws that drag the experience down. I think if you ignore the story and just focus on the absolutely gorgeous environments of the game and the fun shooting/plasmid mechanics then you have a really solid game in Bioshock one. The story, aside from the somewhat clever M Night style twist half way through, was quite bland ... kind of a hodgepodge mix of From Russia with Love's underwater city idea and a high school sophmore's comprehension of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Also, the only interesting character in the entire game, Andrew Ryan, was needlessly ejected from the story 3/4 of the way through leaving the stereotypical gangster Fountaine pulling main antagonist duty when he was really more of a bit player in the story.This culminates in one of the lamest final boss fights ever. I think they almost would have been better off cutting out the last 1/4 of the game. Lets not forget that this also introduced the absurdly stupid idea of turning the player into a Big Daddy ... which the sequel would take the ball and run with.
Bioshock 1 is a quality game, and maybe it is even a great game in some respects, but it is no masterpiece. I don't care what critics say either who often have strong incentives to give even the worst crap a 8+ rating (see Gameinformer).