Developer: Irrational Games
Release Date: 3/26/2013
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The Good: Breathtaking and gripping story, spectacular visuals and presentation, every weapon looks and feel good to shoot, Vigors are interesting and fun to use, unique enemy design, well-developed characters
The Bad: No visual weapon upgrades, not enough enemy variety, Vigor feels underpowered, story can leave a lot of questions unanswered
Well, here it is. One of the most anticipated games of the decade. BioShock was a masterpiece that raised the bar for storytelling in games as well as graphics and atmosphere. The underwater city of Rapture was loved by most gamers and became an instant classic. Infinite raises the bar yet again, and I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful and well-made games I have ever played, but even beautiful things have flaws.
The beginning of the game is just breathtaking and spectacular. Probably my favorite opening to any game. I honestly can’t explain much about the story because everything would be a spoiler. All I can say is that you are a man named Booker DeWitt who needs to bring back a girl from the floating city of Columbia named Elizabeth. If he brings her back he can wipe away his debt (from gambling). The story progresses into a huge twist ending and fully cuts you loose and doesn’t quite answer every question. The ending will shock you and even made my jaw drop. It’s a beautiful ending that is going to have gamers talking about it for years to come.
BioShock’s story is also told through the journey. There are no pre-rendered cut scenes or anything to break the flow. A lot of the story is told through hidden journals like in previous games. There’s a lot of similarities to older BioShock games, but everything is improved upon. The combat system still uses the gun and magic attacks, however, you get Vigor this time around. They are replenished with Salts that you find instead of Eve Hypos. Honestly, the Vigor’s don’t seem as useful as the Plasmids did. I pretty much stuck with a couple through the whole game because there are so many guns that these end up being more useful. Crow’s Trap is one of my favorites. You send angry crows at enemies to pick and stun them, or you can lay traps. My most favorite were the shock Vigor. It can stun enemies, but later on, it can chain across enemies and their heads pop. There’s one for fire, Bronco lets you throw enemies into the air, there’s a tentacle one that pulls enemies towards you, there’s also one that allows you to charge enemies and cause damage. They sound neat, they look neat in action, but the combat is more fast paced and challenging than previous games.
The guns feel so great to shoot in this game. There’s pistols, sniper rifles, shotguns, and the typical ones in shooters. Hail Fire and Volley Gun shoot grenades, there’s an M1 Carbine, a repeater, and various others. Honestly, I wish there more unique weapons like in older BioShocks, but at least they feel good to shoot and there are plenty of them. I didn’t really need to resort to Vigor unless I had a lot of people after me or had large enemies to deal with.
Speaking of enemies, the ones in Infinite are some of the most imaginative since BioShock 1. There are various human enemies, but the Patriots and Handymen are awesome. There are also various creatures and some fun boss fights as well. I just wish there was a larger variety. There are different reskins of these enemies, but I really just wanted more to shoot at. The Patriots have Chain Guns that are hard to bring down but are weak in the back. Handymen are rarely encountered but they are giant lumbering beasts and are bosses on their own. Infinite gives you more exploration options during combat. Using the Skyline is so fun and magical. You can slow down, reverse, and hop down wherever you want. You can shoot from these skylines, so it adds a tactical element the series needed. You even get a better melee weapon that has gruesome finishing kills that will make you cringe.
Combat is just very solid in Infinite, but by the end of the game it started feeling repetitive and all that kept me going was the story and new places to explore. Infinite has a lot of secrets that need to be opened with lockpicks that you can find. You can equip Gear that adds attributes and you can upgrade weapons via stations around Columbia like you did in BioShock. You can also upgrade your Vigors which is nice, there are a lot of upgrades and you won’t get them all in one playthrough.
When it comes to visuals, Infinite is one of the most beautiful and original games ever made…ever. On PC the DirectX 11 upgrade looks fantastic, the lighting is amazing, and the art style the team went for will blow your mind. I spent the first few hours just staring at everything because of how beautiful it looked. The pacing is spot-on, and the story makes you care about all the characters, or hate them. Ken Levine and his team are masters at their art and it’s proven here. This may even be his opus, but only time will tell. There’s nothing out there like Infinite, this is probably one of the few shooters in years that has tried to use the genre for what it’s good for. There’s no multiplayer, but you don’t need it. I also wish there were visual upgrades to the weapons like in BioShock 1, but those are minor gripes. Honestly, it’s hard to complain about this game other than the lack of enemy variety, Vigors feel underpowered, and there are no visual upgrades on weapons. The story is fantastic and gripping, this game will hopefully live on to be one of the best ever made.
The Good: Fantastic and intriguing story, two protagonists are likable and relatable, great art direction, skylines are awesome
The Bad: Gamers who don’t usually explore will miss out on a ton of the plot, shooting is pretty generic, a little bit on the easy side, too much hand-holding, no stealth elements, violence a little out of place, some side-characters are underdeveloped
Bioshock Infinite is the kind of game you want all of your friends to play even though it doesn’t have multiplayer so you can discuss and debate about it. The ending was already (sort of) spoiled to me but nevertheless it still shocked me as everything unraveled. This game is of perfect length but at the same time you don’t want it to end because the story and characters are very fantastic.
Bioshock Infinite has one of the most brilliant openings in gaming history, and while some games start off great but gradually get worse the story of Bioshock Infinite is constantly twisting and turning that you’ll never get bored. Just a warning though: if you’re the kind of person who only likes fast paced shooters where the goal is to shoot everything in sight, like Call of Duty, than you will not enjoy this game. A lot of the story won’t make sense to you unless you walk around listening to audio diaries of different characters. so you need to be a patient gamer.
The core gameplay of this game kind of sucks. While it is promising at first, it quickly becomes “run away from your enemies before they shoot you” or shoot, possess, and electrocute everything in sight. It’s not very difficult or punishing, and while this may bother some people for me this was good because it meant I could skim through these action moments to get to the story.
It’s not fair to say that the combat is entirely bad however. Guns feel great to use (even though the controls for them are quite stiff), jumping off a sky-line to kill an enemy is awesome and you do get to destroy propaganda-spitting robotic George Washingtons (come on, doesn’t that sound awesome?). I just wished that there was a little more to it, specifically in the stealth department (there is basically no way to sneak around your enemies). Maybe my hopes were just set too high by Dishonored’s brilliant stealth sections.
The true star of this game is Elizabeth, your companion. You play as Booker Dewitt, a man who is brought to Columbia (the flying city in which the game takes place) in 1912 to find and bring a girl back to America to pay off his gambling debts. The game tackles lots of mature issues such as racism and religion and the world is disturbingly racist yet completely beautiful at the same time. While Elizabeth is helpful in shooting sequences, the real reason you’ll like her is because she is so kind and naive, yet still mature. She is flawed and perfect in her very own way at the same time. She feels real in the same way Clementine from The Walking Dead by Telltale felt real.
Booker is also a great character. His past is mysterious- even to him, and while he’s done some really bad things in his life which haunt him, he isn’t necessarily a bad guy. Unfortunately, it’s a shame that only Booker, Elizabeth, and Comstock (the antagonist of the game who rules Columbia) are fully realized characters. There is a character I really liked in the game named Daisy Fitzroy (who leads the rebel group known as the Vox in Columbia) who is constantly described as being “no better than Comstock” which is never actually shown until one particular moment in the game which feels out of place and against her personality.
All in all, Bioshock Infinite is an amazing game. My nitpicks may seem numerous, but they are very minor compared to the game as a whole. You’d do yourself a disservice to not play this game because “it’s shooting isn’t the best” or because there is no multiplayer. This is the sort of game which will be discussed and analyzed for years to come.
(Review based on Xbox 360 version)