Bioshock Infinite [PC]
June 10, 2013
It’s E3 time again folks, and with exciting trailers and gameplay videos coming out featuring some titles I’m very much looking forward to (The Division, Assassin’s Creed IV, Watchdogs, Mirror’s Edge 2) let’s get those game faces on and punch out some RL quick time events. With The Last of Us being released in the next few days, I figured time to jump on another one of the highly anticipated games over the past year or two, Bioshock Infinite.
Yes it’s off to the floating city of Columbia, and straight off the bat Bioshock Infinite doesn’t disappoint. Looking through past reviews it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that I’m biased towards games that feature a multiplayer aspect to them, so for me jumping into the new Bioshock which is quite story-driven was definitely a change of pace.
You play Booker DeWitt, former Pinkerton and epic gunslinger, who wakes up on a boat and randomly dropped off by a lighthouse. From the word go it’s time to try and find some girl. Exploring around you slowly grasp a few key things that will carry you throughout your journey, namely that you should search….everything….for coins, ammo, salts, and anything else that might be valuable. This isn’t that uncommon, I mean Borderlands you spend more time counting stats on weapons then playing the game. It’s like a RPGMMO where you’re the only player. Infinite isn’t such an extreme, but it does try to swing close.
Through the course of playing Cluedo in the abandoned lighthouse with the one lone body, you inadvertently strap yourself into the steampunk Sweeney Todd chair and suddenly you’re away, off into the great deep… wait, no, I mean up in the air to the magical over-saturated floating city of Columbia. The grass is greener, the sun’s rays are more radiant, and finally some more dustbins to search in.
It’s not long though before learning of Father Comstock, some crazy prophet who predicted you’d come and steal his child or something. Putting two and two together you work out that Elizabeth, his daughter, is the one you’ve been tasked with finding.
However all is not as they seem in Columbia. With two factions fighting over the floating city, tensions are high, and your plot to acquire the Prophet’s little lamb lands you in hot water as the people protecting the Prophet’s shiny dystopia are quick to react. Grab a gun and fire at will, with more guns introduced over time it has a gradual difficulty curve. Want something more? Vigors are the force-powers of the Bioshock Infinite world. Score salts to charge up your selected vigors and unleash a flurry of elaborately themed powers, including things like Undertow; an aquatic-explosion of Force Push or Force Pull, or Shock Jockey where bolts of lightning ignite an electrifying expericence for any enemy who happens to cross your path. Alternative-Fire for your vigors enables you to set traps that spring into action when your foes foolishly wander into them.
With a limit of two Vigors selected at a time, and only being able to carry two guns at a time, you find you learn how to combo between using your weapon and your mystical powers. After a time I found my combination of Carbine and Sniper Rifle, plus my lightning power and what basically equated to Maya’s stasis power from Borderlands 2, to be my solution for any problem. Crazy guys running at me, boom stasis and headshots. Huge mechanical George Washington with a hand-cranked mini-gun, boom lightning and headshots.
One of the other unique mechanics of Bioshock Infinite that was promoted from the get-go was the skylines. Jump on a skyline and fly around the map at break-neck speeds, leap off onto another then onto a player for a sudden surprise of pants-soiling melee epicness. Using your Skyhook you fly around the floating city like some Hulk yelling, “This is My City” before you land onto another unsuspecting foe and melee’ing their face into non-existence like some “Horror Movie”.
Eventually you find Elizabeth in an elaborate test-tube living-space observatory like it’s some 1912 episode of Big Brother. Breaking her free you jump off into a whole new dimension of crazy gameplay and elaborately convoluted but ultimately self-fulfilling storyline.
At this point it’s worth mentioning this is where everyone yells, SPOILERS, SPOILERS!
Let’s just say, Elizabeth adds another element to your gameplay, while constantly deciding no she doesn’t actually like you and runs off and you have to chase her. Seriously, it’s like playing Russian Roulette with those Follow Missions from Assassin’s Creed. Who wants to just follow people? They’re just ‘check out how many hours I spent to model this city while not actually doing anything productive’ …. missions.
Throughout your game you run into Robert and Rosalind Lutece, who act somewhat as guides who happen to be in the right place at the right time. They’re really smart inventors-of-sort who’s origins are unraveled as the story continues.
Needless to say, the storyline has many twists and turns, and while can get confusing, it’s worth following through to the end.
While I could write more, I fear anything else might spoil the experience. In hindsight, Bioshock Infinite is a game that people may have mixed feelings over. At times I found it compelling and wanted to find out more and explore away, at other times I found it an inconvenience and just wanted things to be over and done with. Whatever your thoughts on it, you can’t deny Bioshock Infinite was a success, and while it has its ups and downs, it definitely aimed high and seemed to achieve it; afterall, the sky’s the limit.
Storyline – 4.5/5 (Compelling story, with many hidden gems, twists and turns. One or two needless deviations seems to make it slow at times.)
Gameplay – 3.5/5 (Interesting gameplay elements that culminate in repetitive actions and with the linear storyline there’s only medium replay value)
Presentation – 5/5 (Bloom, flares, over-saturated, and beautiful to look at. Great use of colour elements to influence mood and atmosphere)