After years of waiting, I believe it’s been close to three years since it was announced, BioShock Infinite was released, acquired and beaten. The wait might have hurt the love of the game for some, but for most it seems that Infinite is the strongest candidate for game of the year. And what a year it has shaped up to be so far. With Infinite we see Tomb Raider’s reboot being a sleek sexy fun ride giving it a run for it’s money now. Of course right now if the year were to end Infinite would just take it away, but by how much? That’s what this review is going to tell you, as well as the upcoming Tomb Raider review.
For starters Infinite isn’t your typical BioShock game. We all know that the first two took place in the underwater city of Rapture. It featured Little Sisters and Big Daddies. It also had Splicers and ADAM. But this game gets rid of all of that. Many criticized the game for that. This isn’t BioShock. This is something else. But remember the spiritual predecessor to BioShock, SystemShock was nothing like what we got from 2K Games and Irrational. So don’t judge the book by it’s cover. What Infinite does is tell a far more intriguing story than the previous games with a twist that might rival the first one if not surpass it. But what it doesn’t do is revolutionize gaming. It doesn’t change any standards for which games are made like some people were hoping it might do. But even if it isn’t a game changer persay Infinite still soars and here is why.
The story isn’t in depth. You are Booker DeWitt and you owe a mad debt. Give us the girl and wipe away the debt. This is heard multiple times, in dream sequences and a couple of the game over screens as well as the end game. Booker is a former Pinkerton and Soldier well known for the battles of Wounded Knee and the Boxer Rebellion. DeWitt was there, he is trying to atone for his sins. But then he goes to Columbia. The city in the sky and it’s just ripe with social commentary. The founder and so called Prophet, Zachary Comstock, is your rival so to speak. He has foreseen the future and you are the False Shepard that will lead his daughter, Elizabeth astray.
The game feels like it’s a giant fetch quest until you actually accomplish the goal of getting Elizabeth then you realize she isn’t a damsel in distress. As you move on through the game the plot gets a bit thicker like with typical BioShock games. You have multiple factions that are warring, the Vox Populi are the revolutionaries who want equal rights for all, including the blacks and the yellows, and then you have Comstock’s people. All this leads up to who do you want to side with? The marketing pretty much said you got to make decisions but it feels laid out for you. I played through the game thinking logically, helping the Vox might help me get out of Columbia with the girl no problem, but it doesn’t seem to matter.
The big thing though is the twist at the end of the game when you get there. You will drop your jaw. You thought the whole “a man chooses, a slave obeys” from BioShock was one of the best then wait til you reach the final half hour of the actual game itself. You just might soil yourself with either squealing joy or shock. For me it was a bit of both since they try to help you piece it all together near that very end. But I won’t go further into it just to save us all the time and energy.
So let’s just jump into the actual review then. I loved the whole game. Shame to say that straight up. The game was brilliant. The bright visuals and sharp textures just look fantastic. Every single frame was gorgeous. The change from the original graphical style to a more cell shaded (like Dishonored) works. Just watching the game in motion leads you to getting shot by the enemy cause you are too busy taking in the entire thing. You will believe a city can fly when you see the weather changes through the game from the sun to the snow peaked Comstock house. Just jawdropping. Try going on the skyline with the skyhook and try to pay attention to the actual environment I dare you. It’s hard to focus on what you are supposed to.
The game plays just like the previous BioShocks. You don’t get Plasmids. No that is Rapture. Instead you get Vigors. They work almost the same way. The powers are almost the same. It’s not that big of a deal. Instead of using what you used in the first two games you uses Salts to charge up your Vigors. You can level them up but not in the same way as you did with the Plasmids. It’s a bit of a change but it’s not going to ruin the gameplay. You still use them for strategic purposes, but with Elizabeth you rarely have to worry about scavenging for Salts to refill them up. My big complaint though is the fact that you can only carry two guns. You can drop one and pick up others but it doesn’t help you out when you run out of ammo for both! I think they did it to make it more realistic but at the same time, two guns in a shooter game? It is crazy.
Elizabeth ads a new twist to the gameplay. Instead of being a damsel who always needs help she actually helps you! She’ll find ammo, health, salts and money and toss it to you. Makes playing the game a little bit more helpful or easier take your pick. She always gives you just what you need in a big fight. Actually there are some times where she’ll toss me a chunk of coins instead of health and I’ll die, but that is my fault for relying on her to help instead of me scavenging for health. Seeing as she is with you for a majority of the game when she isn’t there near the end you just don’t know what to do to get your health back or anything else like that. She also has the ability to open tears to other worlds, or other versions of the world you are in. This is helpful because she can spawn auto guns, ammo, health packs and what not with the tears.
Everything just adds up for BioShock Infinite. It’s hard to find a single flaw with this game but I am sure there are some. From the beautifully scored soundtrack to the luscious visuals. The tight gameplay and enrapturing story make BioShock Infinite the almost half way to the middle of the year game of the year. Sorry Lara Croft. (A+/99.5)