The lights are on
Bioshock Infinite has been
that game that all gamers have been thinking about since it was even announced.
While all this hype and excitement built up, I could not help but think in the
back of my mind, "I hope this game is great." I was not disappointed;
instead I was completely blown away. Bioshock Infinite hit all the right notes
and then some. Everything from the story to the gameplay was both compelling
and purely entertaining. A game on this level of pure gaming nirvana is truly a
rare thing to behold.
Talking about Infinite's environment is
probably the best way to start. Amazing, phenomenal, breathe taking,
intriguing, awesome; these words do not even begin to describe the floating
city of Columbia. Columbia is basically a massive grouping of buildings floating
on enormous balloons, and because of some physics jargon that Elizabeth
attempted to explain, that has this 1910's theme to it. The first sight of
Columbia will forever be one of my favorite gaming moments of all time. After
you go on this frightening, and particularly bumpy, ride through a stormy sky,
you break through a thick layer of clouds and are greeted with this peaceful,
almost serene view of Columbia. Everywhere you look there are massive, floating
buildings literally flying around boarding with other buildings. All the while
you are looking at all these splendid sights, the sun is beautifully shining
upon the city giving the city this sense of perfection........almost too pefect.
I was finally allowed to enter the city, the awe I felt just continued to
multiply. I literally spent my first hour just looking around at the city.
There were just so many little details to take in! I was just roaming around
examining the architecture of each little store, moving on to read the various
propaganda posters, looking up at the buildings that floated delicately above
my head, and of course at the massive statue of "the prophet." All
the nods to the 1910's especially captured my attention as well. I've always
found the 1910's and 20's to be really fascinating times, thus the little shoe
shine shops, suits, and other things from those decades distracted me to say
However, what I found to be most strange about
the city wasn't even the 1910's culture or even the fact that the entire city
was floating; it was the sense of alternate history I felt as I roamed around
the city. The moment that you actually enter the city, you are greeted by a
scene of several religious people in all white ropes praying to three large
statues..........of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson.
When I first saw the faces of these statues my reaction was simply, "Wait
what......" I just found it to be the strangest thing ever. I mean those
three men are very important since they are the founders of the U.S., but to
have a religion based around them? Now that's just a whole new level of
strange. As I continued to explore the city, strange sights such as this
continued to be prevalent. I saw things ranging from a statue honoring John
Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin, to men wearing all black ropes with
pointed hats that covered their faces. This sense of altered history was all
very interesting, but also very strange to comprehend at the same time.
addition, I found the characters of Bioshock Infinite to be great as well. The
two main protagonists in Infinite are Booker Dewitt and Elizabeth. Booker is a
relatively unemotional, stone cold killer type of character that I’ve always
had a hard time finding believable, but what makes him different is that at
times, he shows signs of breakdown. He's not always the "stare death in
the face," calm, cool, and colllected character that most characters of
this type usually are. There are moments when you can hear the panic in his
voice through his repeated muttering of "sh**, sh**, SH**!" the
unrelenting rage at other points, and the regret he feels for his past actions.
These emotions cause him to feel real to me; as if that's what I would be
thinking or doing in these same stressful situations.
Elizabeth, I remember watching a video about her about a week before launch
where some developers at Irrational Games and actors talked about how they
wanted to make gamers feel a connection of sorts with Elizabeth; as though she
isn't just a video game character. I believe that they succeeded in this goal,
at least with me they did. As I played through Infinite, I actually developed a
sense of attachment to Elizabeth. She was just simply so innocent and pure, it
was difficult not to. I think this is why I felt bad for the horrible position
she was put in. Elizabeth's sense of innocence and joy greatly contradicts
Booker, but as you progress in the game, you begin to see subtle changes in her
demeanor, facial expressions, and movements. When you see these changes
occurring, you actually begin to feel remorse for the things you as Booker are
doing. Later in parts of the game when you don't have Elizabeth by your side,
it feels strange as though she should be at your side. This feeling of
attachment that we as gamers can get towards memorable characters is absolutely
one of my favorite parts of gaming.
Not only were the protagonists
memorable in Infinite, the antagonists were as well. Comstock, the self
righteous, hypocritical, *** of a prophet; and songbird, a massive, robotic,
yet strangely emotional warden to Elizabeth; both were great antagonists to
give the player some more motive throughout the game. Comstock in particular
was very intriguing because of his polarizing nature. So many of the people in
Columbia viewed Comstock as the ultimate hero while others, such as the Vox
Populi, couldn't fester enough hatred for the man. All in all, he was a perfect
antagonist for the situation.
These characters created one of
the most interesting and mind boggling stories I have ever experienced in any
video game. Joe Juba puts it perfectly when he states that "the player
must be comfortable with the concept of parallel realities." The story
starts out relatively simple; Booker Dewitt must find a girl named Elizabeth
and bring her to New York to pay off "gambling" debts. This girl
Elizabeth possesses the amazing power to open tears, portals to alternate
realities, and is locked in an angel tower guarded by the massive songbird. Her
father, Comstock, runs the city and warns of the “false shepherd" coming
to steal the lamb. After Booker rescues Elizabeth is where things get weird.
Since I probably don't fully comprehend everything behind the story, there are
parts I do understand but other parts are simply over my head, I don't think
I'm even going to attempt to explain it. However, just know this; if you
understand the overall idea behind the story, it is MIND BLOWING.
last thing I would like to talk about is the gameplay. Bioshock Infinite's
gameplay is, simply put, the best that I have ever experienced in any game.
Ignore what I may have said in any of my other reviews; this is the best
gameplay hands down. Combining guns, melee, and vigors has never been easier or
more entertaining. The vigors in particular, formerly known as plasmids, have
always been a huge part of Bioshock's gameplay and are what I have always loved
about Bioshock. These vigors can be combined and upgraded to create awesome
displays of destruction. At the moment my favorite combination is a shock
jockey chain followed by devil's kiss. The explosion that occurs is simply
ground shaking. The gunplay, as always, is spot on as well. Usually I have a
Founder Carbine and shotgun equipped at all times. I then use bucking bronco to
lift my enemies into the air and headshot them with my carbine to bring them
back to the ground with devastating effectiveness.
What makes Infinite's gameplay
particularly remarkable, however, is the new additions to gameplay. New
additions such as the sky lines and Elizabeth’s ability to open tears bring new
opportunities to approach combat in so many different ways. Using the sky rails
is great fun and a lot easier than I initially expected. Jumping off a sky line
at max speed to strike an enemy never gets old. However, what I most love about
the new gameplay additions is Elizabeth. She helps tremendously in a fight in
ways such as supplying ammo or salts when I desperately need it, or being able
to open tears during a fight to aid me. These tears range from actually
creating cover, conjuring allies, or even simply spawning supplies such as
weapons or medkits. Elizabeth is simply the most invaluable thing you can have
during a fight. Other variations in gameplay such as environmental hazards and
the introduction of mini bosses, such as handymans, cause combat to vary that
much more as well.
In conclusion, Bioshock Infinite, I believe, pulled off a
Half Life 2; it did the unthinkable and bettered the original. It didn’t simply
feel like a copy of the original Bioshock in a new, shiny packaging; it is its own game. Infinite will be one of those
games that gamers return to again and again years after it's time has passed. It’s
one of those games that gamers will compare other game to for years to come.
Speaking of which, I think it's about time to make a return to Columbia right
Final Verdict: 10/10