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. 

When 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 the least. 

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.


In 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. 

As for 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. 


The 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 about now.......

Final Verdict: 10/10