BioShock: Infinite Review-Enjoying the View, Are We? - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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BioShock: Infinite Review-Enjoying the View, Are We?

 

 

"I heard it's the best in the series. They say it's been delayed 3 times." This is a quote from Elizabeth early in Infinite as she refers to a slot machine. As I began playing Infinite I admittedly thought of what changes Irrational Games made to BioShock: Infinite during its 6 year development cycle and its 3 lengthy delays. "We want to make a game that many players will think is perfect. A perfect experience is what we want for our players." We heard explanations like this time and time again while Infinite continued to be pushed back. These explanations were not far from the truth as Infinite is an outstanding game that feels like it was handled with care. A game that has been delayed and plays perfectly is better than a game that was rushed and plays alright. The delays for Infinite may have made the game better and that is something that many players can stand by.

BioShock: Infinite starts up as you may expect it too. The hero must step into a world in which he has no idea existed and must use anything at his disposal in order to survive. Like Jack from the original BioShock, Booker DeWitt must learn quickly and turn his body into the ultimate survival machine. Like the Plasmids in BioShock, Infinite has Vigors which are used just like the Plasmids. You can set enemies on fire, zap them with lightning, possess them so they attack their allies (being your enemies), or my personal favorite; sending enemies floating in air making them easy target dummies. Of course they are more Vigors that are different from the Plasmids which makes the idea of Vigors feel fresh. With Vigors come upgrades to your body. Setting people on fire when you jump from a skyline or chaining together your attacks with fire. Like the EVE, Salts recharge your Vigors. Unlike EVE, once you pick up a Salt you use it. This doesn't make using your Vigors as a last ditch effort. Vigors aren't as sensitive as the Plasmids; you can use certain Vigors, with good upgrades for a long period of time before having to fill up on Salts. Salts aren't as hard to find either, and this system creates strategies that can be used.

 

 Much like Rapture, Columbia looks beautiful. The city above the clouds is filled with color and gorgeous designs. The citizens are life like, and the atmosphere fits in perfectly. Up close the game has some muddy textures, but it isn't enough to give the city a bad name; this place is beautiful. Booker can also travel in style by jumping on to skylines with the 'skyhook.' This is much like zip lining to get from point A to point B. However, this is a key component when it comes to traveling. Columbia is a big city and is spread out through the clouds, so you are going to need to use these skylines to get around. The skyhook is also a weapon. Like the Wrench and the Drill from the first two BioShock titles you can use your skyhook as a melee weapon to stun your enemies and to unleash brutal takedowns. Snap necks, cut off heads, or slash your enemies face; this is possible with the skyhook.   

Gameplay in Infinite works very well. I rarely had an issue when it came to gun fights and using my Vigors. The player can easily shoot a group of enemies then quickly light another group on fire. The switching between guns and Vigors is just a button press away. Press L-1 to shoot and with one press of R-1 Booker will shoot a Vigor. (This game was played on the PS3, hence L-1 and R-1) You can string together kills and takedowns that will make you look like a pro and it doesn't take a large amount of headache either. Set an enemy on fire and as he runs take him down with one of the two guns you are carrying. Possess one solider and use him to set up an opening in the battlefield and flank enemies. Zap them with lightning and hit them with your skyhook. Send killer crows to attack groups of enemies and easily pick them off. 

With the countless of possibilities that you can achieve with your Vigors, Elizabeth can be used to open up tears. These are items that exist in one universe of them world but not in the one that you are currently in. Elizabeth can pull these items into the universe that you are in. You can tell her to open up a hook in which you can attach yourself onto to pick off enemies from above. She can also pull in cover, machines that will fire at your enemies and water puddles in which you can set Vigor traps in which an enemy can step on and die. Unlike the other BioShock titles you cannot hold all the guns in the game at once. Booker can only hold 2 guns at a time. With this, Booker can, however, hold onto all of his Vigors without upgrading like in the previous two games. You have to think about which guns you want to carry. A sniper for long distance and a shotgun for close range. A pistol and a machine gun, a carbine and a scattergun. Management between your 2 weapons is important as the enemy types may vary. Another component to gameplay is, again, the skyhook. Zipping on skylines works easily, keep in mind that they aren't just used for traveling. At times I jumped on a skyline to get a better angle on my enemies and to become a harder target to hit. While zipping along Booker can slow down making it easier to hit his opponents, and he can even dive from a skyline and charge at an enemy with one swipe of his skyhook.

 

The city of Columbia is the star of the game as the city is flowing with life. With Rapture we step into the city after its downfall and everyone has been turned into spliced up monsters and has lost their minds. This isn't the case for Columbia. The city above the clouds is swarming with life and is at a high point in its life cycle. Yes, the citizens of Columbia are mostly close-minded racist rich fools but they are a nice change to the BioShock universe. The city has not fallen apart and Booker can travel without wondering if there is an insane citizen at each corner. The city still has that unreal and fantastic feel like Rapture had. Both cities have dark secrets to uncover and strange inhabitants. Like the Big Daddies in Rapture Columbia is home to the Handy Man. A large part machine part man that is hell bent on taking you down. If you want to get past this large hulking monster you must use everything at your disposal and keep your distance. Another mysterious creature in Columbia are the 'Boys of Silence.' These are some of the most strange and chilling inhabitants of Columbia. The Boys of Silence work similar to the security cameras in Rapture. The Boys of Silence are blind but they can hear and sense almost anything. If you are going to get past one, you have to be stealthy and hope one doesn't sense you. Columbia shines as the most unforgettable cities in any video game. Columbia is a city that I will never forget, from its buildings, to its hidden passages, this is one city worth exploring.

 

Booker is our main protagonist but he isn't the only one who made my trip into Columbia unforgettable. Elizabeth, the girl Booker is sent to find and bring with him as he leaves the floating city, is the most important character in Infinite. Elizabeth has strange powers which allow her to open up doorways, known as tears. She has also been imprisoned in a tower for most of her life and has only read about the city of Columbia in books. Her guardian, the Songbird, has one mission; protect Elizabeth and makes sure she never leaves the tower. This isn't good news for Booker, since he has to free Elizabeth and the giant bird will stop at nothing to lock her back up in her tower. Apart from her story, Elizabeth is the best NPC I've ever encountered in a video game. The player has to escort her out of the city, not protect her. This means that we don't have to babysit her and follow her everywhere she goes. After I first met Elizabeth a popup on the screen came up and said "You don't have to worry about protecting Elizabeth during combat. She can take care of herself." This statement is 100% true.

I never once had to worry about Elizabeth while I was fighting off a group of enemies. She finds her own cover and stays down until it's safe to move up. During combat she looks around for useful supplies to keep you stocked. She'll throw you ammo when you need it and Salts and Health when you are running low. I was in a large battle and both of my guns were running low. I was using the last of my salts to throw enemies in the air as I ran looking for ammo and wondering how I'll survive. Elizabeth called out to Booker and threw me ammo for my carbine. About 45 seconds later, she threw me Salts to refill on my Vigor. During noncombat situations she throws Booker money and points out items such as lock picks which you can collect and have Elizabeth unlock locked doors. She also points out rooms which may contain supplies. I did a lot of exploring during my time with Infinite. I went into every room that I could and looked for recordings and other useful supplies such as an upgraded for health, Salts, and Shields. One occurrence, however, Elizabeth pointed up past a skyline and said, "They might be some supplies in that room." I would have never found that room if Elizabeth had not pointed it out. It made me wonder how many rooms in BioShock 1 and 2 I had missed out on. Elizabeth is also filled with life; she looks at certain items and reacts, she greets other citizens as they walk by her and she even told me to hurry on when I once backtracked to a room that was empty. Not once did I have to worry about her, not once did she get in my way, and not once did she become a nuisance. She wonders off on her own and you don't need to worry about where she is at.

 

The story of Infinite is one that I was truly engaged with. The mysteries are unfolded with great fashion, the characters are all very well written and how the story is told is done very greatly. We begin with Booker DeWitt on a mission to find a mysterious girl in a strange city. Booker is in a lot of debt with the wrong people and they offer him one last chance, 'Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt.' He is warned not to fail them. Basically if he doesn't come back with the girl he shouldn't come back at all. We begin to learn more about Elizabeth, about Booker, the creation of the city and its creator. As the journey goes on, the story begins to unfold and we learn more of the dangerous world. Who are the people who want Elizabeth? Why has she been locked up for years and experimented on? What's Booker's story? Who is the 'Prophet'? All of these questions and more unfold over time in one of my favorite told stories in any video game. It ends with my favorite ending in years. I didn't want my time with Infinite to end but how it did was the only way I can imagine it concluding. Have a clear mind and do not worry about the twist that is thrown at you. Yes, Infinite has a twist, and yes it is a very good one but don't worry about it before you get there. Focus on your task and parts of the story that is going on. I had theories of what the twist might be but they were all wrong. The game offers the best 40 minutes or so that unfold in the best fashion and is a step up from how the BioShock 1 twist was told. Infinite has a story that I will never forget and is one of the best told stories in years.

I ran across one small issue in Infinite, one that isn't worth being upset about but I will address it. The lack of Handymen and Songbird encounters. I had expected the Handymen to have as much appearances as the Big Daddies. Both are tough to bring down and give you that sense of accomplishment after they have been defeated. However, unlike the Big Daddies, the Handymen don't have many appearances. I would have liked to have fought these hulking bosses more but I only got to fight them less than every so often. I also didn't run into the Songbird that much. I figured since he is Elizabeth's watcher (much like a dragon that watches over every imprisoned girl) we would have bumped roads more often. This isn't the case though. I was waiting for a chase scene that never happened. I only wish I had seen the giant bird a little more. The lacks of these antagonists were a small letdown but not enough to damage my thoughts on the game.

 

All in all, BioShock: Infinite is a near perfect game. I had so much fun in my journey and it's one that will require another playthrough. The game offers a fun challenge that isn't agonizing but isn't mindlessly easy. With the very good story and the best AI in any video game thanks to Elizabeth, it's hard to find a complaint for this game. I walked across as much of Columbia as I could and it did not grow old, not once. The voice acting thanks to well-known voice actors Troy Baker and Jennifer Hale and newly named voice actress Courntee Draper, is the best cast I'd heard since Uncharted. I did not run into a part in the game where I told myself, "This part shouldn't have been here and would have been so much better if it were trashed." Every set piece in Infinite fits in perfectly and feels fresh. Infinite is a breath of fresh air and requires the player to pay attention and to think which is my favorite part of the story. Infinite is a smart game and proves that Irrational Games is a smart developer. I have never once played a game like Infinite, I didn't want it to end and I was truly happy to play a game like this. From start to finish, Infinite is a masterpiece, one game that every fan of video games should play. Not only is BioShock: Infinite the best game I've played this entire generation, it's also the best game I've ever played.

 

 

 

Score

10/10

I'm not a fan of giving out perfect scores but I'd say BioShock: Infinite truly deserves this. In my years of playing video games I never played a game that I enjoyed this much. I never thought a game could top the original BioShock for game of this gen but Infinite does that and more. Irrational Games proves that they are the best in the business.

 

Pros.

The story is very well thought out and told/ Columbia is beautiful and full of life/ Fun gameplay/ Terrific voice acting/ Elizabeth/ The best AI in a long time.

Cons.

Lack of Handyman and Songbird.

 

Comments
  • Great review J. I agree with you 100%. This is truly a masterpiece. I took a chance with the game, and I didn't trust joe's score of the game. Well I was successful, and joe was right. I'd just hope everyone can play it before next generation. Consoles come out. This was a really good read J. Nice!
  • Great review, J. Very well written. I agree with you that this is the best game of this gen. It's one of two games from this gen that I think deserve a perfect score. The other is Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Good job again, J.
  • what do i have to do to write my own article because i cat for some reason, or at least i cant find it By hte way great review, i have seen part of the game and played it and it deseves a 10
  • This was a great review. Elizabeth reminds me of Bella from Beauty and the Beast. They look alike and act like. Actually... I can even go as far as to say that Beauty and the Beast and Bioshock: Infinite are very similar in some ways. Beast = Booker. Beauty = Bella.
  • Mod

    Grrrreat review.

  • Great review Jade Warrior.

  • Great review J! I think you did the game justice without spoiling anything important. :) I am so glad you finished it and I really want others to finish it as well. The ending is worth seeing. I personally give the game a 10/10.
  • What really kept me going through the whole game, and what I thought was the most interesting and fun, was how it kept surprising me with its apparent "flaws". One of them was Elizabeth, when I met her all I kept thinking was "Oh, great, so this game is basically a huge escort mission." But then it explicitly said "You do not have to take care of Elizabeth", and it really turned out that it was much more fun to have her around, especially experimenting with the tears. Another was the story, I thought at first Irrational had just said "Eh, screw it, parallel universes." Even though it really just went so much deeper than that and just got so much more interesting as the game went on. Anyways, great game. My favorite game I've played this year so far.
  • Great review J! Your bringing me to the breaking point on getting this!
  • Fantastic review. I'll be picking up Infinite just as soon as I finish my trophy run in the original Bioshock.

  • Great review, J. I actually loved the game so much, I'm going to pick up another copy for PS3 so I can go trophy hunting. This game is a masterpiece in every sense of the word, and I can't get enough of it.

  • Excellent review! :)

  • Wow, great review.  And for someone who likes to take time with games you certainly couldn't resist powering through this one! :)  I've just stopped at the end of the Hall of Heroes section, and the game is divine.  There was near crippling anticipation and promise behind this game but it satisfies them all for me.  Wicked fun combat, eye-watering art direction, brave writing, irresistible characters and the best opening to a game ever.

    3 sections that really stick out right now are the Boxer Rebellion/Wounded Knee exhibitions and the First Lady Memorial.  Its incredible how they set a scene that's really a 3D story, and the use of Vox Populi bright red in the Memorial against the otherwise harmonious colour palette is genius.  All this, and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of the game.  On a lighter note, Elizabeth's commmentary when you enter either a men's or women's bathroom is hilarious. :)