The lights are on
Story: You are Booker DeWitt, a man with a checkered past sent on a mission to rescue Elizabeth, a young and mysterious woman. From the beginning your objective is straight forward, "bring us the girl and wipe away the debt", you are then sent to Columbia to start your search and as soon as you take your first step you are quickly engulfed in Columbia's world of wonderment, but as you venture deeper into Columbia you reveal the turmoil it suffers by the hands of racism, bigotry, and xenophobia. As the story unfolds you can learn more of the past goings-on by way of voxophones, BioShock infinite's audio logs that tell the thoughts of the city's inhabitants that allow you to get a better understanding of what the city and its people are going through. Before too long you will meet the main antagonist, Zachary Hale Comstock, who will stop at nothing to stop you from getting to Elizabeth. At first it seems that Elizabeth is the typical damsel in distress, waiting to be rescued and escorted out, but are proven completely wrong. She instantly takes center stage as she drives the narrative ever deeper by the way she reacts to your actions and to the events happening around you. The plot thickens once Elizabeth's unique ability comes into play. "Tears" are doorways to alternate realities in which Elizabeth has control of opening and bringing items from that world into your world. With that said you need to get comfortable with the concept as it plays a big part in the story. In your venture though Columbia you will be in for the sky-line ride of your life with twists and turns that will leave you guessing until the very end.
Playability: The game simply controls and feels great. You will have your normal arsenal of pistols, shotguns, and machine guns while incorporating the use of vigors that are much like BioShock's plasmids, each one having a basic attack and a charged version used mostly for setting up traps. There are 2 huge elements that set Infinite apart from its predecessors, one being the Sky Hook that gives you the ability to dole out brutal melee attacks and finish off your enemies with gruesome and satisfying executions. In some areas there's a form of transport called sky-lines that makes use of your Sky Hook, granting you quick escapes from tight spots, tactical mobility to get you to vantage points or enemies quicker, and allows you to Sky-Line Strike on unsuspected and unfortunate enemies below. The addition of sky-lines adds a whole new exhilarating and extremely fun layer to the normal shootouts. With these three arsenals at your disposal and some pretty hectic battles you'll need to think quick and act quicker to use these elements to your advantage. And the second thing and your ace in the hole is the game's biggest asset, Elizabeth. Unlike the usual escort mission that you'd expect this is not at all the case when it comes to her. The game even tells you to go ahead and do your thing while Elizabeth assists from cover. She is your secret weapon that gives you an edge as she tosses salts, and ammunition. But her ability to pull objects through "tears" proves to be the most useful as she can bring anything through from Turret Automatons, cover, and crates of weapons and heath packs, though only one tear can be opened at one time. And even outside of combat she can locate and point out items of interest like lock picks, and voxophones and if you are just short of affording that new weapon upgrade she'll find some spare cash for you. You're typical enemies are no problem, but then come the "Heavy Hitters". The Motorized Patriot is a mechanized George Washington or Abraham Lincoln that carries a deadly Peppermill Crank Gun coming at you with no sense of self-preservation. Or the Handyman, half human, half machine with superhuman strength that can leap great distances and heights. When you encounter foes like these you need to use everything you've got including pieces of clothing called "Gears" that grants passive abilities and Infusion that increases either your health, salt, or shields. Unlike the dim and barely claustrophobic halls of Rapture where the use of carefully laid taps and preparation is almost essential for success, the open spaces of Columbia allow for more room to maneuver thus in turn just makes each encounter more of a straight firefight.
Final Thoughts: Starting up BioShock Infinite for the first time I already had high hopes, but once the credits rolled, those expectations were completely blown away far beyond anything I had anticipated. Columbia has such a colorful and beautiful exterior that it has you taking your time exploring the first moments of the game walking around the town looking and taking in everything you can. And once the trouble starts you get to experience the dark side of Columbia where half the fun is getting to uncover all of its deep-seeded secrets. You'd think it strange to have a BioShock game without Rapture, but Columbia is filled with that Rapture familiarity that we've tome to know while having its own unique identity, using it to a much greater degree. Elizabeth is by far one of the most memorable and likable characters in all of gaming. You watch her grow character-wise before your eyes, from naïve and child-like to an experienced and reliable partner and the quiet moments you spend with her lead to more character development between her and booker. She is beautifully animated to show us her emotions in such a believable way that will turn to her often to see how she will react and you will find yourself caring what she goes through. Gary Schyman returns to compose the score and captures each captivating and dramatic moment perfectly as the magnificent story pulls you forward at a masterfully constructed pace. You'll never be forced along to the next part of the game you have full control to experience Columbia at your own pace. And the ending is so deep and though provoking that it'll will stay with you long after the credits end. I have to recommend this game to everyone whether you're an avid or casual gamer, a first person aficionado or not. BioShock Infinite is simply too good to pass up and in doing so would be the biggest disservice you could do to yourself . Though the PC version has the obvious graphical advantage it really doesn't matter, get your hands on this game on any platform you have. And whatever small and few insignificant issues there were doesn't take anything away from this game and every single moment it has to offer is pure gaming bliss from beginning to end easily earning my vote for game of the year.
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