The lights are on
When the original
“Bioshock” came out it was heralded as a new stepping stone in
gaming. When “Bioshock Infinite”
was announced 2 years ago, audiences debated whether lightning could
ever strike twice. After multiple delays and months of anticipation,
I am happy to say that the game delivers in places I didn't expect it
floating city of Columbia is the setting of our newest game, and
disappoint anyone with their ability to flesh out an environment.
Every street was filled with character, as well as every individual
you meet. Walking through the 1912 floating utopia felt like
experiencing Main Street in Disney World. Fireworks filled the sky,
cotton candy vendors lined the sidewalks, and barbershop quartets
hummed songs by The Beach Boys
as couples danced together to the tune. Despite the apparent
benevolence to the beautiful and colorful city, just like any theme
park one who pays attention can see much of the artificiality to
their surroundings. Whispers of revolution can be heard by the
trained ear, and the trained eye can see racism, segregation, and
devout patriotism to the point of being synonymous with religion. The
world is immersive and encourages exploration in many creative ways.
most important character isn't the protagonist, the hired gun Booker
Dewitt, but rather the girl that he is after: Elizabeth. As you
rescue Elizabeth from her literal guarded tower, your connection with
her and her experiences with this world inform the entire plot for
the story. She is incredibly well written and designed, and it is
incredibly difficult not to get attached to her intelligent, yet not
worldly, personality. She is reminiscent of Belle from “Beauty and
the Beast,” except if the beast had successfully held her prisoner
on less romantic terms. While the game literally is one giant escort
mission, it never becomes a problem since enemies do not fire at her.
Other characters stood out equally well creating a compelling
narrative with indirect dialogue rather than fed exposition, like the
villainous prophet Comstock, and my personal favorite characters:
Robert and Rosalind Lutece, two enigmatic scientists who follow you
throughout the game supplying you with advice and philosophy.
gameplay is hardly different than the original “Bioshock”
gameplay-wise, and instead is simply tweaked and improved with a few
added mechanics. Elizabeth can add an element into the battlefield,
like cover or items, and will even find you money when you are around
shops. Using the rail system to flit from cover to cover and even
ambush enemies is incredibly exciting. The vigors, magic powers
similar to plasmids in “Bioshock,” are little more than cute
gimmicks on their own but can be used in combination to create
strategic advantages in ways that prove extremely thoughtful design.
All of these options paired with diverse enemy design creates many
varied battle experiences, keeping the game interesting over multiple
playthroughs. Taking this into account, it is unfortunate to note
that thematically the violence doesn't do much from a narrative point
of view, and even often detracts from the moment. The game is
incredibly easy on the normal difficulty, and even on the hardest
difficulty had only one or two points that presented a serious
challenge. This, compounded with the fact that you only get two guns
at once and that usually when you are low on health Elizabeth offers
to bring you back to full, tends to lean the game more towards the
casual side than otherwise. This wasn't a huge problem for me on
“1999” mode, a special mode made for those who like the challenge
inherent in many 90's shooters.
is impossible to fully describe the strengths and weaknesses of this
game in anything short of thirty pages. There are so many facets to
it, from the beautiful and affective in-game music, to the droves of
little details that combine to total immersion, to the finale that
was incredibly thought-provoking despite being far more bottom-heavy
and expository than I would have liked. This game is far from
perfect, philosophically and thematically it is not as important
as the original “Bioshock,” was. The enemy design wasn't as
good. The story wasn't as tight. The villain wasn't as captivating.
The city was beautiful, but didn't consistantly put you in awe the
same way Rapture did. Despite all this, this is a fun game, as fun if
not more so than it's predecessor ever was. I whole heartedly suggest
FPS fans to play the game as soon as they can, because while it
probably won't be heralded as a new age of gaming the same way
“Bioshock” was, it certainly will be talked about and enjoyed for
years to come.
READ THIS BEFORE COMMENTING ABOUT THE "LOWNESS" OF MY SCORE!
I hate numbered scores. They are derivative and stupid. That said if I am to use a 10 point scale I use one where 5 is average. 7 is a very good game. 8 is a great game. 9 is a game that changes the very face of gaming. I have only given a 10 to one game ever, and that is for tetris, the only truly "perfect" game.
I would give the original bioshock an 8.5, an imperfect game that started a new trend in video game metareflection. It didn't reinvent the wheel though. Bioshock Infinite did what Bioshock did so well, but with less cultural relevence. It is just shy of a "great" game, and just hit 7.75, what i would call a "very very very good game."
I hope no one is offended by jumping to the wrong conclusion. I think this game is good. I just disagree with how people score games.