Kflames (Spoiler-Free) Bioshock Infinite Review - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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Kflames (Spoiler-Free) Bioshock Infinite Review

(THIS REVIEW IS SPOILER-FREE)

Im not sure what I was expecting out of Bioshock Infinite. The first Bioshock still stands as one of the greatest of this generation and while the sequel was less than stellar, it was still a solid game even with the lack of Ken Levine involved. However, for whatever reason I was a bit skeptical of Infinite. Whether it was the lack of consistency in the trailers, all of delays or maybe just the departure of the beloved Rapture, but for some reason Infinite just didn't excite me like its predecessors. As such, I wrote the game off for a while. But as the game started winning its "Best of E3" and "Most Anticipated Game" awards I realized that I must be missing something. So I looked past my doubts and decided that I should give Infinite a chance and see the appeal that I had apparently been missing.

Apparently I was missing out on a lot...

As expected with a Bioshock game, the main draw of the game is the story. Now Im not saying that the gameplay isn't great (cause it is) but what really stuck with me in Bioshock Infinite was the story. Now it's hard to get too deep into the story without spoiling some crucial bits but here is the gist of it. You play the game as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent who has gone through some tough times. Booker is deep in gambling debts, however, he has been offered a deal; "Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt". Booker agrees and gets launched into an adventure far beyond his belief. The girl Booker must find is named Elizabeth, a young girl with mysterious powers locked away by the prophet Comstock on the floating city of Columbia.  Sadly, that's about as far as I can go with the stories without leaking some spoilers but as you may have guessed, the story becomes far bigger than what I have given. However, without spoiling anything, I will say that if you're expecting big twist you will not be disappointed.

While I love the story, this is definitely a game that requires you to explore to really get the full experience. You could easily just run from point A to point B, shooting any enemy that comes within your vision and beat the game in about 8 hours. But that is not the right way to play this game. Exploring the environment will not only allow you to find not only collectibles like upgrades and other useful items but it will also allow you to find many integral parts to the story. Hearing what the NPC's say to each other and finding Voxophones (basically audio logs) really helps flesh out the story and if you want to get the full experience then I strongly suggest exploring this beautiful world. This is not a game you are going to want to rush through.

Now despite taking a backseat to the story, the gameplay in Infinite is still pretty great. As you may remember the gameplay in the original Bioshock was relatively slowed paced and required far more strategy then the run of the mill shooter. So, as expected, the guys over at Irrational Games have learned a lot since the original Bioshock. Infinite is a much faster shooter than its predecessor. The game imitates Call of Duty a lot more than it imitates a game like System Shock. Other relatively big changes like the lack of a weapon wheel (in exchange for the standard two weapon system so many other first person shooters use) and using only one form of ammo makes Infinite feel far different than the originals. There is also a change to how health works. You now, like most games nowadays, have a shield. Much like how it works in games like Halo you will not last long without your shield and you will need to lay low once it's gone. While you still have a health bar that will require you to use med-kits (which you can't store) and food around the environment to restore the shield is a good substitute for having to lug around med-kits. One of the final additions to combat is how melee works. Instead of having a dedicated melee weapons (like the wrench) just pressing the melee weapon will have you swing your sky hook and very dependable weapon that can cause some pretty violent executions. However that's not all the skyhook can do. The skyhook can also be used as an awesome mode of transportation around Columbia. It's a hard thing to describe but riding on the skylines are some of the best moments from the game and the second you hop on one you will know exactly what I mean. While some who likes the slow and tactical shooting from the first game may be a bit disappointed, the faster paced combat works well in the world of Bioshock Infinite.

One thing that still remains from the original is the plasmids, which are now named vigors. Unlike the changes to the weapons, the vigors act very similarly to the plasmids. Once you find one of the vigors you will keep it for the rest of the game. While you keep two on hand at a time, you can switch between your vigors at any time using a weapon (or vigor) wheel. There are 8 vigors to use in the game and while some of them are near copies to some of our favorites from the original Bioshock. Newcomers like Bucking Bronco (which makes the enemies levitate for a few moments) and Undertow (which can push enemies away as well as pull them in) add a lot of creativity to the battles. Vigors also all have two forms of attacks; just pressing the vigor button uses the vigors regular ability while holding down the vigor button creates a trap which can really come in handy in the latter half of the game. Much like the health your plasmid ammo (called salts) is a little different from the original. Each vigor takes up a certain amount of salts and while you can't store salts like you did with Eve Hypos, however they are fairly common and I rarely found myself depleted. Now while vigors may not have as big of an impact in the combat as plasmids, they still add a lot of dimension in the battles and are incredibly fun to use.

Now despite Infinite imitating games like Call of Duty and Halo, many aspects of the gameplay return from the original. Even though you can't do things like pick up first aid kits or Eve Hypos you can still do familiar actions like ransacking bodies, purchasing items and upgrading weapons. Much like in the original Bioshock you can find cash and other useful items on the ground, in trash cans, on bodies and whatever else may hold some useful items. Money can once again be used to buy health, ammo, salts, upgrade weapons and upgrade your vigors. While the game around it may feel different, there are many aspects that make Infinite feel a lot like the original Bioshock.

One of the final additions to combat is how melee works. Instead of having a dedicated melee weapons (like the wrench) just pressing the melee weapon will have you swing your sky hook and very dependable weapon that can cause some pretty violent executions. However that's not all the skyhook can do. The skyhook can also be used as an awesome mode of transportation around Columbia. It's a hard thing to describe but riding on the skylines are some of the best moments from the game and the second you hop on one you will know exactly what I mean.

While the changes in Bioshock are all relatively minor, there is one huge addition to Bioshock Infinite. That huge addition is Elizabeth. Elizabeth is much more than just a story addition, Elizabeth accompanies you through a large part of the game and that includes the battles. Now I was very wary of this at first, the idea that most of this game basically being an escort mission did not settle very well with me. Luckily, I couldn't have been farther from the truth. Elizabeth handles herself during every battle; in fact, she helps you more than you have to help her. Throughout the battles she will throw you medicine, salts and ammo whenever you're low. That's not all either; outside of battle she will toss you some money, unlock some locked doors and point out important places in the environment. Elizabeth adds a lot to the game in a non-story way and luckily you don't have to watch over her 24/7.

Bioshock Infinite is one of the best looking games this generation, hands down. Columbia is a bright and colorful place filled to the brim with details. However, the details are the bad parts of the graphics. Everything looks amazing from afar but the closer you get the uglier the textures get. Now I understand that playing on a good computer is a different story but if you are playing it on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 (like I did), expect a few blurry textures. Other than that, Bioshock Infinite looks great. As you just stare at the city, Columbia looks as peaceful as can be... Well that is until the combat starts. As peaceful and beautiful as Columbia is, some of the violence in this game can be a bit much. Executions usually involve pools of blood, vigors usually turn enemies into shells of their former selves and very rarely does an enemy die without his model looking like he just got mauled by a bear. Now Im fine with all this violence but I could definitely understand some people not liking it.

While the graphics are a high point in Infinite, the sound is also phenomenal. The voice acting is great from pretty much every character ranging from Booker, Elizabeth and Comstock to the random NPC's you'll find in Columbia. The music is also fantastic. From the music that plays during the epic battles or the great renditions of songs that are about 60 years off from existing, the soundtrack is fantastic and one that I wouldn't buy buying separately. Overall, the presentation of Bioshock Infinite is fantastic.  

Bioshock Infinite is easily one of my favorites of the generation. Not only is it a solid first person shooter but it has given us one of the best stories since... Well, since the original Bioshock. Some people may not like the more action oriented gameplay and while the scenery is breathtaking, the violence can be a bit overwhelming. Still, this is not a game you're going want to miss. It may sound cliché or stupid but if you consider yourself a gamer, you need to play this game; it is easily one of the finest games this generation. 

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