Author Topic: Bioshock Infinite  (Read 418 times)

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Offline The Woolly One

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Bioshock Infinite
« on: March 29, 2013, 06:09:57 pm »
After buying it and playing through its campaign, I promised myself I would write a review of it. I will try to keep it spoiler-free for those whom have yet to play it. So without further ado I'll get right to to it.

Bioshock Infinite is a first-person shooter developed by Irrational Games, developers of System Shock and the original Bioshock. With that said, despite belonging to the same franchise as the previous Bioshock games, Bioshock Infinite is quite detached and different from its predecessors. Most of its connection to the previous two is merely thematic, conceptual and gameplay-wise. The game is set in the airborne, steampunk city of Columbia in the year 1912. You assume the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker Dewitt, a man with a shady backstory and an important objective to fulfill: "Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt."

He must infiltrate the flying city of Columbia to find a young girl named Elizabeth Comstock. But there are some hidden secrets about Boocker's mission and his origin — most of which will be uncovered as you progress through the game. Unfortunately your character is impeded by Columbia's residents. Columbia's government is highly theocratic, racist and ultra nationalist. Originally being founded as a extension of the United States of America, it succeeded after it became gripped with controversy. This soon leads to civil war and an overbearing government. The city is essentially a glamorous, but ultimately dystopian city.

This is a good chance to bring up some of the themes behind Bioshock Infinite. Similarly as to how Bioshock and Bioshock 2 played a retro-futuristic twist upon the work of Watson and Crick through genetic engineering and plasmids, Bioshock Infinite pays a similar tribute to the work of Quantum mechanics by the likes of physicists such as Einstein and Heisenberg. Columbia and the space-time continuum are being torn apart by tears. These are said to be gateways to other universes, so themes such as the multiverse and Schrödinger's cat come up quite extensively. You later find out that these tears are being opened by Elizabeth and her farther, Zachary Hale Comstock.

Zachary Hale Comstock is the de facto leader of the city. Comstock claims to envision the future and declares himself as a prophet, of sorts. He already knows a lot about Booker Dewitt before he arrives, and he's prepared to have his supporters kill you. You must find and rescue Elizabeth from the city; although you'll encounter many truths about the city of Columbia and yourself along the way. Many of which will make your head hurt and require you to think for hours on end. Like Bioshock Infinite's predecessors, it is truly a thinking person's FPS. Its countless political, philosophical, historical and scientific implications truly cater to the imagination. It's also worth noting that Bioshock Infinite's characters are all rivetingly complex and realistic.

Now that we've covered a bit (or rather a lot) about its setting and premise, I'll cover its gameplay. At first you'll find that Bioshock Infinite does not play that different from that of the original game or Bioshock 2. The controls are very close, there's upgradable abilities, fancy weapons and plasmids (although they're now called Vigors). But you'll gradually come to notice many differences. One of them being the new sky rails. These enable both the player and NPC to get dragged at high speeds across the city. This is extraordinarily fun and adds an interesting new dynamic to the gameplay.

Another different aspect is how it requires you to hold only two weapons at a time rather than an arsenal of them — perhaps taking inspiration from Call of Duty, Halo and many other modern first-person shooters. I don't care for this so much. I think that this somewhat depletes the variables of enemy encounters. And if you're playing the console versions, shifting through Vigors can get rather tedious and repetitive. I don't find that these elements damage the gameplay that much, however. You'll still likely find a great myriad of interest combinations between upgrades, weapons and Vigors.

When Booker dies he is soon revived by Elizabeth or his traumatic dreams which coincide with the game's story. You'll gradually wake up in a spawn points, find additional ammunition and salts (the source of energy for Vigors), and you'll lose some money. This is a very similar concept to the Vita chambers in the other two games, although like Bioshock 2, this is presented as being optional through the game's 1999 mode. This hearkens back to System Shock — which was released the exact same year as the game mode — and it makes your deaths permanents, thus forcing you to revert back to a previous save. I find that this caters well for both casual and more hardcore gamers alike.

But perhaps the biggest deviation from the previous games comes from Elizabeth herself. Besides from being a follower, she is always willing to help you out in combat. This goes hand-in-hand with the concept of tears. During gameplay she can spawn weapons, ammunition, cover, natural phenomena and machinery to aide you in battle. She can also scout the area and look for supplies. Surprisingly, Elizabeth rarely gets in the way and her AI is quite dynamic; she's more often useful rather than a hindrance. The same can be said for all of the NPC in Columbia, though. The enemies, allies and civilians are all as varied as they are uniquely designed.

And to conclude my review, I'll write a little bit about Columbia itself and how it is a beautifully unveiled world. Although I already did so during my coverage of Bioshock Infinite's plot and premise, I have not mentioned how stunning Columbia looks and brilliant graphically and in regards to design. I don't think I've ever experiences many interactive worlds which were quite as stunning as Columbia. You'll find many artistically inspired districts, design ques and characters throughout it. Every street, corner and collectible is worth finding and experiencing for yourself.

In conclusion Bioshock Infinite is a truly inspired piece of entertainment. Already I think it proves to be one of the best titles to buy within the year of 2013. This game is truly worth buying and experiencing for yourself. I can nearly guarantee that you'll find some level of fun with its intricate story, extravagantly designed world, and fully engaging gameplay. And now that I'm finished my review, I'll award Bioshock Infinite a:

9.8/10
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 07:20:08 am by Gage »
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