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Bioshock Infinite Review


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On 04/08/2013 at 12:00 PM by Jon Lewis

Infinite Praise
RECOMMENDATION:

Recommended to everyone.

The wait for BioShock Infinite has been extremely long for some. I however, failed to realize the hype until I finally finished the original BioShock just a mere six months ago. Though I experienced the game late, its effects still resonated with me, and I found myself extremely excited for more. Ken Levine’s promises sounded fascinating: A living breathing world, a constant and helpful partner, and a refinement to the core BioShock action. The only question for me was “can Irrational Games pull it off?” After finishing BioShock Infinite, I can easily say… yes.

BioShock Infinite puts players in control of Booker DeWitt, an ex-Pinkerton who is sent on a mission to rescue a girl to pay off a debt. The place where she is being held captive is an amazing city in the sky known as Colombia. Upon making a dramatic ascent into Colombia, I immediately found that this place is far different from the setting of BioShock and BioShock 2. Unlike Rapture, Colombia is a bustling city, filled with people and life. Themes of religion, racial discrimination, and corruption lie hidden beneath what is otherwise a beautiful and well detailed world. It wasn’t uncommon for me to wander around in awe of the marvel that is Colombia, only to get subtle chills down my spine upon seeing the state of the “colored” bathroom as opposed to the “white” bathrooms. It was disturbing, yet fascinating at the same time to learn the mental state of the man behind it all – Zachary Comstock.  Comstock is defined by the world he’s built, and the grim setting that he’s created makes you wonder how this beautiful place could thrive under such rule.

One of the game changers in the equation is Elizabeth, the girl who Booker was sent to save. I was aware that Elizabeth was built to be an aid instead of an annoyance to the player and that her interactions with you and the world would be crucial to the experience. That too holds true, as from the very first meeting, I was taken by her endearing nature.

Little details really fleshed out Elizabeth, and these were most noticeable when watching her reactions during the downtime between combat. It was moments like those that made her seem all the more real to me. I’m aware that most players will likely not see these interactions, since in order to see the bulk of them you need to stand and watch her idly, but I'd definitely encourage it. The amount of things she can interact with is surprising, especially compared to other companion characters in games. Voice actors Courtnee Draper and Troy Baker do an amazing job of bringing Elizabeth and Booker to life. That’s not to downplay the amazing performances from the rest of the cast, with standouts being Jennifer Hale as the mysterious Rosalind Lutece, and Kimberly Brooks as freedom fighter Daisy Fitzroy.

Let’s not forget that at its core, BioShock Infinite is indeed a game. I was curious about what direction Irrational would take with the gameplay after the first game, and feared that the mechanics would ultimately suffer in response to the emphasis on narrative. Thankfully, Infinite does a lot of things to make it more fun than most shooters on the market. BioShock Infinite feels like a hybrid of the first game and modern first person shooters.  New elements like sprinting and the ability to jump with the A button (finally) were welcome additions.

The controls would be nothing if the game didn’t play well, and for the most part it does. One of the best and most exciting parts about the BioShock combat system is the use of powers. This time around, Vigors take the place of Plasmids for all your super-powered needs. The Vigors all felt way more fun and useful to use than the majority of the powers in BioShock. This is because every power has a alt-fire mode or grants a passive ability. Standouts included Undertow, which can either push an enemy away, or pull them in right in front of you so you can blast them from point blank range.

Elizabeth also comes into play during combat, using her power to open tears in reality to tip the scales in Booker’s favor by creating cover points or finding ammo and items. Using your abilities along with Elizabeth can lead to some satisfying results. In one fight, Elizabeth opened up a tear that brought up a tesla coil that I could use to shock enemies that got close to it. I then hid behind cover, and used Undertow to yank one of the stronger foes into the coil. While he was being shocked, I was able to line up a few good headshots. I love it when a plan comes together.

One of the most satisfying parts about combat was the implementation of the rails and skyhook. The skyhook was easily one of the most fun aspects of combat. They provided a speed and rush to fights that made each fight that included them more exhilarating than I could have imagined. You can also jump from the skyhook onto an enemy for a vicious airborne kill. That said, I did experience some issues with this aspect of the gameplay. Most of the time, I would be moving so fast that I couldn’t focus in on an enemy and I’d have to reverse my direction or wait until I came back around to the same area to try again. Although I got the hang of it eventually, a lot of my deaths stemmed from messing up on the rails.

There are so many aspects that make BioShock Infinite shine, that I could spend hours talking about its fine details. After completing this game I immediately knew that I experienced a modern classic. The game has a deep, sophisticated plot that takes many unexpected twists and turns. The presentation is incredible, and with the exception of a few technical hiccups and glitches, the game has no glaring flaws. I cannot think of a game that I would recommend to anyone right now more than BioShock Infinite. It’s a game that needs to be experienced, and should not be missed. Do yourself a favor, and pick this one up. You won’t regret it.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

daftman

04/10/2013 at 02:26 AM

I just finished it myself tonight and I wholeheartedly agree. Infinite is an incredible experience and I'm glad I played it now rather than waiting for a price drop like I usually do.

Anonymous

04/10/2013 at 08:10 PM

Glad you agree. 

Jon Lewis Staff Writer

04/10/2013 at 08:10 PM

that was me, forgot to sign in xD

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