Bioshock Infinite Review
I just beat Bioshock Infinite a few hours ago! One less distraction from my new Pinball addiction! Seriously, though, that pinball stuff is like crack.
But yeah, Bioshock Infinite, just beat it, etc. Actually, ever since then, I’ve spent several hours trying to decipher the game’s story and ending. I won’t spoil anything, but it’s pretty fascinating stuff. Approaches similarities to Stargate/Trek/Dr.Who levels of metaphysical complexity and nonsense, but still… Fascinating stuff.
Infinite has a lot going for it. The protagonist is instantly more interesting than that of the previous games because he has an actual personality and speaking part. The character glued to his hip for the majority of the game, Elizabeth, is surprisingly bearable. They were smart not to make the game one giant escort mission. Actually, if you look at it, she is the one escorting YOU around the whole game. She is invulnerable, constantly tosses you supplies like health and ammo, can shift useful terrain/items into existence, etc. Wow, I JUST realized the game is one giant escort mission… But the player is the annoying escortee! I’ll continue on once I scrape my mind off the ceiling. Read more after the break!
The setting of Bioshock Infinite is a floating city. I don’t even want to get into the logistical nightmare and impracticality of that. It does look really cool though. Unlike Rapture, everything is bright, clean, and colorful. Well, until it all goes to hell and all that, but you get the idea. Rather than crazy junkies like in the first game,you are up against crazy sky zealots. Although, to the Splicers credit they didn’t seem to be horrible racists. You also get a smattering of heavy hitters like the Handyman and robot Washingtons/Lincolns, of which I, of course, forgot the name.
Where the first game had plasmids, this one features vigors. Same thing, really. You can do a variety of stuff from throwing firebombs and lightning to bullcharging a dude and absorbing bullets. The hydro one that sends out giant water tentacles to pull in enemies is a particular favorite. With all the different elements at your command you’re basically an honorary Planeteer. Not that I secretly wish I was or anything…
You must be thinking this all sounds great and perfect, but I’m not done. Now comes the part where I detail all the stuff I don’t like about the game. I know what you are thinking, “No, Graev! You mustn’t! This game is perfect and pure art! Don’t you dare destroy my dreams!” To which I reply, “Lo, hold fast, my child, and hear my words. I must speaketh mine own truth. I seek not to dissuade you or tarnish the rep of thine game. So kindly crawleth out of mine ass.”
The first thing that really bothered me was the general tone and atmosphere of the game. Not that there was anything particularly wrong with it, but it seemed to be missing that tense and scary tone that existed in System Shock 2 and Bioshock. I guess they didn’t have to go in this direction, but it seems odd to build a brand around an element like this and just abandon it. It’s like if a new Monkey Island game came out and rather than being hilarious it was sad and depressing. I miss the darker tone of past games.
In terms of gameplay I don’t have too many gripes. The gunplay is a little mediocre but mostly the problem lies with the guns. They just seem generic and forgettable, which is real bummer. The other beef I have is with the skyrails. They were in the trailers and seemed highly featured but they feel surprisingly absent for most of the game and when they are there they pretty much just circle an area. If you were hoping for a big city connected by skyrails then you might be disappointed by the game’s linearity.
The design of the heavy hitter enemies is great. I mean, who doesn’t love seeing robot Washington and Lincoln running around shooting miniguns and spouting propaganda? However it seems like most of them were poorly implemented. Robo presidents may seem fun at first, but they get thrown at you until you get sick of them. They handymen fights are decent, but nothing inspired and there are very few. Probably the biggest blunder was with the boys of silence, I think they are called. A genuinely intriguing enemy and really the only one with real creepy appeal but they are criminally underutilized and when you do encounter them they don’t even fight you themselves. There just really aren’t memorable experiences to be had with these guys that can compare with the Big Daddy and the impact he has had.
I did like the game a lot, but to be honest I found myself more often than not comparing it to Bioshock 1, which I feel to be a superior game. Infinite seems more like a mod, which probably sounds harsher than I intend it to. But hey, I’ve played lots of great mods.