Bioshock: Infinite Review

Most reviews start with some sort of introduction to the piece. It usually lays out the title in review with some build up, a little description of the games predecessor if it’s a sequel, or how bold the game looked before it’s release. However the yarn is normally spun, I’m going to break the rules and start by telling you what should typically be reserved for the end.

This game is freakin’ incredible and if you haven’t played it yet, you need to re-assess your gaming situation. Now, here’s why…

Let’s start with the typical review stuff: The first BioShock ripped its way into the hearts of gamers in 2007 by delivering a fun, atmospheric adventure with scrupulous attention to detail that was all neatly wrapped in an incredibly well told story. Then, in 2010, a lukewarm sequel (Aptly titled BioShock 2) was sort of half vomited, half spit out, onto the scene. After everyone played it they were like, “Okay. Thanks I guess?”

But, while the series’s fans were being underwhelmed by the sequel, the production team of the original game were watching from the darkness, devising their plan to reach out and snap the fragile neck of gamer expectations. In August of 2010, they announced BioShock: Infinite, an installment that would change the series entirely. And boy, after a three year wait, they sure delivered.

You can tell from the moment you start this game that you’re in for quite the experience. You’re introduced to an alternate 1912 through the eyes of the protagonist, Booker Dewitt. Booker is a roguish, Han Solo, type with a “take no shit from anyone” sort of attitude and a whole basket of secrets. Unlike the original BioShock, you’re not just a pair of hands with various guns between them. Booker has a voice and a face (that you see in mirrors and alternate angles) and becomes a character that you want to high five.

Let’s get back to the alternate 1912 bit. You know it’s an alternate world because in the first 2 minutes of the game, your unwittingly strapped into a short range rocket ship vehicle and carried away to magical, Columbia. No, not the South American country, the floating sky city that has succeeded from America because it’s not quite ‘American enough’ for Columbia’s leader (and protagonist).

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Zachary Comstock (AKA The Prophet) is a racially empowered, religiously fanatical bigot, who’s managed to turn the American ideal into a theological one. It makes for a really interesting and very creepy environment for you to venture through as you set out to achieve your goal. A goal that is very eloquently put to you in the opening of the game. “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt”.

Now I don’t want to give away too much of the plot as it’s one of the highlights of this masterpiece but I would be doing you and the game a great disservice if i didn’t talk about said girl you’re looking for, Elizabeth. Enter stage right, one of the best video game characters of all time. Elizabeth’s character and charm are something that will be imprinted on you and will furthermore make you yearn for in every game you play from this day on. The voice acting, the motion capture, her story… it’s all there.

Elizabeth is the centerpiece of this fantastical, science fiction tale about revolution, love, and.. wait for it… alternate dimensions. That’s right, Elizabeth has the power to open shifts into other dimensions. She can even bring things out of those worlds, or send things in. To explain the game any further though would be like trying relay the experience of a strip club to a blind person with play by play descriptions. You’re just going to have to go play.

Some people don’t give a rat’s ass about story (*Cough* Halo fans *Cough*) and just want good gameplay. Well don’t you worry, I’m not going to step foot out of this review without telling you a little bit about what makes this game so damned fun to play

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Above and beyond the many ridiculous weapons you will find at your disposal, the game follows the original Bioshock’s set precedence of using biologically altering potions to give you special abilities. In Bioshock: Infinite they’re called Vigors. Different Vigors you come across will give you different abilities in combat to dual wield alongside whatever firearm you’re carrying. So while you’re shredding your enemies with a constant stream of machine gun fire, you can also throw lightning, fire, or a murder of ravenous crows at them. Double the carnage, double the fun.

To make the combat even better, Elizabeth helps you by finding and tossing you ammunition, health, money, and salts (the “mana” for your Vigor abilities) .  She also has the ability to open rifts into alternate universes and bring in tools like automated machine gun turrets, cover, and different kinds of weapons to aid you in the fight. What a gal right? Hey, I told you earlier she was really awesome.

While I can’t give you too much more without spoiling it, the ending is very heavy, somewhat confusing, but deeply gratifying if you can put it together. My one word of advice to any person just starting this game is to take your time during your playthrough and pay attention to all the little details and clues people give through dialog. It’s an incredibly detailed game and I promise that if you take the time to look around while playing, you will not be disappointed.

Overall, Bioshock: Infinite is one of the best games I’ve ever played. Five out of five stars (or inhaler puffs, or cookies, or whatever you as the reader likes to rate things by). Go out, buy this game, and enjoy a richly diverse gaming experience.

~ David Caswell

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Enjoy these trailers and play the game ASAP.

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