Better Than the first? – Bioshock Infinite Review

Bioshock Infinite has a high standard to meet after Bioshock, which 2 didn't meet... but does the third game measure up?
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Bioshock Infinite had a tough standard to meet when it came out. After the highly succesful Bioshock, Bioshock 2 didn’t manage to meet with the expectations that the first game left. It was up to the third game, Bioshock Infinite, to make it right. In this Bioshock Infinite review, we’ll see if it did.

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The story is set in the 1920s and you play as Booker DeWitt, a lost private detective with some dark past. You have to find a girl named Elizabeth in the city of Columbia. She is being held by the self-proclaimed prophet Comstock. Well, get ready for one hell of a ride!

Columbia: Flying Steampunk City with a Dark Side
Bioshock Infinite Review - Columbia. First thing you see when you enter the city of Columbia
First thing you see when you enter the city of Columbia.

When playing, you’ll be sucked up immediately by the wonderful atmosphere which Columbia provides. Columbia is a colorful steampunk-like city, high up in the clouds. It looks like the exact opposite of the gloomy dark Rapture deep down in the Ocean. But after a while you’ll notice its dark side and you find out it isn’t so different after all. As always with the Bioshock series, the level of detail is amazing. There are so many things you can explore and so many other things that can distract you from your mission. The slightly odd music that surrounds your visit to Columbia predicts that everything is not as it seems. Together with the old ’20s music, it adds that extra dimension to the immersion into the game.

Combat: Two Weapons, Vigors and Elizabeth

To save Elizabeth from Comstock’s power, you have to fight your way through the city. You still have your powers, Vigors instead of Plasmids, and you still have your weapons, but fighting is still a bit different from the first Bioshock games. First of all, you can only carry two weapons at the same time. There are still enough weapons to choose from, but the fact that you can only carry two makes for a simplified combat system. Sure it is probably more realistic, but is it more fun?

The fact that you can only carry two weapons is countered by the fact that you also carry a Skyhook. You can use it for melee attacks and slide around on the skylines which connect the different parts of the city. It sure is awesome to fly around like you’re on a rollercoaster and jump on unsuspecting enemies. 

Bioshock Infinite Review - Columbia. Jumping on unsuspecting enemies with your Skyhook
Jumping on unsuspecting enemies with your Skyhook.

The other thing different about the combat is the upgrade system. In the first games you had to find Upgrade Stations around the map, which all gave you one free upgrade, but now you can buy upgrades at the “Minuteman’s Armory”. These upgrades are very expensive, so you’ll probably end up upgrading the weapons you use most. Vigors can be upgraded too. You can buy the upgrades at the “Veni! Vedi! Vigor!” stations, but these are also quite expensive. The Vigor upgrades don’t make such a big difference, so you can make a better use of your money by upgrading your weapons. 

The Vigors are kind of the same as Plasmids: you can shoot fireballs, release murderous crows, stun enemies among many other things. Some Vigors let you place traps when charged and others have a different charged effect than the normal use. To use your powers, you now need Salts instead of Adam, which are scattered across the city in bottles and food. 

The biggest difference to the combat system is Elizabeth. She aids you while you’re fighting off the bad guys by throwing health, ammo, and salts. When you’re not fighting she throws you money! She can also open tears in the world, which will change the way you are fighting. In this way you can summon weapons to use or platforms to jump onto etc.

Bioshock Infinite Review - Columbia. Elizabeth throwing some money
Elizabeth throwing some money.
Story: Misleading Tears

I’m not gonna spoil anything here, but man! The story in Bioshock Infinite is definitely misleading. Just when you think you know what is going on, there’s a plot-twist confusing you again. The tears Elizabeth creates to set things right, definitely contribute to that. They reveal information or change the story all together, but it in the end it all comes down to the same thing. Bioshock Infinite has only one ending. There are some choices you can make in the game, but they don’t really effect the story as a whole. They’re just some fun details added to make the game more interesting. That kind of disappointed me. Although I can’t really imagine any other ending to the game, I liked the multi-ending aspect of the older Bioshock games. 

The story also starts of pretty slow in my opinion. When it does kick off, you get all these puzzle pieces thrown at you, only to make sense of them at the very end of the game. The ending does bring back a lot of good memories from the old Bioshock, but I’m not sure if it is just as good and mind blowing as the ending of the first game. You can see it coming, well a bit.

Bioshock Infinite Review Conclusion: Is it Better than the First?

While it is really enjoyable to be immersed in a different world than Rapture, I don’t know for sure if it was better than my first experience with Bioshock. I liked the whole dark crumbling underwater world and the plot of the first Bioshock game is still one of the best of all the games I played. Bioshock Infinite did a damn good job in meeting the expectations left by the first game, but for me Bioshock is still the better one. 

So now… Would you kindly answer me this question? Is it better than the first? Leave a comment with what you think!

Better Than the first? – Bioshock Infinite Review
Bioshock Infinite has a high standard to meet after Bioshock, which 2 didn't meet... but does the third game measure up?

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