Bioshock Infinite… GOTY?

An outstanding story with great combat.

Bioshock Infinite is the successor of the previous Bioshock and Bioshock 2 games developed by Irrational Games (first Bioshock) and 2K Marin (did only Bioshock 2).  Both Bioshocks take place in an underwater metropolis called Rapture.  In both games you are two separate protagonists with two separate goals for the end game.  I will not go into much detail about those two games, as anyone who wants to play Bioshock Infinite should spend some time in Rapture (by no means is it required).  Bioshock Infinite is set within the same fiction of the previous games.  Infinite is by no means a “trilogy” in the traditional sense. 

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Spoiler-free Storyline

To give the premise without any spoilers, you are Booker DeWitt, a private investigator.  You are in some trouble and sent to this floating city, called Columbia, in the year 1912 to bring back a woman named Elizabeth to repay your debt.  The game has several different themes going on at once.  There are plot points that involved racism, religion, and classicist to name a few.  The ways these themes are fleshed out are done extremely well. At no point does it seem pointless or distasteful.  The twists in the game are somewhat if not downright predictable.  The game is very “self-aware” to that extent.  It even plays with your (the players) expectations on how events unfold or how you get to that point.  It drives home the point that sometimes it’s not the “where” you end up, but “how” you got there. 

Graphics

Graphically this game is breath taking.  I found myself just staring at the environments for hours in awe.  It’s very apparent that a special group of people poured their lives into making this game.  If you play this game like a Call of Duty and just sprint through it, you will miss so much of the game. The art style is similar to previous Bioshock games, but distinct enough to feel fresh and is just downright gorgeous.  Instead of the drab, dark, and wet corridors of Rapture, there is just an abundance of color and so many people walking around, singing, just going on about their ho-hum average floating city lives.

Combat

The combat is very much a Bioshock game.  You have a variety of weapons to choose from.  You can only carry two weapons which I think added to the sense of urgency that is conveyed in the game.  The weapon, be it a rocket launcher, pistol, or sniper rifle, goes in your right hand.  Each weapon is upgradable, but it will be unlikely you get all the upgrades for all of them in your first run through.  In your left hand, you have special powers called Vigors.  Again, from the previous Bioshock they had “plasmids” instead of Vigors.  Like Plasmids, Vigors (which can be upgraded) give you access to powers like electricity, fire balls, a murder of crows (yes that’s right, a ton of crows poke and scratch your foes) to help dispatch the opposition. 

With all that said I feel torn about the combat.  At times it feels like the combat is just a means to an end.  Almost like it’s missing something, but boy I have no idea what it is. To me it sometimes feels like filler until you get to more story.  I think given the medium of the First Person Shooter and its restraints, this is the byproduct.  I still had a blast with the combat, but because the story is so enthralling I found the combat lacking in comparison and just wanted to skip those parts.  The last bit I still think the Bioshock series has nailed are the collectables.  Finding a Voxophone (tape recording) gives so much insight into the world that you’re in.  It all helps flesh out more back story of Columbia and all its diverse characters.  It’s rewarding to go explore and look in all those nooks-n-crannies.  You are usually rewarded with money, voxophones, ammo, and Infusion bottles that upgrade your health, shield, and/or Vigors. 

Conclusion

My final opinion of this game is very high.  I was a little disappointed in the ending, but I think part of that was building up an almost unachievable idea of what it should be.  With all things considered, the combat left me wanting more, but was still lots of fun to play with the different Vigor combos.  The themes and topics this game covers were written well.  The story from beginning to end literally had me sitting on the edge of my seat about 80% of the time.  A game like Bioshock Infinite comes along very seldom.  It’s one of those games that will have you talking around the water cooler for months to come.  I hope the product that Irrational Games has shipped will influence what a “risk” is for the publisher.

Written by:  Greg Magee

@CoatedPolecat

9
Bioshock Infinite… GOTY?
An outstanding story with great combat.

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Author
Coatedpolecat
I'm a stay at home dad who writes about video games. I enjoy my family, video games, and music.