Gamers rejoice here and now! BioShock’s been out for a couple of weeks, and it’s received the coveted 10 out of 10 ranking from both IGN and Game Informer magazine. Numerous friends of mine have already burned through the story and given me their opinions. But I’m here to give you an in-depth review of the world of BioShock Infinite.
BioShock Infinite stands out as the spiritual successor to the two previous games in the series franchise. You step into the shoes of Booker DeWitt, a private investigator who’s eyes deep in debt and has a chance to wipe the slate clean by bringing to his mysterious employer a girl named Elizabeth, hidden away in a flying city known only as Colombia.
The game opens up with you sitting in a rowboat off the coast of Maine where a mysterious man and woman are rowing through stormy waters to a mysterious lighthouse (to the die hard fans of the franchise, this all rings very familiar). After ascending the spiraling stairs to the light, you’re strapped into a chair, and it’s revealed this is your ticket to Colombia. A tried and true rocket ship shoots into the air and you are treated to what is arguably the most beautiful dystopian city ever witnessed.
For a moment before you get into the mat of the game, before the bullets fly and gene splicing starts, based on the aesthetics of the city, you might actually believe that something like this could work. Or it could be the opposite. You notice (like I did) that something is eerily amiss, like the rampant racist prejudice and xenophobia. In contrast to the first two games, the clean and crisp colors are a total 180. There are some minor clipping issues you’ll most likely miss or ignore if you do happen to catch them.
Like its predecessors, Infinite’s gameplay has your balancing between the uses of Vigors (this game’s version of Plasmids), biological “superpowers” and guns that you pick up. Upgrades for both the guns and Vigors are done through specific vending machines. Not the tricky thing about this is while upgrades permanently affect a weapon’s attributes, you’re not allowed to tote around your own personal armory. The game follows the format of most first-person shooters of carrying only two guns and, based on your difficulty, you may find yourself swapping out weapons fairly often if you’re not dead-on with your shots. Thankfully all upgrades carry over, so you’re not throwing money away on having to buy the same things over and over again.
EVE is replaced in this game with Salts, the fuel for your powers. With the Vigors, the same format follows where you can only use two of them at a time, instead of cycling through the entire catalog. But that’s nothing to really fret over; this system is miles ahead from going through the entire wheel. All it requires is holding down the right button and pow! You’ve switched to a new power on the fly.
The physical tonics are swapped out with gear; pieces of clothing that affect your offensive and defensive capabilities. With this change, they fixed the likelihood of stacking various effects by limiting four pieces of gear being worn at any time. This creates an added level of difficulty but a welcome challenge for those who seek it.
Walking into a room like this always leads to trouble.
The enemies in here come in droves and are armed with weapons. Ranging from police to soldiers, there is no shortage of a fight here in Colombia. At their disposal are automated gun turrets and two heavy hitters. They are the Motorized Patriot and the Handymen. The first is a mechanized drone armed with a heavy machine gun determined to mow you down while spouting propaganda. The second is the 1900 imaging of the Incredible Hulk. It hits harder and moves faster than you’d dream possible, making the Big Daddy protectors look like rocks at the bottom of the pond. But don’t let that intimidate you; they’re just obstacles that can be overcome as long as you’re smart about it.
Now, what ties this whole game together is the story. The tragic story of Booker Dewitt’s quest to wipe away his debt is more than what meets the eye. Through the dialogue with Elizabeth and the other characters in the game, you start to peel back the curtain of the whole show and realize this game doesn’t just tell you a story; it makes you feel it. The more you play it, the longer you spend on it, the deeper and deeper your investment goes. I’m a firm believer that in order for a story to be good, I have to be able to feel for the character right away. This game does it in spades.
You come across choices in the game that are harmless on lower difficulties but carry a heavy price once you play through on the unlockable difficulty: 1999 mode. It’s a throwback to the series System Shock, the game that would inspire it all.
When all is said and done, all the reviews that have come out have given Infinite 10 out of 10, a score that, while not being unheard of, is especially rare with today’s high standards. But BioShock Infinite is none more deserving of such a prestigious ranking from Game Informer and IGN. This game’s release was pushed back twice, and after immersing myself for a week in it, I can honestly say the wait was worthwhile. So it’s a no-brainer when I say that, in my book, this game also gets 10 out of 10.