Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PS3 (reviewed), PC, Xbox 360
Release Date: March 26th 2013
Bioshock, that word alone stands for more than just a title of a game. It stands for quality, a quality the many games aim for but ultimately fall short of. It stands for bravery, bravery for tackling issues head on and not shying away from them. It stands for stories and settings that live long in the memory and are talked about for years, again something which other games try and only a small number achieve. It is one of those few games that come along and define a generation.
In 2007 we were submerged into the depths of the ocean to the underwater city of Rapture. Rapture and the story that came with it were both unforgettable. Bioshock gave you visuals that were truly breathtaking and it also gave us some memorable battles, none of which are remembered more than the first battle with a big daddy. We returned to Rapture in 2010 with Bioshock 2 but although it’s not a bad game it never managed to capture the wonder and unforgettable magic that the first one gave us. Fast Forward to 2013 and Irrational Games are back with Bioshock Infinite.
Unlike the previous two Bioshock games this one takes place in a completely new setting. Gone are the murky leaking walls of Rapture here we have a clean utopia floating high in the clouds here we have Columbia. One of the first things that struck me about his game was how light it was. Obviously I knew it was going to be light what with it being set in the sky but the colours on show just jump at you unlike previous Bioshock games where the colour pallet was a bit murkier.
You can tell the designers really have poured everything into making this game
Graphically this game is simply stunning. My jaw just dropped when I first saw Rapture in the Original Bioshock and the same thing happened in Infinite with Columbia. The guys at Irrational have done an amazing job in making this game look as well as it does. From the way the characters look to the stunning architecture that Columbia has on show the whole game really does ooze class and you can tell the designers really have poured everything into making this game.
Welcome to Columbia
With a new setting come new heroes and villains. You play as Booker DeWitt who is sent to Columbia in order to repay a debt. You are sent to retrieve a girl called Elizabeth. Standing in your way however is the so called prophet, Zachary Comstock. He is reluctant to let Elizabeth go and will stop at nothing in order to keep her in Columbia. In terms of antagonists that you go toe-to-toe with on the battlefield there are some really brilliantly-thought-of enemies. The handyman is one such enemy, when he would show up the battle became very intense and really made me think about how to approach the rest of the fight.
One of the biggest differences I have to say between these two memorable locations is just how unique they are. Yes one is underwater and the other is in the sky but whereas Rapture was a decaying city where the life force was disappearing, Columbia is a living breathing city. As you wander the streets you get to hear conversations between people in streets. Characters react with one another and make the whole place feel alive. Columbia also has more to see than Rapture ever did. I would spend most of the game taking everything in. I would read the signs, go into every shop I could and just take it all in. Trust me when I say this is not a game you should rush.
Trust me when i say this is not a game you should rush
Columbia is truly beautiful but don’t be fooled this place has a dark side too. This game touches on religion from the offset, racism and dangers of extremists. These themes keep coming up throughout the game and Irrational do a fantastic job of juggling these topics without going over the top. In all these issues along with others help craft what is a remarkable story and achievement.
True to its roots
Infinite stays true to its roots in terms of the game play although there are a few small changes thrown in to keep it fresh. Unlike with previous Bioshock games you can now only hold a maximum of two guns instead of being able to hold a multitude of guns. This adds a new element to the gunplay and can turn gunfights into tense affairs when you start running low on ammunition meaning you have to start looking for more or going to get a new gun from one of your fallen enemies. Vigors which are essentially plasmids give the player another advantage when a fight breaks out. There are a multitude of vigors to collect and each had their own unique ability. One thing I really liked about them was the ability to mix two of them together to create a stronger attack. All of your weapons and vigors are upgradeable buy purchasing upgrades through various vending machines dotted around Columbia. One thing I noticed about Infinite compared to the other Bioshock games was how frantic the fire fights can get. Because Columbia is a more open environment than Rapture could ever be fights can take place over a larger area. Thankfully you are given such a tool to help you get around in certain fights, the skyhook. You acquire the skyhook early on in the game and it becomes such an amazing piece of equipment.
The skyhook has several uses in Infinite. It can be used as a melee weapon which can damage or finish off your enemies or it can be used for its intended purpose, to get around parts of Columbia. This really does open up areas of the game and in combat it really can be a life saver. I thoroughly enjoyed the ease and freedom the skyhook gave me in a fight. If things got too intense I just ran to my nearest rail and hooked on. Whilst on the rails you do a number of things, these include shoot enemies and even drop attack them when prompted too. This was one thing that when I first saw it I thought this could be amazing if done right and thankfully they have done it better than I could have imagined.
One special girl
Throughout this review I have made several comparisons to the previous Bioshock games but no comparison can be made of the star of this show. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another game out there that has a character quite like the one on show in Infinite. I am of course talking about Elizabeth. Elizabeth is possibly one of the smartest AI characters I have had the privilege to play my game along side. It is absolutely remarkable what they have managed to accomplish with her. In scenes where Booker and her are talking she will always keep fixated on where Booker is, to scenes where she is idle and she makes subtle face gestures and leans up against walls. She also can react to the environment around her. Take Battleship Bay for example there are so many areas of the beach where she can go and interact with background characters. It’s these little things that made me want to care for this character. She wasn’t just this character who was with you; she really is a character that is alive. What’s even more impressive with her though was how she reacted when things start to go bad. Not once did she ever get in the way, like so many other AI characters before her have done. Even in tight spaces whilst you were searching areas she would always move out of the way.
In combat she even takes care of herself and she even helps you out from time to time by means of throwing you ammunition and salts to replenish your vigors. Speaking of the combat, having her around can work to your advantage as she can open tears which can provide temporary cover, hooks to hang from and even turrets to fire against you enemies. Elizabeth works and it’s amazing to watch her work. For too long games have had NPC’s that just get in the way or not be up to scratch in the AI department, Infinite shows how to get an NPC to work and not only work but work so well. Even though the game as a whole is a gem it really was Elizabeth that stood out for me. I really was amazed that I went through the entire game and she never got in the way or frustrated me once.
Elizabeth is possibly the smartest AI character I have had the privilege to play my game along side
If I really had anything negative to say about this game it would be that sometimes you occasionally get caught on corners. This is by no way a game breaker; it’s hardly an inconvenience as it does not happen all the time and to pick any other negatives would really start to be picky.
Whether Infinite leaves an impression as much as the original game did is purely up to the player. For me Infinite is right up there with the original. This truly is a remarkable game that kept me coming back for more. Once I had completed it I was straight back into my second play through. I cannot speak highly enough of this game, everything they set out to do have been accomplished. Infinite is truly one of the best games of this generation and for me the Bioshock series will go down as one of the best franchises to ever have been released. I hope we get another Bioshock game in the future but for now I have to get back to Columbia.
BOG’s Bioshock Infinite Review Score
|10||Why so high?
Truly stunning visuals, Fantastic Story, Columbia is brilliantly brought to life, Elizabeth.
|Why so low?
There really are no lows to this game
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