Geek Revolt

Bioshock Infinite Review: Sky High

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Bioshock Infinite was my most anticipated game of 2012 — and then it got pushed back to February 26, 2013. Okay delays happen, no big deal. Well, it got pushed back again. This time it was only by a month, but I started to worry. “Will the game turn out bad?”, I never spoke these words, but I was entertaining the idea. Now I’m sorry for ever doubting Irrational Games — Bioshock Infinite is something every gamer should experience at least once.

The Story – Set in 1912, players assume the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the flying city of Columbia on a rescue mission. His target? Elizabeth, imprisoned since childhood.

Game Details


Title: Bioshock Infinite
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Irrational Games
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Price: $59.99
ESRB: Mature
Release Date: March 26, 2013

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PRAISE:

  • Combat Evolved – Bioshock’s gunplay and powers have been improved, but the new features take the gameplay to new heights. You can summon turrets and traps with tears and blast enemies from skylines. This leads to some experimentation and here is where the game shines brightest. I never felt like there was a “right” way to play.
  • Engrossing Narrative – The plot hooks you in from the beginning and never loosens its grip. Bioshock Infinite has one of the best narratives to ever grace a video game. The ending is thought provoking and satisfying. Questions will be answered, minds will be blown, and tears will be shed.
  • Elizabeth – I couldn’t have asked for a better companion. Elizabeth gives you supplies, picks locks, and never gets in your way. She’s no damsel in distress. I became attached to her and I felt a sense of anxiety when she wasn’t around. Her facial animations are remarkable. You’ll know when she’s happy, sad, angry (she’ll turn her back towards you), and afraid. She doesn’t have to say a thing. Her body language changes and her eyes take on a different glow.

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  • Oh No You Didn’t! – I applaud Irrational Games for confronting racism and the dark side of religion. These are subjects that many games refuse to address.
  • Upgrades & Gear – You can upgrade your weapons and equip new gear. So you can tailor things to your play style. I spent most of my money on machine gun and pistol upgrades.
  • City in the Clouds – Columbia is Rapture’s polar opposite. It’s a colorful city in the clouds. But it still has a lot in common with Andrew Ryan’s failed society. There are voxophones (audio diaries) to find, secrets to uncover, and signs to read. Seriously, I read signs for 30 minutes. The city is highly detailed and you’ll want to just stop and look at everything.
  • City in the Clouds Part II – I was impressed by how varied the environments were. I won’t spoil them; just know that Columbia isn’t all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.
  • A life with Vigor is a life that’s Bigger! – Vigors are Infinite’s version of Plasmids. Salts repower them and you’re constantly finding new ones. Possession was my favorite, though. There’s nothing like turning someone against their friends. Yes, I’m a terrible person.
  • Extremely Attractive – Bioshock Infinite’s graphics don’t aim for realism, but it’s still one of the best looking games around thanks to its stellar art direction. I played on PC at medium-high settings and the game looked gorgeous.
  • Sound Design – Music, voice acting, ambient sounds, etc. The audio presentation is masterfully crafted and needs to be experience with a good pair of headphones or a home theater.

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AWKWARD SILENCE:

  • Elevators – Remember those elevators in Mass Effect? Well, they found a new home.
  • Making Waves – The waves of enemies never reached Uncharted levels of ridiculousness, but they can become annoying. This is a problem that every shooter faces, though.
  • Misdirection – Pressing up on the d-pad brings up a directional arrow. It works for the most part, but it can become unreliable when skylines are involved.
  • Kanji!! – Troy Baker (Booker) is a talented voice actor, but his voice made me want to play Persona 4 Golden

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WELL-DESERVED CRITICISMS:

  • The Final Showdown – Don’t you just hate when a new gameplay mechanic is introduced during the last mission? I can’t go into detail without spoiling things, but this is the game’s weakest section. It relies on one of gaming’s most frustrating mission archetypes. The story’s ending is wonderful, but the battle that precedes it is an absolute chore.
  • The Final Showdown Part II – Here’s what Ken Levine said about Bioshock’s final boss, “So every game we make, we always say to ourselves — back on BioShock 1, we had that terrible showdown fight at the end — we’re not good at that, let’s not do that again. And then somehow, we end up … it’s like … ‘Baby I’ll never hit you again, I’m changed, I’m changed!’ And then we did it!” Infinite doesn’t have a final boss, but Irrational Games still doesn’t know how to make a compelling final showdown.

CONCLUSION:

I skipped Bioshock 2 because I felt like there was nothing left to be said about Rapture. Everything doesn’t need a sequel; some stories work best as a standalone entity. Adding side stories, prequels, and sequels is pointless.  Bioshock Infinite is amazing — one of the best games I’ve ever played — but I have no interest in a direct sequel. I want to see Irrational Games tackle a new world, again.

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself — let’s focus on the present. Buy Bioshock Infinite, today.

Scorecard


Gameplay: 10
Graphics: 10
Story: 10
Sound: 10
Replay Value: 10
Overall: 10

Masterpiece – A perfect score doesn’t mean a game is perfect. It means it gets our highest recommendation, and that it’s a “modern-day masterpiece”.

I'm DeShaun Zollicoffer, and I approve this message/bio. "26-years-old, Proud Northeast Ohioan, a Gamer Without Loyalties, an Equal Opportunity Offender, Apple Evangelist, Apple Hater, Music Lover, Anime Junkie, Little Monster, Frequent Flyer, Dexter Fanatic, Title Case Addict, and Geek Revolt's Founder and Editorial Director."
  • XavierLeromeLangham

    i’ll also be playing this on PC can’t wait

    • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

      Good call, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  • robtion

    This game was good but I felt it paled in comparison to the original BioShock.
    Loved the Elizabeth ‘Disney Princess’ character though.