I am not typically a fan of linear, scripted video games, whether they are first person shooters or not. Having said that I undeniably own a very large amount of them and love those specific games, including all three BioShock games, but only after I know they are worth money. Being an owner of the first two BioShocks, I knew that the game would probably be good, but wasn’t interested in the massive build-up for this title.
BioShock Infinite is a wonderful title that excels in story, graphics, voice acting (but honestly aren’t you sick of Troy Baker), gameplay, and pretty much every category.
Columbia is a beautifully designed floating city, far cheerier and with a different mood than Rapture, and rife with the games underlying themes in mostly subtle ways, though they become far more prevalent towards the end of the game. It’s a world stuck in the early 1900s and clinging to the late 1800s – culturally speaking – while essentially maintaining a level of technology not far behind the 1980s. Even my roommate, who hates Steampunk with an inexplicable and unqualified passion, was so taken by the brief glimpses he caught of my gameplay that he had to play it, and finished it before I did.
When you first arrive, you are immediately engrossed in the environment and how thoroughly faith and religion are intertwined in the city. You have a fair and you have cool side-shows like the barbershop quartet on the airship. Unfortunately, the illusion of the city only gets the player so far because this is once again a linear FPS game, and you cannot interact with the people the vast majority of the time. It is not open world – no BioShock ever has been, and you cannot do what you want. You might explore, but that’s the limit. Open world is not what BioShock is about, and that doesn’t subtract from its quality.
The game-play is superb as well. It’s pretty hard to screw up a first person shooter, to be honest, regardless of the fact that repeatedly killing droves of people can get boring. If anything I feel as though the game threw too many options at me and I ended up not experiencing all the Vigors, and all the guns, and all the equipment builds. The vigors especially, there are too many. Each has quite a specific power but feels as if you need to stick to a small set – both because of the lack of salts and because of their specific purposes. Even though killing so many people does start to mount up, it never really seems to get old.
As far as sound is concerned, I was quite impressed. The game is louder than hell if you have a nice speaker system, but it isn’t just loud. The sounds all feel natural and are occasionally disheartening, such as the Soundbird, which really adds to the atmosphere. Two main things made me love the sound though. First, all of the battle music sounds wonderfully like Apocalyptica. You can’t ask for more. Second, all of the other music. Whether it’s a tear that simply plays “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, a tear that briefly plays some Led Zepplin (I think), or the well made cover songs – for example, the old timey cover of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love on the phonograph was pretty much excellent. I do believe I heard some Dropkick Murphys somewhere in there too. The voice acting was superb as well, whether it was the British sliders, Elizabeth, Comstock, or Slate, everyone did a great job and they never sounded bad. Troy Baker does the voice of Booker and I feel he did a lot towards making the main character feel likable. The role gave him a lot more exposure and range than the contrite dialog in RE6 and it feels like he made the character his.
Everyone raved about how the story will blow your mind at the end. Well, it didn’t, although it did upset me but not for any reasons of being offended or any of that. Admittedly the story was not that original, it just mishmashed a lot of themes that have been floating around for decades into one well made script, but it did so in a way that made it enjoyable and not entirely predictable. At the end though, you will want to play the game again just for the story alone.
Elizabeth has been voted by a lot of reviewers and gamers as the best female character in any game ever and I’m pretty much going to agree. She was strong, intelligent, capable, emotionally human, and humble, and I’d say classically attractive. People have bitched that the game enforces gender stereotypes, or that it’s racist, or violent – all of that is false and if you are the type who would give it a seconds notice, the game is not for you. I read on a site that the game is chauvanist because there aren’t female enemies. Actually yea, there are quite a few female enemies including the rebels and police. Elizabeth herself is more powerful or capable than you ever turn out to be in the course of the game, and so is Fitzroy.
By the way, that crap in the commercial, never happened – but I assume the noose was supposed to be a depiction how you are “saving” her.
BioShock Infinite: 9.5 out of 10