In 2007, Irrational Games introduced us to the abandoned underwater world of Rapture with the original BioShock. Ken Levine and Irrational Games set the bar for deep storytelling in video games for many years after. Fast forward six years and many delayed releases later and we finally have a true deep sequel in the BioShock franchise, though the third game in the series. Does BioShock Inifinite deliver, despite of it’s long wait? Let’s find out!
Booker Dewitt is the main character you play as in BioShock Infinite. A former agent drowned in a huge ammount of gambling debt, sent to the airborne city of Columbia, set in 1912. Booker is set on finding a girl, Elizabeth, and bringing her back to New York in exchange for a clean record.
Columbia is filled with strong topics of racism and nationalism as the setting of BioShock Infinite displays Columbia as haven of sort. You will find numerous statues, flags, patriotic quotes and just downright american propoganda which draws you even more into learning the truth of the city. The journey of Booker and Elizabeth is a great one. Meeting many unique people in the city while uncovering Columbia’s numerous dark secrets. You are constantly learning something new as you handle every mission, read posters across the city, and even collect audio diaries just as the originals.
Elizabeth is the main girl whom you seek at the start of the game, and one who becomes your greatest partner playing ahead. Booker DeWitt is sent to Columbia to retrieve Elizabeth and bring her back to New York City in return for a debt free life. Elizabeth is a 20 year old captured who has been imprisoned in Columbia by Zack Comstock and protected by the Songbird.The Founders also play a huge role in getting her back, whom which you meet throughout the game.
Though she does tag along with you all game long, she isn’t your typical annoying AI sidekick. Elizabeth actually plays a huge roll in going through the game with her ability to pick locks, find you money, provide health, salt and ammo mid fight. But her biggest contribution is the ability to manipulate the sceneary around you with her ‘tear’ powers. She has the ability to summon certain objects, guns and ammo crates through these alternate dimensional tears which in then combine with the real world of Columbia.
Her story is fascinating as you both grow to learn and trust eachother through out your journey in Columbia. Irrational Games brought Elixabeth to life by giving her life, and in that meaning you can almost sort of feel for her. The joy and excitement she gives off when first freed from Monument Island is what really pulls you to the characters and story.
The plasmid system we all loved from the originals are back, though this time are known as vigors. Unlike stabbing yourself with a needles, vigors are drank and give you special projectile powers, ie: Shock Jockey, Murder of Crows and Devil’s Kiss (aka flame throwing). The vigors are pretty well balanced and with having to always be in battle, there is plenty of time to mix and match between them for that effective 1-2 combo. Be advised, some enemies are immune to vigors which force you to experiment with others.
BioShock Infinites core game mechanics are untouched, still being a first person shooter with secondary magical powers. Irrational Games has doen everything to polish the shotting experience since the original BioShock and they deliver. Fights happen everywhere and you usually never go 10 minutes without getting into battle with guards or mini bosses. Luckily, weapons are very much balanced in the game and even allow to be upgraded for more ammo clips, damage, less recoil and more. My only gripe with weapons is only being able to hold two at a time, which forces you to be very selective on what you roll with. There are many parts where you will need to have sniper rifle but then be stuck with it until you find something else laying around afterwards.
When watching the original gameplay released about 2 years back, we noticed an aerial rail system which Booker can latch on to to get from one place of Columbia to another. Little did we know the rail system was actually another form of battle. Being able to unlatch from the rail and dive straight to an oppenent was satisfying about every single time. No other game has really perfected this type of gameplay like BioShock Inifinite.
Visually this game is stunning. Beautiful detail on the city of Columbia and everything it has to offer you. Colors are very bright and rich that always grabs your attention. You will find yourself mid game looking around at the scenery in amazement. Now I played the Xbox 360 version and was still very impressed visually. Though having tried the PC version on close to very high settings, if you have a PC able to run BioShock Infinite I highly suggest you do it. The game looks absolutely amazing. There brings up the discussion of whether video games are a work of art, because that is exactly what BioShock feels like.
The wait was worth it. The addition of side missions, collectibles, achievements, and the ‘1999 Mode’ gives BioShock Inifinite credit on replay value for most players. I haven’t been captured in a game with an intense story and beautiful art direction in quite some time. Great story with well tuned first person shooter action makes BioShock Inifinite a must have for your 2013 collection.
Review Disclosure: This Xbox 360 version of ‘BioShock Infinite’ was purchased by the editor for review purposes.