Bioshock Infinite

           I finished Bioshock Infinite sometime last week. To begin, a little relevant background of myself and how I played it. As a long time fan of the Bioshock franchise, having played and thoroughly enjoyed the first two of the series, Bioshock Infinite was near the top of my list of anticipated games. I played this third installment on the old faithful PC, beating it on hard difficulty.
           Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Even running this game only at low to medium graphic settings, the game’s beauty is undeniable. Some scenes are just breathtaking, and I can only imagine how good the game would look on maxed out settings on higher resolutions with a high quality monitor. But there’s more than just surface beauty in its graphics, the world is lovingly and painstakingly crafted. Every location, no matter how big or small, is filled with details. For example, in any given room you can access, no matter how trivial, you will find bookshelves, interactive containers on those bookshelves, strewn coins, posters, radio, vinyl players, garbage cans, alcohol, and so on, that does so much to strengthen the immersiveness and theme of the game. You will not find bland brown or grey colored corridors or rooms with nothing it in Bioshock Infinite.
           Elizabeth is with you more than eighty percent of the time in the game, so let’s talk about her a bit. What I really liked about her behavior is that if you idle, she looks for things to do and becomes enamored in the environment you’re in. She inspects things, tries to pick up things, points out things, and discusses things with you. It reinforces her the naivety and curiosity in her character, and the situation she came from. If she simply followed you like a pet, and only lock picked and open tears, she wouldn’t have much of a character at all, and wouldn’t be as memorable as she is.
           As for the core gameplay, it follows in the same framework as previous Bioshock games and games like System Shock and Clive Barker’s Undying. On one hand you have your conventional weaponry, and on the other hand more or less, magic. In Bioshock Infinite you can only carry two different conventional weapons at once, and quite limited maximum ammo. Thus you have to make tough decisions in what two weapons you want with you out of dozens, and what to upgrade, and sometimes in large fights you can easily run out of ammo for both of them and have to pick up weapons as you fight. As a first person shooter in hard difficulty, it’s a decent challenge. You simply cannot rambo your way through like in Serious Sam. Judicious use of magic is essential to survival. Here’s a pro-tip: the arguably overpowered “Winter Shield” gear can render near impossible fights to trivial ones buy giving you effectively permanent invulnerability at certain locations.
           A few flaws in the game gnaw at me, most notably no save anywhere feature. The Winter Shield occasionally fails to trigger when you jump to attach, although it always does when you dis-attach and land. Also, sometimes Elizabeth refuses to open mission critical tears, forcing me to restart the checkpoint.
           As a game on its own Bioshock Infinite compares very favorably to other shooters in the genre. But when compared to its predecessors, it’s shadowed by the masterpiece work of the first two games. I consider Bioshock 1 & 2 slightly better games as they possess better atmosphere and a more immersive experience than Infinite. Regardless, Bioshock Infinite is a worthy addition to the series, and every first person shooter fan should have this game in his or her collection.

Published in: on May 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

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