After a 10-15 hour campaign, a mesmerizing introduction, some scorching gameplay from start to finish, and an ending that may tickle your brain for a couple days to come - perhaps even giving some a headache as they go out of their way to truly make heads or tails of it - BioShock Infinite proved to be a breathtaking game to say the very least. But that's not to say it's the "perfect game" or the best of its generation. Granted, BioShock Infinite is indeed spectacular both in size, scope, story, and gameplay. But if you're looking for a review with that magic 10 out of 10, be forewarned I am among the few who believe this game falls a little short of the considerable hype. For those already interested, as always, here is a link to Amazon so you can check out the prices . And if what I said bothers you (I'm expecting some backlash for this), hear me out. BioShock Infinite is a brilliant game. Is it perfect? A TEN out of TEN? Sadly, no. And believe me, I had a feeling it would be. So before you come at me with your pitchforks and torches, hear me out.
BioShock Infinite Trailer: Youtube by Machinima
BioShock Infinite Background
BioShock Infinite places you in the role of Booker DeWitt on a mission to save a young woman named Elizabeth from her imprisonment adrift in the floating city of Columbia. Of the surface, this floating metropolis seems ideal. Modeled after the 1893 World's Fair, you will explore a world with extreme idealologies to say the very least, and when the rescue inevitably goes awry, you'll soon come face to face with some of the more unsavory truths and beliefs of Columbia's political and sociological structure.
Upon meeting the supposed damsel in distress, you'll soon realize Elizabeth is anything but a Disney princess no matter how much your first encounter with he may remind you of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Elizabeth has the unique ability to create Tears, which are like portals into alternate realities and dimensions. Elizabeth never gets in the way, the enemy AI only targets you, so you never have to worry about keeping her safe from harm or enduring those dreaded escort missions that plague far too many games out there. I suppose more recently, a game like Anna comes to mind. (CRINGE) Elizabeth is more like your partner. During battle, she'll toss you ammo for your weapons and salts when your Vigors run low. And at certain points and under the right circumstances Elizabeth can be instructed to create Tears to other dimensions which allow you to take advantage of cover, perhaps take a tactical vantage point from up high, set off automated turrets, collect ammo, and so on.
Vigors and Salts
In case you're wondering what Vigors and Salts are, I can't imagine there are many of you, but just in case, salts take the place of Eve from previous BioShock games which act as mana which allow you to use spells like in many RPG's. And Vigor's take the place of Plasmids, which were the "spells" from the previous games. In addition you'll be playing with a plethora of new weapons from rifles, to shotguns, to rocket launchers and machine guns. If BioShock 2 seemed like you were fighting against the masses, BioShock Infinite will seem like you're fighting against hordes large enough to make Attila the Hun jealous.
BioShock Infinite First 14+ minutes (Spoilers): Youtube by lightsamus88
Let's talk about the Skyhook. I love this new gameplay mechanic. The Skyhook acts as a mean of transportation as well are your melee weapon. When an enemy is low on health, you can execute some gruesome and altogether satisfying executions that will make you think of a first person Mortal Combat. But where the Skyhook really shines is in conjunction with the Skylines. Now, from the trailers and demonstrations, I'm sure I'm wasn't the only one thinking the whole concept and utilization would be dumbed down for the actual game. Well, I'm happy to say this is not the case. Getting from A to B with the Skyhook is a treat. It's exhilarating and fun, all the more so when combined with combat. You'll be blasting enemies away as you dash by, or, if you're like me, you'll opt to come crashing down like a badass with a brutal melee attack. What's equally impressive is how the enemy AI uses the Skyline to harass you. That's something else I suspected would be toned down at least a little bit, but I was pleasantly surprised as I fought enemies on the ground while others rained death from above. It added some much appreciated verticality to combat.
Bioshock Infinite is Beautiful
BioShock Infinite is one of the best looking games I've ever played. And that's saying a lot. The vibrant and contrasting colors coupled with the undoubtedly painstaking amount of detail, is almost overwhelming to the senses. The graphic design and lighting is among the best I've seen in a video game.
Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth
Let's discuss Booker and Elizabeth for a minute. The voice actors, Troy Baker as Booker DeWitt, and Courtnee Draper as Elizabeth have done an absolutely excellent job in selling these characters, which is arguably the most important thing next to gameplay. BioShock Infinite is driven by Booker and Elizabeth's story, their motives, their pasts, and string together the main story and its themes nicely. What's more, most of you will find yourself invested in the characters as you get to know them, which is always one of the best things about a video game with a story to tell.
Now, for some of the bad. For such a detailed game with stunning visuals, I feel there are far too many clones in this game. Some identical character models stand right in front of each other. It's a small thing, but for a game that pulled out all the stops with just about everything else, it is noticeable dare I say even distracting.
Bioshock Infinite Combat: Youtube by GamesHGMedia
Only Two Weapons?
Now, many people complain about only carrying two weapons in BioShock Infinite. And I, too, was not a fan of this decision My main problem with only carrying two guns is this: Especially on harder difficulties, most of you, and I speak for myself as well, will try to find the best guns and stick with them. In other words, you'll likely pick some standard fun you mow down the lesser grunts in the game, perhaps a shotgun for instance,and your second weapon will be the rocket launcher or grenade launcher for about 90% of you. And on The two hardest difficulties, having that heavy weapon is almost a must during the third act of the game. And believe me, you'll know when you get there. Also, there is very, very little customization of weapons this time around.
Where Are My Saves?
I want multiple saved games! This was frustrating, enough said.
Checkpoints Aren't Your Friends
Some of the checkpoints in the game can be annoying, especially on the two hardest difficulties There were times when every time I died and came back for round two, three, four, five... I'm too embarrassed to say exactly how many times... I died the very second I came back. And there was nothing I could do. Couldn't move in time, couldn't shoot, sling a Vigor. Nothing. Thanks Elizabeth. Woops, now I'm dead again. Be a dear and open another Tear, would you? And bring me another adrenaline shot stat.
BioShock Infinite Gear
Also, some of the gear in the game isn't so great. The gear is supposed to add buffs to Booker and give him new abilities such as setting the bad guys on fire every time you smack em upside the head with your hook. But for me, many of the gear types seemed a little... meh, and I seldom switched out what I already had.
Another gripe I have is that you can't combine Vigors with Elizabeth like we saw in a few demonstrations. I thought that was a great idea and it would have been fun to do so in the game. And while opening a Tear here and there can be helpful, the options are surprisingly limited and it seems to me being able to combine your Vigors with Elizabeth would have added some much needed spice and variety. Which brings me to my next complaint. Now, you can do this yourself, but from the demos, it's just not the same...
Get to know your Vigors and Salts
Compared to the previous two BioShocks, I found I seldom used my Vigors (in comparison to the previous games, mind you) and relied much more on my guns. To me, BioShock Infinite felt more like a shooter than the previous games and, in some cases, almost felt like I was playing Call of Duty, which is not something you want to think or feel while playing BioShock. I mainly relied on three Vigors: Devil's Kiss, Return to Sender, and Possession. The others I rarely used. Of course, you could argue that when it comes to Vigors, its all player preference. But my point is this, in the last two games, I used almost all the Plasmids, and frequently. Guns and Plasmids were about 60/40, in BioShock Infinite, the guns to Vigor ratio for me was more 75/25.
No Options in BioShock Infinite?
Here is my biggest problem with the game. BioShock Infinite was, to me, a maddening waste of potential story options. And I know, there are some of you reading this who have already beaten the game that are thinking, well, I won't say it for those who have beaten the game (BUT YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND I KNOW THAT YOU KNOW WHAT WE'RE BOTH THINKING..) Wha...? Anyway, I get it, and you know it. Still, I think this game had many opportunities to throw in some cool choices here and there.
BioShock Infinite Final Verdict
BioShock Infinite is visually stunning. Its story and characters are memorable and most will find the plot and the struggles of Booker and Elizabeth entertaining and something they'll want to see through to the very end. The gameplay is solid, really, I haven't had this much fun with a first person shooter in a LONG TIME. There are some minor hiccups with the game listed above. But here's some food for thought, my complaints are really something I had to dig deep for. Which is just fine by me. If only every game I reviewed challenged me to find something wrong with it. And while BioShock Infinite may not be the game of our generation and revolutionary like so many claim, it is without a doubt one of the better games out there and in my opinion worth every penny of its purchase price. BioShock Infinite earns a solid 9 out of 10.