Bioshock Infinite Review – Head in the Clouds
Up in the clouds in the year of 1912, a city named Colombia awaits, and a girl with special abilities whom need saving. The game is by far one of the most creative I have personally played in years, and it certainly seems to have fun with itself. Bioshock Infinite leaks creativity at every turn, and is home to some of the best action I have seen in a shooter. Bioshock Infinite does have some problems that I will get around to later, but even with them, it is by far the best game I have seen all year.
There is a city in the clouds filled with steam punk technology, a girl who can open rips in time and space, as well as a man who is hired to get her out. While the story seems simple, it quickly takes a turn the minute you set foot on Columbia. I won’t spoil it for you, as the story is half the game, and incredibly complex at that. In fact, the story might be a tad too complex. The story is simple at first, but quickly takes a turn for the strange, and somewhat confusing after the first four to five hours of game play. While it certainly is a fantastically intricate story, I was confused enough to go to a wiki, subreddit, and numerous forums in order for my brain to sort this out. This could be due to all the audio logs that should be small and non important, only clarifying the story in the first two games, suddenly becoming necessary to listen to and find to understand what is happening. in wrapping its way around in the story. Even while I write this review, I still can’t wrap my head around some of it. To put it short, this story would be crazy for a Final Fantasy game. There are some comic reliefs in the story, and they do work well breaking up the tension in earlier parts. I will give the story points for creativity, and certainly taking you on a wild ride, along with characters as memorable as the original Bioshock. There were some glaring omissions from the story, such as background for any of the heavy hitter enemies such as the Handymen, Boys of Silence, and so forth. Also speaking of untouched characters, the Songbird, the main antagonist character of the game is fantastic. His animations convey emotion incredibly, and therefore it is such a shock once you finish the game and realize that Songbird had virtually no purpose to the story rather than to just exist. You never felt close to him, and he never felt like a threat due to your encounters all being pre scripted cut scenes. In fact, sometimes I forgot the character even existed. It would not have been a major problem if Songbird just was not there, but his few appearances felt like a tease to a bigger plot reveal or event that just never happened.
“The gameplay in Bioshock infinite fits right at home.”
The gameplay in Bioshock infinite fits right at home. You dual wield your weapon, as well as multiple Vigors that you equip throughout your journey they give you such powers as the ability to control machines, and throw fireballs. When the combat gets heated, you will find yourself shooting RPG’s and throwing thunderbolts simultaneously, and that makes for a fantastic time. The skylines also add another dimension into the gameplay, allowing for numerous options. Speaking of options, the game also includes Elizabeth’s tears mechanic allowing for Elizabeth to summon objects that exist in other universes to aid your character, allowing for an infinite (pun intended) number of options in combat. You could choose a rail gun or health packs, or a decoy, what ever tears are in that area. Elizabeth will also scavenge around for trinkets such as additional health, salts for your Vigors, or money. Sometimes though while in battle, these animations make you shortly invulnerable to damage, and sometimes the item will fly through walls, taking away the immersion. There are also four heavy hitter enemies, the Handymen, Mechanized Patriots, Boys of Silence and Sirens. It’s sad to see the last two, which are the most creative, only be used in one location and then forgotten about.
“The music in the game perfectly orchestrates the feeling of the time period”
This game is very immersive, honestly as much if not more so than the original Bioshock. This could be because of how well it makes the city of Colombia feel real to the point where you almost feel as though you are there. This is of course helped by the great music created by Irrational. The music in the game perfectly orchestrates the feeling of the time period, working fantastically with with songs from the time period playing on in-game radios. Sometimes for the songs did overlap, I am assuming in a glitch, and it was annoying, to listen to. Going back to how the game operates, there is also a new navigation finder, similar to the one in Dead Space, and for the matter it works. That is of course unless you happen to be on one of Colombia’s many skylines, in which case the line guide does not go nearly far enough, and makes you constantly turn around until you hammer the guide button to the point where the line will finally tell you where to get off. The atmosphere of this game is lacking compared to the first. While I thought the daylight would be unsettling, I soon found the streets of Columbia populated with cannon fodder, thus taking away all atmosphere. At the end of the day though, this ends up being a Bioshock game only in its game play.
I was playing the PC version of this game, even on only high settings, the game looked wonderful. The city of Colombia looks fantastic and unique, but unlike the city of Rapture, it does not have that distinct flair that reminds you of your fantastical location while playing. Most of the city streets don’t even have a line of sight to the sky, and therefore it feels almost like a normal city after playing it for numerous hours. Thankfully, that is the only complaint, I have graphic wise, as the game has a somewhat cartoon like vibe I did not expect from Bioshock, where they did not try to go for Ultra realism, but more of a stylized look that fares well with this iteration of the series. On PC, they give us many options I was surprised to see they even included, as I just suspected this to be a mere console port, however they have given us full graphical controls.
Bioshock Infinite is on par with the first game in the series. It does not rely off the first game’s atmosphere as a model, yet manages to succeed, even though it does keep its feet grounded in the past. While its story is so complex it takes a rocket scientist to completely understand it, Irrational Games has given us an ending we will be discussing for years to come. The atmosphere places this game on par with the original Bioshock, while taking its own major turn. If you are looking for a rehashed version of Bioshock 1, prepare to be let down, as Bioshock Infinite flies on its own, and soars.