For anyone who has played the game or heard any music about Bioshock Infinite hopefully you picked up on the title and it’s reference and in reality that is all Bioshock Infinite is about, the continuing of the story with constant variables.
This is the heart of Bioshock and why it as a game series has been so effective at capturing the hearts of so many people while they shoot, blast, and zap people through the worlds created by Ken Levine and Irrational games.
I’m not going to lie there is a ton that I love about this game and simply to look at it is amazing as the skylines and the set pieces and every nook and cranny of Columbia has been incredibly well put together to create a cohesive environment that can easily be one of the greatest settings ever made for a game in probably the last decade. In fact I would go as far as to say that it’s only outdone by Rapture itself the first incredible city ever put forth in the next gen era. What was more incredible though was just how good the set pieces looked which is hard to explain unless you’ve played the game. Someone could probably walk through the first 15 minutes of the game and not care. Me I spent probably a whole hour playing all the little games in the carnival and just taking in all the site seeing simply because to look at the game was special. Probably without a doubt though its the biggest action moments in the game that really get me with its visual prowess. For example the tornado when you are trying to save Elizabeth or the escape from songbird or the hit back to the original Bioshock at the end.
This is the meat of the game and why for so many accounts its is such an incredible game but at the end fails with its catharsis and ultimately why I still place Bioshock 2 at a significantly higher grade than this game. I’m not necessarily saying that the game’s story fails because it doesn’t in fact it plays out perfectly. However, without any sort of serious choices that actually affect the game and its outcome tremendously such as in the case of Bioshock 1 & 2 I felt like the decisions I made during the moments I had the chance to make them meant little or nothing to what eventually too place or didn’t affect the game’s outcome severely. Compare that for example to Bioshock 2 in which everything culminates beautifully into an incredible crescendo until the decision that you make becomes one in which you actually care about what happens intensely and your desire to take care of Eleanor is genuine. Whereas in Bioshock infinite you do have a connection to Elizabeth its just that its sort of like the switcheroo from Star Wars Episode 6, first you have all these feelings for her and then they just implode by the fact that she’s not just some girl you are trying to save … she’s your daughter. That fundamentally changes the way you think about characters whether you like it or not which is why the bombshell that Darth was Luke’s father was so much more intense that someone like Leia’s reveal. It just jumbles stuff up it doesn’t create a sort of sense of WOW. Still, I think the ending which was supposed to be meant to be some sort of redemption for yourself wasn’t really a redemption at all and especially in sound choice irrational dropped the ball on the case of the very ending of Infinite. They could have had somber mooded music similar to the ending of Bioshock 2 and still encapsulated that Booker was freely giving up his life so that Comstock would die. They definitely could have executed it better but in the end it was just ohh bathe the dude in the water and lets get it over with while tense music plays in the background. For some reason the game didn’t catch my heart as much as number 2 and for that reason it just doesn’t measure up in the story department. I mean it can be a head trip and it can be amazing especially with the concept of the multiverses which was cool however, if you can’t catch people with their emotions than a game’s ending can sometimes be very flat and that’s why it was no consolation Booker died so ungracefully. Rather he just sort of died and that was the end, no fanfare, no goodbyes, and definitely no father daughter moment like I was expecting especially with the revelation.
The combat in the game was fun especially with the skyhooks which dramatically increased the speed at which the fighting could be done and sort of streamlined how you fought while moving around to various points in the area putting down tears to destroy your enemies. However, there is one area I felt could have done better and that is the vigors. Several times I’d look down after destroying my enemies only to realize that I hadn’t use any of my vigors up at all. It was like I either didn’t need them or didn’t care for their use because they were overkill or made the game too easy so to speak. Probably out of all the vigors the most useful for my playstyle was the Return to Sender vigor. It did something none of the other rehashed plasmids/vigors did in that it gave me a protective shield for a time being. But like always it was zap away and then block the incoming assault after while playing with vigors. Its not like they aren’t useful to use its just often I found that I wasn’t using them at all or minimally so I could continue to wreck havoc with my guns. This is where the fun begins, all the guns in Infinite while being sort of rehashed from previous games I felt took a great deal of innovation in how the looked and acted and were used especially when it came to guns you couldn’t get all the time like the crank gun. I mean when I fired that gun I legitimately felt like a badass just spewing lead like John McClane and I feel like combat wise that’s where the fun comes from in this game. There are all these vigors to enhance your playing but there is nothing quite like just blasting away with the crank gun or a full clip of upgraded ammo from the repeater or machine gun. As for some of the other guns I felt like the hand cannon was sort of a flop along with the grenade launcher. I mean its one thing to give one powerful weapon like an RPG but don’t give someone two it just makes the game way too easy. Speaking of easy the enemies in this game were far to easy or either far too hard to kill. The game didn’t ever really strike a perfect balance between this is too easy and this is too cheap to ever create any legitimate fear. For example there was a lot of potential with the handyman however, often I found that even with my strongest weapons hitting him right in the heart his health would barely move a smidge. Compare that to the Big Sisters who were a fight in and of themselves they were much more tactical and dangerous and had an actual tactic to them than shoot at him run away for shoot at him run away which I found myself using all the time against the handyman. As for the motorized patriots they actually did well in the strategy department along with the fireman and the crowmen. All three of those had distinct weaknesses that you had to adhere to such as either not getting to close or hitting the enemy from a weakpoint which made sense especially in a tactical shooter. As for boss battles there really weren’t any good boss battles like there were Big Daddies or parts where you were overwhelmed with mini-bosses.
Lets just say it’ s amazing. Everything from the song choice to the score put up by Garry Schyman is amazing and when put to parts like when escaping from songbird to other various things really puts into perspective how awesome the game is. Its gives it grit and gives it amazing appeal. However, it doesn’t give motif themes to things such as certain boss battles which I lamented except for Mozart’s Requiem for the parts with Lady Comstock which I thought was awesome music to fight to. For example in Bioshock 2 the Big Sisters had their own music theme which I as a whole loved because it meant shit was really going to hit the fan. However, they never were able to achieve this to any degree in Infinite with any bosses.
Well this game is amazing and well worth the extra playbacks and to simply re-experience the story for a second time. I mean I’m still tripping out over the ending and how the whole multi-verse issues come into play. Still, if you are looking for a heartfelt game with some sort of redemption as you journey into hell or man’s devolution you won’t find it here in infinite. This game is all business mostly and you won’t feel a pat on your back from a job well done but a “That’s it”.