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Bioshock Infinite: The Long-Awaited Review


Front

Oh yeah, this one took long enough! After three playthroughs, mixing play styles and Plasmids Vigors and completing 1999 Mode, notorious for its incredible difficulty, it’s time to give it the full review. We have previously covered Bioshock Infinite in a First Impressions article, and its highest difficulty level in our Editorial on Higher Video Game Difficulties. Now, for Bioshock Infinite: The Long-Awaited Review.

The Beginning of Our Tale

Demo

The story begins with you as Booker DeWitt, a man in a rowboat, heading for a lighthouse, who seeks to erase his debt by finding a girl named Elizabeth and bringing her back to New York. Seems easy enough, until the lighthouse shoots you hundreds of feet into the sky and you see it: Columbia, you soon discover is the name of this mind-blowing city floating above the clouds. After being baptised into the city (that was certainly not a typo, either), you attend a festival to learn of Elizabeth’s whereabouts, at least until you see a sign warning that “The False Shepherd” bears a mark on his right hand with the letters “AD.” Strange that this resembles the letters “AD” branded on your own hand. Needless to say, someone else sees it, you’re branded a fake sheep handler and this town don’t take kindly to that…

Patriot

George Washington has never been scarier, including at Valley Forge

What follows is one of the most incredible storylines in video gaming. Explaining much more would be a disservice to you. Needless to say, there is combat, political intrigue, well-timed plot twists and enough reality bending to keep you thinking about the game for the next few months. I still haven’t made heads or tails of it, and that is a hell of a statement to make for a first-person shooter.

Friends in High Places

No Jobs Today

The best companion…EVER

We will say that eventually your path crosses with Elizabeth, which should come as no surprise considering the trailers and commercials that have been aired. She has a hell of an arc of her own, so far as to say her journey is comparable to Booker’s own. She functions as a constant companion through much of the game, and before you finish that sigh of despair you just let out, she happens to be the best companion ever programmed for a video game. She is essentially invulnerable, meaning no annoying game overs, she throws you items like health, salts (magic) and ammunition randomly in battle, and then there are the rifts in spacetime. These tears bring things like automated guns, weapon caches and vending machines into your reality and ready to be used. She makes the game so much more interesting. Just as a heads up, you WILL love her, you WILL want to get her a puppy and make absolutely sure that when the prompt comes up in front of a guitar, that you accept it.

Mechanically Sound

Daisy

The enemy of my enemy is my friend…or my enemy…

We went on about the voice acting last time, and it holds true throughout, so we’ll focus on the music. Now, to call the music new would be wrong on two counts. First, the songs are covers of already existing songs, and second, they are from much later eras than 1912, the game’s setting, though they are arranged in instruments and styles more suitable to the timeframe.

Again, a disservice to tell you more. Just listen closely as you pass through the world. And yes, the game explains it.

Songbird

Giant, mechanical defender; protecting his charge. Sound familiar?

If you’ve played the rest of the Bioshock series, a lot is familiar but with small additions to keep it feeling fresh, almost new. The combat uses the same mechanics, but melee executions and skyline-based combat make you feel like a swashbuckler. The environments are beautiful to behold, but instead of dark, horrifying corridors, you have wide open, brightened skyscapes. Plasmids have become Vigors, and while no longer tied to the story, still come in a good, but limited variety. Enemies come in the easy-to-fry and use-all-your-ammo varieties, but there are more of each type this time around. This should be expected of all sequels, even if the story doesn’t quite match up.

Perfect Landing

Comstock

They love him so much… must be a bad guy

There are some things that may irk you at first. First, the campaign is about twelve hours long, longer if you take the time to explore every crevice, but the length is excellent in that it doesn’t feel overly extended nor the story underexplored. This is compounded when a lack of multiplayer is noticed, though if anyone remembers the tacked-on disaster of Bioshock 2’s multiplayer element, this might just be a blessing. Also consider the ending, which for people who want a simple end to a story, may not be satisfying, but so intricately fits into the plot that it’s hard to suggest something that would better fit there.

Bottom Line

Elizabeth

Even Elizabeth is wondering why you don’t own it yet

Every console generation has games that define the era they came from. Gamers think about great games like Super Mario World, Sonic the Hedgehog, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII, Goldeneye 007, Halo: Combat Evolved, Grand Theft Auto 3 and God of War, among others, as examples of the finest games ever made. Bioshock Infinite will stand among Uncharted, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Gears of War to represent the gaming of achievements of the Seventh Generation of Video Game Consoles.

This game is a must-have. Buy it now if you own a console. If you don’t, buy a console and get Bioshock Infinite. This game earns every bit of the recommendation we give it.

Bioshock Infinite is Rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Mild Sexual Themes and Use of Alcohol and Tobacco. It is available for the Mac, PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. And you should own it immediately.

Have any incredible memories of this game? Of course you do! Share you favorites in the comment section below!

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About RedGuinness

Andrew Shortall (RedGuinness) is the Writer, Editor, Administrator and founder of Stay-At-Home Gaming. He also suffers from sleepless nights, summer new release withdrawals and trying to behave himself in front of his new nephew.

2 comments on “Bioshock Infinite: The Long-Awaited Review

  1. Terry
    July 18, 2013

    I really like this site, and I hope it sticks around, and I want to support it. The best thing I can do as a new reader now I think is offer a dissenting opinion.

    Super Mario World, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Metal Gear Solid are all games that pushed the technology that was used to make games, introduced new ideas for designing games, or both.

    I don’t think that Infinite does either of these things. I actually found it to be frustratingly regressive in many ways. Some of this comes from sticking to mechanics from the first Bioshock. The cramped and crooked layout of Rapture did more to encourage an inventive use of traps, powers, and weaponry, while Columbia acts more obviously like a shooting gallery in comparison.

    I also think it’s silly that money is used as an upgrade mechanic in a world that basically no longer has a functioning economy (at least not a consistent one – sometime you pay for hot dogs and sometimes you can just take ’em?). Money as a be-all and end-all for deciding how many times you can retry and how many upgrades you can get feels very restrictive in a game that is already very linear. Upgrades should have been distributed as Gear and Infusions were – by being found. You’re already supposed to be looking around at all the gorgeous architecture – you should be rewarded for doing so, and it works out pretty well for Gear and Infusions. It especially sucks to blow a load of money on an upgrade you end up not liking at all in the end.

    The story’s kind of like that, too; good ideas are eclipsed by ones that are easier to write. There are so many moving parts to Columbia, so many characters who can stand for the differing philosophies at odds with each other during the American Guilded Age, so many interesting ideas to see flourish. But after a while, it all comes to a stop to unravel the Elizabeth mystery. I expected this, of course, but I hoped at least her story would tie in with the problems of race and class in Columbia, but instead her story is basically entirely separate – to keep her clean and uncomplicated, I assume, like the Disney Princess she looks like.

    But don’t let me stop anyone. I hope everyone gets the chance to play The Last of Us. When it comes to expansive mechanics in a linear story, a complex young lady, and a man with a tortured past in a society falling apart, I think it takes the cake.

    • RedGuinness
      July 18, 2013

      Welcome to the site! There’s nothing better than dissenting opinion when it allows for respectful discussion on the topic, at least in my view.

      I agree that when it comes to innovation the aforementioned games were much more progressive. What makes this game impressive is what I think is the last creative barrier left in gaming, the aesthetics. Many games have forsaken the beautiful for the gritty, gray-filtered realism most games have gravitated towards in this generation. Infinite definitely has those moments, of course, but there was such a distinct feeling of loss when you saw the change, absent from most other games.

      Sadly the idea of money is a you said silly in the game. It is certainly a necessary evil though. In the “civilized” sections of gameplay, it makes sense to use currency. In the rest o the game, it serves to allow players to continue playing the way they prefer, as getting a pistol upgrade does nothing for a rifle/revolver player (my first playthrough). Then again, it might add to the challenge to diversify. I always was a fan of early PC FPS games, so maybe it’s time players could carry arsenals again and give realism the boot there too?

      Elizabeth does tie into the people as their supposed “savior” but that is certainly the extent of it. It does also tie in to a thematic Innocence/Guilt-ridden dichotomy between the two lead characters, but all the connection to Columbia was mainly two strangers in a strange land. Definitely a missed opportunity.

      My brother will be lending me The Last of Us soon and I’ve heard this game is supposed to Sony’s great mark on the Seventh Console Generation. I look forward to it with great cynicism and even greater enthusiasm.

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This entry was posted on June 25, 2013 by in Game Reviews, Video Game Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , .

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