An Infinite amount of entertainment awaits in Columbia – Part II

 

This is a continuation from my previous post which I wrote after playing the Bioshock Infinite campaign for five hours. This particular post concludes the last with my final thoughts after successfully completing the game on the afternoon of March 29th. My original thoughts explored in the original post still reign true, and can be found at this link here (http://wp.me/p2tQ7q-6C) where I talk about the graphics, working alongside Elizabeth, the game play and the differences between the previous Bioshock titles and Infinite.

Title: Bioshock Infinite
Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher: 2K
Release Date: March 26th
Platforms: PC, PS3, XBOX360
Game Length: Between 15 and 18 hours

More Entertaining Than: Singularity

Less Entertaining Than: Half Life 2

Pros:
-outstanding graphics
-powerful weapons and abilities
-Skyhook is fun to utilise
-entertaining action sequences
-interactive characters
-powerful themes

Cons:
-Complicated storyline
-Major game play differences in
contrast to former Bioshock titles
-No multiplayer features

Rating (out of 10): 8

Bioshock Infinite is quite unlike its predecessors as I previously explored. The ability to work alongside a fellow character, Elizabeth, the young woman you are sent to the city of Columbia to extract is a gaming element that was never established in prior titles. Her ability to restock your supplies of health, salt and ammunition when you are running low is something that makes the game all the more easier, and her ability to interact with the environment is something that very few games today actually explore.

The ability to work alongside a fellow character in the game on occasion allows for emotional interactions between Elizabeth and Dewitt, which includes comforting Elizabeth when she is emotionally distraught and discussing ideas of race and religion. Of course, this seriousness is additionally in contrast with the playful banter that exists between the characters, which includes, but is not limited to, Elizabeth contemplating what it would look like for Dewitt to hop onto a merry-go-round.

Unlike in previous Bioshock titles, the emotional connection your character, Booker Dewitt, has to Elizabeth is not quite as powerfully moving throughout the game as it was with the original two. In the original Bioshock, over the course of the game you discover that your connection to the city stems from your character having been born in Rapture, and in Bioshock 2, your connection to Eleanor Lamb stems from you being her Big Daddy protector, Alpha, assigned to watch over her until death.

However, that is not to say that Bioshock Infinite is not shocking or daring in its nature. Unlike in the previous games in the franchise, Bioshock Infinite’s storyline is concerned with some incredibly powerful themes the likes of racism, war, religion and violence. You may not be moved to tears, but a part of you will inevitably bear the brunt of such an evocative storyline that dares to bring to light themes from the past that continue to haunt humanity to this very day.

In Bioshock Infinite, Elizabeth is initially a job to your character. Your goal is to acquire her, and send her back to New York to wipe away a ‘debt’ that is shrouded in fog for a majority of the storyline. It is over the course of the game that Elizabeth becomes something more than just an ordinary job, but a means to an end, and your character, Dewitt, is essentially her bodyguard and protector. Elizabeth needs Dewitt to get off Columbia. Dewitt needs Elizabeth to wipe his conscience clean.

What I didn’t explain however in the last post is Elizabeth’s special ability. It is found over the course of the title that Elizabeth is able to open up rifts (think Singularity), but, instead of these rifts being linked to one specific time and one alternate world, they are linked to many; to alternate versions of the past, present and future. Hence, this explains how a floating city in the sky could be successfully developed in the late 1890’s.

It becomes mandatory over the course of the storyline to explore some of the worlds hidden behind the rifts, and suffer the dire ramifications that come from deciding to go through one particular worm hole and into another.

Confused? Well, friend, you should be, because Bioshock Infinite’s storyline is not as clean cut as the former two games in the franchise. The previous games did not require much thought to sufficiently understand the storyline, unlike Infinite, which starts out relatively sane, and then becomes quite the opposite.

Upon initiating missions that require the use of rifts, and having to go through other rifts inside other worlds, to say that your brain will become bent out of shape at attempting to fathom what on Earth is going on will be beyond an understatement.

Safe to say there are answers to the many questions that you will no doubt generate as the game slowly descends further into what some may view as utter madness, however the answers come incredibly slowly, so patience is key in deciphering the storyline. Over time, you will come to adjust to the oddities the game presents to you. The amazing action oriented scenes are enough to satisfy you throughout the game and keep your eyes fixed on the screen and your trigger finger at the ready.

Much like in former Bioshock titles where one needed to adjust their combat styles to eliminate certain enemies, the same can be said for Infinite. There are aptly named ‘Firemen’, who blast rounds of fire at you, and are immune to the power, and thus need to be dispatched by alternate means; ‘the crow’, who is much unlike the comic book character, who uses crows not just as an attacking power, but as way to disappear, and thus the player will need to find a way to break the defences of this particular enemy and keep them from moving about the map so quickly; and there are robotic enemies that are designed to preserve the religious integrity of the city who are weak from behind.

Moreover, there are no Big Daddies in the game, but there is what is known as the Song Bird, which is a colossal winged giant that is assigned to keep Elizabeth from leaving the city of Columbia. However, again, much unlike previous games where Big Daddies played a crucial role, in Infinite, the Song Bird very rarely appears, and half the time you will probably forget he even exists at all, which is an insult to his character for he is an amazingly powerful being that deserved a far greater role that what he is provided.

Unlike in Bioshock predecessors, there is no specialised ammunition to use, so one simply has to make do with what they have. There are additionally no Power to the People stations where weapons can be upgraded, and instead upgrades need to be bought from vending machines, many of which come at exorbitant prices. The ability to hold several thousands of dollars in your wallet does make this substantially easier though, with these particular upgrades increasingly the damage, range and aim of all weapons.

The weapons however do not look quite as spectacular as they once did, with the likes of the shotgun and machinegun looking rather drab in contrast with the colourful designs that were allocated in the two previous titles. The ability, as mentioned in my last post, to carry only two weapons is considerably unsatisfying considering the player could carry every weapon in the game in former titles. This presents the player with a choice, and a very significant one. Ammunition is sometimes difficult to come by, and it is often mandatory to swap weapons over. Over time, whether you are carrying the weapon or not, Dewitt is able to store all of the ammunition he comes across, so by the time you have swapped back for a weapon you were previously using you might well be fully stocked again for your next battle.

Former weapons the likes of the spear gun have been replaced with a sniper rifle and a carbine, the grenade launcher from the original Bioshock has been replaced with an RPG, and the machinegun from Bioshock 2 has spawned several weapons, including a burst rifle and a Gatling gun of sorts.

Upgrades can additionally be purchased for your abilities, which will more often than not cost over a thousand dollars. Old favourite abilities, the likes of the fire ball and lightning are available, along with a few new ones. These include the ability to toss out an army of crows to chase your opponents around and there is a drag ability, which is used to bring your enemies closer. There’s one particular ability that I liked which allowed you to send a shockwave across the ground that would toss any organic enemy caught in its radius up into the air for a short period of time, thus removing their defences whilst they were in the air, making it easier to eliminate them.

Battles are genuinely not that difficult due to Elizabeth’s ability to keep you fully stocked, and on the few occasions when she is not around you feel it as you become overwhelmed by opponents. Previous Bioshock games had considerably difficult fight scenes, but Infinite has opted for scenarios that you will be able to efficaciously beat. They do make up for it though by having a truly difficult conclusion that will put all of your skills accumulated over the course of the game to the test.

On the rare occasion that you will die, instead of being resurrected at a Biosphere much like in Bioshock 1 and 2, you instead either; are brought back to life through adrenaline and CPR at the hands of Elizabeth, or instead come waltzing out from a rift with a good portion of your health restored. No matter how you are brought back, in addition, your enemies will have additionally being partially revived.

Moving back to the game’s complicated storyline, by the end of Bioshcok Infinite, you will have received a vast number of answers to the many questions that will have been weighing upon you, but even then that is not enough to quench your thirst for knowledge. Although you have the answers, the solution to how the answers were conceived still eludes you, and the game seems to contradict itself and only complicate things further.

Unlike in Bioshock, where at the end the game moved me to tears, and Bioshock 2, where I cried like a baby for a full forty minutes after I completed the campaign, Bioshock Infinite will probably not cause you to cry, but the revelations that are revealed are considerably shocking to behold.

Winner of 80 plus gaming awards and hailed by Time as a game worth looking out for, Bioshock Infinite has been built up considerably on all fronts, and yet, I get the intense feeling that the game itself is overrated, and that the game’s success will be unable to mirror the success of either its PR department or that of the many critics that have hailed it as a game worth playing. There have been a number of other fantastic titles that have come out over the years that have received not even half the publicity that Infinite has garnered, and yet, they were far superior to what Irrational has developed.

If Irrational continue to develop Bioshock games in the future, I only ask that they don’t cause my mind to blow up with such strenuous confusion. If 2K could develop a brilliant campaign that was easily understandable, I cannot see why Irrational are unable to do so.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s