Bioshock Infinite Review = Xbox 360
Made by: Irrational Games
It’s been awhile since my last post and even longer since I did a game review. I decided to write a post from month(s) of absence and to start is a new review for the new Bioshock Infinite for the PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3 by Irrational Games(Developer of the first Bioshock ); Review is done on the 360.
Disclaimer: This game contains racism, sexism( to a degree ), religion undertones , and heavy nationalism; due to the time period. So if your easily offended or not matue enough, then maybe this game isn’t for you, but these doesn’t detract from this amazing game one bit.
Anyway onto the review.
Without spoiling to much;
The main premise: You start as a man named Booker Dewitt on the coast of Maine in 1912 and to wipe away your debts you have been giving a job to go to the floating utopian city of Columbia run by man named Zachary Levi Comstock, the city is based on heavy patriotic Americana and divination with christian elements of the three founding fathers: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. To rescue a girl named Elizabeth and return her to New York unharmed. Once you get there you find out this city is not as a paradise it seems to be ( With issues like: rebellions, racism, sexism, religion, politics, social diversity, and high science like quantum mechanics) and that you learn down the road that this job you’ve been giving is much more then meets the eye; With the rebels called the Vox Populii that’s comprised mostly of the mistreated minorities of Columbia trying to liberate the city from it’s oppressive founders but you learn how a rebellion can turn out if not used properly, to things like quantum mechanics.
The game’s story will draw parallels to the first Bioshock story and some quotes from the second if you played them. Certain characters will remind you of past characters of the first game, through the progression of the story ,through vaxophones( Which are collectable audio tapes scattered throughout Columbia that tells the stories of the characters in Columbia), and some will show you how this game is potential connected to the first one. Sometimes some of the vaxophones may seem nonsense but they have hidden meaning/ hidden truth to them if you look and can give you clarity to the ending. So playing it a second time can give you full understanding of the ending if you pay attention to the vaxophones, the dialogue, and even some of the art( Billboards, symbolism, etc.) . Lastly, the game’s ending; This could of gotten it’s own section by it’s self because of me even mentioning and it’s still talked after the game has been out for a couple of weeks goes to show you how impactful it was. I’ll just say that it’s positive but leaves you looking for answers and how a ending is done right, that’s good thing because it makes you replay the game over and over again to try to piece together the story; It’s a great example of a good interpretive story. In conclusion, the stories that the game can tell in it’s environments, vaxophones, the art itself, or character animations could pull you into this made up believable world that makes you believe it could of existed in 1912, if not rushing the game you can dissect and explore Columbia piece by piece.
The graphics in this game is gorgeous( Even more so if you have it maxed out on a PC ), also in correlation with the art design, it makes this game look beautiful. In comparison to the deary underwater ruined city of Rapture in previous games, the colors and graphic improvement makes the floating city of Columbia pop out and feel vibrant and alive. With things like a living society, birds( ie hummingbirds ), plants, carnivals, children playing, dialogue between people. It really feels like your in a steam punk early 1900’s city that so happens to be in the sky! If anything I missed from the previous games( Especially the first one )was the dark tone mixed with 1950/60 deco that made you feel alone and brought out the horror atmosphere to it; There is a couple parts in the game that does that, one in particular is the Comstock House which is like a political/indoctrination asylum for Columbia’s residents. At one particular moment while in the place, it gave me a jump that’s similar to the hospital place in the first Bioshock when you get a certain item, at a certain place and turn around and see a enemy right in your face. I didn’t expect it in this game up until that point because the whole game had nothing like this and was mostly action, and to have this happen, it quite gave me a jump. Sadly that’s only “scary moment” that happen to me.
The enemy types while as not as detailed as past games still bring out certain a charm to them like: Songbird( This game’s big daddy story wise that resembles a giant mechanical bird ), the Handyman( Which is like a big daddy type of enemy combat wise, that once was a old person but transformed into a hulking mechanical like ape ), the patriots( Which are mechanized versions of: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and Comstock that carry miniguns), The Crow that resembles the Houdini splicers from past games but only uses Crows and teleportation to get near you to melee you, the siren?( Another one that I can’t quite remember ) which alerts nearby enemies of to your position but only exclusive to the Comstock house part. Lastly for those that played the first Bioshock will remember a certain area but with updated graphics that will put a smile to your face while exploring it briefly. While the art design is not as alien/or unique as previous games but Infinite is more visually appealing. In conclusion the graphics and art direction as expected in a Bioshock makes you awe at the environment and makes you take your time to analyze it; More so then previous games because of the inviting atmosphere.
The sound in Infinite is engaging but also straightforward. The sound design draws you in but keeps it straightforward because of the fast action elements of the game, while the downtime when not in combat makes the world feel authentic. With things like news reports on the radios/PA systems, shows you that the world is alive and things are going on outside the main story your involved in. Another is the music and how it stays true to the early 1900’s with the mixing of violin strings and alot of player piano notes. The static sounds like birds chirping, footsteps, and steam machines in work make the world of Columbia even more believable. In conclusion like past games, Infinite’s sound design makes the world feel authentic to the time period it’s set in.
If you played the previous games you will feel quite at home game mechanics wise. Instead of plasmids which are basically super powers that give you an edge in battle weather it’s stunning enemies, leaving traps that leave them open for attack or just making them fight for you. You get vigors which basically the same thing as plasmids and instead of eve( Which is like mana or magic ) you get salts. The different kinds of vigors you can get range from having a vigor to have machines and people ( Not the Handyman ) fight for you for a limited time to a vigor that can shield you from being fired at and can be used to absorb the shoots and hurl it back at them( sorta of like telekinesis ).
You still can get upgrades to your weapons through buying them via vending machines or through getting gear which are parts of clothing that give special abilities either through weapons, vigors, or melee wise. The downside to weapons is that you can only carry two instead of all you find, which I can see in aspects as good because it makes you experiment with different weapon types but at the same can make the bigger battles frustrating because you don’t have a bigger gun for like the finale battle which basically is you getting swarm by enemies while trying to defend something. So just in case I would suggest atleast carrying one explosive weapon.
Next is the skylines that dot Columbia, mostly used for combat, which is a shame because they are fun to use and could open up Columbia even more; Also used during scripted moments in the story and sometimes to travel around ( Example: to board a Zeppelin to take it down in the story you have to use the skyline to board and escape), but mostly used around heavy combat to maneuver around. One last note you can also use your guns while on them and do a aerial strike with the skyhook ( The thing you use to ride it ).
The difficulty of the game; If you played the past games you will find the medium or average difficulty setting abit too easy, it can be difficult in some cases( ie the bigger battles later on ) but overall a little too easy, so I would go for hard or if you know the code for 1999 mode then go for that too ( You have to beat the game to unlock it though, but if you know the code for it you can unlock it before hand. Hint: It’s the Konami code :) ). One last note on difficulty is dying instead of vital chambers you get brought back to life ether by Elizabeth or through a dream like room ( Not to try to spoil anything but the respawn is more then meets the eye if you pay attention to the story and piece it together ).
Vending machines are back, one for weapon upgrades, one for Vigors, and lastly one for ammo/health/Salts. You can use your Possession Vigor to hack the vending machines to give you silver eagles ( The game’s currency ).
A downside to gameplay, is that hacking is gone and sort of replaced by the Possession vigor and lockpicking, since possession auto hacks enemy machines ( Besides the handyman ) and auto hacks the vending machines. While collecting lockpicking is used for opening up certain doors that can have infusion bottles( Health/shield/or salt upgrades ), silver eagles, or vaxophones.
The skyhook is the tool that is used for traveling the skylines is also used as a melee tool. Like the wench in the first Bioshock but more gruesome killcam wise( I’ll get into that later ), and not as cumbersome of the drill in the second ( With the having to get oil for it to use it effectively ). The killcams mentioned earlier for the skyhook can only be used when the human enemies are low on health and have a skull icon on top of their health bar. Talk about gruesome when a killcam initiates can range from cracking the their neck to decapitating their head off ( Guns and vigors have their fare share of gruesome moments too: from shooting their heads of to incinerating them from the fire and electric vigors to their bones and ash ).
Lastly, is how Elizabeth beneficial and not cumbersome to the gameplay. She could gotten a whole section just like the ending because how impactful they make the game. You don’t have to worry about her getting in the way and being something to babysit, she can take care of herself and hides while in combat. She finds, salts, money, lockpicks, ammo ( Both this and salts, is useful in combat when your low on ammo or salts( Kinda exploitative at times though ); She’ll find nearby salts or ammo to give them to you. Her animations make you care for her and make her seem like a real person. Whether she just leaning against a wall while your taking in the environment, interacting with certain objects in the game ( ie getting cotton candy from a vendor ), or just commenting on certain things going on; You even get to partake in a optional guitar/singing duet at a certain part in the game with her. She can use tears that open up not just portals to other worlds ( Story wise ) but can open up strategic opportunities that can give you an edge in combat( Ex: cover, ammo, weapons, health kits, salts ).
In conclusion, the gameplay in Infinite, while similar to previous games ( Which not a bad thing )offers a fresh take on the mechanics while improving combat by making it more fluid.
While not noticeable, there’s not to say this game has it few hiccups. First, the graphics, since the game uses the unreal engine it brings the late loading of textures problem( It looks like clay for like 5 secs ), while not as big as other games that uses this engine it still is noticeable by a small margin; Note: I’m on the 360 version so I don’t know if the other versions have this problem. Second, is there some collision problems and the butler in the Order of the Ravens 90% percent of the time runs through the table. Lastly, is the final battle when your ordering a certain something to attack the attacking zeppelins and patrol ships, sometimes the order button for it to attack doesn’t prompt sometimes and you have to move around to get it to come up. In conclusion not alot of problems with glitches but some need to address in every game unless it doesn’t, then any game out there would get a perfect score contributed it being bug free.
The replayablity in Infinite is high; To get a full grasp of story in Infinite your gonna atleast replay the game two or three times, layered on the fact the how the story/atmosphere pulls you in. That there’s a new harder mode that corrolides with certain achievements/trophies to get once you unlock 1999 mode. Lastly, there’s atleast three more single player story dlcs that expands on the story, according to the season pass atleast ( Which by the way for a game like this, is a ok purchase( For now atleast ), because the story is already great and the gameplay is fantastic. Also you get three for the price of two and bonus infusion bottles/weapon skins/gear at the beginning-ish. ) In conclusion regarding replayablity is high due to the engaging world/story, upcoming dlc, and more achivements/trophies to try and unlock after unlocking and completing 1999 mode.
+ Engaging story
+ Engaging atmosphere
+ Great sound design
+ Great art/graphics
+ Fluid combat
+ High replayablity
+ More dlc planned down the road
- Some collision detection problems
- Button prompts sometimes don’t respond quick enough.
- Not enough use of the skyline outside of action
- Two weapon limit
* A season pass ( Having people to pay for unannounced dlc just seems abit like money grabbing from 2K or Irrational ).
* No end boss battle
* Loss of horror aspects from previous games
* No hacking mechanic from past games
* The game is more straightforward/linear then past games.