BioShock Infinite Is the sequel to the 2007 smash hit BioShock. More so then its actual sequel, BioShock 2. It has been tease through trailers and gameplay previews for the last two years. The game is finally here. A breath of fresh air and a last hurrah for this console generation. No small amount of the hype has come from me either as I myself have been salivating over every screen shot, production video and E3 show. Pushed back numerous times due to staff changes at Irrational games, as well as just general tweaking of the final product to ensure its quality. So its here now, in its big ambitious, gorgeous ,grandiose, glory! Alliteration aside BioShock is a thoughtful well told game experience, excellent in its story telling and atmosphere. I can't help but feel bad that I don't like it all that much.
While BioShock Infinite does many things right it does some other things wrong. Certain design elements hold this title back. One such element is the Vigors, this games version of the predecessor's Plasmids. The main problem is their design, many of the vigors seem to do the same thing. Murder of Crows and Shock Jockey are virtually identical
while others don't seem to seem to really change combat. Most powers just apply damage and they do stuff, but nothing so amazing that is worth mentioning. All in all they don't provide freedom to the battle field. Also, some just are kinda broken and can be use to hilarious results. Lets talk about possession, when you use it on an enemy they will attack on your side. Once the effect wears off the target will then blow himself away. Heres the thing about this ability it can only work at one target at a time, if you immediately use it one another guy the last person will no longer be under control. Even if this person doesn't shoot his allies he or she still kill themselves. I used this ability on whole groups of people. I was a cult leader and I made my enemies drink my kool aid! That's called taking advantage of the game, that's not good. Don't even get me started on bucking bronco, lets just say he and Mr. Shotgun are best friends. My other qualm with vigors are there relevance to the story. Plasmids were part of the original Bioshocks lore, the vigors are just there. I feel more creativity should have been put into them, in the end you will find two vigors you like and stick with them till the end of the game.
Some of Infinites other systems could have used a little more thought. The skyhooks are fun, but are a little unreliable. The sky strike is hard to land and are ill advised to use. Most of the times if you do hit a guy his friend next to him will put two in your head and have you dead before you have time to react. Eventually the rails in the game will become more second nature and help you dash in and out of combat. They can be a fun addition to the combat, except they are not in the whole game. Some areas don't even have them turning the game play to standard shooting fair. I find Elizabeth's (more on her later) powers to open tears missing something as well. How it works is certain parts of the battle field will have items or environmental benefits that can only be excessed by tears that Elizabeth creates . I thought this process would work in a risk versus reward manner . Do you pick the box of shot guns or the med kits? Elizabeth can only have one tear open so choose wisely! Wrong! Open one portal grab the gun then open the next. This also feels like I am taking advantage of the game. Some sort of energy cost for this power like the salts for the vigors would have added some tactical depth to it.
As critical as I am to the gameplay there is still much to love in Infinite. The story, the world and the way it conveys all of these entities without breaking gameplay is great. The story of Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth is a marvel to behold as you follow them through their journey. All without pace breaking cutscenes . The city of Colombia lives and breaths as you fight across her. Underneath this scenery is a mind bending tale of science fiction. Some of its in world jargon almost seemed like nonsense, but towards the end I was astounded by how much it fits all together. I will say that it seems that DeWitt and Elizabeth got friendly with each other a little too quick. This nitpick is ignorable as their voice actors will convince you that they really care for each other. Elizabeth her self is something to behold not just as the great character as she is, but as a technological marvel. Her animation and AI are some of the best I have seen ever in a game.
So in the end Bioshock Infinite is great! Its a well made shooter that is way more smarter then a FPS has the right to be. Its just not quite perfect as reviewers say. Now if you the reader thinks its the greatest thing ever, I will not argue as I myself can see where one could think this. Its just as great as some of the game is, those imperfections stand out all the more. Really it was the hype that left me unsatisfied, I was expecting Filet mignon and got ribs instead. Ribs are good they just don't taste as great when you were expecting the former. Then again who am I to say what is good or bad. Play the game and decide your self! Just never stop looking for the cracks. Think of how it could be better. Or just turn your brain of and have fun. Both are viable options.