OXCGN’s BioShock Infinite Review
Best game you’ll play this year
by Nicholas Laborde
©2013 Nicholas Laborde
In 2007, the world was greeted with an interesting little game called BioShock, which brought us to the uniquely terrifying underwater utopia known as Rapture.
Immediately, the game achieved commercial and critical success due to its powerful storytelling, unique gameplay and locale, and overall excellence.
In 2010, we received BioShock 2, a solid yet not quite incredible sequel made by a different team.
Many moons later, we have the next game from Irrational Games, the people behind the original title, this time taking place in the air and called BioShock Infinite.
In short, this game is the best game you’ll play this year.
You see, Columbia isn’t your typical American city. It’s a giant, floating city that may as well be a fortress.
In fact, it isn’t entirely American; it seceded from the Union and floated away to be independent. However, don’t be mistaken; Columbia is distinctly American and ever so perfectly captures the atmosphere of the era.
Players assume the role of Booker Dewitt, a detective who is indebted to the wrong people, and is given a simple task to absolve his problems: “Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt.”
The girl in question is named Elizabeth, and is the daughter of a man revered as a prophet named Comstock.
Unfortunately, in order to keep this review spoiler-free, I can’t really delve in to the intricacies of the story any further.
You will walk away from Infinite thinking that your best friend was with you the whole way; she feels that real.
When all is said and done, Infinite brings the series full circle, and either could be the end, or a new beginning entirely. It has a twist arguably better than BioShock’s.
The gameplay in Infinite is arguably the main allure in addition to the story. You have your standard array of weapons: machine guns, sniper rifles, pistols, shotguns, etc. Each of these can be upgraded as time goes by at vending machines throughout Columbia.
The world around you – and the dead bodies of fallen foes – is filled to the brim with items to find, loot, and uncover, secrets to track down, safes to unlock, and hidden audio recordings to listen to.
I thoroughly enjoyed soaking up the world of Columbia, which has a beautiful architectural style and an incredible identity. Walking around the world, you truly have stepped in to a time machine bringing you back in time a century.
The fires of World War I haven’t yet been ignited, yet you can feel the isolationist American atmosphere. The social commentary by Elizabeth and other characters you encounter all adds up to create an incredibly lifelike world that you’re going to miss dearly when it’s over.
Previous titles in the series focused on DNA-altering powers known as plasmids which do return in Infinite, but under a new name: Vigors.
Vigors are the same as plasmids, with the exception of how they are consumed. Plasmids were a friendly injection into your arm, whereas Vigors are just a drink that Booker downs rather quickly (I can’t imagine the taste).
Classics such as electricity and fire return, but new ones abound, such as Murder of Crows, which can send an army of crows toward your enemies, or have them laying in wait for an ambush.
I rather enjoyed the new array of powers, but I found myself sticking to the classic electric bolt to take care of my enemies.
While Columbia doesn’t have quite the same exploration factor as Rapture, I found myself much more eager to explore every nook and cranny of Columbia.
Rapture always had a sense of urgency about it; as such, I didn’t feel very inclined to wander off of the main path. Columbia is almost screaming for you to observe every pixel of its delicately crafted beauty, and is most definitely deserving of that demand.
Especially on PC at max settings, the entire world is simply breathtaking. Every building has an innate level of polish. All textures are beautifully presented. Each and every environment is delicately crafted with the highest level of consideration.
Lastly, the soundtrack is incredible. While age-old tricks do appear and feel a tad dated, such as a generic end of a sound loop when all enemies are dead, nothing negates the experience.
Everything about Infinite is simply incredible.
The story takes risks, and because of it, provides one of the most powerful narrative experiences in the history of the game industry.
All of the signature BioShock gameplay is intact, and you’ll have no problem jumping in.
My only two minor complaints are that the game, even though I ended up with a solid twelve hours, felt a bit too short, and that there didn’t seem to be as much of an emphasis on vigors as there were with plasmids in previous titles.
Petty issues aside, BioShock Infinite is one of the best purchases you can possibly make. Do yourself a favor and pick it up now, preferably on PC if your rig is up to the challenge.