Saturday, 20 April 2013

Bioshock Infinite

                                             Would you kindly play Bioshock Infinite?

If i could sum up the game in one sentence it would be this, "Dewitt has to fight racists on a flying city whilst stuffing his face with food." Bioshock Infinite is a great game. I mean a really great game. It is set on a city in the sky called Columbia in the early twentieth century; it has a very similar ideological feel to rapture but is set in a completely different universe.

You take on the character Booker Dewitt an ex-army man turned private investigator with some skeletons in his closet, as he is met with this message “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.” This sparks the tone and premise of the story for the entire game as Booker seeks to rescue Elizabeth from Comstock the ruler or “Prophet” as he is better known, of Columbia. The very first scene is very reminiscent of the original Bioshock with Booker arriving at a lighthouse to find strange transportation that takes him to Columbia. Once there you are met with a lush and vibrant city, on arrival you are greeted by a fair, a festival and a full on Acappella band. From the get go it is hard not to be won over by the city. Columbia is a lot more linear that Rapture, but this doesn't take away from the game play as it limits you only to the most interesting areas. The Lutece siblings are one of the most enjoyable parts of the game, as they present you with choices throughout, the mystery of these two is a real driving force to further the progression of the game. All the characters are well rounded and have a deep back story that you can learn (mostly through Voxophone's), especially Elizabeth, who is a joy to watch as she experiences the joys of the beach, as well as the sorrows of death, for the first time since being locked away from birth. The game for the most part has a steadily action packed pace until the last quarter which is extremely compelling and makes the game hard to put down. This leads to one of the greatest and shocking twist endings in gaming history. It’s hard not to spoil the story if I go into too much depth, so all I can really do is encourage you to live it for yourself.

The game is a first person shooter, with Booker carrying a weapon in his right hand, and a Vigor power in his left. Vigors are drinkable tonics that grant the user supernatural abilities, not to dissimilar from Bioshocks Plasmids. Vigors allow Booker to do things like throw fire or electricity at enemies, or even summon a flock of crows to attack them. The mechanics will be instantly recognizable to anyone who played the original Bioshock, as they are nearly identical. New to this entry is a rechargeable shield and a hooked arm called the skyhook, that Booker can use for melee attacks and gruesome executions, as well as traveling around the city (which is highly entertaining). The only downside of this is that Vigors don’t have a natural reason to be in the game, Plasmids were created as people “spliced” themselves for self-improvement and power. Vigors however seem to be in Columbia just for entertainment.

The graphics take on a slight cartoonish feel; whilst sleek they don’t embody the realism we have come to know with games such as Battlefield or Crysis. This game doesn't take the Horror aspect from its predecessors rather it goes in the direction of an action adventure. The main premise behind the game is that Elizabeth can see and even move between dimensions, leading to some interesting game play dynamics such as pulling through turrets and cover from other worlds. I do however feel this mechanic is criminally underused, I believe they could have explored this much more deeply and feel as if a trick has been missed. 

When all is said and done this game is fantastic. 2K has done an astonishing job to plant secrets, character twists and references from the very beginning that makes fantastic sense on a second play through and if you go back and replay it on the devilishly hard 1999 mode then you’ll pick up on all of this from the start. This is the most fun I have had with a game in a long time. It’s aesthetically pleasing, the audio is great, the game play is solid and the story line is deep, for this I award Bioshock Infinite 9.5 out of 10.