When I was first given the job of Reviewing BioShock Infinite I thought it was just going to be another job, another game and another review. All I could see ahead of me is a 10-15 hour gameplay session and started my normal note taking process. “The game opens with a strong sense of place” was the first thing that I wrote down and then it hit me. After the first hour of play, I knew this was not another job. Games like BioShock Infinite are the reason that I get up out of bed every day and work as a video game enthusiast writer. The BioShock series, and this game, will be talked about for years to come on more than just gameplay aspects, it will become the blueprint on how to build a fictional world.
Bioshock Infinite – Hello Colombia
After a short setup to the story the main character Dewitt Booker is launched into Colombia, a picturesque, utopic world in the sky. The world is held up by a specific quantum physics particle that goes beyond any type of science of 1912 that the game is set in. The physics is based on a scientist work that pops in the story sporadically. This scientist and her brother at the beginning of the game seem like harmless pranksters. Playing further into the game they become a much, MUCH bigger part of the story to prod, poke and all around mess with the fabric of time and place.
When you step into Colombia you are greeted by a score of beautiful music and sights of religious prophecy. The new world you step into worships three founding fathers and a Prophet named Comstock. You hear Comstock’s words through speeches given throughout the world and in audio recordings found while playing the game. The audio from all of the recordings and set pieces really set Colombia in stone and make you feel something special. The use of iconic music from across multiple different decades is a brilliant way of setting place and making you understand the mood of that place that you are in.
Every piece of BioShock Infinite, every note, every insignificant detail that most games wouldn’t of even had bothered with is set perfectly and that is really what it sets it apart from other games. After playing and seeing all of these different pieces, after putting together the puzzle, I had to put the controller down and just think, for about 10 minutes, about what I had just experienced. The best part about this game is that I know I will return to the world of Colombia multiple times to find everything and be perfectly happy doing it. No multiplayer gameplay, no bull sh*t online pass or DLC is necessary for me to truly enjoy the experience that was meant to be had.
It helps that the combat is also enjoyable in the game. Booker can wield many different powers or vigors. These vigors allow you to preform special abilities to take down enemies. Holding down the vigor button will allow you to use the powers in a different way like a trap. Combining powers, building traps and defend yourself feels good and encourages you to constantly switch up powers so that you can see what you like the best.
The guns are pretty good as well. If I had to pick on one thing in the game though, it’s that you can only hold two different guns at once. I understand the theory behind the gameplay design, but I don’t quite agree with the implementation. It’s supposed to make you change up your gameplay experience by picking up different guns. What it really did though was make me really efficient at using my powers and conserving the ammo for the guns that I really liked. Not until the end sequences of the game did I find myself searching for different guns to fit a certain situation.
One aspect of combat that I kind of expected to be not so good was how Elizabeth, the girl you are tasked to rescue from Colombia, was going to react in combat. From the very first interaction the game just tells you to kind of go about your business and that she will not need to be protected. Enemies completely avoid her and she comes in very handy for long battles. Elizabeth can open tears, or doorways, into other dimensions that will bring in helpful things like cover and automated turrets to take out baddies. When you get in a pinch she will even throw you healing items, ammo and salts to fill up your power bar.
Everything about Elizabeth, the combat and the character storyline is awesome in the literal sense. Supporting characters are usually terrible, combat partners are usually useless and that is just not the case in BioShock Infinite. The interactions between Booker Dewitt and Elizabeth are practically flawless other than a random dialog piece or two about picking a lock that might be out of context during what seems like a dire situation. You get a very indescribable feeling about Elizabeth during the cut scenes and in conversations throughout the story. Somehow you feel anger, jealousy, fear and compassion all at once that ends in just sheer emotional exhaustion.
BioShock Infinite is not a good game; it’s not even a great game. It is a legendary game experience that everyone should want to be a part of. The experiences I had in Colombia, with the characters, the sounds design, the visuals and the enemies will be stuck in my memory for eternity and will be the bar that I judge games on in the future. This game is more than a game of the year contender, it is a game of the generation contender that is a must play.