Monday, April 8, 2013

Guest Review Bioshock Infinite by Ben


BIOSHOCK INFINITE REVIEW

SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!



Since the beginning, the Bioshock games have risen above the typical Halo/Call of Duty first-person shooter game to be something special, something extraordinary. In addition, the original Bioshock had an insane twist. “Would you Kindly” was the most surprising twist in any game I’d ever played. This game has a twist that rivals that to the extreme. Infinite takes you out of the underwater, claustrophobic city of Rapture, to the boundless, skyward, floating Colombia. Bioshock’s are known for having incredible stories, addictive gameplay, and great graphics. Bioshock Infinite rises above all expectations to become one of the most beautiful, fun, and breathtaking games of this generation—with an ending that will leave you thinking for hours, maybe days afterward.
Bioshock Infinite’s graphics are, technically, nothing special. Textures get blurry, things far away are cloudy (although that could be because of the clouds), and characters other than Elizabeth don’t move all too fluidly. This barely matters though. The game is beautiful, has the most amazing architecture, and the enemies are extremely creative looking (especially the Boys of Silence.) The graphics, while not the most technically superior, are some of the best I’ve seen in a long time.
The gameplay in Infinite is the same as in Bioshock and Bioshock 2, but Plasmids, Eve and Adam, etc., have been replaced. You’ll understand why when you finish the game. Plasmids are now called Vigors. Eve is now Salts. Money pretty much doubles as Adam now. Return to Sender and Murder of Crows are new Vigors that are insanely awesome, but boring Vigors such as Undertow and Charge make me think of omissions such as Insect Swarm and Winter Blast that should have been included. Big Daddies have physically been replaced with Handymen, but spiritually live on in the Songbird. All of this reasoning will be explained soon. Elizabeth’s powers open tears, which at first glance, I thought were stupidly used in combat, but after playing through several battles utilizing them, I realized that they are actually genius. There are static items littered all over battlefields, ranging from everything from cover to health packs to freight hooks for your skyhook. The catch, though, is that no two things can exist at once. While you may see a shadow of a weapon, you cannot access it without signaling to Elizabeth first, who will open up a tear, making the things accessible, but simultaneously taking away whatever is available at the time. Weapons though, will not leave your hands, and health will not be re-lost, but things like freight hooks and cover will disappear. Elizabeth will also toss you health, salts, or ammo in the middle of battle, and will also toss you coins at random times. For points in the game when Elizabeth leaves you (she is kidnapped by Songbird multiple times, and also runs away often), the game felt like it lost depth, and you don’t have her help, or her company. The skyhook is a great melee weapon, and has more uses than the wrench or drill did. The skyline is very fluid, and not clunky at all. The gameplay is overall similar to Bioshock 1 and 2, if you take away Elizabeth, but that is NO problem. I’d rather have a game that plays like Bioshock than Call of Duty.
The story, at first, is very straightforward. Find the girl, bring her to New York, repay your debt, game over. It gets much more complicated. You’re just about to leave for New York, when Elizabeth realizes where you’re taking her, and she knocks you out with a wrench. You wake up and the Vox Populi (a cult that is quickly established against the main villain, Comstock), have taken your airship. They agree to give it back when you bring them guns. When you go to get the guns, the man who will give them to you is gone, and you go to get him, but he’s dead, and this is when it gets confusing. Robert and Rosalind, the same people who said, “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt,” arrive. They say that he is only dead from one perspective, and this is when you go through portals to different Colombias. This includes a Colombia where one family worships Comstock instead of Buddha, a Colombia where Booker died for the Vox Populi—all different worlds. OK, fast forward to the end now. Booker and Elizabeth meet up with Comstock. Comstock tells Booker to tell Elizabeth about what happened to her finger. Booker doesn’t know, and is fed up with this man who lies, locks up his daughter for 20 years, and everyone else is too blind to see it. Booker doesn’t understand how this man can be considered a god and be such a villain at the same time, so he bashes Comstock’s head into a fountain, and holds his head under the water, drowning him. They continue on, to find the Vox Populi destroying the generator that keeps the airship afloat. On top of all that, Songbird arrives, ready to take Elizabeth back. She convinces him to help them just this once, and he agrees. The Vox are killed, and Elizabeth realizes that the only way to understand her true powers is to destroy the machine holding her back. Songbird does it, then tries to attack Booker. At the last second, Elizabeth transports the three of them to Rapture’s Welcome Center. Except, the Songbird is outside in the ocean. He is killed because of the pressure. It is then revealed that Elizabeth can see every reality that ever was, or could be. For every choice made, one more reality is created. For example; if you decided to stay home, the reality would keep going as it was, but a new reality would ALSO be created where you did go to work, and those two realities would exist at the same time, eventually creating billions of realities for every person, all of which are accessed via lighthouses. There is always a man (Booker/Jack), a lighthouse (the one with the rocket and the one that leads to the Welcome Center), and a city (Rapture/Columbia).
The ending and the multiple realities confused the heck out of me, so forgive me if this isn’t too clear. Also, Elizabeth was born as Anna, Booker’s child. Lutece took the child, in exchange for Booker’s debt, because Comstock wanted a child, but was infertile. Booker has a change of heart at the last moment, when Anna is being taken through the closing portal, and tries to take her back, resulting in Anna’s finger being chopped off by the closing portal. And, get ready for this, Booker is Comstock in a different reality where he accepted a baptism that was given after the battle of Wounded Knee. Comstock builds Columbia, and wants a child. Anna has never been born, as this is an alternate reality, so he sends Lutece to get her. Booker realizes that the only way to kill Comstock completely, so he’d be dead in all realities, is to kill him before he’s born, at which point, he accepts the baptism, and is drowned, by Elizabeths from all realities. Booker dies, killing Comstock, meaning Anna was never kidnapped from the other reality, meaning she never became Elizabeth. So basically, Booker, Elizabeth, Songbird, and Comstock all die in the end.
This story, is genius. It is the greatest story to ever exist in any video game. Everything ties in together at the end, still leaving, INFINITE, (yes I did) questions left unanswered. In every world, there is an equal to every character, as the Big Daddies are replaced by Songbird and Little Sisters are replaced by Elizabeth. I could go on forever, but I have to wrap this up. My only complaint is that the Vox riots have a lot of missed potential. They don’t just feel as epic as the tower escape with Elizabeth, and they just didn’t have as much tension as the scene where you are fired up to Columbia in a rocket in the beginning. But, well, too bad. I don’t care, and that is a small price to pay for one of the best games ever made. The soundtrack, also is phenomenal.
Bioshock Infinite is, hands down, the greatest game ever made. Period. 5/5. 10/10. 100000/100000.  ∞/ ∞. Stop reading this and go play this game. Buy the soundtrack too. This game is well worth it.


–B