Bioshock Infinite takes a different approach from its predecessors. Instead of running wild in an underwater dystopia, you’re out on a rescue mission in a city in the clouds. Instead of playing as a muted character, you’re in the shoes of a man whose personality shines through his words. While the changes to the series may put some fans off, it’s well worth it in the end.
The game starts off similarly to the original Bioshock, you, Booker DeWitt, are sitting in a boat on your way to the lighthouse that will take you to the game’s primary setting, Columbia. When I took my first step in Columbia, I couldn’t help but bask in the beauty of the city. It’s much more beautiful than the trailers could have shown. After I finished ooh-ing and aah-ing, I embarked on my journey of finding Elizabeth so I can wipe away my debt.
Unlike Rapture, the residents of Columbia aren’t bat-shit crazy and are rather civil despite being ruled by a dictator named Zachary Comstock, the antagonistic prophet who can see the future. Comstock has foreseen that the False Shepard, a man with “AD” branded on his right-hand, will travel to Columbia and attempt to lead his successor, Elizabeth, astray. It would turn out that Booker is the False Shepard and this is when action starts. For most of the game, Booker is on the run from the Columbia Police as he tries to find a way out of the city with Elizabeth, this includes working for some of the dirtiest criminals and businessmen Columbia has to offer.
I expected Elizabeth to be as much of a nuisance to protect as the girl from Ico was but she’s one of my favorite video game characters of all time. Elizabeth has been locked in a cage for the last twenty years and was under the surveillance of her protector, Songbird, a giant bird who can be compared to Big Daddy from the first two Bioshock games. She possesses powers that allow her to bring things from other worlds into our world, which can be used to create machines to fight for you or a crate of medical supplies, salts and ammo. In and out of battle, Elizabeth will throw you money, ammo, health and salts. For JRPG fans, she’s comparable to Rise Kujikawa from Persona 4.
Like the original Bioshock, you will possess powers such as fire, electricity, etc. in Bioshock Infinite. These are called vigors and they’re powered by salts. You can combine vigors to increase damage inflicted upon your opponents. For example, using a vigor that launches your opponents into the air followed by throwing a fireball will rain hellfire on your enemies. Possessing a soldier and then shocking him will electricity will turn him into a tesla coil, electrocuting anyone around him. These combinations compensate for some of these vigors for being less than useful on their own.
The inventory system is similar to Bioshock. You can carry up to two guns at a time, which isn’t as annoying as it may seem since your enemies drop a variety of guns throughout the game, and you can equip gears that give you bonuses such as increased weapon damage after killing five enemies or receiving a bit of health when you kill an enemy using a melee attack. The inventory menu is easy to navigate and, for the most part, works flawlessly.
One of the biggest introductions to Bioshock Infinite is the sky-hook, which is used for melee attacks and using the sky-line, Columbia’s rail transportation system. The sky-line can also be used to reach higher ground to take out opponents more effectively or keep you on the move from heavy-hitters such as the Handyman. Gracefully, the sky-line isn’t required for combat so those who aren’t interested in using it won’t have to.
The voice work and soundtrack in Bioshock Infinite is amazing. Troy Baker (Persona 4, Final Fantasy XIII) and Courtnee Draper do an amazing job as Booker and Elizabeth, respectively. The music that plays when the Songbird chases you in the beginning of the game is still stuck in my head and every song played in the game added to the game’s most dramatic moments, making it that much more magical.
Despite many similarities to the original Bioshock, there weren’t any iconic enemies like the Big Daddy and Big Sister. While some view the Handyman as the game’s Big Daddy (not in the same sense as Songbird, as I said above), he doesn’t appear often enough and lacks the scare-factor Big Daddy had on me.
Despite the anticipation for blockbuster games like The Last of Us and Watch_Dogs, it will be tough for any game to beat Bioshock Infinite as the best game of the year. Bioshock Infinite’s ending is one of the greatest endings I’ve ever seen in video games and is a treat for all Bioshock fans. I wasn’t sure if Bioshock Infinite could have topped the original Bioshock but not only was I wrong, but I’m not sure if there can be another Bioshock game that can out-do Infinite. It was that good. And if it was $120, I would buy it and I would recommend it to any gamer. You need to play this. Play this.
- Amazing story with great characters and plot
- Stunning visuals
- Great voice work
- Similar to Bioshock but doesn’t fail at setting itself apart
- No forced online components
- Best ending I’ve ever seen and will probably ever see
- Ending still leaves some loose ends for players to speculate on themselves, which is completely welcome
- Sky-line is great
- Elizabeth is an amazing partner and not a liability
- No iconic enemies
- Useless PlayStation Move compatibility