What you need to know before buying this game.
There's an awful lot of love and hate for this game. So for the purpose of keeping things simple, I'd like to give a in depth review (no spoilers) that looks at the positive and negative side of the argument to help people decide whether or not to buy it.
First off, don't go into this game expecting a fast paced FPS or you will be dissappointed. This is a story driven game. There are plenty of actions sequences, but playing just for them will leave you dissapointed. Infinite's story is one of the best I've ever seen. However, you need to get in the habit of slowing down and really taking in the world around you. Hunting for voxophones and listening to conversations really brings the world to life. The story can be a bit confusing as a lot of things have symbolism that won't be apparent until late in the game, but it's the kind of story that will make you want to go back and play again to better understand these points. I wn't give away the ending, but it really does end with a bang.
Secondly, the gameplay. veterans of the series will notice right off that weapon slots have been reduced to two. This is both a positive and negative thing. Personally, it steered me more towards using the powers rather than just run and gunning. However, it takes away the ability to swap ammo types, which feels limiting. The vigors (plasmids) are a lot of fun to use, but are incredibly unbalanced. The first one you get can possess enemies, and when upgraded, causes soldiers to fight for you, then suicide when the timer runs out, allowing entire rooms to be cleared by turning everyone against each other. While they are varied and fun, more work needed to be done to ensure balance.
Third, the world. Leaving Rapture was a risk that paid off. The first time you set foot in Columbia made my jaw drop. The vibrant colors were a great change of pace from Rapture and any other game in recent months. The city is widely varied and beautiful to look at. However, while work was put into the design, the textures are not as high as could be. This doesn't really take away from the experience, but it could have made a great city even better. Character models work nice though. Some people say it's linear, but in a story driven game, that's almost a necessity. A open world would have lost focus on the main story. I'm not saying it absolutly wouldn't work, but it would have required a major redesign.
Fourth and final, overall experience. This game sits up with Fallout 3 and others as my favorite games of all time. After the story was over, I wanted to play again just to see what I might have missed. It's by no means perfect. Less than great textures, unbalanced powers, and maybe a bit too easy causes a short playthrough of about 10 hours depending on how exploration happy you are. Is it worth the money? I think so. Just don't expect COD. Treat it more like heavy rain, a story experience. Like I said, I love this game, but I'm not above admitting it has flaws.