Posted: December 26
Long story short: Not as solid as a game as the other Bioshocks, but amazing at story-telling, even if it takes a bit too much from Half-Life 2's book. Excellent as a finisher for the trilogy's story.DISCLAIMER:
I don't own the DLC for this title, so I can't give an opinion on it. I've heard the Burial At Sea episodes are really good though, possibly better than the main game. Check reviews for the season pass before you make your purchase.
Bioshock Infinite was rated really highly for Game of the Year 2013. And rightly so, the game does an amazing job at wowing
the player. The amazing visuals, spectacular voice acting, and brilliant underlying motifs and themes make this one of the most memorable games of the year. However, gameplay features have been stripped down from the original Bioshock, some for the better, but in general the gameplay has ended up being a glorified shooting gallery rather than the maze-like claustrophobia that is Rapture.
Infinite takes place in Columbia, a city above the clouds, rich in detail as light floods the streets of moving buildings, vapour passes underneath, and zeppelins float by. The story goes like this (and I will keep this spoiler-free and brief): you play as Booker, a guy who is sent to capture a woman for someone else. That girl ends up being Elizabeth, who becomes your companion after about a quarter of the game. Her characterisation is great; she gives this sense of trapped freedom throughout the entire game. Certain scripted
areas really bring out her personality a lot. In the meanwhile, the citizens of Columbia turn against you after discovering a mark of the False Prophet
on your hand. This theme of religion is explored pretty well throughout the game as well.
The story is told in a Half-Life 2 fashion: you move from locale to locale to progress the game, each place broken up by a "cutscene" like area where, while control isn't taken away from the player sometimes, you're contained in an area until the dialogue has finished. It's alright, even if the pace slows down a little bit too much. There's also hidden voice logs around in typical Bioshock fashion just to add a bit more lore to the world.
The ironic part about Infinite is that, for a game that has risen from the ocean in terms of locale, it's also lost a lot of depth in gameplay. On surface-level, Booker can hold only two weapons, and can unleash any of his vigour powers (magic spells essentially) at any time in conjunction, such as shooting with a revolver and unleashing crows on enemies. Hacking is non-existent now, and has been pushed into a vigour of its own.
Most of the enemies are gun-wielding humans, which means the combat is cover-based. The health accommodates for this by using an armour/health mechanic where armour is cheap but rechargeable, whereas health can only be restored with pickups, giving the player a bit of room for error (which is always nice) without being ridiculously forgiving. Some enemies, such as the Handyman are more tank-like enemies (like the Big Daddies from Bioshock 1), and involve a much different playstyle to take down. However, the gunplay doesn't entirely work in its favour: unlike the Big Daddies, you're more or so launched into arenas with the Handymen, so traps and clever planning cannot be used; a drop in depth.
The combat itself is a bit more dynamic that other cover-based shooters, however. Elizabeth has the ability to pull in objects from alternate dimensions or time periods such as cover, grappling hooks, health packs, etc. It's neat the first few times, but it seems a bit too contextual as some areas lack these tears
, and combat reverts to the standard peak and shoot strategy, rather than the dynamic cover-shifting that the developers tried to implement.
Elizabeth also can sometimes find items throughout the game, which, again, feels contextual. A lot of the time, she'll give items when you need it, which makes her seem a lot more useful than she actually is. However, I think it's a mistep that Elizabeth will sometimes find money during gunfights, and think it's a good idea to hand over as bullets wizz past her head.
Finally on combat, there's certain areas with skyhook rails
, places where you can latch onto a rail and shoot along as you zoom down the line. The game makes it easy to hop on and off, and a couple of places in the game utilise this in a huge arena-like setting. Unfortunately, it makes gunplay a bit difficult, at least on PC, as you do not lock on to targets, making hitting them while moving a challenging endeavour. This is alleviated by the ability to crush enemies by landing on them, but it does make these sections seem a bit sporadic more than anything.
Weapons and vigours can be upgraded throughout the game, and fortunately the amount of money given to you in the game is quite small, only allowing you to upgrade a fraction of the things you can upgrade. However, the fact that you can only wield two weapons means that you can decide on a favourite playstyle and run with that, utilising other weapons only when they're handed to you. The vigours also are not utilised as much as the predecessors (for example, the hacking vigour is used a lot less than I'd like it to be used (I think I used it about eight times in the game)).
The biggest issue with Bioshock is that it's the third and final game in the series, yet a lot of its features seem a bit worse than the original titles. It's hard to discuss on its own just because I'm constantly reminded of what is missing, as opposed to what is there. However, the story is subjectively better than the previous titles: the land of Columbia is wonderous and well realised. It's also beautifully modelled and textured, and is a joy to look at.
Bioshock Infinite is a very good story, but it's not as solid a game as its predecessors. I'd recommend grabbing the trilogy package if you're new to the series but like first-person shooter titles as, while it's worth playing, it's not as good as the original Bioshock. If you do own the previous games, this game is still worth your money.
RATING: 2 UP, 1 DOWNMy up/down rating system tries to differentiate between games that are mediocre (less ups and downs total), and games that are interesting but flawed (more ups and downs totals). Ups relate to how much good a game has, and downs are how much bad a game has.
|0 UPs ||1 UPs ||2 UPs ||3 UPs |
|Not worth playing, skip it ||Alright, play it if you're into the genre ||Very good, play it if you're looking for something worth trying ||One to go down in history, a must have for everyone|
|0 DOWNs ||1 DOWNs ||2 DOWNs ||3 DOWNs |
|Nothing detrimental in the game ||A few things wrong, but doesn't ruin it ||Kind-of broken or aggravating, you may not be able to put up with it ||Very, very broken, a lesson on what not to do|