Oh hun, such a drama queen.


CRank: 10Score: 0

User Review : BioShock: Infinite

  • Well thought out narrative
  • Lush and gorgeous visuals
  • Ear-candy audio
  • Generic gameplay
  • Failure to properly incorporate philosophical elements
  • Lacklustre final moments

Deep and moving? No. Bullet storm? Yes.

It's been almost six years since we were introduced to the original BioShock experience; a game that carries a heavy weight to its name for mostly positive reasons and you would be hard pressed to find someone who didn't like it, nevermind know of it. Following three years later, a rather disappointing sequel was developed by 2K Marin with a multiplayer component (no surprise there.) Some claim that the original BioShock set the standard for single player games of the seventh generation. Most people agree with that credo and go further to say it was revolutionary and innovative. I must contest as gamers and critics alike throw around both adjectives so much when a game has garnered so much positivity that I firmly believe they'd forgotten the definitions of the terms.

BioShock is a series that I tend to go back and forth with; the games, in my opinion, try too hard to be deep and philosophical instead of just being deep and philosophical. The games are quite often praised for such when in reality, they are simply action games with an intriguing enough story to keep you interested with generic gameplay and an inevitable plot twist that keeps people talking about it for years. To be honest, behind the smoke and mirrors, I find the games to be nothing shy of ordinary.

Let's take BioShock: Infinite for example: I can't deny that the game shines brightly in terms of narrative, visuals and audio. While it's great to see the often ignored aspects in video games focused on more, gameplay is sacrificed and that is not okay - it's a video game, after all. When I'm playing a video game, I want to feel like I'm playing a video game, not watching a film - and I must point out to avoid confusion, I am not insinuating that the game mirrors Heavy Rain or anything of the sort. It's just that while the narrative and visuals and audio are given the attention, the aspects that make a video game a video game sadly suffer.

BioShock: Infinite takes players on a journey to Columbia - that's right, hasta la vista, Rapture - a 1900's era landscape blooming with scrumptious detail and an almost dystopian feel; an eerie combination, in essence, of Oz and a post-apocalyptic aura. Visuals are undeniably award winning and wonderfully impressive and serve a solid factor in immersion. Booker DeWitt - the game's leading protagonist - an alcoholic with an inescapable debt is brought on by a strange character to infiltrate Columbia and free a hostage named Elizabeth, a lovely young woman with deadly supernatural abilities.

DeWitt's presence and his aiding of Elizabeth's escape causes the two factions within Columbia to turn - almost robotically - hostile and this is where the game basically goes from forcing the philosophical background to forcing a bullet hailstorm. I feel as though this is a weak point in the narrative - while the BioShock games have always truly been about a strong narrative and even stronger combat (notice how I said combat and not gameplay,) it was ultimately a missed opportunity for something different. I could easily picture the two protagonists being thrown into the centre of a political power struggle between the two factions and inspire the philosophical and emotional theme to actually be relevant to the narrative as a whole instead of it just being implied. Instead, suddenly everyone is an enemy and you honestly wonder where all the guns came from in that seemingly idyllic environment.

One of the notable feats of BioShock: Infinite is that while Elizabeth serves as a companion to the protagonist, the game does not turn into an escort mission - Elizabeth is perfectly capable of holding her own and serves as a rather reliable ally. Considering the rather disappointing transition from seemingly open-world exploration and discovery to gun-toting madness was basically thrown in your face, it's nice that the game almost literally says, "Hey, sorry about that. To make up for it, here's an independent AI who you won't have to play guardian over."

Combat is slightly different than before but reminiscent enough to appease fans of the previous instalments' mechanics. I personally find it to be enjoyable but nothing 'revolutionary' or 'innovative.' Some claim it to be tactical, I find it convenient. As always, you have your firearm and your plasmids (now referred to as 'vigors,') that work well together as always. There's not much depth as others have claimed - it more so just rests on the surface and says, "Hey, I'm a good idea. Use me." To keep things interesting and less repetitive, some enemies are unaffected by certain vigors forcing you to change your methodologies and actually do more than just pull triggers. You have the ability to put on different gear pieces with apply improvements to the effects of your weapons and vigors.

Enemy characters are different this time around - you're not going after waves of splicers. You'll find yourself up against 'normal' opponents such as security guards, but you'll also be up against 'heavy hitters' which is Infinite's version of Big Daddies, just less intimidating. Enemy AI however is nothing to lose your pants over - glitching, stupid behaviour that we shouldn't be expecting in 2013 and the only way for the combat to truly be something of a challenge is to play on the harder difficulties. I could get through the game in my younger days when I was new to shooters and always played on easy modes.

Unlike BioShock 2, Infinite does not offer a multiplayer component - awfully developed or otherwise - so thank the God of your choice.

Overall, BioShock: Infinite is a decent enough game with a well-written narrative, excellent character development - more so with Elizabeth than DeWitt - charming visuals and pleasant audio. However, I still to this day do not understand the grovelling fan base surrounding the series as I find them to be ordinary games with mature themes and intelligent plot devices. General gameplay needs to be taken into better consideration to be considered revolutionary or innovative as people so often label it. Infinite uses philosophy and emotional drive as a plot device but as always, BioShock relies too heavily on fun-centric gun fights to truly focus on anything that would prove the games worthy of their revolutionary and innovative monikers.

Author's Note (4/10/13): Please refrain from criticizing me on what score I gave the game. "It does not deserve a 7" is your opinion and considering that I gave it a 7, I beg to differ. Please do not treat your opinion as fact. Thank you.

Beautiful and detailed, the backdrop and setting is wondefully done. Character models seem arcade-like.
Wonderful audio - voice acting, sound effects and music are all done splendidly.
A shot in the dark would indicate gameplay was carried over from previous games with minor improvements.
Fun Factor
You can't go wrong with an action-shooter with good mechanics, but it's only entertaining for so long.
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coolbeans1877d ago (Edited 1877d ago )

"Lackluster ending?"

My, my, you're certainly in the mood to debate in your comment section, aren't you? :P

Anyways, an...interesting review that still leaves me a bit anxious to play just to see where I would stand on its quality (thank goodness this review wasn't spoiler-y).

Valenka1877d ago

Ah, I should probably edit that to clarify what I meant by lacklustre. It wasn't the ending itself, but the final moments as a whole including a spoiler that I shan't reveal.

Paranoidplayer241876d ago

Oh me oh my. How I do not agree with you.

The ending and whole story was fantastic and makes complete sense if you watch it 2-3 times and get the voxophones

Kran1873d ago

To be honest with you, endings should be understandable first time.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all with playing through a game a couple of times, but that's besides the point.

Some people want an ending they can understand right away, not an ending that'll screw you over until you spend another 13 hours just to understand it

DigitalRaptor1863d ago (Edited 1863d ago )

I can't agree with that. Having a story that is understandable is important, but a story that is hard to piece together, but becomes more cohesive on multiple experiences is the sign of a layered experience, and one that is designed to be soaked up rather than spelled out for you. If you're a fan of a certain universe, the "Aha!!" moment is priceless. Some of the greatest films I've watched and music I've listened to and books I've read have followed this, and the payoff is immense, once it hits you and you gather more than initially experienced.

It's also the sign of a true artist to leave your work to the interpretation of others, as art is the expression of self-reflection. It doesn't always need explaining to be valid.

ZombieNinjaPanda1860d ago (Edited 1860d ago )

I've never before seen so much praise for such a lack luster storyline in my entire life. Just because they add in a time travel twist at the end does not indicate a good story for the game. It felt completely forced, one second she's what can be seen as a naive girl, the next second she's traveling through time and 'understands' everything.

I'm glad Valenka however gave this game a more accurate score than what it has been receiving so far. Perfection? Far from it. Flawed but good? Yes. And I haven't even touched upon the several gameplay mechanics that have been removed or dumbed down either.

N4Flamers1876d ago

I thought your review was mediocre. It seemed you were trying to be edgy and go against the popular opinion so you could label yourself as original or "trendy"

I didnt mind the combat in the game and i thought you were generally on point with that but it seems you missed a few points in the narative that might have helped you understand it. Everyone in columbia that is an authority figgure is prepared for your arrival and has been instructed to hunt you down. Its explained that comstock the prophet has put them on alert. There is so much evidence to this that i would rather pm it to you. The other thing you missed is that the war between the vox and columbians doesnt take place in the columbia you start out in. It was in a different reality. You might have missed this but it was only the central theme of the entire game.

Valenka1876d ago

I was waiting for a comment like this and while I am certainly sorry you feel that way, it was not my intention to be considered trendy or original - and with all due respect, everyone is original in their own way, regardless of their opinion - for writing a review highlighting an opinion perpendicular to the popular consensus. This is my honest opinion about the game (as as illustrated in the opening paragraph, the BioShock series as a whole) and it just happens to be an opinion that does not find itself grovelling at the feet of the franchise as a percentage of other reviews have.

However, I have indeed missed that piece of the narrative that you pointed out - Columbia's authorities preparing for DeWitt's arrival - and I thank you for doing so. You're more than welcome to PM me what you think I've missed and we can talk about it there. :) I appreciate you bringing this to my attention, N4Flamers.

dedicatedtogamers1876d ago

I mirror your opinion. I gave the game a 7.5 in my own review of the game and I got flamed for it. I didn't think it was a very "Bioshock"-ish game, seeing how the enemies were more generic, it focused more on combat, it gave you less freedom, there was less exploration, etc.

Oh, and the ending was dumb. The only people who thought it was revolutionary haven't picked up a sci-fi book in their life.

yaz2881876d ago

"Oh, and the ending was dumb. The only people who thought it was revolutionary haven't picked up a sci-fi book in their life."

The ending wasn't revolutionary, I agree, but it still was a good one and it answered an important question about the story and so It made the return trip much better imo.

N4Flamers1876d ago (Edited 1876d ago )

I dont feel that the ending was dumb at all and i actually have a blogpost about it. Its refreshing to pick up a video game with a complete story. People like the ending because it explains the rest of the game and isnt a cliff hanger or sequel bait. That is why its a good ending.

I didnt play bioshock 2 so i cant compare it to that one but i felt this game was driven by the story more than the first. I felt it was as bioshock as the first and even had a twist in it about the character just like the first. I mean if i wanted the original game i could just play that. They kept a lot of what made the first great, guns, powers, city theme, lighthouse, political agendas, recordings, mechanical protector, central ruler related to protagonist. Your opinion is your own however.

LightofDarkness1874d ago

This is one of the most (if not THE most) expertly crafted, moving and cohesive stories told in a videogame yet. The use of foreshadowing and theming is one thing, but it's incredibly difficult to tackle concepts like time travel and alternate realities and tie it all together without exposing massive holes, and THEY DID IT.

Give credit where credit is due.

ZombieNinjaPanda1860d ago

No they didn't. I realize this comment is 13 days old but I'll still respond do it. When you use time travel, you need to expertly craft it in a way that people will not be able to ask "Why didn't ____ do this instead of this?"

The moment that time travel happened in this game I found myself asking that. I found myself putting together a narrative that would have been much smarter, made more sense than what they already did. Why didn't Elizabeth do ____ instead of _____.

Overall, this shoehorned storyline opens up more questions than it answers.

Conquerbeard1870d ago

"the enemies were more generic" Uh. You fought nothing but splicers throughout the entirety of Bioshock, save for Big Daddies and flying drones. I'd love to know how that's more unique than what Infinite presents.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1860d ago
sdozzo1876d ago

I respect the review. It was a little rushed story-wise at the end, but the game was really great. I never played the first two and so I didn't know what to expect from a gameplay standpoint. While not handling like a "shooter," it felt pretty natural and after an hour it handled great.

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