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Submitted by jtmgames 563d ago | opinion piece

BioShock Infinite: A Story That’s Crushed Beneath Its Own Ambition

"May I play the devil’s advocate without being torn a new one? BioShock Infinite is a good game. With an almost unbelievably beautiful setting, stellar music and voice acting, and solid gameplay similar to its predecessors, 2K Games’ success was a foregone conclusion. Is it a truly great game? Not in my opinion." - JTM Games (BioShock: Infinite, PC, PS3, Xbox 360)

dedicatedtogamers  +   563d ago
Completely agree. People are praising the time-loop aspect of Bioshock Infinite and calling it "brilliant" and "original", but it's the same plot as inFamous. And even when people shout "NO IT'S NOT!", they can't reasonably explain how its not.

The game benefits from the "Halo effect". The Halo series has always had great visuals, great pacing, great art design, outstanding music, intense action, but a boilerplate storyline. Yet, because all of the aforementioned aspects make the game "feel" more epic, people attribute that to the "awesome story", when it reality it was the production values that made the game feel so good. Bioshock Infinite is the same thing: great music, great world, intriguing premise, great pacing, great art design, great visuals, but a storyline that is - in every sense of the term - a poorly-executed story that has been told dozens of times before. It makes me wonder if anyone reads books nowadays.

Infinite fans: if you truly, truly, honestly believe the game gives a realistic and interesting look into time travel, warped reality, and quantum mechanics, I would implore you to go out and pick up a few books by authors like Philip K Dick or Ursula Le Guin or freakin' read "Weapon Shops of Isher" by Van Vogt from over 60 years ago.
#1 (Edited 563d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(17) | Report | Reply
papajag  +   563d ago
The may not have been original but to me the presentation is what really made it good. inFamous was simplified which is why it never got the praise it deserves. Also FPS tends to make the player almost part of the story which adds to the immersion sh*t.

In my opinion time travel stories aren't all that great. Neither are dimensional hopping stories. They're too full of plot holes.
SkidMudFlap  +   562d ago
Of course dimensional and time travel are full of plot holes but to fill those holes the people making it need to explain more thorougly in the game. Unlike bioshock the explanation you need is not to just move foward into the game because in bioshock the part story you need are stored in a device called vaxophones or something and sometimes people playing it will miss one or two or three.
SkidMudFlap  +   563d ago
The game is actually brilliant but not original, they just make the story better, we have all seen this throughout our life they copy from other people and make it better. Oh and i love this kind of story about diffrent dimensions they make you like "Naoh! That's not true." and "Holy shit! It is true." and also make me confusing making the replay value of the game high.
grayfoxx881  +   563d ago
I think if you attempt to compare the plots of books and games, games are going to lose almost every time. I enjoyed Infinite's story, and the ending took me by surprise, and I can't say that about the many games that I've played over the last 25 years. I don't think I'd call the story brilliant, but in my opinion it did a better job than most games.
Blacklash93  +   562d ago
Besides the "Main character is also the villain." twist, which is actually in a very different context than time travel, the story is completely different from inFamous. You're completely oversimplifying it.

It's not just the alternate universes. There's a beautiful and fascinating city, an intriguing history, a civil war about racial tension, an emotional undercurrent with Elizabeth, marked and impactful character development, very cohesive themes and meaningful symbolism, good use of foreshadowing, and dark and disturbing twist as to who the protagonist is and what he did to set these events in motion. That all comes together to make something unique and entertaining.
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joab777  +   562d ago
Yes..books are great. This is a video game. And I don't mind ppl picking it apart as its a sign that the game is so damn good. But, many don't like even a hint in an ending that it isn't conclusive. I love it because a week later I am still playing it and breaking down every aspect of the story. There r so many elements that r so profound. I was thinking about how many feel disconnect from booker. Imo its fine because the real connect is Elizabeth. I thought about how he had done this (spolier) 122 prior times but only once the player is involved is he able to get the job done. And for once the gamer and the controlled character begin the game in the same state...clueless and confused with one simple goal in mind...find the girl and wipe away the debt. As booker learns so do we. Its brilliant. It adds so much wait when u first listen to ur own voxophones and step through tears.

And just lile it should be, booker doesn't hav an emotional connect with himself. Its this journey and his relationship with elizabeth that changes everything. So its fine if u don't care about booker, he doesn't cate about himself. He is basically a hollow shell that is experienced at fighting (as the gamer is).

I can't say enough. Yes, up on my perch with my hindsight glasses I can pick apart the combat and such and talk about how this and this would hav made it better. This time though, I am not gonna do that because I don't wanna ruin it. I am sure that even Irrational would tell u that with infinite time amd money, infinite itself would have been a little different. I am gonna sit back and enjoy...but then I don't have to write articles for websites.
Conzul  +   563d ago
Actually I thought the soundtrack was the weakest part of BSI. Not the ambient one or the songs, but the combat tracks were really forgettable.

I can appreciate that Levine probably wanted to stick to period music at least on the surface, but throw in some drums or some bass FFS. The action was waaaaaaaaay more fun and frenetic than the music that was playing at the same time.

U mad bro? pop the disk in and tell me I'm wrong.
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Kurt Russell  +   562d ago
Naaa, I'll just click disagree thanks ;)
da_2pacalypse  +   563d ago
I don't understand... What's with the hipsters hating on Bioshock Infinite? I mean, you're free to dislike the game... but come on! How can you blame a game for having ambition? Games don't come as unique as Bioshock infinite does... so if you're hating B:I.... then what's your response to the bland and generic games that rule the industry?
dedicatedtogamers  +   563d ago
No, rather, what's with the hipsters praising Infinite as some sort of storytelling achievement when it isn't? What's with the hipsters going ga-ga over the game when the gameplay, freedom of choice, and depth of characters have each been grossly cut down compared to what the original Bioshock accomplished? I don't blame the game for having ambition. I blame it for lacking ambition, since (outside of the phenomenal setting) it failed to do anything ambitious at all. What is with the hipsters acting as if Bioshock Infinite teaches us metaphysics, or acting as if Infinite is "the best multiplayer game I've played in a while", according to one Kotaku writer?

If anything, the hipsters are the ones rallying around this game as some sort of "games are art" effigy in the middle of town square, while gamers like me are frustrated by the game's quite obvious downgrade in terms of gameplay freedom and character development.
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Megaplaynate  +   562d ago
Bioshock infinite may not be as good as the original, yet it's still a great game and I believe combat is better than in Bioshock, although Bioshock had you planning strategies before every big daddy fight.
IIJOSEPHXII  +   563d ago
It's just a linear shooter. The parallel worlds are irrelavent to the gameplay, because you move between them as the story progresses in a linear fashion.

If you took away the visuals and sound and looked at what you are doing in terms of pure gameplay, then it is no different to a Call of Duty title except instead of Captain Price you have Elizabeth to help you defeat the waves of goons.
Sketchy_Galore  +   562d ago
That is true and the gameplay could definitely have used some variety but you disregard the story a little easily there. You might as well say if you take away the plot and visuals of Goodfellas you're staring at an empty screen for two hours.
joab777  +   562d ago
Exactly. I am guessing from everything that I read that they had a hell of a time with elizabeth. I will bet that the initial vision wasn't completely realized. At one point they wanted to ditch her entirely. I bet she would have been more of a focus in combat.

But considering that they ditched Rapture and big daddies and chose a bright city in the sky is evidenve enough that they were willing to push themselves. Elizabeth was amazing too. I would bet that they ran out of time and money and had to polish what they had. And what they had is better than 99% of what is out there.

I know this because in almost all critiques its only bioshock or other mediums that r used in comparison. And that is how I feel. It deserves a great score despite being flawless because its a step above the competition.
Sketchy_Galore  +   562d ago
I agree that Comstock is no Andrew Ryan but then who is? Andrew Ryan is the greatest person who ever lived or didn't. The people of Rapture were wrong when they claimed he doesn't own them. To use an outdated Internet term, Andrew Ryan owns everyone. If you compare every videogame character to him you're going to end up disappointed by everyone but Alyx Vance.

SPOILERS from here on by the way..... Infamous may have had a similar ending to Bioshock Infinite but honestly, don't get me wrong I loved Infamous but, aside from the cool and clever twist, Infamous did not come close to the mindbending greatness of Bioshock Infinite's ending. Infamous left way too much vague and ruined one of it's most interesting ideas (the idea that good Cole had come to train himself to fight evil Cole) by pretending the beast was always supposed to be somebody else in the sequel.

Where Infamous had the one great idea surrounded by strangely unrelated characters and side plots that went nowhere, Bioshock Infinite's many weird and wild twists, turns and off kilter moments actually hang together perfectly. I took my time and collected most Voxophones, missing maybe only one or two I found early on my second playthrough. Still, after I had completed the game and felt I understood the ending I had to read up on the many little bits I didn't quite get and every single one made perfect sense within the confines of the game's own twisted world. The fact that most people will not guess what is going on on their first playthrough but from the start of the second playthrough every single thing that happens seems so clear and obvious is just insane. I don't think people appreciate that enough. This is not a game that just had a cool twist at the end. This is a game that tells a story you would have to contort your mind to even write on paper, that hangs together perfectly and is completely internally consistent. That is quite a feat.

Finally (thank the prophet) the complaint that the whole (still spoilers by the way) interconnected multiverses thing wherein there is always a man, always a lighthouse etc must imply that the protagonist from the first Bioshock must somehow be Andrew Ryan is just silly. These realities share similar themes and elements bit they differ too.if they contained the exact same elements all the way through they would be the same Universe. I think it's pretty crazy to call Booker a neutral character too. He's a strongly personified guilt ridden drunk gambler who sold his daughter to pay off his gambling debts. That doesn't sound too neutral to me. By contrast Comstock behaves like exactly the kind of guy who would do the things Booker has done but has been provided a way to assuage his guilt by baptism, which allowed him a permanent escape from the personal responsibility of facing up to what a continually flawed creature he is. The best Booker ever managed was the temporary relief of alcohol and the thrill of gambling, which always left him hungover and forced to face his demons.
Lone_Man  +   562d ago
the game was ok until the climax came than i was like wtf but it was too late for me to consider it the game of the year 2013. but people should play it and complete it first then give their thoughts about it. some of my friend didnt even finished the half of the game and were saying the game is not that great but the main core of this game is its climax which was awesome
Inception  +   562d ago
Well, before Bio Infinite, there's a lot of game with parallel worlds or quantum physics story such as Infamous, 999: 9 hours-9 person-9 door, and the latest Zero Escape: Virtue Last Reward. Imho, i find Zero Escape story is better than Infinite. But nonetheless Infinite story is still good and i'm enjoying it.
laurenkathleen   562d ago | Spam
Kidrobo08  +   562d ago
I feel like bioshock is a amazing game. its a game where as a gamer you have no choice in anything that goes on in the game. In the first bioshock if you harvest little sister even one you get the bad ending, if you choose to save them all you get a good ending. That really had nothing to do with the main theme of the game you choosing to kill these girls was more to connect the gamer to the game. How did infinite do that? Its not my place to tell you how you got emotional connected with the game. Thats the beauty of it.

Every time you play the game it will be different your a different Booker Dewitt trapped in a time loop with one singular motive. I wonder if anyone remembers what Andrew Ryan said to Jack in his last breath. "A man Chooses, a slave obeys" Thats a very strong message. your playing a video that just called you a slave. Why? its simple the killing of the little girls does little to tell the story just as your choices in infinite do nothing that has already been set in motion. When did we all miss that point about Bioshock.

The gamer is a slave, Jack was a slave, and Booker is a slave. Booker has no idea where he is, he can barely remember he had a daughter its apart of the theory that is said when you first start the campaign. I suggest you play the game over collect all the voxophones, look up the historical events in the game, it will help you understand who Comstock is why he became the man he is. Don't Compare infinite to the first one its a totally different world Ryan is European Comstock is American. They have completely different ideals. I hope they make another world a different one. Not just some boring sequel about nothing really, Im talking about the Bioshock 2. It was good awesome combat but no smack in the face that let me know I was nothing more then a pawn in a bigger scheme.

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