Review by fireemblemomega

"Bioshock Infinite, Not Exactly Bioshock"

When I think of Bioshock, I think of Rapture and Big Daddies, Little Sisters, Big Sisters, etc. This game could be called Bioshock, by some, but to me it's a completely different universe. Instead of the usual storyline where you're some kind of fugitive/prodigal son, you're a man who has lived a pretty full, bloody life in the form of Booker DeWitt. If this doesn't shock you, wait until I dive into the meat and potatoes of this list. 2K and Irrational deliver, but not quite the way we are used to with the Bioshock tag to it.

Story: 7.5/10

Without revealing the ending, I will state that it disappointed me. Not The Last of Us disappointing, but it was bad. You play as Booker DeWitt, sent to the flying city of Columbia to collect a girl who will wipe away his debt. The trip starts off at a lighthouse, so it's reminiscent of Bioshock 1. Instead of going down, you go up instead. Once you land, you realize that this place might be really screwed up, as their religion revolves around a bastardization of Christianity with their (citizens of Columbia) fanatically following and believing in a man, Father Zachary Hale Comstock.

Unfortunately that's about as far as I can go without spoiling the story. Your situation gets complicated quickly by events set in motion that are out of your control. Your job to rescue a girl gets incredibly complicated once her power is revealed and you're constantly hunted by the Founders and Songbird. As if that wasn't bad enough, you will eventually run into the group spoken in hushed whispers known as the Vox Populi (Latin for Voice of the People or People's Voice) who rebel against the Founders for various reasons. With being pulled between two sides who are both attempting to kill you, you must navigate the city of Columbia and escape with the girl to wipe the debt away.

7.5 out of 10 for the sheer simplicity until the very end of the game. I liked it, but it's been done. For those who played the previous two Bioshocks (especially the first one) you expect the quality story that leaves you with your jaw dropped wondering who would think of such things.

Gameplay 9/10

This was the shining point for the game. Controls are different from the previous two entries, but if you've played Rage, you can familiarize yourself quickly. Even if you haven't played that, you can still bring about a quick learning curve. X is jump, 0 is crouch and stand, Triangle does a few functions when comparing Gear, Square reloads your weapon and allows you to investigate and is really your confirm button. The Down on the D-Pad is your easy access to listening to Voxophones (think Diaries from B1 and 2) so there's the hassle of holding down one button gone. R1 fires your current weapon and R2 cycles it. L1 fires your current Vigor (replaces Plasmids but essentially the same) and L2 swaps it. However, there's a huge change.

You no longer get to cycle through all of your Vigors. In fact, you get to choose two and the rest get stuffed into a sort of storage until you bring it out. This limits what you can do, but instead of feeling constrained, it feels more streamlined. You can choose the two Vigors (out of eight in the game) that you want to use for the situation you're in. In addition, when swapping them out, you get a pause to the game.

I cannot say the same for weapons. Unless you're told directly to choose a few weapons and run with them, you might find yourself constantly picking up and putting down multiple weapons. Many weapons become obsolete without upgrades, but the upgrades can cost you quite a bit of your wallet and in turn, you cannot have as much in the way of diversity as you might have enjoyed in the previous game(s) or even as much diversity as your Vigors give. Your melee attack also becomes bad, quick. The saving grace here is the addition of the execution mechanic. When an enemy becomes low on health, a little skull appears over their head. Hold down the melee button (which is Triangle) and you'll be invincible for the graphics time it takes to (in various ways) end your opponents life. Some gear gives you bonuses to melee and rewards executions.

Which brings us to Gear. Unlike in the previous games with Combat Tonics like Armored Shell and Damage Research (no cameras here), you're given gear with various effects and a Shield that is up-gradable. With Infusions, you gain a level in either Health, Shield or Salts (think EVE old school players). This is how growth happens here. There's no real wrong way to play it though, and the Infusions are scattered nicely and most are easy to find without having to resort to asking for help. Gear can be considered the armor. You have Hats, Shirts, Pants and Boots, each with different effects and each being useful in some situations and not in others. There are a few that give you invincibility based on certain conditions, one that doubles your ammo clip and even a few that set your enemies on fire with regular attacks. It certainly does breathe a few wheezes into the tired body that Rapture had.

The point taken off also refers to how there is only one save file. You can only continue on your last auto-save. While there are many auto-saves in the game placed pretty comfortably apart, there's an annoyance in having to wait for the next one to simply shut off your system.

Audio: 8/10

Very rarely was I annoyed highly by the music. However, hearing the same 5-7 songs over and over again really crimped my enjoyment. There's a bit of a high note though, some points of the game have surprises in the music, nothing tangible, but it's fun to find those goodies. An 8/10 passes here and it shows. Gunfire and depth to the sounds are fantastic, the voices are good and you can generally tell when one of the bigger enemies has crept up behind you and is about to give you some surprise loving. With a high risk/reward potential in relying on your sense of hearing, you might be able to pace yourself in the game just fine. It's nothing to write home about on any aspect, combat or domestic.

Graphics: 9/10

One point is taken off for lack of diversity. I killed over 100 enemies by about halfway through the game (if that) and each one of them could have been a cousin to the ones I killed before. That's not saying that the graphics sucked: They don't. I just get annoyed by homogeneous depictions of the same enemies over and over. Even some of the people that wander around all look the same. The environments are all lush or chilling, depending on the point of the story, with one place downright creepy (a sort of throwback to Bioshocks 1 and 2). Even small items have fine details, giving you the impression that this place exists and has a thriving market. Elizabeth has great detail in her development throughout the game and the developers really took care of her. To be honest, if it were more diverse on the generics, I would have given this a 10, this is that good.

Online: N/A

After the disaster where almost nobody played online in Bioshock 2, it comes to no surprise that this one doesn't have one in the regular game. I am unsure about the DLC, but if there is multiplayer online or the like with DLC, I will do a review for those later.

Overall 8/10

I really liked this game and tried my best to take it with a grain of salt. I knew it wouldn't be Rapture (those who know the ending to Bioshock 2 know what I mean, even though they're roughly 40 years apart from Infinite to B1). Unfortunately, the trips that I described above really make me wish to pull it out far less often than Bioshock 1 and 2, no matter how much I played them before. Get it, for sure, but don't feel too bad for not having as good a time with this if you played the other two before.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 02/18/14

Game Release: BioShock Infinite (US, 03/26/13)

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