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Bioshock Infinite – Review

Posted on: April 1, 2013

Bioshock InfiniteBioshock Infinite has FINALLY come out. Fans of the franchise have been waiting about two-ish years for the next part of he saga, and all their dreams have finally come true. Was the wait (and multiple push backs) worth it? Definitely. I promise to try and keep this as spoiler free as possible, but if I do give something away, I vow to give warning first.

Now, the only amount of a Bioshock game that I have every played was when they put the demo out for Bioshock 2. Since I’m a giant pussy and can’t handle games that even show a remote amount of “scary”, I didn’t even make it through the demo. Once I saw Little Sister, I was out of there faster than one could blink.

But then there was the awe and wonder of Bioshock Infinite that started to make me curious. The shiny graphics, the Disney-like female character that becomes your companion. It all made me want to get to know Bioshock. Thankfully, having not ever played the franchise before, I didn’t need to have any background on the previous games.

You play as Booker Dewitt, a man that has to go to the world of Columbia (a nation that is set in the sky) to collect “The Girl” to free himself of a debt. The game starts off a little dark and dismal as you’re being rowed by two unknowns to a lighthouse in the middle of absolute nowhere somewhere on the ocean. They talk about you like you’re not even there, and as the player (or maybe it was just me, who knows) I found myself irritated. Hello! I’m right here, guys! You eventually are let off and you make your way into the lighthouse, up the stairs until you reach a small combo of bells that you have to ring in a certain sequence.

At first I thought I had done something wrong, as the sky lit up red, and an angelic-like bass horn sounded while I waited for this Heavenly Elevator to come down and open up before me. Being the non-religious type myself, this made me nervous. Was I on some sort of mission to stop some apocalypse from happening? When you’re finally able to enter, a barber shop looking chair pops up, and your character mumbles off something about sitting. Before you know it, you’re being rocketed into the sky at lightening speed until you burst through the clouds and enter into Columbia.

When the blinding light of the sun finally gives way to your view (prior to landing), your eyes are tickled by beautiful whites, blues, beiges and pinks/corals as you have a moment to soak in the beautiful city. I felt excitement bubble up in my body. “Damn, this looks like a Disney movie,” I remember saying to Michael (my husband).

Now, I’m not going to take you step by step, but the opening sequence of the game was just too drool-worthy to not talk about. Columbia, at first glance, is this magical and beautiful city that gives of a Disney-like vibe. Songs are sung as you make your way through the streets. Players, TAKE YOUR TIME wandering. Collect Silver Eagles (money – trust me…you’ll need as much as you can get to buy perks, ammo, Vigors, etc), munch on cotton candy and popcorn, listen to people’s conversations, and when you hear that barber shop quartet singing the Beach Boys “God Only Knows”, STOP. Stop right there…don’t move. Listen. Let that smile shine through. It was so good, in fact, that I literally broke out in goosebumps.

Along the way you collect Vigors. These are different magical powers that help you along the fight. Because you, Booker, are going to need it. My favorite is Murder of Crows. You get to send a flock of crows towards your enemies and watch them peck at them like a Hitchcock film as you shoot at them. I couldn’t help but let out a little bit of evil laughter the first time I was able to use it. Also, the gift of Possession lets you possess machines and people to help you. If you possess an enemy (non-machine), they end up feeling “bad” about shooting their own, that they end up killing themselves. This works especially in areas where there are a ton of enemies.

Although Columbia looks like something straight out of Disneyland, it has a very dark and seedy undertone. It’s a place that values itself on perfectionism, racial segregation, and religion. As an Agnostic (and one for equality for ALL), it’s a place of my actual nightmares. Your first interaction is that you have to choose between throwing a baseball either at an interracial couple who have been tied up for show, or to the announcer that is giving you the choice. Is it crossing the line? No. That shit happened back in the early 1900’s. At least the game is keeping true to the times.

Okay, guys. I do have to admit something though. I have a crush. A girl crush. Her name is Elizabeth, and she’s the girl you have to “collect”. In the end, you’ve actually rescued her from this ivory tower that the Prophet of Columbia (Zachary Comstock) is keeping her in. At first, she’s frightened. Tries to run away. Tries to beat you up by throwing books at you. Elizabeth reminds me of Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Ariel from The Little Mermaid. When you rescue her and she gets to experience life outside her tower, her awe at the world around you is somewhat inspiring. I found myself giggling along with her when she gets to dance on the boardwalk with strangers. She’s innocent without being annoying, which is a definite plus.

Along the way, Elizabeth helps you by throwing you salts (these help keep your powers available for use), ammo, health and most of all…money. Some other reviews have stated that the amount of times she stops you to throw you money is annoying, at best. Quite the opposite!! You need that money! It’s expensive being a bad ass, and you need it for ammo refills and the like. Best of all? You don’t have to worry about her in combat. She can take care of herself (and she never dies, so don’t worry about having to chase after her to revive or heal her).

Now, I feel like this is getting long and winded, so I’ll wrap it up. There’s SO many things I can touch on with this game. Take advantage of using the rail system with your magnetic claw-thing. It is a HUGE help in some combat areas, and straight up? It’s just fucking fun to zoom around on. Again, don’t worry about Elizabeth. She’s right there behind you.

Do I have anything bad to say about this game? Surprisingly, no. I think the wait, and the few push backs really helped in refining the game. Oh wait, I lied. There is one thing. This is NOT giving anything away, but remember earlier when I said I can’t handle games that are even a touch scary? Warning, if you can’t either, it does get slightly scarier the deeper you go. In one part, you’re in an abandoned hospital. ‘Nuff said, right? Jesus H. Christ…just wait. Before entering one room, I stepped into the door frame, and by some ghostly action, a rickety and creepy wheelchair comes rolling out from behind a column with the head of Ben Franklin on it with its eyes missing. This was followed by me singing, “No, no, no, no, no” for a good minute as I waited for the game to save so I could exit and give myself a mental break. Other than that, A+, guys.

I haven’t finished the game, so I can’t tell you yet whether or not the ending was a let down or not, but at this rate, I’d be shocked if it was a let down.

Go forth, players, and play on.

10/10

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1 Response to "Bioshock Infinite – Review"

Warning: possible spoilers follow…

From your comments on the other blog where the author gavie the game a 0/1 out of 5, I’m guessing you have finished the game now.

I was going to mention the Hospital rooms with those dang horn headed creeps. One of my play throughs, one snuck up behind me so that when I turned around quickly, he was right there full screen and made me nearly jump out of my skin!

I was wondering how you felt about “The Vox” in this game? Not to mention the religious overtones. I understand why they were in the game and I really can’t think of any thing the developers could have replaced them with to keep the story flow moving as they did.

However, I was a little uncomfortable about the Vox. At first the game felt like Booker was going to help out their cause, but later, he kills the Vox as much as the white folk. To be fair, as the game progresses the Vox are attacking him as much as any other character. Still…

Then there were the Wounded Knee/Boxer Rebellion exhibits that were fairly non-politically correct.

I just wonder how other races feel about the game and the games treatment of those characters.

The religious overtones didn’t bother me so much since I’m atheist and feel like they just made a religion that I could see happening if there were no other religions prior to creating the United States.

Major Spoilers follow…

I totally love the ending. I wish it had gone on longer or there were truly interactive parts maybe even a whole section of the game devoted to that ending. However after all that action on Comstock’s flagship, it was nice to sit back and relax as we see how the story finally ends.

I love all the subtle hints that we are actually in a time loop. The bloody nose, the Lutece’s conversations while ignoring the fact I’m in earshot as well as their banter. The black and white flashes of memory.

Also, I too LOVE Elizabeth. They did such a great job writing her part in the story. She’s not annoying, irritating (as some Doctor Who companions I can think of were), needy, etc… Just a perfect plot device to move the story further and further on.

i do wish I was able to return to parts of the city I had been so that I could collect more coins and ride the sky-rails more, but I understand the need to keep the story moving forward.

So, I’ve played through the game 3 times finally getting past the final battle on the third try. Getting the Infusions split out just right is very important.

I’m starting my 4th time through so that I can pick up all the achievements I can. There are some I know I just can’t get. Playing through the game in 1999 mode for example. But I’ll be happy when I collect all the sightseer achievements as well as the Voxophones.

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