WARNING! THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS SO IF YOY HAVE NOT FINISHED THE GAME DO NOT READ IT!
History: Before the the 21 century there have been many games, and many shooters that will later one dictate the way shooter are created. Altough many mechanics from old shooters are not adopted in today shooters, there is no doubt the old games had a big influence. One that stood out for many people was a game released in 1994 called System Shock. The game was not a success in sale but it was without a doubt an interesting game. Unfortunately I never got around to play. Problably because I was not born yet. But from what I heard and read Sytem Shock was groundbreaking game. Looking Glass Studi brougth new thing to video games. If I am not wrong they invented audio logs in games. That’s a thing used in many games today. A mechanic that stood in the industry for decades. In 1999 Looking Glass Studio and Irrational games released System Shock 2, the sequel to System Shock( You don’t say!). The title was designed by Ken Levine, the head of Irrational Games. System Shock 2, just like it predecessor did well with critics but bad with sells. Unfortunately Looking Glass Studio died and Irration did not had the rights to develop a sequel to System Shock 2. Irrational then started to work on a new game. The problem was nobody would put money in for this project until the studio went under Take-Two’s wing. After that the studio had the money and people to create the spiritual succesor to System Shock, named Bioshock. After release the game was universally acclaim. It is the highest rated shooter to date. A ‘’Thinking mans game’’. A shooter with heavy themes and one of the most creative world design in games. Also interesting ameplay concepts with average machanis. Actually that’s the problem with Bioshock . The gameplay was never great. It was slight above average. The star in Bioshock was the incredible story and the creative world. A very well written game with one of the best plot twists people have seen. Not just in games but in many athoter medias like movies or books. Bioshock was a prove that games can be art. That they can compete with moves and books.
After many years in development whe finally have the the sequel to Bioshock and Bioshock 2. A game that has been very hyped and expected by fans and gamers all over the world. Bioshock Infinite is here and it tries something ambitious that many games don’t even aspire to. The question is has it been worth the wait. It is hard to break down the game because just like the other Shock games it’s very complex. But let’s get started.
Story: The story in Bioshock was, like I said above, was very well written and developed. Bioshock 2 was not bad but the problem is it was a story that was not necessary to further explore the world of Rapture. Bioshock was a game that worked well on it’s own and did not need any sequel. So, Bioshock Infinite has a lot to live up to. You start the games as Booker DeWitt assigned to bring a girl named Elizabteh back to New York to pay off a debt. Booker arrives at the lighthouse and takes a trip to the sky. Litterarly! You arrive in Columbia, a floating city in the sky that immediately strokes you. But I will talk more about that in Graphics section. Booker gets in Columbia and soon finds out that underneath the beautiful façade , Columbia is a city controlled by extremism religion and racism. The year is 1912 and many people don’t agree with black or asians people in the community. From the moment you get there you realize something is wrong. It all feels like a museum. Many complain about this but I think that’s how the city should feel. That people don’t have a free will and their lifes are unreal. Eventually you get to rescue Elizabteh from the tower guarded by a giant mechanical bird names Songbird, wich is Elizabeth’s warden.
After that the game’s story becomes far more complicated but in a good way. It is not the kind of story development that makes your eyes roll. Every moment feels important to further discover characters and information about the world. If the story has any problem is that is not very well paced. I mean the beginning is amzing and the ending is satysfing but the middle is pretty much just killing continuously. The middle is important for further understanding the story but is not very well paced. Second, some characters while important they are not very described. Besides Booker, Elizabeth, the Luteces and Comstock many characters like Fink or Daisy Fitzroy feel underdeveloped even after you hear many of their voxophones(the equivalent of audio logs from Rapture).
The writing is very good but the pacing suffers. But with all these problems the story is still a highlight of this game. A very complex story with heavy themes that many games don’t even touch on. And even if they do not any other game has discussed about these issues in such an interesting way. Booker and Elizabeth have a great relationship(not a love story) that develops nicely later on. Even tough the story has problems I must admit it is compelling trough out. The ending is also outstanding and makes you think about the game. If it is better than Bioshock or Bioshock 2 it all depends on the player preferences.
Gameplay: The question here is what do you do in Bioshock. Well half the time you explore and half the time you engage in combat. And here starts the biggest problem with this game. The Shock games have never had really great combat. The shooting in Bioshock was very clunky and the combat itself was very slow paced. In Infinite the combat feels more dynamic. The shooting feels more smooth. Wich is a good thing since you’ll be using you fire arms far more often. Why? Because Infinite removes certain mechanics and elements from the first game. Hacking and stealth are removed. Actually Infinite removed a lot of mechanics that made the original more interesting and diverse, and while the shooting is better the lack of certain mechanics can make the shooting fell tedious after a while. Different types of ammo and interesting upgrades are all gone. There are weapon upgrades but they are pretty much uninteresting. Plus the game uses a two weapon system. It’s not that bad but it diminished the diversity in combat. Also the vigors are a bit weird too. They are essentially plasmids from the first game. Literally! A voxophone from Fink explains he saw the evolution of vigors from a tear. The vigors are drinks that give you special abilities, just like magic. These powers consume salts, wich is Eve Hypo from Bioshock, wich is like mana. Some vigors are stripped from the last games while there are some new ones with interesting effects. The problems with vigors is that they don’t seem to have a place in the world because nobody else other tan Booker and a few enemy types use them If vigors are the next step in Columbia’s evolution the why don’t other people use them. After all vigors and salts are all over the city, but no one uses them making their existence in Columbia very strange.
Also since you shoot so much it is important to have a good variety in enemies. Infinite has a good variety, it’s just that many enemies are bulletsponges. Some like the Motorized Patriots are enjoyable to fight while other like the Handyman are difficult because of their big buffed health bars and can be very annoying. Not to mention the boss fights. If there rae any. Many of them are just heavy hitters. The last boos battle is not really a boos battle at all. It’s just shooting waves of incoming enemies. The only boss battle that feels like a boos battle is unfortunately very annoying. A feaking bullet sponge ghost(Yes! A ghost!) that you have to fight tree times. I don’t know about you but I don’t like recycles boss battles. It would not be a problem if it was enjoyable to fight but that is clearly not the case.
The skylines also help the gameplay to be dynamic and engaging but just like the vigors they don’t seem to be stellar part of the world since just like vigors nobody else( except some enemies) uses them.
Alos Elizabeth while being the heart of this game she does fall apart with her mechanics. She is very usefull indeed. In fact she may be one of the most helpful friendly AI I have ever seen in a game. But she can have some strange moments when she stays in cover fromed from nothing. And sometimes when I come close to her she goes away from me. Also the enemies tottaly ignore her like she doesn’t exist. I understand that when you fight Comstocks men they have the order to bring her back alive but when you fight the Vox Populi they should try to hurt her but they don’t even see her. But with all these problems Elizabeth is helpfull and her AI is very good. Perhaps even great but not groundbreaking.
Exploration exists but the game itself is a bit more linear than the first game. I belive it’s because of the more focused story. Exploration is pretty good. You find information, voxophones, infusion bootles( upgrades for you’r characters) and gear wich is clothing that gives the player different abilities. They serve as the RPG element in this game and they are helpful in combat.
As a conclusion the gameplay is not bad but it is slighty above average. Just like in the first two Bioshock’s but with less mechanics and diversity.
Graphics & Sound: Unreal Engine 3 is pretty old and many games that use it have probmles with shadows, blurry visuals and pop in textures. However all these problems do not exist in Bioshock Infinite. The Unreal Engine has been modified perfectly. The visuals are stunnig. The games doen’t goes for photorealism but for an incredible art direction. Wich is why this game will remain beautiful. After many years we will look back at Bioshock Infinite and say it is still beautiful. The world is belivable and feels alive. The existence of NPC makes it feel more like a museum wich I feel it’s great for the airborne city. Effects and everything else looks marvelous and there are not many things to complain about the graphics.
The sound is also great. The music is simply amazing. The voice acting is top notch and in general the sound effects are great. The only problem I have the sound is that theweapons don’t sound all that great but otherwise everything about the graphics and sound desing is amazing.
Conclusion: If you think I criticised te game to much I’ll have to say that there are other thing to complain about. It is not a perfect game and I belive it does not deserve all the very high ranks. But I understand why it got all the 10/10 and 9.5/10. Because it is a fantastic story. A refreshing experience with more concepts that just shooting all the foreign people. In fact it was very hard to tink about the issues because actually they did not bothered me. And that’s the strange part. I love this game. But just because I did not have a problem with all the issues that does not mean other people would not see them. In act for some pople all thse issues can ruin the game. It is an interesting game that manages to create certain feeling in the gamers heart. A game that must be analyzed. Crtitic gave this game the high ranks because they rewied the game thinking about the amazing stuff this game does right. I could have easily praise and give this game a 10/10 but what is the point to say what people have already said. It’s and interesting journey that lets you with a lot of feeling that mnay games don’t but it is without a doubt a flawed game. I would give this game a 10/10 for the how it made me feel but as a game with less RPG and variety, worse mechanics, a resource game transformed in a stock shooter, poor pacing and some underdevelopted characters, less exploration and little replay value this is a 7.5/10 game. Still a great experience, still a game worth buying, that even if you like it or not you should still play just for the analysis of it and with the right expectations this is a game that (I feel) has been worth the wait.
If you have any ting you want to discuss about the review or the game. Or other games in general just leave you thoughts in the comments.