Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Bioshock Infinite Review

Reviewed on: PS3

Bioshock Infinite is the third game in the Bioshock series and features new protagonist Booker Dewitt. Bioshock Infinite is set roughly forty years before the first Bioshock in an alternate version of America. Before I continue I must confess I've never played any of the Bioshock games, I always wanted to, but never got around to it. This means I've never experienced Rapture and have not experienced the deeply philosophical nature of Ken Levine's games. Rob has told me an awful lot about the first two and is a big fan of both and I know that the first is widely considered to be one of the best games of all time. So I had high hopes for this game.

The gameplay is pretty awesome. Controls are simple and easy to pick up making getting in to the game much quicker. There is a range of weapons to allow a range of playstyles and situations, you can have any two weapons on you at one time with other weapons scattered everywhere for you to pick up. Vigours (magic) are acquired over the course of the game and can provide vital support in sticky situations, I didn't exploit them nearly enough, but when I did use them they were fantastic, my favourite was "Murder of Crows" which summons crows to attack the enemy. Elisabeth (one of the main characters) is a huge part of gameplay as she can unlock certain doors and containers with lockpicks found throughout the environment, she also has the ability to open "tears" which can bring robots, supplies and environment aids into the area providing essential help. Early in the game you obtain a hook that allows melee moves and new ways to traverse the world (through hooks and skylines).

The graphics unfortunately are fairly shoddy. The world and characters are cartoony (which I've never liked) and a lot of the environment looks pixilated and out of focus, but I really must stress that graphics are really not important in this game and they are certainly good enough to still love the game as much as if it had great graphics. Also it's clear by now that the hardware for this generation is at its end and has very little left to offer so it is understandable that the graphics here don't raise standards.

Fortunately the sound is cool, voices are great and the sound effects are amazing, but nothing really stood out and was really memorable, until a single scene where Booker and Elizabeth play a song together which was a sweet and touching moment.

The story is mostly provided through voxophone recordings. The story of the world is great and very intuitive. The main storyline is pretty solid, but uninteresting for the most part, however when it comes to the end my mind was blown. The end had such an incredible twist that I never saw coming, it really was an end worthy of Chuck Palahniuk himself! The main problem I had with the story is that it seems to be more a story about the world than it does about the characters. The setting seems to be the hero and the other characters are somewhat sidelined. This is why the game's story takes so long to get going and is only really worthy of greatness thanks to its ending.

Though the story isn't great the world that it is set in is. I know from what Rob has told me that Rapture from the first Bioshock is one of the best settings in all of video game history. Luckily the world of Bioshock: Infinite matches this standard. The sky city of Colombia is an incredible setting for the game. Navigating with the hook is great fun and Elizabeth's ability to create 'tears' means that there are a lot of opportunities for creative settings.

Personally I liked the game, but I wasn't really fussed, I liked it, but its not my kind of game. Its focus on philosophy and the world over its characters makes its story hard to get into. Add to this the bad graphics and you have a game which can be hard to get into, if it weren't for its great gameplay and good sound then the game would be quite forgettable. However it is an amazing game and for most people it could very will be one of the best games they had ever played, it just depends on whether or not the Bioshock style of game is one that appeals to you or one that bores you.