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Game Review: BioShock Infinite

When the original BioShock was released, gamers loved it. It had a fantastic story, amazing gameplay and beautiful design that truly transported us to another world and gave us a fantastic experience. Needless to say when Irrational Games announced that it would be working on another BioShock game, we were all very excited. But could the new entry match up to the fantastic experience of the original one? Well after a long wait and multiple delays BioShock Infinite is not only a phenomenal game, but an experience that may very well be better than its predecessor.

You are Booker DeWitt, an ex-pinkerton agent tasked with going to the floating city of Columbia and looking for a young girl, Elizabeth, in order to wipe away a debt. After a bit of sightseeing, all hell breaks loose as you are caught between Columbia’s warring factions The Founders and the Vox Populi. Booker’s only way of getting it out alive is with Elizabeth’s help.

The story is fantastic. It starts off slow, letting you take in the sights of Columbia, allowing the player to immerse themselves in the world much like Booker. Once the action gets going, the mystery behind what is going keeps building at a steady pace making you want to press on further to find all the answers. The characters are well developed. This is some of the best interaction between two characters throughout a game that I have seen in a while. Booker and Elizabeth have a great dynamic as both have been through awful experiences yet they are still so different from each other. By having Elizabeth always with Booker through most of the game the player comes to care about her. Most of the dialogue occurs in real time so the game rarely has to stop the player in order to tell the story. While there are some aspects of the story that may lose players in some moments due to dealing with so many complicated matters it doesn’t hurt the experience and by the end things become clear and you end up with a satisfying conclusion.

The gameplay has been improved over its predecessor. You still end up gaining multiple powers, known as vigors, and have access to a wide variety of weapons, but with a bit more enemy types you can’t use the same tactic throughout the entire game. This forces the player to an extent to try different tactics to make it through the firefights. This also allows for players to come up with their own play style.

The combat is more hectic than in BioShock since most of the time the player will be fighting in open spaces. This makes it more challenging as it allows enemies to circle around the player as suppose to being bottlenecked in a hallway.  The open areas are useful when the player has to face tougher enemies along with some of the more basic enemies, but it is still tough.

Elizabeth becomes a great partner to have throughout the game. During combat she can find ammo, health pack, or salts which allows you to keep using your Vigors. You never have to worry about protecting Elizabeth allowing the player to focus on clearing the area rather than sticking with Elizabeth at all times. Elizabeth can also open tears, small windows to another timeline, which allows for more strategy. For example you can open a tear which will bring up cover to hide behind or you can open a tear that has a automatic turret that will target enemies. The player always has options when in firefights which makes them both exciting and challenging.

There are different types of Vigors to experiment with thought a few of them are used for stunning enemies so there could have been some more variation in their uses. Each Vigor has a secondary fire which allows you to throw traps that activate when an enemy walks by. You can only have two Vigors equipped at a time but you can always change which Vigors are equipped at any time which allows the player to choose how they want to respond to combat situations.

The design is incredible. The world is rich with detail and when you first see Columbia your jaw will drop at both its size and beauty. Columbia comes to life with its citizens always present throughout the game. Never at any point did I feel like I was playing a level in a game; I always felt like I was playing a game that just so happen to be set in Columbia. The design gives the player a great sense of history. Combined with a fantastic score, Columbia in itself becomes a character in the story. And if the score wasn’t good enough, there are also songs throughout the game that are covers of some very familiar pop songs. There isn’t a moment in the game where you will not be in awe by the design.

BioShock Infinite is an experience that is not to be missed. The game looks beautiful, the gameplay is fun and engaging, and the story will always keep you on your toes and the end will blow your mind. Columbia is a well crafted world filled with some unique characters. When it’s all over you’ll want to go back and do it again. Once again Irrational Games have delivered. You absolutely need to buy this game this very moment as you do not want to miss out on a fantastic single player experience.

 

 

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Reviewed by Peter Rivera on March 30, 2013

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