Although a lot of series can’t live up to the extended expectation (we’re looking at you, Call of Duty) Bioshock Infinite definitely rises to the hype. I’m not one to dish out imperatives, but you have to play this game. Honestly, there should be a legal requirement.
Set in an alternate-history 1912 America, Infinite sees you cast as slightly shady Private Investigator Booker DeWitt, and your task is simple: ‘find the girl and wipe away the debt’. A pretty vague set of instructions, but the identity of your target and the nature of the debt are revealed further down the line.
Such a cold and vague opening strikes as a little jarring at first, but opens up a definite sense of mystery that persists right up until the closing cinematic. Plot is definitely something rarely considered worthwhile, or even necessary in the video game world, but Infinite is a fantastic example of a game driven by a compelling and rich narrative. Although most twists are explained to you as you progress, the game world contains many a secret, be it graffiti, a poster or a voice recorded ‘voxophone’ that adds more information, and another layer, to the experience.
It’s not just the storyline that’s well executed and rich. While admittedly you need a high end PC to really get the most out of them, the graphics are still lush and at times picturesque, especially for a generation of consoles nearing the end of their lifespan. Although the characters are a little stylised and cartoony, the environment is really shine, and the floating city of Columbia is full of little details that really bring it to life.
For fans of the series, and of the first person shooter genre in general, there’s nothing you haven’t seen before gameplay wise. You point, pull the trigger and they fall down. The ‘vigours’ you obtain as the game progresses mix it up a little, letting you lob fireballs, cast lightning bolts and possess robot enemies, although some work better than others.
But perhaps the stand out feature of Bioshock is your more or less constant companion, Elizabeth. She is not a damsel who needs rescuing, and this is not an escort mission. She never once gets in your way during combat, staying safely in cover, never stands in front of you blocking a doorway.
Her ability to open space time ‘tears’ and bring in things such as health kits, ‘sky hooks’ to raised areas or robotic allies can make an overwhelming onslaught of foes a lot more balanced, and allows you to approach some of the more open areas in a myriad of ways.
Although lacking in replay value beyond the crazy hard ’1999′ mode unlocked when you finish the game, Bioshock Infinite is an example of games as they should be. A fantastic story with plenty of jaw dropping twists, exciting and often frantic gameplay and excellent graphics all add up to make this a must play. Infinitely enjoyable.
(8th May 2013, http://www.galleonnews.com/2013/05/g