First and foremost to say about Bioshock Infinite, it is a fantastic video game and one of the single greatest arguments I have ever seen for the artistic quality of the medium. It is vibrant, with strong characters, and a great plot.
So let’s talk about some of this. By now, everyone probably gets the gist of things. Bioshock has always been a world driven production. Whereas the first two took place in the underwater city of Rapture, this one takes place in the floating city of Columbia. Whereas Rapture was driven by personal development, hard work, science, the arts, business, Columbia is driven purely by fanatical religion and nationalism.
Now, some people might have a problem with some of the portrayals in the game. White people, Christians, religion in general, and civic pride are depicted as horrible, the root of all evil. Keep in mind though that the Bioshock series is about extremes and the consequences of good things taken too far. In Rapture you saw what a free market system might become without regulation, you saw what a monopoly can do to a community, and a dozen other everyday things that we value and the risk in embracing them unabashedly.
The same is true for Infinite. Same idea, different topics. The uncomfortableness comes from the fact that Rapture hasn’t existed yet. It’s tried, and there are many who would argue that we are slipping into that type of society, but I would argue we haven’t yet. Infinite existed and sadly, in many parts of the country, still exists. While there are many parts of the game that seem so extreme they border on cartoonish, having been born and raised in the South, it is an unfortunate truth.
The world is great, but for me, it is Elizabeth that makes this game. She is a strong character, beautiful, more powerful than you, and never annoying. Some people said her constantly tossing you stuff got old quick. For me, when I was scrounging for money (always, always, always) I found it pretty damn convenient. Songbird is a memorable villain, and while I don’t like Comstock quite as much as Ryan, the twist around his identity is superbly done.
And lets talk about that a bit. Spoiler alert in case you haven’t noticed, but was I really one of the only people to sort of see this coming? I mean, we had set up time travel and multiple dimensions right from the get go. I would have been more shocked if there hadn’t been a twist like this. With that said, the framing of the lighthouses, the baptism, and Elizabeth’s, um, role in all of it was a perfect piece of storytelling.
Now, I’ve said Bioshock Infinite is fantastic, and all that holds true, but it is not my favorite in the series. For me, that is still the first. It has the perfect balance of gameplay and story for me. The second one has some great game place, and I loved playing as a Bid Daddy, but the story was a bit tacked on.
My biggest problem with Infinite, and I really didn’t see anyone comment on this, were the weapons. It went from steampunk inspired shotguns, machine guns, and rocket launchers to dull throwaway weapons. I hate them, hated them the whole way through. The only one I liked at all was the revolver and once I got one I pretty much played the whole thing with it. I really, really wish they had given the weapons more thought and stayed with the old system of carrying around your whole arsenal. I know that’s unrealistic but a lot can be said for the benefits of a lack of realism in entertainment. One of the greatest things about the game was having a selection of weapons and powers to deal with things. I’ve heard it said this decision was to force you to be tactical, but I think it took away from that aspect rather than added.
Overall, it was a great game and must be played by anyone who enjoys a great story, a better character, and an intriguing world.