Bioshock Inifinite was good. Great would be pushing it.
Now that I’ve finally played and finished Bioshock Infinite, I feel that I can properly talk about it. The good, the bad, the really bad, and why I still enjoyed it. I do feel that it’s a game everyone who enjoyed Bioshock 1 and 2 should play. I even feel that if FPSs aren’t your thing (they really aren’t mine), you should play it. If story isn’t your thing though, well, this isn’t the greatest FPS in the world. There will be spoilers in this post though, so do be aware.
Let’s start off with the good. I loved the setting. Columbia was bright, colorful, full of life, unlike the dark and dreary Rapture. It was incredibly yet appropriately racist and jingoist, given the time era it was depicting (seriously, turn of the century America was pretty bad in certain aspects). The score, brilliant. The story, interesting. I loved being able to whiz around the city with my skyhook. It was an audio visual triumph for the teams that worked on it, and they should be proud.
Now, the bad. The story, horribly paced at times. The ending, while a “WHAT A TWIST” moment didn’t necessarily shock me, although that may be because I’m a huge fan of the infinite alternate universe concept, and some of the information given in the game pointed to some of that. The tears in the game really bothered me. They alerted me that enemies would soon be around, and some of the tears at times felt cheap. I’m looking at you, tears with 4 packs of med-kits. And for the really bad: I hated that many of my vigors felt more like stuns rather than doing damage. I hated that while I could carry ammo for every gun on me, I could only have two guns at any time. What. The. Hell.
Okay, with those out of the way, I can get a little more in depth with how I feel about parts of the game. Booker talked too much for my liking. He needed to though, unlike Jack or Subject Delta (or even my beloved Gordon Freeman), he was a character who needed to have conversations with NPCs. He had a personality, which was rather refreshing. Still, him mumbling to himself about his next goal got to be annoying.
I was bothered by how enemies just up and ignored Elizabeth. I did like that I didn’t have to protect her in a ‘typical video game escort mission’ kind of way, but I feel Irrational dropped the ball here. They could have had enemies occasionally yell “Don’t harm the girl!” “We need to bring her back alive!” and her sometimes getting shot and trying to tend to her wounds out of combat. Maybe just a gripe, really, but they could have made it a bit more believable that something was happening to her.
I miss the Big Daddies. Sure, we had Songbird, and he was grand and great and terrifying. But… I never fought him. I never tried to hide from him. I never had crazy battles with him, hearing him come near and being filled with dread. Closest thing we got were the Boys of Silence, and they fell flat. They were glorified security cameras. And I didn’t get to fight them either.
Much of this story is lost if you don’t listen to the voxophones. I’d say even more so than if you don’t listen to the audiologs in Bioshock 1/2. That, to me, is unfair, and also poor design. I understand some of the logs are rather out in the open, and the ones that are hidden aren’t as pertinent as others. Still, there’s so much in those voxophones that maybe not everyone is looking for. Some of the bigger pieces of information you glean from them should have been more apparently shown to the player, given how story driven this game is.
Why was it that the Lutece twins and Elizabeth were the “prettiest modeled” characters? Every other NPC seemed… off. Stiff. Not quite right. I know many of them were minor, but you should still be putting the same effort in them, regardless.
I read a review my dad had forwarded to me from a guy who stated clearly “I did not want to review this game.” Well, why would you review it then? I did get bothered by his take on the ending of the game. That finding God turned you into some power hungry religious zealot and nothing more. It’s not like the non-baptism Booker was truly much better. The man was a drunk who sold off his child to pay a debt. I’d say both Booker and Comstock were crazy extremes on opposite ends.
I really was annoyed with the pacing of this game. Something Bioshock 1/2 suffer from as well. Some parts required far too much backtracking. Others just drug on too long to sustain interest. And for the ending? I have this big crazy long battle involving Songbird and Vox airships, to have the shock and revelation of Booker being Comstock end the game? No falling action whatsoever? That bothered me much more than anything else. But hey, that’s just me.
Overall though, Bioshock Infinite was a good game. It has its problems, but what game doesn’t? It’s ambitious, sometimes a little too much for it’s own good, causing weird story presentation problems. It is worth your time though. Even if it’s just you watching someone else play through it. Like my dad does for many of the games I play. A good story is always enjoyable. Presenting it in this manner causes interesting events to occur.
I wouldn’t call this game “great” or the pinnacle of modern video games. But dammit, it sure as hell tried.