BioShock: Infinite Review
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BioShock Infinite is a master class in storytelling. With exceedingly fun gameplay and combat, a beautifully intriguing world to explore, and an extremely impressive cast of characters, BioShock Infinite stands as one of the best first-person shooters ever made.
- Incredibly well-crafted atmosphere and intriguing world to explore
- The terrific cast and thought-provoking story
- The fun, easy-to-learn gameplay and combat
- The mediocre A.I.
- Some minor glitches that break the smooth gameplay, storytelling
- Like many great fantasy stories, some disjointed plot elements and holes create confusion
(continued from previous page) ...she hopelessly plays the damsel in distress, but as she gains confidence she helps Booker by opening locked doors or chests, tossing him ammo or health packs in the heat of a battle, and opening tears to a mysterious world (or worlds? or different times?).
She rarely gets in the way. On a few occasions, she refused to follow me as I entered an elevator. Upon pushing the button in the elevator to leave, she instantly appeared at my side for an important storytelling moment. These flaws where Elizabeth doesn't keep up or refuses to follow you are extremely rare, but it's jarring when it happens because the game is otherwise extremely smooth and precise. Elizabeth does a brilliant job of staying out of your way, too. During combat she always finds a place to hide and you are never responsible for defending her.
Throughout the campaign, Elizabeth, and your relationship with her, evolve and transform. This evolution has direct impact on both gameplay and the story. You truly realize how valuable she is during the few situations where Elizabeth is not at your side.
Exploring the city and helping Elizabeth flee her captors is your ultimate mission, but during the process you'll twist and turn through the city's underbelly and even engage in a revolution. You'll see the slums caused by racism and you'll uncover more of Elizabeth's mysterious past and her seemingly magical powers.
BioShock Infinite begs you to explore its beautiful city and well crafted levels. You'll see shops gently floating through the sky, eventually linking with other floating plazas to allow patrons to buy fruits or toys. If Rapture in BioShock allowed players to explore its claustrophobic pipes and tight levels, Columbia in Infinite gives players a more open world before its ultimate fall from grace.
The idea of space is prevalent throughout the game, especially in combat. Battlefields are large with plenty of room for players to decide how to approach each situation. The enemy A.I. isn't anything special--in fact, it's probably one of the weaker parts of the game--but you have plenty of options at your disposal. For example, you can ask Elizabeth to create tears to reveal a strategic advantage--health pacs, weapons, cover, and most useful, turrets. It all works really well and since Elizabeth can only create one tear at a time, you have to be careful about how you approach each battle. It feels a little out of place that she can randomly creates weapons and such. If you enter a new area and see these tears, it's pretty clear you'll have battle there--if not right away, then eventually.
Just like the original BioShock, Infinite gives players the chance to acquire unique abilities through Vigors. Vigors are equivalent to BioShock's Plasmids. You grab these abilities by drinking gorgeously crafted bottles filled with Vigors that grant different abilities. They may allow you to charge into enemies, knocking them back. Or, they may allow you to shoot crows at enemies, ripping their faces to shreds. All the Vigors have at least two variations depending on how long you hold and press the button. You can toss a fire-like grenade or hold the button to create something more like a fiery trap. There are a ton of combinations, too. One of my favorite things to do was to drop a crow's nest, and once the murder of crows attacks the enemies, I shoot some fire at the whole mess to create some flaming birds. Killer!
Weapons stay relatively true to the story's era. You can equip pistols, shotguns, machine guns, grenade launchers, and other similar weapons. If you are anything like me, you'll figure out your favorite weapons and upgrade them accordingly. Similar to BioShock, you can upgrade your weapons and Vigors at vending machines. It costs plenty of cash so be sure to explore every little nook and cranny of each level to find as much money as possible. You will scavenge for ammo, health pacs, and salts (which replenish your Vigor abilities) during battles, and Elizabeth will frequently toss you goodies during battles. By the second half of the game I pretty much stuck to a few Vigor abilities coupled with a shotgun and machine gun.
Combat is made more interesting through ... (continued on next page)