Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Bioshock Infinite Review

Released March 26th, 2013
Developed by: Irrational Games
2K Marin
Human Head Studios
 Darkside Game Studios
Published by: 2K Games
Platforms: PS3, 360, PC
          Bioshock Infinite from Irrational Games is a beautiful first person shooter that draws the player in and does not let go for 12 hours.  The exemplary art style, passionate voice acting, and an incredible level of detail provide a backdrop for the most thought provoking game I have ever played.
The start of the game is straightforward; the year is 1912, and you play as Booker Dewitt, voiced by Troy Baker.  In order to pay off a debt, Booker must rescue Elizabeth, voiced by Courtnee Draper, from a tower in Columbia, a floating city in the sky.  Everything is superbly voiced, including hidden recordings that contain some backstory.  The emotions of the actors shine through their characters and pervade the mind.  Elizabeth conjures up memories of classic Disney movies where princesses in need of rescue took center stage. The story provokes thoughts on philosophy, racism, big corporations, the idea of choice (in real life and in games), war, and more; it is something everyone should experience first-hand.
The art style is immaculate; every part of the city of Columbia is detailed to a demandingly engrossing level.  I spent a large amount of time just looking around at the splendor. From statues of the United States founding fathers, to artwork hung on walls of mansions, to gardens, to just watching clouds below while floating along in a city in the sky; everything is picturesque.  The exceptional beauty of Columbia invokes an immersion few forms of media have ever achieved.
 Bioshock Infinite’s combat doesn't reinvent the FPS genre (it is the same combat style from previous Bioshock’s), but it is entertaining.  The left trigger activates special abilities, granted by drinking Vigors, and the right trigger is shoot.  Enemies die with a generous amount of blood and gore.  The horrified reaction from Elizabeth at the brutality of melee kills does a nice job reminding the player that slamming a weapon into someone’s face is horrendous.
Murder of Crows Rips Apart Enemies
There are eight Vigors to choose from, and   most abilities can also be used to create traps.  Casting two Vigors in succession will combine their effects into a more devastating attack.  For instance, hitting a flock of summoned crows with a fiery grenade produces flaming crows.
Booker can only carry two weapons at a time, but he can carry ammo for his entire arsenal. This encouraged me to utilize all the weapons I could find, switching once I ran out of ammo.  The guns can be upgraded with abilities like enhanced damage or reduced recoil.    Pressing the left analog stick will zoom in on enemies through the scope of the weapon, but the reticle already turns red whenever a gun is aimed at an enemy, so there is no real advantage to using the scope on any weapons (besides the sniper rifle with its enhanced scope). At times, Booker uses a skyhook to zip along skylines (rails connecting parts of Columbia) in a mode of transportation reminiscent of the rail grinding in the Ratchet and Clank series.   Skyhooking around is thrilling, but at times I had a hard time locating enemies or my destination while I was grinding my way through Columbia. 
The gameplay is not innovative, but it remains enjoyable for the entirety of the game.  The real reason to play Bioshock Infinite is the intriguing story and beautiful art direction, which both do a remarkable job keeping the awesomeness going all game long. 

Full Scoring Guide
                                                               Note: I played the PS3 version of Bioshock Infinite

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