First of all, this will most likely contain SPOILERS – consider yourself warned.
Secondly, I’m late to the party again. Still, I so didn’t like Bioshock 2, and the first one, I simply couldn’t get too overly excited with. Can’t recall if it was due to DRM or simply something silly like it being time exclusive to Xbox or not. Still, Infinite, I can confess that the only reason for buying it was a really nice deal over at www.greenmangaming.com.
Anyway, the game is done, over with. I have figured out the shocking part this time as well. The most shocking part is for me that I didn’t get to play the fun part of the game, the interesting, the well made part – that of Elizabeth. While the character you play is the stereotype of a drunken trigger happy blood-soaked problem solver with a bad reputation and come to wipe a clean slate – that mechanism is the bad part. Yes, Infinite is really a nice game this time around – but shooting – heck no. This part feel un-interesting, it feels stale, it lacks any real satisfaction and while the shooting can be made slightly more fun by upgrading weapons (regardless if you throw them since you only can have 2 guns at the same time) they still don’t get that much more fun. The only two guns I really liked was the hand-cannon and the sniper rifle. Remove helmet – one shot – shoot head – second shot – baddie done – quicker to the fun part of the game.
The fun part is the story, collecting titbits of stories, diaries, journals and travelling in the really nicely done Infinite city among the clouds. Elizabeth is the girl you have come to take away from the bad guy and his whiter heaven. So a journey to get to the tower where princess Fiona is waiting – I mean Elizabeth is waiting for you to slay the dragon – no I mean the songbird and you have to deal with getting stupid hats, shoes, pants and what nots on your journey there. The city is marvellous, but not that marvellous. It is rather really limited and while a console-hugger might find it great big fun – I’m a bit too old to get my trousers in a bunch for this one. It is good – no doubt about it, but it is not so breathtaking as the paid-reviewers said. So, after the façade of white-supremacy founding fathers heaven goes to hell, so starts the true story, of why you are here, who you are, who is Elizabeth, who are the damned twins, Comstock, his wife, the child and all these rifts and tears.
You are the false preacher who is picked out in a crowd as you either chose to throw a baseball at a couple whose crime was cross-race relationship. That even the right word? Well I wanted to throw the back in the face of the ludicrous carnival person. They are the ones hanging out with clowns and those fucking mimes! Well, no such luck, someone sees the mark of the false prophet and all hell breaks out. You kill cops and a bunch of people. You get a sky-hook. Now, the sky-hook is this hyped thing with which you can travel the sky-hook system-rail and jump from and attack etc. *YAAAWN* give me Batarangs or batclaw or Lara’s bow any day over this, please! The system is ok. It is the same as in many FPS/adventure crossover games. Means to not having to walk and for you to see some fancy on-screen animation of riding something that is supposed to be ASUM! – it is ok I guess, seen that in what – four or five games since 2012 so I’m not thrilled.
Riight, well you can sort of saw someone’s head off with it. What is up with all the fancy finishing moves lately? OK, it suddenly makes it ok to hit someone in the face and becomes one of the more useful weapons along with the plasmid attacks you can do. that you learn in a carny of all places! Well, really up until now it has been the “demo” part of the world and you start shooting your way to Elizabeth and having to get locked into a fight between the poor underworld and the overworld. Of course, you get screwed by everyone but finally you are in the tower to watch what has happened to Elizabeth who has been locked in this cage for since she was a baby. You escape song-bird (the dragon of the story) in a cut scene to wake up at the best scene in the game, an artificial short beach where you find Elizabeth dancing to music, which she loves and you take her away, shoot some more people, run and gun and you realize suddenly that while Booker (that is you btw) is as shallow and cliché as last days pizza, Elizabeth got all the moves, the whistles and turns. She is smart, have good dialogue, enough of craftiness and own survivalist and becomes your best chance to get along with the really boring shoot scenes as she sends you money for upgrades, med-kits, mana (sorry that plasmid crap you drink – yeah it is mana and it is BLUE! it’s fucking mana!) ammo and whatnot. She can also open flimsy locks that protects small doors that you for some reason can’t force open with your plasmids, not your arsenal of guns. Pretty fucking cool doors! Also, she speaks with you and how Booker and Elizabeth gets along is a nice thing. Still, you have to tell her that you don’t want to take her to Paris but to New York and you lose her (didn’t see that coming raise your hand – no one?)
Now you have to go looking for her, chasing and then saving her from the nasty Comstock and his goons. You do and you now have to get out again and have to help the resistance and you start messing with time. And those boring twins who is so supposedly SUPER bright do start to appear more and more. You end up as the hero of the revolution only to become hunted by everyone – of course. New enemies and new weapons – after you spend so much money updating the crap you already had. Well, at this point I was upgrading plasmids for sure and saved my money and raised the mana to max. Plasmids and sky-hook with sniper rifle was the quickest way to browse through the uninspiring fights and get towards the puzzling, listening and exploring.
Anyway, you meet Comstock but after you kill him you realize that Elizabeth is destined to burn New York and only by killing the real Comstock can you break this. Comstock is you – after you give Elizabeth up to the super smart twins – you wash away your sins and becomes Comstock but you also tries to go back on the deal and in the tug of war between Booker-you and Comstock-you you are the one that *gasp* makes Elizabeth with a lost pinky finger as it gets stuck in a tear. Now the twins have been sort of helping you to kill yourself all this time, and you being both Booker and Comstock gave up the daughter to yourself which in turn created Comstock and then all the possible Elizabeth drowns you before you becomes the new you who needs to wash away your sins. It’s the only way.
This story just have holes big enough to park several elephants and it is twisted for the sake of twisting it rather than the story being better for it. Anyway, I will let you decide that for yourself, for me it is not logical, not emotionally correct and it all would end in a paradox – cause if you kill yourself when you have given your daughter up to yourself you still exist as the one receiving your daughter etc. Well, lets just say I kinda lost interest around here. and was glad that the end-scene came in before you got told how choice is dangerous and all that crap. This got as much choice and un-choice as the first Bioshock had. You become taunted for following the games mechanic – and if you don’t you can’t finish the game – it is not smart, it is not clever – is half-assed writing in my book and falls flat on its butt.
Graphics – 20.Yeah, it looks like cream with butter on, but that in itself is the problem. Everything looks so good that the creepy people who move like crap and have zero-lifelike abilities retract from the illusion too much. The architecture is nice at first, but much is scenery, not actual level design and while I like the art style, it is not so new, not so great as Bioshock first felt with the retro-aspects. The Franklin’s, the Steam-punk setting looks nice, but it is held back. It is console graphics that has become tweaked rather than truly HD made from scratch graphics and no bloom or DX11 added effects can really hide that for too long. And because the illusion cracks – the graphics fails. You can only marvel at so many halo’s, so many light-shafts and so much brilliant light messing it all up. It gets annoying!
Sound -21 The sound is slightly better than OK. It does its job, it places you high up sometimes but what is good is the voices. The voice actors are all really good and while I may have a problem with that the black female protagonist sounds yet again like most black female characters in a game – I can’t really protest. Maybe there is only one famous voice actor that gets all the jobs? Well, she is good thankfully. Elizabeth and Booker’s little dialogues and monologues plays out nicely. The baptism thing and music is really nice. Well designed if not overly great in parts.
Game-play/Story – 15 Disappointing gun-play, a story that is like LOST, too overworked to come out as screwy and weird but leaves many logical holes and just stops being engaging really hampers the score. The plasmids, sky-hook elements are not really ground-breaking and so they are OK, but nothing more. The overall effect is that you go from one set-up of enemies, have some exploring, getting to the next set-up. Sometimes you get a sort of roller-coaster and the game begs you to use the plasmids and the sky-hook rails for solving problems. Problem for the game – it is much quicker and effective to use your sniper rifle and Elizabeth’s rifting in protection, support etc. than the plasmids and sky-hook which is difficult to lock on to targets sometimes. It doesn’t come naturally. To stack more things I don’t like, the enemies aren’t the brightest and you have only difficulties with a few of them. Booker and Elizabeth story and the various journals are the real driving force in the game.
Controls/Quality – 17 The controls are pretty basic. WASD, space and a few more buttons and you are set to explore and shoot things. Problem, it doesn’t feel accurate nor very responsive which makes it slightly sluggish when zooming and using guns. Not at all the feel you would like. The timing to perform the finishing moves and some of the plasmids special attacks simply don’t come out. The level design don’t always comes to its right since the controls simply makes the gun and run approach the most effective until you can spam spasmid attacks. Quality wise, the game never died on me, but I got stuck several times. The one thing is when you run, get stuck or lodged in something and have to jump clear, but have to drop the “W” key and press it again to sort of start moving again. The other is that you can land in the world where you are not supposed to be and the only way to get out of it is to re-load, and that means you can end up anywhere since that isn’t too clear when you game when the game is saved or not making you having to redo tiresome levels all over.
Total score: 73 The game is well-made, no denying it but with the great scores of 90-98 in many magazines I really expected to be blown away – but I wasn’t. The game is a mix of old style with some new things that has been added the last five or so years. Breaching the boundaries of RPG mechanics and adventure games. This game would to me have been so much more fun if you had played as Elizabeth. Still the story won’t be saved and perhaps some DLC’s can help it come to better light – but expansive DLC’s is not something I like and this game doesn’t help to sell them. Should you play the game? If you haven’t you should. It gave me some 14 hours if gameplay and I feel like while I didn’t unlock everything, I got most things covered and could unlock both weapons and plasmids and health, shield, mana to levels where I could leisurely browse most of the boring shoot scenes. In the end they become a blur of explosions in your face anyway so nothing really fun there to look for. I wouldn’t pay a high price for it but look for a nice deal. If you like the first Bioshock you will most likely like this one and if you liked both – you’ll probably love it. If you was a bit so so OK with the 1 and 2 – give it a shot anyway. There are some really nice things with this game that will give you enough moments to want to see this one to the end. It isn’t a great game, and to me it borders on simply good and very hyped.