The Bioshock series has always been a game of experience. It’s an experience that will leave you with wonder and questions. This should not be considered a negative aspect, as it normally leaves people with a very satisfying experience. The same rings true for the latest installment, Bioshock Infinite.
Bioshock Infinite removes you from the dark depths of Rapture and sends you flying through the skies of Columbia, a new haven for the masses of people from the world below. After seceding from the Union, Columbia’s founder, Zachery Comstock, leads his people into the clouds. Seen as a prophet of God, they follow him like sheep in a flock. Players are cast into the role of Booker Dewitt, a man with a debt to pay. His problems can be fixed by finding a girl named Elizabeth, who lost somewhere in the city, and the point is repeatedly emphasized with the line “bring us the girl and wipe away the debt”.
While the scene is different, the gameplay is the similar to previous Bioshock games. You still have the same type of guns that you’d expect, and you have the same style of plasmid-style powers, now known as Vigors. The seamless interaction between gun and vigor is well done, just like the previous games. Like Bioshock 2, you can use either on the fly, as opposed to having to pull out your respective weapon out like in to the first Bioshock.
As compared to the previous Bioshock games, there is a bigger focus on ranged combat in Infinite. Most enemies you face will have guns, along with some of the bigger enemies (aside from the Handymen, who will quickly become your worst nightmare). With this focus on range, your vigor and ammo use needs to be managed wisely in order to succeed. There are plenty of chances to get ammo and salts from Elizabeth, who acts as your helper in combat, but you will still need to watch your amounts.
Where there is a darker horror element in the first two of the series, Infinite takes what can be called a “light horror” element. Infinite doesn’t really hide the nature of humans at that time in the shadows, instead proudly putting it on display. Characters demeaning themselves, a “lottery” scene, and the entire aspect of white supremacy throughout the game can be horrifying to some.
The game is beautifully crafted, painting a gorgeous scene of blood and ruin. Every character is crafted perfectly to the time period, and the scenery is inviting in a curious way. While some games wants you to explore the beauty, Infinite more creates a sense of urgency, making you want to find out what is actually going on in the world as it tries to distract you.
The audio also works very well for the time period. With the old-style phonographs playing most of the music, along with some of the songs sung by other characters in the game, the audio provides another layer of immersion that keeps you immersed. Music increases in intensity with the increase of urgency in the game, raising in volume before quickly cutting off when battles finish. There are also times when it is completely, which provides the best atmosphere in the game. Sounds of the enemies also bring an element of fear when it’s appropriate.
Bioshock Infinite is a fantastic game, hands down. The story is wonderfully crafted and will leaves you guessing throughout the entire game, and even for some time after the game is over. It may take a playthough or two to really understand everything that is going on. With that in mind, the story is the only place where it really shines. Some of the gun mechanics aren’t perfect and could be improved. The game itself also feels like Bioshock with a new skin over it. A good skin, but a skin none the less. Even so, Bioshock Infinite is fantastic and should be played by as many people that can do so.