Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bioshock: Infinite Review

I attack most modern First-Person Shooters much like Nicki Minaj attacks any validity rap music ever had in mainstream media. And I don't regret it. Call of Duty and Battlefield are pretty much The Hangover of video games. A new, pretty, hyped name that people blindly praise because they've never played Metroid Prime or they've never seen Billy Madison. hangover isn't horrible and neither is Call of Duty. The problem with them is they're both a totally watered down version of what they're supposed to be. Hangover isn't bad, but it's not funny to any extent. Call of Duty is well-crafted, but there's no fun factor whatsoever. Yet they both somehow have become the pedestal on which to measure all other First-Person Shooters or comedies. Their only competition being the carbon copy sequels they release. With that cleared up, on to Bioshock: Infinite.

With my previous banter in mind, I love what this game is. It's solid FPS gameplay with many elements that keep it from becoming monotonous, it's a game that's graphically magnificent and beautiful while being unique and not typically "realistic". It makes you a silent, mostly faceless protagonist while still making you feel immersed as a big part of what's going on in its world. it gives you a companion that you become genuinely distressed over when she's not with you, as well as actually developing the characters around you and making you care what happens to them, positively or negatively. But most of all, it actually has an interesting, deep, and completely unpredictable story. Didn't think that could happen anymore, did you?

Bioshock: Infinite thrusts you into an aesthetically mind-blowingly beautiful and detailed world. Every citizen shows some personality, and walking around, you slowly get a feel for what an idealistic utopia has been established in this floating city. It's a great counter-balance to not just the obvious violence that occurs, but also the corrupt, exclusionary dictatorship that the city's self-proclaimed "Prophet" has molded in his own twisted image. You'll see a magnificent, almost Disney-esque environment, down to having your main companion look and act very akin to a Disney princess, quickly turn dark and gruesome. From segregated restrooms and public stoning, to the elderly being used as experiments that pretty much turn them into weapons of close-combat warfare and the worship of the Founding Fathers as religious figures. I know I'm going on about the world, but it's really the most perfectly executed thing I've seen in a video game in years.

The gameplay in Infinite is also surprisingly fun. It borrows a lot from the original Bioshock, but it's so polished and perfected that it still feels fresh. You can obtain powers called Vigors, which are basically Bioshock's Plasmids. What's done better here is, while the vigors are very helpful, and you'll want to use them, they're not a necessity like in Bioshock. They definitely feel more fun to use when they're not forced down your throat. The shooting is polished and flows perfectly, the weapons, while not great in number, are all highly unique and all fun to use. This is all backed nicely by Elizabeth consistently tossing you extra ammunition, vigor, and health. This keeps you stocked up without breaking any bit of flow to hunt around for health packs and ammo. The rail-gliding or whatever it's being referred to is also a very fun fast-travel-esque element, making for quick getaways as well as swift mid-air strikes aside from the quick movement across Columbia (oh by the way, the city is called Columbia, I know you were on the edge of your seat waiting for me to bring that up.)

Finally, we get to the story. Now I'm going to spoil as little as possible, simply stating my general thoughts about the story and its elements. Bioshock boasts a very complex story, almost too complex. It does an amazing job establishing itself, grabbing your attention and engrossing you right away, never letting go. You want to help Elizabeth, you want to do just about everything you end up needing to do in the story, never feeling forced into the action. It's absolutely brilliantly done in every way. At least for the first half of the game. Once traveling between time and dimensions is thrown in there, everything just goes insane. It throws so much at you, some making sense, some making none whatsoever. And honestly, it becomes much more about the action than the story, and with the story becoming a hundred times more insane, it should have been the opposite. I believe Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw described it best as "Maximum up-its-own-buttness" by the time the story concludes. And I'll admit, it's quite an ending. Albeit over-complicated, pretentious, and nonsensical while providing no real closure, though it seems to think it does, but it'll definitely make you think, a lot.

Overall, I wanted to love this game like everyone else does, but I only really like it. It does some things amazingly, and other things rather poorly. Its story is fascinating, but pretentious. The gameplay is fun, but gets over-indulgent toward the end. The characters are great, but almost all become insignificant as the game progresses. The artwork is absolutely stunning, but becomes bland and lifeless toward the conclusion. And the ending, while interesting, is supposed to be a solution to everything that makes you wonder if it actually solved anything at all. I really do like this game. I love Columbia, I love Elizabeth, I love a lot of the gameplay, but it does too much poorly and is too unfocused to really love the entire thing. But if you get the chance, rent it and try it. I can't suggest buying such a short game, but it's well worth experiencing.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment and share. I'm sure a lot of people hate me because my review wasn't "BIOSHOCK IS TEH BEST BECAUSE I'VE ONLY PLAYED COD UNTIL NOW AND HAVE NO HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE!!" so feel free to say that. Also, follow me @SycoMantis1991 on twitter if you want to see me say random stuff every now and then.

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