Bioshock Infinite arrived. Giddy all over I threw, “literally threw it”, into my console, JAMMED the power button and sat back awaiting the experience of a lifetime. What I got was a beautiful disaster.
Infinite begins as the original Bioshock did. A light tower in the midst of the ocean that whisks you away into a gorgeous oasis, only this time it’s in the sky, and splicers are now crazy radicals, and Andrew Ryan is replaced with Father Comstock, the leader of those crazy radicals. Your task? To go to the city in the sky and bring back a girl named Elizabeth to wipe away some debt you have. That should be enough for those who don’t know what Infinite is.
Right from the start I was blown away from the sheer amount of detail Infinite throws at you. I fully believed this City existed and enjoyed taking in its vistas and crazed citizens. Mixing Religious themes with political ones and some Quantum Mechanics, Infinite isn’t short on raising and answering questions, all the while blowing you away throughout its wonderful narrative.
After taking in the scenery I eventually found myself knee deep in bad dudes ready to kill me. This is part one of Infinite’s beautiful disaster. Combat just doesn’t feel as tight as I thought it would. The use of an over-shield is partly to blame for this. Enemies seem to fire upon you from all over, in order to counter that pesky shield you have, and not only can you never figure out where everyone is, you CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHERE EVERYONE IS! Seriously, it was very annoying to be running around in circles in almost every battle, that had a group of baddies, just so I could figure out who was shooting me, or discover where that one last enemy was so that I could kill them and be able to pick my next lock.
On top of awareness issues, the enemy AI at times was just awful. Granted I was playing it on the standard difficulty, I found at times, all the game could ever manage to do was spawn a huge group of dudes as if to overwhelm me. Anytime there was just a handful, I could easily use bucking bronco and run to each one, melee them, and move onto the next. This never really changed throughout the entire game. Option A lots of bad guys shooting from all over the place, option B just a few bad guys, enjoy walking up to each one and hitting them on the head.
On the plus side the powers and weapons are a blast to use. Combining vigors was very rewarding to watch. I only wish there was more of a tactical aspect to the combat to reward using a combo of skills, rather than the run and gun game-play I found myself doing nine times out of ten.
There I was shooting, running, shooting, powers, shooting, and then bam! Mission complete. Only not, because in order to make Infinite the fifteen hour game it is, I now have to find three things in order to do the one thing, or go save one person to move forward. This was part 2 of the beautiful disaster that is Bioshock Infinite. Mission structure that screams “Oh this is just to make the game long.” Infinite managed to do that on a few occasions.
On the other side of that coin though is experimentation. Infinite tried to use these segments to give you a chance to explore more of the wonderfully realized world and set up some helpful exposition. I just couldn’t fully appreciate it though, since I was so annoyed by what I needed to do in order to progress the main story-line Where I had been content to take everything in during the first moments, I found myself rushed and annoyed just wanting to move forward.
In the end Bioshock Infinite was the most annoyingly great game I have ever played. The narrative and world are so well realized it is a true testament to the greatness Irrational Games. Future developers should strive to release their games so bug free and hope to reach the extents to which the Bioshock games have in terms of narratives. It is because of this I think Infinite is the most over hyped game of the year. It really shows how many games fail where Infinite succeeds. Story and quality are strengths every dev should look to Bioshock for, however gameplay and quest structure were flawed and lacking. In the end though, when I finally put down my controller, I was blown away by what is a great, albeit slightly flawed experience.
Bioshock Infinite is worth a RENT