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Bioshock Infinite Review - -
Bioshock Infinite
Reviewed by
Edwin Millheim
Bioshock Infinite Review. It fires the imagination and puts that spark into adventure once again.

Gameplay 10
Graphics 9.0
Sound 8.5
Value 9.5
Distributor: 2K Games
Irrational Games
Edwin Millheim
Review date:
March 2013


Bioshock Infinite
(Reviewed on the PC - Steam Download)

Back in 2007 when the original Bioshock came out, it shocked us all with the bold world it created. It fired the gamer’s imagination and pulled us into a world of wonder, shattered dreams of beauty and horrors. Keeping within the same story line Bioshock 2 looked to keep the fires going with the spectacular cult following the original netted. It came with mixed results but managed to keep gamers happy and introducing us to a few new twists on the original theme.

Now in 2013 Irrational Games and 2K Games gives us an unblinking story line with Bioshock Infinite that is a spectacular spectacle of beautiful scenes of wonder, mixed with the ugly side of mankind. The story presents us with characters full of all too human flaws... loves, hates, racism, religion, blood soaked violence, and intricacies…all punch in the face subject matters that are all too real in their presentation. It’s a bold move that may offend some, but it’s a mirror to some of the uglier reflections of some of society that human kind has had to deal with since the dawn of time.

Players will even have moments that test their morals but just don’t forget, it is a game. These are just characters in an interactive story… so as reprehensible as some of the actions may be, experiment a bit and you may be surprised how the story goes. There are judgment calls throughout the game…be prepared to be shocked, tough not just for the sake of shock. While the pacing tends to go in ebbs, flows and crashing crescendos, it feels just a tad inconsistent at times yet how it pulls it off is beyond me, it still kept me interested…. Bioshock Infinite is marvelously story driven. The Bioshock series has always seemed to have those high adventures in mind with a good heaping helping of Jules Verne influences.

The game is set in 1912 with players playing the primary character Booker DeWitt who was once a Pinkerton agent. With a lot of debts weighing heavy on him, he takes the case that spring boards him into a strange roller coaster ride to the clouds.

The case involves finding a woman named Elizabeth from the city of Columbia. Soon DeWitt finds out the magnitude of his adventure, the city itself is a floating metropolis flying through the clouds thousands of feet above the earth. Worse the city is full of religious fanatics and all of the citizens are ruled under the paranoiac eye of Father Comstock. This is a man who allegedly can see into the future, a prophet for the masses.

After a harrowing arrival above and a near death experience just getting into the city, we find a very unique architecture, with different sections and blocks of the city floating freely from each other, and odd sky ships floating about. It seems that DeWitt has arrived during some kind of celebratory carnival of sorts. It is here where the game designers introduce us to several of the new Vigors (These take the place of Plasmids), special powers much like what we had seen in the last two of the franchise. Only some of these are more devastating and maniacally suited to assist the player through some tough areas. Some of these abilities are perfect for tipping the scales for the player against stifling odds…IF; the players use them quickly enough. It’s great that these abilities are introduced so early in the story, because things start to pick up so fast that the action and the danger gets pretty frantic.

There is a good cross mix of new abilities to be had with Vigors. One earlier on the player will find comes in handy is being able to possess machines and influence them to have a kinder demeanor towards the player. Or they can outright fight for the player, targeting the enemies that are after the player. It’s even more fun when you pull a Hitchcock on them…using a Murder of Crows Vigor, you can have the crows attack them. Murder of Crows Vigor as well as a few other types can be triggered by aiming and firing off the Vigor at a target. You can also hold the appropriate button down and set a trap on the ground for an enemy to spring and be consumed by the trap. Now as stated these Vigors take the place of Plasmids other than name differences many of the abilities seem to be just cosmetically different than their Plasmid cousins. The swarm of crows reminds me of the Bee swarm from the other game.

There are limits to Vigors and if the Vigors (energy?) meter runs down the player has to find more salt in the game to power the Vigors. Not too worry, each time an enemy goes down the body can be searched for items such as health, food, salt and ammo….. The fallen foes sometimes will even drop weapons and ammo. If the search does not yield what is needed there are vending machines around that have what is needed. From ammo, to health and salt as long as the player has the in game funds to purchase items they are all good. There are a smattering of coins to be had a player just has to keep a sharp eye out is all.

On the subject of battles and health…in Bioshock Infinite any health found is used immediately, nothing is stored in that sense. To replenish health finding food or health packs is a must. Part way into the game the player does get a shield ability that takes some of the brunt of attacks. It’s not a hundred percent protection and does ware out. Finding cover or avoiding attacks for a short time will cause the shield to recharge.

Now I have to make a suggestion here. To get the full on experience with this game, go ahead throw caution to the wind and play it at the highest level of difficulty. The action and the battles are just deliciously deadly this way. There are times the enemy comes at you one or two at a time, then others when a whole squad seems to show up and presses the player into a deadly dance of life and death.

The battles are not for the queasy because when the player is introduced to melee combat… they make use of a new weapon they just acquired …it gets really bloody. Decapitating bloody to be exact.

Character death is not as final as one would think. An odd sequence takes place and the player is looking at a view through bright light and there in front of them is a door. Walking through the door places the player within the area they dies in. A word of caution here, because the enemy or enemies left in the area when the player died, are still in the area and will jump back to the attack on first sight of the character.

Now Vigors are not the only way to enhance abilities. There is also Gear that enhances abilities and makes random extra effects. Such as a hat that can a percentage of the time cause an enemy to burst into flames upon your attack. Getting a hold of different types of gear a player can mix and match and go for different effects all together coming up with some truly devastating attacks.

The controls, even for the PC of Bioshock Infinite are easy. Nothing feels out of place or ever makes you feel like its uncomfortable doing that key press for whatever it does. Everything from navigating to attack and defense and using special abilities is intuitively accessible.

In between the battles and travels and exploration players will find Voxphones throughout the city. These are just audio diaries that add some more insight to the world you are now in, and the people you are dealing with.

Now the game for the most part has clear linear gaming play that it wants a player to go, but there is a small amount of wiggle room for some exploration. The exploration often nets some extra goodies for a player and once a while a side quest. (At this time there are at least five).

If the player ever does feel over whelmed and lost, a press of a button displays an arrow on the ground showing the direction of travel for the next objective for the game.

The different areas are not huge areas, but there are enough interesting things in the game to keep a player pleased. Even if it feels a bit limiting at times. All of the graphics and nuances are absolutely brilliantly designed. Visually appealing, just when you thought oh wow I am a bit bored with all the underwater cities…wham the design team throws something so incredibly eye popping your way. Everything is designed to brilliant details. From character clothing, to the architecture of buildings and the molding’s and bits of machinery and piping that seem to have something to do with how the city is staying in the air. It fires the imagination and puts that spark into adventure once again.

Have fun play games.
Edwin Millheim



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