I’ll get straight to the point – Bioshock Infinite is one of the best games I’ve ever played, surpassing the original Bioshock, and becoming one of the best games of the generation. That is the main thing you need to know going into the game – anything more risks spoiling the experience. As such, I will keep this review spoiler-free (as usual) to make sure that those reading will be able to enjoy this game as much as I have without having any moments’ impacts lessened.
Bioshock Infinite takes place in a stunning world that Irrational Games has created. Columbia comes to life before your eyes – the city itself feels so authentic and real (a feeling so few games can capture). Its many citizens, rich history, and architectural design all combine to make Columbia a living, breathing city. With such a great foundation, the game uses this setting as a basis to then craft its other parts around, enhancing the rest of the game even more.
Within this city of Columbia, a story begins. The plot in Bioshock Infinite centers around your character, Booker Dewitt, who travels to Columbia to find a girl and deliver her to someone in New York to repay his debts. This story seems simple at first, but by the end it becomes so much more complex, and becomes one of the most well-developed, told, and written stories in a game. The plot evolves consistently at a nice pace with numerous twists and turns that always keep you involved and guessing. More so, the way the plot is told through various means (cutscenes, active gameplay dialogue, collectible recordings) helps to make the plot even deeper than it seems on the surface – it is worth your time to collect as many of the “voxophones” (voice recordings) in the game, as they help make the main story even better. If I were to be nit-picky, I could say that the ending seems rushed. Honestly, though, the way the final story segment is structured makes sense in the grand scheme of things – the “rushed” feeling that some feel is due to the presentation of a lot of information at once, not that the ending suffers in quality.
Columbia is one of the most intricately designed game worlds out there – from its lore, to its inhabitants, to its architecture, the city is fully realized in a way that makes Columbia feel like a living, breathing city (in the sky).
Plot aside, Irrational Games has done an incredible job (as they always do) of making characters that the player quickly becomes connected to. In building a bond between player and characters, the story becomes all the more weighted. One of the biggest strengths of the game is how involved the player feels in the story and how concerned the player is over the characters’ fates. I won’t spoil anything, but there are a few characters that I could not believe the game managed to make you feel sympathy toward.
Having mentioned how stunning the world of Columbia is, let’s move on to the gameplay. If you’ve played previous game in the series, you know what to expect. The game plays like a typical FPS, except you dual-wield your gun of choice with a special ability (from flame grenades, to lightning, to possession). These abilities can be combined to create some pretty crazy effects, making combat have a nice layer of strategy to it. There are some changes from previous entries, however. First, is the inclusion of “gear”, which act as pieces of clothes that you can equip for special effects. Second, is the ability to carry only two guns at a time – something that seems limiting, but makes sense in the grand scheme of things. Overall, this is the smoothest playing entry in the series,with some really interesting vigors (this game’s version of plasmids), and cool enemy designs.
Next, I should move on to the actual presentation. The graphics for the game are also nothing short of excellent. From both a technical and artistic standpoint, Infinite excels in creating a lavish world that is a sight to behold – it is amazing to see so many little details put into each area. Further, even with many enemies on-screen, and chaos in the streets, the game performs flawlessly and runs silky smooth. Again, if I wanted to be overly nit-picky, I’d say that the world is not destructable enough. When a world is this intricate and well-designed, though, that is such a minor gripe.
One of the biggest strengths of “Bioshock Infinite” is how well it ties the payer to the in-game characters, forming a bond that every game strives to (but few manage to) capture.
Let’s move on to the sound department for the game. As with the other pieces of the game, Infinite sounds great. The sound effects (from guns to vigors) are fitting and give each weapon and special power a weighty feel in combat. The soundtrack is even more incredible, mixing sounds of the period with some nice touches that fit in with the story. Lastly, the voice acting is superb. Every character is wonderfully voiced (with the dialogue being enhanced by some excellent writing), with even minor characters and random NPCs on the streets of Columbia sounding great.
All in all, Bioshock Infinite deserves your time investment. Even if you aren’t a fan of FPS games, give it a shot. For fans of the previous games, this latest entry surpasses even the original Bioshock and has some nice surprises in store for series fans. The story, presentation, and game world combine to make this one of the best games of the generation. If you’ve played Infinite, let me know what you think – if not, what are you waiting for?
Final Score: 10/10