Bioshock Infinite has been one of my personal most anticipated games of the year. To say that I loved the first two games would be an extreme understatement. They were darn near gaming perfection. I followed all of the updates for Bioshock Infinite as they came out and preordered it as soon as I was able to. After picking it up I rushed home, unboxed it, and immediately began to play. I have to say that after a year of waiting and wondering, I wasn’t disappointed in what it had to offer.
The game, set in 1912, starts off with our hero being dropped off at a lighthouse by a man and a woman in a boat. You learn pretty quickly that you are hired to retrieve a girl and return her to your boss. From the lighthouse you are sent into the sky to the city of Columbia, which, unlike our underwater city of Rapture from Bioshocks 1&2, is floating in the sky. I have to admit that this new setting, although stunningly beautiful, is not as creepy as Rapture. When you first arrive you realize that this city is run by a religious cult headed by “The Profit” Zachary Comstock. Cults in and of themselves are pretty creepy, even if these are nice and genteel cult members. Through advancing the story a little you find out that you are the “False Profit” that has been prophesized to lead “The Lamb” away from the truth. “The Lamb” is, of course, Elizabeth, the girl that you have been sent to retrieve. Beyond this I’m not going to give you any spoilers, but let me tell you that the story definitely takes you on a ride of twists and turns that keeps you leaned forward and eager to see what happens next.
The characters are pretty well developed and you truly care about what happens to them. Elizabeth especially was a well fleshed out, well voiced acted character that inspired me to truly want to protect her. I was really worried about this since games like Ico and Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly have shell shocked me against wanting to have a follower I must protect. Usually I’m just as happy to see those characters die as I am to have them survive. Not Elizabeth though, she truly made me want to keep her safe. Even NPC’s were well fleshed out in this game. They would have conversations you could listen to as you passed by. Also one of the in game collectables were Voxaphone recordings that would give you added insight to many of the characters and even into the plotline. My only complaint with the characterization of the game was how shallow our hero, Booker DeWitt was. He wasn’t completely undeveloped; however I wish I knew a little more about his back story. I didn’t feel I ever got to know enough about him.
The gameplay was very similar to the first two Bioshock games. It was in first person perspective and throughout the game you would acquire “vigors” very similar to the plasmids in the previous games which you could use with your weapon of choice. I played through on medium difficulty and I have to say that the battles themselves were at no point more than I could handle. I did miss the Big Daddies but there were plenty of new baddies to keep me entertained. Transportation in Bioshock Infinite was nothing short of amazing. The Skyhook not only added a new mechanic for travel and battle, but it also gave pause for a second to sit back and enjoy the scenery. Columbia truly is a thing of beauty and the Skyhook helps you to take it all in.
Rarely do I like to get my hopes up about a game, because more often than not I am let down. Bioshock Infinite is an exception. From beginning to end this game was fun to play and kept me interested in the story while keeping my eyes pleased with amazing graphics and awesome visuals. Also, with the unlockable 1999 mode and all the collectables to be found, this game has definite replay value. Sure, it may have a couple flaws, but I still rate this game as a must play 9/10.