Bioshock Infinite Review

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Gaming, Gaming Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Now I know we are a bit late with this review but when you entranced in the beauty that is known as Columbia than you are forgiven for anything….anything except this!

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Handyman figure in comparison to the GoW3 Epic Edition

I did my research and found that one of the editions that we got in Ireland was the deluxe edition and contained in it was a figurine of the Handyman, a character that you will be seeing in game.

But little did I know how big it was going to be! When I opened the box and seen this shoddy little piece of plastic I literally LOL’d, and my friend Ace can vouch for this, but that didn’t last long when it hit that I spent, and others that ordered it too, so much money to get something that looks like Tom Thumb carved it.  In short… I am sorely disappointed!

The deluxe edition did hold some other neat little items such as some downloadable DLC to help boost your character in game, a downloadable soundtrack,  which if it is anything like some of the music you hear in game, is amazing!

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Lithograph of Devils Kiss (And the Boys of Silence peeking over the top!)

You also get a keychain featuring a replica bottle of the vigor Murder of Crows, which you character will pick up quite early in the game!

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Murder of Crows Vigor keychain

One of the inclusions that I am fond of the most is the downloadable soundtrack that features numerous scores from in game. But we will touch on the soundtrack and sound qualities later on in this review.

The deluxe edition also came with a very snazzy Columbia Customs Artbook, which features level designs, early character concepts and other pretty awesome artwork that influenced the finished product.

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Columbia Border and Customs Artbook

So the game itself is massive, so many different locations and characters it will be almost impossible to talk about every aspect of this game individually, so let’s start with he plot shall we?!

The year is 1912, you play as Booker DeWitt, a man in debt and the only way you can get your debt wiped is by bringing this girl, Elizabeth, back to New York! Sounds simple enough right? Nope!

Elizabeth is being held in the Statue of Columbia, which is situated in the heart of a city in the sky, Columbia, whose inhabitants are a bunch of religious nuts all praising the work of the prophet Comstock.

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Statue of Comstock in the centre of the town!

It is also good to note that be prepared to be slightly offended when playing Infinite as the game has some moments of extreme racism and prejudice, not only against the blacks, but the Chinese, native Americans and even the Irish couldn’t get away from it. Now I understand that not every player is the same and some may just brush some of the more absurd racist moments off but for me it was a bit unnerving at times. But 2K Games managed to keep the racist aspect at an acceptable enough level whilst justifying it in an editorial sense. In other words, not being racist just for the purpose of being racist.

Bioshock Infinite is massive, let’s get that out of the way and for me it’s the sheer scale of some of the buildings, statues and rooms that really sends a shiver down my back when playing. One example in particular is when you and Elizabeth are travelling down an elevator to see a gunsmith in Finks section of Columbia, when you see this gigantic, (I’m going to hold off on the word epic because that sums up the game perfectly) statue of Fink that just dwarfs every building! I was in awe of it all, and it’s the moments like that when you catch a glimpse of something thing like that statue that you truly feel like you are playing a Bioshock game!

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The sheer scale and beauty of Columbia

Bioshock Infinite lures you into a false sense of security, it makes you feel like the world of Columbia is a peaceful tranquil place, it does this by showing you the lovers staring into the horizon, the cotton candy man giving treats to children and by letting you, the gamer, have a go at some fairground games all to win Silver Eagles! But all this comes to a complete halt when the residents see the infamous “AD” marks on the back of your hand, which according to the prophet, marks the hand of the false shepherd who will bring death and destruction to the peaceful city of Columbia!

One of the highlights for me when you first set foot into the city of Columbia is the vast room full of candles floating on a bed of holy water, awe inspiring doesn’t begin to described how I was when I first seen it!  That’s one of the strong points about Infinite, the beauty of the levels is amazing. It can be difficult to focus on the fight at hand because you would be mesmerized at the architecture and lighting of the landscape.

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Awe inspiring opening level

Speaking of lighting, I’m not 100% sure of the engine that was used to create the dynamic lighting that is seen in Columbia but let me say right now that it adds such a level of realism it is almost astounding! Especially in the early levels as you wander through the streets of Columbia it adds such a warm glow over the city, but it changes drastically as the game develops and instead of creating the warm welcoming embrace it turns into a cold fearful place which leaves the player thinking twice about wheter or not to enter the area or not!

The gameplay in Infinite is intense and very fast paced. Depending on the level of difficulty and the play style that you adopt this game will be different. Personally I love riding on the skyrails and doing a skyhook attack!

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SKYHOOK ATTACK!!!

One thing I didn’t like about Infinite is that fact that you can only carry two weapons at a time, maybe they wanted to make it more realistic but one of the strong aspects of the game was it varied weapons, and to limit the player to only two at a time in my opinion wasn’t a good decision. Look at the older Bioshocks where you could carry 8 or so weapons at a time,  granted that Infinite’s decision to limit the number of weapons adds a sense of urgency to the gun fights and does make the game that much more frantic and chaotic. When you are being chased by a Handyman, which in game is a helluva lot bigger than the figurine that was mentioned above, and you notice that your machine gun is out of ammo, the anarchy that ensues in your hunt for ammo is adrenaline pumping to say the least.

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Handyman Heavy Hitter in Game!

Every now and again Elizabeth will aid you by giving you some spare ammunition that she finds lying around the map. She will also give you some salt, which is used to power your Vigor, some health and also some money to be spent in the various vending machines strewn throughout Columbia.

Infinite keeps to the original Bioshocks style by giving the player a new set of plasmids…. I mean Vigors! There are 8 to choose from but it’s very rare that I find the need to use some of them. Elizabeth herself plays a big role in combat as she has the special ability to find tears in the playing field and use these tears to summon objects that range from medical kids to mechanic patriots! This is an awesome feature and can definitely turn the tables in some near death incidents.

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An example of the advertising strewn around Columbia for various Vigors.

The sound of Infinite is good but it’s notit’s strong point, even with my headset on you can hear enemies before they enter the room or before you enter the room and this seems to take away from the shock factor that Bioshock featured, now I can tell that there’s a mechanic patriot behind that door before I walk towards it. Infinite seems to stray away from the scare factor that the first two Bioshocks featured and leans more on the cinematic side of things.

Which leads us to the cutscenes and in game dialogue, it is so cool to see cinematography that is used in Oscar  winning films be used in gaming, it seems like games can be excluded whenM highlighting memorable cutscenes and events. For example, Gears of War 3 features one of the most memorable and epic scenes I have ever witnessed in a game before, it involves a gas station and a truck, no spoilers here, but let me say that it brought me to tears….literally.

Bioshock Infinite is the exact same, maybe not bring you to tears same, but it has it’s moments that leaves you in so much suspense that your toes curl up and you are glued to your tv wondering what will happen next and then you find out that something completely different happens but it still leaves you mouth agape and your controller on the floor, possibly!

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Elizabeth looking rather shocked for some reason!

I am nearing the end of Bioshock Infinite now and I can honestly say that it has been an experience,  one that I haven’t had with a game in a long time. With amazing cutscenes, eccentric characters, emotional moments, plot twists up the ying yang and just downright epic level design, it is certainly a contender for game of the year but I wouldn’t jump to conclusions like that straight away, sure were only in March heading into April now, there’s plenty more games to come.

But for now there’s a songbird perched atop the charts and it looks like he’ll be staying there for quite some time!

Adam Waugh

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