Thursday, March 28, 2013

First Impression: Bioshock Infinite

Not sure why, but I love this image. Booker is the man.
If you are still on the fence about getting Bioshock Infinite, I'm here to set you straight:


Alright, I suppose I should be a little bit clearer about that.

Bioshock Infinite takes the art style of the previous games out from the dingy depths that we call Rapture and brings them up to the bright, blue skies of Columbia. If you only liked Bioshock for its underwater hellhole of a setting, this game might not be for you, but I suggest even then that you try it out.

I remember playing Bioshock 1 and loving it for the setting and story. Some of the supporting characters were interesting, some weren't, and the combat was equally ambivalent. I played Bioshock 2 all of twice. The story, after coming from the first one, did not grab me as quickly and the combat, while improved, made the initial stages feel far to hectic in the oppressive situations you were put in.

Infinite improves on all fronts. In relation to story, the most important part of the game for me, it has been excellent. Note: it is NOT a continuation of the previous games, simply set in the same universe, several decades earlier. Instead of a nameless, voiceless protagonist, you take on the role of Booker DeWitt, a character with a sordid past that we slowly uncover as we make our way through the game. Hearing someone voice their reactions to Columbia and other characters is a really nice touch, providing us with context in situations that aren't always clear in relation to the rest of the world at the time.

As far as I am, I only know that Booker's mission is to find Elizabeth in Columbia and bring her back to some unnamed people Booker owes a debt to.

Elizabeth, as a character, is a very strange element. She acts as a partner after you meet her, but it is handled differently from most games -- in no way do you need to babysit her: she doesn't take damage and, if anything, is a boon during combat due to some of her more unique abilities and when she finds ammo/health/etc...

Why Elizabeth is important will undoubtedly be related to her special abilities, which I won't mention here, but as of now nothing specific has been uncovered. Instead, in our attempt to escape Columbia, I've learned more about the floating city and some of its key denizens, all of which seem to be even more interesting than most I encountered in Rapture.

The biggest component of the game for most people, however, is probably the gameplay. As someone who didn't particularly enjoy Bioshock 2's changes, I have to say that Infinite is a much smoother game with an array of weapons and powers at your disposal -- even as early as I am, I've had access to 4 powers and 6 or more different weapons, all of which allow you to treat combat however you want.

A major different than past games would be that Infinite does away with the tense feelings of suspense you'd get from exploring Rapture. Instead of insane, unnatural splicers, the enemies are usually cops and some automatons present throughout the city. The title is definitely more action oriented in this way, which could be jarring to some; considering the strength of the story still remains, I don't miss the suspense at all. In fact, I think I'm able to personally play the game longer without the constant nagging suspense I felt in the others, which has been a nice change.

Ok, I've written a bunch already. To summarize: I'm loving the story and the gameplay, and I strongly suggest you pick it up.

I'll follow up with a more in-depth review when I finish the game and don't mind spoiling everything for everyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment