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Bioshock Infinite [Xbox 360] Review

Posted on April 2, 2013 AT 08:43pm

It’s been three years since Irrational Games took the gaming world into the Bioshock universe but after the long wait the company, along with publisher 2K Games, has returned with a brand new city, a brand new story and a massive new world in the latest installment to the franchise Bioshock Infinite. Set in the year 1912 Infinite focuses on Booker DeWitt,  a gambling man looking to pay off a debt. In exchange for erasing what he owes, Booker must take a girl from the mysterious floating city of Columbia back with him to New York, with Booker finding that the task is much easier said than done.

The story ofBioshock: Infinite is a long and varied tale. With lots of twists and turns this game takes the player on a massive journey the minute the game begins, which only intensifies along the way. As Booker, the player heads to the strange land of Columbia, a floating city somehow suspended in mid-air. His goal: to take the girl, Elizabeth, out of the conflicted and mysterious populace, a task that proves difficult as more is revealed about Elizabeth and her very unique abilities, the religious zealot who controls Columbia and the rebels who oppose him, and Booker himself.

Crafting a deep and satisfying plot is something that many games fail to achieve but something Infinite does in spades. The story of Booker’s journey to get Elizabeth, the plot of the Comstock, a religious fascist that hates people of color and forces everyone to live by his incredibly narrow-minded conservative views and the fight of the opposing Vox Populi, a group of rebel anarchists bent on taking the Comstock down. The story of Elizabeth herself, something that is too large to be summarized in any clear way, is also a major focus in the game. Everything comes together beautifully, though the element of inherent racism gets pretty extreme throughout the game. While doing  great job in not celebrating the racism of Columbia it does have to be said that those who play it may be uncomfortable despite the obvious intention to not make it something positive in the game.

Also this guy. Good luck.

The story is the driving force of the game, with gameplay elements taking a seat on the passenger side. The style of play is very well done, however. From the rush of  first-person view on a Sky Hook to the feel of a Vigor crushing your foes or doing one of the many things the Vigors (similar to the plasmids of previous games can seemingly do) and the sounds of one of the many gratifying weapons, this game is near perfect in this regard.  Booker moves smoothly, his interactions with Elizabeth, while sometimes silly, are genuine and only feel forced when in combat. Elizabeth will toss you supplies in battle, a handy resource when in a frantic situation, though not something that seems like it would be logical. The game does have a few drawbacks, however. While most of the game (played through on Normal difficulty for this review) is pretty relaxed, the final mission ramps up to near-impossibility out of nowhere. While the mission itself is a challenge, it is nothing like any of the battles fought so far, and gets so incredibly out of hand from the beginning that it can be a bit surprising. This is a necessary evil that compliments the story, but it escalates almost instantly, making for a tough mission.

Speaking of Elizabeth, it is her who is the real star of this game. While it is your job to rescue and protect her, she really needs no protection of the sort. In fact, in many cases, it is Elizabeth who saves you. She picks locks, gets your supplies during battle and uses the incredibly stunning ability to create objects and weapons for you out of thin air using “tears”, a rip in reality that allows Elizabeth to reach into another reality and bring objects out of it. Her character is dynamic, her agency is incredibly apparent, and her development not only as a person but as her past is revealed is the most gratifying portion of this game, as her existence is the entire reason for much of the conflict. In comparison to Elizabeth, Booker DeWitt has the character development of a slowly eroding wall, not making much of a leap until nearly everything is wrapped up. While there are many other very interesting characters in the game, Elizabeth stands out as the star, not only for her abilities as your companion, but the amazing depth that has been put into her design.

First Impression on Elizabeth? Not going so well.

The design of the game from start to finish is jaw-droppingly beautiful. The graphics are stunning and the world of Columbia looks real enough to see in the far distance of the sky. The chaos on the ground, the depth of the physical character design and the entirety of the world at large looks incredible, and this line is followed throughout the game. While there is the occasional bit of odd glitches that make the game look strange for a moment, there are few enough of them that they can be tolerated, and the game itself can go on to be as gorgeous as it always seems to look. Captured in the year 1912, this game has the look and feel of the time period while also becoming something wildly different and still meshing it all together in the end.

Summary: After playing through the entirety of the game, this needs to be said: this game is breathtaking in nearly every way. From the rising intensity of the story, the violent twists and turns, the stunning visuals and sounds, and the near flawless gameplay, this is a game that could easily contend for game of the year. It has a few bumps here and there, but overall, there is so much to love about this game. The initial thought of the game was one of fascination and enjoyment, but not something that was utterly mind-blowing, but after finishing the whole title, the game makes up more than the sum of its parts, creating a game that is not only impressive, but impressive to the point of near disbelief. This game is incredible, and no one should go without another foray into the Bioshock universe. With so much to do, see, collect and destroy, this is one game that cannot be passed up. Get it now, you won’t regret it.

Pros: Everything. This game is stunning. A must-play GOTY candidate without question.

Cons: Severely strong racial overtones, tough learning curve on the final mission.

Grade: A+

Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.

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