Bioshock Infinite – Review

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4/21/2013

“Booker, are you afraid of god?” Booker: “No, but I’m afraid of you”

“Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.” – Robert Lutece

Bioshock: Infinite, what else really needs to be said about this game? Is it a typical Bioshock game? No. Do you need to play the first two games to play this one? No. Is it fun? Hell yes.

You start off at the Coast of Main in the year 1912. Your goal, which is pretty simple, find the girl and bring her back. The basic concept of this has been done many times in other games. At times, I kept thinking of Ico, where you have to guide the girl through the game. This has some similarities but the girl, Elizabeth, plays a much more important part in your travels. In Infinite, she actually helps you, by finding money, ammo and Salts.

What are Salts you ask? They are the Eve refills from past games. Instead of direct injecting them into your arm, you drink a solution from a bottle. Salts allow you to use your Vigors in the game. What are Vigors you ask? Vigors are the same premise as Plasmas in the previous Bioshock games.

So in terms, Infinite is the same type of game play as the previous Bioshocks. One of the big differences you will see between the previous games and this game, there is no Big Daddies or Little Sisters. Instead of Big Daddy’s we get new enemies, called the Handyman and Patriots.  There are a lot less of these encounters in this game. When you run across one, you better be prepared for a fight. They will test your ability to adapt and change your approach in a fight. You will need a good strategy to defeat these giant robotic enemies. The Handyman, nor the Patriots, don’t take many breaks. They come directly after you, and in a hurry.

The gameplay itself is very satisfying. Fast paced fights are the norm. Some stealth approach is needed to avoid getting swarmed by a group of enemies. Dodging, hiding, and popping out from around corners, or walls, is pretty typical in this game. If you stay out in the open for too long you will die. What makes this so enjoyable is the AI in the game. Yes, there are some moments when I thought to myself, “What in the world are they doing”. I’ll go into this a little bit further, especially with Elizabeth. These little nuisances don’t take away from the actual fights though. The fighting itself doesn’t get stale either. With a bunch of combinations you can do with your Vigor’s, finding what works best is part of the fun. For example you can create a trap using a Vigor called Murder of Crows. In this, you are laying down a Crow’s nest. When an enemy walks by it, the Crows group up and attack. Add in the Vigor called Devil’s Kiss, which is a fire ball, during the Crows attack, you come across Flaming Crows that do some bonus damage.

Graphical wise the game is very colorful and amazing looking. There are some draw distance issues that popup once you get close enough, these are very minimal though. The one that I noticed the most was during a fight. I was getting shot at from a Sniper from on top of a building. When looking through my own Sniper’s Scope, I could see where the bullet was coming from due the stream it left behind through the air, but I couldn’t see the guy actually shooting it. After taking a couple of steps forward, the guy “dropped” from the sky, then I was able to finally kill him. Another thing I found was after an enemy was laying on the ground, after getting killed, for too long, they vanish and a small metal tin would appear a few inches above the ground and then drop.  I’m guess this is to hold the items that you have collected from the body instead of having it laying all over the ground. It didn’t affect the gameplay at all, just seemed a little weird and slightly out of place.

Then there is the collision detection. There were times when Booker would just stop moving. After looking down there would be a crack, a high spot in the stone, or something else in the street that he couldn’t walk over. This got a little annoying at times, especially during fights. Walking through the streets of Columbia wasn’t as bad. Trying to run for cover and getting stopped by a small pebble in front of you was slightly frustrating.  To be fair, it doesn’t happen a lot, but when you are trying to hug a wall and walk backwards up a few steps, to get caught on the corner of the pillar, while you’re getting shot, is slightly annoying.

As I mentioned before, the AI is fairly impressive. Enemies will come out of cover, fire at you and then go back to cover. There are times though that they will run into each other, stand behind another enemy and kill the  person in front of them. I even saw once where after shooting at me, the enemy turned and ran into a locked door and kept trying to run through it. These are rare but the do happen from time to time. Especially with a large group of enemies you have to deal with. Elizabeth, on the other hand, can be annoying. There was many times when I turned around to leave a room, run for cover, or just walking, she would jump in front of me causing me to go around her. There were even times during fire fight she would squat down right in the middle of the gun fire as trying to hide behind something.

Bioshock Infinite is not a perfect game. It is though, a very enjoyable game. The story is good, the ending has a great twist to it and the gameplay is satisfying. If you haven’t played any of the previous games, or didn’t like them all that well, I suggest you pick this game up and play through it. There is still a slight Bioshock feeling to it, but what the original games lacked, this makes up for it. From the different gun types, to the ability to mix two Vigors together, gives it a fresh feel. Besides the different levels of difficulty, there isn’t much replayability to the game. Still though, it is a very enjoyable experience.

1999 Mode

Just a few simple helpful tips to get those of you through this mode. If you don’t know yet, this is the hardest mode in the game. A lot has been made about this. Some reviews has called this extremely hard, not for the average gamer and so forth. After completing it I have a few tips for everyone.

Don’t believe what every has said about this mode. It really is not all that hard. The hardest parts are at the beginning when you don’t have a shield, fighting Lady Comstock for the first time and the ending battle. Other than that, the game is pretty simple. The Handyman can be annoying, other than that everything else can be done real easily.

Once you grab the Sniper Rifle, do not ever get rid of it. That will be your life and make 1999 fairly simple. The other gun that I used sometimes was a mixture between the Machine Gun and the Carbine. It just depends on what had the most ammo in it. The Machine Gun is good for quick gun fire. The Carbine is good for short burst and better damage.

For Vigors, I used Bucking Bronco with Shock Jockey or Devil’s Kiss. Upgrade the Bucking Bronco to help launch a group of enemies into the air to allow you some time to run for cover or gram some supplies lying around.

The ending fight can be done fairly simple. At the start take out the gun ship with Songbird then immediately run down to the Energy Core and cover it with Return to Sender. This helps absorb most of the gun fire from the enemies. From there just pace yourself in taking out the series of enemies that come after the Core. For the first part of the fight I stayed behind the Core allowing the enemies to focus more on me then the Core. Use the Sniper to pick off the smaller enemies and have the Patriots fight each other with Possession. Once the Zepplins come, try to find a good grove to take them out. Leave one of the smaller enemies alive to prevent the next swarm from attacking. The will allow time for the Songbird clock to build back up and give you some time to collect Salts, ammo and Health Packs. It took me a few tries to get a nice flow going but once you do the final fight is actually fairly simple to do. I ended up with the Core having about half of its health still available.

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