So…Let me begin by saying I love Bioshock…and being the kind of gamer I am I have run through Rapture more times than my brother has run through the loop de loops of the Emerald hill Zone. With the third game in the series taking us above the forgotten aquatic city of Rapture and into the clouds surrounding the city of Colombia, one had to ask themselves…”Will this really be Bioshock without Rapture?” Well kids the answer is a short and resounding YES.
So as I’ve already stated I love Bioshock. I love the setting, the tone, and the overall gameplay of the series. But the biggest draw for me PERSONALLY is STORY, and Bioshock: Infinite…floored me. You start the game in a boat, in a choppy sea, with two weird people talking what seems to be nonsense. Of course they give you your mission to retrieve a girl in a tower, in a city that floats above the clouds. You, as the in-debt Private Detective Booker DeWitt are to “escort” this young woman to the duo in the boat to erase his huge debt. Simple right? The game sets up this seemingly easy task and simply says go for it. The second you see Colombia as you break through the clouds you’ll immediately see how much effort went into creating this city…Rapture was breath taking in a night life way….Colombia…truly looked like a utopia. The game doesn’t immediately toss you into a bad situation and expect you to wrench your way out, but it does give you a severe moral choice. Personally I can’t bring myself to try the other route due to my own personal outlook on the subject, but you decision makes a small but meaningful impact later.
So first and foremost the game is beautiful…everything is fluid and looks like it belongs in the time period of 1912. Animations and character models are smooth and realistic in a…cartooney way. Their movements and mannerisms don’t do much model breaking if any at all. The textures were great too, the clouds and overall ambiance were perfectly captured and I was very impressed to see that quality hold up the entirety of the game. The locations were gorgeous, Rapture was beautiful in a forlorn way but Colombia…was one of the most serene locations I’ve seen in an FPS. Zipping around on the Skyrails is by far the most fun I’ve had in a gunfight in a LONG time. Not only is is crazy and hectic it’s still a REALLY pretty way to see Colombia.
The games ambient sounds and music was equally great. It was entertaining to know that this was a living breathing city with people in it . The voice acting was superb and everyone sounded like a real person, even the random NPCs that are simply loitering about. The gun fire sounded a little…fake but this isn’t Battlefield 3 so that gripe makes for a trivial mention. Gameplay wise I literally have no issues…there was not one time (other than on 1999 mode) When I felt like I was stuck in a fight. If I died it was either through negligence or my love of Skyhooking people in the face. Elizabeth’s Tears were a huge boon and her skill at battle scavenging is a complete lifesaver.
That girl has saved my Skyhookin’ self many times and she has EASILY destroyed the stereotype of the useless escort character…Elizabeth is by far THE BEST ESCORT TARGET EVER…She’s engaging, her emotional state are easily noticed in her stance and expression, and her curiosity about the city and her many interactions with random things is a very nice touch to her. I spent quite a bit of time strolling just to see what she’d occupy herself with. Elizabeth was never a “Damsel in Distress” as much as she was a “Damsel who needed an opening” and Booker was her’s. In combat she’s just as capable, she takes her own cover, is never in your way, and does her best to find you ammo and health in the course of a fight. Not to mention ripping holes in space an time to give you a bit of an edge. The times when it’s just Booker it’s easy to immediately miss Elizabeth and her overall presence, I know I did.
The Plasmids make a return in the form of Vigors. They work just like Rapture’s Plasmids and are vital for your survival. Did I mention Elizabeth keeps you stocked on Salts too? (Salts are Colombia’s EVE). You can have any two Vigors active and you can simply swap them out from the power wheel at will. I personally enjoyed the Murder of Crows and Whirlwind Charge (More Skyhook…) The Vigors will make or break you sometimes and I enjoyed their use.
The enemies you face are equally equipped, some coming at you with Vigors, others with guns, robots, and every so often you get a brave soul who tries to club you, which only leads to a Skyhook execution (Elizabeth is NOT fond of the executions.). The only enemies I believe were under used were the Handymen (large cyborg humans) Colombia’s answer to the much more intimidating and deadly Big Daddies and Songbird; Elizabeth’s jailer and only friend. The few Handymen sent after you are easily defeated if you aren’t new to the franchise (and have the right vigor and/or bravado…yes I beat one with the Skyhook…). Other than that the enemies were tenacious and intelligent enough to put up a fight.
Now I would LOVE to tell you about the story but honestly if I say ANYTHING there’s a chance I could ruin what you THINK is going to happen. The game is so well written and scripted that sometimes I wasn’t sure WHO was the real villian…The later battles between the racially segregated and oppressed Vox Populi faction and the Colombian Authorities made you wonder which side was…right or just. Certain points of the game WILL make you think about quite a few things.
THE BOTTOM OF THE GLASS.
This game did everything right…sound, graphics, story, and game play were all superb. The story was well written and if you listen and make connections you might see how the city in the clouds connects to the ruins under the ocean. The game easily extends it’s lifespan by giving you the painfully hard 1999 Mode after completion and it will put you to the test. I’m giving this game Five shots out of Five…it earned it easily.