As a Bioshock fan from the first games, I loved the dreery main setting of Rapture. I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to playing is such a vastly different setting known as Columbia. However, once I got a sense of the compelling storyline, I was no longer concerned. The concept of various realities and outcomes had me hooked from the get go.
When first arriving in Colombia, it seems too good to be true. It’s beautiful, peaceful, friendly… almost to a ridiculous degree. It was a creative use of foreshadowing (to a minimal degree) that something was way off here. It doesn’t take long for Columbia’s dark side to rear its ugly head. Not to give too much away, but you’re given a baseball and have the choice to throw it at the announcer (who deserves it); or a biracial couple. From this point on, all hell breaks loose literally.
The aformentioned scene depicts another of Bioshock Infinite’s strengths; it holds no qualms of discussing or observing disgusting and uncomfortable subject matter such as racism, religious differences, etc. More than once, as a player, you’ll probably be a little taken aback at some of the things which are said. However, it certainly creates a tense and unforgiving setting (which I’m sure was what Ken Levine had in mind.)
Booker handles the town’s baddies, early in the game, in true Bioshock fashion: extremely loud and powerful shotgun… check. Some cool tonics to inflict damage… check. However, after rescuing Elizabeth, he truly gets an ally to help in the struggle. Elizabeth has the ability to open “tears”, which are alternative realities. Through such “tears” she can offer Booker health, ammo, automatons, weapons, and even cover. However, the most appreciated aspect of Elizabeth is that she is an intelligent AI. I never had to worry about protecting her, which makes the battles much more enjoyable. You don’t feel like a babysitter; which is beneficial, especially in some of the more frenzied battles towards the end.
As an avid reader, I’d have to say the most engaging aspect of Bioshock Infinite is the stories writing. While not one to give anything away, the plot weaves its way throughout the story in seamless fashion. At the end, unless you’re a super detective, you’ll get hit with a brick when the stories plot thread concludes. As a side note, just to see how ingenious the storie’s plot line is crafted, listen for some more modern songs, which play throughout the game. Just as a hint, there’s some Beach Boys and Cyndi Lauper to start with. The key is to actually “hear” it.
In the end, this third installment in the Bioshock series is the best. The other games were amazing in their own right; but this game’s story line is the seller for me. Shooters are a dime a dozen; but crafty writing takes this Bioshock to an entirely new level. I cared about Elizabeth. I cared about Booker’s checkered and haunted past. I even felt bad for the handymen (although they will hand your butt to you if you’re not careful.) Bioshock Infinite is certainly a must play for the PS3’s final cycle run of games. What a phenomenal swan song… or Songbird Song!
Concept – 10
Graphics – 9
Sound – 10
Playability – 10
Entertainment – 10
Rating Average: 9.8
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