182 of 187 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2013
I'm nowhere near your average gamer. I'm a 46-year-old wife and mom. I played games with my kid when she was younger, but hadn't picked up a controller in years. Then a year and a half ago I met Nathan Drake, and renewed my love affair with adventure games.
I recently branched out, took a chance on BioShock 1. That was okay, the story was REALLY different, but the gameplay got a tad monotonous after a while. I happened to finish that a couple weeks before Infinite came out. I really had no intention of playing Infinite. None whatsoever. I barely paid attention to its existence.
Then I saw a commercial for it. Which led me to investigate online. Which led me to buy the game, on May 19. I finished it tonight, June 15. Yes, because I work full time, have a family to corral and a million things going on, it took me almost a month to play this game. But OOOOHHHHHH what a month it has been! I have savored EVERY MINUTE of this game. It's been so damn much fun that I actually feel BAD for getting it on sale. Holy guacamole, the art, the story, the characters, the *everything*.
This game is simply stunning. Even if you're just a sorta-kinda-casual game player like me, you will enjoy the living crap out of this. I am so completely going to play it again, as soon as I can pry it out of my daughter's hands.
122 of 140 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2013
NOTE 1: This is a review in progress. I got the game during the midnight release and have been playing through the campaign. More thoughts will be added as I finish the game.
NOTE 2: I AM NOT an employee of 2K or Irrational Games. All the writing you see are my opinions alone; see my other video game reviews (both positive and critical) if you need proof.
The first thing that's going to strike you about Bioshock Infinite is the setting of Columbia. No longer are you stuck underwater and going through tight corridors as in Bioshock 1 and 2. The openess of being on will be unlike anything you've experienced in an FPS before. Many games try to give you the feeling their setting is alive (Skyrim immediately comes to mind), but few immerse you with real life issues (racism, etc.) as B.I. does. You'll literally stop and listen to the various conversations, that is when you're not getting shot or melee attacked!
I don't want to give too much away, as I don't want to spoil the game for you. Needless to say, some of the language is going to shock and awe you, so there's a reason the big "M" is on the front of the cover. Definitely either have the kiddos away in bed or have a headset on.
The next thing is your trusty sky-hook. No longer are battles confined. Now, you can literally leap on the multitude of railings, slide down, see an enemy and drop on them to attack. The freedom this opens up to approach different situations is a liberation. Yes, some of the game is "on rails" and you won't have this opportunity through the entire game. But there are always going to be limitations with software, hardware etc. that restricts visions.
Those familiar with Bioshock and Bioshock 2 know you carry a power in your left hand (called "vigors" in this game, previous veterans of Bioshock recognize these as "Plasmids") and a weapon in the right. B.I. doesn't mess with this formula but DOES change your customization where it is much, much deeper.
You will also find various Gear lying around, of which you can equip a certain amount (4 to start). These effects vary as well, from giving your Skyhook melee a shock charge to increased damage against certain enemy types.
When you add in the random things that Elizabeth brings into the fray later in the story (called "tears"), the combinations are staggering and offers replay just to see how insane a setup you can create. For example, you could have Murder of Crows equipped, initiate it, switch to Devil's Ball, which will catch your crows on fire, which will catch your enemies on fire, and Elizabeth warps in a machine gun turret which finishes the job. It's honestly something hard to put into words. You simply have to experience it for yourself.
Sadly, the weapons are pretty standard-fair for this kind of game (shotguns, machine guns, etc). You could put a 1910 coat of paint on pretty much any COD gun and you have a B.I. gun. Seems like a lost opportunity here. The standard "spend this to upgrade that" is present in the game. You will find locked chests which will make you hunt for keys. However, what you find in these chests (infusions, which let you upgrade your shield, health or salt, respectfully, ala Skyrim) as well as Gear, etc. are WELL worth your time to seek and find the keys.
But what's a great action game without a story? The basic gist is you are Booker DeWitt, here in Columbia to rescue Elizabeth. Who just may be the most full-fleshed out AI character to date. Through her communication, both verbal and non, you feel an engagement with her that you haven't felt in other games. You actually CARE what becomes of her. And that leads you to got he** bent on doing anything and everything to leave with her intact. Again, I'm trying to keep this a spoiler-free review, but there are so many twists and turns in this story that by the time you hit 10 hours through the game you'll be like "what the heck just happened???" In a GOOD way.
Enemy AI is very smart, and just jumping on one of those sky-hooks isn't always enough to escape getting pummelled. They take cover and, especially at a point in the middle of the game, will make you bring all your skills and items to bear or else you will find yourself dying. Repeatedly.
Regardless of what you might have felt for Bioshock 1 or 2, or if you have never played a Bioshock game, the setting, gameplay and sheer scope of Bioshock Infinite are well worth the price of admission. When history looks back on the PS3, this will become one of the defining games of this console generation and simply should not and cannot be missed.
43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2013
I'll state right up front that I don't typically play first-person shooters, and that this was the first BioShock game I've played. My favorite games usually fall into the role-playing, action/adventure, arcade, or artsy/independent categories (i.e., Skyrim, Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank, and Journey, respectively). Things like Call of Duty and Battlefield just don't do a lot for me.
With that said, I loved this game. The designers did a good job of balancing combat, exploration, and story elements to avoid making you tired of any single aspect. I found myself growing surprisingly attached to Elizabeth as the game progressed, which made for an increasingly emotional experience as the story played out. And even though I expected some twists at the end, when they actually came I was floored... and sat through the closing credits in stunned silence.
41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
+Solid story and narrative that really draws the player in
+Very thematically ambitious
+Gorgeous world really draws you into the experience
+Solid gameplay mechanics
+A lot of variety in ability and gear to help change up the experience
+Elizabeth is a very well crafted character
+The music and audio is very good; the voice acting is fantastic
+Comes with a copy of the original Bioshock
-Slight dips in framerate from time to time
-Death can feel a little disorienting
-Some choice decisions fail to have an impact
Note: The Following Review is Long
In 2007 the original Bioshock came out and added a layer to gaming that few games have been able to do. The game was not nearly as big of a success as other titles of the year such as Halo or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but it quickly seized hold of an enormous cult following that became very emotionally attached to the game. The game was so beloved and so much of a success that when Bioshock 2 came out a year later it couldn't have hoped to be as beloved. After all, the original Bioshock was groundbreaking from a narrative standpoint. A game that reached so high any game which followed it couldn't hope to come within an arms length of its legacy. Nevertheless, Bioshock Infinite is here and it reaches. In some regards, perhaps even higher than the one that started it all.
You play as Booker Dewitt. He's got some debts to settle and believes he can do so. He must first venture to the floating city of Columbia. There he must rescue a young woman named Elizabeth. But it will not be easy. Columbia is a city ruled under the watchful eye of Father Comstock, a prophet who can supposedly see the future. It isn't long before Booker realizes that rescuing Elizabeth and escaping the city of Columbia will be much more difficult than he imagined. Quickly branded as a false prophet, Booker comes under attack.
Like the first game, Bioshock Infinite is a very thematically ambitious game. One that begins to elevate storytelling in gaming. There will surely be a lot of discussion to follow with this one. There's a lot of care taken with the world in which it takes place in, as well as with some of the themes it handles. And Bioshock Infinite opts to hold very little back. Here you'll be tackling themes such as racism, religion, false prophets, gender roles, even moments that will test your own morals. It's got a lot to say. The story and the world also come to life in the same way that Rapture does. While Columbia is not as dazzling as the trip into the underwater world, it does have a pulse just the same. You'll find Voxphones scattered throughout. These, like the original Bioshocks audio diaries, add a lot more to the tale at hand. They add to the story, the world and the atmosphere. To ignore them is to miss out on a considerable portion of the game. For those very curious about the world they're playing in, they will most certainly want to pick these up.
From the outset it doesn't seem as though there is much which separates Bioshock Infinite from it's predecessor. Indeed, it takes a moment to get there. Many aspects will be familiar to you from the outset. Instead of Plasmids, for example, you have Vigors. These allow you to do things such as possess machines and make them attack your enemies, or hurl explosive fireballs at your foes. If there are crows an area you can even turn them against your foes. There's a lot variety with the vigors, as well as many different ways to use them. There is a limit, of course, you need salts to be able to use them. Like the original there are also vending machines around where you can use currency to buy upgrades for your vigors or guns. You can also restore health.
Unlike the original, however, you don't stock up on health packs that will be used immediately when your life reaches zero. Rather you have one life gauge that doesn't recharge at all. You must find food or other means of sustenance to restore your health. There is, however, a shield you'll get early on that does recharge. If you can find cover in the midst of a gun fight or keep from taking damage your shield will recharge and you'll be ready again. This seems like it'll make the game particularly difficult at first, but Bioshock Infinite is not too challenging in and of itself. Sometimes the enemies can come in large waves. But should you bite the dust you are never punished too harshly. You'll respawn really close to where you died and you'll be given some health and some ammo. Your enemies will also have some of their health restored as well, so whatever killed you is usually still lurking. The only downside is that there will be times when you respawn and you'll need to take time to adjust to your surroundings. Though you never respawn far from where you've died, there are times when you'll feel disoriented and turned around when you do.
There is also gear you can put on to help you out along the way. These will enhance your abilities. And if you mix and match things will change. One piece of gear, for instance, allows you to run faster when your shield burst. Another lets you set people on fire when you attack them. This adds a layer of strategy and gives you a different means of approaching the bad guys. Get enough variety of gear and you'll be able to create different "builds" for your character. You might think of these builds as various job classes from an RPG. This all provides many different ways to tackle many of the big firefights in Bioshock Infinite.
Chances are you won't die too many times. Bioshock Infinite's biggest change to gameplay is adding Elizabeth into the equation. Elizabeth will accompany you throughout much of the experience and as such she is a companion. This isn't some game where you'll have to babysit, though. Elizabeth can't die. Although she will supply you with ammunition and health if you need it. This little tweak can make the game a bit easier than it has to be, but it won't make death impossible. She also helps you unlock doors when you come across them, although it is just a tad bit strange that you
What really helps Elizabeth along is how well realized of a character she is. How she develops and her facial expressions give her a lot of life. To say much more than that would be to spoil a lot of the fun of the game. Booker is not a bad character, by any means, but the story quickly lets you know it isn't about him. He's a man with a simple mission, but this is much more her story than his. She is truly a loveable and charming character. Not that Booker is bad, but he's primarily there to make sure you experience the story more so than to add a lot. While he makes commentary and quips (that are mostly to provide hints of where to go) every now and then the game makes no illusions about who is the star of the show here.
That being said, because of such a huge emphasis on its narrative and story, Bioshock Infinite often has a real clear path for you to go. It's a very linear game where you'll rarely (if ever) find yourself lost. That doesn't mean you can't explore. There is plenty off the beaten path where you can go off track for a moment to find gear, vigors and sometimes even going so far as to find a sidequest or two. If you ever find yourself exploring too much, a tap of a button will show the way to go in order to get back onto the right path.
Most areas are not too big, but they are filled to the brim with a lot of details. For the most part, Bioshock Infinite doesn't look that much different than the previous two games. This is fine as they were gorgeous looking. Here there is a lot of detail to the world. One of the chief criticisms lodged at Bioshock 2 was that we'd already explored quite a bit of Rapture. A return there wasn't exciting enough. Columbia definitely is. The tone is very similar, but the atmosphere is not. Instead of going down dark corridors you're exploring a lot of open spaces. Not everyone you meet is someone who has lost their mind either (and some do not even care to try to kill you). Especially in the beginning moments of the game, you may come across citizens having idle conversation. Likewise, where as the original Bioshock was pretty dark in its environment, Infinite is not afraid to let the sunshine in. Many of its set piece moments stand in contrast to the original.
The audio is just as good. The sound effects are great. But what is the most rewarding is listening to the voice acting. All the performances are great. Comstock, in some cases, can be downright haunting (particularly listening to him on Voxphone). It helps to make a pretty engaging experience. If there was anything about the presentation that might be a bit of a nuisance it might be that from time to time the frame rate can get a little choppy.
Bioshock Infinite is not for the weak-hearted however. It's a violent game with some pretty gruesome death moments. Nothing to cringe worthy for those who have played the original Bioshock or other violent games. What makes it more startling is that there is a much deeper context to much of it here. As in, moments in which you'll see innocent people brutally murdered before your eyes or treated very poorly. Much of this is put forth for thematic or story driven purposes. It can be brutal, but it isn't here just for the sake of shock or as a means to see how far they can push the envelope.
If there was anything about Bioshock Infinite that immediately sticks out like a sore thumb, it would be some of the "choices" and "decisions." Some moments you're able to make certain choices by pushing one trigger or another. The problem is that the impact of these choices isn't really clear--if they even manage to change anything at all. At the beginning of the game, for instance you can choose to throw a baseball at a couple or throw it at the MC on stage. Regardless of your decision things will play out the same. It isn't particularly obvious if this has any lasting impact. It has short term effects, but nothing that really impacts the story in a major way.
The PS3 version of Bioshock Infinite comes with a free copy of the original Bioshock. For those who've yet to play through the game it's a nice treat. For those who have already experienced Bioshock it may not actually be necessary, but it can serve as a nice reminder of the game in and of itself. But you're free to take it or leave it.
Bioshock Infinite isn't a perfect game, but it is a great one. A thematically ambitious game with a well told story, Bioshock Infinite is sure to delight fans who fell in love with the original back in 2007. It is a game that not only delivers well from a gameplay standpoint, but from a narrative one as well. If you enjoyed exploring the world of Rapture in 2007, then you'll love going through the land of Columbia, here.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2013
Note: May contain spoilers. Proceed with caution.
For video game enthusiasts everywhere the Bioshock franchise has become thee franchise this gen. From our trip to Rapture in 2007, and our subsequent return in 2010, this series has shown that the FPS genre is far from stale. It did so by testing your morality, giving you some small RPG elements, and creating an extremely strong and engaging narrative. Well I'm more than happy to announce that Infinite doesn't break that cycle and, at the risk of sounding premature, I'm willing to say that I think it surpasses the original in more ways than one.
It would be downright impossible to explain the story without lacing the entire summary with spoilers and that's not really what I want to do. For those who have already played the game they know exactly why the story is so fantastic. For those who are thinking about playing the game I would prefer not to ruin the experience. Normally I wouldn't mind having a spoiler or two, but I feel like that would take away from Infinite's beauty.
"Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt." This is a statement that you will hear countless times throughout this game's 10+ hour campaign. In short, it's this game's equivalent of "Would you kindly?" And no, I'm not joking. This one phrase is way more complex than what it appears to be at the beginning of the game. The entire story, in fact, is way more complex than what it appears to be. Which is why I enjoyed it so much. I was a little skeptical at first and I found myself expecting to be disappointed by a pretty generic story. I think this stemmed from past franchises having a weak third entry (Killzone, Resistance, etc.) but Infinite breaks that cycle.
What starts as a simple mission to free Elizabeth from her captivity in order to pay off some gambling debts soon turns into a complex story about infinite realities. I will admit that while I had a vague understanding of what happened at the end I wasn't 100% sure. A simple Google search let me know that I was right for the most part, but, just as there's an infinite number of realities, there's an infinite number of ways to interpret the ending. Some people have even gone as far as actually making connections between Columbia and the world of Rapture. Now at this point in time most of this is just speculation, but a lot of it makes sense in the context of this story.
One thing this franchise is known for is its sense of atmosphere. Even though we might not be in Rapture anymore it doesn't mean that element got tossed out as well. Walking through Columbia I felt like I was in 1912. The way the buildings were decorated and the racist comments overheard from common citizens are just some small examples of how this game transports you to a different time period. Then there's the music that does a fantastic job at bringing the already beautiful visuals to life. It makes you creep around corners in fear of walking into a huge group of soldiers. I remember one part of the game where I was looking at a monitor as Comstock talked to me and when I turned around there was a Boy of Silence right in my face. I literally jumped in my seat and screamed "JESUS CHRIST!" None of that would have been possible without the eerie tone set by the music. It does a wonderful job at enhancing the player's experience as he/she wanders around Columbia.
If you've ever played the first two games then you can expect more of the same in terms of gameplay. You move from location to location killing off enemies that get in your way. Plasmids are back in the form of Vigors and instead of being replenished with Eve they're replenished with Salts. Even with these similarities Infinite manages to provide some new ideas that branch out from the core gameplay. The most noticeable being the inclusion of the skyline. I will admit that I was skeptical about the idea, but after playing through the game my doubts were washed away. The Skyhook adds an extra layer to the combat that enables each battle to feel unique because not only are you able to hop on and ride around the battlefield in search for better ground, your enemies will too.
Then throughout the game you can find Infusions, Clothing, Voxophones, and Kinetoscopes. Infusions are basically personal upgrades. When you find a bottle you have the option of upgrading your shield, your health, or your salts. Clothing can be found in boxes wrapped in bright blue wrapping paper. These pieces of clothing give you an extra buff that ranges from a stronger melee attack to an easier Skyhook execution. Voxophones take the place of the audio recordings and Kinetoscopes are these short little film clips placed in these weird podiums. During my first playthrough most of the Voxophones seemed pretty insignificant, but as I'm going through 1999 Mode and picking them up again it's amazing to see just how many clues the developers gave you towards the big plot twist. You just have to pay attention. The Kinetoscopes are kind of boring and after watching the first 10 of them I started closing them as soon as I turned one on. The only thing missing in Columbia is the security cameras and bots.
So far the game has followed in the footsteps of its predecessors. Keeping what people praised (story, atmosphere, etc.) while taking out what most people disliked (the multiplayer). But what's a Bioshock game without interesting characters? Well, it wouldn't be a Bioshock game. Which is exactly why Infinite is filled with them. You have Daisy Fitzroy, Cornelius Slate, Robert Lutece, and Rosalind Lutece, just to name a few. The Luteces are, in my opinion, two of the most fascinating characters I've seen in years. Between their back and forth banter and their habit of constantly popping up throughout the story it makes you feel like they never really leave you even after they have disappeared from the screen.
Then there's Elizabeth. Usually games with escort missions turn out to be a babysitting disaster. Thankfully, Bioshock Infinite breaks that trend. The beautiful thing about Elizabeth's character is her purity. She's been locked up her entire life so when she finally gets out it's like a new world for her. The way she walks around the environments, the way she stops to look at certain items in buildings, she does so with so much wonder and awe on her face. It's like a blind person finally given the gift of sight. One of my favorite moments with her is when I was searching around this one building. I was walking down the hall and she said "Why is one bathroom for colors and the other for whites?" Booker replied with "It just is." Her response was, and I quote, "Seems like an unnecessary complication." At that moment I wanted to jump through my TV and hug her. It's also this genuine purity that makes you question your morals in a way the Little Sisters never did. After certain events she will look genuinely disgusted with you and it's hard not to question if what you did was right. It's not just her personality that makes her worthwhile, it's the fact that she isn't a drone. She can find money on the ground and toss it to you, she can pick locks (if you have lock picks), and she can supply you with health and salts during a battle. Just a tip though, the health and salts are not infinite. So don't go all Rambo because, in my experience, it's usually one of each during every fight.
Finally, as great as this game is, it does have some small technical issues. As I played through the game I noticed that there was some slowdown. Most of it occurred during automatic save points so it doesn't cripple you in a big fight, but it's there. Then there were a few graphical glitches as well. Off the top of my head I remember one instance where the Luteces' feet were submerged in the concrete and another where I was standing by a wall while Elizabeth was talking to someone and I kind of got sucked into the wall. I was able to pull myself out right away, but it did happen.
Overall Score: 9.5/10 - To say I was blown away by my experience would be an understatement. I had chills throughout majority of the story and I found myself motionless when I reached the conclusion. The sheer complexity of the narrative makes you think in ways no other video game has done thus far. In my opinion this is the definitive game to own this gen. If you're a fan of the original games or just a fan of video games with a good story then it's a must that you play Bioshock Infinite.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2013
I won't spoil anything about the game. I will say you will definitely want to play this game if you were a fan of the first two Bioshock games. Similar gameplay, however BI has a bit more of the hand-holding if you're in a firefight. Regardless, the story is superb, the AI, animations, and facial expressions for Elizabeth are some of the best in the industry. The ending is gripping, shocking, awe-inspiring, and frankly the best ending of any video game I've ever experienced in my 30 years of playing video games.
At the end, let all the credit go by or you'll miss the final bit that's so important to wrapping up the story.
30 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2013
I am a giant fan of the first two BioShocks, so my expectations were incredibly high. Unfortunately, I wish Infinite had the same depth and expanse as the originals. While Columbia is beautiful and the details that make up the world are perfect, I found the game to be very linear. Apart from being able to go here and there to discover a voxophone or an infusion, there is little in the way of story development unless you stick to the main story.
There are no side-quests and the decisions you make during your play will NOT affect the ending (unlike the first two). I thought it would have more direction on fighting either for the Vox or the Founders, but they play a tiny role, not worth mentioning in the grand scheme of things.
I was also very surprised how quickly I finished the game. You could spend a week just wandering around Rapture, but Columbia is very easy to explore. No sidequests, no decisions, just a game with some cool Vigors.
I like this game (but only because I love the canon), and I wish it was better, because there is so much potential.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2013
I am not a fan of first-person shooters. I don't own any of the Call of Duty games, I had Killzone 2, but sold it because I just couldn't get into it and despite numerous recommendations to get some FPS' with RPG elements, like the original Bioshock and Fallout, I found myself hating the prospect of playing an entire game from a first person perspective. Bioshock: Infinite caught my eye WAY back when it was announced but once again, I pushed it to the corner of my mind because I thought there was no way I could enjoy this game. Boy, was I entirely wrong.
Bioshock: Infinite is a game that works on so many levels, and more importantly, the experience wouldn't have been so impactful if the game - was not - an FPS. Playing through Booker's eyes is one of the fundamental parts of having the best possible gaming experience with Infinite. The gameplay is balanced and the pacing is impeccable. Irrational really knows how to balance story buildup and actual gameplay. You get to see the world of Colombia unfold around you, and you only find out as much as you want to. Not the kind of gamer to explore every nook and cranny? That's fine, there's more than enough enemies for you to shoot, immolate, electrocute, blast and skyhook to death. If you want to discover Colombia's secrets, the dark pasts of the most prominent secondary characters and even items to help boost Booker's abilities, then be sure to search as much as possible.
The story is as deep and satisfying as the gameplay, with a narrative that reveals itself as you play the game. Infinite never relies heavily on cutscenes, instead choosing to leave you in control of your character as events occur around and to you. As you enter the last few moments of the game, if you haven't spoiled the ending, your mind will definitely be blown even as your jaw hits the floor.
Simply put, Irrational has created a masterpiece, and if you've chosen not to play Bioshock: Infinite because it's an FPS, you are going to miss out on one of the best gaming experiences of this generation.
I give Bioshock: Infinite a 5 out of 5.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2013
Eye-popping. Thought-provoking. Action-packed. Startling, meaningful, fun, introspective, unflinching. A blast; a game that might disturb you with how often it makes you think, makes you laugh, and makes you genuinely feel. Two full play-throughs are an absolute must (1st one to drop your jaw, the 2nd to wrap your head around all the twists and revelations), but I suspect I'll be returning to Columbia many times in the future. Worth every painful delay.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This was one of the first games I bought for my PS3 when I bought it a few years ago after playing the previous game in the Bioshock series and wow, simply amazing! I see the games's been reviewed in detail here already by hundreds of others and it's been out a while so I can't say anything enlightening or that hasn't been mentioned already. Suffice to say that it has a very unusual story line, not just a typical shooter game. The beauty of discovering a great game a year or two after it's release is that you get to enjoy hours of fantastic game play, graphics and story line at a fraction of the release price. I have no connection to the developers, but I couldn't recommend this more highly!