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BIOSHOCK INFINITE
BIOSHOCK INFINITE REVIEW
Date Played Nov 2014

Although overall Bioshock Infinite was very well received, within that stratosphere of near perfect scores, it still engendered some dissent with reviewers. Mainly, this concerned the violence, which some felt was misplaced within this narrative driven game. Personally, I didn't give it a thought, which leads to positing what level of violence is too violent and that's an entirely subjective question. I guess if you highly object to blood and gore, this game is not for you.

The problem with reviewing Bioshock Infinite fairly is that it isn't perfect, but at the same time it's highly interesting and it did spark many discussions and story analysis long after people finished playing it. There were critics who gave it a perfect score of 10. It becomes obvious that a person's idea of what constitutes a great game does not rely solely on its graphics and mechanics, but on more intangible elements – elements that spur the imagination and tease the mind into thoughtful processes. Obviously, people who don't care much about the story aspects as much as other elements will find the game less appealing than those who do.


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One of the main things that struck me personally were the environments. You would think that a city floating in the clouds would provide infinitely interesting surroundings to explore, but after the first "oh that's cool" moment, I found them rather uninspiring. Other than the sky-line as transportation, the city and its building interiors and its people and their eavesdropped conversations resembles colonial America and are quite dull. Their main views are either religiously fanatical or racially intolerant and they are all clones of one another. Columbia's sets are very similar throughout the whole game and lack a certain diversity. However, I'm distinguishing the difference between the setting design within which you play and the visual graphics, which are quite stunning with an art style that leans away from photorealism.

Something that is technically well done is the AI companion, Elizabeth. She's not a follower completely tied to your movements and can wander around in the environment on her own. In addition, she knows exactly when to provide you with ammo and health in the heat of battle while not making the combat too easy for you. Although she does not fight, she is pretty essential to the fights and can often save your butt. She also has an unique talent, which is to open up tears in the fabric of time, which can transport you to alternate realities. She is a very central character to the story and was purposely made so.

You play as a private investigator, Booker Dewitt, but as to the story, I don't think I will cover that as it might spoil the experience. Suffice to say, it takes some twists and turns that have generated much analysis on the web. The founder of Irrational games, Ken Levine, was the lead writer for this and Bioshock, so you know it will be interesting.

Plasmids from previous games have been renamed Vigors and replenishment comes in the form of Salts instead of Eve. You can carry two weapons and there is no inventory system. You must drop one to pick up something different. Any supplies picked up immediately just tops up your supply, such as ammo and health. You can also buy supplies as well as upgrades at vending machines. Which brings us to another common complaint. Bioshock Infinite is littered with things to loot. As a result, you find yourself constantly clicking on everything, which some people find breaks the immersion.

However, the combat is probably one of the biggest complaints you will hear people taking about. But again, opinions are all over the map about this. You can use Elizabeth during fights, who will supply you with ammo, health and guns as well as opening up tears such as turrets and sky hook locations. However, she needs time to find or replenish these and her abilities are not infinite, which I personally found balances the combat pacing quite nicely. Speaking of the sky hook, it can be used to either jump between buildings, travel the skyline or act as your melee weapon. Guns are your typical FPS fare, but with setting appropriate names. Wearable gear can be found throughout the game and is usually hidden behind locked doors. You will need to find many lockpicks, but only Elizabeth can use them.

The DLC Burial at Sea is story driven and returns you to the underwater city of Rapture just prior to the events of Bioshock 1. Episode One continues with DeWitt and Elizabeth during this alternate time period and Episode 2 is just Elizabeth and leans more towards stealth. The DLC is harder than the main game due to certain restrictions and lack of supplies. Clash in the Clouds is a series of challenge maps.

NOTE: 1999 mode ups the difficulty considerably and can be unlocked either by completing the game or in the main menu enter the following code. For PC and Xbox 360: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A

UPDATE July 2016: The Bioshock Collection has been announced for release in Sept of 2016. Although it includes all three Bioshock games, only Bioshock 1 and Bioshock 2 will be remastered editions and it will not include Bioshock 2 multiplayer. For those that already own the first two, the remastered editions will be a free upgrade.

Game Issues Experienced
Fairly issue free, but sometimes the character can get caught up in the environment. On a second play-through, I experienced one glitch where Elizabeth would not follow me on the Skyline and I had to reload the chapter.

Development Note
The head of Irrational Games, Ken Levine, the studio that developed Bioshock, passed on the opportunity to develop Bioshock 2 in order to work on creating a new Bioshock game with a different theme. The result was Bioshock Infinite. The setting was inspired by the non-fiction book, The Devil in the White City, which features the World's Columbian Exposition set in Chigaco in 1893. Work began shortly after the release of the first Bioshock and was five years in the making.

Infinite was designed from the ground up using none of the assets from the previous games. Windows and console versions were developed simultaneously in-house and were not ports of each other. Initially, the team worked on multiplayer modes, but in 2012, this idea was scrapped and all staff were assigned to the single-player production. After Bioshock Infinite's release, many of the them moved on to work for other studios or were laid-off and the story based DLC, Burial at Sea, which takes place in Bioshock's underwater city of Rapture, was produced by a much smaller team.

In 2014, Ken Levine, suddenly announced the closure of Irrational Games and that he and the few staff that he retained would be working with Take-Two on smaller games that foster a more direct relationship with their fans. It took everyone by surprise, including the unsuspecting staff, many of who went on to form an independent studio named The Deep End. The future of the Bioshock franchise is now in the hands of 2K, the studio that developed Bioshock 2.
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Other games in series:  Bioshock
Bioshock 2
GAME INFORMATION
  • Genre: First-person Shooter
  • Developer(s): Irrational Games
  • Publisher(s): 2K Games
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, OS X, PS3, Xbox 360, Linux
  • Release: March 2013
  • Mode(s): Single-player
  • Media: Download, Optical disc
  • DLC Available: Yes
  • OS: Windows Vista SP2 32 bit
  • CPU: Intel Core 2 DUO, 2.4 GHz, Athlon x2, 2.7 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Hard Drive: 20 GB free space
  • Video: DirectX 10, 512 MB, ATI Radeon HD 3870, Nvidia 8800GT, Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
  • Sound: DirectX compatible
  • Shader Model:
  • Input for PC: Keyboard & Mouse, Controller
  • DRM: Steamworks
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  • Version: Steam Download
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K; 3.40 GHz
  • Ram: 8 GB
  • Disk Drive: DVD/CD
  • Video: ATI Radeon HD 7870 2GB
  • Shader Model: 4.1
  • DirectX: 11
  • Input: Keyboard & Mouse
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