Yes. This game redefines reality. After you play it, everything in the universe changes and yet you aren’t aware of it because you too are altered. Deep, huh?
There’s a certain ironic nuance between Bioshock Infinite and its two precursors. Where the first two are linked directly and bound to the same in-game universe, Bioshock Infinite expands its borders and steps into a different perspective. You can tell it’s the same type of game, even if most everything is completely different. That raises the single most profound point that can be made about any sequel: Is it good? A simple “yes” would barely suffice, so I’ll prove it to you, point by point, zero spoilers.
Booker DeWitt is a gruff private investigator type looking to do a single deed to clear his gambling debt. Initial backstory is stark in the DeWitt department, so players make due with his stoic characterization. All you know is, you’ve got to find a girl in order to put your life back in order. You reluctantly travel to the flying city of Columbia to begin your search, where you are first immersed in the world of Bioshock Infinite.
Imagine a steampunk magic hybrid era in which Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington are revered as Gods, and racism makes up the predominant tone. The racism is satirical from the player’s perspective, thus worth a good laugh. Of course, if you’re actually racist and wind up throwing the baseball at the interracial couple, you should probably either say sorry or go die somewhere. Anyway, the Columbian society deems the man with AD branded on the back of his right hand as the False Shepard, which just so happens to be Booker DeWitt.
You’re already implicated in the grand web of plot. You run, slash, and gun your way to an enormous tower where your target is located, and discover an odd but alluring woman named Elizabeth who can open portals in reality itself, called Tears. Once you “abduct” her, the plot truly begins.
As I mentioned previously, there are no spoilers here. I will say, however, that you should pay very close attention to recurring characters and various interactions between Booker and Elizabeth. This game is not built on a fundamental “good guy bad guy” plot. Comstock is not an absolute antagonist. DeWitt is not an absolute protagonist. Keep an open mind when playing, that way the ending won’t completely liquefy your brain and heart.
The Elizabeth A.I. deserves special mention, because she is the standing testament to why not all escort missions are terrible. I’ll provide you with a list of reasons why she’s the best video game buddy ever. The last two are more personal taste:
- Randomly gives you ammo, magic recharges, heals, and money.
- Points out items, locks, and points of interest for you.
- Interacts with her environment without falling behind.
- Warns you of elite enemies and pinpoints them on your HUD.
- Is cute as ever-loving hell.
- Will blow your mind out of your ears and make you play again.
Overselling it? Psh. Anything less than 10/10 would be an understatement of BioShock Infinite’s delivery. Existentialism in gaming? Gaming that makes you recall the events of the game after you’ve emerged victorious in order to understand it, perhaps even spur you to play it again to fully grasp the nature of the plot? Yes. Very yes. All you people on the fence, shell out yaz money. It may not have Big Daddies (heh) or Little Sisters (heh heh), but it brings in an extremely thought out web of plot to the table that will, as I previously stated, melt your brain.
Ah hell. I completely forgot to mention combat. Tell you what, take this article by Erik Kain of Forbes and give it a good read. It better describes the combat and even talks about Vigors and the Skyhook and the guns. I’ll probably do a second review covering the combat and enemies, but for now, make due with this: http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2013/04/05/bioshock-infinite-and-the-problem-with-video-game-violence/