Forewarning: This isn’t so much a review as it is a mish-mash of thoughts, combat overview doodads, and partially relevant hints. Hopefully you’ll learn something useful.

I’ve read a lot of heavy criticism regarding the high level of violence in BioShock Infinite. Some believe that it distracts from the game’s complex and meaningful story. The quickest debunk I can offer is that BioShock is a shooter. It’s been violent, it is violent, and it’s up to the player to keep from being distracted by violence. So that was pretty easy.

I’ve also read that some people are dissatisfied by the linearity of the plot. This complaint is actually valid. It would have been nice to have multiple endings like in the previous installments, but BioShock Infinite is a parallel universe game set in a parallel universe. Some things are different. If you want to enjoy the game, look for things you like, not for things to nit-pick. I’m not saying you have no reason to be unhappy with the plot, I’m just saying there are worse things that could’ve happened to the series. Like EA.

Finally, the baptism issue. People have actually been getting riled up about the baptism scene, so much so that they’ve demanded and actually received refunds from Steam. Excuse this next expletive, but what in the ever-loving fuck? The religion and racism in BioShock Infinite are satirical, meant to be taken with a grain of salt. When the preacher nearly drowns you, it isn’t because the dev team wants to publicly denounce any faith, it’s to tell a story. Let me repeat that just so you know how offended I am by this asshattery. To tell a story.

Bioshock Infinite

Anyway, this second review was actually meant to overview the combat and Vigors aspect of BioShock Infinite, so let’s go ahead and get to that. To start off, a list of Vigors and related protips:

  • Possession: Fun but impractical. Usefulness trails off quickly.
  • Devil’s Kiss: Very good for mob combat with Overkill or Storm.
  • Murder of Crows: Fan favorite. Best used against Handymen.
  • Bucking Bronco: Good for small groups. Use with Tunnel Vision.
  • Shock Jockey: Best with Vigor combos; Undertow, Possession.
  • Undertow: Air combat is all the fun. Save ammo, toss ‘em off!
  • Return to Sender: Always a good choice, particularly the traps.
  • Charge: Super fun. Mixes well with most equipment.

It’s always a good idea to explore an area as much as possible, because Elizabeth will undoubtedly find you some sexy new articles to wear. The more gear you collect, the more versatile you are when fighting, after all, and some Vigors become absolutely overpowered with one hat or another.

Bioshock Infinite

Guns are, obviously, a major factor in this game’s combat system. You can only carry two on your person at a time, but that’s more than enough. With your dakka in one hand and your zip-zap magic in the other, you’re going to want to find a nice mix of range and damage. Shotguns are a must, in my honest opinion, as they get whatever job that needs doing done with speed and efficiency. Burstguns, carbines, grenade launchers, sniper rifles, hand cannons, or even a simple pistol; these are all awaiting your itchy trigger finger. How you play is how you pew. Ammo is unique per weapon, so if you run dry whilst fighting, you’ll have to rely on Elizabeth to rearm you, or you’ll have to drop your lovely upgraded weapon in exchange for something else.

Enemies are many but their varieties are few. Standard footsoldiers and armored rocket jockeys appear in large numbers, and Vigor-specialized foes (Murder of Crows, Devil’s Kiss) will occasionally make appearances, harboring a fair chunk of health and a mean chunk of damage. Motorized Patriots and Handymen, both big, mechanical, and thus immune to a select few vigors, show up every once in a while early on. I wouldn’t describe their late game numbers as teeming, but they are… many. You’re going to want to upgrade your shield a lot.

Bioshock Infinite

On a closing note, the airship core defense is probably the most frustrating firefight you’ll face in BioShock Infinite. Whether you’ve not played the game, not reached that point while playing the game, or beaten it the hard way, this next tip is for you. Use Return to Sender to lay down three anti-bullet traps in front of the glowy blue core, and try to focus on using your “recent acquisition” to remove artillery ships from the premises.

And yes, we all wish Elizabeth could fight.

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