RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Bioshock Infinite

I decided to pick up the new Bioshock despite not having played the first two games. I am stunned at how much I enjoyed it. I haven't been as captivated by a fantastic game since I played Dishonored. Strangely, it's also feels incredibly similar with the steampunk-esque art style and gameplay that involves enhancing FPS combat with magical abilities. All in all, I couldn't imagine anyone being disappointed with Bioshock Infinite.

Columbia, pre-shit hit the fan status.

Genre: Adventure, FPS
Release Date: 26th March, 2013
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Score: 9/10
Similar Titles: Dishonored, Bioshock, Deus Ex

It's a wonder how dangerous everything is when you're floating in the clouds.

Booker Dewitt is the main character. He is a gambler, alcoholic, and all around lowlife. With a rather hefty gambling debt to some unscrupulous people, Booker agrees to retrieve a girl named Elizabeth to wipe the debt clean. Fortunately for us, getting this girl involves a whole lot of gunfire. Booker is sent to a city in the sky called Columbia, where Elizabeth is being held. Columbia is a haven ruled by Zachary Comstock, who the residents revere, almost as a god. After exploring the majestic city for a short period of time, you discover that you are essentially the antichrist. The festivities are brought to an untimely end as the police promptly attempt to murder you. And so it is revealed that the entire city is brainwashed by the tyrannical Comstock into believing that you will tear the fair haven of Columbia to the ground.

I didn't steal anything, I promise! Yet.

The epic atmosphere comes into play immediately upon ascending into the sky. While the graphics are certainly more on the cartoon side over realistic, the style is fantastic. It's a beautiful game, the streets of Columbia feel very alive and it's very enjoyable to explore. The past meets the future with the incredible technology combined with bowler hats and fancy corsets. Booker is a typical main character, unaffected by his ability to murder countless people in the space of a few hours. He is calm, collected, and haunted by his past at every step. Elizabeth is a new element, an adorable companion who doesn't cause more problems than she solves. She is the innocent side of the adventure, the conscience that is averse to bloodshed yet quickly learns to adapt to the necessity of it.

The Luteces are everywhere, and they never take anything seriously.

Bioshock Infinite is for the most part an FPS game. You can arm yourself with an array of weapons, including machine guns, fire launchers, and snipers. It's also possible to melee and execute enemies in close combat in a pinch. However, it's not just all bullets and pistol whips. You are given magical powers called Vigors to cement your strength and fun in battle. Vigors range from being able to turn an enemy to your side to blasting people with lightning. Dying doesn't send you back to a checkpoint or inconvenience you in an annoying way. It punishes you by removing some money, but the dead enemies are still dead, and you can jump straight back into battle. Ultimately you are given a plethora of options to take down opponents. If you are having trouble you can quickly adjust your strategy and try a new approach. It's even possible to progress through the game without using any Vigor powers, albeit with a struggle.

Just finished a meaty boss and looking to relax? The songbird watches you masturbate.

There are a fair few features to set this title apart from others, including George Washington robots and skylines that you can use to swing across terrain in combat. However, the feature that is most prevalent and the one I thoroughly enjoyed was Elizabeth. As you explore the world, Elizabeth will accompany you for the majority of the journey. She has lots of interesting stuff to say which often breaks up the monotony of looting and searching rooms. She will often throw you money, and in combat she will toss you ammo and health when you really need it. She can exploit tears in the world to open up possibilities in combat, such as an automated gun turret, or a decoy to distract your enemies. Elizabeth is a commodity that doesn't slow you down. In the short periods you don't have her with you it feels much harder to progress and if you're emotionally invested in the plot, well you just plain miss her. I don't think I've played a game with such a useful companion before.

Elizabeth is happy and innocent, and stays positive even after the gunfire begins.

Silver eagles are the currency in Bioshock, and they can be used to buy upgrades for your weapons and powers, or to buy ammo and health in a pinch. Aside from this, there are gear pieces located in many places, often hidden. Unlocking gear gives you passive traits that can help you in many places, such as setting melee opponents on fire, or granting invulnerability when ejecting yourself from a skyline. Overall you get a fair variety of stuff to choose from throughout the game. It's a shame the unlocks aren't more diverse to give you more customization, but it's certainly enough.

Carrying coffins into battle is a practical endeavor considering they are fighting me.

It's a rare experience, playing a game that is a pleasure all the way through. You know that moment at the end of a game where the shit hits the fan and everything gets epic and messy?  Well Bioshock Infinity gives you that feeling for the majority of the game. In several places you get to make a choice, such as drawing your gun or killing a particular individual, but it's more the illusion of choice than anything. Booker Dewitt's path is set in stone, and you can't do much to stop it besides enjoy the ride.

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