These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
IGN's exclusive early review "only" gave the console version a 9.4/10; the PC version got a 9.5.
GameSpot's negative "re-review" six months has received divided responses. Many readers are accusing the review of being click bait to draw attention to the site's relaunch.
Abandon Shipping: Many, many people who were not spoiled by early leaks of the game shipped Booker and Elizabeth in the opening acts of the game. As soon as The Reveal that Elizabeth is Booker's daughter happened, they quickly dropped it like a hot potato and warned other players that haven't got to that point yet about The Reveal. It didn't stop some shippers from changing their father-daughter relationship altogether and making sure that they're not biologically related in fanfics through. Or just going "Hooray forParental Incest!" And, of course, Zone-tan never really cared.
With Death of the Author, one could easily turn the game into an elaborate Christian parable. Booker, essentially, living through hell until he accepts a "meaningful" sacrificial baptism that cleanses his soul. You could even argue he dies at the end and The Stinger is Booker in heaven. No matter how hard Comstock or Booker work, they cannot fix themselves. They must eventually come to grips with what they have done and forgive themselves, similar to Christian theology that only accepting Christ's forgiveness, and not justifying one's self with works, is the key to salvation. When Booker and Comstock attempt to earn forgiveness, their good intentions tend to make things worse.
From a Christian perspective, Comstock can be seen as an excellent example of what happens if you follow false prophets and worship idols.
Anvilicious: The writing seems to pick from the worst excesses of racism, religious fanaticism (Comstock), unchecked capitalism (Fink), revolutionary movements and communism (Fitzroy) exhibited within the last 150 years and adapt them to Columbia. If there's any kind of moral to take away from the story, it's probably "Extremism in any direction is bad." Which is perfectly in line with the message of the other games, really.
Author's Saving Throw: Daisy Fitzroy attempting to kill a child, but being killed by Elizabeth before she could was received poorly, but Burial at Sea revealed she only did it at the behest of the Luteces, and initially refused to for the same reasons her fans claimed she wouldn't, that the child wasn't to blame for his father, Fink's, actions. It turns it into one big Batman Gambit, because the Luteces knew what Elizabeth's reaction would be.
Daisy Fitzroy having no relevance to the multiverse plot in the base game also didn't go unnoticed, but Burial at Sea also revealed that she did interact with the Luteces all along.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene where Elizabeth sings Will the Circle Be Unbroken with Booker playing the guitar. One hell of a Heartwarming Moment. It also comes completely out of nowhere and no one comments about it afterwards.
The ending is either the best thing ever written and a perfect example of how to do Time Travel correctly as well as a fascinating metaphorical exploration of the "world" of a story in progress (or a game played by many people), or a confusing Gainax Ending that cheapens the moral choices of the game since they retroactively never happened.
The plot turn during the second half of the game, where the focus shifts from the city and its society to a more personal story centered around alternative dimensions. Was it a more original and interesting concept that gave the main characters more depth, or was it a patchwork of plotholes that turned the setting and its inhabitants into footnotes?
The revelation that Elizabeth is Booker's daughter has ticked off players who, until the last ten minutes of the game, thought they were playing a romantic story. Others who weren't wearing Shipping Goggles find it a very deep and heartwarming twist on par with the first game.
Whether or not comparing Daisy Fitzroy to Comstock is a false equivalency.
Compelling philosophical consideration of the history of racial and class conflict and revolution? Or bizarrely revisionist middle-ground platitude? Doesn't help that the only voices of reason and reconciliation are police keeping the unwashed masses in poverty through — supposedly stern looks and a steady supply of painted baseballs.
This becomes a plot point in Episode 2 of Burial At Sea, where Daisy is vindicated with the reveal that the Luteces convinced Daisy to engineer the entire scenario to martyr herself for her revolution, so Elizabeth would have enough resolve to bring down Comstock once and for all. She actually was appalled with their suggestion to harm a child and only agreed after being assured that the child would be unharmed and her death would ensure Comstock's defeat. As such, the only true comparison that remains is both were willing to die for their beliefs.
The last mission in the game is either a fun and epic final battle that changes up the gameplay by giving you the power to direct Songbird at key targets or an annoying tower defense mission that requires trial and error to be beaten consistently.
The lack of multiple endings and the main character's death. Allows for a more focused plot and a definitive ending, or shoves the player onto a single path where none of the choices they make matter?
The "Bird or Cage" decision has fueled factioned argument over which choice is better. A choice in the game meant to illustrate how the choices aren't important has become fuel for argument.
Whether or not Columbia could actually destroy the world. A lot of information is unknown about the 1984 attack, so no truly decisive calls can be made. Doesn't stop everyone from arguing over it.
Even though Burial At Sea is receiving largely good reception pre-release, several players have expressed annoyance about going back to Rapture, instead of looking at various alternate realities mentioned already.
Quite a lot of players and fans were rather cross with the fact that, as revealed in the Behind the Scenes video for Burial at Sea-Part 2, that the DLC will probably be the last BioShock game. Given that the rights are now in the hands of the team that made the divisive BioShock 2, whether the franchise should continue or not is up for debate.
Regarding the ending of Burial at Sea Episode 2, there seem to be two camps. Those who feel it was a fulfilling ending that wrapped up the series as a whole, and those who are angered by it suddenly making BioShock's protagonist Jack the centre of the universe and reducing Elizabeth, one of the series' most powerful characters, to an accessory to his success, by the way of of having her undergo a gratuitously violent and rather needless sacrifice.
Some in the latter camp, even argues that the ending tains the original BioShock's theme of Utopias always turning rotten and corrupt before finally collapsing in on themselves due to fundamental human errors in their inhabitants, by making Elizabeth, a outside force, having a direct and not-insignificant hand in Rapture's fall.
The fact that Sally is a Little Sister should surprise exactly no one, given the setting. Virtually any other fate would have been more surprising. In hindsight, it's probably to make the reveal that you're playing as Comstock more surprising.
Elizabeth wandering in a heavenly version of Paris is quite clearly a dream:
Everything seems far too perfect, even bordering on the surreal (two lovers in the marketplace are named Christian and Roxanne, Georges-Pierre Seurat is painting the view of the Seine, and a bluebird even alights on her finger and sings "La Vie en Rose" in harmony with the crowd). The incongruities are even lampshaded in some of the dialogue.
Bookstore Owner:<Every book you could ever want! And all so reasonably priced!> Elizabeth: Do you have "The Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton? Bookstore Owner:<Ah, I am sorry, my dear, but that book has not been written yet.>
And if you know your music, you would have been tipped off at the very beginning of the dream sequence. "La Vie En Rose" was not composed until 1945.
The above is suitably anachronistic to fit a Columbia dweller's dream, as is the Wharton reference, but more telling is Seurat. His paintings and their price were remarked on by Jeremiah Fink in his prerecorded broadcasts when playing through Finkton in the original game.
Contested Sequel: Most critics consider the game to be an Even Better Sequel by all means, but the fans are much more divided on what to think of the game. There's a camp that thought the game was an improvement over the original in every way possible, a camp that dislikes the game due to the simplified mechanics, and a camp that thinks the game is fine, but doesn't necessarily care about the original.
Whoever wrote this article clearly has not played the game. As it states that there are no female enemies, despite the fact there is pretty much an even amount of gender ratio on both sides and one of the main bosses in the game is a woman. Even funnier when some of the Enemy Chatter consists of them spouting their disgust at sexism. It also uses the evidences that Elizabeth "Is not allowed to fight in combat", which isn't a sexist thing, it was a gamer thing. This was to prevent the game from feel like one long Escort Mission which the creators have fully stated was the reason as to why. Not to mention the fact Elizabeth has been locked in a tower all her life and has zero combat or gun use experience (while Booker was a War Hero by the age of 16), though one of the trailers does show her performing a Groin Attack on someone grabbing her arm.
There's also this, which claims you can comfort Elizabeth at any time in the game, by using a screenshot from where she just killed for the first time and is obviously suffering a very traumatic experience, but treat it as this was an anytime event as well as suggest it was you who was the one that killed with those scissors she is holding. They also seem to not realize that Elizabeth is the main character's daughter.
This is a similar article from the same author, by claiming the game promotes racism. This by stating how a white woman (Elizabeth) kills a colored woman (Daisy), completely ignoring the fact that Elizabeth looked up to Daisy as a hero to the people up till that point and she is obviously very traumatized in doing so as Daisy was about to kill a boy simply because he was white - which isn't the case, either - she was going to kill him because he was part of the bourgeois, something that many detractors, the reviewer included, overlook. Not to mention many of the gamers found The Lottery at the beginning very cringe-worthy with a majority throwing the ball at the announcer rather than the mixed-race couple. In a way showing that racism on either side is clearly a bad thing.
Although it's less common knowledge because it's revealed in a later DLC Daisy Fitzroy actually had no intention to kill the child regardless. Her actions were part of a Heroic Sacrifice / Thanatos Gambit to make her revolution succeed, and reveal that she was a complex, intelligent, and highly principled character rather than a psychopathic murderer even if some of her revolutionaries were out for nothing but vengeance.
Guess who? He now believes the game is "satire", which it clearly isn't.
The Handymen. Wide AOE attacks, high damage, immunity to Shock Jockey, high health, a weak spot that can be extremely hard to hit, the ability to leap huge distances, and the ability to electrify sky lines make the rare encounters with them a nightmare.
Also any enemy with a Volley Gun (Flak Cannons, as Elizabeth calls them). Thanks to their high rate of fire, infinite ammunition, very good accuracy, and the fact that they keep shooting at areas where you take cover, a single Flak Cannon can effectively seal you in one spot and force you to stay there taking potshots until you can manage to kill it. Oh, and they are heavily armored and can take multiple hits from a sniper rifle before going down.
The Boys of Silence in the final level. They act like security turrets from the previous games, except on steroids. Instead of summoning a couple regenerating turrets that wear off after a minute, they summon a large group of resilient human enemies that will melee you to death. Mercifully, only one absolutely needs to be fought, and the second will only summon normal mooks.
Burial at Sea: Episode 2 has Ryan's Houdini Splicers, which have the same powers as a Houdini Splicer plus the area explosion ability of Firemen. They will use the latter if they are alerted to your presence, even if you're using Peeping Tom to hide from them, making them the only enemy in the game that can hurt you in that state. They also teleport constantly, which makes getting a Back Stab on them a matter of luck, since they need to teleport close enough to get hit by it. To a lesser extent, the metal-masked Vox in the Colombia section are immune to the Back Stab. It's a very rude awakening if you happened to look away when it flashed up the warning about it rather than stopping the game to give it as it had been doing.
Draco in Leather Pants: Daisy Fitzroy, due to a combination of tragic backstory and completely understandable motives for destroying the Founders, not to mention a bit of The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified. She has a following on Tumblr, and is often cited as an example of Unfortunate Implications in the game among social justice advocates who found the game's message racist (a minority as a villain doesn't help), on top of getting an unceremonious death by a white woman and feeling that her attempting to kill a child was ham-handed. Said advocates also say that Booker's "the Vox are bad for their violence" is a false dichotomy.
Ken Levine also cited the RAF, the Red Army Fraktion or the Baader-Meinhof Gang, German terrorists who attacked ex-Nazis and who provoked the same ambiguity in real life as Daisy, in a far smaller way, does to her fans and whose final fates remain controversial to this day.
More likely that Fitzroy seems be put in an awkward situation but as soon as she shows up the protagonist declares her Obviously Evil (on the following loading pages even) and is proven absolutely right. Backlash is more that any Unfortunate Implications resulted from narrative laziness and poor characterization.
The Draco in Leather Pants is negated now, due to the revelation inBurial at Sea that Fitzroy did not want to kill a child in the first place, but the Luteces persuaded her anyway because Elizabeth would mature that way, at the cost of her dying for her cause.
Hell, most of the anachronistic covers count. There's also that hideously racist but immensely catchy song that plays in Soldier's Field coaxing children to enter military service.
In Burial at Sea, the new jingles for plasmids.
"Bu-u-u-ucking Bronco! The law of grav-i-ty... defied!"
Ensemble Darkhorse: The Lutece twins are rather endearing with their odd behavior and speech mannerisms. They even won the recent VGX award for "Best Character of the Year."
Fandom Berserk Button: If you hurt Elizabeth, you are screwed. Atlas did that, and now the fandom hates him.
Game Breaker: Not as many as in previous games, but there are still a few which arguably break the game even harder.
The Electric Punch Gear (obtained by purchasing the Season Pass) allows you to stun-lock enemies while punching them to death. You can even defeat a Motorized Patriot just by using your melee attack. The non-DLC alternative sets them on fire instead, For Massive Damage.
The Season Pass also gives the Pistol, amongst other things, a massive damage upgrade that turns it into a good weapon along with a straight upgrade to the Hand Cannon-quick draw time, a ridiculously high critical multiplier, easy to find ammo for and a very fast firing speed coupled with the damage upgrade makes it possible to take down Handymen on any difficulty using it.
The Sheltered Life hat gear, which makes you temporarily invincible for about 10 seconds every time you pick up food or a first aid kit, and since pretty much every battle field is littered with food and healing items either in crates or on corpses, it is possible to spend large portions of a fight completely unkillable.
Similarly, the Winter Shield gear, which makes you invincible when you jump on or off a Sky-Line. The "jumping-on" trigger is a little glitchy, but since you can jump off and retrigger it anyway it makes little difference. There are very few places this can't be horribly abused, such as the final level, and any level with a Handyman in it.
The Shotgun is also notoriously overpowered, being able to kill anything short of a Handyman or Motorised Patriot in 1 or 2 shots. This is balanced out by the fact that you're inevitably forced to go through several sections of the game without it.
The Undertow Vigor has the ability to perform massive knockback on enemies. In a game where a vast majority of time is spent right next to ledges, that spells instant doom (and au revoir). While more powerful enemies may usually take a few rounds of bullets and Vigors to deal with, just knocking them off the ledge will instantly take them out of the picture. If that wasn't enough, the Vigor also has the ability to drag distant enemies towards you; aside from instantly getting Snipers out of the picture, this also just generally makes it easy to pick off enemies, via pulling them over one at a time and gunning them down in their frozen, vulnerable state.
A fully upgraded Charge vigor + the Overkill gear + the Burning Halo gear + the Brittle-Skinned gear = "Congratulations! You can now Falcon Punch with a Skyhook. God help your enemies." And then it just becomes merciless cruelty if you throw the Blood to Salts gear into the mix. If you replace the Overkill gear with Vampire's Embrace, you'll probably end up out-healing any damage that does make it through your shield.
The Return to Sender vigor is pretty darned effective, especially after you buy upgrades to decrease the amount of salts you need to power it. With a fully upgraded salt bar, you can use it almost constantly. The last mission becomes un-Godly easy. Just throw traps on the core, stand in front of the device collecting hundreds of motorized Patriot chain-gun ammo and throw it back at enemies, annihilating them. You can just spend the whole time rushing enemies, practically invincible and blow them away with the shotgun while killing the rest with their own bullets.
The Bucking Bronco vigor makes fireman and Crows extremely easy to kill. Just get the gear that increases critical damage by 50% or shoot them until they hover over a bottomless pit and let them fall to their doom.
Burial at Sea:
Possession is even more useful this time around. The single upgrade for it cuts the cost to 50% of normal, and there are less enemies around so the possessed enemy can usually take out at least one other opponent before dying. The only drawback is that Possession no longer comes with Psychic-Assisted Suicide until Episode 2, which uses a non-lethal variant.
In Episode 1, one melee gear increases your melee range and attack power, but drains 20% of your shield on a successful hit. Another gives you health for killing or executing Splicers with melee. Combine these two and you will never die. So long as you execute every Splicer and avoid getting flanked, your health will stay full constantly.
The Radar Range, a portable microwave oven in the form of a giant ray gun. Intensely powerful on its own, with very cheap ammo - but factor in the upgrades for stopping power and increased damage, plus the fact that focusing on enemies for more than a second turns them into super-heated proximity bombs that wipe out whole crowds of Splicers, and suddenly it's the most valuable weapon in Rapture. In Episode 2, it also has the distinction of being the only weapon that doesn't get its ammo supply and clip nerfed.
The Peeping Tom plasmid in Episode 2 allows you to see through walls and turn invisible, and can be upgraded so both of these actions cost no EVE as long as you're standing still. It is literally the only plasmid you need to beat the entire game.
Makin' Whoopee is one of the first songs heard on a radio. Most gamers won't know that it's anachronistic. (Another possible choice, "Dew-Dew-Dewey Day", published a year earlier, will likely not even be recognized.)
The lyrics used for "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" are from the 1907 hymn. The tune used, however, is anachronistically from the country-style reworking of the song. The original tune does make an appearance in this game, in the piano solo during Welcome to Columbia.
Comstock's ideas have an interesting extra dimension when compared to the Ghost Dance religion that was involved in the massacre of Wounded Knee. In both cases, a prophet spoke of a return to traditional customs and values that would save his race largely by causing the extermination of all other races. The difference being that Comstock's race was the oppressor while Wvoka's was the oppressed.
The Latin phrase "Alis Volat Propriis"note "She Flies with Her Own Wings" is inscribed on some of the brass fittings adorning the sidewalks - the first clue that Columbia is actually suspended in the air via quantum entanglement, and the hot air balloons lining the buildings are just for show.
There's also a way to get infinite Silver Eagles and Gear, by means of going to Soldier's Field after defeating Slate, going to the electric door within the toy store (the one where a Heater Replica can be found early), and then returning back to the Hall of Heroes, and go out again (every Vending Machine, container, and so forth in the general area is reset).
Similarly, the fight with That One Boss ( the "resurrected" Lady Comstock) is much easier if you continually enter and leave the graveyard, triggering all the bodies to re-fill with goodies. This also, hilariously, spawns an additional gun next to each body. If you cycle this many times, you can leave each body buried under a pile of guns.
Booker gets really pissed off throughout the story about Elizabeth being locked up by her father, and abandoned completely by her 'mother'. Turns out he sold Elizabeth to them in the first place, albeit under heavy duress and major regret.
After Booker is baptized in order to get into Columbia, he says "That idiot priest needs to learn the difference between baptizing a man and drowning one." Guess what happens to Booker at the end of the game.
Ken Levine said previously that Rapture shouldn't be the be-all and end-all of the series, yet Burial at Sea turns Infinite into a prequel of the original game and gets the whole Rapture plot started.
The entry for Adorkable on the main page compares Booker's relationship to Elizabeth to something out of a Dating Sim. It was written before players found out Comstock, Elizabeth's father, is an Alternate Universe counterpart to Booker. It's really more like family bonding time, mostly because it is family bonding time.
This line, late in the game:
Booker: I gotta get into the prophet business.
Yahtzee's review of BioShock 2 includes this quote: "Just as the original had a surprisingly intelligent undertone that deconstructed the very nature of linear gameplay, BioShock 2 is a sophisticated satirization of the very concept of a sequel that HAR HAR I'm just messing you." By the end, it almost seems like Infinite went out of its way to be that sophisticated satirization of the very concept of a sequel. In his review of Singularity, which was in many ways BioShock with time travel, he commented that he expected a big plot twist at the end like the Big Bad turning out to actually be a future version of the hero. Then along comes BioShock Infinite with that exact plot twist at the end. Double points for Singularity's best ending requiring that you die.
Some critics complained that the main character of the game should have been a woman. It is later revealed you get to play as Elizabeth in the second episode of "Burial at Sea" DLC.
In Eurogamer's BioShock 2 retrospective, the author comments "I still want a BioShock Noir game where you're a private detective instead of a super commando wizard." Cue Burial At Sea, wherein Booker is cast as a detective in a noir-flavoured Rapture.
In this interview for the game, Ken Levine makes a brief mention to Oldboy before the interview ends. One can't help but feel that Levine was foreshadowing one of the game's big twists by mentioning that, considering the way Oldboy ends.
Much like the first game, Infinite has received excellent reviews and sales, but there's a very good chance you will come across videos and articles that go on about how the game failed to immerse its players in its world or those being hyper critical on its gameplay mechanics. The ending also divides players, though not to the extent of the third Mass Effect'sending - pretentious Mind Screw for the sake of Mind Screw, or hauntingly beautiful and breathtaking? There's also a great deal of social justice warriors who attack the game for having a minority as one of its villains and the racist imagery of Columbia's segregation.
Due to It's Short, so It Sucks , Burial At Sea is getting even more. Combined with the existing backlash about Infinite itself and the DLC had a fair amount of hatedom from the getgo.
It's Short, so It Sucks : The general reception towards the DLC Burial At Sea: Episode One is that it is very well done. However, it has received poor reviews from video game journalists due to its price-to-hours ratio. Because of this, part of the selling point for Episode Two was subsequently that it was a longer game.
After "Booker, catch!", the next most common source for jokes is Booker eating food he fishes out of trash cans.
WAIT A MINUTE, THAT CARD!note The line Booker says at the beginning when he draws the card showing the player exactly how to activate the lighthouse signal
"FINALLY, A SMART GAME FOR SMART GAMERS!" note A lot of critics praised the game for its very complex story, leading to the above quote. It's usually thrown around by the less fannish in response to the game's more simplified mechanics and "puzzles."
Many players saw Columbia as the main attraction of Infinite, even disparaging the twists and turns the plot takes to draw attention away from the wonders of the city, and a few articles that popped up post-release that balked at the undo violence that "ruined" the serene beauty of the environment.
"Some people just hate musicals because nobody goes and bursts into song. But that's not a problem with musicals."
Daisy crosses this when she puts a gun to a young child's head and prepares to kill him. Fortunately, she is killed by Elizabeth before it can happen. Subverted by Burial At Sea, which reveals that she was pulling a Thanatos Gambit in order to give Elizabeth a greater resolve. She was never going to kill the child, and was initially very offended by the plan when she heard it from the Luteces.
Comstock is such a monster that it's hard to tell when he exactly crosses it. Having Elizabeth tortured both physically and mentally for many years in an alternate timeline might count though.
Several players have said they felt a lot less bad about taking Columbia down when they found out what the raffle was.
Booker selling Anna to Comstock is a completely subverted/averted example. Were it any other character selling his or her child to pay off his or her gambling debt, this would certainly qualify as an example. However, Booker never knew who was going to take his daughter and he immediately regrets doing this once the transaction was finalized, and likely considers it a Moral Event Horizon for himself and is thus filled with even more self-loathing. Given his ill-fated attempts to get his daughter back and the depression that came as a result of this horrible event, one ends up feeling more sorry for Booker than feel revolted. It's lampshaded a little:
Atlas/Frank Fontaine in Burial at Sea: Part 2 has many potential examples, but especially notable was his genuine threat to lobotomise Sally to get Elizabeth to talk and beating Elizabeth with a wrench when she handed him the Ace, causing her death. And when he did the latter, he didn't kill her. Elizabeth being still alive near the ending implied that he deliberately beat her senseless then left her to suffer a horrible and extremely painful death. The fandom now absolutely hates him.
When Elizabeth realizes Booker is trying to take her to New York instead of Paris, she starts sobbing. Appropriate, as he's been deceiving her the whole time. However, it's rather badly voice acted and sounds like intentionally comical Crocodile Tears. It's a forgivable offense, as the rest of her voice acting is incredibly nuanced, but that does kind of make this scene stick out like a sore thumb. Possibly Stylistic Suck, if one goes with the interpretation that she's deliberately faking the crying in order to catch Booker off-guard. Which she does.
In the middle of the drama created by the appearance of The Siren, Booker asks Elizabeth unintenionally funny question: "Elizabeth, why is your mother a ghost?"
In Burial at Sea, during the flashback when Comstock is trying to steal Anna away from Booker, the scene is very dramatic, with the Luteces and Elizabeth trying to make him stop. However, the goofy expression on Booker's face, like he's on drugs or drunk, is pretty funny. Made funnier when you consider that Booker is canonically The Alcoholic, so he very well could have been drunk.
Older Than They Think: "Will the Circle be Unbroken," considered by many to be an Award Bait Song, is an actual gospel number originating from sometime around the early 1900's. The lyrics are adapted for the game's plot, though.
Paranoia Fuel: The 'Columbia: A Modern Day Icarus?' trailer is not only dripping with this itself (it's done in the style of those really cheap yet really creepy 1970s/1980s educational/conspiracy theory shows), but it suggests that Columbia became this for the world in-universe — even decades later, aside from a few hints and fragments that literally fell out of the sky (including part of a building that landed somewhere in the Alps) no one seems to know precisely what the hell went wrong, where the hell Columbia went and whether or not it's still lurking around up there somewhere... Then there's the alternate timeline where Columbia bombs New York, so the very people who watch that show get to witness first hand the horror those people wished onto "Sodom".
Play the Game, Skip the Story: Kind of an inversion. The game has gotten critical acclaim for its amazing setting and story (though the ending is still divisive for some) but to a few online reviewers like Kotaku, the combat felt like the weakest part of the game and kind of detracted from the overall setting and story.
Played straight in the DLC Clash in the Clouds, where there is no plot other than "survive, complete challenges, unlock trophies and concept art".
Comstock House. The very creepy and distorted music, tears of Elizabeth screaming her guts out as she's mutilated until she's a shell of herself, the old recordings of Elizabeth bitterly accepting her new role as Comstock's successor. And then, to cap it off, seeing an old evil version of herself destroying the world. If you didn't hate Comstock earlier, you will now.
The ending. Elizabeth is your daughter and you're an alternate universe version of the game's Big Bad. Then you get drowned by multiple Elizabeths until one by one, they fade away from existence.
In Burial at Sea, turns out you're playing as Comstock, not Booker, who accidentally got a version of Elizabeth killed. The Elizabeth you've been hanging out with (as well as the Lutece Twins) chastize you, then you die.
In Episode 2 of Burial at Sea, Elizabeth's death at the hands of Atlas. Despite Going Out With A Smile knowing that she'd set in motion the events that would bring Jack to Rapture and lead to Atlas' defeat and the freeing of the Little Sisters, this still comes across as a particularly bittersweet ending.
This game removes the ability to save anywhere except predesignated checkpoints. While this does prevent save scumming and avert Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, it means you can't easily replay past chapters you've already completed. This can be especially bad if you're the type of person who unplugs your console at night, as the game loads the autosave with the latest time/date. Unplugging the console can, in some cases, reset the time and date, meaning you have to load from the chapters menu and potentially lose a lot of play-time. Setting the time and date on the console again fixes this, however.
Being forced to adhere to a two weapon limit. This means that you won't be as tactically flexible in fights as you were in the first two games. Also, this means you're constantly forced to swap out weapons because the enemies you encounter always seem to be using weapons different from the ones you have equipped. It also doesn't help that you're pretty much forced to dedicate one of your weapon slots to a heavy weapon in case you run against an elite enemy like a Handyman or Motorized Patriot.
The total absence of hacking. The first two games let you dial down prices at vending machines and create allies out of sentries. In this game, Possession has taken over the effect of hacking, except it costs salts to use and it isn't permanent for sentries (or even effective on anything bigger than a turret), nor does it turn down prices (you get a bit of free cash, instead). As a result, you pretty much have to destroy most every turret you come across, and they are a lot tougher than the ones in the previous games ever were.
Spiritual Licensee: Some have noted that game plays out, at times, like a dark Disney movie, which isn't helped by Elizabeth channeling Belle and Rapunzel as well as just about every other Disney princess ever.
In Monument Island, you can see a bloodied piece of cloth in a bell jar labelled as "Age 13: Menarche". Yup, that's right: the scientists saved Elizabeth's first period. In the same area, you can also see pictures of Elizabeth developing in a dark room, one of which is clearly of her naked, while changing. These pictures, let us be clear, presumably being taken under the instruction of her father. There's probably a reason Booker never told her of this...
The achievement "Scavenger Hunt". To get this one, you must not purchase anything from a Dollar Bill vending machine while playing the game on 1999 Mode. Easy when it comes to ammo. Hard when it comes to health and salts.
None of these hold a candle to "Blue Ribbon Champ", where you must complete every single Blue Ribbon Challenge in Clash in the Clouds. Not only is there no indication of which challenges you completed other than the ribbon display on each level portrait, you'll never be able to go back and redo a wave if you ever screwed up without starting the entire level all over again. And it doesn't help that most of the challenges can be ruined by your enemies rather than you, such as when you must kill each enemy with a certain weapon/vigor/order, only to have it ruined when one guy falls off the map.
That One Boss: Lady Comstock, the Siren fight. Recycled two more times after the first initial boss fight. Her undead mooks are almost infinite (yet almost none of them drop ammo) and she can drop your shields and a large chunk of health every time she gets near you. Plus she leaves you absolutely nothing when you win. Also qualifies as a Goddamned Boss since she flies all around the arena and is hard to actually target. It helps to remember that she needs a body to resurrect, so the Shock Jockey can vape her goons at a high salt cost, but that's still a lot of goons to vape. It should also be noted that while this does work, it isn't foolproof and you will catch her reviving piles of ash occasionally.
The Good Time Club "interview". Three waves of heavily armed enemies, a demonic spider in each wave, and absolutely terrible cover.
The final mission, to some. While it lets you order the Songbird around and fight wave after wave of Vox Populi, the fact it's the closest thing to an actual Escort Mission in the game makes it annoying to many players, exacerbated by the fact that the stage is large enough that a single enemy might be off somewhere that you overlooked chipping at your ship's health while you deal with Motorized Patriots with whatever weapons you still have ammo for. What's even worse is that unlike all of the game's other set piece battles, this is the ONLY one where you don't have access to vending machines, so any money you stockpiled up to that point is essentially useless. You're forced to scavenge weapons and ammo from whatever you can find on them or from what enemies drop.
Despite being introduced as a major threat early on, Songbird is absent for vast swathes of the game, only to show up at the end as The Unfought, while having very little direct bearing on the plot.
The Vox, as a whole. Fitzroy's little more than a bloodthirsty monster who's a small obstacle, and the previews promised more glimpses at the Vox. Instead, we get a palette swap of the Columbian forces.
Despite being the driving motivation for both Booker and Elizabeth in both parts of Burial at Sea, Sally is never given any characterisation and, especially in Burial at Sea Episode 2, there's very little reason for players to actually care about her.
Stallonstall is completely absent from the game. He was the crazed politician from the previews. The man's scape is nailed to a board by the Vox.
This is more of a case of a story having too many good ideas. The idea of a class war in a whacked-out flying American Utopia takes a back seat to all the quantum shenanigans and interesting characters like Fitzroy and Fink are almost non-factors in the narrative.
Episode 2 of Burial at Sea promised us the chance to play as Elizabeth but rather than the Elizabeth of the main game, a quantum powered Physical God who can shuffle reality around her and so provide interesting unique gameplay, we have an Elizabeth Brought Down to Normal with some stealth options but nothing very different from Booker or Jack.
Episode 2 of Burial at Sea followed on from the reveal that Booker was actually a Comstock, leaving players with questions about how he could still have existed after the ending of Infinite seemingly wiped out all possible Comstock timelines. It is never explored in the second episode.
Elizabeth's big eyes and small waist make her look almost doll-like in comparison with the more realistic NPCs, and her body animation is occasionally less than great. Moreover, Elizabeth will sometimes get stuck or lag behind you, which can lead to situations where you try looking for her behind you, only to turn around and find that she's been teleported right in front of you. Penny Arcade notes how disconcerting it is commit horrifying acts of violence in front of Elizabeth, who looks exactly like Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
There are some wall-eyed dolls in several places that have a high creepitude coefficient, as well as two people in over-sized human mascot heads that even the characters in game think are creepy. In a similar vein, the eight-foot tall George Washington animatronic puppet that you first see in the Battleship Bay arcade has bulging eyes and stiff movements... then you start encountering them in the Hall of Heroes and then on as Motorized Patriots, which spout slogans while trying to give you an acute case of lead poisoning.
Also, there's the people that Came Back Wrong whenever Booker and Elizabeth open a tear into another universe. Their animation is very twitchy, as if two people were trying to co-exist in the same space, one digitally and haphazardly superimposed over the other. It's creepy as hell. This gets ramped Up to Eleven with the later part of the game, where there's inmates at an asylum who are like this but now have oversized puppet heads too. Which gets worse if you've seen the concept art and consider that under their masks, they could look something like THIS.◊.
A poster early in the game warning of the False Shepherd depicts the Lamb's face as a bit... too human◊.
In Burial At Sea Episode 2, when Elizabeth sees herself in a mirror, saying "This world values children, not childhood", her mouth moves realistically, most likely due to Motion Capture. The rest of her is immobile, which is just disturbing.
Unconventional Learning Experience: Never heard of the Boxer Rebellion? How about the "Battle" of Wounded Knee? Perhaps the heavy slant towards quantum mechanics has inspired you to look into reading some books on physics? Whether historical or philosophical, Infinite certainly has its fair share of elements that will drive most players to Wikipedia and inevitably end with unintentional enlightenment.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: Daisy Fitzroy. The game seems to expect us to believe that she's just as bad as Comstock for the atrocities she commits, but her back story and the suffering the lower classes of Columbia experience make that hard to swallow for some players. There's also the fact that, while her methods are indeed horrible note although going Kill 'em All on the Founders is not any different from what the Player/Booker does anyway, the final act of the game makes it extremely clear than Comstock really needs to die.
The Untwist: The incredible amount of Foreshadowing and Tempting Fate moments in the game in regards to Comstock being an alternate version of Booker is a double-edged sword; while it does make a second playthrough full of Fridge Brilliance, it also allows a sufficiently Genre Savvy player to realize this before they manage to pick up a gun.
The game takes on themes such as American Exceptionalism, as well as the racism and xenophobia of the late-19th and early 20th century America. Ken Levine, however, denies claims that the game is a thinly-veiled parody of the Tea Parties and Occupy movements.
Some previews show that Vox Populi (which have the exact opposite ideology as the city's rulers) are just as bad, so it's more of a Take That at political extremism in general. Bottom line is that Levine dislikes extremism in any context. Populism, Objectivism, Nationalism, Fundamentalism, etc. A member of the BioShock Infinite development team even threatened to resign because he was offended by how he thought Comstock basically implied that being religious is evil. The game was later changed to give said character more nuance, incorporating the idea of forgiveness into his motivation and backstory. Which is mitigated anyways when one realizes that Booker and Elizabeth seem to be somewhat religious (Booker yells "JESUS" when the nun burns herself alive and Elizabeth indirectly stated to believe in God multiple times.)
What The Hell, Costuming Department?: Elizabeth's Of Corsets Sexy outfit, considering she is ultimately revealed as Booker's daughter, it's rather...revealing nature might send the wrong message. It's possibly why the outfit (which was originally shown to be much more omnipresent) was pushed back to the tail end of the game.
Booker and Elizabeth. It's hard not to feel sorry for Elizabeth, given she's been locked up her entire life and has no social contact besides the giant cyborg bird man thing that keeps her caged and possibly the scientists who study her. Booker's a man with a lot of regrets in his life, but doesn't see himself as worth redemption; he sometimes takes the attitude that he'll do bad things to stop good people from doing them.
Elizabeth:I'm going to kill Comstock. Booker: No, you're not. Elizabeth: Really. [summons a tornado] And what are you going to do to stop me? Booker: Not a damn thing. I'm going to do it for you.
Oddly, the Handymen are as well. An audio log reveals that they are the sick and infirm stripped of everything other than their vital organs and heads and placed in awkward, metal bodies. At the start, you can see one cowering in front of a crowd and cameramen, desperately trying to cover his face. Then you encounter them, and often beg for you to just go away. They may be Demonic Spiders, sure, but it isn't hard to feel a little sorry for them. Then there's the audio logs of the wife of a Handyman. You find him dead next to cheerful Vox members. Then you go to the future where there's a wanted poster for a Handyman. His crime? Pacifism.
The revelation of Daisy Fitzroy's Hidden Depths in Burial At Sea DLC more than qualify as one. The idea that she unselfishly damaged her own reputation and died as a villain solely to motivate Elizabeth to fulfill her destiny and nobody mourns or realizes who she was, especially considering how horrible her life was already makes her a really tragic figure.