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Whether you are killing for a cause, you're still killing people!
I am bored to tears with the debates on game as art or maturity of the medium. Bioshock Infinite doubly so. I love the set design, bright Super Mario 64 colors. All sunshine. I like the characterization and I loved the ending which had a real dramatic resonance. It's better than Bioshock 1 of course, but then I am in a minority for never having cared for that game to begin with.

Ken Levine has the curse of talking a better game than he delivers. Bioshock Infinite is far below its lofty ambitions. And the reason for that is, simply this is a shooting game. All the quantum mumbo-jumbo is there for level tours, cut-scenes and conversations only, the crux of the gameplay is simply shooting everything that comes your way, no exceptions. The crux of the game is interactive cutscenes but you aren't going to be top of the roost in gaming circles if you create gaemplay on a lack of conflict. So Irrational Game has it both ways, creating a mix that is jarring and painful.

The game is also fundamentally racist in its portrayal of a crazy black woman Daisy Fitzroy attacking the founders and being looked at as if she's some kind of bad person when the hero murders everyone unhesitatingly. We are supposed to think that her wanting to destroy Columbia is a bad thing when one need to ask how is that different from what we are making happen anyway.

There are two parts in the game which suggested that it could potentially live up to its ideas and I hope their followup picks on this. I think the sequence with the death of the machinist, where reality multiplies before us with the travel through tears was genuinely creepy and tense. The implications of reality shuffling over ought to be a game in its own right, instead its used as light foreshadowing. Likewise the moment in Comstock's Lair, where as Edward travels through the floors, in a Stealth type mission with a house of mental misfits and again there's a sense of several alternate futures playing out in parallel, showing you what happens if you don't save the girl and a bad future where you fail. A sense of reality being in flux around you.

  # comments: 13
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Loved everything.... Except the ending
This is an excellent game. I liked the new tonics and the skylines, I really liked the story line points where Elizabeth tells you to kill her rather than let her be captured, and later lets herself be captured to save you. The boss fight where you controlled songbird was pretty epic too. I didn't even mind a little bit of dimensional hopping.

What I did mind was a lot of dimensional hopping.

First, after Elizabeth gets full powers at the end, (SPOILER) we teleport off to Rapture, which despite being part of the same series felt like one of those spoofy moments when you're transported to a different game. Then we take a bathysphere to the lighthouse, see multiple lighthouses with multiple universes while boardwalks just pop up as I walk, we keep teleporting to different places like the lake and my office, then I find out that Elizabeth is Anna, I'M Comstock, and I gave up Elizabeth as a baby to that Lutece Gentleman, something about a baptism decides if I become Comstock, and I have to be drowned in order for this to have all never happened? Whaaat?

Like I said before, this is an excellent game, and even though I just spoiled the ending, you should play it.
  # comments: 0
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Squanders Good Things
I have mixed feeling about the Bioshock series; I want to like them, but they seem to go out of their way to make me dislike them enough to never play them again, but not enough to out and out hate them. Bioshock uno's instant death recovery defanged all the horrors, Bioshock dos's duel wielding awesomeness even more so.

Before anyone jumps down my throat, let me get me a few good thing out of the way first; It's extremely pretty, managing to pull off a wonderful Crapsaccharine World and fills it with fun, interesting characters. The relationship between Booker and Elizabeth is one of the best I've seen, and they become one of the most compelling game duos since Jak And Daxter. Finally, the skyrails are all kinds of fun. Stupid, illogically twisty, but fun.

And now for my favorite part- the bad. The game squanders the good things I've listed above; Skyrails are annoyingly infrequent, so most battles take place inside (beautiful) boring arenas. The combat is weak, mechanically encouraging you to stick with one set of Vigors and powers; Mine was Bucking Bronco+Shotgun, because BB levitates enemies, has huge range, a massive damage multiplier, is extremely energy efficient, on top of an idiot proof area of effect. Heavy Hitters are woefully underutilized, with the inventive and creepy Boys of Silence appearing for all of one level. Story wise, there's a Luke You Are My Father moment that made me feel dirty after it came up (and not the good kind of dirty either), there's a shit ton of padding in the middle act that goes nowhere, and the focus gets taken away from Colombia a third of the way through, and the game ends on a confusing, pretentious, wholly unsatisfying ending that creates more questions than it answers. An ending that it seems all third installments must have by law.

I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I had some fun with Bioshock Infinite. It's just that the tedious combat, inadvisable story turns, and general feeling of this being a game that's gone through too many revisions damped my enjoyment. I recommend renting it and playing it though once. Don't worry, once is all you need.
  # comments: 11
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Blows Bioshock out of the water
I wasn't fond of Bioshock. Sure, it had a strong opening and a brilliant twist but otherwise the writing was pulpy, the combat leaden, the moral-dilemma stupid, the enemy-variety lacking, the fetch-quests obnoxious, the RPG elements clunky and the endings cornier than dog crap. Thankfully this sequel fixes the above by being a fun and exciting ride instead of an over-pretentious slog.

PLOT

You play Booker DeWitt, a disgraced detective, who is tasked to find a girl called Elizabeth, who is imprisoned in the flying city of Columbia. On the outset the place is Disney World: full of life, cheer and colour. On the inside, however, the place is also Disney World: full of toil, resentment and xenophobia. It's like that Miyazaki movie but with more racism.

The plot can be a mixed bag at times. There are loads of brilliant ideas, enough for a dozen games, but not all of them get attention. The last act is brain-scratcher territory, full of time-travel and dimension-hopping, but the very last scene gives us a glimpse of a happy ending for our heroes.

GAMEPLAY

The combat is solid and punchy. The guns have weight and feedback and the powers aren't overly contextual. The art direction is superb and the pacing brisk. Hacking is gone, as are the Little Sisters, though the Big Daddies are back as Handymen; massive agile bastards who will completely ruin your day. Vending machines return and are less annoying than their Rapture counterparts.

The rail system is fun, easy to use, and makes use of Columbia's aerial nature. There's no inventory so you'll spend some time eating food off the ground like a hobo to restore health. The game works wonders with a voiced protagonist, and while your AI partner isn't ground-breaking or anything her presence adds to the game, giving it a human element. The RPG elements are streamlined to no great loss.

NEGATIVES

The auto-save only system is a load of old wank. You'll need one eye on a walkthrough if you don't want to miss any collectibles.

The PC port, while excellent, still has issues. I couldn't play the game without an Xbox 360 controller.

The over-the-top gore will bother some players.

CONCLUSION

This game isn't the second coming of Christ, although Christ never made a video game, but it is worth every silver eagle. The game clocks in at 15 hours and has few ties to its predecessors.
  # comments: 7
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Not The Best, But Excellent
For the most part, Infinite does not disappoint. The gameplay takes a cue from Bioshock 2 and doesn't turn power use into a chore. The writing is more consistent without an entire act of the game being filler.

Infinite's own worst enemy is itself, especially for those of us who kept up with its development. Elizabeth is an extremely compelling character but anyone who saw the previews was waiting for her to start helping directly in battle, only to be disappointed. It's a shame that so much effort went into her and the end result is little more than item retrieval and scripted environmental effects. Having her actually tag along with Booker so she can progress as naturally through the story as he does is amazing in its own right, but in gameplay she falls flat. As simpler as it was, calling Eleanor to my side in Bioshock 2, basically summoning the game's Boss in Mook Clothing flagged as friendly, felt far more satisfying. Also, why have we gone to a two-weapon system? I find it hard to believe Ken Levine looked at the last two games' inventories and said "Needs more Halo," yet here we are.

Elizabeth may fall flat in gameplay, but it's a joy to have her around for the entire game simply because she's a brilliantly realized character. Her interaction with Booker feels natural. The Lutece twins also steal the show whenever they show up.

While the writing doesn't have the first game's pacing problems, it has an entirely different pacing problem; the ending is incredibly rushed. The vague nuances of it that have seen so much discussion is really the result of this, not the result of actual depth. The ending is obtuse for the sake of being obtuse. At a certain point, the ending stops being about the characters and starts being about how long the characters can talk about quantum mechanics. Additionally, the setting and the conflict set up is very quickly thrown into the background, given only cursory relevance as an obstacle preventing Elizabeth and Booker from leaving Columbia. American exceptionalism is never explored beyond the fact that Comstock is batshit nanners. The KKK {Expy} that one will spend all of ten minutes seeing seems shoehorned in.

Despite some problems, Infinite is much better than the first game, but, and I know this opinion isn't popular, not as good as Bioshock 2.

  # comments: 0
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Excellent game
I've followed the Bioshock series since it's beginning, so I jumped on the next opus. And it did not disappoint.

Bioshock Infinite is actually both close to the previous games, and very different. The atmosphere, universes, and gameplay are similar, but Infinite is less gloomy than its predecessors and the Survival Horror elements have been lessened. Mind you, some levels are still astonishingly creepy and Columbia is a nightmarish dystopia, but overall, it's much less disturbing than Rapture.

Story-wise, the plot is excellent, although the ending is VERY open and left for the player to interpret. Booker and Elizabeth both get believable character development and their interactions are heartwarming, and while Comstock and Fitzroy aren't villains as charismatic as Ryan and Fontaine were, they both have a very detailed backstory showing how they went from average citizens to violent extremists.

Gameplay wise, Elizabeth is actually very helpful for a damsel in distress, and will save the player more than once. Otherwise, it is pretty similar to most FPS.

The bad elements: the auto-saves are time consuming, and loading can be a pain, but overall, it's not that troublesome. The game is very linear, and being reduced to two weapons, while adding in realism, can also be problematic at times. Only a few special powers and gears are actually useful, so the player will stick with a few.

Overall, while not perfect, Bioshock Infinite is an excellent game one should buy and try.

19/20
  # comments: 2
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Absolutely Fantastic
I never got around to playing the first Bioshock, but I decided to pick up Bioshock Infinite, as I found it's themes and setting much more appealing than the original. I found this to be an opportunity where I could play a tangentially related sequel without measuring it up to it's predecessors.

The combat isn't anything to write home about, it's simple but above all, fun and engaging. You're often moving about during battle, so the skyline is a fun addition. The weapon limit is frustrating at times, but different weapons and items are abundant. The game is linear, due to it's focus on story, but there's still a lot of opportunity for exploration- which the player will need to do in order to fully understand the story. There's a little backtracking, but it's usually optional and moving around Columbia is a delight anyways. Unfortunately, the gameplay isn't varied much beyond exploration between shooting galleries, it could of used a few puzzles to give the vigors more use and vary the game a little more.

Elizabeth's is great, she helps out during battle and never gets in the way (usually), but she isn't as "groundbreaking" as she's made out to be. That being said,when she's not with you, you'll want her back right away. Her character is endearing and sweet, and shortly after her introduction, I genuinely cared for her.

Having a fleshed out protagonist of a FPS was...interesting. Arguably, he would be easier to relate to if we could actually see him. In spite of that, Booker remains to be compelling and complex. Hell, even he becomes oddly endearing at times with his interactions with Elizabeth.

I certainly enjoyed the story, but the plot needed some more focus. There have been some complaints over the lack of multiple endings, but once you complete the game, it becomes clear as to why there is only one. There's a few minor problems such as the tricky cursor and the sloppy textures. The game doesn't save my progress as often as I'd like either.

With it's high replay value, richly designed and engaging world, compelling main characters, unique soundtrack, and an emotional as well as satisfying ending, in all Bioshock Infinite is thought-provoking and an excellently executed, immersive game that wraps up in a dozen or so hours.

9/10
  # comments: 0
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