Review: BioShock Infinite

Ok everybody, strap in. I’m gonna destroy a boundary, break a taboo that is best left untouched… but I wasn’t a fan of the Bioshock games. Granted, they were fun, and at the time, blew my mind with how scariness and story telling could be achieved simultaneously, especially with a silent protagonist, but I just never played them through more than twice, if that. For this though, I was advised to approach the game with an open mind… and Brian Christ, am I glad I did?

BioShock Infinite follows Booker DeWitt, an ex-military man and disgraced private detective who is hired by shady people to find a girl called Elizabeth and deliver her to New York from the lofty heights of the city of Columbia to clear his personal debts to the shady individuals. Booker’s hand is forced when he questions whether or not to take the job, as this would be his last chance to repay his debts, and in turn, sets out to find her. What Booker finds, however, is a world of magic, corruption, segregation, war and religions built on traitors.

Developer: Irrational Games

Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Windows, Mac OS X

Reviewed On: Playstation 3

RRP: £44.99

Release Date: Out Now

The story in BioShock Infinite is deep. Really deep. Deeper than a cavern. This is the first time in a while I’ve genuinely cared about a protagonist and a world enough to try and find every single backstory collectible I can find. All of the Voxophones let the player in on important or interesting backstory elements and pad out Booker’s surroundings, lending Columbia a sense of history and scale that is rarely matched. Given the choice I would live there… in fact, no I wouldn’t… I don’t like heights…


The gameplay is traditional Bioshock controls at heart – a first-person shooter mixing gunplay and magic casting to defeat foes. The game is very solid and the controls feel very fluid. Booker moves at a very satisfying pace and fighting with either weapons or magic is simple and fun. One fun change is that in this game, you are given a new device, a Grapple Hook-esque item that lets Booker hang off hooks around Columbia and slide along pipes and transport rails that wind all round the City. However, the REAL gameplay changes come when Booker meets Elizabeth…

For a start, Irrational Games deserves a gaming BAFTA for successfully designing and executing Elizabeth in game at all. It completely dispels any ideas people have that all In-game A.I. is rubbish. When Elizabeth first exits the tower, and you wake up on a beach with her, she runs off to a dancing party further down the beach. Once you meet up with her, you can either run straight through the beach, continuing the game, or just stand around objects and people and let Elizabeth work. In the game’s story Elizabeth has never seen the boats or the changing houses or the guys trying to lift the heavy orange balls, so she examines them all and tries to join in and give her opinions. Watching these unfold is magical, as detailed A.I. like this is a wonder to see.

Besides being an entertaining side show for the less explosive sections of the game, Elizabeth also helps Booker in battles. If, for instance, Booker is running low on ammo or salts to power your Vigor bar, Elizabeth will call out to you, then with a simple press of a button, she will throw you either health items, ammo or salts, so you can return to kicking ass and fighting crime. Also, if you fall in battle, she will revive you where you dropped, rather than at the beginning of the area you died in. Its a little thing, but a little thing that makes all the difference to me. Yeah… I died a few times….

And if you think that’s fun, Elizabeth has one more trick up her sleeve. She can summon up something called a “Tear”. These tears are windows into different time frames or “worlds” that Elizabeth can open whenever she wants to. This is partly a story mechanic  and Elizabeth cannot understand why she is able to do this, but enjoys peeking into different worlds whenever she wants. However, again, the tears are also useful in gameplay, as Elizabeth and Booker can see shiny shadows of items that exist in other worlds. So, whenever you see something that may benefit you in the area, like a shadow of a weapons depot or a shop, Elizabeth can pull it through to your world and let you take whatever you need from it.

The music in the game is top notch as well. It perfectly accompanies the grandios shots of Columbia when you first visit the City, and the backing music during the fair scenes are something to behold. The music also quickens for battles to set the action-packed scenes off beautifully, and also quietens and slows down for poignant moments on Booker’s adventure. Also, nearly all of the bystanders in Columbia have something to say. If Booker and Elizabeth walk up to or past one of the onlookers, they can engage in mini conversations with them, sometimes for fun, or sometimes giving useful hints on where to go or what to do next.

pleh 2

The game looks beautiful. Everything animates brilliantly, Columbia is bright and cheerful in almost stark contrast to the first to Bioshock games, and scenery and settings have never looked better in a game before or since. It really seems that beyond the cloud barrier, this beautiful and detailed world that Irrational has built could literally go on forever. It’s beyond beautiful, It’s… Astounding!

All in all, I can’t fault this game for anything. The controls are simple and easy to use, the game looks as beautiful as an oil painting and a detailed backstory tops off a grand adventure in a living breathing fantasy. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, Elizabeth on her own is a technological achievement. A.I. that detailed is hard to find these days and to have someone constantly looking out for you in a game that isn’t built for co-op is amazing. If you don’t buy this game, you will be considered Idiotic by all who loved you.

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