BioShock Infinite

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Bioshock Infinite
Official cover art for Bioshock Infinite.jpg
"Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt."
Protagonist: Booker Dewitt
Elizabeth - Burial at Sea: Ep.2
Genre: First Person Shooter
Platforms: Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Nintendo Switch
Release Date: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows:
26th March 2013
Nintendo Switch:
29th May 2020
Game Engine: Unreal 3
Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Franchise: Bioshock
Previous Game: Bioshock 2 (release)


Bioshock Infinite is a first person shooter video game that was developed by Irrational Games, and published by 2K Games for the PC, and PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360 consoles. The game was released on the 26th of March 2013. The game was rereleased on the 13th of September 2016 for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as part of Bioshock: The Collection, and then for the Nintendo Switch on the 29th of May 2020.

Plot Synopsis

A disgraced Pinkerton soldier named Booker Dewitt is sent to Columbia to receive a young woman named Elizabeth - who is capable of using Tears to see into alternate worlds - after facing crippling debts racked up from excessive gambling. Branded by the people of Columbia as "The False Shepard", Booker's quest is frequently roadblocked by the city's police forces, a rebel militia known as the Vox Populi, and Elizabeth's warden, a giant robotic bird creature known as "Songbird". Columbia is ruled by one Zachary Hale Comstock, a powerful cult of personality revered by the city's inhabitants as "The Prophet" thanks to his ties to Christianity and The Founding Fathers of the USA, and serves as the game's antagonist.

The game takes place in 1912 with several steam punk elements mixed in. Lore and back story also draw inspiration from real life historical events, most notably The Battle of Wounded Knee, as part of Booker's character arc; the trauma from which led him to gamble. Columbia came to be a giant floating war ship after the city seceded from the United States (frequently addressed as "The Sodom Below"), and disappeared into the clouds.

Gameplay

Like the previous Bioshock games, Infinite uses firearms and Plasmids to fight enemies (the latter are called "Vigors" this time around). However, the game is more linear in its navigation compared to its predecessors, and choices are mostly inconsequential, leaning into the idea of "Constants and Variables". Major enemies come in many forms, including Zealots capable of teleporting under a cover of crows, Motorised Patriots with gattling guns, and Handyman, fast and dangerous cyborg capable of killing Booker quickly.

New to Infinite are Sky Rails and Freight Hooks, and are frequently used to traverse from one floating island to the next; Booker can shoot his gun while riding or hanging from a rail or hook, but cannot use Vigors while doing so. Also a new addition to gameplay is Elizabeth herself, an AI controlled companion who will occasionally assist the player in combat by tossing Booker Health, Salts, or Ammo for his guns. She will also toss him some cash will the two explore the city.

Why It Rocks

  1. The game nails its atmosphere and setting wonderfully; thanks to the minor details like the attire, architecture, dialect, technology and political presence, one would have an easy time believing the game is set in 1912.
  2. The game lends itself well to subsequent playthroughs as the game leaves subtle details and clues that foreshadow major plot elements that would have been grossed over by players on their first run. The overarching narrative is still highly engaging, though.
  3. The story is also complimented by great characters too, with Booker and Elizabeth being the best examples due to the chemistry and interactions between them. Booker's backstory alone makes him interesting as does his stern but occasionally sarcastic quips about the city, while Elizabeth is charming because of her child-like wonder, and expressive animations.
    • Then there's the Lutece twins, who provide cryptic clues to the next objective, and provide some of the most entertaining moments throughout the adventure with their humour.
  4. Visually, the game is beautiful; the distinct art style with bright colours make the world pop, even in areas that look drab and ugly. There is also enough visual diversity to keep the world fresh; no two areas look identical.
  5. Top notch voice acting from the entire cast, with special mentions going to Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper, which play the two leads. Given the dynamic between Booker and Elizabeth, these two actors have a lot of chemistry.
  6. Elizabeth is incredibly useful as a gameplay aid; as mentioned under Gameplay, she will often toss you useful provisions where you start running low. Also, unlike most other AI companions, Elizabeth can look after herself in combat, and you don't need to protect her. Also, her lock picking skills can help you access secret areas. She can also use Tears to summon allies, supplies, and environmental hazards to aid Booker during a gunfight.
  7. There are many collectables to find; Voxophones from side characters that add to the game's lore, Kinetoscopes that show events prior the game's plot, and Infusions that allow Booker to upgrade his attributes.
  8. Combat can get rather tense at times, especially when the Heavy Hitters are involved. You may find yourself scrambling for cover when things get rough, but even then, enemies will try to rush you to keep you on your toes. The Handymen in particular serve as pseudo-boss fights.
  9. Gear can be picked up at various points that can aid Booker by giving him combat buffs like invulnerability from eating snacks, increased movement speed under certain circumstances, or reduced shield regen time. There are more than plenty of these to find, and can be swapped in and out to suit the fight.
  10. The music is really good; some of the tracks in fact, are anachronistic versions of real charting songs, like a rendition of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World". The original score is just as good though, fitting the situation when it needs it, like when in combat for instance. Music cues also help somewhat in combat, with a sharp chord that ends the track when all enemies are dead, so it has a role in gameplay.
  11. For fans of the first 2 games, you even get to visit Rapture towards the end, albeit very briefly.
  12. Performing execution moves and landing headshots feels very satisfying thanks to their virocity and the audio feedback.
  13. The extra hard "1999 mode" is unlockable by completing the game once, or by inputting - of all things - the Konami code! The difficulty harkens back to old school shooters somewhat, and is great for those who want an extra challenge.

Bad Qualities

  1. The setting while visually striking, can be off-putting to players who suffer from acrophobia (fear of heights).
  2. Certain sections of the game, like the gateway to Comstock House, tend to suffer from frame rate drops. Same thing happens when stuff starts exploding.
  3. The 3 battles with the Siren aren't very fun to due ammo scarcity and her resurrection powers, especially on the harder difficulties.
  4. You cannot trust Elizabeth to restock your supplies all the time, since she sometimes won't give you the stuff you need when it really matters. This becomes a problem when you need ammunition, but you're pinned down by enemies while nowhere an ammo pickup.
    • Also, a prompt will flash on screen when she does have something for you, but it may disappear almost immediately, which is kind of annoying, especially if she was about to toss you a Medical Kit.
  5. For first time players, the story can feel a bit haphazard and confusing due to alternate universes being a prominent plot device.
  6. This game received the least amount of attention when the trilogy was remastered for 8th gen consoles, as it was simply a port of the PC version with few improvements.
  7. The chapter is almost completely worthless since it doesn't track collectables, and overwrites your current progress.

Reception

Bioshock Infinite received critical acclaim when the released, with many publications giving the game 10/10 ratings. The game's art design, setting, story, twist ending, characters, Elizabeth's role, and gameplay all received widespread praise, although the combat was criticised by some critics. The game went on to win numerous Game of the Year awards, and sold 11 million units worldwide on all platforms by May 2015.

When the game was rereleased for 8th gen along with its predecessors, the collection received positive reviews with many outlets calling it an easy recommend for new players, but lamented the lack of attention that Infinite received to bring it up to modern standards.

Tips (1999 mode)

Bioshock Infinite has an extra hard difficulty to unlock called "1999 mode", which removes gameplay aids like auto-aim, reduces ammo availability, kills you faster, and enacts harsher penalties for dying. Here are some tips to help you get through the mode should you feel u[ to the challenge:

  • Check every container you can find! You will need every scrap of resources you can get your hands on, since ammo isn't as plentiful.
  • Don't waste your cash on weapon and vigor upgrades you don't need; you lose $100 every time you die, so save that cash for weapons and vigors you use most often.
  • Try to get the "Urgent Care" gear as soon as possible. This will reduce shield regen time by half, which you cannot pass up since your shield takes longer to regenerate on this difficulty level.
  • "Blood to Salt" has a 40% chance to refill Salts when you kill an enemy, so definitely use it when fighting large groups of enemies.
    • On the other hand, "Winter Shield" is useful in places with Sky Rails and Freight Hooks, as this gear gives you temporary immunity to all damage when you come off of one.
  • Use "Possession" on machines to have them draw fire away from you, and deal damage to enemies. Also, try to get the "Possession for Less" upgrade early to avoid using more Salts than you need to. This way, you'll have plenty of Salts left for other vigors you could be using.
  • Be aggressive. Move around, mix firearms and vigors, and use the environment to your advantage. Staying still on this difficulty is a death sentence, especially later on when even low ranking soldiers can rip through your shield and health in a matter of seconds.
  • Gear pickups are randomised each time you reload a checkpoint, so use this to get a piece of gear you really want.