By Steve Wright
You’ve no doubt read other reviews of Bioshock Infinite, and more than likely, those reviews have given Irrational’s latest game perfect scores. This review is no different.
Our preview of the game should have been some indication of just how good the game is. From the moment you’re propelled into the air and get a bird’s eye view of Columbia, Bioshock Infinite has you in its thrall. Booker DeWitt knows little about the floating city, and as the player, you’ll delight as you and he both begin to unearth the city’s nasty secrets.
Sure, the game’s got combat, and sure, that combat is quite fun, but Infinite is all about exploration. I’m not one to canvas a map to find hidden documents when playing through a game – that comes afterward, perhaps for the sake of an unlocked achievement – but I religiously and meticulously tried to find as many voxophones and kinetoscopes as I could. Each uncovered item provides glorious insight into the world around you and the events that you find yourself embroiled in.
Father Comstock is as memorable as Andrew Ryan was in the first Bioshock (on that note: do you remember who the antagonist was in Bioshock 2? Thought not.). His followers induce far more fear than Rapture’s Splicers ever could. The Splicers were simply bat-shit crazy, while the citizens of Columbia are religious fanatics who eagerly support a racist, tiered society. If that wasn’t bad enough, they choose to fight you because you’re literally their Anti-Christ.
Combat is simple, yet engaging. Plasmids -- now vigors, powered by ADAM-like salts -- are as fun as ever to wield. The ability to click on the right-stick to aim down the barrel of your weapon makes one-on-one combat far easier, and more satisfying to boot; there’s nothing better than pulling off a headshot. As you move through Columbia, chaining weapons, vigors -- and eventually skyhook travel, take-downs and Elizabeth’s handy tear items – becomes second nature. It’s a fluid combat system that does it all right.
The skyhook is a truly wondrous thing. As I started Infinite, I travelled along skylines cautiously, staying on the line and only moving from point A to point B. The more I played, the more adventurous I became, jumping off one line to another, leaping ahead of a line to speed up my travel, and chaining take-downs with ease. Simply put: the skyhook makes you feel like Batman, zipping around a floating, bigoted version of Gotham City.
Your (eventual) companion, Elizabeth, needs a review all to herself. Irrational did the best thing possible by avoiding anything resembling an escort mission, and my gratitude for this is unending. Learning more about Elizabeth is as engaging as the exploration of Columbia itself. I’ll leave it there to not ruin anything about her, or the game’s ending.
Oh, dat ending.
In short, Bioshock was one of the first stellar games at the start of this generation. Now, as it draws to a close, Bioshock Infinite is certainly one of its last. It’s a far superior game than the original, and is a fitting symbol of how far the industry has come since we first plugged Bioshock into our Xbox 360s all those years ago. Bioshock Infinite is a must-have game; an experience that each gamer should have, first-hand.