Sometimes you sit down to play a game for the first time and you realize that it is something special. The game we are playing will be remembered fondly for years to come. While Bioshock Infinite most likely won’t have the same impact as its predecessor, it’s still a masterpiece of storytelling and game design.
Bioshock Infinite takes place in the floating city of Columbia; once part of the United States, Columbia has since seceded from the union and disappeared into the clouds. You play the role of Booker DeWitt, a former pinkerton agent who must track down a girl name Elizabeth in order to clear a debt. Pretty soon you’re being chased by the police, robot men, anarchists, and a giant bird. All of the stuff that made the original Bioshock so unique returns with a spin, plasmids are now vigors, there is a dictator, and many more. The graphics are absolutely stunning and the city feels like it has a life of its own. However if you want the best experience in terms of graphical quality, you’re going to want to stick to the PC version. The console versions textures can be kind of muddy and only display at lower resolutions whereas the PC version is crisp and clear. The PC controls however are daunting and unnecessarily spread out. At first you won’t have any problems, but once you start earning more vigors and weapons it gets hard to switch between them while in combat. After playing for an hour and a half on the PC version I eventually plugged in an Xbox 360 controller to make it easier to play.
The story progresses at your pace thanks to the revolutionary AI of Elizabeth. If you linger in an area long enough Elizabeth will instinctively look at things, comment on them, and even interact with them. If you don’t want to linger, Elizabeth will follow you no matter where you go, letting you progress through the storyline at your own pace. Elizabeth isn’t just a damsel in distress, she helps you engage in fights by throwing you ammo and health during combat. Elizabeth can also phase in items and other objects in the environment to help you. Elizabeth also rummages for supplies and finds money for you that you may have missed. All of these actions ensure that Bioshock Infinite doesn’t turn into one long glorified escort mission, and luckily it doesn’t feel like one at all. Elizabeth feels more like a companion then a burden.
While Bioshock Infinite feels amazing it doesn’t seem to live up to its predecessor. Sure the AI and combat are better, but you don’t get the same feeling you did from Rapture. The shocking moment where you first see Rapture isn’t the same as when you first lay eyes on Columbia. However Columbia itself is beautiful in its own right, the environment is more fleshed out and feels like a place people would actually live as opposed to the dark caverns of Rapture.
Bioshock Infinite might not be revolutionary, but it is so well crafted and fun that it’s safe to say it will be talked about for years to come.