Oh My God. I audibly said this at least 10 times in the final 30 minutes of my11 hour Bioshock: Infinite playthrough. Every so often, I’ll get a game that is just so ridiculously crafted that when I complete it, I find yourself sad. Why sad, you may ask? Well, I don’t know how long or if I’ll ever get another experience like the one I just invested myself into. Last time I felt this way was The Last of Us. Bioshock: Infinite is one of the greatest video game masterpieces I have ever had the pleasure of playing through. It is a perfect representation of how gaming can be a true cinematic art-form by taking you, the player and making you experience each set-piece and story beat. When you think of important landmarks for video gaming, Bioshock: Infinite should be at the top of that list.
Booker DeWitt (The always amazing Troy Baker) is the protagonist of this story, a member of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency who is sent to the high flying city of Columbia to rescue Elizabeth (Courtnee Draper), a young girl trapped in a tower, due to his massive gambling debts. When he arrives, he begins to realize that the picture perfect and bright colored Columbia may be housing dark secrets and that Elizabeth seems to be connected to these. I can’t say anything else because to do so would be getting into spoilers as this stuff is all from the first act and to say anything else is a disservice to this game.
The game is a first person shooter like the previous two Bioshock games and while this game shares a few similar things with those such as the vending machine and special enhanced power ability, this time known as salts, this is less survival horror and more action based which was a really nice change of pace. The shooting mechanics work extremely well if not adding anything new to the fold. The one new thing this game adds is the ability to skyhook and rappel around and this did add a lot my fluidity and creatively to each different combat scenario. It never really was this big difference maker or even was utilized in the story that much but was a nice new feature. There is also another combat enhancer that Booker receives in the second act and while I won’t say what it is because it is a huge revelation, it was definitely one of the most beneficial things I used in combat.
The gameplay while fun and fluid, isn’t what makes this game so fantastic but its story. This is easily in my top five, probably top three for game stories. The amount of twists, turns and revelations that both Booker and I learn are some of the greatest that any game has ever given us. Booker is easily one of gamings greatest and most layered characters ever too. You can tell from the start that he is a damaged individual and that he has regrets. I also enjoy when first person shooters actually have the character you’re playing as actually speak because while we don’t see Booker’s face much, we feel his emotions and care about him. His arc is absolutely bonkers and brilliant. Elizabeth is and I mean this, the best AI character in a game. AI characters usually suck, *cough* Sheva from Resident Evil 5 *cough*. Elizabeth actually helps you out so much, she’ll go find ammo or health for you when you’re running low. She never just gets in the way and will move when you need to get somewhere. She’ll never linger behind and will always be near you. It is the best AI I’ve seen in a game to date besides Ellie from The Last of Us. If Booker’s arc is bonkers, than Elizabeth’s arc is just flat out bananas crazy. I had so much trouble putting this game down yet I’m glad I took my time with it because I savored it and feel like I appreciated the experience that much more.
Bioshock: Infinite is one of the greatest cinematic video games ever made. The gameplay while not groundbreaking, works extremely well but it’s the amazing and mind-bending plot that brings this one into the masterpiece category. If you never played this game, go do it right now. There is never a dull moment in this game and the final 30-40 minutes is one of my favorite finales in a game I’ve ever played. Thank you Irrational Games for giving me an amazing experience. I have only given maybe five or six games ever the grade I am going to give this which I’m guessing you already know but that speaks volumes about the quality of this masterpiece. It’s sad to know that it’s over but hopefully sooner rather than later, I’ll find another experience like it. Until then “bring us the girl and wipe away the debt”.
- The Story
- The Characters
- The World
- The Fact That It’s Over