Monthly Archives: April 2013

Columbia: Rapture’s Polar Opposite (Bioshock Infinite Review)

“Will the circle be unbroken? By and by; by and by? Is a better home a’waiting, in the sky, in the sky?”
-‘Will the Circle be Unbroken’ – Bioshock Infinite
booker elizabeth
There was once a tale of a city under the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. One man had a vision of a world without government; allowing the people to control the path of the economy. In time, this government-free world would cave in on itself, and the city of Rapture would become a desecrated relic at the bottom of the ocean; left to be forgotten by the world…until a plane crashes nearby and a certain survivor reaches the city… When game creators brought the city of Rapture to life in Bioshock, they created a whole new world that was enjoyable to explore and also a world that players wanted to escape. The hours spent creating the world of Rapture, along with the genius story of the game, did not go unnoticed by gamers. Bioshock would very quickly receive the Game of the Year Award (GOTY) and the gamers would be expecting great things in the future.
The developers finally came through with another brilliant game in the form of Bioshock Infinite. Although it shares the same title, Infinite has almost no link to either of its predecessors. The game takes place in a city called Columbia, a city in the sky. Unlike the previous Bioshock games, where the protagonists were silent and left gamers feeling detached from the world, Infinite stars Booker DeWitt, a character to actually goes along with the story and becomes a vital role in it. Booker Dewitt is a war veteran (more specifically a Pinkerton) who took up drinking and gambling once his service was complete. It overtook his life to the point where he was up to his neck in debts. An ultimatum is given to him: “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt,” (Bioshock Infinite). He is sent to the city of Columbia to find the girl Elizabeth, an imaginative girl who holds a unique power. However, Booker must face the citizens of this flying city and their Prophet Zachary Comstock, a man worshipped as a god, if he has any chance of escaping Columbia at all.
Bioshock Infinite plays very similarly to the first game. Players are given a large variety of new powers, such as taking control of enemies or summoning a horde of murderous crows, along with an even larger variety of weaponry. From the moment the game starts, players are drawn into the world of Columbia and quickly become immersed in its beauty. However, just as with the original Bioshock, the beauty of the city quickly rots away as the darker nature is revealed.
Lasercorn, a member of the SmoshGames channel on Youtube.com, says “The themes of capitalism and free-market from the first Bioshock game have been replaced with religion and racial purity.” The game takes place in the year 1912, long before segregation was abolished. Racism is at an all-time high in Columbia, where white people rule and all other nationalities are treated as lowly garbage. While some gamers may feel uncomfortable with the topic of racism, I feel that this is a highlight of the game, forcing players to face a true part of history, both past and present, and may even change some perspectives. All in all, the city of Columbia can be a character itself, filled with many different places and atmospheres that all mesh together wonderfully.
The characters within Infinite are beautifully brought to life throughout the game. Each character is their own person and they react to situations as if it were actually happening. They show emotion in a way that only real people can. The greatest of these characters was Elizabeth, who had a wide variety of facial expressions, such as anger at DeWitt, to worry and sorrow when she saw the poor citizens of the Shanty Town. Along with brilliant voice acting, these characters feel like they are in the room with you as you play the game. The voice acting is some of the best I have heard in the past 10 years. Character development is clear in the relationship between Booker and Elizabeth that only seems to grow until the very end of the game.
As mentioned before, Bioshock’s appeal came through its story. Using fantastic realism along with plot twists and convincing characters, players were drawn into Rapture; hating the villains that crossed your path, while utterly terrifying you with the creepy atmosphere. Infinite took a page out of the book and expanded on it. A brilliant story drew players into the atmosphere of Columbia, making the player actually care for what happened to certain characters, while leaving burning hatred for others.
The greatest aspect of the game is Elizabeth’s power, which allows her to pull items from other dimensions in order to help Booker in combat. While I will not give spoilers, I can say that her powers allow for interesting level designs later in the game. Her powers play into the story excellently and plays an important role in the game.
Bioshock Infinite has succeeded in passing its predecessor. However, there are some downsides. While the first and second game gave choices that would ultimately decide the ending of the game, Infinite has taken that away. Players are given minor choices, but they do not matter in the end, as Infinite only has one ending. There were tons of powerhouse enemies throughout the game, such as the Motorized Patriot or the Handyman. However, all in all, there were no true boss battles. Even at the end, the final mission is basically to fight many enemies, not one super enemy.
However, the story of Infinite right down to the ending was phenomenal. Gamers everywhere are either utterly shocked or blown away by the unique ending. The ending holds a great twist that will leave players speechless. I would not change a single aspect of my time with the game and I would love to play it again, if only to try and obtain every achievement. Critics throughout the gaming world have given Infinite high marks, with the lowest score being 9 out of 10 by GameSpot. Over 15 other critics have given Infinite 10 out of 10, and I agree with them entirely. I would highly recommend this game to anyone that is considering buying it. Bioshock Infinite has already been considered for a nomination as GOTY, and increased the already large fan base of the Bioshock series. It is unknown how far this game will go. However, just like the city of Columbia itself, the sky is the limit for this amazing game.

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