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'Bioshock Infinite'

This thread has been linked to the game 'BioShock Infinite'.
Mon 01/04/13 at 10:50:
Staff Moderator
"Meh..."
Posts: 1,469
I'm torn.
Not between "good or bad", for this game is without doubt a colossal achievement that by rights should take its place amongst the greats. Those who have played it will doubtless have their own opinions of the plot, the ending, the structure and everything that carries you from your first tentative steps at the lighthouse through to the final reveal; they will have theories, thoughts and ideas about the meaning, or, indeed, whether there actually is one; they will all have seen and perceived different things throughout the game...

And quite honestly, that's what makes Bioshock Infinite stand apart.

"Bring us the girl, wipe away your debts."

It's hard to explain without giving too much away. The basis of the plot is probably as well known as any classic book or blockbuster film, due to all of the hype and press coverage, and it can be pretty much summed up with the one line above. For those who have been living under a rock, however, here it is in a nutshell.

You are Booker DeWitt, a Pinkerton detective employed by a mysterious agent and charged with obtaining a girl of unknown importance. In return, your slate will be wiped clean, your considerable debts gone, your life returned to you. It's an offer you can't refuse. To achieve your goal, you must travel to Columbia, the floating city, and home to the self proclaimed prophet, Zachary Hale Comstock. Given the payment, you know it was never going to be easy, but you're a capable fellow, so what could possibly go wrong?

So, on a stormy, filthy night, you are taken by boat to a remote lighthouse to begin your journey. A somewhat dramatic flight directly up leaves you breathless and disoriented in the peaceful and tranquil temple of the great prophet himself; enter your first mission- to find your way out into the streets of Columbia. It's not hard, there's no fighting, you simply work your way to the exit and get yourself... baptised.

This is the first of many clever mental manipulations. It sets the tone for the game beautifully, underlining the religious zeal that flows through Columbia, tainting its people and social structure. It should also be the first lesson you learn as to the best way to play this game. Look around; study the art, the sculpture, the shrines; pick up what you can, you'll need it later; listen to what people are saying, perhaps you'll learn something important.

This is heaven, friend...

Stepping into the sunlight for the first time will take your breath away. Columbia is, in a word, stunning; huge, weighty structures, floating impossibly in crystal clear air; happy, smiling people, dressed in their Sunday best, strolling the streets; children playing happily between blooming rose gardens as humming birds flit from flower to flower. You'll forget for a moment that you have a mission, and you'll want to explore, to see everything, but that's okay.

It's okay, because that's what you should be doing. Walk along the street, wait for the buildings to "dock", go down to the garden and listen to the barber shop quartet bash out a (very recognisable) tune. Throw a friendly "hullo" to the guy on the bench. Listen to the courting couple discuss their plans, or the little knot of citizens discussing how all-seeing their prophet is. It's all so... unexpected.

Ah, but listen closer; did that woman really say what you think she did? And look harder; isn't there something a little off about Columbia?

Let's get technical for a moment. The big danger, the risk of making a game like this is that your audience will pick it up and play it in the same fashion they do with Call of Duty. As gamers, on the whole we expect spoon-feeding. The bad guys always look like bad guys, the story comes at regular and obvious points, there's no mystery that can't be solved with a gun or a conversation with the right NPC. Play Bioshock Infinite like that, and you'll miss half of what's there. The evil is insidious, underhand, secretive, the plot is twisted, convoluted and complex; "optional" goals will tell you much, they will sway opinion and force you to adjust your understanding. Don't believe me? Just go hunt out the voxaphone recordings, or decipher the Vox Populi codes.

Are you afraid of God, Mr. DeWitt?

Decisions are frequent, and cause subtle changes to the game; not to the actual plot, nor to your eventual goal, but changes nonetheless. These changes too will have an impact on your understanding of events. There is a part in the game where Elizabeth, the girl you are there to rescue, laments the fact that she never learnt to play guitar. You have the option of picking up the instrument, and strumming a simple tune; do it, and Elizabeth will sing along softly, handing an orange to a starving street urchin. It's a touching moment, almost heartbreaking in its sincerity, that deepens Elizabeth's character and your concern for her.

On the subject of Elizabeth, there has been much discussion about how she was animated. Facially, she has to be one of the most expressive characters in any game ever. You'll know what she's thinking, and you'll react accordingly, you can't help yourself. This is not a lifeless companion that only breathes when there's a fight at hand, and you don't need to initiate a conversation because this happens automatically when the action lulls. It's a seam-free way of progressing the story without breaking the pace, and that's key to the immersion.

During combat, Elizabeth will conjure weapons, medi-kits, cover or even a gun turret or two. None of this is necessary, but it's a refreshing change from your companion running ahead of you and getting in the way. Combat on the whole is an entertaining mesh of straightforward shooting, combining your Vigors and fast-paced aerial stunts against enemies that actually seem to think a little. In fact, it's a system that encourages you to be inventive, to have fun with it, and you will find yourself thinking "What if..?" during the heat of battle.

Rich or poor, a welsher's a welsher...

I could go on. Debate over the ending will no doubt continue. Some will love it, others will hate it. One will have this explanation, another will see it differently. The game is, ultimately, all about the journey, the ending all about how you got there and what you saw, heard or perceived on the way. Mental manipulation. So, if you think you're ready, put yourself in the head of Booker DeWitt and get ready for the ride of your life. Look, listen and lose yourself in Columbia, it's a place of unparalleled extremes that will keep you guessing right to the end.

So, I am torn.
I would like to recommend this to everyone, but I don't think everyone would enjoy it. It is, without doubt, an achievement of epic proportions in terms of story driven gaming and character development, and it contains a subtlety previously unheard of in gaming, but if your thing is out and out action, you might be better moving on. That's not to suggest that the game is slow, far from it, but it does encourage you to take your time; the experience is better for it and the intricacy of the end game magnified.

10/10 for story, but don't play this if you just want a FPS. Loads to do and see, and a tale of blockbuster proportions that, like any film or book, will not be for everyone.
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Mon 01/04/13 at 10:50:
Staff Moderator
"Meh..."
Posts: 1,469
I'm torn.
Not between "good or bad", for this game is without doubt a colossal achievement that by rights should take its place amongst the greats. Those who have played it will doubtless have their own opinions of the plot, the ending, the structure and everything that carries you from your first tentative steps at the lighthouse through to the final reveal; they will have theories, thoughts and ideas about the meaning, or, indeed, whether there actually is one; they will all have seen and perceived different things throughout the game...

And quite honestly, that's what makes Bioshock Infinite stand apart.

"Bring us the girl, wipe away your debts."

It's hard to explain without giving too much away. The basis of the plot is probably as well known as any classic book or blockbuster film, due to all of the hype and press coverage, and it can be pretty much summed up with the one line above. For those who have been living under a rock, however, here it is in a nutshell.

You are Booker DeWitt, a Pinkerton detective employed by a mysterious agent and charged with obtaining a girl of unknown importance. In return, your slate will be wiped clean, your considerable debts gone, your life returned to you. It's an offer you can't refuse. To achieve your goal, you must travel to Columbia, the floating city, and home to the self proclaimed prophet, Zachary Hale Comstock. Given the payment, you know it was never going to be easy, but you're a capable fellow, so what could possibly go wrong?

So, on a stormy, filthy night, you are taken by boat to a remote lighthouse to begin your journey. A somewhat dramatic flight directly up leaves you breathless and disoriented in the peaceful and tranquil temple of the great prophet himself; enter your first mission- to find your way out into the streets of Columbia. It's not hard, there's no fighting, you simply work your way to the exit and get yourself... baptised.

This is the first of many clever mental manipulations. It sets the tone for the game beautifully, underlining the religious zeal that flows through Columbia, tainting its people and social structure. It should also be the first lesson you learn as to the best way to play this game. Look around; study the art, the sculpture, the shrines; pick up what you can, you'll need it later; listen to what people are saying, perhaps you'll learn something important.

This is heaven, friend...

Stepping into the sunlight for the first time will take your breath away. Columbia is, in a word, stunning; huge, weighty structures, floating impossibly in crystal clear air; happy, smiling people, dressed in their Sunday best, strolling the streets; children playing happily between blooming rose gardens as humming birds flit from flower to flower. You'll forget for a moment that you have a mission, and you'll want to explore, to see everything, but that's okay.

It's okay, because that's what you should be doing. Walk along the street, wait for the buildings to "dock", go down to the garden and listen to the barber shop quartet bash out a (very recognisable) tune. Throw a friendly "hullo" to the guy on the bench. Listen to the courting couple discuss their plans, or the little knot of citizens discussing how all-seeing their prophet is. It's all so... unexpected.

Ah, but listen closer; did that woman really say what you think she did? And look harder; isn't there something a little off about Columbia?

Let's get technical for a moment. The big danger, the risk of making a game like this is that your audience will pick it up and play it in the same fashion they do with Call of Duty. As gamers, on the whole we expect spoon-feeding. The bad guys always look like bad guys, the story comes at regular and obvious points, there's no mystery that can't be solved with a gun or a conversation with the right NPC. Play Bioshock Infinite like that, and you'll miss half of what's there. The evil is insidious, underhand, secretive, the plot is twisted, convoluted and complex; "optional" goals will tell you much, they will sway opinion and force you to adjust your understanding. Don't believe me? Just go hunt out the voxaphone recordings, or decipher the Vox Populi codes.

Are you afraid of God, Mr. DeWitt?

Decisions are frequent, and cause subtle changes to the game; not to the actual plot, nor to your eventual goal, but changes nonetheless. These changes too will have an impact on your understanding of events. There is a part in the game where Elizabeth, the girl you are there to rescue, laments the fact that she never learnt to play guitar. You have the option of picking up the instrument, and strumming a simple tune; do it, and Elizabeth will sing along softly, handing an orange to a starving street urchin. It's a touching moment, almost heartbreaking in its sincerity, that deepens Elizabeth's character and your concern for her.

On the subject of Elizabeth, there has been much discussion about how she was animated. Facially, she has to be one of the most expressive characters in any game ever. You'll know what she's thinking, and you'll react accordingly, you can't help yourself. This is not a lifeless companion that only breathes when there's a fight at hand, and you don't need to initiate a conversation because this happens automatically when the action lulls. It's a seam-free way of progressing the story without breaking the pace, and that's key to the immersion.

During combat, Elizabeth will conjure weapons, medi-kits, cover or even a gun turret or two. None of this is necessary, but it's a refreshing change from your companion running ahead of you and getting in the way. Combat on the whole is an entertaining mesh of straightforward shooting, combining your Vigors and fast-paced aerial stunts against enemies that actually seem to think a little. In fact, it's a system that encourages you to be inventive, to have fun with it, and you will find yourself thinking "What if..?" during the heat of battle.

Rich or poor, a welsher's a welsher...

I could go on. Debate over the ending will no doubt continue. Some will love it, others will hate it. One will have this explanation, another will see it differently. The game is, ultimately, all about the journey, the ending all about how you got there and what you saw, heard or perceived on the way. Mental manipulation. So, if you think you're ready, put yourself in the head of Booker DeWitt and get ready for the ride of your life. Look, listen and lose yourself in Columbia, it's a place of unparalleled extremes that will keep you guessing right to the end.

So, I am torn.
I would like to recommend this to everyone, but I don't think everyone would enjoy it. It is, without doubt, an achievement of epic proportions in terms of story driven gaming and character development, and it contains a subtlety previously unheard of in gaming, but if your thing is out and out action, you might be better moving on. That's not to suggest that the game is slow, far from it, but it does encourage you to take your time; the experience is better for it and the intricacy of the end game magnified.

10/10 for story, but don't play this if you just want a FPS. Loads to do and see, and a tale of blockbuster proportions that, like any film or book, will not be for everyone.

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