Well… It is Sunday and sadly once more I am stuck with all my money being tied up in Origins Game Fair (which I will be attending this week. Shameless plug.) I do not have the money to pick up any of the newest gaming titles so I find myself right where I was with my Aliens: Colonial Marines review.
Oh well… Let’s talk about one of the greatest games that I ever played! Yes when BioShock Infinite came out I wasn’t really writing reviews on a regular basis and by the time I wanted to get around to it I felt like I had miss the mark on giving my opinion on this game. It seemed that all the info was already out there and now I had to push on with more new titles and wait at least a year for the new game smell to wear off… But really after I thought about it I didn’t want to wait that long to talk about this game. It truly is a wonderful game and the best I have played this year, definitely one of the bests that I have ever played on many aspects. So why deprive it my criticism just because I didn’t jump all over it when it came out? Instead what I want to focus on in this review is the reasons why at this moment I believe this game deserves the title of Game of the Year. (As of June)
On a whole the BioShock series and hell let’s go one step further and say the Shock series that preceded it have been some of the greatest games to ever come out. Whenever people get together to discuss the greatest games of all time System Shock 2, BioShock, and now BioShock Infinite are almost always on the list and considering out of the five games that could be classified as Shock games the worst you could do was BioShock 2 which is by no means a terrible game that is quite a reputation. The games just dig deep into complex issues and presents fascinating allegories for the areas of society, religion, and politics. Adding this into an alternate universe where you are playing during the turn of the 20th century adds for great narratives and fascinating settings which are presented with breathtaking and by all accounts ground breaking visuals. Bottom line and in my opinion BioShock series is the equivalent of Legend of Zelda when it comes to the area of first person shooters.
Any time a Shock game comes out you know that you are in for an adventure and it was no different when BioShock Infinite came out this year. There was tons of hype surrounding this game and a lot of pressure was on the developers who had one hell of a reputation to uphold. Many gamers worried that Infinite would be the streak killer in the BioShock series where BioShock 2 was sort of a disappointment compared to the first one, Infinite was just going to drive home the final nail in the coffin… Then the game was released… And I really can’t think of a better place to start talking about what makes this game what it is.
Graphics are Breathtakingly Beautiful
When I first put in this game I was immediately blown away. The boat ride to the light house in and of itself was pretty cool but not something that astonished me… No… When I got my first look at Columbia… I was blown away. For a moment I could not move my character I was taking in everything I was seeing on the screen. The city in the clouds blew my mind. The colors, the atmosphere, the people, the look of the characters, the streets, the clouds, the way the city looked, the vigors, the way the vigors looked on my characters hands, how it was flying in the sky, and just… Everything. What astonished me even more is that this is something that really never happened to me. There has never been a game that I have turned on and was just awestruck by what was being presented in front of me and then I could interact with the world… Sweet Jesus this is awesome!
While I was able to continue playing my wonder for the game’s graphics did not subside. Just the look and the feel of them adds a whole level of atmosphere and a unique identity to the game. Just the look of it sets the scene for the character and then it is built upon by the actions of the various characters within the scenes. It really is something when graphics and the look of something alone can set up an entire world with just one shot. There have been arguments for a while now on whether or not to label video games as ‘art’ and I have to say that this game is a strong example for that claim.
On par with BioShock games the plot is phenomenal. It centers around our protagonist Booker DeWitt who due to extensive debts has agreed to travel to Columbia to retrieve a girl named Elizabeth. He is a disgraced member of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency and has turned to excessive drinking and gambling after the tragic events of the Battle of Wounded Knee which he was apart of and the death of his wife who passed while giving birth to their daughter Anna.
Columbia is a city that seceded from the United States under the helm of Father Zachary Hale Comstock who created a cult of personality following creating his own religion around the founding fathers and his a type of ‘caucasian central utopia’ where whites are believed to be the master race with other minorities falling to subservience.
While attempting to rescue Elizabeth, Booker is claimed to be the ‘false shepherd’ sent to corrupt Elizabeth and bring about Columbia’s downfall. The story then centers around Booker locating Elizabeth and attempting to find their way out of Columbia while being caught up in Comstock’s games, a rebellion led by the Vox Populi, and so forth.
My brief description really does not give this game justice. This game is very intelligent with its back story and the way that it portrays its world and the characters within it. Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth are two of the most likable characters I have seen in a game. Needless to say there are enough comics and memes out there that portray Elizabeth as one of the greatest sidekicks of all time, which in many ways she is.
The Ideas and World the Present are Smart and Well done
I love the way this game also tackles the I guess ‘science fiction’ aspects of the game. Such as the use of vigors, the idea of a city flying in the clouds, and so forth. It gives just that right blend of reality and suspension of disbelief that allows me to accept the world that I am seeing. Any type of visual media that can find itself with just that right amount of balance can never fail in my opinion.
The idea of seeing the founding fathers as religious figures is genius and is something that I can see people gravitating towards even as the years pass on. Plus the way that this game tackles the ideas of racism is very tasteful and something that… really hasn’t been shown in video games which attempt to steer clear of race related topics.
I know a lot of people who dislike first person shooters on principal. People have their preferences I suppose. But even if you are not a fan of first person shooters I believe you will find something enjoyable about this game. Yes there are guns but really you do not have to use them if you do not want to hence vigors.
The game is a great blend of First Person shooter and RPGs especially in the area of combat since you can use a multitude of different weapons. If you are more of a CoD fan then pick up a shotgun, a machine gun, or a fucking gatling gun and just go to town on these poor suckers. However if that is not your thing and you are more of the magic kind of person and RPG kind of person then start chucking fireballs or swarms of crows at the person’s face.
There are just so many different and interesting ways to play and to fight that it is more of choose what works the best for you and go to town.
I do not want to touch very heavily on this because I do not want to ruin this with spoilers for those who have no played. The ending is phenomenal and a great and intelligent way to end the story. It reminds me a lot of 2001: A Space Odyssey on the level of depth and thought-provoking intrigue that it creates. 2001 still has it beat by it has been a long time since I have seen and ending such as this.
The game simply hit a grand slam. The visuals are breathtakingly beautiful, the gameplay is awesome and pander to a large crowd of people, the story is magnificent, and Booker and Elizabeth are two of the most likable protagonists that I have seen. When I first saw this game it was clear to me that this is the pinnacle of the PS3/XBox360/Wii consoles and will be remembered fondly for years to come.
Final Score: 5/5
That will do it for me. Just a heads up I will be releasing a review Tuesday and after that I will be taking Thursday and Saturday off to attend Origins and will return Sunday.
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