Ok, I finally played Bioshock Infinite all the way through (yes, I’m slow – I was too busy gawking at all the beautiful imagery!) and I have to say that it is my favorite Bioshock of all! Overall, the game mechanics were pretty much the same as the others (with Bucking Bronco + Shotgun = Easy Mode) but somehow the game environment was even more impressive. And, besides the amazing graphics and immersive environments, I loved how the game really made you think.
Here are the top 5 things that blew my mind about Bioshock: Infinite:
5. Many Worlds Theory
Ok, any game that can make you ponder quantum physics and multi-dimensional travel while delivering a gorgeous and dynamic gameplay experience has the makings of a masterpiece. The “Infinite” aspect of Bioshock really hits home at the end of the game, when it’s revealed that Booker = Comstock and everything you’ve done throughout the game, Booker has already done an infinite number of times in infinite universes (well, actually 122 times to be precise, but it could have gone on infinitely). And to stop Comstock, ie. himself, Booker has to let the Elizabeth from one world kill him in another world. The mechanics and logic of this boggles the mind (VentureBeat has a great explanation here if you’re interested).
4. Songbird = Big Daddy = The Final Boss You Never Fight
There’s a certain beauty in the death scene of the Songbird, who is essentially the air-dwelling equivalent of Big Daddy from previous games. He dies because Elizabeth opens a tear and traps him underwater in Rapture. It’s understood that if you did fight the Songbird, you would die, as Booker died in all his other attempts to save Elizabeth in his infinite loop. And in the actual final fight, the bird becomes your ally for a brief while, making his death all the more poignant. And because you never actually fight the bird, you feel only sadness from his death, not victory. It was a bold move to make gameplay-wise, but I think it emotionally pays off in the end.
3. Choice and Fate
You’re able to make several choices throughout the game that really have little to no impact on the game or ending itself – flipping a coin, throwing a ball at an interracial couple or a racist announcer, a bird or cage, drawing a gun on someone or not. And in these choices, minor cosmetic changes result but nothing that makes an impact on the overarching story (unlike the Mass Effect series in which everything you do affects the story and ending). However, it’s amazing how these simple choices really draw you into the story itself despite the linear storyline. The ability to choose is as important, if not more so, than the impact the choice makes (which is the foundation of thought at my tech startup – check it out if you’re interested ^_^).
2. The Eye Candy
Oh my god. The imagery was over-the-top awesome this time around. The first ten minutes when you reach Columbia is breathtaking and from there on out, the whole game is just a feast for the eyes. No, the graphics weren’t the best I’ve ever seen, nor were they the most realistic, but damn were they artistic and simply beautiful. Anyone who says games can’t be art obviously hasn’t played the Bioshock series (I’m looking at you, Roger Ebert, RIP). I love how Bioshock Infinite is able to retain the previous games’ atmosphere of intense creepiness despite its decidedly un-creepy environment (a light-filled floating city in the sky?!). With the overt racism and creepy religious themes, my skin was crawling even as I walked through some of the most vibrant and sun-streaked parts of Columbia.
1. Booker DeWitt = Comstock = Jack/Andrew Ryan?!
In the last part of the game, you’re transported to Rapture where you then take a bathysphere to your next destination. But according to the previous games, bathyspheres can only be operated by a Ryan! So, it’s probably safe to assume that Rapture = Columbia in another universe. Mind. Blown.
What did you think of Bioshock Infinite? Let me know in comments!