• XtraLife: Bioshock: Infinite

    “Brobdingnagian. Unforgettable. Despicably tempting. Gargantuan.“

    XtraLife
    Bioshock: Infinite Review


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    I sit late Sunday night writing this, and I can’t help feel anything I write will seriously undertone the truly magnificent game I just completed. The third in the series, the game risked it all and took to the clouds. Literally. The story is no longer the murky depths of oceanic megalopolitan Rapture, it's free-floating enlightened Columbia. You play the role of Booker DeWitt, an ex-pinkerton hired to retrieve a captive girl in return for wiping his debts clean. Your skill set: simply violent, and efficient. You’ll soon discover you are part of some new ever changing story, it’ll chill you, charm you and destroy you. The utopia of Columbia isn’t without flaws; early on you’ll discover a prevalent vein of racism runs through the Metropolis, the population is driven by a man called “The Prophet” (Commstat) and they treat him like a saint. His floating isles have many needs and so they have a non-white population working hard to ensure that they can live in the comfort that they love. This inevitably ends up being the catharsis for many of the downtrodden workers, who will form a militia rebellion called the Vox Populi (voice of the people). They forcibly oppose Commstat and his utopia and as a result are hunted by the establishment. The game is simply beyond the magnitude of any game I’ve played.

    Brobdingnagian.

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    The start of the game made my jaw drop; graphically stunning, completely awe-inspiring. The graphics plunged me face first into a world so well created you soon forget the almost cartoonish qualities and just sit in stunned silence. From volumetric clouds, to colour-laden areas, the game does not disappoint. A great example of this is the sections within the Heroes Hall, where they use certain colours to illustrate different areas. Objects and guns don’t get overlooked; the guns are so detailed they boggle the mind, and the “vigors” you use are well animated in classic Bioshock style. Looking through the 200+ screenshots, I love the progression of the graphics through the game; every set has memorable landmarks, styling and feel. This is what games should do, create something so stunning and unique that it’s impossible to forget.

    Unforgettable.

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    To say the story is incredible would be like saying Godzilla is "pretty big." A first, for me, I actually found myself several times wishing for them to dispense with the gameplay and just let me walk through this amazing tale. I'm torn, I can't say the gameplay wasn't challenging or fun, because it was, it's just that the story was so damn good. The finale had me gasping for air (I forgot to breathe) and this is simply the best story in any game to have graced my PC. I can’t say too much as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I can say is this: the game's main characters are as endearing as they are interesting.

    Your “buddy” in this game is Elizabeth. She's a fun, carefree girl whose mere presence lightens your spirit. Her presence is more than mere jovial illumination too; shes a strange helper in that she doesn’t fight at all, but merely finds useful items (Health, Ammunition and Salts) and opens up strategic opportunities when you are near. Usually the “helper” gets to shoot and scoot along side you, or is a time-based overpowered beast. The change of pace is refreshing and welcome.

    I could honestly talk for hours about Elizabeth, but the enemies and others are very interesting too! The Lutices, Commstock, Fitzroy and others make this patchwork of stories become a fable of grandiose proportions. I cannot think of any other story that moved me as much as this; if you want 1 reason to buy and play this game the story is that.

    Despicably tempting.

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    Just because the story was killer and made me wish the gameplay wasn’t there doesn’t mean that it was terrible... Au contraire mon ami... The gameplay rocked. For those of you who read my Crysis 3 review, the one thing I complained about was easy combat and boring sections of tedious 1-2-3 tactics. Columbia doesn’t do that, not even a little. You have the standard fare of weapons, but with a historic/modern feel (Yeah that's all Bioshock). You can only carry 2 weapons, but the upshot is the selection of “vigors” you’ll have at your disposal. These little potions render you almost magical, casting fireballs at your foes, or possessing an enemy, forcing them into killing their friends for you (and committing suicide at the end - decidedly dark-humour, but always elicits a gleeful clap from me). Bioshock's knack of giving you strategy close to hand is quite inspiring. Later on in the game you’ll have to fight on multiple levels, and use Elizabeth's... Strengths to outwit the enemy, who are very tough. Fighting against the populace of Columbia takes place on many levels, skylines make getting to higher ground fast and easy, and easy for others to descend with vigor upon you. Many arenas felt geared; you knew something was going to happen, but it didn’t detract from the game, you knew the enemy was regrouping and preparing some delicious trap for you to walk into. Playing this on hard made made me curse more than a couple of times!

    For those of us who were fed a steady diet of Super Mario, or Sonic The Hedgehog, there's a 1999 mode; a mode so hard it’s touted as the hardcore fan destroyer. Resources are a lot sparser, health matters, and if you run out of resources it’ll be game over. This flies directly in the face of the games of today; the "if you die, it’s ok we’ll respawn you with no repercussions" mindset of current game designers. Personally, I look forward to the challenge. Oh also the choices you make will have a bigger effect.

    Gargantuan.

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    I felt like I saw a-once-in-500-years eclipse as I sat back watching the end credit roll. My favourite game of this decade. No competition, as there simply is no other game that comes close to this masterpiece. HalfLife has been removed from my #1 game of all time; Bioshock: Infinite sits atop now, and it’s about time. I can’t help feel a little sad, admittedly. Over the last year I’ve completed many single player games (Call Of Duty: MW3, Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, and so on). They have all been fun. Great time wasters. Hell, Far Cry 3 was amazing. But they don’t stack up against the poetic beauty of this game. The introduction of the game gave me shivers, the nostalgia from watching the air balloon pass by like a whale, the rocket open up like a bathysphere, the fog horns echoing the big daddy calls. Its all just too amazing for words. They have made the best game environment I’ve ever seen. They added a story so intriguing it made me wish people would stop trying to kill me so I could simply enjoy the story. They created what I deem to be the best game released in the last 10 years. Bow down in the geekdom, for a new, stunning Queen now ingratiates the throne. Her name? Bioshock: Infinite.

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    This is MaximusBoomus humbled with the chance to have played such a wonderful game. I thank Irrational games for not bending knee to make simply a “good” game. Thank you for showing the rest of those developers how it should be done.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. salty99's Avatar
      salty99 -
      Absolutely can't wait to play this one. I've heard nothing but good things about it and your review definitely builds the anticipation.