Written April 22, 2013
I don’t usually write reviews. Mostly because I’m not very good at them. Though, I suppose I could get better at writing them if I wrote them more often…in the meantime however, I don’t usually write reviews.
This isn’t a review so much as an encouragement to go buy and play this videogame so that developers know they should put more amazing things such as this out and stop with the Call of Duty/Halo clones.
I work in a game store, in case you don’t already know and I talk to a lot of people about a lot of different things in games that they like and dislike.
Storytelling almost never comes up.
Call of Duty and Halo are two of the most popular video games ever franchised and, though they make an attempt at a storymode, it’s half-hearted at best. Because no one plays Call of Duty for the story. They play it to shoot people online.
Games with good stories, like Heavy Rain, often get overlooked because you aren’t killing people.
Where the original Bioshock’s were First Person Shooters and always felt like First Person Shooters with a little story woven in here and there (and no cut scenes…craziness!) it was not a standout game for me. Kind of an underground game that came and passed and no one thought about again.
Bioshock: Infinite is a prequel to Bioshock, with small things tying the two games together for those who played Bioshock, but not so strongly linked that if you haven’t played Bioshock then Infinite will confuse you.
You play as a character named Booker Dewitt. A man with a very simple mission. “Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt” Booker has done some things he is not proud of. He was at Wounded Knee and killed people whose blood he is afraid won’t ever come off. And now he’s gotten himself into trouble with some very powerful people.
But he is offered a Hail Mary, as it were.
Some mysterious people have told him simply if they bring them the girl called Elizabeth from the city Columbia which floats in the sky above them then they will pay his debt and he will free.
If only life were actually that simple.
Columbia, it turns out, is a fiercly religious city. Founded by the prophet Comstock to keep them separate from the “Sodom below” They scededed from the United States when the US began to free slaves.
Elizabeth is being kept by the prophet Comstock in a statue that serves as it’s own Island and is protetcted by the dangerous and mysterious Songbird.
Getting in isn’t the problem, though. It’s getting her back to the people who are paying you that serves as the issue.
And so begins your story.
Elizabeth isn’t your normal girl you find out almost immediately, able to do things that are unexplainable.
Bioshock: Infinite is a good first person shooter. The game play is smooth and you never feel encumbered which is the problem I usually find with FPS’s. Dishonored, for example, was a good game with an interesting enough story but I always got frustrated when someone would attack me from behind because I would be dead before I could turn and see who was attacking me.
No such issues with Bioshock: Infinite.
The story itself is absolutely fantastic. The easiest way to tell is to simply talk to someone playing it who hasn’t finished yet.
Most of the people I talk to, as I said before, don’t care about story. Tell them the ending. Who cares.
But someone who is playing Infinite is vehement that you not ruin the ending for them. They love the gameplay but they are invested in the story as well. They love the characters and they love the puzzle. Every corner brings new pieces that never quite fit together until the end.
Even people like Sam who hate the gameplay(he hated the FPS aspect) loved the story so much he hasn’t stopped talking about it for days since he finished is own gameplay, which he started because he saw the ending of my playing and said “Goddamnit now I have to play it cause it’s a compelling story” (actual quote)
They did such a good job that I beat it before I bought it and then bought it anyway so I could replay it and I bought the season pass to get all the extra characters and storylines they are going to release.
In short, unless all you are looking for in a game is a shoot ‘em up, this is the game for you. Story, visuals, and gameplay that are smooth, well done, and will take your breath away from the moment you step into Columbia and hear the choir singing “Let this circle be unbroken” to the ending…which I won’t ruin. Because it’s amazing.
It’s not a book, but if it gets someone out there interested in more than just shooting things and games start to be held to a story standard as well as a visuals standard, I’ll take it.
And as a treat:
skip to 1:05 for the beginning of the song. Actual actor who plays Booker and the actress who plays Elizabeth. Love this song and most every version of it done throughout the game.