|Min OS X: 10.8.5|
October 30, 2013 | Ted Bade
Enemies vary and sometimes your actions can turn neutral NPCs into enemies. The various scenarios you play through have a theme of groups that are out to kill Booker. Everything from Police, to hired guns, to a militia. There are also a few mechanical creatures, statues (of George Wasington, go figure) which come to life and attack you with chain guns. Then there is the ďHandymanĒ, an re-animated dead man, enhanced with some wicked abilities. Finally a creature based on one of the special abilities, a flight of crows, whom is able to transform into a flock of crows, move to a different location, then transform back to itís human form. This makes it very hard to kill, although a well placed fire trap does wonders. Each of these creatures has a vulnerability, you will be told what it is, if you are paying attention!
The woman Booker is out to ďsaveĒ is Elizabeth, and she plays a major role in the game as well as being an important part of the gameplay. She has some amazing abilities of her own, and when you are working together, they become very useful to you. First of all, she can pick locks, providing you have found a lock picking set for her to use. Great for getting into locked cabinets and rooms, necessary when moving into certain zones of the game. She also has the ability to find and toss you things. During a battle, she may provide ammo or salts, when just wandering about she finds money and will point out the location of lock picks, if you donít find them on your own. She also generally knows the right direction to run, when you are heading in a particular direction, and will warn you of nearby attackers. Apparently, she cannot be harmed (like you), so she just ducks back during battles, perhaps tossing you something useful now and again.
Her most important ability is she can open a rift to an alternative reality, making it real in this world. Suddenly, something that isnít there suddenly is there. This ability to make what is in a rift, a reality, is used to move the gameís story into a new section on occasions. However, during interactions with the environment and battles, you will see a variety of things that Elizabeth can rift into reality for your use. It could be a barrel with a sniper rifle and ammo, or a box of medkits to heal, or even a steel barricade, to provide cover in a location that had none. Only one of these rifts can be active at a time, so if you ask for the medikits, the steel cover plate you were just hiding behind is gone. If used wisely, this ability can be used to turn almost any battle in your favor. What can be brought into reality is shown on the screen as a greyed out image, select it and Booker enters an interaction with Elizabeth, asking her to make it happen, then it is there.
As in all shooters, death can occur and probably will occur often. When it does happen, you are resurrected, minus some money and equipment, and generally in a place that is safe enough so that you donít immediately die again. You are moved to a time in the game, just after the last auto-save. Since the game, not the player, decides when to save, this step can be a short step or a long step. The advantage is that you now have experience as to what is going to happen, and wonít walk unknowingly into a firestorm. Just be sure to reload before you begin.
There are a lot of ways the game's story is conveyed to the player. When chasing the bigger bad guys, they make comments, telling what has happened along with their taunting of Booker. There are also other NPCs that come into play that also explain some aspect of the story. Then there is the almost constant interaction between Elizabeth and Booker as they move through the spaces. Finally, the Voxophones, recordings of various people left lying about that give some insight of what that person was doing or thinking. All this together with a great interactive environment paint a vivid tale that is quite intriguing.
The graphics and animations in BioShock Infinite are just superb. Your viewpoint is from that of Booker. The world seems very realistic. There is generally plenty of background activity, be it a local NPC walking here and there, or people in conversion about some issue or event, or enemy chatter as they attack you. Debris blows about in the breeze, vending machines wiggle their animated figures and flash their lights, while calling out to get your attention. This game is filled with sights and wonder. One could spend a long time just exploring the various spots, rooms, and buildings. But since there is a goal to each section, eventually you will need to confront the battle! And while all this background animation is going on, moving through the game is very smooth and clean. Rarely did I run into any issues with too much activity bogging down my machine.
I wasnít 100% pleased with the audio track. Often there seemed like there was way too much audio in the environment than necessary. But I guess this just means that the audio aspect of BioShock Infinite is as jam-packed as the visuals. For effect, the game often uses the distortion effect of a poor PA system when some big enemy is taunting Booker onwards, and interesting effect, but one I didnít resonate with. There were a couple of instances when the audio became so intense that I was tempted to turn it off, just so I could concentrate on the battle. But thatís me, YMMV. Donít take this wrong, the audio was not poorly done, just a wee bit too intense for my ears.
BioShock Infinite is a superb game, offering many levels of gameplay, a rich and well told story with twists and turns that are the envy of many a good movie. The environments are rich in both detail and action. Battles can be very intense, but always can be won, if you take the time to feel your way through them, taking advantage of things like cover, which weapons make the most sense for the situation, and using Elizabethís abilities to your biggest advantage.
I was completely impressed with BioShock Infinite. The depth of the story, the detail of the graphics and audio, the smoothness of the gameplay, coupled with plot twists and turns, make this probably the best game I have ever played. BioShock Infinite is a first person shooter that is more like playing an interactive movie than simply playing a boring old video game. I completely enjoyed my time in this game and look forward to eventually finishing it. You wonít go wrong by buying BioShock Infinite!
ē Excellent story, smooth action, great battles.
ē Audio a bit too intense
Other considerations: While BioShock Infinite is an excellent game it is also very very violent and nasty. You will be shooting at people as well as other things. It has an ESRB of Mature.