|Min OS X: 10.8.5|
October 30, 2013 | Ted Bade
Mac OS X: 10.8.5 | CPU: 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo | RAM: 4 GB | HD Space: 30 GB | Graphics: 512 MB VRAM - ATI Radeon HD 3870, NVIDIA Geforce 640M
BioShock Infinite, the most recent shooter in the BioShock series is a very impressive, well designed shooter, with a solid story line, lots of twists and turns in the plot, and a stack of weapons, special abilities, and features that together make a terrific and fun to play game. BioShock Infinite is likely the best of all games I have played this year, and if it isn’t the best game of all times, it rates very near the top.
You won’t find the crazy underwater utopia, gone wrong, of the previous BioShock games in BioShock Infinite. The developers created a new type of utopia, also gone wrong. The world of BioShock Infinite is a city in the clouds, called Colombia. It comes complete with buildings floating in the air, connected together in a variety of ways, and with a society based on that of the early nineteen hundreds in the USA. The person who organized this place, Father Comstock, is also the leader of the religious cult that reigns here, and that has gone so horribly wrong. He tried to create this kind of perfect “Ultra-American” society, where people of “good blood” can live in peace and harmony. But along with the “Good Blood”, there is always the bad, wherein comes strife. To me, this world is a very sick and tortured version of what the world might have been like in the early 1900s.
The Main character of the game is a private investigator called Booker DeWitt. Once having been a member of an elite police force, a type of Pinkerton alternative, and also a hero of an important battle against the Native Americans of this world, DeWitt has been tasked with finding and retrieving a woman named, Elizabeth. The beginnings of the game are very mysterious, and you the player won’t immediately get a good idea of what is going on. Booker is dropped off at a lighthouse, works his way to the top and eventually is teleported to Colombia, the city in the clouds.
When Booker first enters Colombia, he gets to explore this beautiful place. There is a festival going on, everyone is excited and having a good time. As Booker, you can roam around the spaces and places. If you care to, there are a variety of buildings and areas to investigate, items to find, and money to collect. This all goes on happily until you reach one part of the festival. Booker somehow manages to hold the winning ticket to the most important drawing, and once his actions take place, the world turns against him. Then begins the first of many fight and search episodes that make up BioShock Infinite.
Eventually, Booker finds and frees Elizabeth from the prison that has been her home since being a young child, which starts a new series of episodes in which he tries to get her away from Colombia. Elizabeth is a very powerful and independent woman. Her decisions and Booker's intentions don’t always go in the same direction, so she eventually gets away from him and he eventually finds her again, and so forth. I would say it is a lot of Deja Vue, all over again, but each change is a new episode in this long twisted tale, with its own challenges and story. I was often very surprised with the next twist in the plot. I am being obtuse here because one doesn’t want to give away too much of the story. ☺. Just let me say that the story is well written, and the action goes hand in hand with it to make an excellent game.
The fighting system in BioShock Infinite is very well done. Booker starts out with no weapons, but early on acquires this meat slicer/hook grabbing thingy that can dig into a personals vitals (Yuck!). More importantly, it can be used to attach to Colombia’s extensive hook and monorail system, giving Booker the ability to easily move between buildings. When attached to a hook, you can drop down to areas within reach, or to another hook. On the monorail system, you slide along it’s path, but do have the ability to change directions and control your movement.
The game only allows Booker to carry two weapons, not an entire arsenal. Unlike the previous version of BioShock, there is only one type of ammo for each weapon. You can also find machines that will enhance the ability of a particular weapon, for a fee. For instance increasing clip size, accuracy, or stability. As for the guns, they are pretty standard fair, including everything from a variety of pistols, several types of machine guns, shotgun, and several types of bomb throwing weapons. There is also a sniper rifle which shows up at the appropriate time. If you drop a weapon to pick up another, the one dropped stays in the environment, so you could pick it back up. I found sticking with a pistol/rifle with a slight bit of accuracy, along with some explosive RPG type weapon a good strategy, occasionally picking up a sniper rifle, when that makes sense.
You find the various guns on bodies of dead opponents, in desks, and sometimes just lying around. Ammo is found pretty much the same way, with the addition of vending machines. The money used to buy all this stuff is generally located in the desks, cabinets, boxes, and so forth that are part of the environment. It is amazing how much stuff you can find by just taking a moment and searching a bit.
As with previous BioShock systems, this game offers a set of special abilities that are learned by Booker as he moves though the story. They are are powered by “Salt”. You gain these abilities as the game progresses. Once you acquire a new ability, you are provided a short “movie” that explains how the ability is used. There are two methods to use each ability, an immediate attack, and a delayed one. For instance, the fire ability enables you to set an attacking enemy (or group of them) on fire. This not only damages them, but stops them from attacking while burning, giving you more of a chance to finish them off without taking return fire. The other aspect lets you leave a fire trap, which an enemy or group will pass through and which then does the same fire type damage. This is great for capturing those very fast moving enemies that are hard to focus on, or delaying a group of things chasing you. Finally, you can combine two delayed attacks, making for some strange results.
There are several of these special abilities, each with it’s own purpose to helping you along. Some have very limited use (the ability to float remote enemies into the air, great when they are hiding behind something, not much use when they are right in front of you). Others have a more broad use. I liked the fire one the best. As you move through the game, you will also find vending machines that allow you to enhance some of these abilities, for a fee. Basically more damage or duration or using less “salt”. There is a key sequence that allows you to swap between the abilities you have and you can combine the delayed abilities to make even more potent traps.