Games Review: BioShock Infinite

15:25 28 March 2013

BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite

Archant

Explore the floating city of Columbia and discover its dark secrets

(Tested on the PlayStation 3)

THE mark of a good video game is to successfully create a rich, believable virtual world which encourages gamers to immerse themselves in, even when the lines between reality and fantasy are blurred. A truly great game achieves this while also offering addictive playability which will keep you coming back for more. BioShock Infinite is one such game.

The original BioShock was a massive hit, and there was always going to be a temptation to follow up with more of the same. Due credit is due to studio Irrational Games for avoiding the easy route and coming up with a product which will undoubtedly achieve classic status as one of the all-time great video games of this generation of consoles.

Welcome to Columbia, a floating city created in the aftermath of the American Civil War as an opportunity for people to start over in Utopia, where the Constitution is more cult fetish than rule of law and the controlling Founding Fathers promote ultra-nationalism, xenophobia and religious fanaticism.

It’s a mix of technological advancement and old-time America, with Art Nouveau designs and turn of the century costumes, creating a look which is very unique to BioShock Infinite, with statues of John Wilkes Booth mixed in amongst those of George Washington as a reminder of the city’s adherence to racial purity.

Our protagonist is former Pinkerton detective Booker DeWitt, a drunk and a gambler involved with the wrong people, and tasked with rescuing the mysterious Elizabeth, a beautiful woman who is revealed to have the ability to rip open tears in reality…

One of the main ways of travelling around Columbia is using the sky-lines which criss-cross the city, an unusual mode of transport which also has its benefits in combat, with the Skyhook device able to attack protagonists with deadly effect, or whisk Booker out of harm’s way and changing the field of battle. Booker can also collect Vigors, powerful abilities which allow him to deal with enemies in a variety of interesting and macabre ways, whether it be attacking them with a flock of crows, dragging distant snipers into battle, launching them in the air or hurling fireballs in their general direction.

A much more extensive and ambitious game than the original BioShock, Infinite is the sort of game you want to take your time over, and encourages replaying and taking different choices to reach alternative outcomes when you have finished.

It looks amazing, plays better than you could have dreamed, but there’s also a depth and nuance to Infinite which belies first impressions. This is a game which has had a lot of time and thought put into creating, moreso than even its predecessor, and the rewards of this are a much more complete gaming experience than most first-person shooters.

Buy it, play it, love it. There. At the end of the day what more recommendation do you need? One of the stand-out releases of recent years.

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