I love BioShock. These first person shooter games are my favourite, pretty much of all time. I’ve been waiting far too long to get my hands on the much anticipated installment known as Infinite. After years of delays and setbacks it was finally available in March of this year although sadly, finances and a lack of console meant I was unable to play it until recently. I finished it last night and I loved every playable second of it.
A History of BioShock
The first game was introduced to us in 2007 and ported onto the PS3 in 2008. I didn’t play it until 2009/10 but I was completely hooked. The games have always been first person shooter games however have focused on different characters. The first is set in 1960 and takes place in the underwater city of Rapture which I thought was very graphically engaging and intended to be a type of isolated utopia however it has been invaded by enemies making it inhabitable. Here we meet the infamous Big Daddies who really aren’t all that fun to defeat. The game uses a variety of role playing techniques that allow the player to make decisions on whether to save or kill particular characters and enemies and whether to engage in stealth kills or all out shoot-outs. The first won Game of the Year awards on various platforms and was widely critically acclaimed for providing the player to make moral choices throughout the gameplay. This has always been an aspect I’ve enjoyed about the BioShock games and I’m glad it’s continued throughout the series. BioShock 2, released in 2010, is set 8 years after the first game and this time the character takes on the role of one of the Alpha series Big Daddy which is a human being mentally conditioned and altered to protect the Little Sisters in the game, which you first meet in BioShock. All this has lead to the third installment; BioShock Infinite, and it far exceeded my expectations.
This game was developed by Irrational Games and published by 2K Games. Both companies have worked on the previous installments and so I knew it would follow some traditional BioShock aspects that I had grown to love. A trailer I watched in 2012 showed it to be graphically stunning and with a different setting. Rather than the underwater disturbed world of Rapture this game was set in the skies which I thought was really appealing. In contrast to the previous installments which I enjoyed visually infinite is full of colour. Graphically it is in the style of shell shaded giving it an almost cartoon look in appearance with higher contrasted colours which I think look brilliant on a HD console. On release it was selling at the £40 mark however I purchased this from CeX for £18 last month, a price I am very happy with considering how much I have enjoyed this game.
BioShock infinite starts with a seen in which two characters are taking the character the player is to an island with a Lighthouse in the distance. Upon reaching the lighthouse the player heads in to explore and is transported to Columbia, a city in the skies. Once there he begins his mission to seek out a young woman named Elizabeth who is being held captive. Throughout the game the player, Booker DeWitt, encounters a war between enemy factions the Founders and the Vox Populi. The founders are trying to keep the city pure for the Americans that live there and the Vox are trying to fight for the right of the common folk. The plot follows some really interesting twists and turns throughout which I enjoyed and I really liked how, despite confusing in some parts, the game comes around full circle.
BioShock is known for its ability to give players the control of certain decisions and this was no exception. Because of this BioShock infinite featured several underlying themes such as Religion, Power and Control and Racism. I thought these were some really interesting themes and considering the game is set in 1912 bought up some very sensitive issues. I thought this was quite unique as I have not actually played a game that has had such a strong focus on racism before. The religious aspects were also handled well as it showed how a group of people can be swayed and persuaded by religious propaganda. I thought all these issues were interestingly thought and played out and having the option to chose whether to “follow the flock” made for strong gameplay.
As this is a first person shooter game BioShock focuses on a range of guns and weapons that the player can take control of to shoot near and far range enemies. The enemies are not too diverse however as you progress newer, harder enemies are introduced which result in harder gameplay. Ultimately you can make the game easier or harder for yourself depending on how you chose to approach particular situations such as stealth. I wouldn’t say this game is particularly hard however there are several difficulty options you can chose to change your playability. The game also has a few sorcery aspects including the ability for Elizabeth to open up ‘tears’ into new era’s and these crop up throughout the game and play a vital part in the plot. DeWitt can also increase his abilities by throwing fireballs, shocking enemies and sending crows to fly at their faces and distract them enabling easier kills when necessary.
I think this game is graphically very attractive and goes from a light and bright atmosphere to something tense and dark effortlessly. I really enjoyed the sky setting and the different objects that the character can interact with. The game has a type of steam punk feel which is something I really liked.
I really enjoyed playing BioShock infinite and interacting with the various characters and taking part in some of the difficult and sensitive situations. I found the plot very engrossing and enjoyed it from start to finish. I’m happy with the price I played as I am now enjoying the game on a harder difficulty to see if I can experience any difference in plot line. I thought the choice of characters was really good and I enjoyed watching them interact with each other and come their own realisation with what had happened and what Columbia really was. The enemies are diverse and somewhat challenging which made for varied gameplay.