Bioshock Infinite was another game I knew I would love and once I got started I just couldn’t put it down. The story here is amazing and I love the atmosphere. I loved Rapture and now I love Columbia. I’m sure you will too.
I’m still working on the Buried at Sea DLC which does take place in Rapture. Right now I’m sitting at almost 15 hours of game play. Infinite definitely feels like a Bioshock game, so I’m not really sure what to tell someone who is boycotting it simply because it’s not in Rapture. (You know who you are!) If you enjoyed Bioshock 1 & 2 only because of the setting, then just take my word for it that you will come to appreciate Columbia just as much. If you enjoyed the first 2 games because they were fun and excellent games with amazing story lines, well then I’m not sure what you are waiting for!
Columbia is certainly different from Rapture. It is indeed more colorful. But still being set in an extraordinary dystopian locale from the early 20th century, it still fits right in. It’s beautiful and interesting and slightly magical while still showing signs of something not quite right underneath. I tend to bounce back and forth between cyberpunk and dystopian settings as my favorites.
I’ll try not to spoil the story for you, because it is very excellent and there are some crazy unexpected things that happen near the end when everything comes together. To start with you are a war vet living life as sort of a private detective, although it seems like you are as much a thug as anything else. You awake in your office with a memory that you need to go to Columbia to fetch a girl. A phrase keeps playing in your head, “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt”. I’m not sure if your character knew at the time that Columbia was a city floating in the clouds, but you get there to start looking for the girl. The girl is Elizabeth, who is living in a giant statue as a prisoner of “The Profit”, the guy in charge of Columbia. As you find your way to her, things look more and more like you were expected and referred to as “The False Shepherd”.
There is a story mechanism that plays a big part in the plot. Elizabeth can open up tears in reality. She doesn’t fully understand it yet, thinking they are just windows into places from her imagination. In fact they are portals to other realities. This plays a big part in the story with how travelling through these portals effects your memories and what happens when someone is dead in one reality but not another.
I’m still kind of shocked by the ending.
The graphics are updated, but still look very Bioshock. Or even Dishonored or Thief. That almost cartoony but not really art style. I do enjoy it. I imagine that it makes for a pretty efficient graphics engine because everything isn’t all super nice and shiny. There was certainly no issue running the game.
Game play is for the most part exactly what you would expect from a Bioshock game. There is a new gear feature, sort of like wearing different pieces of armor with various perks in any sort of fantasy RPG. Instead of EVE powering your plasmids, you have SALT powering your Vigors. Basically the exact same things, just different names. You still have a fairly similar arsenal as Bioshock 1…you don’t get to stomp around in a Big Daddy here.
A couple of significant changes to game play is the Sky-Hook and the fact that Elizabeth spends the majority of the game by your side and can help you out.
Columbia is a city in the clouds with various sections disconnected. Some sections can move to temporarily connect via bridges, but primarily there are freight rails going all over the place. The Sky-Hook is a super magnetized grapple that allows you to jump and connect to the rails and ride around. It can also be used as a very messy melee weapon. I used this sparingly, preferring to use my guns over most other things.
Once you rescue Elizabeth, she follows you for the majority of the game. You don’t have to protect her, so she isn’t any sort of burden. She will frequently toss you money, health, salts, or ammo to help you out in a fight. If you die, she drags you back a bit and revives you.
For a spoilery hint, if you watched FRINGE, Bioshock Infinite uses a similar multi-reality plot.
I give this game 5/5 Severed Teddy Bear Heads. This game is everything I want from a Bioshock game. It isn’t fair to dock points from it because it isn’t in Rapture. The Bioshock series isn’t tied to Rapture. If you give Columbia a chance, you will love it just as much. The story and atmosphere is really where a Bioshock game shines and Infinite gets A+’s in both categories.