Bioshock: Infinite starts off in a lighthouse. Memory lanes are revisited but differences from the previous installment begin presenting themselves from the onset. As you go up a dark tower, you find a dead man on the ground with bag over his head and a note on his face which reads “Don’t disappoint us.” The next step consists of getting into a chair and blasting yourself off into the sky.
Third in the series of the Bioshock franchise, Bioshock: Infinite begins as a vision, a spectacle. An imagery of Utopia is conveyed through a church which is shown bathed in candlelight and a thin layer of water. It is a bizarre setting of early 20th century America. The first few minutes contains tones of Protestant beliefs and a vision of a carnival is thrown in. The city is named as Columbia and you play a carnival game called “cast the devil out” where some eerie power is used to lift a small cartoon devil in the air.
The seemingly unreal vision goes on for about fifteen minutes when suddenly Bam!; the main character stabs a guard in the neck and Bioshock: Infinite begins earnestly.
The City in Clouds
Bioshock: Infinite resembles Call of Duty to some extent but the game is essentially a corridor based FPS with magical undertones. The combat is somewhat unexciting when compared to games in the level of Call of Duty. The city of Columbia, which is present in massive details in the game, also feels like an added accessory.
The problem of a badly divided personality, which plagues the earlier installments of the game, is also present in Bioshock: Infinite. However, the difference is that exploration in the game is interesting to a large extent. Exploration is punctuated with combat as you make your way through slums, factories and even a beach resort in the sky. The excesses of American imperialism are vividly portrayed through various museum artifacts. The various environment settings are fascinating to explore, the only drawback being that you have to combat a large number of boring enemies to reach new areas.
The narration of the story of the game however is flawless to a large extent, You assume the role of Booker Dewitt, a tough guy from the surface with a gambling debt who is sent to this place in the sky to rescue Elizabeth, a magical girl with mysterious powers relating to the time and space continuum. Elizabeth and the city, Columbia are the focal points of the story. The first half of the narrative is well rounded and sound but then in the second half problems arise.
Let’s have a dance, should we?
Focus seems lacking in the second part of the narrative as a bevy of added accessories such as smatterings of religion, hints of metaphysics, a notion of race and a few half-fleshed characters are added to the mix and the setting of the city, which is the most interesting and beautiful part of the game, is relegated to the background. The game is mostly combat oriented towards the end and the ending is akin to a typical sci-fi multiverse fantasy.
There are some moments of brilliance in the game like a simple duet between Elizabeth and Booker and a somewhat charming pair of multi-dimensional dry British wits, but such occasional sparks are not enough to match the Big Daddies of Bioshock or the character of Andrew Ryan.
The final verdict on the game is that the setting is awesome, but the gameplay and story is not at par with it. Although that’s true, the fact remains that fans of the series are definitely going to try it no matter what. For those who’re new to the series, it’s still worth a shot, if only for the beautiful setting and decent enough story.