Who would’ve ever thought that a city in the clouds, closest to heaven a man can get before death, could turn out to be such a horrific place? Well, that’s what you come to find out in Irrational Games newest hit Bioshock Infinite. The city is Columbia and you are Booker DeWitt, a Pinkerton Detective on a mission to save a girl from a tower. A story we’ve all heard before, right? Well, this one is a little bit different. Toss in some cross-dimensional travel, some early 1900’s racism to set the scene and a lot of religious speak and you get one great gaming experience.
Booker DeWitt is hired to travel to the floating city of Columbia to rescue a girl named Elizabeth. Once there, everything goes downhill. You’re tossed into the middle of a war between the religiously blinded whites of Columbia and less than fortunate others. As you venture further and further into the city and the conflict itself, secrets are unraveled about DeWitt and Elizabeth’s pasts and their possible futures all while trying to evade Elizabeth’s father, The Prophet Comstock, who wishes to use Elizabeth’s special abilities to destroy the sinful people that live below them on Earth.
I can honestly say that I spent easily 20 to 30 hours on my first run through of this game. Checking every corner of the streets, searching every home or business I could go into, picking up every little thing I could get my hands on. This game has managed to create a world that you can literally get lost in and once the game was over, I found myself wishing that it could’ve gone on for a much longer time. I never wanted it to end. The characters and the plot draw you in immediately and that’s something that, at least for me, in a game is very rare. Mind you, this is no Call of Duty where the storyline is pretty standard, this game is one of the handful of games this generation (including the original Bioshock) that has managed to lift the bar of storytelling in games. It’s a true work of art in and of itself. The last, final 30 minutes of the game will literally leave your mouth hanging open, and I spent most of the game on the edge of my seat.
Elizabeth is one of the best mechanics of the game. Always giving you a helping hand whether finding you ammo or supplying you with other things you need, she is your constant companion regardless of the fact that, story wise, you are the one that’s supposed to be rescuing her. Like the first two Bioshock’s, this game features special abilities for the main protagonist in the form of Vigors. Vigors, much like EVE in Bioshock’s 1 & 2, grant you abilities such as fire, water, electricity and allowing you to use them against the various enemies you find yourself facing along the way. The Skyline is also another key element in the game, allowing you to take to the skies and shoot and kill your opponents while speeding along a railway system at either a reduced or topnotch speed depending on your fancy. It makes the gameplay engaging and allows for you to make a quick getaway if your health gets too low or you need more ammo.
Another inclusion that helps is Elizabeth’s powers: opening tears. Tears into other dimensions allows for a lot of help when the big bad’s come into play like the Handy Men, giant robotic fellows with human heads that can pummel you to death in a matter of minutes. The tears allow you to bring in turrets, allies, ammo or even more health. On the harder difficulties of the game, these are your saviors most of the time and you find yourself breathing a sigh of relief when you see the tear start to appear.
This game honestly has a ton to offer and demands a replay or two just for anything that you may have missed the first go around (be sure to check out the future references that are cleverly placed around the game even though the setting is 1912), and if I were to go into every little thing, I’d probably end up having written a novel about this game. Bioshock Infinite is a masterpiece, hands down. I simply cannot state it enough. Play this game, you will never regret the experience it has to offer you.