Bioshock: Infinite is the third game in the Bioshock series, and with such a massive amount of hype behind both this title and the franchise on the whole, this game had some very big shoes to fill – and let me tell you, the good folks at 2k and Irrational Games have not disappointed, not in the slightest. Bioshock: Infinite is one of the most impressive single player first person shooters I have played on the Xbox 360 and it is worth every bit of acclaim and every award it has attracted so far.
Now before I launch in to this review I want to call out my usual rule of ‘no spoilers’ is in play here – but I say that especially for this game as it is the story that will draw you in and leave you wanting more, and as much as I would love to start writing up about the incredible finish to the game, it’s something I wouldn’t want to spoil as you just won’t see it coming. What I will say though is a little about what you know about the game from the outset – you play as Booker DeWitt, a man who has been sent to the city of Columbia to find a girl to clear you ‘debts’. The catch is you don’t know what the debts are, why the people are interested in the girl, and oh yeah – the city of Columbia is actually a city that floats amongst the clouds. That’s kind of a big deal here as it introduces you to a world of magic and almost steampunk looking world that is like nothing you have ever seen.
The game plays in a very similar way to its predecessors and how you would expect a first person shooter to play out. You get yourself a nice selection of guns to play with, as well as a selection of magical powers called ‘vigors’ to help you fight your way through the city (these were called plasmids in the other Bioshock titles). As with the other games you can create some very interesting tactics through combining firepower with your vigors to turn the tables on a large group of enemies very quickly. An example of this might be using your flame power to ignite some fuel on the ground to set the enemies on fire, or throwing electricity in to pools of water to stun a group and then follow it up with some RPG rounds.
There are also a few new additions to this game that make for some fun changes to the way you go about working through a big gun fight. The addition of ‘sky ways’ – which are big metal rails that carts move along, but as luck would have it you can hook on them and fly around between places as well. In a few places throughout the game you can find these placed and use them to help get yourself out of a jam in a hurry, to get to a more tactical position, or simply just to rain death from above on your enemies.
Visually this game is stunning, and upon your arrival in Columbia you’ll want to take a look around at it all, seeing just how good the city looks – from the biggest of the floating buildings, down to the little details inside each of the shops. The visual effects are amazingly well done as well, and they really stand out when you start flinging lightning around a dark room. There are a range of environmental effects that you come across through the skies as the game progresses as well that will go as close to leaving you breathless as you would think a game could do.
Backing up the impressive visuals is an equally impressive soundtrack. The games music is magical, but the thing that will really win you over is the voice acting. Every bit of dialog is put together amazingly well, and not just the main characters either – there are plenty of people talking around the streets, even a barber shop quartet singing at one point that I found myself stopping to just listen to them sing for a bit.
The thing that will grab you the most about this game is the story – Ken Levine and his team have come up with a plot that will blow you away. If you’re anything like me you’ll find it a little confusing at first, but it steps up pretty quickly and by the time you get to the end of it (I played through it in around 12 hours, so not the longest game ever) you will appreciate just how cleverly done it all is. The last 30 minutes or so of the game will throw a lot of information at you and you may find yourself playing it again just to get through it all and digest it – but when you do finish it make sure you do yourself a favour and go and read some of the theories on the internet about what has happened. I’ll leave it up to you to form your own opinions on it, but what they have delivered here is something unique and captivating, and like nothing I have seen in any game franchise anywhere.
Overall I have to say that Bioshock: Infinite is easily one of the most impressive games I have ever had the pleasure of playing. I’ve given this game a 10 out of 10 on the basis that I can’t see anything else I would change to improve it and genuinely believe it is worth the score. For me my favourite thing about gaming is being able to immerse myself in a good story, and this is about as good as they come in that regard while having an awesome game engine behind it. This game really is something special and I know for me personally it now holds a special place near the top of my ‘favourite games ever’ list. I cannot recommend this game enough though – If you haven’t played the other games in the series before, or you are a seasoned Bioshock veteran – go and get this game now, you will not be disappointed.