There has always been something rather appealing when it comes to the BioShock franchise; however, I am not entirely sure what this is? Could it be the amazing gameplay, graphics, or even the dark and ominous storyline that each game depicts so well? My guess is it is all of the above.
While BioShock Infinite has been in development for quite a while now, I had the awesome opportunity to get some hands-on time with this highly anticipated title. While the code that I checked out excluded many cut-scenes and vital information, it still left me wanting more the more I played. Let’s just say that the 3 hours I spent with this title went by fast, maybe a little too fast. I even found myself being one of the last to leave the preview theatre. This was not as awkward as it sounds, but for the first time in a long time a video game had me hooked.
Maybe it was the beautiful lighting effects that the city of Columbia showcased so well, or the vibrant colours that drew me in like a moth to a flame… it could have even been the well scripted dialogue that danced around the inner core of my ear drums. It may have even been the frantic combat, which seemed to work so well as my fingers and thumbs fell in love with the controller all over again. Anyway, enough rambling on about my somewhat poetic experience with BioShock Infinite. It’s time to get down to the meat of it all.
During my hands-on time with BioShock Infinite, I could not help but notice that the developers have taken a lot of time to craft and refine the world you that play in. From the very beginning the visuals aim to impress. This can be seen in the remarkable weather, lighting, and visual effects featured when making your way up to the lighthouse. Even when you step into the lighthouse you will notice the comforting light of the candle that has been placed neatly on the table next to the wash basin. It is this attention to detail that will make you appreciate the time taken to craft this title.
While the visuals featured within BioShock Infinite are indeed captivating, they would be nothing without an intriguing storyline, which this title most definitely has. You play as Booker DeWitt, a character that unlike the other BioShock protagonists has his own identity. Booker has been tasked to find a young woman, Elizabeth, who has been held captive in the city of Columbia. While Booker eventually rescues Elizabeth, the two are relentlessly pursued by the city’s major warring factions (In order to prevent any major spoilers, I will end things off there with the storyline).
Surprisingly the city of Columbia is rather vibrant and colourful, unlike Rapture which seemed to be dark and dreary. You will see citizens going about their day-to day business without a care in the world… it is a city that seems so pure, so enlightened that something dark and sinister has to be happening underneath all the pleasantries. During your travels through the city you will be able to venture into shops, interact with some of the locals, and hear some rather interesting conversations happening within the city. Funny enough, I spent more time looking around the city of Columbia instead of rushing forward in order to see what happens next within the plot (Let’s just say the city is rather beautiful and visually appealing).
When it comes to gameplay, BioShock Infinite is essentially a FPS title; however, players will also have access to various Vigors. Vigors are the primary abilities that the player will acquire. Similar to Plasmids, they grant the player access to various abilities, and are powered by a single resource, namely Salts. Every Vigor has an alternate use, allowing them to be laid down as traps in order to dispose of enemies. While not all the Vigors were available for testing, I had the opportunity to test the following:
Blasts enemies and objects in front of Booker, levitating them in the air for a period of time, and allowing Booker to damage them without resistance.
This Vigor is for those fire wielding pyromaniacs out there. Devil’s Kiss is created by Fink Manufacturing and is a fire-based Vigor similar to the Incinerate Plasmid in the original BioShock. Players throw a fire ball that burns nearby enemies, or they can create a burning trap that lights up any enemy who walk through it. I will admit that the actual cut-scene where Booker acquires this Vigor is actually rather epic!
Possession Grants Booker the ability to control machines. The Vigor can be further upgraded to work on human/organic enemies. Possessed victims will commit suicide at the end of the Vigor’s effects.
Murder of Crows:
This Vigor simple sends a large group of crows to attack enemies. I found it amusing to see the enemies react to this Vigor.
While Vigors are definitely a major highlight of BioShock Infinite, there are many other things that will capture your attention. You see, Elizabeth has the ability to open up Tears in the world around you… Tears are a rip in dimensional time and space, which reveal an alternate event that does not exist in the current world of Columbia. When accessing Tears, Elizabeth is able to transport something from within the Tear to the current world. While Tears may result in a lot of positive effects, Elizabeth may lose control at times which will result in unpredictable effects.
Sky-lines are another predominant feature within BioShock Infinite. Sky-lines are mainly used to in order to travel from place to place using a Sky-hook; however, they can also be used in order to gain the jump on unaware enemies. Additionally, through the manipulation of Tears, Elizabeth has the ability to phase Sky-Line portions in and out of existence, as well as summon cargo onto the rails to clear the line of enemies.
Speaking of enemies, BioShock Infinite loves to throw enemies at you left right and center, which makes things a whole lot harder than the previous titles; however, apart from these standard enemies, there are some rather interesting enemies that have come to the “let’s kill Booker DeWitt party”, which include: The Motorised Patriot, The Boys of Silence, The Handyman and The Siren.
While BioShock Infinite is indeed a massive title, I will end things off here. Overall, BioShock Infinite is one title has captivated this editor. It holds so many great ideas, which seem to be crafted rather neatly into a beautiful world that is filled with fantasy, intrigue and darkness. Let’s just hope that the final product is not a literal Murder of Crows.
With BioShock Infinite’s pending release, tell us in the comments what you’re most anticipating from this title?
BioShock Infinite launches on the 26th of March 2013 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the PC.