Welcome to Columbia – A Bioshock Infinite Review

As most of you know, Bioshock Infinite is known to be one of this years most anticipated games. We’ve seen footage, we’ve seen snapshots, hell, there is even fan art appearing on the internet! However the game has  finally hit the shelves and I was one of the many thousands, possibly millions to pick up a copy.

An in-game screenshot of the colourful city of Columbia.

An in-game screenshot of the colourful city of Columbia.

Well, when I say pick up a copy, I in fact pre-ordered the Premium Edition from GAME (a UK based video-games store) for £45. Was it worth it? Well in a way yes and in a way not quite. The Premium Edition gives you the game, several DLC item codes as well as a digital copy of the soundtrack, a small poster, a Murder of Crows keyring, an art book and a very small Handyman figurine. So what you’re getting with the game is quite a lot, although when it comes to the figurine especially, you may be let down when you see just how small it really is. However I do recommend that you go for the Premium Edition if you’re a collector or just want to make this game feel extra special as it costs just a little extra than the standard game as well as being far cheaper than the Songbird Edition, which is essentially exactly the same as the Premium Edition, except you’ll be paying an extra £50 on top just for a Songbird statue.

Another factor that you may want to consider is what platform you want to play the game on. Bioshock Infinite is available on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. However the PC copy is cheaper by a good £10. This is a huge advantage to PC gamers such as myself as I know that my PC can outperform both the 360 and PS3 on both graphics quality and frame rate, plus having the ability to use my 360 controller with the PC anyway. (But I decided to stick with using the keyboard and mouse.)

Anyway, to the game itself! Now I’m not going to spoil anything to you, I’m not going to explain the plot in detail or ruin anything for anyone who hasn’t got the game yet. Essentially you play as a man called Booker DeWitt, a detective who is in debt and needs to find a girl called Elizabeth who is trapped in a tower in the flying steampunk city of Columbia. It sounds pretty straightforward right? Well, you’d like to think it’ll be that way, but just like the other Bioshock games, they do like to throw in their fair share of twists and turns within the plot.

There are a good selection of weapons and vigors (Infinite’s equidistant to Adam) to use. If you’ve played the first two Bioshocks you’ll be familiar to the vigors, however there are one or two new power ups such as Murder of Crows and Bucking Bronco. The range of weapons are also similar to the first Bioshock game. You have a pistol, machine gun, shotgun, rocket launcher, carbine, sniper rifle and so on. However unlike the first two games, you can only wield two weapons at one time. So you have to think twice before picking up a random weapon lying around.

On the plus side, your companion; Elizabeth is rather handy at giving you extra ammo and medical supplies during combat, whilst she also allows you to break open locked doors and safes. This is rather handy as it’s quick and simple, although I did enjoy the mini game in the first Bioshock you had to complete in order to unlock things, as well as it can be frustrating when you don’t have enough lockpicks.

Despite her innocent looks, Elizabeth is actually pretty handy.

Despite her innocent looks, Elizabeth is actually pretty handy.

Another bonus this game holds is the perks of different clothing. Each collectible item of clothing gives you new traits that help boost your offensive or defensive capabilities. Combine your clothing with a large shield and health bar and you should be fine facing against those pesky handymen!

Speaking of which, there are new enemies as well. Forget about the nuisance of splicers and Big Daddy’s, instead you’ll be facing off against creepy Handymen, mechanised patriots and many weird and odd looking enemies. The Songbird is the game’s successor to the Big Daddy, except it’s a lot bigger, badder and worst of all, it flies.

However there is one factor about this game that instantly caught my attention. It is extremely beautiful. There is no denying that Irrational Games took their time in making this game, and boy did it pay off. There is a perfect blend of lighting and use of colour in the surrounding environments, giving a realistic feel of being high up in the air on a warm sunny day. The game also features an impressive lack of ‘dedicated cutscenes.’ In other words, where in older games, the game would pause into a cutscene and disrupt your flow, Bioshock Infinite manages to keep things going like a movie. You make a decision, the effect or consequence happens all in the game, all in first person. For example, in the first Bioshock, you’ll see that you’ve arrived in Rapture, but suddenly a loading screen will appear before you can do anything. In Infinite however, you arrive in Columbia, but you keep on going. You walk around and interact with things and other people, instead of watching and waiting as the same screen for a good 20-30 seconds. Sure when you leave an area, and I’m talking a BIG area, a loading screen does appear, but for a very short time. (But then again, that may be just my PC, seeing as I have no idea how long it will take on a console.)

There are some drawbacks however, Unlike the previous games, you can’t hold multiple healthpacks or salts. (Yes, salt is the game’s equivalent to EVE. Somehow it hold’s magical properties instead of giving you heart attacks.) However the abundance of pick ups does rule out this problem. There is also the problem of extreme sensitivity. Again I’m unsure what it’s like on consoles, but with the PC, it is very hard to point and shoot in the right direction. Even with the sensitivity down to it’s lowest setting, it is still very high compared to other FPS’s such as Crysis or even the previous Bioshocks.

This odd couple just keep on reappearing throughout the game...whoever they are...

This odd couple just keep on reappearing throughout the game…whoever they are…

However other from that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this game that I can see. It is well worth getting and I can guarantee that it’ll remain as one of the best made games of the decade. The concept and plot is excellent, the environmental appearance is outstanding, it holds it’s fair share of humour and horror and the fluidity of the game is spot on.

My overall rating is 9.5/10

(It just needs to turn down it’s sensitivity a bit!)

 

If you DO want to see the game in full, and you don’t care about the spoilers, check out my run-through playlist of the game!

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