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“BioShock Infinite” has delivered. After five years of speculation and doubt surrounding the project, the game has surpassed the expectations set for it. Irrational Games, 2k games and creative director Ken Levine have given gamers an ambitious labor of love and thought that has brought the “BioShock” franchise out of the stagnation of limbo and into paradise. Gamers, in Ken Levine we trust.
With that said, the story of “BioShock Infinite” begins simply. Booker Dewitt has problems. An ex-Pinkerton agent with nothing left to hang onto has received a last chance to clear his debt. The task is stated in simple terms: “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.”
However, this is no easy task. The girl, Elizabeth, is kept hidden away in a literal city in the sky, Columbia. Booker must get to Columbia and get Elizabeth to New York unharmed. Booker must also bypass the conflict between Comstock and the Vox Populi. The Vox’s leader, Daisy Fitzroy, aims to change the hierarchy of Columbia and will do anything to make sure Comstock falls.
The world of Columbia is bright and spacious for a city that’s floating in the air. The people of Columbia are set in their nationalistic, religious and racist ideals. They follow their leader, Zachary Comstock, with unwavering devotion even among the trouble that’s brewing with the Vox Populi. All over Columbia there are propaganda ads that let you know how the citizens are to feel about the Vox Populi among other racially charged messages.
Gameplay wise, “BioShock Infinite” delivers more of the same to players who are familiar with the franchise. The Vigors (super powers) are on Booker’s left while the guns are on his right. You switch between each or focus on one over the other depending on your playing style. You can upgrade both guns and Vigors through vending machines.
And while the Vigors are inventive and include some new twists on old favorites, such as electro bolt and incinerate, but are lacking in relation to the plot. In the first “BioShock,” the Plasmids (powers) were involved in Rapture’s evolving genetics race and the citizens purchased them to protect themselves during the war. In Columbia there is no real explanation as to why Vigors are needed by anyone. They’re more of a novelty to Columbians, with only the Vox or the Founders consuming them.
The gameplay of “BioShock Infinite” sets itself apart from its previous iterations through Elizabeth. She gives you anything that you need to assist you in the heat of combat. Too focused on fighting with a group of enemies that your Salts (a liquid that allows you to use Vigors) become dangerously low? Elizabeth will throw a bottle your way. Get yourself backed into a corner with low health? No problem, Elizabeth will throw you some health. She will even find you ammo for the gun you are currently employing.
Elizabeth’s powers are an asset to Booker as well from an offensive standpoint. She can bring objects through Tears (doors through time and space) whether they be a turret, cover or a weapon to aid in combat. With Elizabeth at your side, you are almost invincible.
Outside of combat, the game play is evident to a “BioShock” fan. Get ready to root through tons of desks, trashcans, crates, boxes, and corners. Elizabeth is vital to searching for items such as ammo, health, Salts and most importantly Voxophones (diaries of the citizens). Moreover, Elizabeth’s perk is that she can lock pick doors for you. She will point out lock picks in the environment as well as Voxophones. She will even give you money when she finds it, which is immensely helpful if you want to upgrade your weapons and Vigors.
The downside of Elizabeth scavenging with you is that she will point out objects in the environment which will glow briefly. If you do not look immediately, the glow will disappear and you will miss out on whatever she found. Also, you can only hold thirty lock picks at a time, but Elizabeth will still point them out to you even though you cannot pick up anymore.
In Part 2, we will delve more into the gameplay and the atmosphere of “Bioshock Infinite.”
Image credit: Bioshockinfinity.com