Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Game Review: Bioshock Infinite (Spoiler Edition) Part 1

Alrighty, hello folks, one quick note before we begin: as stated above, this is the spoiler edition of the Bioshock Infinite review, so there will be spoilers!  Consider this as double warning.  Now let's dive in.

This has been a bit of a while coming, I know, but hey I got to it didn't I?  So what to say about Bioshock Infinite?  This game is ridiculous, the story is fantastic in so many ways, the gameplay is fun, almost never gets old, and the art style is a great mix of realism and a cartoon-esq feel.  I won't talk about all of the technical stuff again since I already did that, so let's just focus this entry on the story.  I'm making the assumption here that if you are reading this, you have played the game already.

The plot of Bioshock Infinite is intriguing right from the start.  It plants you in a boat with a couple of strangers, a box with some strange symbols, and a gun.  Boom, you're right in the middle of Booker DeWitt's journey.  Of course things get even crazier as you arrive at the rather ominous lighthouse seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  A note on the door is the first thing that hits you, and that is the mark of a great location.  When creating a location, the methods are very different in the way things are shown or explained in visual mediums and text ones, but the thing that makes one truly great in any case, no matter the medium, is the first impression, and the lasting details.  The lighthouse is a perfect example of this.  That note on the door creates a distinct first impression, and when the player opens the door and enters the lighthouse, that first room does nothing but add to, and compliment that impression.  The lighting is also extremely important here, but not for the typical reason in this type of game.  If you know anything about the original two Bioshock games, you know that they take place in the underwater city of Rapture: home to some rather scary-looking individuals and an antiquated (yet surprisingly advanced) and malfunctioning security system.  Those games are rightly placed in the horror genre.  The significance of the lighthouse in Infinite comes in as a reference to the first game.  The player enters Rapture through a lighthouse.  A very damp, poorly lit, likely mouldy-smelling, and extremely eerie lighthouse.  The lighthouse that Booker enters at the beginning of this game is a spitting image of that description as well.  The tone of horror is set well, and it really feels like Rapture, or even some other underwater city, is right around the corner.  As the player climbs the flights of stairs, ascending the lighthouse, they come across some sketchy looking tools, some empty boxes and crates, and eventually a dead body.  There isn't much of anything quite as foreboding as a good old dead body.  The lights are dim, the floor is damp, rusty metal objects litter the rooms, Booker is alone... Sounds like a good set up or a horror flick, but was it murder she wrote?  No, not yet at least.

Now I won't be talking you through the whole game like this, don't worry, I just want to set up the new locales as we get to them, and there are really only 3 major ones to worry about, with a little bit of a bonus one at the end.

As the player finally gets up to the top of the lighthouse, they will eventually head outside on the catwalk to ring some bells, "calling the elevator".  This of course causes the lighthouse to open up it's actual light.  This is where Booker enters the main setting for the game, the picturesque, good ol' fashioned, Columbia, in all her truth and liberty.  'Murica.

Since the way Booker gets to Columbia is really rather straight forward, I don't think I need to bother talking you through that part, so this is all for part 1.  This will likely be a 3 part series of entries, so keep an eye out.

Till next time, toodledoo.

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