06th Apr2013

‘Bioshock Infinite’ Review (Xbox 360)

by Phil Wheat

Bioshock-Infinite

Let me start off by saying I’m not the greatest fan of the first two Bioshock games. Whilst I appreciate their playability and their stories I always felt like there was something missing. Something I hoped I would find in the the game in the series, Bioshock Infinite.

And I was right.

BioShock Infinite puts players in the shoes of U.S. Cavalry veteran turned hired gun Booker DeWitt. Indebted to the wrong people and with his life on the line, DeWitt has only one opportunity to wipe his slate clean. He must rescue Elizabeth, a mysterious girl imprisoned since childhood and locked up in the flying city of Columbia. Forced to trust one another, Booker and Elizabeth form a powerful bond during their daring escape. Together, they learn to harness an expanding arsenal of weapons and abilities as they fight on zeppelins in the clouds, along high-speed Sky-Lines, and down in the streets of Columbia, all while surviving the threats of the air-city and uncovering its dark secret…

In all my years of playing video games there have only ever been a few titles that I have ever eagerly played through, staying up late to finish one last level or passing up on another activity to keep playing “that” game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Super Mario Bros 3 on the NES; Alien 3 (yes, Alien 3)on the Sega Megadrive; Super Mario World 1 and 2 on the Snes; and more recently Uncharted 2 and 3 on the Playstation 3. All games that I have played as much as humanly possible, given the number of hours in a day, to completion. If I tell you that Bioshock Infinite now joins those ranks it should give you some idea of just how damn good this game is. Especially if I also tell you that my relationship with FPS games has always been a strained one…

I was a huge fan of the Doom/Hexen/Quake era of FPS games but fell out with them after the release of Quake III: Arena (which we used to play over the works LAN back in 2000). I lapped up Painkiller when it was released in 2004, but everything else left me a little cold. As for the likes of the Battlefield and Call of Duty franchises – no thanks! So imagine how surprised I was to find Bioshock Infinite rekindling my love of FPS games and that long-forgotten”must-play” itch.

Besides the obvious FPS trappings, what makes Bioshock Infinite such a great game is the attention to detail. From the story, to the graphics to the absolutely astounding sound, 2K and Irrational Games should both be commended for sticking with the game, even at the expense of pushing back the release date, to make sure that the finished product was the best it could be (even if I did find a bug in the game that had me fall infinitely *groan* from Columbia). The quality seeps from every pixel and the love put into the development translates perfectly into the finished game.

This is, in the end, a surprising game. One that touches on religion and racism of America in the early 20th Century; has elements of classic steampunk, whilst blending in magic and demonlogy; is colourful and vibrant, yet feels as creepy and eerie as as the first two (darker) games. It’s a blend of contradictory elements that all come together to form one of the best games released, so far, this year.

Bioshock Infinite is available on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. And it’s a must-buy.

***** 5/5

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