The summer I graduated from college, so two summers ago, I went on somewhat of a video game binge. Within a couple of days of one another I purchased Dead Space, Dead Space 2, Bioshock and Bioshock 2. Then I promptly beat them all. While both of those franchises are great, I cannot remember the last time I had as much fun as I did playing Bioshock. When I beat Bioshock 2 three things happened. 1) The credits rolled…because that’s what happens when you beat a video game. 2) Bioshock became one of my favorite video game franchises. 3) I began to count down to the release of Bioshock Infinite. Well, the third installment in the Bioshock series hit stores. Since then I have bought and beaten it and the game lived up to everyone of my wildest expectations.
Bioshock Infinite takes us out of the underwater metropolis of Rapture and brings us to Colombia, the city floating in the sky. You play as Booker DeWitt, a man who owes some very dangerous people a debt. As the game opens the words “deliver the girl and your debt is paid” ring in your ears. Booker makes his way to Colombia, a gorgeous, sprawling city floating high above the clouds, where he must search for the girl in question: Elizabeth. Everything starts fine until the people of Colombia notice a tattoo on Booker’s hand and label him the false prophet. Booker must fight his way through the city and find Elizabeth. Escaping from her guardian, the Songbird, Booker and Elizabeth try to escape the city together while the city’s leader Zachary Comstock tries to get Elizabeth back. Fighting through a rebellion, discovering secrets about the city, traveling to other worlds using Elizabeth’s unique powers and uncovering Booker’s past all leads to a mind-blowing ending worthy of the Bioshock franchise.
The game play in Bioshock Infinite is absolutely outstanding. The game play, just like the entire game, is very similar yet also very different from the first two games. While in the first two games guns and weapons were rare to get and ammo needed to be conserved, Infinite’s world features a large selection of weapons and much more plentiful amounts of ammo. Plasmids are still around, though in Colombia they are called Vigors, but there is not quite as large of a variety as in the first two games. Also Atom, the currency harvested from Little Sisters used to buy Plasmids, is non-existent. Instead weapons and Vigors are bought with coins and upgraded with coins. Other than these few differences the game play is very similar. You travel through Colombia while fighting a mix of gun wielding men and women as well as monsters and machines. The best addition to the game was the sky rails, loops of rails that wind through the city. Booker has the ability to use his melee weapon to attach to the rails, flying through the sky during battles while raining bullets down on his enemies.
One of the things I really appreciated was that the game was not a protection game. Though Elizabeth was with Booker for almost the entire game, the player was not responsible for making sure she did not take damage. Elizabeth can take care of herself. In fact rather than getting in Booker’s way, Elizabeth becomes an asset finding health, ammo and Salts (which replenish Vigors) for Booker when he needs them. When the enemies get the best of Booker, Elizabeth revives him with a syringe much like a Little Sister to a Big Daddy. There are no Big Daddies or Little Sisters in Colombia. Instead Big Daddies are replaced by Handymen, monstrous creatures that are as hard to destroy as a Big Daddy. Though there are no Little Sisters or Big Daddies, the relationship between Booker and Elizabeth is identical to that of a Big Daddy and Little Sister. As the mind-blowing end of the game unfolds and some familiar elements from the previous two games emerge I began to wonder if Booker and Elizabeth may be somehow related to Big Daddies and Little Sisters. Maybe they’re the first ones? Or the last ones? Or maybe something even more important.
It takes a while to get used to being in Colombia as opposed to Rapture. While Rapture was always dark, gritty and brutally violent, Colombia by all appearances is beautiful, sprawling and an almost comforting place. Once the action starts though, the grit and violence settles in, reminding us that the worlds of Bioshcok are terrifying. This game was a a masterpiece, an A grade from Orangechair. While it is being said that this is the last of the Bioshcoks series, and a very fitting end it would be, I hope that this is not the last time Bioshock blows my mind.