The Ninjabot

Playing Catch Up – BioShock Infinite

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 9:17 am by Stephen Janes

BioShock Infinite

‘Playing Catch Up’ is a featured look at games that have already passed their window of relativity. Contributing writer Stephen Janes attempts to wade through various games already with an idea of what to expect, based on the public reviews and game play videos that have been released and viewed. This series aims to be entertaining, yet informative in a sense.

One of the most anticipated games of this year was BioShock: Infinite. Developed by Irrational Games (who also developed the first BioShock), BioShock: Infinite was getting early ‘Game of the Year’ accolades for its graphical presentation and enticing gameplay. Although I’ve never been an advocate for first-person shooter games, the BioShock titles have always provided great entertainment and impressive detail in the storylines. Thanks to one of my friends through our own trade program, I’m able to play this game while it’s still fairly relevant.

I want to talk about the time and effort spent into Elizabeth, your AI companion. The player-controlled Booker DeWitt is tasked with rescuing the mysterious Elizabeth, who is being held captive in the wondrous world above the sky that is Columbia. I at first thought this was going to be one giant mess of an escort mission expanded into a ten-hour game, but the intelligence of your AI companion is outstanding. Elizabeth never runs in front of you while in a fire fight, nor does she require constant assistance from the player.

Elizabeth could have easily been the biggest pain in the thumbsticks, but she provides assistance when you least expect it and it actually somewhat fun to have around. Thinking back to Resident Evil 4 where Leon is tasked with rescuing the President’s daughter, Ashley straddles the line between annoying and absurdly annoying. Although she’s always directly behind you and rarely gets in the way of your bullets, she always just stands still when the enemy closes in and attempts to take her away. In BioShock: Infinite, Elizabeth is always the first to find cover and stays out of your way through the duration of the encounter.

It’s not just her ability to stay away and fend for herself that impresses me, but the persona and liveliness that Elizabeth brings to the game. For instance, when I was raiding an office for supplies, I happened to turn around to see Elizabeth standing by the door frame, just leaning against it and waiting for Booker to complete his business. At first I thought this was just a one-time occurrence, but after more play time I realized she was always like this. Again, she never gets in your way or interrupts the task at hand with horrible scripting or just being in the way, which is a brilliant accomplishment from designer Ken Levine and his team.

When BioShock: Infinite was first shown to the public in 2011, everybody went crazy at the graphical accomplishments of this game. Another major aspect was the mystery and development surrounding Elizabeth. This game was delayed a couple of times in order to spend more time perfecting Elizabeth and what she brings to the game. It’s not all just assistance and persona, however. The evolving story line that you experience with Elizabeth is one of the best emotionally involving stories I have seen in a long while. Many gamers believe escort missions are a cardinal sin in the video game world because of the babysitting that is required, so it speaks volumes when this glorified escort mission comes with emotional baggage and support.

BioShock: Infinite is a game so rich and beautiful that I actually enjoy playing an FPS for the first time in a long while. With a market so diluted with shooter games that are essentially clones of themselves, BioShock: Infinite delivers a much more involving experience that reminds FPS haters like myself that these types of games can be a lot of fun. It’s not that the shooting aspects are anything majorly different from previous shooters, but the emotional captivation and attention to detail easily support the hype and stellar reviews I’ve been reading about for a while now. The positive annotations severely outweigh the negative for this game and it’s no surprise why after spending some time with it. An additional bonus is that this game comes with the full retail version of the original BioShock, meaning you get two spectacular games for the price of one.

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