BioShock Infinite – First Look


Logo for BioShock Infinite

In 2007, Irrational Games led us to a light house in the middle of the ocean where we began our descent into Rapture. Rapture being the star of the first two BioShock games. Sure there was Frank Fontaine, Andrew Ryan, Subject Delta, and the splicers. However, none of them were as interesting, or intricate, as Rapture. This place had fallen apart. There was a history here, and you wanted nothing more than to know everything about it. BioShock Infinite takes that intrigue and flips it around. Instead of entering an old ruined wasteland, you find yourself among the living in a whole new land floating in the clouds.

BioShock Infinite opens similarly to how BioShock did, with a light house, but with one hugely noticeable difference between the two games: Characterization. As soon as the game begins characters are chattering on screen. Even your character, Booker Dewitt, steps away from the silent protagonist parameters set by the previous BioShock games. He’ll interact with the people of Columbia, and even talk to himself much like any of us would when set out on a seemingly impossible task. It’s a far cry of a difference from previous BioShock titles, and one that works to its advantage.

Booker interacting with the people of Columbia.

The opening areas of Columbia act as a bit of a training ground, while also introducing you to the city. You spend some time in a church/monastery learning about the prophet, Father Comstock, and the religion that rules the city of Columbia. You’ll attend a fair and try out some weapons, and even a couple Vigors. There’s so much depth to the city: so many side streets, people to see, items to look at. So much of this city is here for you to explore, but all at your own pace. It took me about an hour and a half to get to the first confrontation in the game. AN HOUR AND A HALF! Keep in mind that I’m very meticulous when it comes to these types of games. By these types I mean large open environments, like Skyrim. While BioShock Infinite is infinitely (heh) more linear then Skyrim, its world is no less interesting. So I tend to spend a lot of time looking in all the nooks and crannies for every little item and reference. Hell, I’ve caught myself attending a barbershop quartet concert and enjoyed every second of it!

Once you make it past these opening areas, and begin the whole “shooter” part, you quickly discover just how much the people of Columbia love their Prophet. The guards will do anything they can to ensure Booker doesn’t reach his destination and ruin the prophecy foretold by Father Comstock. Along the way you’ll pick up a series of weapons like a pistol, a carbine rifle, and a machine gun. Standard Shooter fare. The coolest weapon, by far, is the Skyhook. The Skyhook’s primary use is for traversing the Skyrails, but Booker has other uses for it, like melee combat. The first kill is brutal, and every one after that with the Skyhook is just as devastating. The only downside to using it over the ranged weapons is how squishy Booker is at the outset of the adventure. But that changes when you get some of the more useful Vigors and gear, as well as a self regenerating shield.

Skyhook from BioShock Infinite

Vigors are an interesting take on the Plasmids from BioShock. While they were originally intended to be a limited use power up, the final product has them work in similar fashion to Plasmids. Booker has a set amount of energy (salt) used to power the Vigors. When it runs out, he needs to find some items to replenish his salt. The Vigors themselves range from possessing enemies, to launching enemies in the air. Each Vigor also has upgrades to make them more useful in combat. Take Possession for instance. At first it just makes an enemy, turret or human, fight for you. With its first upgrade after the possession wears off, the possessed enemy kills them self, thus eliminating them from combat. Each Vigor also has a “trap” mode that can be deployed as well. The Trap versions are generally stronger then the standard, but harder to properly utilize.

Booker can also find gear while exploring Columbia. Booker has 4 gear slots – hat, vest, pants, and boots. Each item adds a bonus to Booker’s abilities that generally augment his combat prowess, or his Vigor’s. Since I tend to gravitate toward melee combat, I have gear that increased my melee abilities by lighting enemies on fire, and sending them across the room. You’ll find some gear while just following the main path, but it really is worth exploring as much of Columbia as possible to find the best equipment you can.

Bucking Bronco Vigor from BioShock Infinite

Once you think everything is set, and you’ve unlocked every mechanic in the game, you meet Elizabeth. Elizabeth has the unique ability to open “tears” in Columbia. She describes them as windows to other worlds, but beyond that I don’t know how else they may play into the plot. All I know is that these things are incredi-useful! At one point I had the option to create a turret to fight my enemies, or some cranes to help Booker reach some higher ground. The best part about the tears is that you aren’t limited in your choices. In that instance I created the cranes, moved to higher ground, then activated the turret to assist me. Elizabeth can also spawn money, ammo, and even weapons out of nowhere. Sometimes she’ll shout to Booker saying she found something, and at the press of a button throws it his way. It’s this little inclusion that helps create a stronger bond between these characters.

Elizabeth from BioShock Infinite

So far I’m loving BioShock Infinite. Everything about Columbia and its people just keeps me wanting to come back to see more. I felt the same way about BioShock as I do with BioShock Infinite. There’s so much here. So much to do. And I want to do it all. It doesn’t hurt that the gameplay is flawless either. Check back for a full review later.

is not a boss.

You can Email Eric or follow Eric on Twitter @EricSweeten or Facebook

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