One of the big differences is the setting. BioShock: Infinite takes places in the fictional city of Columbia high in the sky sometime in the early 1900s. Like in the first two games, the protagonist stumbles upon the city. Well, in this case, Booker DeWitt is sent to retrieve a girl named Elizabeth to wipe away his debt. Along the way on this adventure gamers are thrust into a conflict between those wanting Elizabeth, those fighting against the dystopian ruler Comstock, and how Booker ties into all of this.
That is the one thing I really enjoy about the series, including BioShock: Infinite, is the storytelling. Just enough is told to get gamers hooked, the story slowly unfolds throughout the game, and everything comes together in the end. I couldn’t stop thinking about the game when I wasn’t playing it. The overall tone of Infinite is very dark. Booker has been thrust into an oppressive and racist society where segregation is very evident and those in power bend others to their will.
One big difference from the other games in the series is Booker’s weapons. Most of them are based from the time period and he only has access to two guns at time. Fear not, he also has melee attacks and the use of vigors (aka plasmids). The guns consist of a carbine, machine gun, a revolver, pistol, sniper rifle, and a few others. Most of the time I stuck with one of the rifles or the shotgun/hand cannon. Gamers can use vigors and guns at the same time, one in each hand like in BioShock 2. All of the weapons and vigors can be upgraded with the money gamers find in the game. BioShock: Infinite also adds gear that Booker can wear, which adds bonuses to Booker’s abilities such as more melee damage, faster shield recovery, etc.
The vigors are fun and most of them have a secondary function that lets gamers lay traps or power up the ability to do greater damage. I found myself using Shock Jockey (electricity), Devil’s Kiss (fire), and Bucking Bronco, which throws enemies up into the air and they fall in slow motion. The possession vigor is also a lot of fun and has it uses. Booker can use this vigor to control enemies and machines, such as automated turrets. Any of the vigors can help turn the tide of combat. The game has an emphasis on melee and gamers who use it will get bonuses in damage. I wish there was a wrench but I’ll settle for the Skyhook. Gamers will enjoying swinging on Skyhook rails and pouncing on enemies from above with a melee attack. I always got a little thrill from these attacks. Gamers will find out they are not invincible though and if you die you’ll respawn and be penalized.
Other games in the series had collectible audio logs and BioShock: Infinite keeps the tradition. There are Voxophones that hold audio logs, which give insight into the game. The non-collectible Kinetoscopes also give gamers insight into BioShock: Infinite’s world. There are also ciphers and code books that usually lead to secrets containing loot.
As with the other two games, BioShock: Infinite looks amazing. The futuristic, cheery, high flying city is bright and beautiful. On a mid-level gaming PC I noticed almost no hiccups or frame rate dropping. The details of the environments were breathtaking. I can tell 2K and Irrational spent a lot of time developing the game to immerse gamers into the world. Booker will be traveling through the breathtaking skies either by airship or skyhook. The music and dialogue really set the tone for the game and will help pull gamers into the time period as well as into the game world.
Personally, I had a blast with the game. I wish there had been multiplayer. I also wish there was a way to keep track of the collectibles you are picking up. Other players may find themselves getting bored rooting around in trash bins for stuff all the time but this seems to be a staple in the series. Nevertheless, there is an excellent story being told by 2K Games. I have been a long time fan of the BioShock series. I own multiple copies of the first two games. Although this game doesn’t have the creepy element of the first two games, it still shines on its own. I have a feeling BioShock: Infinite will win a lot of awards and will set high bars for other games like it as well as the next entry into the BioShock series.