"Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt." Sounds like an easy task, right? Well, if you're Booker DeWitt, it's not. And with that begins the story of the newest game in Ken Levine's "Shock" games (see System Shock 2, Bioshock, Bioshock 2). Bioshock Infinite is the 3rd title in the Bioshock series and, just like the 2007 original, Infinite manages to change storytelling and gameplay ideals to make a groundbreaking experience. Set in 1912, Infinite has players as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton sent out to find a girl to pay off a debt. Here is we see a change for the "Shock" games: a talking protagonist. Booker is voiced by the amazing Troy Baker, who is just right as Booker. Baker puts real emotion into his acting and makes you feel what Booker feels. Anyway, after being brought to a lighthouse, Booker finds himself brought (or rather launched) to Columbia, a city in the sky. Columbia is the complete opposite of Rapture from the original Bioshock. Instead of being free of religion, celebrating the individual, and being underwater like Rapture, Columbia is in the sky, heavily religious, and believes in the survival of a group. Soon, you find yourself to be the False Shepard, the person destined to lead "The Lamb" astray, and the combat starts. The mechanics of combat in Infinite are both similar, and different. There is now a 2-weapon limit, but you can pick up the weapons you want, with no restrictions. You can have a sniper and shotgun, or rocket launcher and minigun. The special powers are back, now called Vigors. The different Vigors are slightly similar to ones in the previous Bioshock games (Murder of Crows = Insect Swarm, Devil's Kiss = Incinerate). Another new piece of combat involves Elizabeth, the girl you have to find. Using a special power, she can open "Tears", windows to another dimension. The tears can open windows that can help, including ammo and weapons. Elizabeth, herself, in a miracle in AI technology. She is smart and responsive to the player's reactions, and is voiced by the wonderful Courtnee Draper. Like Baker, Draper delivers real emotion into her dialogue and makes Elizabeth the best side character in a game... ever. Going back to gameplay, another new feature is the Sky Line, which is the best addition to a game ever. A rollercoaster-like transport system, the Sky Line adds a new heights (literally) to gameplay, allowing for aerial attacks with the Skyhook or your guns. However, the story is the main focus of Infinite. It's suspenseful, emotional, and has many mysteries. And for fans of the original Bioshock: Yes, there is a twist. But, you will not expect it... at all. In short, Bioshock Infinite is a great game in both story and gameplay. The story is amazing, with many emotional moments near the end; and the gameplay is frenetic and great. The best thing to do, if you are ready to get Infinite, is this: Buy the game, buy the Season Pass, then sit back and get ready for what could be the greatest first-person shooter experience ever.
Bioshock Infinite on Xbox 360 (version reviewed), PS3, PC
May 17, 2013