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An Unforgettable Game You’ll Play Over and Over Again
In the first two Bioshocks, Ken Levine and his team of world creators set on the path of idealising and brining to life the city of Rapture – the city underwater. Rapture was artistically beautiful and painted the scene perfectly for events to unfold in Bioshock 1 and Bioshock 2. Irrational Games (or 2K Boston) took the style of gaming to a different level – the level that games rarely venture into. 2007 definitely set the benchmark for the team who worked on Bioshock, as they created a game that not only relied on the moral choices of the player, but their choices affected the eventual outcome or ending of the game.
However in Bioshock Infinite, the creators and writers wanted to stray away from the city of Rapture that they had built and perfected – and that’s when the city of Columbia was formed.
A game that very much focuses on the extremities of religion, moral choice and the exponential growth of American exceptionalism, Bioshock Infinite encourages the player to explore the world of Columbia at their own pace. Based on the ideals and design of the 1893 World’s Fair, Columbia evokes a sense of celebration and patriotism, evident in the many signs and memorials throughout the city.
In terms of the art direction and level design, the game presents the player with a very calming colour palette – an allusion to the very dark themes that are intertwined within the storyline. “You don’t need a dark place to convey dark themes, that’s what’s so brilliant about Columbia.” – Ken Levine.
If you have played the first two Bioshocks, the game play will seem very familiar. Instead of Plasmids and Tonics there are Salts. Salts allow an array of powers to be used such as forcing an enemy to be suspended in mid-air, electricity, possession and a few others. The arsenal of powers accompanied with the various weapons scattered throughout the game, requires the player to think instinctively and quickly in order to survive.
Without giving too much away the plot devices used to drive to the story forward and foreshadow the ending are so intricately written you’ll be second guessing everything you are told along the way. Booker De Witt (the main character) has a mission to rescue Elizabeth from a tower in Columbia, and somehow bring Father Comstock to a halt. “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.” Elizabeth accompanies you throughout the game, and whenever she wasn’t there, I genuinely missed her.
“Heads. Or tails?” The Lutece’s are probably the most well written NPC’s to ever exist in a game. A quirky couple that you don’t know if they’re insane or just there for a joke – but I suggest you keep an eye on them and listen to what they’re saying. The accents, the character design and the constant banter between the two is so perfectly refreshing from some of the horror you face, you’ll be wanting to keep them around forever…
Not only does Bioshock Infinite intertwine the beautiful setting of Columbia with its characters, but the ending is truly unforgettable – you will be left staring at your screen and wondering why you didn’t see it coming . There are so many facts to contribute to the ending, and one of the many ways to find clues is through the 80 audio diaries scattered throughout the game. ‘Voxaphones’ are voice recordings from characters that you do and also do not see in the game, and provide a multitude of information to support the back story of Bioshock Infinite. Listening to the recordings will provide you with character information, past events that have happened in Columbia and various other plot elements that the game does not explore with the player.
Something else that sets Bioshock Infinite apart from other games is the originality in their character creation. Troy Baker who voices Booker De Witt, combined with the talented Courtnee Draper (Elizabeth), gives the story just that little extra wow! factor. Not only are the main characters voices so brilliant, but all other NPC’s are created via motion capture, which places Bioshock Infinite up there with other titles such as Naughty Dog’s ‘Uncharted’ series and the up and coming ‘The Last of Us’.
Bioshock Infinite is a game that takes the experience of gaming into another world – literally. It’s beautiful play and aesthetic sounding soundtrack makes the game such a different experience from all the other games that line the shelves of your local store. If you’re looking to be challenged philosophically, mentally and morally, would you kindly give Bioshock Infinite a go?
Rating: The ending will leave you confused and confounded