9 July, 2014
Back in 2007, a game hit the market from Irrational Games, the makers of System Shock series. The first thing I noticed was the very cheesy name: BIOSHOCK. I mean who would buy a game called Bioshock? Especially when the time for cheesy names had been long gone. But it was more of a spiritual successor to the acclaimed System shock hence the name was thus justified and yes everybody bought it alright.
I found the game very interesting when I came to know that it had shades of Ayn Rand’s works in it. The first time I set eyes upon the Lighthouse and the climbing up the steps drenched in water….Whoa! At the time my system couldn’t handle Bioshock’s gorgeous visuals in maxed out settings but every now and then I cranked up the graphics just to get a glimpse of how it looked. Rapture, the underwater city was a sight of pure wonder. Bioshock infused a strong storyline with its thrilling survivor-horror-esque gameplay. You had your arsenal of guns and whatnot but the additions of Plasmids and Tonics gave FPS genre a new life. After a lesser known but very enjoyable sequel, Bioshock 2 (Sea of Dreams) Ken Levine has taken the franchise to new heights…literally.
Welcome to Columbia a huge seemingly Utopian city levitated via Quantum Tech onto the clouds. You’ll be in awe the first time you step outside the Bathysphere and set eyes upon Columbia. The city is thriving in life and joy, the clouds that drifts by at the edge of each section, you need to revel in it but not all is as it seems to be. If you thought Bioshock’s Rapture was scary wait till you learn the sinister secrets behind Columbia. Dealing with religious, societal stuff Bioshock Infinite’s story will twist and turn as and when it pleases and believe me when I say you will be far from ready when you hit the finale. You play as Booker Dewitt, sent to Columbia to find and return a girl by name Elizabeth. There ain’t no need to play the previous Bioshock but I recommend you play them as it will further enhance your experience making it full circle. Instead of writing the whole of this article in one go after finishing the game I took breaks while playing Bioshock Infinite and jotted down points…giving time for myself to soak in the aspects of the game. And if you thought you’d read some spoilers on some game forums don’t worry it won’t hamper your experience coz you just can’t sum it up in a couple of lines.
Irrational Games as it seems have grabbed gamers and critics alike by their throats and are maneuvering puppeteering to give Infinite a 10/10. Yes its a reputable firm and it does demand respect like that of Steam but this is just a bit too much that any Game company deserves. Despite its hype and gamer’s awes I didn’t find the first Bioshock that praiseworthy. I did love playing it, a plot driven FPS was hard to come by those days and the underwater Rapture was something you’d never seen before…fueled by Ayn Rand’s works also added a gem to its crown. It was memorable yes but not so much. The same goes for Bioshock Infinite while gamers all over the world are reveling, Bioshock Infinite didn’t revolutionize the genre. Yes it strikes a chord on so many levels but at the same time it fails short in some and mainly its gameplay. You can only carry 2 guns at a time and I was forced to stick with a shotgun and an RPG. While the Plasmids of Bioshock have been renamed as Vigors, the effects of the same looked super cool. Combos of vigors were awesome too. Murder of Crows used with Shock Jockey gave devastating results and the same goes for other vigors. You are literally Dressed to Kill in Bioshock Infinite and instead of Bioshock’s Tonics you have Gears/Clothing here that made you powerful. The introduction of Skyline makes sures of one hell of a ride. The vertical dimension makes the combat pure chaos…add to that the insanely coded enemies…it was very challenging. They use covers, they flank u from all directions. I found the Handyman a major challenger even with the RPGs.
Despite the boring guy with a gun on the box, BioShock Infinite is really about Elizabeth. The player is stuck with her for almost the entirety of the game, so it was important that Irrational make her a tolerable presence. The initial meeting with Elizabeth itself was purely amazing and you’ll know then and there that Elizabeth is gonna be in your mind for long..longer after you’ve finished the game. Seems like Ken Levine didn’t want Elizabeth to be another character who tagged along with you wherever you went so she was taken special care when designed and developed and it was all worth it. She tosses you items in need, she reacts to your actions and the sheer lines between Booker and Elizabeth is amusing. And then there’s the Songbird, Elizabeth’s guardian and it literally gave me goosebumps. All the Songbird encounters in Bioshock Infinite were gripping and intense but unfortunately there wasn’t enough to revel in.
Towards the end Bioshock Infinite takes a very strange turn. No words will be able to explain it and I wouldn’t dare spoil it for you. While it does give you a loophole-free view of things that’d happened, it still questions the credibility of those things. You will be ridden with doubts and the lesser you think about it the more enlightened you’ll feel and love the game. Google “Bioshock Infinite Ending” and you might end up loathing the game. I felt there was no need to make it so…”Byzantine”
In conclusion Bioshock Infinite is a great game and a must play but I am sad to quote its in no way revolutionary. Its is damn good but the gameplay mechanics, I found, were the same as Bioshock One with a layer of gorgeous visuals and other cosmetic effects stretched over. Elizabeth & Booker was a welcome addition to Infinite and will remain etched in gamers’ minds for a long time and I wouldnt be surprised if it ends up winning multiple Game of the Year awards though the ending pretty much wraps up the Bioshock lore too. And if Irrational games make one more Bioshock game they’d be overdoing it. All our hopes and despair aside, its hard not to see now why they wouldn’t churn up another game outta a franchise this successful.
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