Let’s put it bluntly: I don’t like first person shooters. I suck at them, they seem to me very stressful and story-empty. I know, Doom and Duke Nukem were one of my favourite games before my parents when I was ten years old. I loved their violence and how rebel I felt playing violent games when media crucified them as dangerous toys. But, as an adult, I got tired of that kind of games. Don’t get me wrong, I still love some violence in a game, but I also value other features. And then, on a time when soulless FPS flooded the gamestores, Bioshock Infinite appeared, and recently ended up in my console.
I remember, when I bought it at a Game Store, the shopkeeper told me “Oh, you’re not here for Call of Duty, you look more like an elegant, sophisticated gamer”, which is a definition I relate a lot with. What I look for in a game, apart from entertaining and comfortable gameplay, is art, an amazing story, soulful characters, envolving atmosphere… I love games which stay in my mind after switching off my console, which inspire me into create new stuff. And Bioshock Infinite is that kind of game.
Firstly, the plot of this game is an ellaborated sci-fi story dealing with time traveling and alternative realities which would make many authors jealous. At first glance, it may look like the typical “rescue the girl” story, but there’s much more into it, since Elizabeth is not a mere damsel in distress, and that’s why I love her so much. Elizabeth has a lot of personality and proves to be more a helpful companion than some cargo you drag around the game (like I felt with Ashley in Resident Evil 4). She is a dreamer, passionate for life, intelligent and sweet, but also strong and powerful. The weigh of the story relies on her and I personally consider her the main character of Bioshock Infinite, and not Booker. I fell in love with her so deep she’ll be the next character I’ll cosplay after Sophia Hapgood from Indiana Jones and The Fate of Atlantis —I’m in this cosmake project with my lovely friend Regina Vermilion. Also, I could not ignore the Beauty and Beast (yes, it’s one of my favourite Disney films) references on the first encounter with her: that outfit, library, rose are not accidental for me (and who is the Beast in this case? You’ll have to play to find out!).
The rest of the characters are also charismatic and full of personality. I ended up developing feelings for the Songbird even if it is represented as the most fearful enemy in the game, and I’m sure you’ll feel the same. The Luteces are just the cherry on the cake, because of their witty dialogues and mistery. The only character who seems a little bit void may be Booker, who follows the stereotype of angry white-male with a troubled past, but I regard him as the tool to follow-up the story in which the main character is Elizabeth, as said before. However, his most charming trait is being voiced by Troy Baker.
Rhythm and narrative are well developed and they evolve smoothly along the difficulty curve, and hence the game can get very addictive. As a personal experience, I will say I love my gaming nights, but I won’t normally last past 3 am. The first time I played Bioshock Infinite I ended up playing past 5 am and I wouldn’t notice time passing by. And I didn’t care. I went to bed because Morpehus was beckoning, yet I couldn’t wait to enjoy Columbia more.
Lastly (but not least), the atmosphere in Bioshock Infinite is more than remarkable. Columbia wraps you from the first time you enter the main menu, with its music, 1910s aesthetics and how you discover it bit by bit on exploration and on its details like voxophones, kinetoscopes, vending machines and even the tutorials on how to use Vigors (equivalent for the former plasmids). Special mention to the thrill you get every time you get on a skyline. Also, I loved how the social tension between the Founders and the Vox Populi heats up bit by bit and how you get involved in the middle of them.
All these qualities make Bioshock Infinite more than a simple FPS and, a week after finishing it, I miss it. Maybe I’ll play it in the future to enjoy its flavour again, but meanwhile I’m in the noir-essenced Burial At Sea, which returns to the classic Bioshocks. By the way, for those asking if it’s necessary to play Bioshock 1 and 2 before Infinite, I will say it’s a total indepedent game to the classic series, and for those Biosshock lovers, I’m sure you’ll be delighted to the Rapture references you’ll find in one of the most interesting parts in the game.