» Video Game Review
By Michael WORKMAN
“Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt.” Gamers will be hearing this line in their sleep for a long time now that Irrational Games “BioShock Infinite” has been released.
Players take on the role of Booker DeWitt, an ex-Pinkerton agent that must find a mysterious girl to wipe away his sizable debt. This mission brings players to the city of Columbia, a floating metropolis that is rooted in the turn of the century and American exceptionalism.
Columbia is a beautiful city and touts to be the new Garden of Eden, but Booker quickly finds that it has a very dark and sinister core under the pretty façade. There is blatant racism and xenophobia all packaged in propaganda from Columbia’s “prophet” Father Comstock. There is even a cult in the city that paints the notorious assassin John Wilkes Booth as a martyr and saint for killing President Abraham Lincoln. This religious group that worships the Founding Fathers of America quickly start calling Booker the “false shepherd” and fighting becomes unavoidable.
“BioShock Infinite’ is a first-person shooter but also makes use of super powers called “vigors” that can do a wide range of actions from setting enemies on fire to summoning a flock of murderous crows. But what sets “BioShock Infinite” apart from the other titles in the series is Elizabeth, the girl Booker must save, who actually has the power to rip open holes in the very fabric of space and time. These are put to use for the player by having Elizabeth summon cover for Booker to hide behind or warp in a machine gun turret to help with enemies. Elizabeth is by no means a burden on the player since enemies ignore her and she will toss Booker ammo and health when he is running out of either.
One of the most interesting gems of “BioShock Infinite” is the player’s interaction with Elizabeth. Hidden from the world for most of her life, she is fascinated with Booker and brings quite a lot of emotion to the story, which is very uncommon for a first-person shooter title. The programmers who designed Elizabeth made her eyes very animated in order to invoke more feelings from the players, which makes for a more compelling story. There are some significant plot twists that will really confuse players since the game deals with messing with space and time, but “BioShock Infinite” pulls it off wonderfully.
One downfall to the story, however, is that while Elizabeth sees the injustice and hypocrisy of the city and wants to help the people being oppressed, Booker has an attitude that boils down to, “It’s terrible, but that’s just the way things are.” I felt the developers should have made it an option to fight racism and worker exploitation more because the game forces the player to see the horrendous effects but never resolves it except in small instances.
“BioShock Infinite” is definitely the best game that has come from developers at Irrational Games. It has plenty of hard hitting action and a very engaging story line to boot, which makes this first-person shooter an absolute treat to play.
Players will have a hard time finding a game that can match “BioShock”’s level of amazing visuals and stellar gameplay.
BioShock Infinite for the PS3 gets a 4/5 rating.