E3 2011 Live Coverage : Bioshock Infinite

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I just stepped out of a closed-door session with 2K Game’s anticipated Bioshock sequel – though calling it a sequel is doing it a bit of a disservice, to be honest. Though it follows the same theme of a utopian ideal gone wrong, it’s its own game – and one that looks set to be as genre defying as its name-sake.

Set on the floating city of Columbia, Bioshock follows Booker DeWitt and his companion Elizabeth, a young woman with mysterious ability  to apparently warp time and space. The demo kicked off with Booker and Elizabeth entering a store and examining it for useful contents. It all goes a little awry when Songbird, Elizabeth’s former captor shows up to try recapture her. What followed was an amazing ride showcasing the game’s visceral combat and the same core Bioshock component of mixing up gunplay and enhanced powers.

Unlike the dying city of Rapture, filled with remnant splicers, the airborne Columbia is a living city – and is host to and internal struggles between a group called the Founders and the insurgent rebellion of Vox Populi. The entire city is connected by traversable Skylines that allow DeWitt and other city inhabitants to move across it using equipped skyhooks. Latching on to a Skyline propels you through the skies – leading to a much faster paced game in terms of movement and combat.

The immersive narrative, a defining characteristic of Bioshock is here, and seems like it could even eclipse the original’s storytelling.  Everything about the game demonstrates its unique personality though; a very different kind of story, a companion instead of the solitary  underwater trawl and bright, vivid visuals and aesthetics instead of the bleak look of the once magnificent Rapture.

It’s astoundingly beautiful, and thanks to the combination of tech and art design, has some of the best visuals I’ve seen in a game to date. The demo was done using the PS3 version, and it’s visually far more impressive than anything else I’ve seen on the system. It’s not too soon to say that it’s indeed one of the stars of this E3 show, attested by the swathes of “best of show” badges that already surround its viewing booth.

Last Updated: June 8, 2011

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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