BioShock Infinite lives up expectations

7 min read
28

Hallelujah!

It’s very seldom that a sequel manages to live up to the lofty expectations that have built up around it. Bioshock Infinite, it seems, has managed to do that and more; in many cases, it’s exceeded them. Irrational Games’ latest exploration in to the broken ideologies of broken men is on track to become one of the highest rated games, not just of this generation, but of all time.

Here’s what critics have to say:

  • Destructoid: 10/10 – As a game, BioShock Infinite has its successes and its falterings consistent with any suitably complex piece of interactive entertainment. As a story, as an exercise in drawing the player into a believable and relevant world, as proof of exactly what a videogame can mean to a person … Well, I already said it. BioShock Infinite is damn near perfect.
  • Edge: 9 – BioShock Infinite is a sequel, in short – more so than BioShock 2. Irrational has made a game in thematic dialogue with its predecessor, with the same interests but different tastes, and one that expands mechanically and technically on what came before. And it’s given us a city in the sky that reflects upon the one beneath the waves.
  • El33tonline: 5/5 – For now, it will suffice to say that Bioshock Infinite is a game that’s destined to envelope the videogame world in discussion for weeks after release, and fans will debate its story for months and even years to come. This is a blockbuster movie and art house film rolled into one unforgettable experience and you owe it to yourself, either as a hardcore gamer or casual enthusiast, to go on this epic journey. You won’t regret it.
  • Eurogamer: 10/10 – Most of all, though, you’ll be amazed that Elizabeth works. To begin with, you imagine she will be someone who tags along behind you as you plunder Columbia for loot and scraps of bonus narrative, but her AI is such that you often find her running in front of you, anticipating where you want to go. It’s a great trick, but it’s also symbolic, because by the end of the game you realise that you are not the main character in any real sense. She is. She always has been. She always will be. It’s her journey. You’re just along for the ride. Still: what a ride.
  • G3AR: 9 – Bioshock Infinite certainly invites more than one playthough, if only to see what might have been if you went another way with things. That is an achievement in itself but you’ll never be bored in the world of Columbia. Confused? Occasionally. Bored? Never.
  • GameInformer: 10 – Infinite is more than a new setting, story, and characters; those elements are seamlessly integrated with complex themes, a mysterious plot, and entertaining combat to create an amazing experience from beginning to end. Familiar threads run through it – a lighthouse, a strange city, a charismatic antagonist – but they are homages to the past rather than attempts to recycle it. The core of Infinite is unlike anything else on land, sea, or air.
  • GamesRadar: 5/5 – Incredibly, BioShock Infinite delivers on your years’ worth of expectations, then exceeds them. Regardless of your affinity for the FPS genre, Infinite deserves your attention, and it’s the kind of landmark experience that happens only a few times in a gaming generation. Even after the game is over, Elizabeth–and Columbia–will stay with you.
  • GameSpot: 9.0 – As the story circles back on itself, you’re left wondering whether redemption cleanses us of our atrocities, or simply invites us to commit greater ones. Once the finale comes, you will want to play again, watching each event and image through the lens of information you can never un-know. BioShock Infinite is more than just a quality game: it’s an important one.
  • IGN: 9.4 – In total, BioShock Infinite is a brilliant shooter that nudges the entire genre forward with innovations in both storytelling and gameplay. It trips over itself in a couple of spots, but not in any way that should keep you from embracing it with your utmost enthusiasm.
  • Joystiq: 5/5 – While the end of 2013 will be filled with talk about a new generation of video games, BioShock Infinite’s narrative will stand out as an achievement, helping put a cap on a generation that propelled narrative as a focus for the industry. Undoubtedly the finest game crafted by Irrational Games, BioShock Infinite is one of the best told stories of this generation. It simply cannot be missed.
  • NAG Online: 94 – In a world where gamers are demanding something different and new and fresh we now have BioShock Infinite. It’s the kind of game that if it were a movie it would sweep away all the Oscars and make hundreds of millions at the box office. This game is driving gaming forward in new and many directions, giving us characters that we actually care about and people we want to see dead. When games start tugging on your emotions and give you a sense of wonder at what you’ve just experienced, then those games should be lifted up high and praised.
  • OPM UK: 10 – Bioshock Infinite serves as a reminder why. For it’s not polygon counts or real-time light-source manipulation we actually long for, but moments like this. Moments when incredible art design means a game will look beautiful a decade later. Moments when characters and their relationships are so well realised that we actually start to care. And moments when a story is so well-spun and high-flown it leaves you reeling at its conclusion. If Half-Life and the original Deus Ex stand as the apotheosis of the narrative-driven shooter, and Bioshock brought the genre to PS3, then Infinite is the latest game to join these hallowed ranks. This is a masterpiece that will be discussed for years to come, and praise doesn’t come much higher than that.
  • OXM UK: 9 – We can’t wait for the public discussion to begin around Infinite’s story and conclusion. If the game misses its full potential, that’s as much a testament to the ambition behind it. And let’s not forget that the impeccable dialogue, art, sound, acting and cast of characters. With BioShock Infinite, Irrational feels like it’s leaving all of Bioshock behind. Hopefully that’s not true: we’re not quite finished here, yet.
  • PC Gamer: 91 – Slightly muddled, but it’s a muddle of beautiful scenes and spectacular combat set in a breathtaking place.
  • Polygon 10/10 – I’m still thinking about BioShock Infinite now, days after finishing. Irrational built a believable, fantastic world rooted in dark pieces of American history. But for everything it has to say, for all the questions it asks -many of which have no easy answers – BioShock Infinite’s big thoughts and complicated narrative don’t obscure the brilliant action game that carries those messages through. It’s hard to know if Infinite will prove to be another major point of artistic discussion and development of the medium the way that BioShock was. But in every way, BioShock Infinite lives up to the promise of its legacy, and it looks poised to establish a new one.
  • VideoGamer: 8/10 – BioShock Infinite might just be one of the most compelling games of this generation. For all its flaws, it has an odd power, an insistence that players find out how the story concludes, and even then the Vox phones dotted around are worth going back for (Preston, Comstock’s ally, in particular). A sense of dread and unease that will linger unless solved, especially where the Lutece family and their sheer oddity is concerned. Elizabeth’s strength drives the story, and her insistent search for the truth nicely counterparts Booker’s shady past.

 

Oh, and if those scores aren’t enough to tip you over the edge, mayhaps the game’s exquisite launch trailer will do it instead. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an Elizabeth to save. 

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Geoffrey Tim

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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