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Release Date: March 26th 2013
Developers: Irrational Games
Publishers: 2K Games
Platforms: Microsoft Windows/PlayStation 3/Xbox 360/OS X/Linux
Players: Single Player
BioShock Infinite is set in an early 1900s utopian city named Columbia, a civilisation suspended in mid air using a pseudo-scientific principle called "Quantum-Levitation". The Columbian community is led by the self-proclaimed prophet "Zachary Comstock" who found power using his previous connections to congress before converting to fundamentalist, militant Christianity.
Columbia also follows many of the principles and styles that culminated from the real life 1920's such as fashion, language and even delving deeper into themes of white supremacy, and an innate desire from the higher classes to cleanse the civilisation of the working class. Deriving from these themes, are a group of rebels called the Vox Populi (Latin for Voice of the People) who form an uprising in an attempt to stomp out the oppression of Comstock over different races and classes.
There are many secrets to be discovered within the game, and in the pursuit of finding information, you will come across many fun characters and situations which will leave you with a great sense of wonderment.
The main protagonist of this edition of BioShock, and the man you will be playing as for the duration of the story.
The secondary protagonist of the story, with an ability to open tears within the environment taking you through time to different dimensions, but is she all she seems to be?
Fr. Zachary Hale Comstock:
Former congressman turned prophet, and leader of Columbia and its militant Christian armies.
Leader of the Vox Populi, determined to end the reign of the tyrant, Fr. Comstock.
Robert and Rosalind Lutece:
A mysterious couple who appear at unexpected moments throughout the story.. but why?
You, Booker DeWitt, have found yourself in possibly one of the strangest situation of your life. The game's opening scene reveals DeWitt being conveyed to an isolated island occupied by a sole lighthouse, by a strange couple you know nothing about. Upon making it onto the island, you make your way into the lighthouse, where you are greeted by the corpse of a man who has been shot, accompanied by the mysterious message, "Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt", confused by the matter, DeWitt makes his way to the top of the lighthouse, where instructed to sit down in a seemingly normal chair, but what is actually a means of transport that will rocket you up to Columbia, a flying city which plays setting to the journey about to be undergone, filled with plenty of twists and turns.
With no knowledge or clues as to why he was sent to this place bar the mysterious letters 'AD' branded onto the back of his hand DeWitt explores the civilisation. Not too long after he arrives, he is pursued by some of Comstock's mercenaries after they discover notice these letters on his hand, which is said to be the defining feature of the "False Shepherd", a supposed antagonist in the prophecy of Fr. Comstock, who is meant to come to Columbia to corrupt Elizabeth, the daughter of the Prophet, and overthrow the current civilisation.
After realising that Elizabeth, Comstock's daughter, is the girl in question, DeWitt sets upon releasing her from the Prophets oppressive captivity, and taking her back to where it all started. Throughout the course of the story, Booker will find out more and more about why this is all happening, until a realisation of the whole enterprise is reached by the end. This is where you will have to play and find out for yourselves!
There are many items and weapons that can be used during the course of the story, along with DeWitt's ability to use Vigors (the Infinite equivalent to BioShock 1 and 2's 'Plasmids') - which grant the player certain attacking powers which can be more and less effective depending on the situation - i.e flames are effective on ice, or electricity is effective when water is around. Note that these Vigors require Salt to be used (the Infinite equivalent of BioShock 1 & 2's EVE) and can be compared to many other mainstream games' mana.
You will typically have a weapon and often a sidearm equipped, however you may have more than just a primary and secondary in your inventory, with weapons being available to pick up, along with ammunition and are scattered around the player environment.
BioShock Infinite also introduces the idea of the 'Sky-Line', a network of monorail type bars that fill the city of Columbia used for transport. However, with the story you acquire an item called the Sky-Hook, a magnetised rotating hook that allows you to swing around the rails hanging by your grasp, which allows for a lot of mid-air combat, and high speed action.
Regarding difficulty, this is customisable, allowing the player to choose Easy, normal or Hard (note that once all 3 are completed, the player unlocks '1999 mode', which in other words is an expert setting, harder than all the other game modes).
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With the cartoon-y feel of BioShock perhaps it would be slightly harder to be too critical as the emphasis isn't put heavily upon the graphics, rather than the story and the player's ability to follow the idea of the game. However, I was very impressed with the graphics. This comes principally from the environment of Columbia, the city is almost overwhelming in its make up, with a heavenly, utopian feel, which has been very well achieved by the artists, with use of golds and silvers, brass and various other metals, giving off the essence of wealth, mixed with the vast planes of clouds as far as the eye can see, which creep into sight almost everywhere in the setting.
The numerous animations are smooth, and make for a decent visual experience, there really is nothing within the game that I'd complain about graphically.
If you are playing on PC/Mac, along with many games your typical movement controls WASD whilst using your mouse/mousepad to look around, Spacebar will allow you to jump, Ctrl for Crouch and Left Shift will toggle sprint. Your left click acts as your primary weapon fire, and you right click will allow you to use your Vigors. The controls are customisable allowing the player to set up hotkeys for certain actions. Your Numpad will toggle through Vigors.
For PS3 and Xbox 360, Your left stick will allow movement, with right stick allowing the player to look around. RT/R2 acts as your weapon trigger, with L2/LT allow players to use their Vigors. A/X will allow players to jump B/Circle to crouch X/Square to reload and Y/Triangle Melee attack/Execute. LB/L1 will toggle through your Vigors and RB/R1 will toggle through your weapons.