Now that we’ve reached the end of one godawful administration, I’m looking at my role as a game reviewer. More importantly, I’m trying to see things as a minority with a platform.
Spoiler warning: This article discusses key aspects of BioShock’s story and the infamous plot twist.
Bioshock is one of the most well-regarded games in the medium, but when I played it on the Xbox 360 many years ago, it didn’t grab me like others did.
Ever since the closing moments of BioShock: Infinite’s gripping DLC, fans have been clamoring for more experiences in a similarly uncomfortable, doom-laden vein. This is likely why the ID@Xbox title We Happy Few is creating so much buzz of late. But this is no Bioshock clone, friends, despite a similar look and feel. Instead, We Happy Few is a much less visceral, but no less intense adventure – one that should gain even more hype as development continues.
The discussion around BioShock Infinite's combat doesn't just involve the question of whether its quantity of violence is essential to the story (yes), or whether telling a story where its quantity of violence is essential is interesting or worthwhile (no). Some of the discussion has centered around the question of whether the combat mechanics are any good. Eric Schwarz has written a fantastic post that describes most of the combat mechanics, and I want to expand on it a little. Even though I think violence helps to express the kind of character Booker is, I don't think the combat systems of BioShock Infinite do much to help characterize him, and in some ways actively oppose that characterization.
BioShock Infinite is a violent game, and it has to be. That's a contrast to BioShock, an equally violent game where combat conveyed nothing about its main character and had little to do with the game's themes other than spurring the player to engage in its various economies. Any stimulus—using plasmids to solve environmental puzzles, for instance—would have sufficed. That's not so in Columbia. Violence is essential to who Booker DeWitt is, and what Columbia is. Their story cannot be told without it.
One of the things I found most striking about BioShock Infinite is how sloppy it was. The ending, as I already discussed, is a self-contradicting mess held together only by sharply-timed revelations and plonky piano music. The quantum morass of its final moments is only one of the game's problems, though.
One of the problems with stories that use the concept of multiple universes is that the word “multiple” doesn’t even begin to describe the scale of existence. Consider, for instance, the universes in which I just reached through the internet and handed you a cookie (hope you like pistachio sandies!). Now, in the context of known physical laws, this is an extremely unlikely event, so much so that if you were to try to write out the probability by putting down a 1 and writing zeroes in front of it, you could go the whole lifetime of our universe without ever reaching the decimal point.
HIGH The classic revisionism of the Hall of Heroes.
LOW The lazy, pointless, and offensive "equivalence" narrative that opens the second half of the game.
WTF I've been finding machine-gun rounds in pickle barrels the whole game, but there's no ammo in this armament crate?
The announcement of the BioShock Infinite delay to late February of 2013 doesn't surprise me in the slightest. The original October 2012 release date seemed a bit risky, given the already-impressive lineup of software that is slated to ship near the same time. Assassin's Creed III, Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Wii U hardware, and other games would likely have eaten into potential sales for BioShock Infinite. Would these other software releases have led to disappointing sales for Infinite?
Just finished the recent BioShock 2 DLC, Minerva's Den. In an interesting turn of events, I think the final scenes of this DLC are probably some of the best to be found in the series, and it got me thinking… if there was one thing missing from both of the BioShock games, it was that there was not enough of the human element.