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Bioshock: Infinite- A video game review by Andrew C. Cary

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Bioshock Infinite
Don't look down. It has been a long time since a video game has blown me away. After over a decade of playing games, things can start to fade together and become a bit stale. Bioshock: Infinite is not stale. From the dystopian setting in the clouds over America, to the complex and heartening journey of main characters Booker and Elizabeth, to the quick and adrenaline-pumping gunplay and combat, it seems that almost everything in the game is unlike anything ever seen before, not just in video games, but in most media and literature. That’s quite the grandiose statement, yes, but Infinite is quite the grandiose game. As is the case with many works of art, Infinite is complex and can be confusing. You play as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent with a dark past, who is sent to the floating city of Columbia to “find the girl” and “wipe away the debt”. We are not told who the girl is, or what the debt is. That is part of the mystery. You are sent to a lighthouse off the coast of Maine and shot up 20,000 feet in the air until you land, ungracefully, on one of the pieces of land, held up by giant blimps, that makes up Columbia. I will give away few other story details so that the reader may have the same experience as I did. I went in almost blind to this game, and it made the city and its mystery much more fascinating. If you played the original Bioshock, you will have only the most basic of understandings as to what this game will be like, in terms of gameplay and story development. You may guess that there is a twist at the end of Infinite, as there was in the original BioShock, and boy, would you be right about that. I am certainly not going to give anything away, but I was wide-eyed and completely silent as the credits rolled. My eyes may have watered up a bit. Then again, I am a pretty big nerd when it comes to things like this. In terms of gameplay, the game is a first-person shooter. You can hold up to two guns, which are mostly fairly basic, being variations on machine guns, repeaters, shotguns, and RPGs. The three things that mix up the combat and make it stand out are the Vigors, the Skyhook, and your in-game partner, Elizabeth. Vigors are special, superhuman abilities that were developed in the highly capitalist society of Columbia to give the rich a particular advantage over the less well-to-do. They give abilities such as shooting fire or electricity from your hands, or, my personal favorite, that suspends enemies in midair, rendering them helpless against any variety of attacks. The skyhook is perhaps the coolest part of Infinite. You can use it as a melee weapon, to gruesomely take enemies out from up close, or you can use it to navigate the city on the Skylines. The skylines are essentially roller coaster rails that are used to transport cargo and workers across the city, and they are so fun to use for both navigation and combat. The sense of speed the player gets from riding them is insane, almost a bit disorienting. There is nothing between you and 20,000 feet of air. Don’t look down. You first use them to quickly transport from location to location, however, you eventually are able to use them in combat to quickly move around the battlefield; you can swing to a higher location, run away from the battle if you need to heal, or quickly dive off the skylines and perform a quick, vicious, vertical strike on an enemy. Elizabeth is introduced to you fairly early on in the game, and she is without a doubt the most impressive NPC (Non-player character) of this generation. Her AI (Artificial Intelligence) is unprecedented. She not only has an uncanny ability to stay out of trouble, thus making herself not a hindrance to the player in any way, she also provides you with extra ammo and health that she finds in the game world and opens up “tears” in the world to bring in useful items and environments to aid you in battle. To go more into “tears” at this time would be a spoiler, so I’ll let you find out more about that. Booker and Elizabeth are wonderfully voice acted, and that good production lends a great amount of credence to the story and situations that the characters find themselves in. Every story moment in the game becomes pivotal because you care so much about protecting Elizabeth. That may sound strange, but the player feels like her protector in many ways and that adds a lot to the feel and emotional appeal of the game. I always, always try to find things that are wrong with a game. My nitpicky-ness is almost unprecedented. However, I could not find anything wrong with this game. There are few things in this world that I would call “perfect”, but Bioshock: Infinite is one of them. Even if you don’t enjoy video games, I would recommend experiencing this wonderful piece of modern literature. 10/10
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