The BioShock series has always been unique and addictive. Originally, there was to be only a single title, but based on the initial success, a new story was written for Bioshock 2. Here we are with the release of the third game, and it's in no way related to the first two. When you initially pick up Infinite, it's clear that this is a BioShock title, but this is so different and more unique than the previous two.
In Infinite, you play the role of Booker DeWitt, who has a dark past and is clearly doing something shady. He is labeled as a "False Shepherd" and is on the run. The game takes place in 1912 in a city in the sky called Columbia. Being isolated from the U.S. Government, the people of the city worship a prophet. The story line is pretty controversial due to it's religious ties and the inclusion of slavery (which is still part of the society). With a vibrantly lighted environment and a positive atmosphere that involve the residents of the city, it's quite the opposite of what the series is accustomed to. There will be some dark areas inside of places, but the feel of the world is quite different. The tone does get darker as the game progresses, and dead bodies will be laid up all over the place. Then there's Elizabeth. DeWitt is sent on a "rescue" mission to save Elizabeth. Who ever designed Elizabeth deserves some sort of medal. Not just the technical factor that she plays, but the design of the character. The first time you see her, there's just an instant fascination as you want to help her. She never gets in the way, and she's helpful by finding necessities for DeWitt. Her eyes are lively, and you mix that with the fact that she's been locked up for so long, she's is blown away by everything. The first time you see her cry, you just want to punch DeWitt in the face. But, without giving away too much, know that Elizabeth is an amazing character, and the banter between Dewitt and she is excellent. Elizabeth is able to create tears, which enable DeWitt to get ammo, use cover, and generate assistance from robots. She truly helps to make the game.
Vigors make their return, and they are awesome. Some of these are so special, you will want to sit and watch what they do. For example, an early vigor is Possession. The Vigors can be upgraded, as can all weapons in the game. There is an upgrade for Possession that takes control of an enemy, who then goes to kill its teammates. Once done, depending on the weapon, the enemy commits suicide. If they have the shotgun, it's bye-bye head. That, coupled with the positive vibe of the environment, is what makes BioShock. There's so much innocence going on with the residents, it's a complete 360 when all the blood gets shed as it feels out of place in this world (not to mention once Elizabeth experiences this). Apparel can be found and each one offers a different characteristic such as adding a chance of catching enemies on fire with your melee weapon. There are different melee killing animations that are excellent. The city also has a rail system that the melee weapon is used to travel around on. The controls in doing so are very tight, and there's no worries about missing the rail, or the hook. You can also leep down and kill an opponent, much like something out of Arkham City.
Weapons can be upgraded throughout the game, including finding new guns. The Vigors depend on Salts, which can be refilled at stations. There is a lot of looting in the game including exploration. If you get lost, there is a direction finder, but it's much better to explore. Some items will give you health and take away from salts, and vice versa. Exploring really adds to the depth of the game, as its not a completely streamlined experience. A lot of games will have special abilities unlocked for the sake of advancing. The vigors are not like this, as there might be one that you don't use simply because you don't like it. They are not that cheap to upgrade, either.
There's a lot of generic enemy thugs in the game, but it's the tougher opponents that look awesome. George Washington robots and guys that could pass for a really old Big Daddy are awesome. Seeing the mechanical eagle who hunts Elizabeth is really awesome. It's just such a great design, as much of the non-generic enemies are.
Graphically, Infinite uses the most of what it can with a dated engine. The game looks excellent on pc, but the console version is filled with a lot of bloom effect and does run a consistent frame rate. There's even a frame rate locking option for consoles and thought that was a bit strange. Later in the game, it seems to load during gameplay. There's also no radar, which is okay, but sometimes that one enemy is hard to pin down and locate. The characters do look cartoon-ish, but that goes along with the world and is very fitting. A very colorful game adds a different level of entertainment as one might say BioShock Infinite is a twisted Pixar movie.
The sound quality in the game is excellent. The voice acting is top notch and the soundtrack completes the 1912 setting. All the dialect is there from the different people from that era. All the sound effects are excellent, as this does everything possible to help captivate the sounds of that time. Again, the banter between DeWitt and Elizabeth is smooth and captivating.
While there's no multiplayer, not every game needs this. This series has never had it, and there's no need for it, even co-op. I wish some other titles would understand the same.
BioShock Infinite is the early favorite for Game of the Year, and will be a positive mark on this console generation that people will never forget. Yes, the game is controversial, but it's worth getting over anything offensive to play this excellent title. With no noticeable bugs to speak of, and the game excelling in every area, one could ponder this title being the game of this generation. The characters, setting, and story make this the best experience to be had with a game in some time.
Graphics: 9 - The PC version looks gorgeous, but the console version has more bloom effect to help compensate for the dated engine. To make up for this, the game runs smoothly with little to no hiccups, and it's a very colorful game that bring the environment to life in a different way.
Sound: 10 - The sound in BioShock Infinite does everything right. Excellent voice acting, interaction, and banter coupled with the perfect soundtrack to help identify the setting.
Gameplay: 10 - A very addicting title that has a lot of depth. The Vigors and their upgrades, the weapons, and the attire that unlocks different attributes all add to that depth. The game controls quite well once you have your aiming down. Looting is a very important part of this title. The non-generic opponents are awesome too.
Replay: 9 - Entering the Konami Code at the start screen will unlock a higher difficulty. This game really just doesn't get old and going through it multiple times is as enjoyable as the first. There's a lot of exploring to be done, as things like items and messages can be easily missed on the first playthrough.
Overall: 10 -This game really has no issues. It's such an enjoyable unique experience, it's easily the favorite for GOTY and one of the most memorable games of this generation. Yeah, there are better looking games, but the more you play this game, the more involved you feel with what's going on. Irrational Games does an excellent job of creating something fresh here that might not be matched for a while. The two main characters in the title really draw you into the story. The game is deserving of a perfect score.