Bioshock Infinite is the third installment in the award-winning Bioshock series, and whilst there is no continuing storyline from its previous incarnations, fans of the brand will notice that the stunning visuals and intuitive gameplay remain very much at the heart of the game.
This time round we control Booker DeWitt, a former Government agent who – to pay off an unknown debt – is sent to the floating city of Columbia to rescue a captive called Elizabeth.
Set in 1912, the game features at its core a civil war between the ‘founders’ of Columbia and the ‘Vox Populi’, a rebel gang looking to seize control of the city. Whilst Columbia is gloriously easy on the eye, we quickly learn its inhabitants have an appetite for destruction. The protagonists are drawn into this battle as Elizabeth is highly sought by both of the rival factions, who wish to use her unique psychological powers for their own ends.
Bioshock Infinite is, in essence, a first person shooter, but with some neat role-playing touches that will please ardent RPG fans too. Following a well-trodden path, the game combines both linear plot points and the ability to free roam, allowing you to really immerse yourself in the atmosphere and politics of Columbia.
Whilst Booker has a number of destructive melee weapons and firearms at his disposal, he can also utilise vigors that offer a number of additional skills, including telekinesis, the manipulation of electricity and animal control to discombobulate opponents, and these – in grand RPG tradition – can be fully upgraded.
The player can also make the most of Elizabeth’s strengths in battle sequences, although she does remain CPU controlled throughout the game. The character of Elizabeth is built with a really intuitive AI model, which ensures she is of benefit rather than a hindrance – something you often find in ‘buddy’ shooters.
Using her spiritual abilities in combination with Booker’s skill in combat can lead to a number of devastating – and very satisfying – attacks. She’ll even chuck a few power ups your way when she’s not directly involved in the action herself.
The only blot on Bioshock Infinite’s copy book is the gun battle aspect, which feels clunky and a little dated when compared to many other recent point and shoot titles. But this is more than made up for in the sheer number of aforementioned ingenious battleground tactics that can be deployed.
If you’ve never played Bioshock before then you are in for a treat, and seasoned campaigners will be happy with the series’ continued commitment to sublime graphics, dense atmospherics and multi-layered battlegrounds.
Whether you are a tactically-minded player or an ‘all guns blazing’ merchant, the depth of Columbia and the responsiveness of your enemies gives the game a replay value so often lacking in first person shooters, whilst still being fun and easy to ‘pick up and play.’
The intricacies of the relationship between Booker and Elizabeth, as well as the dystopian environment they find themselves in, result in an immersive storyline packed with depth and promise. You really will want to see this one through to the end.