by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Bird's Eye view
I loved Rapture. The 1940's Art Deco styling, the story of a scientific Utopia gone wrong, the use of plasmids and tonics as a form of upgrading and the crazed inhabitants and innocence of the Little Sisters all made the game set in an underwater city seem believable. But after two games, the setting has moved on. Rapture and its psychotic citizens are no longer the focus. Instead, BioShock Infinite takes us to earlier days and a floating city in the sky known as Columbia.
BioShock Infinite has you controlling Booker DeWitt, an ex Pinkerton agent, with a somewhat murky history and a debt to settle. To settle the debt, he has been given the task of finding a young lady in the city of Columbia and returning her to New York. Sounds simple enough. But the young Elizabeth, much like Rapunzel, has been held captive in the city for twelve years due to certain powers and abilities that those in the city believe tie her to the prosperity of Columbia.
"A last chance for redemption"
The early part of the game has Booker enjoying the locale. The people are all friendly and there is a carnival atmosphere throughout the city. He is alone and on the lookout for any clues to Elizabeth's whereabouts. There is even a fair which gives Booker a chance to prove his skills with a couple of weapons and have a look at how some of the abilities, known as Vigors, work. Along the way things change for the worst, but eventually he meets up with the young lady herself. At their first meeting, Elizabeth has a somewhat naïve persona, but as the game develops, so does she.
Elizabeth is not your standard non playable companion. She doesn't simply tag along whilst you attempt to free her and get her to New York, but she helps you in a number of ways. While searching the city, she will locate Silver Eagles (the game's currency) for you. During firefights, she'll throw you whatever ammunition you've suddenly become short on or salt to top up for your Vigors. And if you're injured, she'll toss you a medical kit. But it's not just the helpful little items like that. Early on, Elizabeth gives you an indication of why she is so important to Zachary Comstock, by tearing a window to another time period or place.
The main antagonist in the game, as mentioned above, is Zachary Comstock, the founder of the floating city and a man treated like a god by most of the city's inhabitants. As you progress, it appears that there are certain groups of the Columbia society who are not entirely pleased with Comstock's overly nationalistic and somewhat racist views. Indeed, as you travel around Columbia, you'll notice things such as segregated toilets and discriminatory museum displays, all of which dispel the theory that Columbia is truly the utopia it was supposed to be.
Don't pick #77
After things have turned for the worst, Booker has a host of various characters trying to stop him from finding and then freeing Elizabeth. The local constabulary has deemed that Booker is the False Shepherd (the name given to him by Comstock) and will attempt to shoot him on sight. These guys are fairly easy to take care of being that they are like the pawns on a chess board. It is the back row that requires a little more finesse. Enemies such as the Crow, the Handyman (could probably be regarded as Infinite's version of the Big Daddy) and the Patriots (George Washington robots with wings) provide more of a challenge requiring Booker to use various combinations of Weapons and Vigors.
The story, the location and the characters make Columbia believable. Gameplay is pure BioShock with some great new abilities.
It took me a short while to adjust to the weapons/vigor mouse controls