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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: 2K Games
Developed By: Irrational Games
Genre: First-Person Shooter
Players: 1
Rated: M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Mild Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco)
Release Date: March 26, 2013
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Marcus Prunty

April 29, 2013 - There are games every generation that make you wonder about the shear depths of the human imagination and put you in awe of the creative talents of the developers and what can be accomplished through technology. So far we have experienced this in titles like Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3, Skyrim and Gears of War 3; where the envelope was pushed beyond what was thought to be possible. These games, like many others, have helped to shape this generation into one that will be remembered for generations to come. Another game added to this list would be the recently released BioShock Infinite from developer Irrational Games. A few years ago I wasn’t even into first person shooters; I dismissed them as war games and wasn’t really my thing. Then came along BioShock and if you spent any time playing that game you marveled at the amazing job done by the developer. Infinite is a follow-up that provides an awesome experience you will not soon forget. From the epic storyline, to the amazingly detailed characters that you become emotionally involved with and a villain so amazingly complex that the end will catch you saying what? what? What just happened? You can’t help but fall in love with BioShock Infinite.

Taking place in a utopian city known as Columbia, Irrational Games produces a civilization that’s so believable with its liveliness that you actually feel like you’re there when playing. The citizens of Columbia are living their everyday lives; having conversations, birds flying to and fro, enjoying the myriad of things the city holds for them. The lush and vibrant backgrounds of Columbia make you want to live within a society of similar build; however due to its overly racist tones, “we’re better than the filth of the rest of the world” viewpoint due and intense belief in the prophet Zachary Comstock, you can’t help but be glad you don’t live in Columbia.

In BioShock Infinite, you take control of a fellow by the name of Booker DeWitt living in 1912’s America. He’s a veteran of the Wounded Knee battle and now appears to be a private investigator. He is in some kind of trouble and must make a journey to Columbia to rescue a girl named Elizabeth to “wipe away the debt” of his. This very statement will reverberate throughout the game and is highlighted by the two gentlemen who first take you to the lighthouse at the beginning of the game. This debt is what drives DeWitt to make this journey and as the story unfolds, you will understand just how deep the debt is and the weight it takes upon his psyche.

Elizabeth; the girl you must rescue from Columbia, isn’t just your ordinary girl. She is the seed of the prophet and is to bring Columbia ideals and visions to the world. Trapped in a huge tower and protected by this monolithic flying Songbird, a rescue attempt on her is a major ordeal. Songbird that watches out for her reminds you of the same protective nature the Big Daddies had for the Little Sisters in the original BioShock. Elizabeth also has the ability to open tears into other dimensions or areas to which you can view or travel to those different places. This ability helps your gameplay greatly as you are battling your way out of Columbia after you rescue her from the tower and attempt to take her back to the people who will wipe away your debt.

Speaking of gameplay, this harkens back to the original BioShock as well. In the original Bioshock you had a mixture of guns and special powers known as plasmids. In Infinite, DeWitt uses a variety of different guns he wields with one hand and vigors which gives him special abilities in the other. There are differences though in the two games in that in the original game plasmids were created because people were experimenting with gene splicing in an attempt to make themselves into the “perfect beings.”

However in Infinite it’s never really explained why there are vigors, especially since no one else in the game really uses these kinds of abilities. There are 8 vigors that you can receive and they each perform a different ability. The Bucking Bronco will levitate enemies and makes them defenseless, the Charge vigor lets you ram into them from a great distance and cause damage. Devil’s Kiss lets you throw a flaming ball that explodes and causes burn damage, Murder of Crows allows you to sick a flock of crows onto targeted enemies that distracts them and damages them. Possession lets you take control of a machine or an enemy and have them benefit you. The enemies will attack other enemies in the area and when it wears off will be so distraught from their actions, they usually commit suicide. Now this vigor doesn’t cause all enemies to suicide themselves. The bigger the enemy the least likely this will happen, which means its wears off and you have to kill them now. Return to Sender allows you to create a shield to block incoming gunfire; Shock jockey shocks the targets with lightning bolts and deals damage especially when near water. The final vigor; Undertow, allows you to throw water tendril at an enemy and bring them to you. All of these vigors have secondary abilities which you can activate by pressing and holding the button down for a short period to charge it. I pretty much used just three vigors most of the game: shock jockey, possession, and Devil’s kiss. But when you’re playing who cares why you have the abilities because these firefights are so intense with guys attacking you from every direction. There is even a point where you go at it with these big Patriot robots with the visage of George Washington, which has this mega machine gun that carries 100 bullets per clip.

Elizabeth helps you out a lot in these battles. She’s a very capable woman, which is typically not the norm when you compare her to other videogame heroines taking a backseat to the main character. I will admit though, Elizabeth; just like the city of Columbia, are the heart and soul of Infinite. There are even moments when Elizabeth will be coming to DeWitt’s rescue. She provides ammo for your weapons, medkits for health and salts which replenish your abilities to use your vigors. And when you’re searching through boxes, crates and dead bodies, she will even find and toss cash to you. She’s probably the most helpful companion ever in a video game and you’re supposed to be the one saving her. There will even be tears in the firefights or greyed out images of turrets and other weapons, medkits, salts, and ammo that are in the area that she can bring into the dimension you’re in so you can use them to help defend yourself thus tweaking the area to your will to aid you.

Her assistance is so integral to the game that you get use to her being there and the few moments when she is gone and you’re searching for her, the character [DeWitt] feels this longing dread. Because he has built such a huge emotional bond and connection with her, saving her life no longer is a job to fulfill a “debt”, but an emotional drive to see her ultimately free. Not just because she helps you but because she was dealt a shitty hand in life and you see and feel bad for her for being trapped in a tower alone. The only companions she ever had were her books and the giant damn Songbird that watched over her.

Also in your arsenal is the clothes you have on which provide passive abilities and are very similar to what Tonics did in the original BioShock. The categories that you can equip for are Hat, Shirt, Pants, and Boots. The amount of gear you find in the game is diverse and does many different things some of which are Ammo Cap in the hat spot which will give you a 40% chance of empty clips auto filling without reloading, Blood to Salt Shirt in which enemies provide Salts upon their death 40% of the time, Angry Stompers pants deals 2x damage when your health is extremely low, and Fit as a Fiddle boots let you recover full health when your revived. Those are just 1 example of each category available from a huge list that you can acquire and combine any which way you want to help your gameplay. The combat in this game is so flexible and diverse from the use of vigors, gear, multitude of guns (machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, rpgs and many more) and the use of the skyhook for melee damage and riding the skyline that you could approach this game from many different angles.

Every great game has a hero that must best a villain. In this game Booker Dewitt is clearly the hero, while Zachary Comstock (a.k.a. the Prophet) is as equally reprehensible and repulsive as Booker is good. He [The Prophet] publicly speak aloud over loudspeakers and other communication devices his racial purity statements and his hatred of Booker, who he calls the false shepherd marked with an AD on his hand and how he must be destroyed as he threatens to ruin everything that we are trying to work for. These taunts and all the rhetoric that he speaks at you further shows the depths of his evil as he uses a mix of religiosity to push forward his agenda. This makes you very reminiscent of Andrew Ryan in the original BioShock as he used methods similar to this to push his agenda to sway people. The back and forth between Booker and The Prophet is what makes the games intensity great because there both all about Elizabeth; Booker wants to save her and The Prophet wants to control her and keep her locked down until the time she’s ready to “fulfill the prophecy” so to speak.

Gameplay aside the visuals and graphics for this game are top notch, no matter what system you play it on. The first time I made it up to Columbia I just took it all in for a few minutes and just rotated the camera around. Seeing hummingbirds float and flap their wings right in front of your face you’re kind of in awe of the beauty that you see before you. The colors and backdrops are vibrant and full of color. The faces of all the NPC’s are detailed; the buildings and everything make you feel like you’re in the city in the clouds. Irrational games did a very good job. I would have liked for the loading screens to have disappeared but that’s a minor tradeoff for such a beautiful crafted game. I found myself in the beginning of the game going up to every character and watching their faces as they talked and interacted with me and other people. And like I always say, “you can’t have a great game without great sound design.” And the music and sounds in the game are mesmerizing and hypnotic. The sounds of a city alive and hustling and bustling are done very well, as well as the gunfire and firefights are very realistic. The music of the game is very nostagilistic and most people will recognize most of the songs; most of which aren’t from the time period but feel right at home in the game.

I mentioned earlier the “What happened? Oh my god” feeling you will get when you reach the end of the game. I won’t ruin it for you but know this; it will catch you off guard and like me, you may have to go looking online to full comprehend what Irrational Games did. This is the most awe inspiring story that I have experienced in a game before and don’t forget this is a shooter primarily but it doesn’t feel that way when you’re experiencing it. The plot points and ending will be talked about for quite a while as you attempt to grasp things. The game should take you around 12 or so hours to complete if you play through but if you decide to try to find everything and explore it can go well over that amount of time. But don’t think the game ends there, there are plenty of collectibles that you can find from the 80 voxaphones, the various sightseeing things, all the gear, and you have plenty of hours of searching. And the special 1999 Mode that’s unlocked when you beat the game ratchets up the difficulty by reducing the amount of money in the game, allowing the enemies to deal more damage, slowing down your shield recharge rate and it also disables the navigation arrow that you can call up if you’re stuck on the way to go.

I have looked forward to this game for years and when it was pushed back once we knew the date I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t live up to the amount of hype I had in my mind. But Irrational Games didn’t let me down. If you have been a fan of the BioShock franchise this game I will say is the best in the franchise so far. The story is exceptional and has many twists and turns that you won’t see coming. The bond between Dewitt, Elizabeth and The Prophet is one you haven’t seen before. The visuals and sounds of Columbia makes the city in the clouds that much more realistic. As well as the major gun battles as you try to rescue Elizabeth makes this a shooter with a heart a story that yearns to be played. If you haven’t been to Columbia yet I suggest you make the trip as this game is the best I have played this year.


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