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Game review: Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock: Infinite is the crowning jewel of the Bioshock series. While the release date was two years ago, it hasn't lost any of its draw or special qualities. From the best gunplay in the series to the most engaging story they've written, the developers at 2K games have really outdone themselves with this one.

Game Mechanics

Bioshock: Infinite brings all the staple elements of the previous Bioshock games out to play, improves on them, and then throws in some new mechanics that drive the experience home.

Gunplay is greatly improved over previous Bioshock games. While it's still very simple, the experience feels much more lively and impactful. Firing a weapon is satisfying end effective. Ammo can be scarce, but there's a unique and enjoyable mechanic to overcome that which I'll cover later. Unfortunately, even though guns are a much better experience in Infinite overall, they still take a backseat to the chaotic array of other more lethal options available in combat.

Infinite brings back the Plasmids from the previous games, but renames them Vigors and ups the ante. The combinations that are available, the environmental interactions that are possible, and the variety of vigors that the developers have cooked up never leave you wanting for that special ingredient in combat.

Infinite brings two gimmicks into play, but they're so well implemented into the experience that they're well beyond the range of gimmick and firmly seated in "awesome game mechanic" territory. The first is the Sky-Hook. The player can use the skyhook to soar through the air along monorail-esque tracks that traverse the environment. This adds a degree of vertical space that is sorely missing in most games, and increases the pace of the action tenfold. Needless to say, it's insanely fun. The second new mechanic is the tear ability that is made available through your companion, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a critical story element, but she also has the ability to help the player in and out of combat by opening up portals to other dimensions. These portals can bring in ammunition, weapons, sky-hook locations, combat mechs, and more. Elizabeth also serves as a scavenger for the player. She'll scour the environment for ammo, health, and "salt", which powers vigors.

The gameplay in Bioshock Infinite is chaotic, fast paced, and dynamic. IT is without a doubt the strongest entry in the series yet, and shouldn't be skipped. Thrill seekers will love it, and the strategic elements go a long way towards keeping things interesting and well-paced.

Story

This is a game that shouldn't be spoiled. The plot needs to be experienced firsthand. It is without a doubt one of the strongest to come out of the video game industry in many years, and has received awards and accolades across the board since its release. The game grapples with many philosophical concepts from the conflict between Communism and Capitalism to the ramifications of American Exceptionalism run wild. The developing relationship between the main character and his companion is deep and not without its surprising plot twists. And speaking of plot twists, this game has them in spades. Simply put: play it for the plot alone.

THE VERDICT

This is a Grade-A, unskippable game. It's a beautiful, wild, invigorating, and thoughtful experience that will leave you wanting more. It's one of the best games in the past decade, hands down.

Games