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BioShock Infinite Review: A Head in the Clouds

Mike Wehner | 25 Mar 2013 12:00
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Flying from one floating platform to the next in real time is thrilling, and even if you're not running from a George Washington-themed, minigun-equipped robot at the time, you'll still enjoy watching the world whip by. In the later stages of the game, navigating these rails becomes increasingly important, transitioning from a simple convenience to a valuable tool in completing your ultimate goal.

Battles with Columbia's law enforcement, creepy robotic brutes, and the city's own automated defenses are made slightly easier once you gain the aid of Elizabeth. While you wage war, she can provide timely ammo and health boosts when you run low, but her help won't keep you from meeting an untimely end if your trigger finger isn't up to the task at hand.

If you are worried about Infinite becoming one long escort mission, there's absolutely nothing to fear here. You never have to actively protect Elizabeth in combat, and she finds her own cover and avoids enemy fire without any input on your part. She may be the object of your rescue mission, but she can definitely stand on her own when it comes to survival.

One of Elizabeth's more unique abilities - which also becomes a very important plot point in the later stages of Infinite's 12-to-15-hour campaign - is her ability to slice open portions of the world itself to access other dimensions. These "Tears," as they are called, can pull weapons, robotic allies, and other objects into the battlefield from out of the blue. While your greatest asset in combat will still be your own ability to strategize, Elizabeth quickly becomes an integral part of the attack plan, and her abilities manage to strike a perfect balance of helpfulness without feeling overpowered or cheap.

As the tale progresses, you'll find yourself on several different sides of many different fights. Whether it be a war waged due to racism, class inequality, or religion, you'll always be given a good reason to take up arms and hope your allies come out on top. This isn't to say you'll agree with every single turn the story takes, but at the very least you'll understand why each plot point plays out as it does.

Telling you any more about the story would not only spoil large portions of the game for those who haven't yet played it, but for a title like Bioshock Infinite, it would be a crime, plain and simple. Suffice it to say that when you finally reach the end, you'll look at the entire adventure in a totally new light.

Bioshock Infinite is both a breathtaking achievement in videogame storytelling and a marquee example of a game that will stick with you long after you see everything it has to offer. Calling it simply a first-person shooter is practically an insult. If you can make it through the game without being emotionally affected - or even experiencing a bit of an existential crisis - you need to check your pulse immediately.

Bottom Line: An instant Game Of The Year contender - and, at this point, favorite - Bioshock Infinite is in a class of games that only come around on very rare, very special occasions. It combines fantastic action with a story that will evoke every emotion you have to offer, and leave you wanting even more. This is as close to perfect as videogames get.

Recommendation: There's practically no reason to pass this one up. If you want to be included in a conversation that is bound to take social networks and games forums by storm, you have no other choice but to experience it, and enjoy every second of it.

This review is based on the PC version of the game.

Game: BioShock Infinite
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platform(s): PC, Mac OS, PS3, Xbox 360
Available from: Amazon(US), GameStop(US), Amazon(UK), Play.com(UK)

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