Sunday, July 7, 2013

Bioshock Infinite: First Thoughts

I thought it would take some time for me to find someone special again, but sometimes, fate just loves to give us surprises. I have a girlfriend again, and though I may be a lot older than her, there's something about her smile, her naivety and curiousity that just draws me to her. And she's called Elizabeth.


and she's glowing!


I have been extremely bored for the past few weeks. For the first time in history, I actually ran out of computer games to play, having killed Diablo tons of time, and begin reading books to fill up my time. However, while talking to my friend the other day, he recommended Bioshock Infinite to me.

Initially I did not wanted to play the game because I did not like the gameplay trailer (thought it was too gory) and because my earlier experience with the Bioshock series left a sour taste in my mouth (I almost screamed a few times because of the monsters and gave up halfway) but at my friend's recommendation and because I was itching for a game again, in addition to the game being voted as one of the best of the year, I decided to take a leap of faith. Or blast of faith, if you will, since it shoots you up the sky.


and there you have it, the title of the game


I am liking the things that I see so far in the game. While the core of the gameplay is roughly similar to several FPS that came before it, where you combine gun shooting with ability tossing like Dishonored, Borderlands or Mass Effect, I enjoyed the game because of two reasons, first, the scenic environment itself, set in the floating city of Columbia, and second, the mechanics of Elizabeth following you around.


I mean who would not marvel when they see this?


From grand majestic buildings floating among the cloud to dark abandoned buildings, I love how the game keeps offering you different environments to explore and fight in, so the battle never gets too repetitive. One moment you're fighting in the dark corners of a museum and next you find yourself zipping through the building like you're on a roller coaster trying to shoot down enemies on patrol ships. Coupled with your different abilities and variety of enemies that the game throws at you, you actually have to plan to take down the enemies, which certainly gives you new challenges every time and doesn't dull the fights.

Aside from that, I also love the opportunity to explore and learn about the story revolving around Columbia as you fight your way through the different locations to achieve your objective. In the Halls of Heroes for example, you'll learn of the great battles that took place before you, that defined the city while in Soldier's city on the other hand, you're able to catch a glimpse into the city's policy in grooming its citizens to serve in NS. Yes, NS. Each part of the cities offer you a unique look into the culture that shapes it, the propaganda, the history, and learning those and piecing the puzzle together is as rewarding as the battle. Besides, the Columbians certainly make great museums.


the place where they reenact the battle between the chinese and the americans


But of course, I would think that the crown of the game, the main pulling factor that sets it apart is Elizabeth herself. While it's not new for you to have companion in games, most of the time, the companions given to us are but a stoic or shallow character, lacking in emotion and development, being there merely for the sake of being there. And even if they died, we would not feel much for the loss, as there's no connection to be made.

With Elizabeth on the other hand, I think that the developers have certainly upped the game. While she's useful in throwing you ammos and stuff, even "summoning" allies and replenishment to help you, I think what's truly amazing about her is the depth of reaction that has been put into her. She'll make comments and muse about your surroundings, not those which follow a programmed list, but often deep thoughts that are specific to what you are seeing. When a statue suddenly pops up, she shrieks and often there's constant interaction between you and her, thus filling in the moments when you're just exploring and not engaging enemies.


she's the first NPC companion that judged me like that


I particularly loved it when I walked in to both male and female toilets in game without realizing it to loot stuff, and she magically quips how she shouldn't go in to a male's toilet and how I am going to get myself arrested for entering the females toilet both times. So much different than the NPC companions that I remember who blindly follows you around.

My friend mentioned about how awesome she is when he told me about the game, and after a few missions with her, now I understand why. The developers add so much depth in her reactions that it make you want to care for her, to make the gameplay less mundane, to sort of have like a child prancing around you as you go about saving the world and I must say, it's working wonders for me. The fact that they made her the prettiest female character in the game (so far) doesn't help at all. Perhaps she is specifically targeted at us desperate male gamers who are most probably single.


the flower among the cow dung, i would say


Oh and I especially love the roller coaster rides. The developers must have loved roller coasters, which I think is why there's so many railings in the game where you can slide around, even in battles, as if you're on a theme parks roller coaster. Word of caution though, may get dizzy.


i think the only suitable caption is whee!


Other than that, my only complaint is the abundance of iron sights in game. I think I might be too used to using optical or red dot sight for my guns in FPS games already until I absolutely cannot survive with them. I find shooting from iron sights to be highly annoying, because I don't really know where to aim, but I guess there's not really a choice since the year is 1912 and other sights have not been invented yet. Which is why I am sticking so much to the sniper rifle.


definitely hate shooting like that


But I'm not complaining though. The pros of the game definitely outshines the cons of it, and I have yet to find of a con that is fundamental to the gameplay so my first thought of the game so far is that it's awesome. Not to say that the game is perfect though, just that I might have yet to find flaws with it. Maybe the overly obsession with religion and the cult. Or maybe the lack of stealth gameplay (enemies able to hear you approaching on crouch from a mile away). Or maybe they should show more skin on Elizabeth.

I'm just kidding. Either way, would love to see more of the game though, and to uncover more powers that can be used. One thing's for sure in the game: Money don't come easily. Especially when your skills and weapons upgrade costs money.


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