A city above the clouds, where all is not quite as it seems. That was the premise of BioShock Infinite. It promised to take us on a whirlwind tour of Columbia, full of exciting plot twists and thrilling action-packed gameplay. And boy did it deliver.
The story of Booker DeWitt, Elizabeth and Father Comstock is one that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It twisted and turned at breakneck pace, always one step ahead of you and always surprising you. The ending was nothing short of perfect, and I distinctly remember sitting there, staring at my TV whilst the credits rolled, desperately trying to digest all that I had just seen. The deep and insightful commentary on revolution, games and the BioShock series itself took me days to fully decipher, and although there were certainly plot holes, they were forgettable in the grand scheme of things.
This story of redemption (albeit one mixed in with a touch of science fiction) was made all the stronger by the characters behind it. Troy Baker was marvellous as DeWitt, bringing to life a multifaceted detective with a thrilling backstory. Although Elizabeth was seriously underdeveloped, the relationship between her and Booker was handled in the best way possible, slowly growing as the story progressed. And let’s not forget the Lutece twins, who are two of the most memorable characters in gaming this year.
By far the weakest aspect of Infinite was its gameplay, which was repetitive and tiresome. But even this was at times enjoyable. Zooming around on sky-lines, leaping off and unleashing a fiery murder of crows at a Handyman’s face…perfect. Such ideal moments weren’t overly common, but when they did arise they were so very satisfying. This was helped by the gorgeous visuals, which at the very least left you awestruck as you navigated Columbia by air. The first part of the game, when you first see Columbia, quite literally took my breath away: to the extent where I was no longer bothered about knives or guns. I just wanted to soak it all in. And soak it in I did.
BioShock Infinite is one of the rare games that will stay with you forever. Its story is powerful and exciting, and was of such a high calibre that it singlehandedly elevates the game to GOTY level. Infinite wasn’t perfect, but it is an example of a game where one aspect is so strong that my gripes with the rest fade away. Irrational Games’ BioShock series is easily one of the greatest series this generation, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. Will the circle of great games be unbroken? I certainly hope so.