Bioshock Infinite

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Geoff_B
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Geoff_B » 11 Apr 2013, 01:28

I've read the transcript of the Campster review. Campster seems to be focusing on the technical design and Kieron Gillen is looking at the artistic design. I know you can't have one without the other but I lean towards the latter over the former myself, otherwise I wouldn't have played it on easy mode - I prefer battles to be an inconvenience to the story rather than a rage-inducing roadblock.

Overall I was extremely happy with my experience of the game.

Additional: the guys at PCGamer did a very interesting podcast on the game here. Very well worth listening to!
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby JackSlack » 11 Apr 2013, 14:14

Another critique, from Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander; I found this one a bit rambling and all over the place, but I think she's onto something as well.

Leigh Alexander wrote: All this talk about systems, lately, the rightness of systems. The systems failed this vision. There is so much more to be concerned with in the making of a world than constants and variables.

We can do anything, now. We were promised everything. Why didn't we mind "ludonarrative dissonance" so much before? Because that was before and this is now. What happens without the cage? Are you as obedient as ever? That question underlies everything the game's done with the resources it's been given, and answers itself. This can't be the way forward, at least.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby auberginequeen » 11 Apr 2013, 15:07

So I finished it. All in all I think it has a lot going for it: the characters are pretty well-rounded and believable, the plot is compelling, etc. I desperately wanted to know what happened next and I was excited every time I stumbled upon a new voxophone. I love the Luteces. I liked it. It was good.

The only thing I didn't like was how repetitive combat was. It got to the point where I started dreading running into enemies about when you're looking for the tears of truths while fighting Lady Comstock. I can now truly empathize with the bowl of petunias from Hitchhiker's Guide:

"Oh no, not again."
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby General Michi » 13 Apr 2013, 10:15

Right then. I finished it about two days ago and have been holding off saying anything about it here because I'm still letting the ending sink in. Not that it was confusing, it just left a very long lasting impression on me. I'm playing it in 1999 mode now.

I have a new favourite game. Seriously. Wow.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby ZePancakes » 13 Apr 2013, 10:57

The only merit Lady Comstock's tears business had was for finishing those kills challenges.

Not a lot of games lately have held my interest like Bioshock Infinite did and I was very happy I steered clear of most material on it, best played with a clean slate.

The game is good that I don't mind playing again and again, still checking every nook and cranny for the hell of it.

Also: Thank whomever that there was no tacked on multiplayer like Bioshock 2.

EDIT addition edition: Winter's shield made dealing with enemies a whole lot easier esp. with Handymen (they hit like a truck). The hand cannon was my friend as well. The combat itself is not something I'd sing wild praises for but it was good enough for me to immerse myself.

I liked the story, Bioshock holds a comfortable lead but beats BS 2 easily. It was a refreshing experience.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Volafortis » 16 Apr 2013, 16:35

It was definitely better than BS2, but I'm not sure it beats BS1. I do feel like a lot of the gameplay elements were refined properly, compared to BS1 and 2.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby JackSlack » 16 Apr 2013, 18:51

Also, I wrote a community blog about the game over at Destructoid. I'd appreciate some likes on it if you find it interesting. Spoilers in it, though.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Geoff_B » 17 Apr 2013, 23:26

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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby JackSlack » 17 Apr 2013, 23:47

It's an interesting one, though if that was the intent, I'd argue the game fails to mechanically follow through on it. If nothing else, they'd have missed an amazing option: Let vigors be cast from hit points. Because then you'd be literally downing bottles of liquid to kill yourself so you can destroy the world. The metaphor would be super potent.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Geoff_B » 17 Apr 2013, 23:51

I think there was a bit of gear to let you do that at one point.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby JackSlack » 18 Apr 2013, 02:01

There is, it's true. But even so, it feels like a missed opportunity if that was their true intent.

OK, so here's my take on it. Warner, spoilers ahead.

Bioshock Infinite is a "clarification sequel". What's that? It's a term I made up. But it's fairly self-explanatory, I hope. A clarification sequel is a work in which the author writes a new story in order to counterpoint a philosophical point they made in a previous work.

One of the best examples of this would be Ratatouille, which was a clarification sequel to The Incredibles. The thesis statement of The Incredibles was "If everyone is special, nobody is." It argued that in reality, only a few people are actually special, actually amazing, actually incredible. Efforts to pretend otherwise in an effort to avoid hurting the feelings of the not-incredible merely undermine the works of the incredible, and that this ultimately hurts everyone. This was leapt on as a right-wing parable, a plea to stop trying to 'level the playing field' and accepting that some people are just better. Hence, Ratatouille, whose thesis statement was, "Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist can come from anywhere." Got it? It clarifies the previous message: No, there is no manifest destiny. Not everyone is a great cook. But anyone could be the person who becomes one; it's down to hard work, some natural talent, guts and determination. The latter film comments on the first one, refining its message and making the artistic intent of both films clearer.

So, then, to Bioshock.

Bioshock's thesis statement was: "Would you kindly?" or "A man chooses, a slave obeys." It was an indictment of the illusion of choice in videogames, arguing that in reality, the player has no choice. It critiqued the notion of player empowerment, suggesting that games which pretend to offer player choices are being fundamentally deceitful. Sure, you can save the little sister, or you can harvest her. But in the end, you wind up in the same place. You're still going to do the same things, because the game asks you: "Would you kindly?"

Yes, you will.

Bioshock Infinite is a clarification sequel to this. The thesis statement of Infinite is "variables and constants". It argues that the player is, in fact, the ultimate variable. It's not a coincidence that the plot revolves around Comstock and Booker being the same person; this story is all about the player. In that regard, I agree with Bob. But it's not a story of self-destruction, but one about self-determination. Look at the level design. Bioshock used tight hallways and small arenas were designed to force the player to figure out their best avenues; being trapped was a real possibility. By contrast, Infinite uses large, wide open arenas that allow for movement.

Even the best mechanic of Infinite, the skyhook, is designed for this. The idea is to let the player have as much freedom to choose their approach as possible. And the story argues that these choices matter! There are literally infinite Booker DeWitts, and a new one will be born every time anyone plays the game. This one will run with a sniper rifle and a pistol; that one with the carbine and the rocket launcher. This one will favor a bolthole and sharp aiming; that one will bluster through with rapid movement and constant shifts.

It is true, of course, that at the end of the game, there are multiple Elizabeths. But note here the design gag: One of the Elizabeths was a previous design. And, more potently, the story is built around the fact that there is no Elizabeth born to Columbia. Unlike Booker, she is limited. She is not, truthfully, Infinite. Only Booker is.

What Infinite clarifies about Bioshock is to argue that player choice and power is not illusory, but it's not the heavily artificial, forced 'choices' that matter. It doesn't matter if you pick the cage or the bird. It doesn't matter who you throw the baseball at, even. (Yes, I know it does matter a little, but overall, no, it doesn't.) What matters is the cut and thrust gameplay, the stories that develop from this, the bragging you have later when you talk about how you took out, like, ten guys when you trapped them with bucking bronco and threw them all off a ledge afterwards. Those are the real variables, the real power of player choice. The rest? It's just constants... even if the constants are disguised as variables.

Will you kindly? Yes, you will. But you'll do it as you see fit.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Geoff_B » 18 Apr 2013, 02:12

See, that? That was awesome :D I guess the main point is the bit where Elizabeth says that all roads lead to the same place, what matters is how you get there.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby JackSlack » 18 Apr 2013, 02:18

Yeah, that's a pretty summarizing quote for it, to my mind.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Geoff_B » 18 Apr 2013, 02:45

So... where does Bioshock 2 come into it then? :D
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby JackSlack » 18 Apr 2013, 03:04

I already explained Bioshock Infinite.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Geoff_B » 18 Apr 2013, 03:20

Yes you did. So what about Bioshock 2?
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby ZePancakes » 18 Apr 2013, 04:34

JackSlack wrote:I already explained Bioshock Infinite.


I saw what you did there... :P
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Geoff_B » 18 Apr 2013, 04:39

So did I. I want to see if I can get him to admit that Bioshock 2 exists :D

Edit: Miracle of Sound's Dream of the Sky is out. And it is awesome.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby JackSlack » 18 Apr 2013, 13:54

Bioshock Infinite is, especially for the purposes of my analysis, Bioshock 2. Any game not made by Ken Levine would have no beating on the theory.

Besides, nobody would ever be stupid enough to pass off a sequel to a smaller studio, they wouldn't be stupid enough to clumsily flip the originals themes around for no reason, and they wouldn't be stupid enough to put in a multiplayer mode where you're all armed with golf clubs. It wouldn't happen.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby RedNightmare » 28 Apr 2013, 22:22

Finished it last night: Mind = Blown, though losing 2 hours of sleep over my mind processing it was kind of annoying.
I agree that the combat is the weakest part of the game, though I liked it in parts. I found the parts where I just got to enjoy the scenery and listen to conversations and Voxaphones to be the best parts.
After the drowning it took me a second to realize what Booker meant with "I'm both." but when it struck, oh God.
I think there were some hints to Booker = Comstock, mostly at the nose-bleed points and Comstock claiming he was at Wounded Knee (which was true, even though Slate didn't know it).

Incredible write-up JackSlack. I don't think I'll be able to write anything more interesting on my blog now, thanks for that ;)

Man, loved it before playing the game, but now even more. "Built up your heaven on the back of hell" makes so much more sense now. :D
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Lemegeton » 23 Jun 2013, 11:03

just finished it. really enjoyed it and the story and ending was really well written. i agree with most people that the combat is nowhere near the level of Bioshock 1. Bioshock 1 had much more room for experimenting and variety with the weapons and plasmids. the vigors and weapons in infinite felt like a LITE version of the original IMO.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Grickles » 01 Jul 2013, 07:04

The game just felt incredibly easy to me, I mean you can't fail outside of the last level and if you do die you instantly get brought back with ammo and health restored. The only point where I died repeatedly was in the fight against Elizabeths mother in the graveyard which actually helped because I kept running out of ammo. anyway I was only playing on normal so I don't know if it gets significantly harder on hard and 1999 mode.

Either way I loved the game and the ending while a little anti climactic was in my opinion amazingly well done and made me feel just so...sad
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Darkobra » 20 Jul 2013, 21:18

Finished it a few days ago. Got it on Steam sale. I absolutely love this game. The first one had me hooked and I was thinking they'd have a lot of work making me love this.

The music was perfect. The time rifts into the future were amazing. The amazing plot twist at the end was both incredible and confusing at first.

But then I figured it out. The baptism. It all depended on that one defining moment. Purified of sins created a greater monster: Comstock.

Every time I thought I had it figured out, the game unravelled and I saw FAR more and I saw how every last thing connected. Then it made perfect sense.

The gear system was utterly useless to me. I tended to just leave it at the initial equips and mowed through with the biggest guns and vigors. Sniper and whatever else I found lying around at the time with fire and water vigors.

All I got left in the series is Bioshock 2!
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby ZePancakes » 20 Jul 2013, 21:57

Play it whilst inebriated. Lessen the pain.
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Re: Bioshock Infinite

Postby Pimpin J » 23 Jul 2014, 15:31

I finished this a few weeks ago and I did enjoy it. Gameplay was pretty smooth, although i did hate the fact that you could only carry 2 weapons. Tonics were cool but I really only used 2 of them. Story was good but I did not really get the ending. Seemed like a " i think this is a cool ending and if you don't get it you aren't as smart as me" type of thing.

Overall was enjoyable.
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