Bioshock Infitate is set in a wonderfully detailed, vibrant alternate history world which guides you with excellent storytelling. Your experience starts off with the excitement expected from this gaming powerhouse and you will be entertained with an ending that brings everything together beautifully.
Set in 1912 during the growth of American Exceptionalism, the game’s protagonist, former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, is sent to the floating air-city of Columbia to find a young woman, Elizabeth, who has been held captive there for the last twelve years. Though Booker rescues Elizabeth, the two are pursued by the city’s warring factions; the nativist and elite Founders that strive to keep the city for pure Americans, and the Vox Populi, a rebel grouping representing the common people. Booker finds Elizabeth to be central to this conflict, and that she also holds strange powers to manipulate rifts in the time-space continuum that ravage Columbia.
The player controls Booker throughout the game, eventually working with the AI-controlled Elizabeth. Like previous BioShock games, the player uses a combination of weapons, gear, psychokinetic powers granted through vigors and Elizabeth’s own powers to fight off hostile foes and make their way through Columbia. In contrast to the limited spaces of the underwater city of Rapture, the open-air city of Columbia provides for more combat challenges, including combat that takes place aboard the city’s Skyline roller-coaster-like rail system. The game will also feature an optional “1999 Mode”, harkening back to games like System Shock 2 where decisions made by the player will have a more permanent impact on the game, possibly leading the player to an unwinnable situation and requiring a restart from an earlier saved game.
Lead designer Ken Levine was inspired by both historical events at the turn of the 19th century, as well as more recent ones including the “Occupy” protests. The floating city of Columbia was envisioned as a homage to the 1893 Worlds Fair along with other media from the turn of the century, and 2K Marin was brought in to help realize the city in-game. Levine took an unorthodox approach with the voice actors for Booker and Elizabeth, Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper, respectively, by developing the script and details of the story alongside them during their voice work, allowing them to help define the characters and deliver more convincing performances within the game. BioShock Infinite has received early pre-release attention, winning several awards including the “Best of Show” at the 2011 E3 show.
In total, BioShock Infinite is a brilliant shooter that nudges the entire genre forward with innovations in both storytelling and gameplay. It trips over itself in a couple of spots, but not in any way that should keep you from embracing it with your utmost enthusiasm!