Save the girl and cancel the debt!
Tested version Personal Computer, Playstation 3, Xbox 360.
When Ken Levine announced Bioshock Infinite the whole videogame community began to go into turmoil, waiting for the arrival of a new adventure to immerse themselves once again in a memorable gaming experience.
The creative director and co-founder of Irrational Games stressed the need to create something special, unique, that would reflect the style of the first Bioshock but adding new features so as to savor the adventure, observe it, feel part of it.
The development process of the title suffered a delay that made fans' legs tremble, especially considering the five years of work and the change of some staff members including the arrival in 2012 of Rod Fergusson, who passed from Epic Games in Irrational Games always as a producer. But Bioshock Infinite has finally arrived in stores.
Ready to discover the new adventure in every detail?
Not everything is as it seems
Let's make two points clear. The first is the title. The word Infinite leaves the mind open to various reflections. Why the choice of “Infinite”? Does it have to do with the free spaces in the sky that the city Columbia constantly plows through or is there more? We usually think in terms of limits, there is a beginning and an end, but the space in the universe is incalculable, so what we have close to us appears delineated, understandable, while what is far away leads us to hypothesize, suppositions , which can be different for each of us, taking into account the unaware. What if these conditions are swapped? What if there was a deception behind certainties and if appearances were illusions?
This condition, the first, is a focal point of the entire adventure that is experienced by the protagonist Booker DeWitt aboard the city of Columbia.
The second point concerns the historical period. Thinking of a flying city could make us presume to a not very distant future, instead we are in 1912, a few years before the facts narrated in the first Bioshock. Here these two important points mark a particular journey, thus marking in a certain way what the story of Bioshock Infinite will be composed of.
The introduction leads us to discover the protagonist intent on landing on Columbia to fetch a girl named Elizabeth and thus cancel his debt. It seems a story of heroes, of maidens to save and little else. Instead the journey becomes something unexpected, unexpected, full of pitfalls and twists.
Columbia draws inspiration from a series of experiments that took place between the 19th and 20th centuries. The team decided to exploit this utopian vision of remaining in flight in an immense, characteristic reality, combining art and ideology.
It was 1893 when the flying city was presented to the whole world and exploited by the US government as an example of glorious pride and magnificence. It didn't take long for some disagreements between the citizens of Earth and those of Columbia to lead to a diatribe, culminating only in the social detachment between the parties. Columbia thus becomes a place unto itself, detached from the rest of the world, with its laws and its rigor. The bearer figure of this daydream is the Comstock prophet.
But Columbia is anything but heaven. Perhaps for some, but not for all. Discontent is born, hatred among social classes comes to life, Vox Populi is thus founded to unite the voices of dissent while on the other side the founding fathers remain, or simply Founders. The historical period crosses the clouds and so it turns out that even on Columbia there is a distinction between black people: whites dominate and command while blacks suffer, work and are marginalized. It will not be this tummy ache of Columbia that will generate the panic, but the arrival of the protagonist. DeWitt will remove the veil on hidden truths that alternate the existential balance of the entire flying city and beyond. The protagonist's past will always return to insert itself in the narrative context, full of stunning twists.
"Save the girl and cancel the debt" he is told. Easier said that done.
Elizabeth, Vigor and Nostrum
The gameplay of Bioshock is known to many of the fans of the series. In this chapter the team has modified some of the features to differentiate it from the first, or rather to create a clear detachment, introducing the powers Vigor and Nostrum to which is added the enfant prodige of Elizabeth.
Vigor and Nostrum are both products generated on Columbia by the same founders. Vigor is a liquid enclosed in bottles characterized by a style that recalls its content. There are eight different types of potions, each of which allows DeWitt to release their power with L1. Once more than two types have been unlocked, combos can be strung by mixing powers. For example, throwing crows at enemies and then electrifying them so as to increase the effect. Or lift them with the power of the Crazy Horse and then blast them with demonic fire.
Elizabeth becomes the ideal companion. She is capable of opening time gaps capable of making certain objects appear that can be activated one at a time. Thus it becomes even more satisfying to exploit, in addition to the combos just mentioned, also weapons to be exploited in clashes or to stock up on medkits to heal the losses of vitality. But that is not all. The years of seclusion, locked up in the tower, allowed the young Elizabeth to read a lot and become a skilled burglar. This peculiarity will be useful both to overcome passages between levels and to break into safes to discover their contents or open doors to access secondary areas. In order to guarantee Elizabeth this unsuitable activity for a young girl, it is important to find the lock picks, scattered around Columbia.
During the course of this adventure, you have the opportunity to easily discover at least three of the eight Vigor while the rest from the middle of the path onwards. This choice is also combined with the degree of difficulty that grows with the progress of history and culminates with a situation in which it will be necessary to be very, very skilled.
The Nostrum is a power lavished by some garments that are discovered by the protagonist and that can be added or exchanged as appropriate. Each infuses a particularity useful to improve performance both against the enemy and in the vital bar. For example, there are pants that can inflict more damage on the enemy when falling from above or restore lost vitality. The first of all is the shield, which becomes practically standard already after the first few bars, it may not appeal to fans of the series.
Voxophones, a sort of recordings on which people engrave their thoughts in words, and binocular film projectors, stations in which it is enough to rest your eyes to see small films, thus filling those narrative holes typical of Irrational Games productions.
But the unprecedented effect is certainly the presence of the tracks that trace the streets around the structures suspended in the sky. Each track has its own path and DeWitt, thanks to a winch conquered in the first minutes of the game, discovers the possibility of using it to move quickly. You can jump from one track to another by jumping in flight, you can go faster to avoid the hits of some enemies. Their use goes well in the narrative context even if, fortunately, it will not always become a mandatory model to follow, apart from some situations decided by the script as it should be.
The protagonist can carry two weapons, interchangeable by collecting those lost by killed enemies or by containers placed in various points of each level. The same thing goes for potions, medkits or similar such as fruit or other to restore vital energy, they are dispersed in exorbitant quantities. Just play for each level by pressing the appropriate button (square on PS3) to steal each object. The excessive presence for most of the adventure makes the challenge rate more tolerable and less frustrating. It must be said that the Artificial Intelligence is very good, rightly calibrated according to the level of difficulty. The title offers three levels, Easy, Normal and Hard to which the 1999 mode is added once the game is completed. There is a good presence of shelters, which are useful for doing a little more. However, they are not a protection at all, as sooner or later the enemy will come and find you. There are enemies of various kinds and each of them will have a different way of striking. Those armed with batons will throw themselves headlong into hand-to-hand combat while others, such as snipers, will be far from being discovered. Among these are a number of other opponents who complete the speech in an optimal way and allow the player to move in order to avoid becoming an easy target. The Patriot and Handyman are two particular enemies. The first is a robot armed with machine guns while Handyman throws himself with his powerful size using his large hand.
It took us more than ten hours to complete it on Normal difficulty, collecting many of the voxophones and visiting the projectors. The title does not include any multiplayer modes.
Columbia is not Rapture
The city shows itself alive, with attention to every detail, among citizens who live the day admiring the sky and others who talk to each other, even those who recommend a future husband to a young woman. The beauty of Columbia echoes everywhere, especially in the fair between the discovery of technology, the parades in honor of the founding fathers, shopkeepers and merchants who drive electrically powered horse-drawn carts, zeppelins that shuttle between floating buildings in the air and that move constantly, between “a cappella” choirs, propaganda prints and much, much more!
Interacting with characters and settings leaves a satisfying feeling of really feeling on the flying city. Without anticipating or revealing anything, we only mention the fact that the story of Bioshock Infinite exudes very complex and particular themes of that period, told with skillful ability and inserting you in an artistic and if we want even paradoxical context. The eye will not leave anything to chance, you will often stop to scrutinize the landscape if only to appreciate the attention to detail and better understand the reason for certain events. Even if Rapture's noir hues or that feeling of dread or fear have been replaced by other more lush situations, we can assure that Irrational Games has been able to deliver an unmistakable new style of Bioshock.
It is allowed to retrace one's steps, guaranteeing a certain freedom of movement, even if some missions require a slight backtracking that does not cause any discomfort.
The technical sector rests its foundations on Unreal Engine, the third version of the well-known graphics engine from Epic Games. The number of polygons is not high, it is just enough to guarantee a uniform quality: some characters are more refined than others while a series of effects make everything clean. Lighting is the most successful effect compared to others, simply perfect, able to do justice both to the interior and to the external perspectives.
The level design is exceptional. In fact, if the graphic aspect cannot stand comparison with productions capable of squeezing the current hardware, its different nature of proposing game scenarios compensates for this gap by providing the world of Bioshock Infinite in the artistic and aesthetic characterization. The title captures for its evocative power, a charisma that has no equal and differs with its originality from the banality of the multitude of video games.
The only flaw found in the technical sector is that the title on the PS3 version suffers from a slight tearing effect, useful for keeping the framerate constant, while the console counterpart 360 even less. On a Personal Computer, on the other hand, it is solid without losing hits on the framerate, as long as it meets the requirements. DirectX 11 is exploited very well, always bearing in mind that the number of polygons does not change on PC.
The soundtrack, which ranges from orchestral to folk pieces, is presented only in useful moments, leaving the dialogues and background sounds to the rest of the production. The dubbing in Spanish is excellent, the environmental effects are also very good, including that of the weapons and metal noises, giving credibility to the rest of the production.
Bioshock Infinite fits with skillful mastery in the videogame panorama, writing its name on the memorable list of masterpieces of all time. It is not just to play. The title lets itself be lived and thrilled, completely capturing from start to finish. Contemplate a story with attention to every detail and that leaves you speechless on more than one occasion, providing the maximum especially in the final part, and a game system renewed of its kind and embellished with interesting innovations, some successful others less, which marries perfectly with the Victorian design of the historical setting and its heaven above the clouds. Some choices could divide fans and new players who are approaching a title in the series for the first time, but it remains unquestionably a masterpiece to be jealously guarded in your wall.
- An original and interesting story
- Attention to every detail
- Revamped gameplay ...
-… even if some of them will not be well accepted by fans
- Some imperfections in the technical sector on PS3 and 360 consoles
The title is available from March 26, 2013 on the PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 platform.