BioShock Infinite
Gameplay 9
Graphics 10
Sound 10

While it might not have a multi-player mode and doesn’t stray as far from the familiar Bioshock experience as you might think, Infinite is an outstanding game with a lot to offer. With intense combat, an eye opening storyline and unwillingness to back away from sensitive topics, Infinite is a game that should not be missed.

Gameplay: Familiar yet fresh, Infinite is a worthy successor to the Bioshock franchise.

Graphics: Looks great even on moderate hardware.

Sound: Excellent voice acting and a great musical score

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BioShock Infinite

Developer: Irrational Games / Aspyr (Mac) / Virtual Programming (Linux) | Publisher: 2K Games / Aspyr (Mac) | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Action / First Person Shooter | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

The floating city of Columbia was supposed to be a shining representation of all that is great about America. Although styled like an early 1900s version of what heaven might look like, things quickly turned sour when this beacon of American superiority opened fire upon a group of Chinese civilians. The United States were obviously not impressed by this turn of events and Columbia slipped off into the clouds to pursue its own agenda.

The founder of Columbia, Zachary Comstock hails Columbia as another Ark and it is into this intriguing world that the lead character, Booker DeWitt must step in order to clear his mounting gambling debts. With a mission to “save the girl” Booker must brave the city in the clouds in order to liberate its most precious prize, the daughter of Comstock. Since the citizens revere Comstock as a prophet and his daughter as a “Lamb” that is safely guarded in a tower, this is not an easy task. Unfortunately for Booker, freeing the girl is the easy part as escaping Columbia is not that simple.

Bioshock 2 was a great game but at times it felt more like an expansion than a true sequel. Bioshock Infinite on the other hand has no such problems. At first glance the wide open, pastel colored expanses of a city in the clouds might seem to have little in common with the dimly lit and oppressive corridors of Rapture but there are definitely ties. Booker starts his adventure on a rowboat leading him to the lighthouse that ultimately boosts him up to Columbia. Upon arrival the vibrant city, filled with smiling citizens appear to be worlds apart from Andrew Ryans dystopian underwater vision but it hides a dark secret of its own. Infinite is a game that isn’t afraid to tackle topics such as racism and religion but does so in a manner that is more thought provoking than outright shocking.

As the third installment in the highly popular franchise, Infinite had a lot riding on its shoulders. The fact that is not part of the storyline told by the previous two games allows for a refreshing break without straying too far from the familiar. For example, instead of wielding Plasmids, Booker finds “Vigors” which are potions that function in the same way. These require salt instead of EVE to use and allow you to fling about fireballs, terrorize your foes with swarms of crows, electrocute people or possess machinery amongst other things. While these Vigors are not as tightly connected with the story and setting as the plasmids were in Bioshock 1 and two, they make for exciting combat encounters. You can only carry two weapons at a time but the Vigors have up to three different modes of attack so you never feel limited in combat.

The wide open areas of Columbia also mean that you are able to use much more of the environment to your advantage.  The city is crisscrossed with a rail system which Booker can use to hitch a ride on via the new Skyhook gadget he finds early on. Zipping around on these rails while shooting enemies can make combat feel like a rollercoaster ride, and enables you to quickly get out of a tricky situation before resuming the attack from a better vantage point. The sniper rifle quickly became one of my favorite weapons but there are other guns that are just as useful.

The enemies are definitely not as creepy as the ones roaming Rapture but they put up a mean fight. There is a power struggle going on between the Founders with their racist ideals and the Vox Populi who is determined to bring down their oppressors. You’ll be facing off against both sides as well as freaky mechanical creations. Elizabeth’s guardian, the Songbird, will also not take your attempts at freeing its captor very lightly so expect to be pursued by this mechanical menace.

Once you encounter Elizabeth, you’ll come to realize why she is so important to the prophet. Unlike the dreaded escort mission partners of days past, Elizabeth is sensible enough to stay out of harm’s way during combat and can actually help you out by tossing ammunition, salts and health your way. It is her ability to open tears in the very fabric of space-time that makes her the most useful though. You can direct her to pull objects such as gun turrets, cover or skyhook anchor points through these tears and then use these to your advantage during combat. Only one can be called upon at a time so you should pick the objects that best suit your style of play. Her years in solitary confinement with only books for entertainment has left Elizabeth with quite knack for picking locks, provided you have enough picks for her to use so having her around is genuinely useful. Thanks to some heartfelt voice acting you will also grow fond of her character during the course of the game.

The game is quite stunning visually and the art direction is superb. Your first glimpse of Columbia is an all out assault of colors and visual effects but things become progressively bleaker as the game progresses. The inclusion of non player characters make the city seem much more alive than Rapture ever was but interaction is minimal and it is not long before everything falls into ruin thanks in no small part to your actions. There is a surprising amount of variety in the locations considering the setting although you will be revisiting previous areas a few times just like in the original Bioshock games. The Voxophones that has been scattered about provide more insights into the motivations of the major players in the story and it all culminates in an ending that will have you shaking your head in disbelieve.

The audio was an integral part of the first two games and Infinite continues this tradition with some outstanding musical tracks and superlative voice acting. Unlike the silent protagonists of Bioshock one and two, Booker is quite a talkative character and will frequently voice his opinions as you explore Columbia. The conversations with Elizabeth are also well acted and flesh out the plot nicely. The sounds that the menacing songbird makes are just as iconic as the Big Daddies from Bioshock and you’ll hear the usual amount of taunts and propaganda being broadcasted over the public announcement system of the city.

Bioshock Infinite is a great game and one that had me captivated from start to finish. As great as the visuals are, closer inspection will reveal low resolution textures that prevent it from attaining the same lofty heights as Crysis 3. Kudos to Irrational Games for actually giving PC players a decent port with settings such as the field of view that can be changed without mucking about with configuration files. While the game might not be a giant step forward for the genre, the incredible storyline and fantastic setting means it should be played by everyone. Trust me when I say you’ll want to experience the tale for yourself before the spoilers hit the Internet.

*Review originally published 2013.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows Vista Service Pack 2 32-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 DUO 2.4 GHz / AMD Athlon X2 2.7 GHz
  • Memory: 2GB
  • Hard Disk Space: 20 GB free
  • Video Card: DirectX10 Compatible ATI Radeon HD 3870 / NVIDIA 8800 GT / Intel HD 3000 Integrated Graphics
  • Video Card Memory: 512 MB
  • Sound: DirectX Compatible
  • OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1 64-bit
  • Processor: Quad Core Processor
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Hard Disk Space: 30 GB free
  • Video Card: DirectX11 Compatible, AMD Radeon HD 6950 / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560
  • Video Card Memory: 1024 MB
  • Sound: DirectX Compatible
  • OS: 10.8 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.10 (Yosemite)
  • Processor: 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Dual-Core)
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Hard Disk Space: 30 GB
  • Video Memory: 512 MB
  • Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 3870 / NVidia Geforce 640M / Intel HD4000
  • Additional: BioShock Infinite supports both the Microsoft Xbox 360 wired gamepad and the PlayStation 3 Dualshock 3 Wireless Controller in addition to the Macintosh mouse and keyboard
  • NOTICE: This game is not supported on volumes formatted as Mac OS Extended (Case Sensitive)
  • NOTICE: The following video chipsets are unsupported for BioShock Infinite: ATI RADEON 2000 series, HD 4670, HD 6490M and 6630M, NVIDIA 9000 series, 320M, 330M, Intel HD 3000, Intel Integrated GMA chipsets and 3100
  • NOTICE: The Mac version of Bioshock Infinite is available in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish only.
  • OS: 10.10 (Yosemite)
  • Processor: 2.2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (Dual-Core)
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Hard Disk Space: 30 GB
  • Video Memory: 512 MB
  • Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 5870 / NVidia Geforce GTX 775M
  • OS: Ubuntu 14.10, Mint 17.1 or similar Linux distribution
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 DUO 2.4 GHz / AMD Athlon X2 2.7 GHz
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Hard Disk Space: 20 GB Free
  • Video Card: NVidia/AMD OpenGL 4.1/DirectX 10.0 level compatible
  • Video RAM: 1GB
  • Sound: ALSA/PulseAudio compatible
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 3GHz (or similar AMD processor)
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Hard Disk Space: 30 GB Free
  • Video Card: NVidia/AMD OpenGL 4.2/DirectX 10.1 level compatible
  • Video RAM: 2GB

Recommended Graphics Drivers

  • nVidia: NVidia 340.65 or better. 331.xx series are unsupported and will not work correctly.
  • AMD: AMD Catalyst (aka fglrx) 15.7 or better
  • MESA drivers and Intel Graphics are not currently supported.

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