I'm really feeling it!
I'm really feeling it!

BioShock Infinite: Art, or Just Another Shooter(TM)

Illustration for article titled BioShock Infinite: Art, or Just Another Shooter(TM)

Only a couple of hours into BioShock Infinite, I made a post saying the art design was second to none, the story was compelling, etc.


After finishing the game I'd still stand by all of that (only not as enthusiastically). I'd also stand by my statement that caused so much controversy — the gameplay in BioShock Infinite is mediocre.

Here's why:


(including end battle spoilers)

The gameplay is limited like an FPS from the early 90s or a generic military shooter (Call of Duty) from this century. There's nothing to do, gameplay-wise, but shoot. And shoot. And shoot some more. Yes, you get to combine vigor/plasmids/whatever-the-kids-are-calling-it-these-days, and that's fun for a couple of hours but you find the most powerful combo and basically upgrade it to full and stick with it. Same with the weapons.

Then, after an incredibly awesome Shantytown section and revolution section the game stops even trying to be something more and becomes Just Another Shooter. Wave after wave of bad guys. Pretty much non-stop from the section where you have to find the 3 tears to the end. And then there's that end.

Oh, that end ...

Until the end section the game is INSANELY easy (on Medium settings, which is how I always play through a game the first time, as story is at least as important to me as the challenge — which is why I save the hardest difficulties for last). Then the end puts you in that airship which is at first simply monotonous and then devolves into something awful. You finally get to the top deck (I laughed when — after an hour of non-stop shooting, Elizabeth says, "Only 3 more decks") and everyone and their mother is shooting at the power core thing to take it down. It's total overkill.

There's nearly as many bad guys to fight in the airship and around the airship than there was the rest of the game. Again, total overkill and all art goes out the window and a generic FPS takes its place. Sure, you can call in Big Bird, but Big Deal? No wonder Infinite didn't have multiplayer — it didn't need it — the last third of the game is nothing but multiplayer you play offline. Waves of enemies and shooting and swearing — just without the fifteen-year-old boys swearing at their mommies over a headset.

Anyway, I'd still this game a 5 out of 10 for the art design. But gameplay wise? It's no better than a 3 out of 10 (and that's being generous). The much hyped skylines were a useless gimmick to stop people from noticing this was Just Another Shooter(TM).

I have literally never been this disappointed with a game. I loved the first BioShock. I thought the second was decent (with FAR better gameplay mechanics and variety than Infinite). The third was pretty and had some compelling ideas that reminded me of debates I was involved in back in college. Nothing that thought-provoking, but despite what Ken Levine and eager-to-please critics claimed, this is just a game, after-all (too bad that I, like so many, wanted it to be something more).

BioShock Infinite isn't revolutionary. The first half makes you think it MAY be, but in the end, it ends up being no more than a mediocre shooter that drags on at least two hours too long and runs out of ideas 2/3rds of the way through (if that). A game with the potential of being a game-changer (pun intended) ends up being nothing more than a bore. A shame.

Anyway, glad the rest of you are loving it. Or are you? Let me know in the discussion below! Either way, Happy Easter!

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