Irrational Games' latest installment in the Bioshock series sees you lifted from the murky utopia of Rapture into the Eden of Colombia, a floating city in the sky. You play as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent sent to Colombia to track down a women by the name of Elizabeth and bring her to New York to pay off a debt. Infinite is just as much (if not more) a game about story as it is action. I have taken particular care to avoid major spoilers, but proceed at your own risk.
Like the original Bioshock, Infinite is visually stunning and gorgeous to look at. The switch from a dark and dingy pallet to light and vibrant colours have changed the landscape into a pleasant world that could be considered a work of art in its own right. Textures are highly detailed and, unlike in other games, hold up under close inspection. The game does a brilliant job of rendering far and close objects seamlessly. The environments feel alive and inhabited, and likewise you feel like you're in Colombia among the population as you navigate the story.
Though it carries the Bioshock name, It's not a direct sequel to the original. Bioshock, as a title, is a synonym for an excellent, complex, and compelling storyline with a very specific combat style. Infinite does not disappoint, on any front. Irrational Games stuck to what they are good at and improved upon it. The story line is top notch, arguably one of the best that has ever been seen in a video game, maintaining the use of political ideas, especially those prominent in early 20th century America. Like its predecessor, there is a twist – despite anticipating it you'll probably not realize what it is until the later stages or even the end of the game. Only once Infinite has been completed will you be able to fully appreciate the work that was poured into the game's storyline.
Infinite gives you a lot of variety when fighting foes, you have the ability to use long, short and medium range weapons, combined with a melee option offered by the newly introduced skyhook. Racing around the city on tracks in the sky is a whole lot of fun, and Infinite knows this, too. The mechanic has been integrated seamlessly, not just into levels but in combat as well. You have the option to race past, fire your gun then double back and start again, or perform a death from above attack where you jump onto your opponents, stabbing your skyhook into their cranium and killing them instantly. If that's not your cup of tea, then you can use the new vigors, the equivalent of Tonics in Rapture, to possess, suspend or electrify your enemy (plus a whole lot more!).
For the trigger happy among you, Infinite firearm aresenal caters to everyone's taste with pistols, shotguns, rifles, machine, and volley guns. Such a diverse range of weapons means that no two battles will be the same, this makes for an added layer of engagement and uniqueness seen in few games. The icing on the combat comes from your companion, Elizabeth. Her ability to create tears and bring you objects such as cover, health, weapons and turrets mean that you can mix and match on the fly depending on how you want to proceed or what you are most demanding.
Vending machines have been placed at frequent and convenient intervals throughout the environment which offer costly, but significant, upgrades and supplies, whether they be for damage, ammo, or accuracy. The upgrades offered create a real demand to collect silver eagles scattered through out Colombia, giving you more objectives than just watching the levels unfold. Infinite also retains the feature of audio logs, giving additional insight into the problems facing Colombia, the political rift, and more of the back story; this is a treasure chest of information and engagement worthy of exploration, and a great excuse to get lost in every corner what other wise would be plain linear levels.
Bioshock Infinite is one of the best games that I have ever played, and possibly one of the best games that has ever been created. If you don't play Bioshock Infinite I have no doubt that somewhere down the road you will regret it. Ken Levine and the staff at Irrational Games have crafted a masterpiece, a spectacular blend of narrative, art work, music and game play. If you're only going to pick one game up this year, make sure it's this one. And for heaven's sake, play it on a decent PC.