So Bioshock Infinite came out this week, and despite me playing Mark of the Ninja, a few iPad games, and a bunch of other Steam games, I went and picked up Bioshock Infinite day one. Having not bought a full priced game in... hum, I think my last one was Skyrim - never really did play it - I was a bit worried about shelling out another $60 on a game. So what convinced me? 1. The reviews were one of the reasons. It seemed people only had praise for the game. They also mentioned that Elizabeth wasn't a tag along pain in the neck. I will have to say Elizabeth is a great addition to the game. You never have to protect her, and all she does is help. 2. I looked at the esrb.org description of the game and guess what? No F* bombs in the game. Interesting. It seems like the shooter genre have finally realized that swearing doesn't always have to go hand in hand with the guns. It might only be the setting and all though. As I play it though, all the swearing has been replaced with actual dialog that makes sense, and all communication with Elizabeth is well thought out and actually to the point. Good show. 3. The setting. This whole 1912, floating sky, seemed interesting. Through in a bit of story about radical 'prophets' and it seemed like an interesting gamble.
So how is it panning out? Honestly, there are some really boring parts. It took me 45 minutes just to get to the part where I shoot. Every level pretty much gives you a peaceful walkthrough the area with lots of civilians in it. Then you hit the roadblock, the guards come out and you fight your way back through it. It isn't every part, but just about every part.
They also have the cliche of having to hunt in every nook and cranny to find lockpicks (once you find Elizabeth) so you can open up the hidden areas - and they don't sell any in case you miss one. So I end up carefully looking through the area, every cranny, for 30-45 minutes, turn around, shoot crap for a few minutes, and then walk through all the bodies picking everything up again.
It seems like the FPS genre has also adopted the rule that you can only ever have two weapons on hand... I also don't know what is coming, so I take a gun that is good up close and a gun that doesn't suck from far away. After every skirmish, I'm almost out of bullets... so I swap out one of the guns and hope I don't run into a fight before I can get more. It is actually kind of annoying. - Brief aside here. This is what Mass Effect 1 did right, that no other game has seemed to get right since. Ammo hunting. Mass Effect 1 didn't have any, it also had a viable reason to explain why. If you got too carried away, you could over heat your gun, but after all the bodies were piled up you moved on, no clip hunting. You want to streamline games and make them more fun and accessible? Get rid of this garbage. Also let me carry all the guns. I'll end up gravitating to the ones I like the most and probably stick with 2 or so, but I feel punished for even trying to experiment. If I pick up a gun that sucks and I get in a fight, sucks to be me because I'm probably stuck with it. There, back to Bioshock... Without giving away too much of the story - okay, none of the story - I don't know if the Bioshock team knows how to write anything different than Bioshock 1. I'll leave it at that.
I have no idea how close to the end I am because games don't use levels or progression anymore. I can't even look at achievements to determine how close I am. I can't look up a walkthrough because to understand how far I am I have to read possible plot spoilers in there... I remember the good old days - I just got achievement "finish level 6... look achievements Levels 7-10 are still locked, at least I'm 60% of the way through though." Or even older days - google: "How many levels are in game X?" - 10, okay, I'm on 6... almost there. I like to know how close I am to finishing things. Autosave is stupid. Why can't I open up the menu and click 'Save' at any time? What a lame feature to cut. Don't want someone saving during a fight, fine disable it during a fight... but as I'm wandering around let me save whenever I want! Every time I see it autosave I have to pause and think to myself, "have I had enough? If I keep playing I will possibly have to redo stuff..." I'll actually stop and quit because of this. I have other things I have to do, I can't hope another save spot turns up sooner than later.
The plasmids are lame, I never feel like I can shoot them off. You only get 1 - 2 uses of some of them before you are out of 'Salts' - plasmid power - and you can't just inject more like Bioshock 1. So I find myself never using them just in case I need them later. The upgrades for them are crazy expensive too. To the point if you buy one, you don't get to buy anything else for a long time. So I end up hording my money instead of upgrading them. Other than those little gripes, the game is okay. Bioshock 1 knocked my socks off. Bioshock Infinite is still fighting to keep my attention. Spending $60 on something sure does pressure you into keeping at it though. I'm actually kind of hoping I get it done quick while the resell value is high - I doubt I'll ever journey the sky again once I'm done unless it gets better soon. There really isn't that much interesting about the game other than they did get one thing right, Elizabeth. Solid Gold companion AI right there. Everyone would do well to ensure to follow the mold going forward in their own games. I'm also suppose to be enjoying the flying around on the sky rail things... but unfortunately, I played a little game called Metroid Prime from the GameCube era that did it a bunch. Bioshock did make it easier to get on and off, but it is still the same basic premise. I'll give you more of my thoughts once I get it done, but already I'm seeing why I don't bother with AAA games much anymore. I think a younger me would absolutely love this game... but there are so many things thrown in there to add to 'realism' and such that AAA gaming just isn't that much fun. For all the steps forward in technology, the industry sure does know how to take a 10 steps backward.