Bioshock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite

In the aftermath of its first trailer, a friend of mine described Bioshock Infinite’s setting as predictable. “It’s like Pokemon: You’ve got the water ones, and then the fire guy, and then poison and then fucking Gastly and Gengar and shit.”

Truthfully, a city in the sky is likely to be the first absurdly impractical architectural style that springs to mind after Rapture’s pressurised bathyspheres in the first Bioshock. Even the briefest suggestion, however, that Infinite might be predictable or generic chokes at every turn. You play as Booker DeWitt, a charming agent with soft hands who is dropped onto one of the city-in-the-cloud’s many balloon platforms tasked with tracking down a lady named Elizabeth. She can fundamentally shatter reality by bringing vast objects, even living things, in and out of reality.

Bioshock told a story to the player that had already taken place, but in Infinite, DeWitt is the cause and solution to many of Columbia’s (The Art Nouveau blimp-town) problems. From the first person perspective the player will witness real, non-violent NPCs (non-player characters) going about their day-to-day lives. This is by no means groundbreaking, but the first Bioshock kept from shattering suspension-of-disbelief by keeping the player totally alone (save for voiceover) throughout. One can’t help but wonder if Infinite will have the same level of realism as the first game.

Infinite attempts to take real advantage of its setting. Using a steam-punk contraption, Booker can strap himself to roller coaster-like rails and accelerate violently to other levels of the city as the battle rages on around him. This is a non-linear web of rails that add a whole level of strategy to taking down the intelligent enemies who will tail you on the rails and try to cut you off.

Chief among these foes is Songbird, a multi-ton metallic canary that pursues the players much like the Big Sister in Bioshock 2. Elizabeth has a history with this nefarious hulk, as it served as her jailer, guardian and only friend. She is, at once, terrified beyond all else of being recaptured by it, and distraught about the idea of it coming to any harm.

Look to late 2012 for Bioshock Infinite – based on the pedigree of the developer this is sure to be sophisticated and meticulously crafted.
This article first appeared in Issue 3, 2012.
Posted 6:37pm Sunday 11th March 2012 by Toby Hills.