The seaweed monsters in Mario Odyssey freaked me out. As an avid Zelda fan, I never finished Majora’s Mask because of the time limit and the creepy moon. I can’t play FPS because I panic too much to aim properly. Anything even slightly unsettling, or stressful, or requiring shooting, is always a strong, categorical no from me.
So of course Bioshock Infinite was perfect for me.
No, I’m not joking. I was encouraged to get out of my comfort zone and try a game that wasn’t Professor Layton or a 5-stack League of Legends game. I already had Bioshock Infinite bought and sitting in my Steam library for some reason – 98% of my Steam games were free, impulse purchases, or was in a humble bundle. I’m very specific with my games, you see. For one, it had to be easy. It had to be stress-free. It had to not involve guns. It had to not involve violence, or quick thinking, or creepy atmospheres.
Bioshock Infinite is the best thing to happen to me, so let’s get right into it.
I literally had no idea what to expect from Bioshock Infinite. I kept getting the name mixed up with Borderlands, and kept expecting the Jack fellow to pop out at any minute. I forgot the actual name of the game regularly, even as I was playing it.
I didn’t know the story, the characters – except Elizabeth’s appearance – and I certainly didn’t realise it would BE SO FUCKING BLOODY.
Okay. First things first, yes I played on Easy mode. It’s a testament to how unfamiliar I am with these games that I didn’t even realise that was an option. And don’t worry – my Easy mode is your Hard.
Anyway, back on track. So the world opens up and I’m in this dreary looking world and honestly I’m really not feeling it. It was already nothing like what I was expecting, which was a bright, colourful, and happy world. Then we enter this lighthouse building thingie and there’s a FUCKING DEAD BODY SLOUCHED OVER A FUCKING CHAIR IN A POOL OF FUCKING BLOOD.
I did not realise the game was going to be like this. I jumped in my seat and pretty much wanted to just quit right there, but I had this weird obligatory feeling towards this game. I had to at least play more than 5 minutes before calling it quits.
OKAY AND THEN I FIND RELIEF IN THIS HAPPY COLOURFUL CITY ONLY TO BE SLICING A POLICEMAN’S FACE OPEN WITH THE SKYHOOK BLADE THING.
So from the beginning, the city is unsettling. Yes, it’s bright and cheery and everyone seems to be in a good mood, but there’s just an ominous feel about it. Things come to a head when the above occurs. Please note – up until this moment, I still had no idea it would be this gory. I had not an inkling on what to expect – I had already been bamboozled enough!
Story + Synopsis (spoilerific)
NB: Not too sure why I bothered labelling this part as spoilerific – it’s not like 99% of you all haven’t already played it through twice)
The story is fantastic. It hits you in the feels and makes you go oooh and aahh. I will admit though, I kind of ruined it for myself. You see, I’m not the best at following stories in videogames, especially something as stressful for a player like me as Bioshock Infinite. I’m too focused on not dying and killing thugs that I miss out on lots of crucial plot points.
Thus, about 3/4 of the way through, I looked up on the Wiki about the plot so far. Welp, you can guess what happened. I scrolled past a profile of Elizabeth, and read how her actual name was DeWitt. Well, fuck. They’re father and daughter. I had only scanned past it, so I hoped I had misread it as I continued to play. It also majorly sucked cos I was actually lowkey starting to ship Booker and Elizabeth, but now that’s just gross.
Other than that, the story is solid.
Booker DeWitt is brought to an island by a mysterious man and woman, where he is told: ‘Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.’ The girl is Elizabeth, and it turns out she is actually his baby daughter Anna, who was taken away from him by the evil, crazy-religious Comstock who rules over Columbia, to ‘wipe away the debt’ (although he has lost his memory and thus does not remember this). Past Booker immediately regrets giving her away and gives chase, but baby Anna’s finger is severed by the Tear in time. Comstock will continue to exist through all alternate worlds.
Booker realises he is Comstock at the end, and he stands in the baptism pool where, near the beginning of the game, you are asked to be baptised. If he refuses baptism, he becomes Booker. If he accepts, he becomes Comstock.
The multiple Elizabeth/Annas from alternate worlds gather round, and push Booker’s head under the water, drowning him at the point of his world-changing decision, thus killing any possibility of Comstock’s existence.
The ending really makes you think, and feel pretty sad. The last screen is really powerful – as the multiple Elizabeths disappear one by one, as their source of life has died, the last one remains for a moment before the screen cuts to black.
One thing I did notice (and did make me feel much better) was that, looking up the full story of Bioshock Infinite, many other people seemed confused about it, and its ending. So hey, I might suck at following stories in videogames, but at least I’m sort of exempt with this one?
This game is beautiful. It was released in 2013, but I honestly felt like it was as modern as could be. I was totally immersed. Columbia is a strange place, evoking an overwhelming sense of underlying dread disguised by an overly cheery setting, punctuated by the solemn man over the loudspeakers.
As you progress further into the game, the setting grows darker, redder … more ominous. There’s a constant sense of paranoia, never knowing who’s going to turn on you, what’s going to happen next, when something is going to snap.
Did I mention how fucking creepy this game can be? The atmosphere is so spot on, it sends a shiver down your spine when you enter a room and it’s fucking this:
Coming from someone who has never properly played a FPS game before, the gameplay was intuitive and fluid. I did have moments where I stressed out as I tried to remember which key was which, but that’s a total me problem. If you’re new to FPS games, or just really high action games in general, definitely give Bioshock Infinite a try on Easy mode. The weapons were easy to flick through, as were the Vigors – magical powers that recharge using Salts – and using them was a piece of cake.
Of course, being the panicky FPS noob that I am, I pretty much stuck to the machine gun as my main sidekick for ultimate bad guy killing. My vigor of choice was, similarly, the Murder of Crows, where you toss, well, a murder of crows in a general direction. As you can see, aiming is my nemesis. I initially liked the Devil’s Kiss, where you throw flames, before I quickly discovered that you have to actually aim it, rather than throw it in a moment of blind panic.
There are a few parts where you can fight with the rebels to overturn Comstock’s rule over Columbia. I loved these sections because, for one thing, they’re absolutely epic. It’s like war, fighting with your allies for the greater good as they cheer you on, weaving through explosions and shootings to climb to victory. The other reason I loved it was because I’m a total wuss, and having people by my side really made it much more enjoyable for me. Lol.
Elizabeth is also a great help in combat. I ran out of Salts very quickly, as I really, really enjoyed panic-spamming my Murder of Crows. I was also always pretty low on ammo, because I enjoyed just spamming my machine gun. But Elizabeth was always running round with me (impervious to damage), tossing me Salts and ammo and even health at the most dire of moments. Later in the game she also gets the ability to open Tears, such as bringing to life cannons and places to swing from, as well as walls to block incoming bullets, grenades, and the like.
Basically, tl;dr, coming from someone who has absolutely never played a game like this before (i.e. FPS, creepy AF), and exclusively stuck to completely non-stressful games like Professor Layton and the Legend of Zelda (okay, so Majora’s Mask can be creepy but nothing like this), Bioshock Infinite had me right till the end. I won’t lie – many times through my playthrough, I had to force myself to finish. Just get through this one last thing, I’d tell myself. You can do it, you wuss.
But I did it, and it was so, 100% worth it. Whoever you are, no matter the kind of gamer you are, or whether you even are at all, you should pick this game up and give it a shot. It’ll give you a good time.