From its first words, Bioshock Infinite stands out as just different from any other games out there, tackling themes usually reserved for classrooms, or the Bible. What else talks about religion and race so maturely while at the same time having characters with super powers?
Like that shining "house on a hill" that America was envisioned as by Emerson, Bioshock infinite is set on a city in the clouds, but in an alternate Columbia where our heroes couldn't be more complementary. On the one hand, you have a female heroine that is straight out of Disney’s Beauty and The Beast, a funny girl, an epitome of feminine purity, and on the other you play Booker DeWitt, a man’s man who probably drinks scotch on the rocks. You both complete each other, but not how one might think. While our girl lacks Booker's physical strength, she can tear holes in the space-time continuum (duh) and our hero’s heroism simply lacks luster. Bioshock Infinite's gun battles are a blast with Elizabeth opening holes to alternate realities where you didn't use that health pack and also throwing you ammo when you’re running low. And here I thought I was done with gaming...
What’s compelling about Bioshock Infinite is that it plays to your past and present, drawing you in by both your childhood love for Disney-like characters, singing and dancing included, as well as brutal violence and adult themes. Interestingly though, Infinite only really works as a game. Sure, I could be more proud about watching “Bioshock: The Movie" versus playing the game, but I don’t think it would have the same appeal. The fun is in being Booker, in feeling his conflict in both using Elizabeth to “pay his debt” and legitimately wanting to help her out of the s#!% she’s caught up in.
Here’s 5 ways Bioshock Infinite is unlike anything else.
1. Depicting blatant racism
Bioshock doesn’t just show racism, it lets you partake in it (hear me out)! Bioshock lets you decide whether to throw baseballs at the black member of an interracial couple or the racist chastising them, and allows apathy to sink in as you run around black folks doing slave activities of all kinds, though you can always stop and show some empathy. There’s even that one Asian guy in BSI, who you know isn’t washing decks because he’s a mechanic or something.
2. False religion
I’ve never seen a game go so far in portraying false religion. There’s statues, there’s scripture, blind followers, elaborate churches - there’s even a fully fleshed out false prophet in Comstock! What’s fun about false religion in Bioshock is watching its fantasy crumble as tensions rise.
3. Variety of wicked powers out of your hands
Ok, it’s been done. STILL, Bioshock kicks ass in the powers from the hands department. You can shoot fire, ice, lightening, or just insane vibrations that makes your enemies sort of pop like corn kernels on fire. It’s great.
4. The Sky-line
The first time I saw hopped on the sky rail I thought to myself “how long before my GPU hangs?” Riding the sky rail is web slinging meets local rickety rollercoaster ride! Also of note are the sky attacks you can do where you plunge down onto enemies from ridiculous heights and basically behead them.
5. Cultural easter eggs
From secret song covers like Madonna’s “girls just wanna have fun” and “God only knows” by the Beach boys, to Disney-esque whimsy, 1999 mode which turns the game insanely hard like the no BS shooters of the 90s, to Star Wars references like Han Solo’s line “This job is getting worse all the time” and Black Face, Bioshock is packed with cultural references that will bring you joy if you notice them.
For someone who spends a lot of time looking for the next big experience often locally, I couldn’t resist this game – maybe I just couldn’t resist her. I can really get involved, you know? I mean, who hasn’t done things for a girl? Like that time when I jumped in after her, when we were being attacked by that bird thing and the building collapsed. “This job is getting worse all the time” I thought, but she’s my... responsibility... I’ll always save her. *ahem*
With an ending that's essay worthy, Bioshock Infinite is a visceral experience worthy of your attention!