Game Title: Bioshock Infinite
Publisher: 2K Games
Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Available on: Xbox 360,Playstation 3,PC,Mac
The Bioshock games have always adeptly mixed visceral thrills with ambitious storytelling. As first-person shooters go, they’re certainly smarter than your average bear(er of arms), but they also don’t scrimp on the thrills and spectacle.
Bioshock Infinite takes place in Columbia, a futuristic city in the clouds. As always, it’s the early 20th century with a huge serving of steampunk sci-fi: fantastical Jules Verne- inspired inventions that whir, whistle and hiss like steam- powered machines of the age. This is mixed with a dash of Christopher Nolan-style chin- stroking and a dollop of David Cronenberg body horror.
You play Booker Dewitt, a man assigned to find and retrieve a mysterious young woman from the city. It doesn't take long to discover that Columbia is a sinister, deeply conservative dictatorship plagued by religious fundamentalism and civil war.
Throughout this waking nightmare, Booker discovers body-altering elixirs: he can fire electricity from his hands, temporarily possess enemies, launch an angry murder of crows at people. You can adjust power- ups to suit your fighting style – long- or short- range shooting, melee attacks, even dragging your enemies towards you with a tentacle for some mano a mano.
Bioshock Infinite is an aggressive first-person shooter, but it’s also beautifully presented. It slows down occasionally to let you take in this marvellously rendered world – a sun-drenched time capsule of art deco that has its own inhabitants, ecosystem, and even pop culture and propaganda. The franchise has added metaphysical themes, as a character can “tear” surroundings to show moments that could have been. “The only difference between past and present is semantics,” we’re told.
But don’t worry: there are also clanking killer cyborgs modelled with George Washington masks.