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Now, some of you might have read Kotaku’s „BioShock Infinite Is Insanely, Ridiculously Violent. It’s A Real Shame“, where known people from the industry were going all „nyeh, this game shouldn’t be so violent“. The complaints are mostly about the hook, since it features gruesome fatalities. Of course, as usual, Kotaku is mostly wrong.

Now, I will admit that the first kills with the hook are pretty jarring – especially since the ride up to that point was all rainbows and Comstocks. And now I’m slaughtering policemen left and right. I felt uncomfortable for jamming metal up a cop’s head – and most cop killing in games is pretty impersonal. Though people from Kotaku should have felt better than I did – that’s a racist cop, after all, and isn’t racism one of the ills of the society that Kotaku and the Escapist aim to cure?

In their pursuit for their own secular, all inclusive, gender neutral Columbia, they miss the fact that the whole combat system is fucked. The difference between BioShock and BioShock Infinite is akin to that between Dragon Age and Dragon Age 2 — combat is less intimate and more about killing masses of faceless mooks. Splicers were the tragic victims of self inflicted genetic manipulation. Enemies in Infinite are there just to be enemies; so that you would feel like a bad-ass for mowing them down – like in Call of Duty or something.

Another big sign combat design laziness is the two guns limit. Why is it there? Because half of the guns in game are palette swaps of the first half. Put some red on it, maybe add a scope, BAM, new weapon! If you could carry all of them, the lack of effort would be pretty obvious. It’s even sadder with weapon upgrades: in BioShock, you’d do them just to see how the guns looks afterwards – and the nifty powers that came with it didn’t hurt. Here, it’s just a dumb stats increase.

But we’re forgetting one other weapon – the controversial shit-to-panties expediter, the hook. It pales in comparison to Wrench from BioShock, which, with smart and liberal application of plasmids, could become the only weapon you would ever need. Stealth, ice upgrades – wrench was a connoisseur’s weapon, a primitive tool for a more civilized age. The Drill in BioShock 2 wasn’t as good, but it still had something going for it  – for example, an upgrade that let you deflect bullets while spinning in. Here, the hook is demoted from a real weapon (that would have it’s own slot and all) to a button that makes bad people go away if they come close – and if the enemy got to melee range, that means you suck. Please note, pummelling someone with the hook in Hard mode is stupid and suicidal. So, beyond that first use on a cop, it really is a useless gimmick.

Much like the whole combat system, which is entirely disconnected from the game world. How are Handymen made and who is Songbird? We don’t know, but we had to put them since BioShock had Big Daddies and Big Sisters. What are vigors, how do they work? Who knows, who cares! They might be factory produced, adds for them might litter the world, actual bottles are lying everywhere, but only you and a couple of special enemies use them! Oh, water puddles and oil slicks that would organically fit into the environments? Too hard to make, so here’s Elisabeth quantum-pulling them from between her sweet butt cheeks.

While we’re on ass-pulls, here’s a vigor to hack machines for you, because hacking puzzles, while fine and dandy for SystemShocks and BioShocks 1 and 2, aren’t what we want in this game. Much like security cameras, which were prominent in all games up to now. You see, this is an action oriented shooter, so no skulking around looking for hacks and cams. And here are some more checkpoints to boot, since they are a great idea in game that lets you explore the environment and loot stuff. Had to close the game before the next checkpoint came? Well boohoo, what do you think you were playing? BioShock?!

And yet they ramble on how they can’t show BioShock Infinite as a sign that the industry has matured. Well, what’s holding them from showing BioShock the first? Why is Infinite supposed to be Lamb that would drown in flames the world of the mundanes? Mundanes that would see that first cop killing and would go all „yep, games are damned forever“. It’s like dismissing Tarantino’s or Cohen’s movies because they’re violent. It’s like dropping „American History X“ after the curb-stomp scene. If you want to enlighten someone as fickle as that, you’re doing a Sisyphean task that only gains you accolades after you complain to like-minded individuals in Tumblr (or Kotaku)…

In the end, most of the player’s active interaction with the world of Columbia is a dumbed down version of the Rapture experience. And if you cry out for more Elizabeth and environmental exploration and puzzles, well… Do you remember the original reveal of „Bioshock: Infinite“? No? Let’s recap:


YouTube -

It‘s a three year old, 10 minutes long video about the world we could experience. City was alive, it was breathing, it had face and it faced many problems. It also looked very familiar as in comparison with many problems and choices we’re facing today. Yes, early videos and screenshots looked harsh, yes they sparked some controversies in press, but what of it? Cheap write ups dissecting Columbia in a light of some ongoing real life debates where ment to generate clicks, not to solve any problems. But somehow I feel that someone (be it a publisher, or developer) got spooked. Columbia became sterile and empty shell of a city it could’ve been.

Also, what happened to Elizabeth and her powers? It feels like originally there was a choice to make. You know, exploit the girl to beat the game quick and easy, or balance things, so everyone is happy at the end? Fact is she wasn’t just another nice manifestation of Yorda (Ico) or Elika (Prince of Persia 2008), Elizabeth was bound to be greater than that, but ended up just like any other sidekick. Why?

Well it’s just a guess, but we’re thinking that maybe gaming media is a part of this? If media and critics tend to lose focus on gameplay values and mechanics, while they use game related discussions to push various agendas, maybe it’s only normal that developers choose to play it safe? Even if that safety is provided via simple smoke and mirrors illusions, allowing everyone to see only the stuff they wish? You think you’re not fooled by it? Well then, compare the skyrail system Columbia had three years ago, with the one it has now.

„Bioshock Infinite“ if definitely a good game. Sad thing is, that there’s no game related elements that would bring it higher above the competition. Whole combat system and it’s parts, sense of exploration, overall atmosphere and freedom of choice… All these elements is ranging from mediocre to good. Perfection is probably achieved only in voice acting, sound engineering, storytelling (not the story itself though) and attention to some specific details, but on these terms it should compete with movies on „Metacritic“.


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One Response

  1. dakan45 says:

    BRAVO BRAVO

    I agree completly.

    I believe the industry is going backwards and everyone is getting payed for high rating reviews.

    Let me tell you a story. Back in 2007 i played a bunch of games. I played bad company which had big maps and vehicles. Suprisingly the sequel was a linearized standard shooter with small maps just like cod. I played Moh ariborne. Nonlinear levels and leveling up guns. Now the sequels are sameless cod ripoffs. I played frontline fuel of war. THe singleplayer had big maps, classes and vehicles. Homefront became a linear shooter. I played darkness and i was doing SIDEMISSIONS and sending minions in vents. The sequel became a super linear scripted shooter copying cod’s way of doing things. I played crysis and the sequels became one more linear and scripted than the other.

    Hell it doesnt stop there, syndicate was rebooted as an fps and what they did? They turned it into ANOTHER linear and scripted fps with 2 weapons limit and OFCOURSE a sprint button, because you cant possibly dare to make a fps without a sprint button. Now bioshock is guilty of the same thing and yet it gets praise.

    The industry is crumbling. Many were dissapointed from mass effect 2.5, sorry i meant 3. Many hated assasin creed 3. Moh warfighter, dead space 3, darksiders 2,hitman absolution, tomb raider, sleeping dogs, crysis 3. All failed to reach their goals.

    We see franchises turned into linear scripted shooters to get sales and failing missrably.

    Crysis got 3 milllion on pc. They spend truckloads of money to consolize the sequel and got 3 millions as well and crysis 3 has less.

    RUINED

    They turned dead space 3 into a coop action shooter lost planet clone with microtransactions and FAILED.

    They used moh in 2010 to bash cod and the sequel got no sales for the reason of being a lifeless product. FAILED

    They turned hitman absolution and tomb raider into linear shooters and also FAILED

    Also sleeping dogs sold 1.5 million copies.

    What didnt fail were games like deus ex and dishonored giving somethign new with deep gameplay.

    So we see games failing but cod, bioshock and gta will get super high sales and ratings just by having the big name.

    Bioshock was a nonliner shooter with big maps and used adam as skill points with many guns and carrying potions. Hacking cameras and buying the plasmids you want.

    Infinte is a linear scripted cod ripoff coming with linear and scritped maps with elevator rides to stream the next area into the memory and 2 weapon limit along with a halo like shield. You cant carry potions or hack stuff. Also the weapons and enemies are dissapoiting and the levels are not that impressive either. In bioshock everything made sense. In infinite i got so many questions. What are the vigors and the handymen? Who made them and how.

    Most importantly why i cant choose which vigor i want but the game gives them to me in a linear fashion as i progress. Why i cant buy the ones i want instead?

    The game has no choice and its horribly linear.

    Here i am gonna say something that will piss off people. Id rather play a cod game that last 5 hours than a 15 hour bioshock infinite. Why? because cod will give you diffirent missions and settings and diffirent things happening in the campaign. In infinite, you go from one area to the next one fighting repettive enemies all over again and hoarding money. System shock 2 and dead space handled this perfectly by gettign you into new areas and having a problem that you need to deal with. It created interest. But if i played biohosck infinite for a few hours, i woudlnt be doing anyhing other than moving forward and killiong what appears in my way. Its one BORRING and repettive game.

    So this game stands up there for supbar typical linear shooter gameplay AND being repettive and borring?

    Its funny how most base all in the story. So this is what happen to the industry? To spend a 100 million on a game that if you take the story away, it plays like every other game ever made. Sorry but games are not movies.

    Dead space 3 claimed that needs 5 million sales to survive. If you think about it, thats 300 million while the avengers costed 220 million. STOP burning money in advertisement and make GAMES with GAMEPLAY not 60 bucks movies.

    So i did some seraching to see why i was impressed by the game. I fond 2 E3 videos that shown FAR FAR better gameplay and most importantly gameplay that ISNT IN THE DAMN GAME.

    So we basicly got tricked. The gameplay was faked and colonial marines got destroyed in reviews for it, but infnite gets a free pass apparently.

    Despite the fact that what we saw was not into the game, they did put the “WINNER OF OVER 80 AWARDS” in the box ANYWAY despite the fact those awards were based off LIES.

    Also Ken levine kept going on and on about how amazing Elizabeth is, when in realltiy she is just another npc. It is just that irrational never made a npc that you can interact before. They were all behind glasses and you couldnt talk to them,

    So bioshock is the new colonial marines and ken levine the new peter molyneux.

    On top of that they decided to troll us. But hey, its our fault for being blind and nto seeing it all along.

    The boxart of bioshock infinite is yout ypical dude with a gun at the same pose as the “Genric fps” (google that in images plz) and just like moh, cod and bf we have a guy holding a gun.

    Ken argued this was done to get the game bought by casual gamers. They add alternative cover inside the box. Which reads

    “The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist ”

    Essentially saying, hey moron this game is not a BIOSHOCK game, its a codripoff, but sicne you are a fanboy, you gonna create this hype and wishfull thinking of hope trying to make it what it isnt.

    …and so the industry and gamers will defend bioshock infiintie by saying “no its not a cod ripoff, it has sky hooks and vigors” essentially missing the fact that that this game is so similar that the diffirencies hardly set it apart from the norm that goes on. Infact back in the old days we had “doom clones” but all of them were far far diffirent from each other and doom. Compared with what we got to day the term “cod clone” is a valid as ever.

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JcDent

From the ancient times Martynas Klimas is famed for irresponsible usage of words in his reviews. His articles has been published in „Games.lt“, "pinigukarta.lt", "NKTV". He's a veteran writer for Lithuanian edition of „PC Gamer“.

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