It’s safe to say by now that 2013 didn’t hold back on outstanding games. The Tomb Raider franchise got a long awaited, and much needed, overhaul, Last of Us put a definitive blue ribbon on post apocalyptic survivalist game play, and Ubisoft Montreal added a Duke Nukem inspired expansion to the smash success Far Cry 3 centered around cyborg protagonist Sergeant Rex Power Colt titled Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.
None of these games could withstand the poignantly beautiful story of Booker DeWitt, and his unrelenting quest to “Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt” in Bioshock Infinte. With the unexpected closure of Irrational Games, the developers behind the third part in the Bioshock series, it’s fairly safe to say that the franchise will end in Colombia.
We’re given little character introduction, suddenly appearing on a rowboat, heading to a Maine lighthouse with two peculiar individuals who finish each other’s sentences more often then the 10th Doctor and Donna Noble. After a brief investigation of the lighthouse, Booker is transported to Colombia, a city floating on the clouds.
The setting of Bioshock Infinite only enhances its already intricate storyline. Set in 1912, Colombia mixes old-timey ambiance with not-so-subtle tones of American patriotism and devotion to self-proclaimed Prophet Zachary Comstock. While travelling the streets of Colombia, we’re subjected to lively chatter from the NPCs and visually stunning views of monuments erected to the Founding Fathers.
Instead of using period-specific music, Creative Director Ken Levine chose to have the soundtrack team incorporate faux olden times covers of popular songs such as “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears for Fears. The entire setting of Colombia helps the player become immersed in this pseudo historical alternate reality.
In game mechanics are nearly identical to the previous two episodes in the Bioshock franchise; however, the addition of the Sky-Hook, used to transport quickly through the skies, and Elizabeth’s ability to open “Tears” to other alternate worlds help the users defeat the onslaught of Comstock’s guards and the rebel Vox Populi forces that turn on Booker and Elizabeth, the aforementioned girl needed to wipe away Booker’s mysterious debt.
For a sci-fi fan such as myself, a game that combines steam punk mechanisms, plotlines involving alternate worlds, and just about, as much first-person shooting carnage available is a ten out of ten.
Bioshock Infinite keeps the action coming with two huge DLCs: Clash In The Clouds and Burial At Sea. Clash In The Clouds features an unrelenting swarm of AI foes and hours of game play, giving the game much needed replay value. Burial At Sea features a whole new adventure featuring Booker and Elizabeth back in the city of Rapture. It offers hours of new content encompassing elements from all three games in the franchise.
While it may not have the numbers of the Call Of Duty series or the open world like Grand Theft Auto V, Bioshock Infinite combines beautiful art direction, unique sound design, and one of the best stories of any movie, TV show, or book released in 2013.