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BioShock: To Infinite and Beyond

Gamers around the world have waited in anticipation for what has felt like an eternity to get their hands on the third title in the highly acclaimed “BioShock” series, and come next Tuesday the wait is finally over. BioShock Infinite lands in stores on March 26th, and is already shaping up to be quite the contender for “Game of the Year”, it seems. I mean let’s be honest here, how many awards can a game receive before even making it to shelves, and Infinite already has already scored over eighty of them.

As touted by series creator Ken Levine, “Infinite” is the true successor to the colossally celebrated and praised original BioShock. This installment has been in development since the first title wrapped development and as you may or may not be aware of, BioShock 2 was actually handled by a completely different staff of developers (and had “multiplayer” for crying out loud). While this game shares the same namesake as previous titles, Levine and crew at Irrational Games have made it clear that the core theme of BioShock is something that shouldn’t be restricted to the confines of a flooded city submerged beneath the sea. In stark contrast to “Rapture”, Infinite takes place high in the sky set within a fictional World’s Fair of sorts known as “Columbia” (as in the female personification of the United States— not “Columbiana”, which was an action movie starring Zoe Saldana) featuring an absolutely gorgeous palette of patriotic colors, and vibrant designs which harken back to the turn of the century when America was still a blossoming young country.

Set in the year 1912, the game centers around Booker DeWitt an ex-member of the Pinkerton Government Services sent to Columbia to find and secure Elizabeth, a mysterious woman with an as of yet unknown connection to the storyline’s movers and shakers. When Booker arrives topside he finds a war waging on the elevated streets of Columbia between one of the original founders a man named Zachary Hale Comstock and his elitists, against a group of radicals representing the common citizens labeled the “Vox Populi”. Much of the story is still unknown while the developers have remained extremely tight-lipped over plot details, but you can surely bet on the narrative having a major emphasis on the political issues of the people inhabiting it’s fictitious world.

“Infinite”, also boasts wildly advanced gameplay mechanics from past BioShock titles in the guise of Elizabeth who assists the player as an AI companion. The team at Irrational have stressed undergoing an exhaustive effort while designing Elizabeth in attempt to get players emotionally attached to her character (which is quite a departure from most AI partners who never prove to be more than a hindrance/walking tackle-box). In addition, “tonics” from older BioShock titles have been re-imagined here as “vigors” which grant Booker unique abilities he is then able to combine with Elizabeth’s own brand of astonishing tactics. Unique to “Infinite” as well, is the Skyline which functions as a roller coaster zip-line allowing the player to jet from one foundation to another above the cloud city.

So far it would seem as though “Infinite” is more than ready and able to carve it’s way into gaming history as one of the most ambitious, and captivating titles ever produced. Aside, from the last two games you would be hard pressed to find anything out there even remotely similar to what’s being accomplished here. Everything from the graphics, to the character designs scream topnotch productive value. However, gorgeous games are a dime a dozen these days and only time will dictate whether or not Infinite manages to elevate the genre into brave new territory like it’s predecessor did years ago. But if anything is certain about BioShock Infinite, it is that once again the talented people at Irrational have chosen to take an enlightening and educated approach to their first person shooter, while the slaves continue to obey.
Written by: Pistol Pete