The original BioShock game is considered to be one of the finest achievements within the realms of video game design. If you were going to mount a serious case for “video games as art,” you might use BioShock as your prime example. In terms of aesthetic design, it’s up there with Shadow of the Colossus and Half-Life 2. Last week, the latest game in the series, BioShock Infinite, was released to overwhelmingly good reviews. It is, without a doubt, the best game I’ve played in a long, long time.
So why, exactly, has Infinite been bestowed with over 80 gaming awards and heaps of 5 star reviews? What makes it so good? Simply put, the game is an astounding artistic achievement: visionary and beautiful, it’s a wonder to behold. From an aesthetic perspective, it is damn near flawless. The world that the player travels over the course of the game, Columbia, is one of the most vivid and detailed gaming environments ever constructed.
Infinite also clings to a brilliantly dense and complex narrative that isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of what a “video game story” is: it tackles real issues – like religion, racism, politics, and morality – with superior, relevant intelligence. The characters are rich and vibrant and programmed to be like real people (seriously: this is the first game to ever feature an A.I. “companion” that won’t drive you crazy for a single second).
That’s not all: the game is unafraid to take its time, to give you moments to reflect and think on the consequences of your actions. Moments that allow for things like this to happen. When BioShock Infinite comes to an end, your personal journey with the game won’t: it stays with you. That said, the game is not perfect, nor is it lacking some inherent design flaws. Whereas the visuals, the characters, and the bold storyline can be praised almost extensively, there are certain aspects of BioShock Infinite that don’t quite gel.
Let me put this into perspective: I love this game. I think it’s something close to a masterpiece. It had a severe emotional affect on me, which – especially where video games are concerned – is something to be praised… well, infinitely. I completed it almost a week ago, and it’s still on my mind. But I want to take a look at what I believe to be some of the game’s lesser aspects – some that I feel could’ve been better realised.
Please note that there are some spoilers spread throughout the following article (I’ve tried to keep them to a minimum). If you’re haven’t played the game in full yet, I’d advise that you don’t read on.
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This article was first posted on April 4, 2013