BioShock Infinite is a masterclass in narrative and game design but most importantly, it’s incredible fun to play. Irrational Games’ follow-up to its 2007 gong-grabbing behemoth casts you as former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, a man sent to the floating city of Columbia in 1912 to rescue Elizabeth, the offspring of Columbia’s self-styled prophet and iron-fisted ruler, Zachary Comstock.
But Elizabeth isn’t just another baseless damsel in distress designed simply to push the game’s big beats forward to its (admittedly astonishing) conclusion. No, BioShock Infinite is Elizabeth’s game and you just happen to be along for this bombastic ride. Sure, at its core BioShock is still very much a shooter in terms of game design, but Elizabeth anchors you so brilliantly to this wondrously fleshed-out world that you’ll want to take the time, not to shoot, but to discover and absorb every element of Columbia.
She’s also pretty useful in combat too, sometimes supplying health packs and ammo, and never once getting in the way while you mow down Comstock’s army of henchmen using an array of weaponry and Vigors, which have replaced the original games’ Plasmid abilities. Elizabeth can also open ‘Tears’ in the game world, which serve as gateways to another dimension that allow you to ferry in items such as turrets and cover. It’s a slick idea, hampered only by the fact that it requires you to pull your finger from the trigger for a brief moment, bringing about an unwarranted distraction in the heat of the moment. And while there are fleeting moments of sagging in a series of firefights plagued with age old dilemma of scores of identical enemies, BioShock Infinite simply begs to be both replayed and dissected in detail as soon as the credits roll.
Reviewed by Sebastian Williamson