I bought another Big Name Extravaganza during the recent Steam Sales, Bioshock Infinite. It’s been a while coming, but I finally played through and I have a couple of words about it.
So Bioshock Infinite fits into an interesting slot for me. On the one hand, while playing it, it was fun. I wanted to know more about the world, I wanted to see more of Columbia and I wanted to find the amazing narrative I knew could be there.
Initially I even enjoyed the ending.
On the other hand, well, this is where we could start spilling a lot of ink. The internet is full of well-written commentary on Bioshock Infinite, and mine won’t be of much worth.
Instead of the scathing anger with which Far Cry 3 filled me, Bioshock Infinite leaves disappointment at the sense of how much it could have been, had competent writers been involved. Where better decisions could have been made, we were left with a narrative that is close to a textbook description of Fridge Logic, changing explanations and providing nonsensical motiviations throughout.
The vigors? No NPC ever uses them, they exist solely for the player, yet advertising in the world abounds as to their function and place. The kiosks offering weapons upgrades similarly exist only for the player, lacking even the shaky Objectivist reasoning of Bioshock.
The story does not advance from simmer to full rebellion, treating the tears as what Elizabeth wishes or dreams could be true. Instead, they’re used to the effect of “we are written and level-edited into a corner NEED NEW UNIVERSE please open this tear to continue.”
It’s badly written, badly assembled, badly edited dross that could only be shown as a demonstration of lavish incompetence, where nothing carries the same weight as System Shock 2′s horrifying corridors, nor do we remotely approach the heights of Andrew Ryan in Bioshock.
Once the name Shock was one whispered in awe, of the stories and emotions that tugged at us. Once, that awe glittered in our wide and unbelieving eyes. Once, we were blessed with magic.
Now, nothing but the ash of bitter memory remains.