The second game I wanted to review during this Steam Summer Sale is Bioshock Infinite, the third installment in the Bioshock series.
Bioshock Infinite was widely praised critically and a commercial success judging by the number of copies sold, more than 6 million. Apparently, that was not enough for what Irrational Games had in mind, because the studio closed in February 2014.
While Infinite’s metacritic score is 94/100, I’m giving it a much lower score for reasons that I’ll explain below.
Technically, the game is almost perfect. It has high resolution textures that barely blur when you’re close to them, its own atmosphere and graphics style, and every corner in every level has been looked at and polished. Audio is also fantastic and musical elements have been integrated into the gameplay, like the note that plays when you give the final blow to an enemy. To get this out of the way, it’s a 9.5.
Gameplay, on the other hand, is just not remarkable. As we’re used to from other games in the Bioshock series, characters are very well developed thanks to the audio logs you can find throughout your adventure, and the story has depth. I’m not questioning that, but many story and gameplay elements are borrowed from other Bioshock games. A city built outside the reach of governments, a benefactor, the audio logs, the scientific-magic investigations and powers, the smuggling and decadence…
The gameplay style also suffers from the problems I exposed in my Far Cry 3 review: you feel directed inside a movie instead of the story developing in front of your eyes. Also a bit disappointing are the poor weapon expansions and power improvements, or the fact that you can only carry two weapons at the same time. At least in hard mode, some of them are also very underpowered. I found the sniper rifle and carbine to be the best weapons, closely followed by the hand cannon, but the rocket launcher sometimes needs two impacts to kill a relatively normal enemy. It’s simply not worth carrying that around given the limited maximum ammo. Shotguns, a favorite of mine in most videogames for close and medium range combat, feel handicapped in Bioshock Infinite.