**Note: these are my 1st impressions of the game and not a full on review**
Bioshock Infinite is the 3rd diesel punk entry from Irrational/2K games that takes on the themes of a dystopian landscape and thrusts your character into world where moral issues are abound.
While not exactly a prequel of the other 2 Bioshock games many of the other themes from the last 2 games are very present here. You take on the role of ex Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt who starts the game dropped off at a mysterious lighthouse (always those darned lighthouses!!) and transported, instead of underwater to the city of Rapture, to the cloud city of Columbia to rescue a mysterious girl with powers beyond belief. Booker and Elizabeth find themselves caught up in a battle between Zachey Comstock who is the ultra religious face of Columbia and the Vox Populi who seek to overthrow Comstock.
Bioshock Infinite is not the faint at heart when it comes to idealism as the themes of racial segregation and purification (it IS 1912 after all!!), theocracy, eugenics and xenophobia are all prevalent throughout the game and similar to the other Bioshock games these themes play a role in your characters make up
This game is running on my PC which is an AMD Phenom II X6 1065T, 2.6 GHz 8gb with an Nvidia GTX 460 SE card under high settings and the visuals are jaw dropping. Unlike the first 2 games that took place in the underwater city of Rapture where it was dark and devoid of life, Columbia is rendered as a bright, colorful and cheerful place, with its own brand of crazy. The visuals are just stunning and as long as you aren’t being chased you could spend time wandering the landscape admiring the small touches that the creators made for this game. People enjoying the view and commenting on the latest news, children playing hopscotch, and things that are simply floating on diesel works. The architecture, the lighting and the mood all come together even the clothing that the people wear are highly detailed even in moderate settings. You really get a perception that you are in a city in the clouds and maybe a bit of vertigo too! There are many marvels to admire from the airships to the engines and even the way the birds are rendered are really nice. To me, this game scratches some of the itch that I wanted from Dishonored that it missed for a game of this alternate history genre. I don’t think Irrational set out to make a game that was taxing to video cards as there isn’t a lot to toggle on and off unlike Tomb Raider. As a matter of fact, playing around with some settings didn’t seem to make that much of a difference and you still have a great looking game even if you are running it on a moderate system.
If you played other Bioshocks, then you are simply at home here. I have my X-box controller installed and running and after some fine tuning, it’s no problem. Occasionally I have noticed a few hang ups in looting and really wished the Irrational would make it easier to loot an area instead of having to pick each item up individually. The game is still familiar enough as there are always things to check out be it religious crazies about to make sacrifices, voice recordings giving you differing point of views about Columbia and of course the Vigors (precursors of the plasmids) which are your powers in the game. To some degree, in this game you get good powers that take a little less time to upgrade and are really fun to use in this game provided of course you have enough Salts to use them There is another aspect to this game as also certain items you may find not only grant you health and salts but some can simultaneously take from one and give to another so you really have to pick and choose if you want to take a bite from a health power up. And gone are the hacking games which depending on how you play is either an annoyance or a riddance.
The audio is very atmospheric and immersive and the musical score is on point for the time period. The sound effects neither overwhelm nor underwhelm but fit nicely at the middle and it’s very impressive at how it all fits.
So far they are few but they are noticeable. My first big one is like the other 2 games, there is no place to save randomly and that you have to play to a certain point before you can pull yourself out and not always can you be assured that the point you are in is a good ‘stopping point’ for your session. The next is that while yes, this game goes in the opposite direction of its predecessors and gives us a fully populated world, there is a ‘sameness’ sometimes to the residents and most feel almost like puppets as some go about their life. At one point early on, I am watching a couple flirting with each other by a flight of stairs and their movements just seems to repeat themselves a lot and honestly when you look at a lot of games like Skyrim and RDR many of the AI routines are a bit more complex than just standing around waving your arms and many of the facial models are different. Also while not the FPS shooter that Call of Duty is, there are times when you may want to fine tune your controller as your shots may get displaces because your control is either too slow or too fast for what you want to do and you really have to conserve ammo in this game. Plus aiming down the sights is not as intuitive as most FPS games.
Bottom line is so far I am enjoying this game and can’t wait to see more from it.