Bioshock: Infinite is the latest first-person shooter game in the famed series that now has the action set in the city of Columbia, which is quite literally a floating city in the clouds a la Bespin from The Empire Strikes Back. This game continues the Bioshock tradition of a thought provoking plot where you as Pinkerton agent Booker Dewitt, in the year 1912, takes on a demagogic figure known as Compton and his would-be utopia. Columbia’s society is patterned on extreme nationalism and racial prejudice circa early 20th century America. The game also features interesting sci-fi concepts of alternate dimensions and time travel and the consequences of such activities. This is accomplished via the other main character in Bioshock: Infinite Elizabeth, a girl Dewitt is sent to rescue, who you travel with and protect during the majority of the game. She is capable of creating rifts in space time that can be used by your character to travel to slightly altered realities or get useful items to fight Compton’s forces. The combat in the game is also similar to other Bioshock games where you can use superhuman powers via drinks called vitals that allow you to do various things like shoot fire from your hands or create tornados.
From the first moment you arrive at a lighthouse and are whisked away to the city of Columbia, you know you are in a Bioshock game with the same sense of wonder that the first game had when you arrived at the underwater city of Rapture. In comparing Bioshock: Infinite with the other Bioshocks, I think it is somewhat better than the second game Bioshock 2, but does not quite reach the level of the original. This is due to the fact that the game play in the first one was deeper with such options as improving your weaponry and hacking vending machines and security cameras using a neat puzzle game to get an advantage over your foes. In Bioshock: infinite, activities like picking locks to gain access to new areas are done by Elizabeth and you just watch her do her work.
Another slight difference is in the tone of the games. The first two Bioshocks take place in a city that has fallen apart and is abandoned except for demented people known as splicers, which gives the games an almost survival/horror feel to them. Columbia, on the other hand, is populated with many people and is full of life–at least, at first. This is not necessarily a bad thing since it means that Bioshock: Infinite is not a retread, but it’s something to take note of.
Overall, Bioshock: Infinite is another excellent piece of interactive entertainment that I think compares with any sci-fi/horror movie in terms of storytelling, fun, and having something to say.