Game Review: BioShock Infinite

When I first saw the promo for this game, I have to admit I was kinda disappointed that it wouldn’t be taking place in Rapture. I was really, really hoping this next installment in the series would include more Little Sisters, Big Daddies, Splicers etc because really – the whole concept of an underwater paradise gone terribly wrong was so fascinating, but I guess the developers have milked it for all it’s worth. Regardless, there’s no doubt that the world of Rapture will forever be sketched into my video game history.

With that being said, BioShock Infinite is still freaking awesome and unsurprisingly, it does not fail to impress. The game’s plot revolves around you, Booker DeWitt, locating and bringing back a girl named Elizabeth in order to clear a debt. It sounds like just another damsel in distress story line but you’re in for some serious twists, which will seriously – and I mean seriously – blow your mind.  In terms of visual and audio effects,  the beauty of the city, which stands in stark relief to Rapture, is absolutely captivating. I have to say that the music during this game deserves some attention, as you’ll hit a few moments with some amazing musical cues and songs that will literally make you set your controller down to enjoy it. I’m so glad the developers retained the same gameplay and themes as the previous two installments, so it’s not completely different. I suggest you stay away from spoilers and once you’ve finished the game, give the ending a few days to completely set in and then search out for other’s thoughts and theories. It’s one of those endings that will make you think and talk to people about for days.

Now that I’ve talked about great this game is, let’s get into why it might not be so great. The racial aspects of BioShock Infinite can set an incredibly uncomfortable tone for the rest of the game. Columbia is revealed to be an elitist society, rife with the racism that was part of America in the 1900’s which the game is set in.  For PoC gamers – prepare yourself for this sort of nastiness for the rest of the game, as Comstock’s utopia is filled with xenophobic images and remarks that attack literally every possible minority group.  Bathrooms are flagged as “Colored and Irish Only,” certain mechanical vending machines have anti-Semitic slurs scrawled on their clearly Jewish automatons, and the Chinese and Native Americans are portrayed in a very disturbing light.  I realize the game is trying to drive home a point because alternate history or not, this is what America was like but I do think there should have been a warning given to players beforehand.

Racism, especially this degree of racism, isn’t something that you can just spring on people. You definitely can’t spring it on people who live this type of thing everyday without alienating them. I know there are PoC out there who enjoyed the game and had no problem with it’s racist content but keep in mind that not everyone feels the same way. From other reviews of the game, it’s pretty evident that there were those who were deeply hurt by it and would have greatly appreciated some type of warning before having white supremacist theory and racist violence thrown in their faces.

Annyyywaaay, that’s enough of that. After I finished the game and read up on the different theories around the ending, I have come to the conclusion that while BioShock Infinite was really fantastic and a game I’ll recommend to everyone, BioShock 2 is still the best game in my books. Big Daddies will always rule supreme:

The next game on my to-play list is Tomb Raider. Can’t wait to see how this one pans out!

Rating – 4.5/5

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