It’s been slow-going writing part two of my BioShock: Infinite review, and not because the Irrational Games’ FPS is complicated. This game has made me want to slow down and savor this experience. At the same time, it also has urged me forward, all the way to the ending—and what an ending. But this is a spoiler-free review, and I’ll save my thoughts for another article. You can read this review safe in the knowledge that you won’t hear about [HOLY $%^#!!!] from me.
Because I’ve covered most of what needs to be said in part one of my review, this will be a briefer look that fills in a few gaps. Welcome to part two.
As I said in my previous article, vigors are strongly reminiscent of Rapture’s plasmids (think murder of crows instead of swarm of bees). But although these vigors correspond closely to their Raptured-based equivalents, there are new vigors to shake up your gameplay. Undertow, a water-based power that acts as a watercannon (use it to blow away enemies, especially when they’re close to edges…and the city in the sky is nothing but edges), also lets you gather multiple enemies to you. This might sound like suicide, but there are items of clothing for melee brawlers that give you an edge in these close encounters.
And then there’s Charge.
Holy smokes, people. Charge is fun. Seriously, I’ve never had so much fun killing (and I say that as an upright member of society and not at all a serial killer). Just target your victim, and you’re suddenly propelled forward, straight into the vic’s head. Not only is this a devastatingly effective attack, but also it lets you zip around the area using enemies as impromptu grapple hooks to reach wherever they’re standing—even if they’re on a ledge above you. Sweet.
As for the clothes, Columbia’s version of tonics, you can equip only four items at any given time: headgear, a shirt, trousers/pants, and boots. You’ll find plenty of each of them as you progress, but you can only equip one of each type at a time. This means you should pay more attention to what you wear. Sartorial elegance has never been more important.
Some combinations of clothes will make you awesome in melee; others will be better for ranged weapons or even pure defensiveness. My favorite: One item of clothing gives you a chance to set people on fire with a melee attack. Combine that with Charge, and you become a flaming human cannonball.
Better yet, another upgrade causes fire attacks to chain to nearby foes, so not only do you flambé your enemy but all of his buddies too.
Gone is your personal arsenal from the first two games. Here, you can only carry two guns at a time (in addition to your skyhook). Add to this the fact that you need to spend silver dollars to upgrade weapons. So if you run out of ammo, you may have to drop your fully upgraded repeater in favor of a standard carbine. This makes for careful consideration of your current weapon of choice.
There’s a wide variety of guns in two tiers, but the second tier mostly consists of variants of the first. The repeater is a like a high-voltage machine gun, for example, but with different upgrades and ammo. This seems an unnecessary complication.
Of course, the better the weapon, the harder to find (and the more expensive the upgrades). So you’ll have to choose between upgrading more common, but weaker, weapons, or holding out to upgrade their tougher but rarer siblings.
Much of B:I’s plot is revealed slowly in the form of voxophones, voice recorders with messages from the various characters in this opera of a tale. Miss a voxophone, and you may miss some of the plot; you don’t need to find all of them, but unless you pick up most, you’ll likely finish the game in some confusion. Of course, the voxophones with the most important plot points are more prominently placed.
Just consider voxophones another reason to take your time during your visit to Columbia.
Although Garry Schyman’s soundtrack hits all the right notes, it’s the strange synthesis of modern pop music done in the style of oldey-timey music that really hits a sweet spot. You’ll find phonographs dotted about Columbia playing these anachronistic ditties, Stop a moment and listen when you do—some of them are just teriffic.
I loved the music so much, I wrote an entire article here about Irrational’s criminal lack of pop soundtrack.