Having enjoyed both Bioshock and Bioshock 2, I eagerly anticipated this new installment in the franchise, avoiding much of the pre-release hype and media in ordered properly engage in the new experience. However, after completing it, I genuinely thought this was a poor game. Here I would like to state some of the reasons why. I accept the limitations of making a comparative argument, and that i should try and take the new installment on its merit, but to be honest, I probably wouldn't have bothered buying Infinite if I have not played the previous games.
1. Gameplay. The pace of the Infinite never changed. Enemies attack directly and always in numbers, with musical cues making for predicable combat sections. Gone are the tense one on one scraps against the crazy splicers who creep through the shadows of the unknown, or the sense of achievement after bringing down a Big Daddy.
2. Player agency. Bioshock gave the player the option to mix ammo, manage their health and explore the city of Rapture. Having to rely on Elizabeth for health or salts and taking away the hacking mini games limited player interaction and left me feeling bored with the lack of variety and frustrated with not being able to control my health.
3. The location. The premise of Bioshock eased you into the new world. Audio logs filled out the wider story giving life and context to the fallen city. We heard accounts of scientists and academics chasing their craziest ideas, juxtaposed against the workers struggling to maintain the madness as you experienced the degeneration of Rapture while crossing into each new area. While Columbia initially gave me the same curiously, I never felt like I got to know the world. Who was attacking me? What did the people feel about living their? How deep did the race and class issues go? I felt like I was just drifting from area to area, as the story quickly spiraled out of control before I ever became invested.
I understand that some of the changes were story related, but as a game (i.e. an interactive piece of entertainment and/or art) the game play components just came across as all surface. I did have more to say, but too much drug use has damaged by memory and I need to get back to revision for looming exams....