Bioshock Infinite: Sometimes the Critics Are Wrong

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Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

There's always room for opinion. For every steaming pile of shit game there are at least a few who enjoy it. Similarly, for every great game there are always at least a few detractors.

Bioshock Infinite landed with towering expectations. It came bearing the lineage of the first Bioshock, who many (myself included) consider one of the greatest of all time. Trailers 2 years back did nothing to quell the hopes that Irrational could do it again.But there were of course doubters. Much of the love for Bioshock hinged on atmosphere and an amazing plot twist. Like M Knight Shyamalan will tell you, it's tough to repeat success through plot twists.

The reviews out of the gate were stellar. Jeff gave it the whole 5 star treatment. Sessler may be the president of its fan club. Critics left and right gushed about it. Before I even booted the thing up, I was hearing "Game of the Year" and even "Best of All Time."

Well, I have to tell you, they were right. Holy shit but they were RIGHT. I've never, EVER sat there watching the credits roll at the end of a game just running through all the implications of the ending I just witnessed. I love games, but they don't follow me into the next day, or make me try to talk to my non-gaming wife about them. It just doesn't happen. Even the best games, i finish them, and I'm done. Hell, usually I'm seeing if I can skip the credits somehow.

But Bioshock Infinite is just that good. One of the most fully realized, most lively worlds I've seen in a game. A story that kept me searching for as many audio logs as I could find. An excellent (though admittedly not Bioshock-holy-shit-level) twist that changed everything. And, IF you played it on Hard, very satisfying, sometimes frustratingly hard game play. And to top it all off the best companion character I've seen.

I could go on, but if you played it you probably know. And you should agree. At this point you might be confused at my title. You see, there is a small subset of folks who insist Bioshock Infinite is a bad game. Uninspired, poor gameplay they will tell you. A "meh" story they'll say.

Well, I'm here to tell you, sometimes even opinions can be wrong. Sometimes things can be empirically good, so that there isn't room for hate. You can certainly "not care" for the game play. You could be unmoved by the story. But if you are saying Bioshock Infinite is a bad game, you aren't just flaunting a rebellious counter opinion. You are just plain wrong.

#1 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5488 posts) -

Bolding Text makes you right. At any rate seems to just be massively overrated, not bad overall; and if nothing else does have superb art design. A flawed, but solid product. I can't believe there's so much apologetic "yeah the gameplay sucked but it's not like games are played for the gameplay." Who cares if half the story had you sidetracked not actually advancing the plot any? That just left more time for you to chew the scenery!

#2 Posted by BeachThunder (11950 posts) -

I'm still surprised at the "gameplay is crap" backlash.

Erm, I mean: I'm STILL surprised at THE "gameplay is crap" backlash.

The gameplay wasn't crap...

#3 Edited by Klei (1768 posts) -

It's a great game, yeah, but it lacks in some department. The pacing isn't very good ( in my opinion, since I don't like when I can't play the game as it should quick enough ), the story is not very understandable unless you search for audio logs ( which isn't good, in my opinion, since i prefer audio logs to fill some backstory elements, not crucial ones ), and the overall gameplay has been severely simplified and streamlined.

A lot of key elements in Bioshock's gameplay have been removed in Infinite, and the combat scenarios weren't... really up to what they could have been. You just can't plan, reducing the traps to being useless most of the time. It's cool when you need to adapt and improvise, but sometimes, in this case, it doesn't help the game. You have a certain lack of control over things, and for a game that gives you so many gameplay options, like in Dishonored, well... it doesn't work as well as in Bio 1 and 2. Especially with Liz's powers to spawn things. Most of the time, they're out of place ( no pun intended ) and barely useful.

I just can't excuse a game for its storyline, because once the story is told, what is it you're left with? Bioshock Infinite is still a solid 9 out of 10 for me, but just like with MGS4, a game can have an insanely cool story and still have considerable problems, gameplay-wise. The gameplay isn't crap per se, the guns are very cool and so is the shooting. It's just that it misses the potential that could have been all those powers and situations. And we're talking about a 60$ game. It's not a movie, nor an indie project.

#4 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

Vigors, skylines, and hard difficulty seemed to be pretty damn good game play to me.

#5 Posted by Dalai (7030 posts) -

I loved Bioshock Infinite as much as you did, but opinions are still opinions. I can see why some people can be turned away from the game, especially those who are all about gameplay, which has its flaws.

#6 Edited by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

<p>Oh, there's room to say it isn't perfect. You can say it has flaws (it does), you can even dislike it as "not your cup of tea." But if you say it's a bad game, you're just plain wrong.</p><p>Though when I hear people who don't like it, I wonder what in the hell they DO like.</p>

#7 Posted by ThePickle (4182 posts) -

Opinions can never be wrong unless they are built on false premises (for example, if someone said BioShock Infinite was the worst turn-based strategy game ever, you could make a case for them being wrong). But someone, like myself, could say BioShock Infinite failed to live up to the original BioShock in just about every way imaginable. We could discuss and debate this, but at no point could I be proven right or wrong.

My opinion that BioShock 1 is better than BioShock Infinite comes from a lot of things, mostly my own personal expectations and likes/dislikes. I preferred the slower, creepier pace, the more realized, interesting, and distinct setting, the open levels, the less sci-fi storyline, the RPG elements, and the characters. Infinite was too much FPS for my tastes.

#8 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

In nearly all cases, I agree with you. But when it comes to Bioshock Infinite, if you say it's a BAD game you are just wrong. I don't consider that opinion to be based in reality. I'm not saying the only answer is that it's the best game ever, but I am saying that even in the WORST light, it's a good game.

As far as comparisons to the first game, I'm not sure where I fall yet. It's close. I often called Bioshock my favorite game of all time. Bioshock Infinite could challenge it, but I'm not sure yet.

But how exactly is that storyline in the original LESS sci-fi? Plasmids, indoctrination, underwater city, little sisters...hell, I think you could make an argument that the first game is MORE Sci Fi.

#9 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@irishdoom:

Just like Infinite, I didn't expect the turn that this thread took. Well played, duder!

#10 Edited by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

@ravenlight: Thanks. :) I did kinda build it that way to try to drum up interest. ;)

#11 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

Bioshock Infinite is a decent game.

Decent.

#12 Edited by Make_Me_Mad (3101 posts) -

Opinions are opinions. Saying that someone's opinion is wrong is stupid. You can disagree all you want, but... explaining this is just pointless.

#13 Edited by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

Hehehehe. I'm a fan of "saying that someone's opinion is wrong is stupid."

I think in art, there are occasionally empirically good things. You can't say the Mona Lisa sucks, you can't say Neutral Milk Hotel is a shitty band, and you can't say that Bioshock Infinite is bad. Not your STYLE, sure, but not BAD. :)

#14 Posted by Make_Me_Mad (3101 posts) -

@irishdoom: Someone could absolutely say that those things suck. And you and the majority could disagree with them and point out ways that you think they're wrong. But it's their opinion, and as long as there's not something impairing their judgement then you can't say that their opinion is wrong. Not unless you can read their damn mind.

#15 Posted by TangoUp (307 posts) -

Blatant title-bait.

#16 Edited by casper_ (903 posts) -

haven't played infinite but i think its kinda funny that op is kind of an objectivist writing an article about bioshock, seeing as how the first game was set in an objectivist dystopia.

#17 Edited by Marokai (2981 posts) -

@lordxavierbritish said:

Bioshock Infinite is a decent game.

Decent.

Yeah, I liked it, it's pretty good, but seeing so many people talk about how the ending was SO MIND BLOWING AMAZING OH WOW just makes me think I'm in an alternate reality myself. Like I said, pretty good overall, but I kind of dread hearing this as "GOTY lock!" for the rest of the year.

#18 Posted by mrfluke (5160 posts) -

the combat had aspects that could have been better

but i thought the story was excellent, and it has one of the best endings ever in a videogame.

#19 Posted by LiquidPrince (15950 posts) -

Zing, you got me!

#20 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

Lies I tell you, all lies!

#21 Posted by Pachtar_Klepek (89 posts) -

You're all right.. that's how opinions about subjective things work.

#22 Edited by cmpLtNOOb (195 posts) -

On the internet, you can never tell if someone:

  • has just really odd opinions.
  • is overly pessimistic and cynical about everything (these guys are the worst because they are AWESOME at killing the mood in real life.)
  • has objectively awful taste in something, compared to the vast majority.
  • just really didn't like the movie/game/book/band/whatever.
  • is a total asshole and likes that they made you mad.

So, keep your skin thick, criticism is a good thing in most cases so we should all welcome it in the right forms.

#23 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1709 posts) -

I have to say agree with the general sentiment, but not just in relation to Bioshock. Obviously, all opinions are valid, but there is a huge distinction between "I don't like this thing" and "this thing is terrible".

I feel like people get into a really defensive position when they don't like something that is generally considered to be good, so they try and "prove" why it's terrible. I think discussing flaws, discussing why something didn't click for a particular person, and discussing things that could be improved are all excellent ways to examine games, but doing that all as means to prove that near universal praise is somehow wrong is childish.

I don't really care for Borderlands, but I recognize it is a quality piece of entertainment that just happens to not do anything for me personally. Anyone is perfectly within their right to dislike Infinite or any other game and express their dislike, but to call it bad is simply ludicrous, and will often undermine their criticism because of the ridiculousness of the conclusion they are attempting to prove.

Online
#24 Edited by ShaggE (6457 posts) -

On the other hand, there are countless universes where BioShock Infinite sucks, has sucked, will suck. The only constants are an internet, an argument, and a video game. Thankfully, this is not one of them.

#25 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

@ll_exile_ll: , @cmpltnoob: You get where I'm coming from here. I'm also admittedly taking a fairly extreme opinion as a meta way of showing the problems of having an extreme negative opinion of this particular game. I'm also trying to put a little Bioshock in my Bioshock post.

I feel the same way about GTA IV, by the way. I never liked it personally, but I can recognize that it's not because it's a BAD game, it just isn't my style.

#26 Posted by Make_Me_Mad (3101 posts) -

@irishdoom: Think of it this way: Jeff's opinion is that Dark Souls is a bad game. My opinion is that it's a fantastic game. Everything about Dark Souls comes together in a way that makes it look and feel like a bad game to Jeff, while I enjoy it. I can disagree and say it's good, he can say it's bad, and those are our opinions on the matter. We can try to change each other's opinions, of course, but to just say "No, your opinion is wrong" is absolutely bullshit. Trying to lock yourself into the mindset of "Everyone who thinks this game is bad is a crazy person and I need to educate the world about how it's impossible for a rational person to think this game is bad" just makes you seem all the more ridiculous.

#27 Posted by AlecOfTheWest (279 posts) -

Meh. I don't care if the story was "phenomenal" or whatever people are calling it, the combat was boring enough for me to not force myself to finish it.

#28 Edited by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

If you think the gameplay was boring, you were playing it wrong. There, I said it. What did you do, play on normal and mostly ignore the vigors and skylines?

#29 Edited by AlecOfTheWest (279 posts) -

@irishdoom: I played on normal, yes. And skyline combat was about the only part of the gameplay I genuinely enjoyed. Too bad they're rarely present in a majority of the combat scenarios. Combat in the first Bioshock was a little less scripted, and actually allowed you to strategize in lot of instances. Infinite feels (in my opinion, at least) like a first person Uncharted game in the sky. I know that probably sounds like a silly comparison, but the huge set pieces really rubbed me the wrong way in comparison to the first Bioshock.

And there shouldn't be a "wrong" way to play a game. Unless someone is intentionally exploiting the game mechanics, they should be able to enjoy a game no matter their play style.

#30 Edited by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

I'd say try it on hard for a couple levels, just to see if it's different. I played it through on hard the first time, and had a great time. I just started a game on normal last night and the combat became downright trivial.

#31 Posted by AlecOfTheWest (279 posts) -

@irishdoom: I might. The combat isn't even necessarily boring, it just drags for a lot of the game. I do think it's a good game, it's just one of those games that I have to play in small doses. Had to do the same thing with Dishonored and Deus Ex: HR, and I still look back on those games with positive impressions.

#32 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

Out of curiosity, what kind of gameplay do you really like?

#33 Edited by EXTomar (4741 posts) -

Why are you worried if someone believes Bioshock Infinite is the best or worst game of all time? Let them have that feeling instead of fretting over why they don't see things your way. You should play a game because you have the resources (time, money, etc) and it intrigues.

#34 Posted by AlecOfTheWest (279 posts) -

@irishdoom: A little bit of a bump (went to work all day), but I'll admit I generally tend to not enjoy first-person combat as much as other perspectives. I generally like combat in a game to be on a less grand scale than it is Infinite. That's not to say less combat overall, but more like having a gunfight against four or five enemies and actually having to be tactical about how you deal with it.

#35 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

That makes sense, and I don't fault you for it. I really only like FPS games if they have a great story, it's not the game play that gets me in the door.

#36 Edited by TommyH (71 posts) -

@marokai said:

@lordxavierbritish said:

Bioshock Infinite is a decent game.

Decent.

Yeah, I liked it, it's pretty good, but seeing so many people talk about how the ending was SO MIND BLOWING AMAZING OH WOW just makes me think I'm in an alternate reality myself. Like I said, pretty good overall, but I kind of dread hearing this as "GOTY lock!" for the rest of the year.

This, more or less exactly how i felt. The following thought and opinions are just that, my own thoughts and opinions, not an objective statement of the game or its quality.

It is a very well made and polished game that just didn't reach me like it reached others I guess, and thus I felt more or less untouched by it. I played it, put it down and now it has left not a mark. Personally think the atmosphere and artistic presentation of Rapture was far superior to that of Columbia, as it had a more defined sense of place, of being real and worn. Infinite felt more like a "game" world, with a story that tried just a bit too hard to be different. many of the twists were telegraphed, not in detail perhaps but enough of it so that when the reveal came it felt less than impressive.The twist in Bioshock was actually pretty mind blowing, even more so because it had been right there in your face the whole time and I had been honestly given the chance to see and question it time and time again but I didn't! that is why it worked so well and had such huge impact on me personally. The new universe felt implausible where the first Bioshock actually was able to make me buy into the fiction and suspend my disbelief.

To each his/her own i guess. I'm happy people liked it and that it gets good reviews, and for those gushing over it, I envy your experience, as the one I had was far less exciting. As for the game itself, a lot of work obviously went into it, so congrats to the team on a job well done, my own personal opinion notwithstanding. Guess it just wasn't my cup of tea, so to speak. ;)

#37 Edited by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

I really don't like the ending, or the directions that story goes in one bit. Combat was fine, but the fact that this is being heralded as a step forward for video game artistry and storytelling makes me a little sad, especially in a post Walking Dead world.

#38 Posted by GoldenRimz (1 posts) -

The person who wrote this article is a moron. Just because you have a hard on for Bioshock doesn't mean any opinion disagreeing with the fact that it somehow equates to the Mona Lisa is wrong. It means you need to get out more. Terrible article with a stupid purpose.

#39 Edited by Rowr (5664 posts) -

I agree with the OP to a point. You can't say this is a bad game, there's just too much it does so well on the whole that just because you may not like it or a few elements of it are weak in your opinion, it doesn't mean its a bad game.

I mean you can say this is a bad game, but i think a statement like that kind of puts you in a noob category for gaming in general. Like "this game sux it doesn't even have zombies!" or "LoL you can't even cook grenades and no multiplayer wtf!"

There's too much childish binary opinions in this industry where everything has to be either awesome or the worst thing ever.

As far as the complaints to the gameplay, i think that its the sort of game you get out of it what you put in.

So if you play it like crap, it's crap, because your crap. It's not particularly punishing, because it's trying to allow for gamers of every skill level. Given that, it's easy for people to get lazy and not mix it up if they aren't players who strive to be creative or efficient. Much like dishonored, you get out of it what you put in.

I never got tired of pinging headshots and playing with vigor combinations, and i pretty much used only three weapons the whole game.

#40 Posted by Green_Incarnate (1788 posts) -

Spoilers Obviously

Ok, I'll bite. I fell for the hype for this game, and I don't know why. I really didn't like Bioshock 1 all that much either, although I can't remember much about it except for the terrible combat, stupid last boss, and the twist. I'll at least give Infinite credit for having sufficient combat. However the story is no where near as mind blowing or revolutionary as some people are going on about. It's a giant cop out and a twist just for the sake of a twist. Everything about the ending is forced, and just because they allude to it from the beginning doesn't make it less so. Booker Dewitt literally has video game amnesia, and we're praising the game for the story??? It's such a cheap way to get your ending across. Not only that, Elisabeth is somehow a god that can consolidate all the universes of her choosing. Killing this Dewitt somehow translates to killing off all Dewitts in a multiverse, but only the bad Dewitts? I don't care how much window dressing you have, it just sounds like a plot McGuffin to me.

#41 Posted by realph (257 posts) -

+1

#42 Edited by CaptainTightPants (2834 posts) -

I suffered through like 10 hours of this game, but the last 20-30 minutes were pretty fucking great. I pretty much let out a "WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT" for like 2 minutes straight when you travel to rapture.

That said, I disliked most of it and I fell asleep three times while playing it. Different strokes for different folks.

I didn't think the combat was all that bad, though.

#43 Posted by StephenR (2 posts) -

Bioshock Infinite was a HUGE disappointment.

The weapon/ammo system was FAR less engaging than in the previous Bioshock. I was bored to death with Infinite’s extremely limited combat mechanics.

Sadly, there was none of the cool gadget-type stuff that helped make the previous game so much fun: no hacking, no trap ammo, etc. I wanted to be using all kinds of different ammo, setting traps with my weapons (trap rivets, spear traps, etc.), hacking lots of machines to fly around and help me out…. but none of that was in this game. I couldn’t believe it.

The powers/perks system was pretty darn boring this time around too. No ice power so you could freeze enemies? WTF?

The enemies themselves were also boring as hell. There was nowhere near the variety of interesting splicers and whatnot from the previous game. Most of the time it seemed like you just fought regular-type dudes, and every once in a while you’d fight a robot patriot guy. YAAAAAAWN. The enemy selection for Infinite was downright awful.

No Big Daddies/Little Sisters? That is a Bioshock trademark, and yet they took that out and replaced it with really lackluster enemies. Unbelievable.

Lastly, Elizabeth was there to do the rogue-ish stuff (i.e. pick locks), but a huge flaw was that she didn’t really contribute much to the actual fighting. She should have been able to use her powers to damage/confuse enemies, but instead she just threw you ammo every once in a while and allowed you to open “tears” which weren’t very interesting.

Overall, the story/characters/graphics were good, but the gameplay was TERRIBLE, especially compared to the previous game. Bioshock Infinite just wasn’t fun at all.

#44 Posted by Picsl (202 posts) -

There are no wrong opinions, but there are plenty of bad ones.

#45 Edited by mroz123 (1 posts) -

The story is really cool. I mean in the second half of the game and the ending is really awesome.

But when I first started B:I it was great experience. The fair was awesome, the characters was great but then they started to chase me a while later and since then my only opinion was "this is the game about some religious fanatic and nothing more".

After a couple of stages (well quite a lot actualy) nothing changed. All audio logs was full of religious crap and not even grain of sand mentioning multiverse. It was so boring.

It is really hard to get through the boring part and get to the good part. Actualy... I am not quite sure you can enjoy the game without reading what is the game all about, because if you don't know it's about multiverse then for example those two characters guiding player through the game are totaly useless.

And my opinion on skylines? People love rails. They love skylines, they love monorail in half-life, it's practicaly safe bet to implement such mechanic so .. nothing new here.

#46 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Fantastic art design, shame the gameplay is so sub-par. I really don't understand how it garnered so much praise.

#47 Posted by RedLeader (36 posts) -

I admit, I wasn't wild about it. I won't say disappointed, because I came into having never played BioShock Prime, and didn't know what to expect. The opening hours were breathtaking. I took my time looking at all the details, the architecture, signs on the walls, etc. That aspect of the game I find rather amazing. I was immersed.

Then the combat happened. I'm not a huge fan of first person shooters to begin with, so I reckon I came into Infinite with a handicap. I was never able to find a good rhythm in combining the gunplay and abilities, and every firefight seemed, for me, more a pain in the ass than an engaging combat puzzle. That likely plays more into my distaste for that style of game than poor design.

But the reason I came to it was that I was promised a great story. A friend of mine told me the story was earth-shatteringly amazing. He was wrong. I thought the story was great, don't get me wrong. But it didn't exactly knock my socks off, either. I was marginally disappointed when, about an hour from the game's end, the whole thing devolved in a watered-down rehash of Stephen King's The Dark Tower Cycle, which in turn could be called Quantum Causality for People Who Never Studied Physics. I'm no scientist, but when you first meet Elizabeth, she's reading a book, which she drops as she walks toward you. As that sequence ends, I took a moment to look at the cover of the book on the ground. That one action on my part telegraphed a majority of the rest of the story.

I was propelled through the game (largely 'putting up with' the combat) on a wing and a prayer and a promise of a crazy story. I got a crazy story, but I'll be damned if I can decide whether it's any good or not. Still, I sure as hell don't see shit like that in video games very often, and I rarely give a rip about characters the way I did Booker and Elizabeth. In that respect, I call it a success.

#48 Edited by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

Am I the only one who didn't like BioShock Infinite? I acknowledge it as a good game, but I still didn't care for it. And what's up with people talking like comic book characters?

#49 Posted by EXTomar (4741 posts) -

You know how the question of "Am I the only one who...?" gets answered. :) Its fine to not like Bioshock Infinite but I see it as a hell of a game especially compared to contemporaries.

ps. I don't read comic books so I'm a little lost on the "talking like comic book characters" thing since it seems to me the dialog is typical for video game.

#50 Edited by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Am I the only one who didn't like BioShock Infinite? I acknowledge it as a good game, but I still didn't care for it. And what's up with people talking like comic book characters?

You're certainly the only one so far to express your opinion without coming off as a frothing moron.

Which aspects of Infinite turned you off? Story, gameplay, or a combination of the two? Looking back on it I'd say that some of the best combat mechanics were sort of squandered by dull encounter design and that the pacing of the story is erratic. I still liked the game but there are definitely valid criticisms. No clue about the other thing.

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