Bioshock: original vs. Infinite thoughts (mechanics only, no story spoilers)

Posted by Cantaloup (37 posts) -

I just recently finished Bioshock Infinite, and I had some thoughts about the gameplay mechanics. The original Bioshock was one of the first Xbox 360 games I played and I still think it's great. But I was a little let down by some of the non-combat changes in Infinite. I thought the hacking, photography, crafting, and alarm systems in the original were much more fleshed out and better integrated with the combat than Infinite's systems:

  • stealing: This was only available in a few spots, and I'm not sure I know what the point is. If the text is red and you pick up an item, people attack you? Is that all?
  • lock-picking: At the beginning this gates your ability to get to certain optional areas, but as the game went on I had so many lock-picks there was no point to having anything locked.
  • choices: In a few instances, you are given opportunities to select one of two choices, but the result never seem to be anything more than minor differences.
  • vending machines: There's not much to do with them in Infinite, unlike the original where you could, for example, hack a medical station to harm an enemy if they tried to use it.
  • powers outside of combat: The original had some simple puzzles (or at least locked areas) that required the use of plasmids. In Infinite, there are only a few places you have to use a specific vigor outside of combat, and they're all in the same area.
  • stealth: There isn't much opportunity for stealth, such as sneaking around cameras and turrets in the original.

On the other hand, I thought Infinite's actual combat was improved over the original:

  • sky-line: This was great for moving around quickly and added to the strategies you could use in fights. It made the battlefield much larger and more dynamic.
  • weapons: There's much more variety in Infinite, and since you can only carry two you can find yourself switching more frequently.
  • vigors: They are all useful in combat. You can pretty much go with whatever you like.
  • gear: A good replacement for tonics, and they definitely change how you approach combat.
  • tears: Again, these add another layer of strategy.
  • Elizabeth: She is actually extremely helpful during combat.

One final thing I thought was weird about Infinite: non-combatants disappear into thin air as soon as fighting starts. Streets that were full of people are suddenly empty. This occurs at the very first instance of combat.

#1 Edited by Marcsman (3113 posts) -

Infinite is damn good, but the original is still king IMO.

#2 Posted by MikkaQ (10268 posts) -

I just don't feel like Infinite did enough to distinguish itself mechanically from Bioshock, and I thought Bioshock implemented it's mechanics in a superior fashion.

#3 Posted by BeachThunder (11687 posts) -

@marcsman said:

Infinite is damn good, but the original is still king IMO.

I would agree with this.

I still want a BioShock game with some System Shock 2 type inventory management - or at very least, a BioShock game that doesn't involve just immediately shoveling every item of food your face.

#4 Posted by EXTomar (4490 posts) -

I still see them as different beasts instead of one better than the other. I see why people want and like to make the comparison but I'm never convinced it is any more valid than trying to compare CoD 4 to Black Ops 2.

Bioshock had problems with length where you were crossing areas and sustaining combat just to waste time where entire areas could be dropped and nothing would change about the story or presentation. Bioshock Infinite is much better in this respect where the tighter story kept propelling the player forward even though the player was covering a lot of ground.

Personally I believe that BI didn't have a wide enough array of enemies that required using combination of vigors or weapon + vigor. Bioshock combat seemed to be cruder where it the biggest "trash fight" were the Big Daddy fights which didn't seem compelling beyond the first handful. I'm not inclined to favor either of them where asking "which is better?" seems meaningless since they both have problems.

#5 Edited by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

The Two-Gun maximum was a big nono for Infinite in my book, that was just a silly choice to put in there for no reason.
I've had people say stuff like "But it's more realistic, you can' carry around that many guns" .. No, that's true you probably can't. and they're right, I'm just being weird, especially considering they nailed the realistic parts of having Vigors/plasmidswithanewname. Those are 100% realistic and true to how they work in real life.

#6 Edited by believer258 (11628 posts) -

The original's mechanics are superior, I think, though Infinite is still fantastic.

#7 Posted by Sgtpierceface (610 posts) -

@cantaloup: "choices: In a few instances, you are given opportunities to select one of two choices, but the result never seem to be anything more than minor differences."

Looks like you missed out on a part of the story. "Constants and variables" and all that.

#8 Edited by EXTomar (4490 posts) -

I do think it is important to point out that a lot of the problems in combat where due to the "two gun limit" which effectively "ceiling caps" ammo and power for Hard and 1999 Mode which ends up causing problems in encounters. To make "two gun limit" work, they really needed to drop way more ammo and weapons but they did not.

In any event, I'm not entirely sure I'd say either game had "fantastic combat".

#9 Edited by ThatFrood (3373 posts) -

When you upgrade your guns there's no visible change in appearance. That sucked. The upgrades were usually damn boring too.

And I thought Gear was really dumb. For one, most of the gear you pick up were either really uninteresting or absolute garbage (greater control of your speed on a skyline?) But in addition to that, just... what? Dress-up? Putting on a dapper hat and some pinstripe trousers?

#10 Posted by StarvingGamer (7985 posts) -

I thought they adjusted the mechanics to match the storyline. The slower, more methodical pace of BioShock was appropriate for the exploratory, investigative nature of the game. In Infinite the plot is much more driven, and the tweaks they made to the key systems helped facilitate that.

At the end of the day, however, I had significantly more fun shooting stuff in Infinite than I did in BioShock.

#11 Edited by Zlimness (541 posts) -
@extomar said:

I do think it is important to point out that a lot of the problems in combat where due to the "two gun limit" which effectively "ceiling caps" ammo and power for Hard and 1999 Mode which ends up causing problems in encounters. To make "two gun limit" work, they really needed to drop way more ammo and weapons but they did not.

In any event, I'm not entirely sure I'd say either game had "fantastic combat".

I rarely had a problem with ammo on 1999 mode and I even went for the achievement where you can't buy ammo from the vending machines. Only time the combat dragged on, was handyman fights. The weapon limit is a trivial issue. There are tons of weapons scattered around and it's easy to just pick up a new one. The ammo cap is low though, but it's not unmanageable. If you just dump on enemies without any strategy, it's easy to run out of ammo no matter how much you've saved up.

I'd say the combat is pretty poor in Bioshock 1 and pretty good in Infinite. The gunplay in Bioshock 1 lacks feedback and feels unsatisfying. It's OK for an RPG to feel this way, but it's not for a shooter. I remember hating the guns so much, I stuck with the wrench and plasmids for most of the game. While Infinite is not best in class, it's on par with most quality shooters today. I played Rage recently and had a much worse time with that game.

#12 Posted by PerryVandell (2103 posts) -

There are some give and takes with the changes in Infinite. I actually liked BioShock's "FUCK IT, YOU CARRY ALL THE WEAPONS AT ONCE" design choice, as it allowed me to experiment more with weapons I normally would have used maybe once or twice. I understand why Infinite only let you carry two weapons at once, but that led to me using only a small handful of early game weapons I had already upgraded.

I thought vigors were a fairly major improvement over plasmids. Each vigor had advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation. In Bioshock, there were simply too many plasmids that basically did the same thing. For example, there were three "aggro" plasmids -- one for splicers, one for turrets/cameras, and one for Big Daddies. Vigors cut out the redundancy.

I could go further, but I'm too damn tired today to write a thesis comparing BioShock's combat to Infinite. I think Infinite fine-tuned some problems found in BioShock regarding enemy health and plasmid redundancy but could have done more.

#13 Edited by InternetCrab (1504 posts) -

Bioshock is still one of the best games I have ever played and will stay that way. Infinite is darn good, but can't feel that it lives up to the first. I really liked the vigors, but found that I didn't use them as often as in the first.

Skylines were a fantastic mechanism, and I do wish something alike existed in Bioshock. And I did hate the two-weapons only thing, mostly because I had to scavenge through every corner to find a weapon I wanted just then, I found it way more practical in Bioshock. I usually carried around the Repeater, but you want some variation sometimes, you know?

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.