The Guns of Navarro: Infinite Judgment

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#101 Posted by Zevvion (2073 posts) -

The only thing I dont like more than people acting like nothing is wrong with a game, is people acting like nothing is right with the game. This game in particular was nothing but SUX OR ROX and its like jesus- get a grip people.

Not so sure. I really liked the game. I didn't find many things at fault with it. The only thing that comes to mind are that the completely optional and often hidden voxophones are crucial to understanding the story. Which is less than ideal. I only found 53 of them on my first playthrough and I missed key parts that explained the Lutece's, Comstock's infertility and so on.

Also, the combat is perfectly fine, but it tries scenario's that do not work with it very well. The encounters with Lady Comstock are the worst. Apparently, they wanted me to use the shield vigor to protect from the attacks her minions did while you lay waste to her. I was out of salts though, not to mention that vigor requires allot of it. I was also playing on hard which made her the biggest bullet soaker I've seen in a while.

After trying to kill the minions and then focusing on her and that strategy not working, I was also very low on ammo. I eventually had to exploit the game's encounter system to stand in a spot where her minions would stay in place, while she periodically seeks me out. That sort off stuff is off putting.

#102 Posted by HS_Alpha_Wolf (103 posts) -

Alex, this column has quickly become one of my favorite on the site, and it is a pleasure to read your well-expressed thoughts on more than the latest shit-fest games!

I personally enjoyed the game immensely, and finished it in and around work over about 3 days on hard. While it certainly isn't perfect, I find the amount of complaining and bashing that has rolled in after the initial love-fest of reviews is out of proportion to the content of the game. In a year that I feel we will look back on with a general feeling of "more of the same," I suspect the long take on this one will be that yeah, that game was pretty fucking great and everyone should play it.

Keep up the awesome work, I need something to perk up my Monday morning office slog.

#103 Edited by Rowr (5795 posts) -

I'm annoyed all the gaming hipsters have come out of the woodwork proposing this should of been a point and click adventure where while observing concept art you circle jerk each other.

The aversion to the violence seems to be mostly driven by it's "unpleasantness" which makes you the worst art critic in the world, so shut your fucking mouths you sound like some 7th heaven watching bitches.

As far as the racism is concerned, isn't it racist or insulting at least to expect this game to have some sort of explanation of the mechanics of racism involved? Is that necessary anywhere to the story?

Just because a few characters involved in this story have racist views fitting with the context of popular views at the time it doesn't make it a direct commentary about racism. Jesus christ, it's at the point anytime there's an oppressed person in who isn't white in anything someone yells "RACISM" and then everyone goes quiet not knowing what to say. Really it's just another version of people averting themselves from "unpleasantness".

It's the actual phenomenom that the game is trying to present in the depiction of the elitist white population that is rebelled against.

Stop being so fucking basic and having such fucking basic reactions and think about what is actually being presented to you.

#104 Edited by dutchbear10 (51 posts) -

@alex Love this article. Great commentary. I think that I am so in love with this game it is hard for me to try and poke holes in it myself.

I am currently on my second run through of the game and I'm trying to pick up everything to flesh out the world a little more. I'm hoping that they will use DLC to explore more of the characters that they glossed over in the game.

#105 Posted by ModernMoriarty (57 posts) -

Saying that Bioshock Infinite does about as much with its racism elements as Bioshock did with Randian Objectivism, kind of misses the point that in Bioshock, Rapture had already fallen. The story that you were pursuing was your struggle to survive, whilst gradually learning why and how the city was constructed, then fell to ruin. In Infinite, that process had not yet happened, so the hope was that it would be far more central to the story - that you would play an active role in the world it set up, before during and after the inevitable fall.

Instead, you were just an outsider removed from most of the wider Columbia world and politics and still didn't engage much at all with what happened to it. The game really only cares about its Doctor Whoesque time travelling, dimension hopping business with Booker and Elizabeth. The various plots surrounding Chen, Fitzroy, Slate, Fink etc are so lightly drawn, and your character cares so little about engaging with any of it, that I gave up caring at all.

The game lost me very early in terms of being able to care about it. The whole intro sequence where Booker is sent to this place with no warning about what it is, what people are like there and believe, thrust in with no cover story or reason to be there. It was immediately obvious that the game was pulling a fast one, that the chances of Booker actually being on a mission for real creditors from the real world, that he'd actually just come over from New York City etc etc was so remote as to not even bother wasting time believing in.

And that's a problem, as it kills the immersion. If I know its all a fake right from the start, then I'm like the guy who sits at a magic show saying 'Its probably some kind of wires and there's a mirror over there...' The Sixth Sense worked so well, because it drew you into the story, made you care about the characters, then hit you with the wider implications. This game just says 'Hey, you're a guy who's here to rescue... ah, you don't really believe it, so we're not to bother saying anything more - but we bet you can't guess what it really is...'

None of it seems to matter, and the game completely fails to offer the immersion of the original Bioshock. Vigors are just there, everyone in a section instantly knows you're the enemy, until you reach a section where nobody knows, then everyone knows, then nobody knows... People just vanish as soon as the alarm goes up - they don't run for cover or panic, they just vanish completely. Comstock's forces also take a remarkably reckless approach to recovering their 'Lamb of the City' chucking bombs, spraying machine gun fire etc in Booker's direction, and somehow not utterly vapoursing Elizabeth in the crossfire. Then there's the fact that she's invincible to the Vox Populi too, who have no interest in keeping her alive.

It really destroys my ability to feel like any of it counts, to be able to actually care about what is going on. it doesn't feel real and internally consistent in the way Bioshock did, so I don't care about of it.

#106 Posted by IronRinn (147 posts) -

Another great column Alex, and one that mirrors my own thoughts almost perfectly. I feel exactly like how you describe in your opening paragraph.

#107 Edited by Nardak (516 posts) -

I dont understand why gamers somehow want to self censure the violence that is in games. At the same time the violence shown in almost any episode of NCIS is every bit as graphical as the violence shown in Bioshock.

In movies peoples heads get blown or hacked off in various ways. There are also horror movies where the whole point of the movie is to show people getting tortured in horrible ways.

Arent we as players mature enough to separate the difference between real violence and the violence shown in-game?

Also isnt it in a way a good thing if we feel a bit uncomfortable about the violence shown in Bioshock Infinity? That shows that we arent insensitive to it.

Should we also censure the violence for example in Mortal Kombat game series? It is also pretty graphical. Where does the censorship of things end once it starts rolling? Should it be like in Germany where you cant show blood in games?

#108 Posted by Wheady (106 posts) -

Yea, totally agree with what you said about the racist theme taking a back seat. I've read about people getting disappointed with this but the story was (to me at least) always about Booker and Elizabeth, not about civil war that was happening.

#109 Posted by DrDarkStryfe (1139 posts) -

I am much happier that they went the route they chose for the first part of the game, compared to what that video shown. I would have been very disappointed if I landed in Columbia, and everything was already going to hell. Seeing the city at its best, and watching it slowly degrade of my play through was quite the sight. I think they may have went a little overboard towards the end with all of the thunderstorms and darkness, but otherwise I was a fan of the setting from beginning to end.

It was obvious that they would have never pulled off what they shown in E3's of past. Even the press was heavily skeptical that the final product was going to show battles of that level for two reasons. The first, it would turn off a hell of a lot of people if every battle was heavily complected, and the second, the technology was not there yet on consoles to have that much going on without severe technical setbacks. What they shown were early concept proofs, as seen with a couple of the Vigor's not having their "first time drank" animations in place. We are going to see something similar to this when Watch.Dogs hits; the final product will not look similar to what we have seen so far.

I enjoyed the battles, a lot. I did not get pinned down on a set combat mindset because I wanted to try all of the Vigor's and weapons. Outside of Possession, I constantly changed out Vigor's. I'll agree that things dragged on during the "Collect three tears" portion of the game. That was the longest segment of the game, and all you did is run in one really big circle that had a fight every few minutes.

Perhaps it is because I watching nothing about this game since E3 2011, but nothing I went through left a sense of disappointment. I learned early this generation to ignore the previews and marketing punch behind AAA titles, and I think I am much better for it when I get my hands on the game. Every major AAA release always has an aura of disappointing around it anymore. The market keeps getting drawn in by the preview cycle and marketing hype so much anymore.

#110 Posted by cikame (1020 posts) -

I just don't like the animation style, it's as simple as that.
Totally realise that is my problem and no one else's.

#111 Edited by Dtat (1623 posts) -

@dtat said:

What if Elizabeth wasn't stunningly beautiful? Would the game have worked as well? It's really a criticism of most media, not just games. And it isn't limited to female characters by any means. Characters (male and female) we need to care about are almost always beautiful. It's something that really stuck out to me for whatever reason in this game though. It goes without saying that making the game's lead characters attractive will sell more copies, but it would be nice to see sympathetic characters in a game designed to be less than ideal in physical appearance. (and no her finger doesn't really cover what I'm talking about here)

Developers make a big deal about how people will care about their characters because of the writing and acting, but they never have the guts to not make them gorgeous. THAT would be impressive.

To what end? What difference would it have if Elizabeth wasn't as pretty? Would it change her character? Would it change her arc? Would it make you somehow sympathize with her more? I never understand the need people have, to have your characters look not "gorgeous" for the sake of the character not looking gorgeous. At no point did Elizabeth's looks come into play in the story, aside perhaps from the fact that she was a white girl.

Now if there is a story that requires your character to be not quite as pretty, or even further then that, hideous, then that is different. If the look of the character affects how we perceive them and their plight, then it should be considered. In this case though, the way Elizabeth looks is ultimately irrelevant.

As someone who does sketches, and character designs for my livelihood I strive to create "cool" looking characters. Characters that I enjoy looking at. That can range from "ugly" characters to "gorgeous" ones. I'm sure it was the same for Ken Levine. Elizabeth looks the way she looks because Levine must have thought it appropriate. To make the character look any other way for reasons that aren't even mentioned in the game, or to appease this ugly character quota most people seem to have is stupid in my opinion.

Yeah that's true. It doesn't really bother me so much as I notice it. It always just comes off as too convenient for the story and the character motivations. "You need to protect this women. By the way, she's beautiful." It doesn't break anything; it just rings a little false for me personally. A very minor criticism of the game, but one that has been standing out to me in games and movies as of late.

#113 Edited by gaminghooligan (1462 posts) -

Best article on BI I've read. Keep up these articles Alex, easily some of the best content on this entire site.

#114 Edited by KDR_11k (143 posts) -

I kinda felt that Spec Ops made your actions feel much more ambiguous and questionable than Infinite did. In Infinite it always felt like you were doing the right thing and when things went wrong that was because of technobabble. In Spec Ops you often felt in the wrong right after doing something and it didn't take what amounts to magic to turn your choices into the wrong choice. Konrad and Riggs seem to act much more understandably than Comstock or Fink.

Comstock's followers are pretty much American Sky Nazis so I feel no remorse killing them, even with the Skyhook executions. Hell, even the civilians deserved dying.

That the Vox turned out to be crap wasn't really a surprise. Most revolutions go that way. Hint's right there in the name, really: After a full revolution you end up back where you started just with a different tyrant sitting on the throne. This was more like North African style than French Resistance, they win and immediately establish Sharia law and try to kill the other minorities that don't share their faith (or specific branch of their faith, more exactly).

I have to say I wasn't really able to track what made Booker turn into Comstock in terms of personality, at the baptism he rejects his guilt while rejecting the baptism means accepting his guilt but that one change is enough to turn him into basically Adolf Hitler vs a down-on-his-luck private eye? Also I guess the Luteces dragged Booker through time when sending him on the mission since he seems significantly younger than Comstock?

#115 Posted by bybeach (4892 posts) -

@cikame said:

I just don't like the animation style, it's as simple as that.

Totally realise that is my problem and no one else's.

If I understand you right I have the same problem with Dishonored.

Very good article, I'm dragging my feet to read the critique by Leigh Alexander. I'm suspicious I will be reading someone's very focused point of view, and not in the context of why the story evolved as it did for it's purposes...and not somebodies elses social perceptions. As for the violence..hey, it's a shooter. Maybe the melee could get a little heavy. I love the criticism by one poster speculating about it being nerfed to a point and click adventure game...lol! That would hold the interest of a small and probably overly self-aware group. I thought they did a good job this time, though I could never find a weapon I liked on all accounts...guess that is why vigors, among other reasons.

#116 Edited by NachoMatrimony (12 posts) -

Very reasonable take, Alex. It pretty much captured my feelings on violence and player impact in the game. By the time I first got to Finkton I got hit with shooter fatigue. Some of that combat time could have easily been nixed for story exposition -- those "quieter" moments of the game that perhaps provided the purest gameplay and narrative pleasures. Basically, it's those moments where Infinite's at odds with itself and its pacing suffers because of it. I'm glad the story just mostly overcomes such issues.

I also maintain that Infinite being an experience to be reckoned with is ultimately good for gaming. Nobody's claiming that it's perfect, but it's certainly well-realized and gives people more to think (and feel) about than most triple-A big budget games. At the very, very least, Irrational made a better, thoughtful shooter with a story that made us care. Considering its hype and reach, I think Infinite can really change some hearts and minds about the medium, especially those players who already love games but never thought they could convey something quite like this.

#117 Edited by spilledmilkfactory (1888 posts) -

I had no problems with the pacing or the tone of the game in regards to combat, and never felt like it was jarring to enter a battle after doing a little exploration. That said, going from Steam play times I also spent about twice as long exploring the environments than everybody else did before delving into the next fight, so that might have something to do with it.

I'd also have to agree with Alex and Jeff in the spoilercast that the violence and racism of the world serve more as window dressing, and that's totally okay. It gives you insight into the mindsets of the characters and the mood of the world, making it easier to lose yourself in the fiction. I don't particularly care if the game didn't tackle racism because, as Jeff said, a game that's climax is "hey guys, racism is bad" is far less interesting than the complex personal tale that ended up coming out of Infinite. Nobody needs a game or a movie to tell them racism is wrong. It's obvious, cloying and boring.

Finally, I'd have to agree with the bit about the Voxaphones. I only missed 6 or 7 but still felt lost in regards to certain character motivations or timeline quirks. I appreciate the massive story Levine and the team were trying to tell, but they really need a better method of delivery.

#118 Posted by TehPickle (503 posts) -

Personally, I just watched a fairly thorough 'lets play' on YouTube. I don't feel that I missed anything by not playing it myself. Besides that, I don't actually like FPS games all that much (oversaturated by them), so I think playing it would have given me a more negative opinion of the game than it really deserves.

I was in it for the story, plain and simple. In that sense alone, I was hugely impressed by what Infinite did. Ultimately, time / dimension travel is an inherently flawed story concept. A writer cannot do right without doing wrong in some way, shape or form. Nonetheless I think the game was really intelligently put together, in spite of it's purely 'game-y' mechanics.

Whichever way anyone cares to slice it, Infinite is a hugely important game, for better or worse. I can't wait to see what direction Irrational take next.

#119 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

I agree that the transitions between exploration and combat are jarring. I feel like there's a conversation missing there. A parley of sorts. Such a thing would go a long way to make it all feel more alive and believable, rather than just fancy staffage for an almost DOOM-style straight forward first person shooter experience.

#120 Edited by AngriGhandi (784 posts) -

I feel like comparing Infinite's reaction to Inception's is instructive, because in both cases you have people poring over the mechanics of the ending in great detail, when ultimately the only thing that matters is the idea and meaning that the ending represents.

The difference being that, in Inception, it didn't really matter what was real or not because the character had accomplished his goals and was happy either way.

While in Infinite, it doesn't really matter what was real or not because causality itself has been undermined, and your characters' overriding traits all overwritten, by shocking plot twists.

The fact that we don't get to see Booker or Elizabeth's reaction to the final twist of the game-- in a story that is ostensibly all about those characters-- is the most important and damning criticism of the entire endeavor, in my opinion.

And to be clear, I really liked 95% of the game. But that ending... man.

#121 Posted by porjos (150 posts) -

the interweb are dumb

#122 Posted by Shaanyboi (1318 posts) -

I came away loving Infinite. The story, the characters, even the combat, all worked great for me. I don't see how people could have wanted this to be some kind of point and click adventure or to have like no combat when the story itself stems from Booker being a violent person who has committed some horribly violent actions.

I also don't understand the complaint that Daisy and the Vox weren't fleshed out enough. They never were meant to be. She is simply a face for the discontented citizens of Columbia - a voice for all its second-class citizens. It's pretty fucking obvious why they're pissed, and like almost every revolution stemming from anger, the second you facilitate the ability for violence, it's going to go bloody and things will go horribly, horribly wrong.

Like Alex says in this article, and like Levine has said in interviews, the racism is part of the setting, it's not part of the story.

The only thing that didn't work for me was the gameplay loop of constantly scrounging in trash cans etc to find stuff. I loved exploring, but I was exploring for the wrong reasons.

#123 Posted by parabolee (30 posts) -

I love that fact there is so much discussion about this game. And I find I agree with the criticisms as equally as the praise.

Bioshock Infinite is a flawed masterpiece, as are most masterpieces. Art is rarely perfect, that is why it is art.

#125 Posted by FourWude (2261 posts) -

Constants and variables...

Always constants and variables.

#126 Edited by The_Nubster (2253 posts) -

@tarsier: My problem with the game wasn't the difficulty (I played it on medium, but I made sure to make use of skylines, hooks and tears, as well as Vigor combinations), but what Alex says about it: the combat is paced very, very poorly. The world is so lush and dense and beautiful, but the game is always throwing people at you so you have something to shoot. My favourite moments in that game are the ones where I'm left to explore and wander, interact with citizens, talk with Elizabeth, and learn more about the world. The shooting and killing is inherently less interesting than the world discovery aspect, and it's a crutch that they leaned on too often.

#127 Posted by Tarsier (1069 posts) -

@chromule said:

@dtat said:

@liquidprince said:

@dtat said:

What if Elizabeth wasn't stunningly beautiful? Would the game have worked as well? It's really a criticism of most media, not just games. And it isn't limited to female characters by any means. Characters (male and female) we need to care about are almost always beautiful. It's something that really stuck out to me for whatever reason in this game though. It goes without saying that making the game's lead characters attractive will sell more copies, but it would be nice to see sympathetic characters in a game designed to be less than ideal in physical appearance. (and no her finger doesn't really cover what I'm talking about here)

Developers make a big deal about how people will care about their characters because of the writing and acting, but they never have the guts to not make them gorgeous. THAT would be impressive.

To what end? What difference would it have if Elizabeth wasn't as pretty? Would it change her character? Would it change her arc? Would it make you somehow sympathize with her more? I never understand the need people have, to have your characters look not "gorgeous" for the sake of the character not looking gorgeous. At no point did Elizabeth's looks come into play in the story, aside perhaps from the fact that she was a white girl.

Now if there is a story that requires your character to be not quite as pretty, or even further then that, hideous, then that is different. If the look of the character affects how we perceive them and their plight, then it should be considered. In this case though, the way Elizabeth looks is ultimately irrelevant.

As someone who does sketches, and character designs for my livelihood I strive to create "cool" looking characters. Characters that I enjoy looking at. That can range from "ugly" characters to "gorgeous" ones. I'm sure it was the same for Ken Levine. Elizabeth looks the way she looks because Levine must have thought it appropriate. To make the character look any other way for reasons that aren't even mentioned in the game, or to appease this ugly character quota most people seem to have is stupid in my opinion.

Yeah that's true. It doesn't really bother me so much as I notice it. It always just comes off as too convenient for the story and the character motivations. "You need to protect this women. By the way, she's beautiful." It doesn't break anything; it just rings a little false for me personally. A very minor criticism of the game, but one that has been standing out to me in games and movies as of late.

it's not about media, it's about humanity. everyone likes pretty people more.

what if people mistake an ugly face for an emotion that isnt happening. elizabeths design works perfectly well to show her emotions and feelings at any given moment. if she was ugly, you might mistake her gimpy eyebrow for a frown.. or her fat cheeks might mask her smile. its much easier for a game like this to just design the character as a physically beautiful female. and theres also no reason why not to, unless youre trying to be 'bold' or 'unique' or trying to 'say something'. which is gross and weird and annoying in its own way . . .

#128 Edited by eulogize_my_baked_goods (141 posts) -

A couple of thoughts regarding Infinite's combat.

This is a game, not a movie, and as such it is left to the player to decide the path they take through combat sections, and indeed just how far to push things. Of course, you can spend your entire time executing every last enemy in an area for the maximum gore factor. However, you can also resort to more standard gun fighting from a 'safe' distance or even spam your vigour's ad-nauseum, getting your enemies to fight your battles for you. In general I was pleasantly surprised with how flexible things can get, and indeed the scarcity of resources within the world encourages you to experiment with different approaches far more than the original game ever did. In short, it is left up to you as to how light or dark things get during combat... which brings me to my second/main point.

I think you really do need the context of the games ending to appreciate the level of violence on show. Booker/Comstock is a man straddling a bloody divide - on one side he is a man fighting his demons, and on the other a man who has succumbed to them. The game does not tell the player this explicitly until later in the game but I do think that the jarring nature of the games combat manages to bring this into hard relief far earlier than the story itself does.

Early in the game Elizabeth flees from you, finding your actions far more terrifying than those of her previous captors. Indeed, for the rest of the game she is never totally relaxed in your company (her consternation toward you brilliantly captured in her expressions) and in general you always get the impression that she regards your motivations with deep suspicion. You play a dark character with a dark history and an even darker alternate history/present/future. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the games combat - Infinite's core gameplay - and in that context I feel it is completely justified.

Granted only in hindsight does this become quite so clear, but I don't think it is wholly the developers fault if individuals decide not to engage with the world they have constructed. Is Taxi Driver flawed because some people will not have the stomach to partake in Travis Bickle's decent into the abyss? No, it is a masterpiece of film making that asks it's audience to come with it on a journey. I would argue the same is true of Infinite. It is a game that places the choices of its central character firmly within the hands of its players - not in an RPG 'pick an action to progress' way, but in the visceral reality of it's core gameplay design.

Edit: Love that Rab Florence piece. It echo's my own thoughts exactly - Infinite is ultimately bigger/better that the sum of its parts... although they are quite good as well. ;)

#129 Edited by Regular_Kirk (71 posts) -

@alex: My girlfriend was watching me play that part of the game. Later she asked if I ever found the guns and delivered them to Daisy. It was such a simple question and yet with all the multiple tear jumping I had no idea how to answer it. Yes, but no with a little bit of sort of mixed in?

Yeah, the Chen Lin section was my least favorite part of the game, (well outside the three rounds I went with the witch. That shit sucked).

#130 Edited by Pictoben (63 posts) -

@daneian: For my part I figured that at these stages of the story you are still firmly a gun for hire, doing whatever you need to do to get the girl out of the city.

It all felt fairly natural to me, and in hindsight of the end game, the museum segment explains the anger expressed by DeWitt that he was there and the events did not occur as being described. It also explains why the guy you get the choice to kill off or not (name escapes me) knows DeWitt.

#131 Edited by EXTomar (4831 posts) -

It turns out that it doesn't matter. In either world Chen Lin meets a bad end and Fitzroy in Columbia-B needs Booker dead to continue her narrative.

#132 Posted by Pictoben (63 posts) -

Having finished the game at the weekend and just started the process of talking it over with the guys at work, I muddled into a question and an angle, without really any fact to support it - didn't get all of the voxophones so don't know if any facts rule this out, but:

I see two key pivotal decision points in the branching realities of the various universes - the baptism of DeWitt (Comstock-Dewitt was baptised, while DeWitt-DeWitt was not), and the decision to give up the child Anna.

When the Columbia Elizabeths meet at the baptism, the only choice the game is giving you is to agree to be baptised, which in my mind means this is the Comstock creating version of events - they drown this Booker, which means Columbia never happens.

This means that none of those Elizabeth's then exist, which is why we see them disappear in the scene.

The second reality branching decision - whether or not DeWitt gives up Anna - therefore never comes to pass, since the Columbia reality then never occurs, this I took to be the post credits scene, where the Booker who did not get baptised, and who did not give up his baby has a future.

I have also a question on the causality - can Elizabeth create the tears because of the Lutese science, or is it because she inherently has the ability?

Could Elizabeth be an analogue for the little sisters in the original Bioshock?

The Lutese's talk about the three constants, the man, the lighthouse and the city - does the apparently random trip to Rapture signify that, that is just another (later) iteration of this cycle, or is it truly unconnected?

I'm starting to think it's more plausible that Anna/Elizabeth has the ability within her, and as much as needing an heir, Comstock needs Elizabeth for that power - basically is the syphon harvesting Elizabeth's power, and is this somehow tied to Columbia - is it a facilitator for the Lutese science and the quantum particles the city is based on? Is the syphon using Elizabeth to manufacture the salts (this is where Elizabeth becomes the Little Sister equivalent, with salt equalling plasmids right?).

If the ability is within Elizabeth its it also posessed by DeWitt to some extent? It would explain why DeWitt is able to see all the tears himself - i.e. the ghosting of objects you can see before Elizabeth pulls things into the combat scenarios, or the fact that DeWitt still sees all the tears in the back section of the game when the two are separated.

This would be true of Comstock also of course, and this might have been the catalyst for the Lutese science, which culminated in the finding of Elizabeth.

To push that right out on a silly limb, reference is made at one point that Lady Comstock looks like Elizabeth, though they are not related. When Elizabeth speaks to the ghost, the pair argue and it's resolved when the Elizabeth points out that she was Comstocks priosoner as well - could they even both be instances of an adult Elizabeth? Did comstock find 'our' elizabeth when an older Elizabeth was made ill from the some of the Lutese experiments?

Anyway, assuming the link between Elizabeth and Comstock/DeWitt for the powers, and being subject to the constants I'm starting to think that the Rapture reference, and Booker's ability to operate the bathysphere potentially means there is a link - do we come full circle, and is the endgame Anna-with-a future an ancestor of Bioshock's Andrew Ryan?

In this way another constant can be seen to be that industrial progress made via the exploitation of others will always dissatisfaction, resentment, anger and finally uprising - that suddenly becomes a core common tenet of Bioshock morality for me.

Sorry - this is terribly long, and probably not even coherrent!

In summary, this game made my brain fizz - it's has actually re-ignited the deep seeded excitement that I haven't got from games in a long while - Looking to Last Of Us, and Beyond: Two Souls to come along and do similar things for me later in the year.

#133 Edited by Daneian (1245 posts) -

@pictoben: Those are good points and I think you're absolutely right. There is great characterization and world building there. I just found myself questioning how what I was seeing was relevant to Booker's immediate goal of getting Elizabeth out of Columbia. Why did I go to the Hall of Heroes? Because that's where the Shock Jockey vigor was that I needed to power a tram. Why was the Shock Jockey at the Hall of Heroes? To put us in a position to learn information that is vital to understanding the story's conclusion. I view detours in the plot like that similar to using a saw on a round hole to fit a square peg.

#134 Posted by clush (425 posts) -

You can't destroy causality in front of my eyes and then expect I'm going to care about any event that ever happens again.

Nailed it. This is EXACTLY how I felt. I really wish it was less 'meta' and more character-driven. I'm not going to argue that it isn't a valid story to tell or anything but I can't help feeling that TO ME this feels pointless, boring and well... cheap. Modern day deus ex machina.

I compare it to a carefully crafted detective story (Sherlock Holmes if you will) that after establishing the environment and the characters suddenly goes OH SNAP ALIENS ARE INVADING! Wait what? What about the butler, what about the bloody knife? Why did he do it? SCREW THAT, WE GOT OTHER THINGS TO DEAL WITH NOW! Oh, and by the way, you are the butler.

#135 Edited by TheRedDeath (98 posts) -

"There is oftentimes a tragic tendency among gamers to shout down opposing viewpoints." Replace the word "gamers" with "humans".

As for my experience with Infinite, I really felt a disconnect between the gameplay and the story. There was really two modes for me in the game, shooting mode and story mode. Shooting mode was great, but as story mode became more interesting and the game dragged along, I felt it just got in the way, and I just wanted to know how the story ends. As for all the themes in the game, by the end I really didn't care. The story was about Booker and Elizabeth by the end, and the long haul through all the shit they've been through. Maybe the end was finally letting them get rest from the long haul through death, or maybe redemption from what Booker did to Elizabeth can only come from death. Either way, it was a great game, and I highly recommend it.

#136 Posted by LiK (924 posts) -

Excellent post. Thanks Alex. Personally, I loved the game and everything with it. I'm getting sick of people constantly nitpicking the shit outta it. I have not seen such venom for other types of games this year as much as Infinite's from several critics/game devs I follow. Sure they may not be as impressed as other people who enjoyed it but why spend so much time raining on its parade? It's getting old. Play something else.

#137 Posted by RonGalaxy (3218 posts) -

I appreciate that you talked about it being necessary to be critical, even of great things (nothing is without flaws). That being said, people looking for a story that incredibly realizes the early 1900's (racism and all), do yourself a favor and play red dead redemption (one of the finest games ever made).

#138 Posted by Kingyo (49 posts) -

@koolaid said:

What I don't really agree with is the idea that the game gives up on the "plight of Columbia's minority population" halfway through the game. While it is true that the game is not explicitly about racism, it DOES have violence as a recurring theme. The Vox are defined by how their uprising became super violent, and the last half of the game features the horror of their revolution as the backdrop.

I feel that the racism is there to create an super bias against the Founders and then that bias is turned on its head. Up until the police station, the Vox have every inch of the moral high ground in the conflict. Even with how terrible the Founders are and how justifiable the uprising is, it all gets turned on its head when the Vox start killing EVERYBODY. Maybe what they are trying to say is that violence is the real enemy? That no one who fights ever ends up with clean hands?

I agree that racism is a huge, deep and complex topic and I agree that it is strange to see it play second fiddle to another story. I think that concept is rare in fiction, which is why is seems so strange to us. But I think Bioshock Infinite knew exactly what it was doing.

@koolaid: This was really how I felt too

I think also this is backed up by the start of the game where you go through this clean, sunny Columbia only to then have it shattered by one the racism of pretty much every single person you've seen (they are all excited about the raffle), but then the sky hook going into that guys face. It to my mind is not out of place as some have suggested because to me it does a really good job of smashing down your view of the place that you are in and counterpointing this clean sunny place. I also think it underlines immediately that Booker isn't a nice guy.

The 'hero' your playing as is anything but, and while you then kill thousands of people because its an FPS it at least begins with this idea. That is why I also think that people who say it in some way glorifies violence are totally wrong especially compared to other FPS's.

Everyone that fights ends up with blood on their hands and violence is ugly. In the end no one has the high ground they are all just pursuing their own interests even if that interest changes. For example Booker starts off killing so he isn't captured and then to survive and get Elizabeth. He then manipulates her and kills to try and wipe and away his debts and even when he switches to wanting to escape with her, he is still just doggedly pursuing that interest.

So I think a more reasonable think to say is that while it isn't perfectly handled, it is a step in the right direction for games, perhaps a baby step but then a lot of games don't even attempt that. Not that all should either, call of duty for example, is an action movie and sometimes action movies can be pretty fun.

#139 Posted by dudeglove (8003 posts) -

Di Caprio's thingy wasn't the spinning top. It was his wedding ring, and he wasn't wearing it in the final bit, so he wasn't still in some limbo state. Mystery solved.

#140 Posted by EXTomar (4831 posts) -

Unless the story's main protagonist characters (Booker and Elizabeth) had a method or mechanism to fix things like the "socio-economic problems" in Columbia I would rather the writers not engage it. It would be nice to get a game that confronts it but it isn't in this story where I want the game and writers to do it right instead of feeling obligated to put it while Booker saves Elizabeth.

#141 Edited by MonkeyKing1969 (2886 posts) -

I hate to say it, but Ken Levine seems 'always' shocked by thing people find in his games he does not see or think exist; I say I hate to say it because it probably means he has some sort of mild form of social disaffection disorder or cannot directly empathize with his characters.

To people who do empathize with fictional characters or overly empathize with the characters, there must be equal frustration with how these Bioshock games play out. Ken makes games where empathy seems soaked into the fabric or the narrative, yet often nothing is is allowed to be resolved satisfactorily or no meaning is attached when things seem very bad. Its like watching "Schindler's List" were the director doesn't care if anyone lives or shows any empathy for the horrors on screen.

I could be wrong, but it appears Ken doesn't understand some of his audience, and some of his audiences doesn't understand Ken. And that won't be resolved because people are different; very different in what they think matters or what needs to be addressed in a satisfying narrative.

#144 Edited by Syndrom (361 posts) -

Di Caprio's thingy wasn't the spinning top. It was his wedding ring, and he wasn't wearing it in the final bit, so he wasn't still in some limbo state. Mystery solved.

uh no.

#145 Posted by Pictoben (63 posts) -

@daneian: Yeah - fair deal. To be honest, I could easily see me coming to this game on another day, and seeing things exactly the way you did - I've had a could out of the last few games I've played and wanted to enjoy spoiled by clunky plot devices.

#146 Edited by ChrisTaran (1638 posts) -

I think it's a fairly critic-proof game, but then I think it's damn near perfect. Don't think I could stomach any of the negative articles.

#147 Posted by Enigma777 (6076 posts) -

I just finished Infinite and I found the ending to be completely cliche. The entire game I kept saying to myself "Please don't let a Booker be Comstock. Please don't let Booker be Comstock." over and over again. Coming from Bioshock 1, the entire story fell completely flat on its face.

Such a shame. If they had gone with the "This is Rapture" thing it would have been so much more interesting!

#148 Edited by JackG100 (405 posts) -
#149 Edited by StriderNo9 (1134 posts) -

Alex, fantastic write up.

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