Today, I finished Bioshock Infinite and I thought it was a fantastic game. Fun combat, good character dynamics, a brilliant world, and a hell of an amazing ending (seeing Rapture again had me yelling out loud at my TV in disbelief).
But when it was all over, I realized something. I didn't really know who Daisy Fitzroy and Zachry Comstock were. Not in the sense that I didn't know who they were, but that I didn't understand why they did the things they did.
I missed half of the Voxophones, so I probably missed a huge portion of their backstories, but the original Bioshock put so much effort into characterizing Andrew Ryan. His constant taunting of the player made him a monstrous presence, and the Audio Logs were only a bonus to helping to understand who Andrew Ryan truly was. You could miss the Audio Logs and still have a good understanding of what drove the man.
I didn't feel that way about Daisy or Zachry. When Daisy turned into an insane power broker, it made sense in the context of revolutions driving people to do terrible things (Elizabeth's comparison to Les Miserables is quite apt), but I didn't feel like she had been characterized as well as any random side character in the original. I still remember the Doctor from the Med Bay in Rapture, wishing to become the Picasso of surgery.
The biggest problem is that I never really got a sense of who Zachry is, and after the game's ending revealing that Booker DeWitt became Zachry, it seems like it would be pretty fucking important to understand how the pleasure to seek God turned a soldier into a prophet. There are probably Voxaphones that address this a bit, but I never felt like I knew Comstock, not the way I knew Dr. Tennenbaum, or Frank Fontaine, and so on.
The trade off I guess is that Booker and Elizabeth are incredibly realized characters, with arcs and dynamics that made playing through the story a journey, not just to defeat Comstock, but to find out more about who they really were at their cores. I just wish the Daisy and Comstock were the same way. I wish they felt like fully realized characters and went beyond cutouts of the concepts of religious insanity and blind anarchy.
Other than this, I loved the game overall. I just feel like they were lacking in development.