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#1 Posted by Boobtank (25 posts) -

I generally love the discourse that you get from these GiantBomb fellows about the games they play. Albeit, there is something extremely weird about your discussions when it comes to Bioshock

Some people don't like the story and "that is what it is" but, some people seemed to have loved the game while playing it, and then cooled off on it because of the ending's sci-fi tropes? Too many tropes and too many multi-verses? WTF are you talking about\?

When did it become clear that the idea of an multi-verse was something Bioshock:Infinite was pushing?

I know that this is a dumb thing to nitpick, but have any of you ever heard of metaphor? Wait fuck. multiverse.

P.S. If you didn't notice the pinky then...?

#2 Edited by CptBedlam (4438 posts) -

This game has portals into other, parallel dimensions and timelines which are the basis of basically everything plot- and scenario-wise. It's not a metaphor in this case.

I'm good with it though. The string theory is a thing.

#3 Edited by Xavtron (93 posts) -

My main problem is that there was a substantial amount of talk about narrative issues that Infinite has but almost no talk about what that entails. I feel like over the year people have soured on Infinite in a weird way, focusing solely on the negatives, to the point where that is all anyone seems to think of when the game comes up. Last of Us, by comparison is looked at as this shining beacon of perfection where its negatives (which I think it has both narratively and gameplay wise in similar ways to Infinite) are completely glossed over.

I would like to hear what the team's thoughts about the specifics of their issues are (there certainly are issues with both games). I think a lot (not all) of the plot holes that people talk about are ones that took a bunch of people a couple of months to scour the game for. Some of these are kind of inherent to the genre and are about as silly as saying that magic doesn't/can't exist because of x and that's why Skyrim is bullshit. I agree that waving these things away and saying you just have to "go with it" is unproductive too, but a certain amount of leniency could be applied given the scope and ambition of the storytelling, especially as it takes a fair amount of digging before any truly glaring oversights become apparent. As you experience it, it fits together pretty damn well and reaches a conclusion that is consistent and emotionally resonant, succeeding where so many (even highly regarded) sci fi stories fall on their face.

#4 Edited by Fredchuckdave (4479 posts) -

Bioshock has really well worn tropes that are essential to the plot and the main twist, The Last of Us doesn't (apart from zombies which have nothing to do with anything). If The Last of Us was a movie it'd be like a top 5 zombie movie all time (probably top 2 or 3), if Bioshock was a movie it'd be a middling sci-fi action blockbuster.

For example: the movie Oblivion has some multi-verse type Sci Fi elements to it but it handles them way better and more interestingly than Bioshock Infinite; however Oblivion isn't going to be recognized for anything aside from visual effects (maybe).

#5 Posted by BeachThunder (11264 posts) -

Bioshock has really well worn tropes that are essential to the plot and the main twist, The Last of Us doesn't (apart from zombies which have nothing to do with anything). If The Last of Us was a movie it'd be like a top 5 zombie movie all time (probably top 2 or 3), if Bioshock was a movie it'd be a middling sci-fi action blockbuster.

Tetris would be the worst movie ever. Ergo, it's a terrible game.

Also, this thread makes me want stroganoff D:

#6 Posted by Xavtron (93 posts) -

@fredchuckdave: the Last of Us absolutely delved deeply into zombie fiction tropes (executed on well but well worn tropes nonetheless). Member of the party getting bitten, badass person who thinks working alone is best, malicious group of survivors being the bigger threat, group that wants cure at all costs, child forced to grow up quickly to survive in world.

#7 Posted by Xavtron (93 posts) -

@fredchuckdave: I don't think that saying the Last of Us being top 5 for zombie films is much of an argument, as most zombie movies are terrible, there are barely 5 non parody zombie films that are worth the time. Also really? Oblivion, that is an example of terrible sci fi genre fiction. That's one where holes appear even as you view it, and its philosophical side is laughable, sample quote "if we have a soul its made up of the love we share". Bioshock is far smarter than that, even when its most heavy handed elements are at play.

#8 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (808 posts) -

@xavtron said:

@fredchuckdave: the Last of Us absolutely delved deeply into zombie fiction tropes (executed on well but well worn tropes nonetheless). Member of the party getting bitten, badass person who thinks working alone is best, malicious group of survivors being the bigger threat, group that wants cure at all costs, child forced to grow up quickly to survive in world.

yea it's pretty generic

#9 Edited by McLargepants (333 posts) -
@beachthunder said:

Tetris would be the worst movie ever. Ergo, it's a terrible game.

Yeah that's a bad argument though because Tetris has zero narrative, while Bioshock and TLOU are both attempting to tell a deep and meaningful narrative.

Some things work better the less you think about it. I think TLOU stands up to scrutiny extremely well and Bioshock Infinite kinda falls apart the closer you look, as evidenced by the crew not being able to decide what exactly happens during the baptism scene in Bioshock, that's not ambiguous storytelling that's sloppy storytelling. TLOU simply stands up to scrutiny (though I'm sure it has its own flaws narratively) better.

#10 Posted by Zlimness (504 posts) -
@beachthunder said:

Tetris would be the worst movie ever. Ergo, it's a terrible game.

Yeah that's a bad argument though because Tetris has zero narrative, while Bioshock and TLOU are both attempting to tell a deep and meaningful narrative.

Some things work better the less you think about it. I think TLOU stands up to scrutiny extremely well and Bioshock Infinite kinda falls apart the closer you look, as evidenced by the crew not being able to decide what exactly happens during the baptism scene in Bioshock, that's not ambiguous storytelling that's sloppy storytelling. TLOU simply stands up to scrutiny (though I'm sure it has its own flaws narratively) better.

How does it fall apart?

#11 Posted by Claude (16251 posts) -

That's weird. I liked the story and the ending of Bioshock Infinite. Playing the game was kind of a bummer at some points. The same goes with The Last of Us. When I was forced to kill all these dudes, wash and repeat, that's when I had a problem. They both felt so video gamey at times.

#12 Posted by McLargepants (333 posts) -

@zlimness: One example is in the post I made, the ending is sloppy, you don't know what it's supposed to mean, not because it's purposefully vague and ambiguous, but it just isn't told well. Time travel and multi-universe stories don't hold up (unless its written by Shane Carruth), you want to pick apart Back to the Future you totally can, that doesn't make it less fun, and I think Infinite was a lot of fun. It just doesn't hold up well to close scrutiny like The Last of Us.

#13 Posted by Fredchuckdave (4479 posts) -

@xavtron: Those aren't so much tropes they are elements of the genre, additionally they're used extremely well in the story far and above the genre standard; that isn't really a thing in Bioshock with a few minor exceptions along the way (though Would You Kindly was definitely on par with like 1/5th of the Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite doesn't have anything close to that though).

#14 Posted by Video_Game_King (34603 posts) -

@beachthunder said:

Tetris would be the worst movie ever. Ergo, it's a terrible game.

Yeah that's a bad argument though because Tetris has zero narrative, while Bioshock and TLOU are both attempting to tell a deep and meaningful narrative.

Would Papers, Please make a good movie?

#15 Posted by Hayt (213 posts) -

Both of them have great stories. The Last of Us requires no effort to follow where as Bioshock requires a small amount at the very end. Game over for Bioshock when it comes to broad discussion.

#16 Edited by cthomer5000 (660 posts) -

@video_game_king said:

@mclargepants said:
@beachthunder said:

Tetris would be the worst movie ever. Ergo, it's a terrible game.

Yeah that's a bad argument though because Tetris has zero narrative, while Bioshock and TLOU are both attempting to tell a deep and meaningful narrative.

Would Papers, Please make a good movie?

Papers, Please is using mechanics to help tell the story. The story is very deliberately tied to the mundane and increasingly complicated actions needed to process people through the checkpoint.

It's actually a much better example of what video games are capable of then Bioshock and Last Of Us, which are trying to tell cinematic stories. It's a problematic way to do things, because it often feels like the gameplay is interrupting the story, and you just want to get through it to get to the next cut scene. At least that's how I felt at times about both those games. I liked both those games, but I had some big issues with both.

Brothers also did a good job tying mechanics to the story, and Vinny spoke very eloquently about this during the final GOTY debate. It showed that video games can do things other mediums can't. You could make a decent animated movie out of Brothers, but it wouldn't be as good as it is right now as a game.

It will be good for games when they get beyond trying to replicate a movie-style story and think more about how it should all work together. I don't want the story to only be something that happens in between me shooting dudes in the face.

That being said, there are also great games that have no story ambitions at all. Purely mechanical games like Tetris, Super Hexagon, Spelunky, sports games, and most platformers. These two games are very clearly putting their story front and center though, so i think the comparisons/questions about whether they would make good movies is reasonable. They tell their stories almost exclusively in movie (cutscene) format.

#17 Posted by Video_Game_King (34603 posts) -

It will be good for games when they get beyond trying to replicate a movie-style story and think more about how it should all work together. I don't want the story to only be something that happens in between me shooting dudes in the face.

That was pretty much my problem with BioShock Infinite.

#18 Posted by JasonR86 (9374 posts) -

@boobtank: I can't follow your logic dude.

For me, I like the idea of the story but hate that they relied so much on exposition to carry it at the end. Also large sections in the middle drag. And the Mother subplot sucked. And I got tired of the gameplay at the end.

It's a very good game that doesn't quite live up to its premise. It's not a GOTY game to me. But it's still a very good game.

#19 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -

Dude I couldn't agree more. I like how it was always "there are issues with the story" and then they never had anything specific to bring up, just kind of left that out there like it was a fact.

The thing I've heard that I acknowledge is the violence and killing... but is something like Last of Us any different? Both even acknowledge it the same way (your main character is a bad dude with a bad past). But Last of Us is okay and Infinite has issues? I don't get it. I think Last of Us has issues in its story but that doesn't get any criticism while people love to go to town on Infinite.

If I was in the room, I would have been asking what these assumed issues are. At least Jeff called out the haters on his GOTY list. For this kind of discussion to not dig into all these "issues" Brad in particular seemed to put at this game's feet as a fact was a bummer.

@xavtron said:

My main problem is that there was a substantial amount of talk about narrative issues that Infinite has but almost no talk about what that entails. I feel like over the year people have soured on Infinite in a weird way, focusing solely on the negatives, to the point where that is all anyone seems to think of when the game comes up. Last of Us, by comparison is looked at as this shining beacon of perfection where its negatives (which I think it has both narratively and gameplay wise in similar ways to Infinite) are completely glossed over.

I would like to hear what the team's thoughts about the specifics of their issues are (there certainly are issues with both games). I think a lot (not all) of the plot holes that people talk about are ones that took a bunch of people a couple of months to scour the game for. Some of these are kind of inherent to the genre and are about as silly as saying that magic doesn't/can't exist because of x and that's why Skyrim is bullshit. I agree that waving these things away and saying you just have to "go with it" is unproductive too, but a certain amount of leniency could be applied given the scope and ambition of the storytelling, especially as it takes a fair amount of digging before any truly glaring oversights become apparent. As you experience it, it fits together pretty damn well and reaches a conclusion that is consistent and emotionally resonant, succeeding where so many (even highly regarded) sci fi stories fall on their face.

Well put dude. I just simply bought into Infinite's world so much. It was presented so well... to me it's totally like Jeff puts it on his GOTY list. If you are really trying to tear down this story by finding cracks in the logic you are kind of a weirdo and probably no fun at all. I don't even understand doing that.

To me, just look at for a good example how Infinite was slighted for having any presentation of race or class issues in its narrative. Yes these weren't the focus and their importance to the plot was overblown by some press pre-release... but who cares? They fleshed out the world and almost no games even show class and race issues. So when a game puts them into its world appropriately and to show absolute realities of American history, it gets knocked? What? That was probably the most maddening one for me.

They sold me a great experience and I bought it from the start to the end and had a great time.

#20 Posted by Pie (6935 posts) -

Can you imagine them trying to bring up specifics about the story they had problems with this long after the game came out? Just after they had all completed it and were watching Vinny play through it they were all arguing over fairly simple plot details

#21 Edited by CptBedlam (4438 posts) -

@artisanbreads said:
But Last of Us is okay and Infinite has issues? I don't get it.

TLoU contextualizes the violence way better. Not only with its story/scenario but also through its presentation. In BI, the shift from story segments to shooting dozens of nameless dudes in the face is way more jarring. Just take the instance where you can play guitar in a bar's basement for example. Such a heartwarming scene with Elizabeth singing and handing an orphan an apple. And right the next minute, you head up into the bar room and shoot about a dozen people dead.

TLoU is still far from perfect though since the bodycount is still unbelievably high by the end of the game but it is a step into the right direction.

My take-away here is that it is good that these two games happened. Their reception and the discussions they sparked (along with Journey, Gone Home etc.) will make developers of future games think differently about merging story and gameplay.

edit: I do agree that the hate Bioshock Infinite received for its faults is way overblown. Despite those issues, it is still a very good game.

#22 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -
@cptbedlam said:

@artisanbreads said:
But Last of Us is okay and Infinite has issues? I don't get it.

TLoU contextualizes the violence way better. Not only with its story/scenario but also through its presentation. In BI, the shift from story segments to shooting dozens of nameless dudes in the face is way more jarring. Just take the instance where you can play guitar in a bar's basement for example. Such a heartwarming scene with Elizabeth singing and handing an orphan an apple. And right the next minute, you head up into the bar room and shoot about a dozen people dead.

TLoU is still far from perfect though since the bodycount is still unbelievably high by the end of the game but it is a step into the right direction.

My take-away here is that it is good that these two games happened. Their reception and the discussions they sparked (along with Journey, Gone Home etc.) will make developers of future games think differently about merging story and gameplay.

That's the point of the violence in Bioshock, this idyllic world they are presenting is a facade.

To me it was in the first Bioshock (the world as it seemed to have originally existed, plus the Art Deco presentation, with Splicers and the violence going on in it) and even more so here because in Infinite the world was fleshed out to be very American and it showed specific issues with that. Unlike Bioshock 1, you get to see the world operating normally in Infinite. And then we get to see things like the racial issues in action. To see their ideal world and then come to be shown "oh, black people don't get to participate" subverts what you're seeing, as does the violence and the class issues that would cause people to rebel. You are realizing "hey, this aint Disney World, this is a pretty fucked up place".

Booker is a bad dude and they go out of their way to point this out. He is a Pinkerton too, practically just a mercenary for corporate interests. That's basically the entire point of the whole Little Big Horn sub plot and the museum. They went out of their way to earn that.

Last of Us did earn it too, by showing how much Joel lost at the start. So I don't think they're any different. I just don't get how you can criticize one and not the other.

#23 Edited by bybeach (4602 posts) -

SPOILERS!!!!

I love it that people object to the Sci-Fi tropes in Bioshock, but against all odds look past another again Zombie infestation in The Last of Us. Damn, that is mostly why I have not Played the Last of Us yet, god damned Zombies! Fuck! Soooo tired, just want to sleep. The argument of course comes down to 'My game is red hot, your game is doing the squat.' Okay, if you want to believe it.

Personally, I do not get the pinky thing. The finger dies. So do all those skin flakes, blood droplets and everything else shed by baby well before the event. So something more macro like a piece of dying then dead meat and bone...okay. I did not get it. But I do understand multiverses a little. Generally there are four approaches, one of them is the quantum, (many worlds). The others are our universe is large number/infinite beyond visible, there are large number/infinite different universes, and mathematical construct universes. Our universe is probably a true mathematical entity and can be described purely as such. I personally love this stuff, even if many scientists are pissed that they are essentially ascribing to metaphysics. You cannot even begin to prove any of this. At least at our present state of development and understanding. As one scientist said of Many Worlds.'Do I believe it? No way! Do I ascribe to it in physics? It's the most logical choice.' I understood.

Bioshock rocked for me, and it has a pretty good pass in my mind , at least for now, in the present. The Last of Us? a game I am now want to try, despite the Zombies.

#24 Posted by JasonR86 (9374 posts) -

I'm not sure why you guys keep bringing up Last of Us. They are two different games going for different experiences. Even if they compare, one's quality or lack thereof shouldn't have any impact on the other. I mean don't you guys experience games in a vaccumm removed from one another? Which makes making lists really weird but that's another issue.

#25 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -
@jasonr86 said:

I'm not sure why you guys keep bringing up Last of Us. They are two different games going for different experiences. Even if they compare, one's quality or lack thereof shouldn't have any impact on the other. I mean don't you guys experience games in a vaccumm removed from one another? Which makes making lists really weird but that's another issue.

You answer it for yourself, not when making lists.

I liked Last of Us that's the thing, but I just had a better time with Bioshock. But that's not really as important to me. Just when we get to hear all the criticisms laid out on a game, I think Last of Us gets a pass on things Bioshock gets criticized for. Like I said, people often decry the violence in one and not in the other, or how the characters fit into that violence. Both games do that basically the same way, but I hear Bioshock criticized for that.

To me every game of a certain level will compare to others. That' how my mind work. I don't mean to say people can't like Last of Us more, I realize I'm in the minority on this one it seems. I just don't get the logic being used to be as critical of Bioshock Infinite as some are.

And to me they are more similar than I've heard people bring up. Troy Baker was both characters! And they were pretty much the same. The father daughter relationship. Both even were a long escort mission (done well). So a comparison, to me, makes sense. They do play very differently, obviously.

#26 Posted by JasonR86 (9374 posts) -

@artisanbreads:

I don't recall the staff here doing that though. Alex, like me, didn't like the reliance on exposition. Patrick didn't like that they did little with some of the themes they brought up (like racism). What Jeff didn't like, and a few of the other staff, was that the multiverse explains away whatever you need to explain away.

I'm sure there are people out there somewhere that dislike the violence and etc etc. But that's not what I see here with these users and this staff.

But maybe I just didn't pay those comments much attention and/or missed something.

#27 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -

@jasonr86: I think the criticisms, which to me are minor. Stuff like the violence, the racism (again, how is showing the reality of history something to knock it for?), some of the cracks in the time travel. And on the GOTY podcast I just heard Brad seem to assume the game wasn't a top 10 game because that was said. I just feel like the discourse on Infinite is very negative for some reason and the game doesn't deserve it. Especially with how Bioshock 1 is so loved. I found this to be far better.

#28 Posted by Zlimness (504 posts) -

@mclargepants: Well if you accept the game's internal logic, it doesn't really fall apart. The ending make sense even on close inspection.

#29 Posted by JasonR86 (9374 posts) -
#30 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -

@jasonr86: Obviously. That's going to happen and I acknowledge that of course. GTA V isn't even a top ten game for them and it's my GOTY. But I just don't get the logic. That's all I'm saying. Infinite is very good.

#31 Posted by McLargepants (333 posts) -

I don't think whether a game would work as a movie is a good way to critique it. Tetris is one of the best games ever, no narrative. Papers, Please tells a great story but it wouldn't work just as something you watch. And I think TLOU wouldn't be as affective as a passive viewer.

My problem with Bioshock is that the narrative explains away everything with "multiverse" and never cares to explain the actual rules of said "multiverse". I also think they didn't do much with the amazing setting they had. Maybe I missed some critical audiologs, or just need to play it again, but I won't because the gameplay isn't fun enough or justified in the world, not to mention the whole Lady Comstock section that was TERRIBLE. I still had a lot of fun playing the game, and I did it in like three sessions, but I think you can level a lot of criticism at it once the wow factor of the ending is gone. It still had my jaw on the floor while I was playing, I've just, like Brad and Patrick, cooled off a lot on it in the months since release.

#32 Posted by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

@fredchuckdave said:

Bioshock has really well worn tropes that are essential to the plot and the main twist, The Last of Us doesn't (apart from zombies which have nothing to do with anything). If The Last of Us was a movie it'd be like a top 5 zombie movie all time (probably top 2 or 3), if Bioshock was a movie it'd be a middling sci-fi action blockbuster.

Tetris would be the worst movie ever. Ergo, it's a terrible game.

Would it?

Tetris, the game

#33 Edited by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

@artisanbreads said:

If you are really trying to tear down this story by finding cracks in the logic you are kind of a weirdo and probably no fun at all. I don't even understand doing that.

You don't, really? You don't understand how 'cracks in logic' could hamper the verisimilitude of the world, hamper the world's impression of internal consistency and causality, which then in turn hampers the emotional response by the audience? I think you do understand, it's just that the positive qualities make these 'cracks' irrelevant to you. It's not that these people (or me) are just humorless fuckfaces who want to tear it down because reasons, it's that the quantum bricabrac in that game got in the way of us enjoying it.

For a period it was on my GOTY list, but almost entirely because I appreciated the production values and the look of the game. I found the gameplay passable, or what I would expect out of a AAA game, and I found the story to throw away all its fantastical promise in favor of a liberal arts major's understanding of quantum mechanics. At some point they were making the usual BioShock game that explores how social prescriptions can negatively impact real humans and cause dystopia, whether it's the Objectivist doctrine of Ryan, the collectivist doctrine of Lamb, or the pastoral theocracy of Comstock... and then it's like Ken Levine watched too many episodes of Fringe or Lost and decided that he wanted to make a game about that instead.

#34 Edited by Fredchuckdave (4479 posts) -

@brodehouse: Tetris really is about tearing cities down after all, makes perfect sense as a summer blockbuster post Independence Day.

#35 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3595 posts) -

@brodehouse: I just think it was all presented very well and unless you're looking, don't see how you see any of these supposed big issues as something that drags down the game for you as its happening.

#36 Posted by Zevvion (1124 posts) -

@xavtron said:

My main problem is that there was a substantial amount of talk about narrative issues that Infinite has but almost no talk about what that entails. I feel like over the year people have soured on Infinite in a weird way, focusing solely on the negatives, to the point where that is all anyone seems to think of when the game comes up. Last of Us, by comparison is looked at as this shining beacon of perfection where its negatives (which I think it has both narratively and gameplay wise in similar ways to Infinite) are completely glossed over.

This.

The Last of Us has an extremely predictable story, is covered to the shoulders in zombie tropes, has inconsistent world realism, has downright terrible forced action sequences and decent, to good at best, core stealth gameplay.

I really enjoyed the Last of Us. It is my number 2 game of this year. In fact, one spot above Infinite who lives at 3. But like you said, the Last of Us is treated as it is perfect in everything it does and Infinite is extremely flawed because it has some issues. They both have issues and they both do not have strong enough issues to actively hate the game over. Given that you like the game type it is (stealth action game and shooter respectively). They are both very well made games and I don't like how one is pushed into a corner for having some issues while another is praised; issues or no.

#37 Posted by Winternet (7936 posts) -

I wonder if there will be a time where people in here will reach the conclusion that story is not the end-all-be-all that makes everything great.

#38 Edited by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

@artisanbreads said:

@brodehouse: I just think it was all presented very well and unless you're looking, don't see how you see any of these supposed big issues as something that drags down the game for you as its happening.

For me, it was pretty early on when the cracks started to form and I started becoming uncomfortable. The first time you and Liz step through a tear during the gunsmith quest, and then continue along in the gunsmith quest despite the fact that the Daisy you promised to get guns for exists in a completely different dimension started to frustrate me. They then keep flipping through different dimensions, leaving behind the one you recognized as 'yours', the one you've been an agent in. At that point, you should write off absolutely anything you know about the world, because there's no guarantee any of it will be the same. This is a big red flag if you want people to care about the world; why learn the specific histories and causal chain of events in any one dimension or observation? They're all variable anyway, and you might leave at any time for any reason. As an aside, the addition of 'constants' itself betrays its own attempt at being Infinite.

Moments later, there are people stuck in Schroedinger's Dead Guy situations where they're simultaneously alive and dead; this doesn't make common sense or actual technical sense, it's not how quantum mechanics work. At the point when you see him, you are making an observation and those people become either alive or dead; not both. They are only both until you make an observation; entering a discrete dimension is making an observation. If I had known nothing about quantum mechanics it would be indistinguishable from a magical curse. That I do know something about quantum mechanics, it's wrong.

Perhaps the problem I have is merely that BioShock wants to be taken extremely seriously on an intellectual level, but cannot back it up. I made a post about the scientific inaccuracies of The Last of Us, and yet those don't bother me nearly as much, because The Last of Us is trying to be taken seriously in terms of emotional impact. It's not trying to wow me with conceptual whatsits, it's just trying to tug my heartstrings. BioShock is trying to 'make me think', so to speak, but it maybe hasn't done enough thinking for itself.

I'm not saying you're wrong to like it, or that it has no other merits that someone might see as more important or vital than these story concerns that bug me and others; but I wouldn't write off people who don't like it as being a bunch of grumpygutses (the plural of grumpyguts, of course).

#39 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Last of Us

- Decent story

- Well crafted gameplay

- Some choices with how you approach enemies

BioShock Infinite

- Cool first 2 hours

- "okay" story (cool ending, great intro, rest is average)

- Lackluster, dated feeling gunplay stretched across 7+ hours that is actually less varied than previous games in the series

BioShock Infinite is not a particularly good game. It crafts a good world but does little with it after the opener. I'd rather Ken Levine direct a movie instead, I was tired of Infinite's bland gameplay very quick. People give modern miltary shooter campaigns a lot of shit but Infinite wasn't any better, it just had a more interesting world to do the shooting in. It didn't have any real open areas or let you plan out combat scenarios like the first two BioShock games either, it was basically a corridor shooter with a badly implemented AI companion. (getting stuff thrown at you just became annoying)

#40 Posted by OurSin_360 (755 posts) -

It was my GOTY and i guess this just proves people are over critical and even when they love something, they will dissect it so much they start to hate it later. Or they simply get sucked into the collective conscious or mob mentality, and consider their first and original opinion to be invalid.

#41 Edited by wjb (1551 posts) -


To me, just look at for a good example how Infinite was slighted for having any presentation of race or class issues in its narrative. Yes these weren't the focus and their importance to the plot was overblown by some press pre-release... but who cares? They fleshed out the world and almost no games even show class and race issues. So when a game puts them into its world appropriately and to show absolute realities of American history, it gets knocked? What? That was probably the most maddening one for me.

"moar n-words or gtfo"

I feel like there have been games in the past that bring up social issues in real life through very basic means, and those games have been patted on the back for it. Then BioShock does it...

I dunno. Maybe I'm mistaken.

I avoided watching preview coverage for Infinite so I don't know how in-depth they got with the race/class warfare, but the hang-ups weren't a thing until maybe a few months ago.

#42 Posted by Xavtron (93 posts) -

@xavtron: Those aren't so much tropes they are elements of the genre, additionally they're used extremely well in the story far and above the genre standard; that isn't really a thing in Bioshock with a few minor exceptions along the way (though Would You Kindly was definitely on par with like 1/5th of the Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite doesn't have anything close to that though).

No, a necessary/defining element of the genre would be that there are zombies in it, beyond that, anything is fair game, what I listed were specific examples of plot points that have been used over and over again, I agree they are done extremely well but so was Bioshock, arguing that is another point, but to say the Last of Us doesn't deal in tropes where Bioshock does is disingenuous. I think both have narrative flaws, Bioshock in some of the deeper mechanics of the world and the Last of Us with a few character turns and if you think Bioshock got bogged in exposition then consider the end of TLOU where Marlene explains the fireflies' purpose, what happened while you were out and what will happen for a while as you are trying to escape the building. All I'm trying to say is that both have their problems but the conversation on Bioshock have given these unfair weight and most people can't explain themselves and just say that the combat was bad and the plot had holes, because multiverse which is as lazy as excusing it in the same way.

#43 Posted by Hunter5024 (5170 posts) -

@brodehouse said:

Perhaps the problem I have is merely that BioShock wants to be taken extremely seriously on an intellectual level, but cannot back it up.

I didn't know you could read Bioshock Infinite's mind.

#44 Edited by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

@brodehouse said:

Perhaps the problem I have is merely that BioShock wants to be taken extremely seriously on an intellectual level, but cannot back it up.

I didn't know you could read Bioshock Infinite's mind.

I can't read its mind, but I can make some basic conclusions based on what it chooses to present to me. Especially since the second half of the game essentially abandons any other conceit other than the dimensional angle, which I think is the weakest content in that game.

#45 Edited by Video_Game_King (34603 posts) -

@brodehouse said:

Perhaps the problem I have is merely that BioShock wants to be taken extremely seriously on an intellectual level, but cannot back it up.

I didn't know you could read Bioshock Infinite's mind.

This is actually a big part of being a literature major. Like, at least 60%.

#46 Edited by Hunter5024 (5170 posts) -

@hunter5024 said:

@brodehouse said:

Perhaps the problem I have is merely that BioShock wants to be taken extremely seriously on an intellectual level, but cannot back it up.

I didn't know you could read Bioshock Infinite's mind.

I can't read its mind, but I can make some basic conclusions based on what it chooses to present to me. Especially since the second half of the game essentially abandons any other conceit other than the dimensional angle, which I think is the weakest content in that game.

I just don't see how the criticism I quoted can be applied to it, unless you're attributing the narrative or the commentary surrounding the game to the game itself, which really isn't what it should be judged by. Bioshock doesn't want anything, it's a piece of art meant to be interpreted how the audience sees fit. Maybe Ken Levine wanted the game to be taken seriously on an intellectual level, or maybe game critics did, and you can take issue with that, but don't hold the Bioshock Infinite experience accountable for opinions it had no influence over. Not to mention all of the goofy shit in the game, like a barbershop quartet singing an early 1900s rendition of a Beach Boys song, suggests exactly the opposite of what you're saying.

#47 Edited by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

@hunter5024: I think you're attributing far too much to my literal word use and not to their context. Of course BioShock doesn't physically want me to do anything. What 'seriously' means is also questionable; here it means that it maintains verisimilitude. It treats the story as being a discrete, logically consistent series of events. As opposed to self-awareness or handwaving. The mechanics of how the tonics or vigors work are not meant to be taken seriously; the mechanics of how the tears work are core to the events of the story.

What I'm saying is that as a piece, it promotes this element of its work before the other elements, and to work as a piece, that element needs to resonate instead of fumble. The game promotes the dimensional hopping angle and works to build the player's knowledge about how the world operates. Nothing receives as much attention. In my other example, the Last of Us promotes understanding the emotional natures and needs of the characters, and builds the player's knowledge about them. The way the world works in the Last of Us is not as important to the piece as the way the world works in BioShock, just like Booker and Elizabeth's relationship is less important to the piece as Joel and Ellie's is in The Last of Us.

The barbershop quartet is exactly what I'm talking about. It's not just an element to be "oh that's interesting" and then forgotten, it's key to understanding the mechanics of the entire narrative. The barbershop quarter is given a naturalistic, logically consistent explanation within the fiction. To even bother doing this is an attempt at maintaining verisimilitude. If it didn't matter, it would be as inconsequential as the vigors. But they decided it does matter, they took the time to explain how it works. My problem is that there are other areas where their explanation doesn't make sense. They go to great lengths hypothesizing the effects of fifth-dimensional travel at a single point in time, but don't always come back with a proof. The barbershop thing is logically consistent, the 'Schroedinger's Dead Guys' example is not. Liz's explanation of how it works in the lighthouses section is consistent, the final events in the game are not.

Mass Effect wants you to take it seriously when it talks about how mass effect fields work. How element zero works isn't really important, but the mechanics of mass effect fields is crucially important to the piece, it's meant to be taken seriously. If they then had mass effect fields behave in ways completely alien to physics or even their own explanation, it would be a clear problem.

But now I've spent a half hour explaining what I meant by a single sentence, which is exactly when I feel it's time to bail out. If you don't feel BioShock wants the audience to think about the mechanics of multiverse dimension hopping, that's absolutely fine, but I would say they made it as difficult as possible to avoid thinking about it.

#49 Posted by McGray90 (43 posts) -

@sooty said:

It didn't have any real open areas or let you plan out combat scenarios like the first two BioShock games either, it was basically a corridor shooter with a badly implemented AI companion. (getting stuff thrown at you just became annoying)

Most of what I remember of Bioshock Infinite happened outside with the skyways(?) and how was elizabeth a badly implemented AI companion, a companion I don't have to babysit the whole time is fine by me.

#50 Posted by Hunter5024 (5170 posts) -

@brodehouse: I think those are totally fair criticisms, though that really didn't seem like what you were trying to say with the part I took issue with. Which is not to say you're backpedaling or anything, maybe I didn't pay enough attention to the context of your comment as you suggested.