By ahoodedfigure 6 Comments
It seems us plebes will get to see the full E3 demo of Bioshock Infinite, which is being released as part of a promotional program hosted by the game's lead designers.
My impression so far of the game is that I love the art and character design, and the time period crossed with freakish transhumanism is certainly compelling. The skylines thing, while it looks exhilarating, also stretches my disbelief more than shooting crows at people. I imagine the dude's arm just tearing off if he falls from too high a height. And while it's easy to be cynical and say that it's either too different to hold the Bioshock name, or perhaps too similar not be a bit redundant, I have a tendency to just be impressed. Even if they didn't use the guy who voiced Garrett in the longer demo I saw, I'm still interested in learning more.
I find it a bit grating that your options actually pop up on screen, but I guess they wanted all the choices to be clear and immediate, making it more about deciding than figuring out what's possible. Not the way I'd prefer, but it's not like this is necessarily new, given the prior binary mechanic with Little Sisters. The choices, too, seem like they'll be a bit more nuanced, and it appears that they'll go beyond manipulating tears and picking upgrades out of a bucket, given that you can actually encounter factions doing their dirty work and decide how you'll interact with them. IF these choices compound into a bunch of interesting threads, it'll be pretty awesome, but the reasonable part of me knows that they have to keep the game's variables from going out of control, so as far as affecting the environment or storyline in adverse ways with lasting consequences, I have to wonder to what extent that will be possible in a game with this much production behind it.
It's good to see, or rather hear, that their sound design is still quite compelling. They spend just as much time working on the clicks and buzzes that make pushing buttons as appealing as slot machine designers imagine they do (in some idealized, alternate universe non-sadzombie casino. Man, the real places are depressing). But the stuff that really makes my eyes widen are the crazy-ass monster sounds they put in there. There's something like the distilled fear of god in the bowels of those horrible groans.
I have to remind myself it's still a shooter, and in order for it to be a compelling shooter it'll likely have stuff that will make it feel a bit more like a shooting gallery and a bit less about exploration and choice, just to keep the action from getting stale. It looks like it'll be a balancing act.
An aside; when watching the demo for this game I imagined, in that idealized world where we don't know how a real game will play, I wondered how many people I could get away with NOT killing through the course of the game, and if that would even matter. Maybe Garrett's voice inspired me? I dunno. By contrast, another combat-oriented game I watched just made me imagine all the cool ways I could take people down. When you emphasize choice in your game, it seems to beg for you to add more choices to the list. I'll be curious to see just how many choices in Bioshock Infinite are valid.
As always, I'm interested in hearing how other people's impressions of the previews mesh with their expectations, if any.