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Bioshock: Infinite - New E3 Demo - Post #307


The Sarge
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The problem I had with the Vox stuff is it doesn't really set up their fanaticism very well - I mean, "getting rid of institutionalized slavery" is not really something that you can have a good counter faction to, other than "welp we're horrible racists who are just really open with it in a way that makes anyone from the modern day, like the people playing this game, really uneasy".

They set up a character as a fanatic, but even they're given a tragic backstory in that they were innocent of a crime they were accused and hounded for. The characters declare them "just as bad" long before they see scalping or whatever, based on the fact that they want to rise up and are violent. Which, as mentioned, is a bit hypocritical coming from a guy who just exploded a hundred heads and a girl who's been opening dimensional rifts to beam in killing machines.

The raffle and propaganda films show the views of the majority, but the Vox are offscreen except for a single cutscene up to that point. The Irish and slaves are never shown as being rage filled or fanatical, just putting up with their lot. When you visit the slums there's a few people reading out political tracts, or in pillories for being a labour agitator, but most people are just quietly suffering or making do.

I think that stuff suffered from the overhauls they did to the game - the early demos showed a city much more at war with itself - with public lynchings, and the Vox out in force in certain areas, marching and campaigning for labour rights. I really wish there was a "Last Hours of" for this so we could see the revisions it went through.

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That's well put, but I took a slightly different reading of it.

When you arrive in the alternate reality and find the Vox heavily armed and fighting with Comstock's forces, I didn't immediately take them as fascists or being just as bad. They had escalated to being just as violent, but for a good cause, which is an interesting ethical quandary for the player to mull over. When Daisy talks to you about upsetting the narrative and turns her forces upon you, I felt two things. Firstly that it was a merely OK videogamey way of upping the ante and introducing a new set of enemies, but secondly that it displayed a marked change in Daisy. It demonstrated that she was willing to use the new found power under her control to eliminate peripheral potential obstacles between her and her goal, without stopping to understand them or whether it was the right thing to do. She'd become single-mindedly determined, for better or worse.

It's only when she attempts to kill the small child that the player realises she's escalated from acts of violent uprising to acts of terrorism, or to use the previous term, fanaticism. Daisy is meant to serve as an ongoing demonstration of the way in which someone can progress into full blown fanaticism in the right circumstances, despite their initial good intentions. Even despite the Vox turning on the player, it's meant to be an understandable, sympathetic, somewhat relatable metamorphosis right up until the moment she grabs the child. At least I thought so.

But, I entirely agree that Daisy's is a pretty bumpy character arc on account of the sudden lurch into an alternate world rife with violent Vox. It felt to me like there was a good 40-60 minutes of exposition cut to demonstrate how the power had begun to tip in the favour of the Vox and the city had begun to eat itself, and that they could have done this all in one reality without the tear-hop. Better still would have been some exposition to show how Daisy had totally lost sight of the people she was trying to protect, and that they were equally oppressed in some way by the Comstock regime and her violent uprising.

We might be saying the same thing actually, what do you think?

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The problem is Booker and Elizabeth say "they're both as bad as each other" before they even get to Daisy. And beyond that the Vox continue to be baddies even though Booker is their hero and there being no evidence that Daisy was not a special case.

I mean, doing a game where there is a conflict where both sides are fanatical extremes who won't compromise is a good idea as a follow up to Bioshock, it's just that most actual issues that inspire such things occur where both sides think that they're right. People think abortion is horrible and murder and banning it is the best, others think that banning it would do more harm than good and therefore banning is horrible, etc. The problem with institutionalised racism as that issue is that there is no other side - the arguments for were basically economic justifications hidden behind trash science and scaremongering about the nature of other races that's utterly alien to modern sensibilities.

So to make it seem like there's another side you sort of have to go "look over there, there's some people doing bad things who are somehow representative of their group" and ignore that that's not actually an answer to "why should we keep this horrible system in place?".

It's horribly muddled.

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Maybe they could have had you gradually discover that the Vox are Khmer Rouge-style genocidal anti-intellectual agrarian communists; that would probably satisfy the ‘bad as each other’ argument, although I suppose that would beg the question as to what they want with Columbia (apart from its destruction).

I didn’t have that much trouble with the portrayal of the Vox as murderous zealots, I didn’t think it was that implausible that overthrowing a totalitarian regime would result in an even more unpleasant replacement – it’s happened frequently enough in the real world.

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Maybe they could have had you gradually discover that the Vox are Khmer Rouge-style genocidal anti-intellectual agrarian communists; that would probably satisfy the ‘bad as each other’ argument, although I suppose that would beg the question as to what they want with Columbia (apart from its destruction).

I didn’t have that much trouble with the portrayal of the Vox as murderous zealots, I didn’t think it was that implausible that overthrowing a totalitarian regime would result in an even more unpleasant replacement – it’s happened frequently enough in the real world.

Is this basically the ending spoiled? I've seen some expressions of disappointment about this game, it certainly looks artistically interesting but it seems like another shooter with a storyline.

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Is this basically the ending spoiled? I've seen some expressions of disappointment about this game, it certainly looks artistically interesting but it seems like another shooter with a storyline.

Nah - it's not even really that relevant to the plot - Its background.

It's Bioshock - It does exactly what it says on the tin. Gun Combat is a little clunky, chaining together vigors (plasmids) is great fun. The environment, the story, dialogue and voice acting is stunningly good.

I wouldn't say its my favourite game the generation, but I reckon its in the top ten, and the best of the Bioshocks.

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I see, ok, it was sounding like a plausible twist sort of ending. I rarely play shooters, prefer them in co-op when I do play them but this is meant to be the new pinnacle of the genre so my interest is piqued a bit, it certainly looks visually interesting.

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It's not the pinnacle of FPS gun play thats for sure.

I think to explain it best I would say that the enemies and the shooting of them were a necessary thing to progress the story. There were some fun moments, combining vigors etc. But at all times it wasn't facing the next enemy that was driving me forward, it was the plot.

That's not to say I don't think it needs the FPS element; It think it does and I think it suits the game. It's difficult to imagine what play style would better suit it; certainly not 3rd person etc.

So if you buy this thinking you will be getting the last word in FPS shooters, you'll be dissapointed. If you buy this wanting the sort of experience only a video game can deliver then you'll be happy.

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Maybe they could have had you gradually discover that the Vox are Khmer Rouge-style genocidal anti-intellectual agrarian communists; that would probably satisfy the ‘bad as each other’ argument, although I suppose that would beg the question as to what they want with Columbia (apart from its destruction).

I think that's pretty much what they were going for - I'm fairly sure there's some line from the Vox in the game about rounding up people with glasses, which I thought was particularly redolent of the Khmer Rouge. It's just that this whole side wasn't terribly well explored.

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The problem with institutionalised racism as that issue is that there is no other side - the arguments for were basically economic justifications hidden behind trash science and scaremongering about the nature of other races that's utterly alien to modern sensibilities.

So to make it seem like there's another side you sort of have to go "look over there, there's some people doing bad things who are somehow representative of their group" and ignore that that's not actually an answer to "why should we keep this horrible system in place?".

It's horribly muddled.

Surely the racial segregation is the dark side of the Comstock regime - the "lighter" side being the idyllic atmosphere that you enjoy for the first hour or so before you get the raffle reveal. You see a brief glimpse of the world Comstock was trying to create before you understand the cost of it. There's no real world parallel, it's a depiction of the imaginary racially pure society that racists like to fantasise about?

Enjoying reading your posts though.

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I missed quite a few of the voxophones so I didn't get the majority of the hints about the ending, or Songbird. I like to assume that Songbird...

is another Booker from another alternate universe who was brought in to be a protector and guardian for Elizabeth. Was I the only one for felt sorry for Songbird at the end when he drowns?

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Genuinely baffled by people claiming this has sub-par gameplay. I thought it was great. What would you like it to be more like? CoD?

I wonder if in some cases it's because for all its high-minded aspirations, it's 'just' a shooter. I mean, I think it's a bloody good one, but compared to its story and its setting, its actual mechanics are relatively familiar; conventional, even.

If people *genuinely* think it's sub-par, then I'd love to know what games they're playing.

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I wonder if in some cases it's because for all its high-minded aspirations, it's 'just' a shooter. I mean, I think it's a bloody good one, but compared to its story and its setting, its actual mechanics are relatively familiar; conventional, even.

If people *genuinely* think it's sub-par, then I'd love to know what games they're playing.

Exactly this. It creates a weird tonal disconnect. A bit like reading classic literature off the back of a cereal packet.

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I missed quite a few of the voxophones so I didn't get the majority of the hints about the ending, or Songbird. I like to assume that Songbird...

is another Booker from another alternate universe who was brought in to be a protector and guardian for Elizabeth. Was I the only one for felt sorry for Songbird at the end when he drowns?

Ending spoiler within.

No. After Elizabeth says it's OK and the Songbird's eyes turn from red to trusting green, and then crack, was a really emotional piece of the game for me. Very sad.

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Ending spoiler within.

No. After Elizabeth says it's OK and the Songbird's eyes turn from red to trusting green, and then crack, was a really emotional piece of the game for me. Very sad.

Yeah, that was the bit that got me too. Really emotional part.

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The gameplay is in no way sub par. Its fun, and vastly improved over Bioshock. I just think overall i was a little disappointed but it may have jsut been because of the hype train. Still a great game tho. Id say Bioshock has the better setting, story and characters, but infinite has the better gameplay and graphics.

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I dont know why Bioshock games get cross examined way more than other games. Its a videogame, with a good story (for a videogame). Levine has gone on record on his many interviews saying it's primarily a shooter, but it explores some interesting themes. Which it does. We'll all laugh at the famous Edge "talk to the monsters" quote, but then when the monsters talk back in something like this, we criticise it for not hitting the heights of the greatest literature ever. Theres something self destructive about video game criticism, build a game up and knock it down. Like some sort of insecurity over the medium. God forbid every game had the story ambition of COD or Doom 3, countless military bases and gruff terse dialogue. The gaming world is definitely a better place for having characters like Elizabeth and huge payoff endings. Lest we forget the last third of Bioshock 1's slog, and the 30 second ending of pure nothingness.

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I presume I'm about half way through it having just met the Vox.

That about right?

It's good so far, not earth shattering, although I do like the phasing mechanic that's just been introduced.

One thing though is there is seemingly very little AI on show. The soldiers/cops/whoever just run around a bit before charging at you.

Still, it's pretty and enjoyable enough.

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Some of the criticisms are legitimate, but it's bizarre that it's being held up by some as an example of everything that's wrong with AAA gaming. Yeah, it doesn't always hang together perfectly, but it's aiming so much higher than 99% of its peers. It isn't afraid to dream a little bigger, and I think that's worth celebrating.

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