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Bioshock: Infinite - New E3 Demo - Post #307


The Sarge
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  • 3 weeks later...

Excellent piece here that makes a compelling argument for Bioshock Infinite to be named worst game of the year.

http://tevisthompson.com/on-videogame-reviews/

I found the combat weak but enjoyed my first run through but after watching some of my friends play it and thinking about some of the themes more I'm starting to get more and more sour on it.

Travis does not mince his words.

BioShock Infinite is the worst game of the year.

It’s an unjustified shooter without a single new idea. It’s a self-gratifying spectacle that confuses cunning with depth. It’s a craven, heartless game of false moral equivalencies that uses the suffering of oppressed people as window dressing, as theme, while it explores its own cold metaphysical conceits.

For its lack of humanity, for its fake guilt, for its flat boring gameplay, for its 100 million dollar cost, for its cleverness, for its cowardice, BioShock Infinite is not just the worst game of the year. It’s the worst game I’ve played this generation.

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And that's your experience, I can't argue with that.

For me in retrospect I found the combat in the much maligned Bioshock 2 to be more engaging. I loved the look and feel of the world in Infinite but it's story threads are problematic for reasons I've talked about earlier. I realise that the commentary on freedom of choice being an illusion is a theme carried across all the Bioshock games but in both Bioshock 1 and 2 there was real choice in how you dealt with the Little Sisters (and how you dealt various people in 2.)

Maybe I resent feeling complicit in the abuse of Elizabeth without any real choice. Especially in comparison to The Walking Dead in which choice is again an illusion but at least makes you feel like you own the decisions you make.

I think it's amazing it came out at all, it was a troubled project and you can see the stresses in the finished work. But I think we as gamers are so desperate to validate gaming by announcing the Citizen Kane of videogames that we're at a point where we're at risk of lauding everything as perfect.

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But I think we as gamers are so desperate to validate gaming by announcing the Citizen Kane of videogames that we're at a point where we're at risk of lauding everything as perfect.

There's a hell of a lot of middle ground between using the phrase "worst game of the year" and "lauding everything as perfect."

Let's recognize a game's shortcomings without getting silly and using language that suggests the game and or it's dev wronged us somehow.

Perspective rather than the usual internet hissy fit.

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That article drives me round the bend. Not just the perspective on Infinite (which I think is silly, but a blatant and rather disingenuous hook for the article), but the banality of the message in the latter half. The sheer cheek of calling reviewers asinine before going on to make some of the most asinine, haughty proclamations about gender and privilege that I've read in a long time. Oh, we need more queer and female reviewers do we? Didn't think to ask any of the existing female or queer reviewers out there of their opinion of the game, is it? And you don't like review scores? Gosh.

The other problem is that the criticisms of Infinite don't go much beyond 'if only you could talk to the monsters.' As we often say on here, Edge were taken out of context for that quote; it was in fact high praise, because Doom gave the reviewer a glimpse of something wider and more tantalising. The same goes for Tevis and Columbia: the writer has been given a glimpse of something wider, and the whole thing just reeks of a whine that he can't have it. What did he want: a game in which he could try to address the socio-political problems of Columbia via democratic means? Great, but few games have managed anything that weighty in popular media, and I'm not sure that we should be expecting it from a sequel to a game in which a man shoots fire out of his hands in an underwater dystopia. "Press X to stop racism."

A more minor point again, but it's a shame that he and many others interpreted the game as a straight up shooter in terms of the actual gameplay. Probably more the fault of the marketing team, but if you're going to write a million words about it and call it the worst game of the year, you should certainly listen to what even the likes of Kokatu was saying on the day of release: crank the difficulty up, concentrate on vigors and play mainly with those. It turns the game into something more like a chaotic crowd-management thing, and it's more fun than playing it dry with the guns.

For me, the biggest problems with Infinite are it's confusions and contradictions; it messed up in its approach to a number of themes, and it's hard to put much stock in the cycle-of-violence stuff when you're making people's heads explode. I guess the game tried to address this by showing that the only way to stop a cycle of violence was, depressingly, to prevent it from ever beginning. (On the other hand, to prevent it with a single act of violence? As I said, all a bit confused.) But this article is arguing not against the game, but a number of isolated statements pulled from reviews. I'm genuinely perplexed at the level of attention it's had, and I feel like it indulges in the precise form of naval-gazing and banal rumination that it accuses the game of.

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Oh, and Unofficial Who, I don't mean to sound like I'm having a pop at you for posting the link: I think the reason it gets my back up so much is that I agree with many of the principles and aims, but get frustrated by the flow of his argument (or lack of one).

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Oh, and Unofficial Who, I don't mean to sound like I'm having a pop at you for posting the link: I think the reason it gets my back up so much is that I agree with many of the principles and aims, but get frustrated by the flow of his argument (or lack of one).

I can see your point, I think the article is guilty of doing the same thing Infinite is trying to do. And that's to be all things for all people.

I'm still torn about some of the bits I have problems with, especially with Elizabeth. It's possible that I was meant to feel repulsed by Booker. It's so muddied though. Is it a parallel universe sci-fi tale? A critique of the racism still in the US? A commentary on the dangers of political extremism? A steampunk shooter? A crowd management game?

I still think it's one of the prettiest game of this generation. And the ending is amazing. There are bits of the story so confident that they fill the first half of the game with spoilers, almost daring you to unravel the puzzle.

It's just that in retrospect my opinion of the game is souring which is something I didn't experience with the previous games.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sounds like it's a bit underwhelming.

Eurogamer - 7/10

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-11-11-bioshock-infinite-burial-at-sea-episode-one-review

IGN - 7/10

http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/11/11/bioshock-infinite-burial-at-sea-episode-1-review

Gametrailers - 7.3/10

http://www.gametrailers.com/reviews/an1gwz/bioshock-infinite--burial-at-sea-dlc-review

Lots of complaints about the length.

Not sure I can be bothered to get this, maybe I'll wait for a sale, seeing as it'll probably take longer to download than actually play on my slow-ass ADSL connection.

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I think I'll possibly pick it up just for the visuals to be honest. Never have gelled with any of the Bioshock games, but always thought they were worth running through simply because they look so darn lovely.

Change to see a little bit more of Rapture is pretty tempting.

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I just struggle to get excited about DLC that revisits Rapture - a place that I felt had been pretty much exhaustively explored by about two thirds of the way through Bioshock, let alone Bioshock 2. Unless Irrational are doling something very clever and secret here - which judging by the reviews, probably isn't the case - I don't see what the point of going back to Rapture is, apart from the obvious opportunity for Irrational to expose their genitals for hungry servicing by the fans.

In fact, it kind of reminds me of something I didn't like about Bioshock Infinite's ending - the 'there's always a lighthouse, there's always a girl' stuff. Partly because it sounds like a Coldplay lyric, and partly because it implies that Bioshock was such a staggering, timeless achievement that its brilliance resonates across not only this universe, but in all possible universes, and that the central premise of Bioshock - an amnesiac with a gun and magic arm-powers being hunted across a fantastical right-wing city by a groaning robot who protects a girl who's too rubbish to protect herself - is pretty much the central hub around which all of reality rotates.



And that's coming from someone who liked Bioshock Infinite.
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My uncle threw this on the desk at me a few days ago while at work. He'd picked it up but suggested I play through it fist. Looks like I'm gonna be going through this one then soon. Probably over the Christmas period or something. The first two were excellent games, more so the first.

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