Game Review – Bioshock Infinite

I’ll start this review by getting the obvious out of the way; this is the best video game I have played in years. No fooling. I’ll also say right away that I’m going to be posting massive spoilers, and will be talking in depth about the ending, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, then look away now. You have been warned.

So yeah, this game is such a masterpiece. But why is it so? Well let’s get into it, shall we?

Bioshock Infinite is the third game in the Bioshock series (or 5th if you wanna lump the System Shock games into one big “shock” series. While the first two games took place in the underwater utopia of Rapture, this new entry takes a large departure and sets the game in the early 1900’s in the floating city of Columbia. The ideas behind this city are much different as well. While Rapture was based on the ideas of Ayn Rand and other likeminded individuals, Columbia is a sort of “ideal” version of America, heavily based on the founding fathers and whatnot. What we get here is a game that feels familiar to those who have played the first two Bioshock’s, but is a game that is also very, very different. The game begins in a rowboat heading for a lighthouse just of the east coast of the United States. Main character Booker DeWitt is a man in debt to the wrong people and has been given a task that will absolve him of his troubles; go to the floating city of Columbia and find a young woman names Elizabeth, and bring her back to New York. Pretty simple set up, but this game is far from simple, as anyone who has played it will attest to.

A striking moment for me is the moment when you first arrive in Columbia. It is so vastly different to your arrival in Rapture in Bioshock 1. When you first arrive in Rapture, it is broken, battered and the verge of absolute collapse. The citizens are not reduced to near feral beings, and it is clear from the very beginning the city is well beyond saving. Columbia is a vastly different place. When you first set foot outdoors, you see a city that is exactly that, a city. The sun is bright, everything looks clean and orderly, and people are going about their lives. You even see people attending parades and a fair. There are clear indications that not all is peachy in this city, however. There are inklings that there are those within the city who wish to bring about change using less than peaceful methods (the Vox Populi), and that the people of Columbia are not entirely accepting of those who are different (aka non-white people). In fact, it is a blatant example of racism that sets things in motion at the beginning of the game. It also really demonstrates how nasty of a weapon the skyhook can be…that poor man’s face. This is one reason I absolutely adore this game; Columbia is just an absolute wonder, and is one of the best video game settings I’ve had the pleasure of exploring in a long time. Its actually kind of sad to see it degenerate into anarchy later on the game, as this once beautiful city is reduced to blood-filled streets and columns of smoke and fire. 

In regards to gameplay, this one soars above the other two Bioshock games, and for a number of reasons. With weapons, things have been changed rather extensively. Whereas in the Bioshock 1 and 2 you had a permanent stable of upgradable weapons, this game opts for a more modern approach and only allows for you to carry 2 weapons at a time. This means you’ll be changing weapons a lot throughout the game, and while there are weapon upgrades to be purchased throughout the game, they are a little different from the other games. The selection of weapons includes most of your standard stuff, from pistols to machine guns, shotguns to rifles, to various kinds of explosive weapons. I absolutely love the weapon aesthetics in this game. A lot of the weapons are very early 1900’s, fitting the timeframe of the game, but a lot of the other stuff looks almost cobbled together, such as the burst rifle and the rocket launcher. They all look fantastic and very steampunk in a way. Combat itself is also very engaging, but it is also very new feeling as well. Whereas the first two games took place in secluded corridors, this game mostly takes place outdoors, so what we get is much more intense, larger gunfights. The enemies are also immensely different. We are no longer fighting crazy degenerate splicers, but Columbia’s police and military, to eventually the Vox Populi rebels (who do channel Bioshock’s splicers with their weird attire and personalities). This means fights are bigger and more intense than ever. Another new aspect for this game is the skyhook and rails. Used as a method of transportation, they allow for faster travel around areas, but they can also be used in combat. When on a rail, you can leap down on enemies for a deadly aerial strike. The rails also can be used for quickly moving around your enemies to gain the advantage in battle. Its a really fun mechanic, and can make a pitched battle even more intense and fun. Perhaps the biggest aspect of the gameplay is of course secondary main character and your partner for most of the game, Elizabeth. After you meet her for the first time, she is with you for practically the rest of the game (aside from one or two spots where she is briefly gone) and is the perfect AI partner in my opinion. The game makes it very clear to you that you don’t need to worry about Elizabeth. In other words, the game avoids being a giant escort quest by making it so Elizabeth doesn’t die, and takes cover in combat. While she doesn’t actually fight, she is a big support in battle. She will sometimes toss you ammo, health packs, salt (the resource for your Vigor powers, which are the new plasmids.) or even money. SHe is also able to summon various things through rifts, such as turrets, cover, or weapons and supplies, for you to use. All you have to do is hit the button prompt when it pops up, and there you go. She’s also helpful outside of combat as you’ll need her to open locks with lock-picks, and she’ll often point out items around you. Elizabeth beng your partner in crime really is what makes this game special. It makes the game a little less lonely, and she’s just such an awesome character to have around. She might be one of the best female characters in gaming history in my opinion.

The story of this game also shines, and it is so deep and complex that it really makes you think. The primary plot revolves around Elizabeth, and her mysterious power which allows her to open rifts into other time-periods and even parallel universes. The leader of Columbia, the enigmatic Zachariah Comstock, intends to use her power to lead Columbia into glory, and has Elizabeth locked away inside a large monument/tower where she is studied day and night. To make sure she never escapes, the massive and powerful Songbird is created to keep her locked up. This is where I’m gonna dive into some of the more complex aspects of the plot. Elizabeth’s power allows her to not only see other time periods, but entirely separate  parallel universes as well. THis comes up numerous times as you are forced to step into these alternate timelines in order to change events around you. It is also heavily implied that nearly all of the advanced technologies used by Columbia and its odd scientists were gained by viewing these alternate worlds through the rifts and gleaming bits of future tech and science. The Songbird especially comes into play here, but I’ll get into that later, as it deals heavily with the ending. The idea of the future and alternate timelines/universes pops up all the time. When you first meet Elizabeth, she attempts to open a rift to Paris, but quickly closes it as a vehicle on the other side nearly runs her down through the portal. From the quick glance we see through the rift, it is Paris in the 1980’s (as a sign on a nearby theater show that Return of the Jedi is playing, or at least I’m fairly certain thats what the sign says) and rifts found throughout the game play songs from the 60’s and 80’s. 

The ending itself is incredibly complex, but it is absolutely stunning and amazing. After killing Comstock and taking control of his airship, you attempt to make your way to the Monument to destroy the Siphon, which is essentially preventing Elizabeth from being at her strongest level of power; being not only able to open rifts, but create them at will. At this point, you gain control over the Songbird and can get Elizabeth to call it in to attack enemies and airships. Once you command the Songbird to destroy the Siphon, however, the Songbird turns on you. However, Elizabeth is once again fully powered and teleport all 3 of you away at the last moment. It’s where she teleports you that is truly interesting. She teleports you to the underwater city of Rapture.

This is where we’ll diverge for a moment and talk about the Songbird and its origins. Simply put, the Songbird is Columbia’s own version of Rapture’s Big Daddy’s. An audio log obtained in the game implies that when looking through a rift, the scientists of Columbia saw technology that combined man and machine. This is the Big Daddy, as you’ll remember that in the first and second Bioshock games, the Big Daddy’s were not simply big dudes in diving suit, but men fused to technological suits and turned into the guardians of the little sisters. Hmm…big bio-mechanical monstrosities protecting powerful girls…sound familiar? Its exactly the same as Songbird and Elizabeth. In Infinite, Elizabeth is the Little Sister, while Songbird is the Big Daddy.

So back to the ending. Elizabeth transports her, Booker and Songbird to Rapture, where the Songbird is crushed by the pressure of being so deep underwater. From here, you make your way to a world where all there is an infinite number of lighthouses. This realm is essentially a world where the entrances to each and every parallel universe exists. From here, everything becomes clear. Elizabeth is in fact Booker’s daughter, Anna, and Zachariah Comstock is Booker DeWitt. The key to this is the baptism Booker attended after the tragedy he encountered at the battle of Broken Knee. In one universe, Booker accepted the Baptism, and was reborn as Comstock, who went on to form Columbia. By using the rifts, he was able to see future events. But unfortunately  use of the rifts left him sterile, so in order to create a successor, he went to our Booker’s universe (this Booker, the one we play as, didn’t accept the baptism, so he remained himself, and went on to have a daughter, Anna). Booker gave up Anna to clear himself of his debts. At the last minute he changed his mind and tried to get Anna back, but he was unable to stop Comstock from taking her back through the rift to Columbia. As the rift closed, however, part of Anna’s pinky finger was severed by the closing rift, and this is what led to Elizabeth’s power; she was technically in two universes at once. Booker was then brought into the universe of Columbia and set on the task of rescuing Elizabeth (forging in his mind that he had to get her to wipe away the debt, even though he had technically already done that). The game ends on two notes. Booker realizes that the only way to end things is to ensure Columbia never existed. This means ensuring Comstock never existed. Of course, this is when we learn that Booker and Comstock are the same person, and this means only one thing; Booker himself must die, and he is drowned by various alternate Elizabeth’s in the place of his baptism. The game ends on a positive note, as during a post credit scene, we are once again Booker back in his New York Office. We can hear a baby in the other room, and the game ends as we walk through the door, seeing only a baby crib. It is implied by this that when Booker died, the timeline was reset and the universe was reset to one where Booker didn’t accept the baptism and instead lived a peaceful life with his daughter Anna, never creating the floating city of Columbia.

There is also a unique theory floating out there regarding the songbird. The Songbird is so overprotective of Elizabeth, and is devoted to protecting her even as it dies by her hand. Much like a father. The idea is that yet another alternate Booker DeWitt was used to create the Songbird, and I actually like to think this theory is true. It really gives new meaning to the name “Big Daddy” if you ask me.

This game is truly something else. Never before have I truly been sucked into a game as I was with Infinite, and the fact that I’m still thinking about it now after finishing it is truly a testament to its emotional power. If you play just one game this year, make it Bioshock Infinite. It towers above other games not only in gameplay, but in its cast of characters and its powerful and emotional storyline. This is without a doubt the best game I have played in many, many years. I know their’s a lot I’m leaving out here in regards to story and plot points, but there is just so much to this game I just don’t have the time to point out every little thing in this game. This is something that must truly be experienced for oneself.


I’m Back….again.

I’m back! I’ve been busy as hell since I started my regular summer Job a couple of months ago. I’ve got a new schedule this year so my weekday’s are pretty much a write off now, at least till September. However, I’m gonna try and get back into regular blogging, or at least whats considered “regular” for me.

Here’s what I’m gonna been bringing to you in the coming days. I’ve got a couple of AKB-related posts forthcoming, as their have been some interesting developments as of late, including one thats rather….odd, to say the least.

I’d also like to bring you my thoughts on the recently announced fall Gundam Series, Gundam Age, as well as some other interesting stuff.

Just what the hell I’ve been up to…

So, I just realized that its been just a little over a month since I last posted, so just what the hell have I been up to?

Well, for me, my AKB48 fandom has been overshadowed by my recent obsession with the world of Super Sentai (for those unaware, these are the Japanese originators of what we know as Power Rangers in the west). Now, growing up as a kid in the 90’s, Power Rangers was a defining part of my childhood. I loved the shows to death (and I still do really, I still play the crap out of the MMPR Super Nintendo video game). Now, it wasn’t until much much later that I learned that Power Rangers were simply adapted versions of shows originating in Japan, and it hasn’t been until the last couple of months that I decided to go back and watch a few, and needless to say, I’m hooked now.

I started with one of the more recent series, Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, which I absolutely loved. That got me wanting to watch as many as I could. So far, aside from Shinkenger, I’ve watched Engine Sentai Go-Onger (which, despite not being well liked by the fandom, I actually loved to death), Tensou Sentai Goseiger and I am currently watching the current running series, Kaizoku Sentai Goukaiger. I’m hoping in the future to go back and watch as many of the older series as I can, but thats a heck of a lot of stuff to download, so we’ll see.

But thats pretty much what I’ve been up to as of late. I’ve also got a copy of the new Super Robot Wars Game, ZII, on the way, so I’ll post my impressions of it once I get a chance to play it.

Earthquake in Japan

As many of you are likely aware of, Japan was rocked by a massive 8.8 magnitude Earthquake today, which also triggered a devestating tsunami. There is extensive damage, especially throughout the northern portion of the country. I just want to post to send my thoughts and prayers to those living in the effected areas, and to those who have loved ones affected by this. I wish you all the best in the coming days.

Super Robot Wars ZII

I’m a fairly big fan of the venerable Super Robot Wars franchise, though my only actual experience with it comes from the two GBA versions of Original Generations 1 and 2, and of course the recent anime series. However, I am extremely excited for the upcoming installment in the series, Super Robot Wars ZII (aka Dai-2-Ji Super Robot Wars Z).

The reason I’m excited for this is the line-up of mecha series slated to start in this particular game:
Zambot 3
Daitarn 3
Trider G7
God Sigma
God Mars
VOTOMS: The Red Shoulder
VOTOMS: The Red Shoulder Document Roots of Ambition
VOTOMS: Pailsen Files

Z Gundam
Char’s Counterattack
Gundam Wing (TV)
Gundam X
Seed Destiny
Gundam 00 1st Season
Dancougar Nova
Shin Change! Getter Robo
Shin Mazinger Shogeki! Z Hen
The Big-O
Overman King Gainer
Gravion Zwei
Code Geass
Macross Frontier
Macross Frontier Itsuwari no Utahime

Eureka Seven: Pocket Full of Rainbows

The ones in bold are the ones I’m most interested to see in action. Of course, this will be Gundam 00’s first SRW appearance, so thats exciting, and Macross Frontier and Eureka Seven are among some of my favorite anime series, so it will be great to see them as well. VOTOM’s is the one that will be the most interesting though, considering the mechs. The AT’s (Armored Troopers) of VOTOM’s are more akin to power armor than full-blown mechs, and only stand a few meters high. Their as “real robot” as you can get. On the other spectrum you have Gurren Lagan, which in its ultimate form is a size that can only be described as “galactic”. It will be interesting to see the VOTOM’s mecha in action against Super Robots.

I think the other primary reason I’m excited for this game is the fact that I can actually play the game, as its being released on the PSP. Most previous SRW games have been on the PS2, which is region locked. The PSP, on the other hand, is not, so that’s a plus for me. Anyways, I’m excited for the game, and I’ll defenitly be getting a copy when it comes out in April.

Oh, and here’s the games awesomely awesome opening cinematic:

Thing to be excited for (aka Things I’M excited for)

So its nearly December, which means were full into the Holiday season. That also means all sort of stuff is being released or announced or whatever, and as always, this is the time of year where I’m flat broke. So here’s some of the stuff I’m looking forward to in the coming couple of months.

Gundam 00 A Wakening of the Trailblazer DVD/Blu-Ray Release:
This is the thing I’m anticipating the most. I’ve actually seen bits of the movie via cam-rips that were released onto the internet, but its only got me wanting to see the whole thing on Blu-Ray. From everything I’ve heard and the bits I’ve seen, its a pretty frakking sweet movie, and considering its got aliens (who are also pretty frakking sweet), I need this movie NOW!

AKB48 Subunit French Kiss Second Single “If”
Yay! Yukirin’s subunit French Kiss is getting another single! This means that they weren’t just a one shot and are likely to become another of AKB’s regular subunits. I loved their first single, and I really loved the mini-drama that came with it. It was quite entertaining. The good news is that the second single will be getting a mini-drama of its own as well. I can see this becoming FK’s trademark, or at least I hope it does. Its quite a unique idea.

These are the two things I’m most looking forward too, but there not the only things, here’s a quick rundown of other stuff being released that I’m defenitly looking forward too, just not as much as those two:
– AKB48’s 19th Single – Chance no Junban (Release Date – 2010/12/08)
– AKB48’s PSP Game AKB1/48 – Idol to Koishitara… (Release Date – 2010/12/23)

I was gonna buy the PSP game, but had to give it up for now because it was just so much money for me to spend around Christmas…that and with the 00 Movie coming out I had to shift priorities. Gundam defenitly comes before AKB48. Also, I’m not really all that excited for the new AKB single. I’ll wait for the songs to come out to pass judgment, but it defenitly won’t be a single I’ll be buying for awhile.


And now some other stuff I thought I’d share; newly released scans showcasing some of the mecha from the Gundam 00 Movie, of particular interest is the ELS (aka the Aliens) GN-X IV. For those who are unaware, the aliens in the 00 Movie, the ELS (Extra-terrestrial Living-metal Shape-shifters) are able to assimilate technology and then assume that form at will. Its also interesting to note that they only have to assimilate something once to acquire its “data” so to speak, afterward any ELS probe can assume that form (though I think for the bigger stuff like ships and even some MS, multiple ELS units have to merge together. They are quite an interesting alien concept, and I really look forward to seeing more of them when I finally get my hands on the movie. But anyway, here are the scans in question:

Here’s the lowdown on the scans. The first depicts the ELS version of the GN-X IV. Notice how it can simply shift its arms into the various weapons, as apposed to carrying them. The dual-Bazooka looks particularily badass. You can also note that the Cone is noticably larger, reflecting the original ELS probe form (which generally appear as large spear//lance shapes). The first scan also depicts the Gadelazza and the girl in the movie who is one of the first to be assimilated (at least partially) by the ELS. It should be noted that the Gadelazza might be a contender for the biggest Mobile Armor in Gundam history. I think official spec put it at around 300 meters long, meaning that its bigger than most Gundam ships, and its defenitly bigger than most 00 ships.

In the second scan, we have the 00 Quan[T] after purging its armor for the Quantum Burst. Its likely that the armor purge is to allow a better flow of GN particles, as the Burst is essentially a massive expulsion of GN particles, so the more exit points across the body, the better. To the side is the Harutes face when it enters its advanced “Marute” mode, and below is the GN Blade II Kai used by Setsuna’s Union Flag. The MS on the bottom is called the Sakibure, and it appears at the end of the movie, nearly 50 years after the events of the battle with the ELS. Apparently, an ELS organism is built into the MS, presumably in the head. It also appears to be a worker MS. The Third scan gives us some details on the various equipment of the GN-X IV. We’ve got the standard beam rifles, the long rifle, buster swords, Shoulder binders, etc. Quite the versatile MS.

The last 2 scans are from the 00 manga’s (I believe 00I and the Movie manga are the ones in question). The first depicts the ELS version of the Arios Ascalon, and it looks more like something out of G Gundam than 00, due to its monstrous appearance. The second of course depicts an ELS 00 Raiser (as the 00 is assimilated in the movie). And though its not totally clear, it would appear that below this 00 Raiser is ANOTHER 00 Raiser, meaning that its possible that the ELS fielded multiple 00 Raisers in the final battle. Also note that all ELS MS have a single blue-dot eye (its not blue in the manga for obvious reasons, but every shot from the movie shows their GN-X IV’s with a blue eye.

Future Project

So yesterday I was browsing around Hello!Online, seeing what new inane things all the H!P fans there are saying these days. I stopped any serious posting there awhile ago, though I used to be a frequent user there for quite sometime. Anyway, I happened to remember that the site supports user blogs, and I only then remembered I had made one awhile back myself.

So I thought it might be fun to see what I had posted there, and lo and behold, I found something I thought lost forever; the beginnings of an old fan-fiction series I had started writing. I say “lost forever” because the original copy had been on my old laptop, which was recently wiped clean in an effort to get it working after a fatal crash.

What I had written wasn’t a whole lot; just a basic outline of the stories setting and a rough first chapter, not much, but a start.

I guess I should tell you what the story is about. Its a Gundam fan-fic, but not in the way you might think. It doesn’t take place in any of the already well-founded Gundam universes, my story takes place in a whole new setting of my own creating, though In creating the setting, I found myself influenced by elements from Gundam 00 and the Halo Universe in particular. For me, I’ve always wanted Gundam to expand beyond Earth and do a series that spans the Galaxy, sort of like Halo does, thus I set out to do it myself (though, after reading some spoilers about the Gundam 00 movie, we could be headed in this direction if more series are set in the 00 universe).

So like I said, I rediscovered the outline and first chapter on H!O, and thought to myself that know would be a good time to not only continue working on it, but also heavily refine it. I had actually started writing a second chapter, but it was lost along with the original draft. Thinking back on it though, it wasn’t too great, and know that its gone, I can take the story in a different direction.

Know, here’s where this blog comes in, along with something I’d like your opinions on. I thought it might be cool if I post the story up on here as I write it, as a way of getting it out there and seeing what people think.

Here’s the second thing. This is becoming primarily AKB48/SKE48 related blog, and I had the fun idea of somehow incorporating AKB48 into my story, really just because I thought it might be fun to do, and it might keep you guys a little more interested, but more because it sounds fun.

So yeah, there won’t be any set times in which I post pieces of this story, as I can be pretty slow when it comes to this kind of thing, but I will post them up as I work on it.