Bioshock Infinite Impressions *SPOILERS*
This isn’t really going to be a review of Bioshock Infinite, just some impressions I had from the game and some comparisons with the previous 2 Bioshock games. Overall, I enjoyed Bioshock Infinite quite a bit. The setting was great and I enjoy the classic Bioshock mix of gunplay and magical elements. However, I will say that it is my least favorite Bioshock game.
I'm not necessarily going to discuss the ending, but I'm also not censoring myself to refrain from mentioning spoilers, so read at your own risk. They'll mostly be spoilers about how the gameplay has changed, but there may be story spoilers as well.
If you've played Infinite, give my thoughts a read and share your own in the comments. Did you like Infinite more than Bioshock 1 and/or 2? What changes in the gameplay did you really enjoy in Infinite? (This paragraph is filler to get anything I mention about that game off of the main blog page, just in case someone accidentally skims it and considers it a spoiler)
Weapons & Tonics/Vigors:
I was surprised to see how many changes there were in the gameplay compared to Bioshock 1 and 2. I was trying to figure out what the hell was going when I found my 3rd gun, and was asked to part with one of my other 2 when I tried to pick it up. I think only being able to carry 2 guns at a time worked just fine for Infinite, but it definitely changed the whole ammo situation as well. I never once ran short on ammo in Infinite but had that come up many times in Bioshock 1 and 2. I must commend Infinite on building in achievements for getting X amount of kills with each gun, it gave me the extra bump I needed to try out every gun, rather than just using 1 or 2 that I really liked.
As for Vigors, (or Plasmids as they were called in 1 and 2) they worked well and there was a couple I really enjoyed using. However, I felt like there was a real de-emphasis on Vigors/Plasmids in Infinite. I remember in Bioshock 1 and 2, when you picked up a new Plasmid it felt like a game changer, and when you finally got enough Adam to upgrade your Plasmid you felt a new sense of power. I never felt like that in Infinite at all.
Difficulty level is a tough thing to judge. Everyone struggles in different areas of games based on what type of game they're playing and how familiar they are with it. Bioshock 1 and 2 were never nerve-rackingly difficult, but I died plenty of times in both of those games. I only died 3 times in Infinite, and all 3 times were really just because I made bad decisions in regards to finding cover. I played all 3 games on their normal difficulties, but I really wish I had played Infinite on Hard.
Another aspect that I feel really made Infinite easier was having Elizabeth with you almost the whole time. Whenever you were close to running out of Salts or Health or anything else, most of the time she would toss you whatever you needed. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed when Elizabeth would toss me a new vial of Salts and I could keep on firebombing enemies, but it definitely made the game a bit simpler.
Map System and Linearity:
Bioshock Infinite was shockingly linear to me. Again, I was caught off guard when I didn't have access to a map. To be honest, I prefer Bioshock 1 and 2's map system and backtracking requirements. 1 and 2 were still very linear for the most part, but I remember whenever I'd get to a new floor, I'd check out the map and make sure to note any places I'd want to visit and explore. I loved the feeling that by the time you left that floor, you usually had a new powerup that made once inaccessible areas accessible. Bioshock Infinite removed this aspect, and I personally was disappointed.
My single biggest gripe about Bioshock Infinite is that I don't feel like the enemies were nearly as memorable as the first 2 games. The Big Daddy is obviously a classic character at this point, but I also enjoyed the different types of Splicers and the Alpha Series of Big Daddies as well. And don't get me started on the Big Sisters, I both hated and loved them.
In comparison, there's not one enemy in Bioshock Infinite that stands out to me. I guess the Handyman would be the closest, but he's not nearly as cool as the Big Daddy. The Patriots and Zealots (the crow enemy) were alright as well, but nothing compared to the standout enemies from the first 2 games. There also wasn't nearly as much fulfillment from taking out the Heavy Hitters in Infinite. In Bioshock 1 and 2 you were awarded with precious Adam every time you took down a Big Daddy, but nothing nearly as useful came from the major enemies of Infinite.
I'm probably in the minority here, but I actually enjoyed the hacking minigames in both Bioshock games. It did get a little bit difficult near the end of the game, but that is what the Hack tool was for. I actually missed hacking in this game, and collecting lockpicks for Elizabeth to use felt pretty generic for me.
So these are just a few aspects about Bioshock Infinite that stand out to me. There's a whole lot more that could be discussed, but a lot of that has already been discussed quite a bit across the web. Like I said, I really enjoyed my time Columbia, but in my mind it doesn't quite stack up to the 2 grand adventures I had in Rapture.