Eyes On: BioShock – Infinite

By Dan Grill on June 21st, 2011 at 5:00 pm.

More colourful birds in games: NOW.

We sent Dan Griliopoulos to take a look at BioShock: Infinite. It might have broken him. That’s the explanation we have for the opening story. But read on for a super-detailed preview of the third BioShock game, and why Dan suspects it’s going to be rather good.

From this side, the sign on the glass door read

“eniveL .G.I
eyE etavirP”

The possessor of this inverted moniker was kicked back, brogues pert on the cheap pine desk, face lost somewhere between the loosened tie and tilted fedora, hand trailing towards an errant whiskey glass.

A door far below rattled. Heels chipped at plywood stairs. A customer.

Levine didn’t move. But somewhere beneath the hat, sneaking past the week-old stubble and whiskey halitosis, a thought crept in: work? Who’d give him work? Sure, the Ryan job had come off famously, but that was four years back and they’d given the follow-up to goddamn Marin, after all.

The dame came in. She was pure glitz in a 2K-branded jacket and skirt. “We need you, Levine. You give us… cred. The problem’s an Era, Levine. It’s loose and no-one can capture an era like you. We need a 1900s emotional roller coaster with as many dimensions as you’ve got.”

He was flattered, despite himself. They hadn’t forgotten! He found himself sitting up, the tumbler abandoned. “Well, sweetcheques, I can do roller coasters. And I can do emotions. Not sure if even I can weld them to multidimensionality though… I might have to call Professor Heisenberg in on this one.”

Let me be open; I loved the first Bioshock beyond all reason. I gave the Xbox version 10/10 (for all the right reasons), I went and read Atlas: Shrugged to understand it better, I posited all sorts of pipedreams for sequel cities; Atlantis, Laputa, Zodanga. Yet Bioshock 2, whilst still a good game, whilst mechanically more fun than the original, was also more of a traditional sequel. It didn’t take the original and run with it; it just took it, fixed the combat, extended the plot without altering the world, and added multiplayer. Where the first game was in love with its nascent myth and design, the sequel just loved the franchise. My fervour faded.

As you can tell from the fanfic above, seeing Bioshock Infinite at E3 has changed all that. Either Irrational put something in the E3 kool-aid or the joy of imagination has returned to Bioshock. It’s taken that Laputa twist from Gulliver’s Travels and conjured up a whole other alternate floating world. It has a familiar archaic jump-off point but retains those key Bioshock elements, the fantastic/ridiculous married (in the gameplay and the fiction) with a huge, powerful toolset. Most notable is the implication that, in the name and in the in-game Tears (capitalised to imply rips not boohoos), this is just one of a million parallel Bioshocks.

Summarising, what we know first; you play Booker De Witt, a detective hired to rescue/abduct a girl called Elizabeth. She’s aboard Columbia, a floating World’s Fair designed in 1900 to show the world the glory of America, but which turned violent during the Boxer rebellion and disappeared until 1912. The city itself, when it returns, is split between two factions: the Founders, xenophobic American reactionaries, and the Vox Populi, a fragmented group of levellers and immigrants with hardline communistic elements, and both want control of Elizabeth and her mysterious powers. Until De Witt manages to rescue her, she’s kept locked away by Songbird – a biomechanical winged giant akin to the Big Daddies – who is her gaoler as well as her only friend. Sadly, Elizabeth won’t leave the city until she understands her strange powers better, and De Witt is her unwilling guardian until she will.

The demo we saw took us through several areas newly overrun by the Vox Populi, watching them as they took over an area. There’s elements of it in this teaser trailer:

Beyond this, we got taken through an area overrun by the Vox Populi. Irrational have taken all the classic game behaviour-shaping tools; lighting, structural direction, sound, imagery; and used them to drive people towards the story they want to tell, make you focus on the spots that they’ve poured all their detail into, such as the upcoming curio sho, the adverts on the walls, or the Vox Populi’s troopers. Given the size of the arenas, this replicates and takes advantage of the way that the human eye rests and focuses on particular spots; it’s like a magic trick, moving the focus of attention around, so you only see wizardry and not the mechanics underneath.

At this point De Witt and Elizabeth are searching for supplies and a way to Comstock, the leader of the Founders. We stop in at Major’s Sundries, Notions and Novelties, which De Witt laconically describes as a junk shop. The actor playing De Witt channels the perfect pulp detective, straight out of Chandler and Hammett, and what’s notable about this compared to Bioshock is the wealth of dialogue – De Witt and Elizabeth are endlessly chattering, bantering, like the classic His Girl Friday – and this continues once they get inside the curio shop. The shop is packed with junk and, as they’re walking around, Elizabeth plays with the toys, trying on giant Abe Lincoln masks and acting up to the Academy Awards; Booker meanwhile chatters back and grabs ammo, guns, and upgrades (including a vigor called Bucking Bronco, which allows him to fling enemies up and around.)

Suddenly, however, there’s a world-rattling shriek, like a steel ship scraping an iceberg, and they both silently take cover behind the shutters and ornaments. Outside, Songbird’s searchlight-like eye peers in through the window, searching for his lost ward. There’s a tense few moments, then he’s off, hunting elsewhere. Elizabeth’s response to this narrow escape is a little extreme; she asks Booker to kill her rather than ever allow her to go back into captivity, actually placing his hands around her neck.

Outside they find another dying horse, presumably crushed by Songbird’s landing. Elizabeth is traumatised and is determined to save it. She opens a Tear to somewhere/somewhen in which the horse is alive; it attempts to struggle to its feet, but she can’t maintain the rift and it collapses dead again. She tries again, and the rift into yet another world holds for a second longer, then collapses, and the horse with it. Finally, she pushes hard into the air and the Tear holds open into a dark, damp scene, bifurcating the bright world; as she stares in wonderment a huge mechanism speeds towards her and she just manages to shut the tear before it hits. This is all quite astonishing, and either it’s in-engine or perfect enough CGI that I didn’t see the cut.

Quickly, I want to talk Tears. These seem to be rifts into other worlds and times. Not only is that key element introduced slowly – through Elizabeth’s lack of control over her powers – but works right thematically and mechanically in the game, whilst introducing a potential link to the wider Bioshock series. Artistically, inside each Tear is a different world. In the first demo, we heard anachronistic music (Tears For Fears “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”); in the demo we saw, Elizabeth opened a tear to an area with a cinema showing “Revenge of the Jedi”.

Meanwhile, to help De Witt during combat, Elizabeth can actualise one thing from a range of possibilities; she can spirit in cover, turrets and ammo dumps, or create doors leading elsewhere in the level. The options appear like flickering shadows until she chooses one.

(Of course, if the Tears imply that there are an infinite number of parallel universes that Elizabeth can reach into, then there could be universes out there with all the different outcomes from the first game; where any of good Jack, monstrous Jack, Fontaine, Ryan or Tenebaum triumphed. My guess is that this multi-dimensionality is what ultimately links the game’s narrative back to the first two.)

Following this, the duo keep walking through the streets, seeing the dissonance between the publicly-proclaimed morality of the Vox Populi and their thugs’s actions against the unarmed civilians on the street. Around them, are the city’s streets, a hundred architectural styles and pre-World War I posters in joyously saturated colours. A Vox thug approaches and Booker warns him off with a drawn pistol; at any point in this section, Booker can start a fight. Eventually, there’s no choice, which is where he gets to go onto the skyrails.

Here, Booker is attempting to keep Elizabeth safe and get to a zeppelin that’s bombarding the area with rockets. His weaponry is fairly familiar; era guns and the Vigors which have replaced the plasmids from Bioshock (and which appear to have limited uses). He uses the skyrails to get between the different areas of this massively spread-out combat area, gradually riding upwards towards the Zeppelin, all the time talking to Elizabeth and making use of her abilities, as he battles socialists whooping as they ride the rails. Inside the Zeppelin, he triggers a detonation, leaving it sinking flaming to the ground, and plummets back towards the skyrails far below… jarred, he catches one and survives.

Shortly afterwards, Elizabeth and De Witt are trapped in an attic by Songbird; Songbird tears the roof off, knocks Booker down and is about to crush him, when Elizabeth runs up. She agrees to go back with Songbird; he picks her up in a single brassy claw, so that Booker and her have seconds to brush fingertips before she’s gone again. Chasing them to the gaping roof, De Witt leaps out onto the skyrail. And fade.

From everything I saw at E3, Bioshock Infinite was probably my game of the show; I’ll certainly play Skyrim for longer, but I’m certain that I’m going to enjoy this story much more. If you read our interview, you’ll see the hubris they’re showing, calling in Einstein, Heisenberg, and The Devil in the White City for the fiction, but what ultimately seals this for me is that joyous bright design and the charming dialogue between Elizabeth and Booker. I can’t believe that this latter is going to be as organic as it was in the demo we saw; but if it is, PI Levine might find himself in great demand.

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75 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    oceanclub says:

    Am really looking forward to it. A small technical query – does anyone know if, like the previous Bioshock games, the physics engine in Bioshock Infinite is locked at 30 fps? Nowadays when playing the game at my monitor’s native refresh rate, it’s really noticable and annoying how objects (including the flying turrets) are visibly jerky.

    P.

    • povu says:

      God, I sure hope so. That looked so incredibly awful in the first two games if you had the whole game running smoothly at 60 FPS.

    • Bob Moron says:

      Aaah, so THAT’s what it was! Thank you for pointing this out good sir.

    • Bhazor says:

      I just assumed that was my dodgy ATI graphics card not having the Physx doohickey.

    • Bobic says:

      I don’t know, I liked the locked physics. Intentional or not, they gave the game a fresh, paced feel.

  2. keith.lamothe says:

    Looking at that first picture I couldn’t help but think that the guy had finally just gotten up and tried to deck The Raven.

  3. CMaster says:

    Funny how Bioshock gets those kind of reactions from some.

    I seem to recall finding it initially fun to play, but eventually turning into a real grind that I pushed myself to finish and completely forgettable. I can remember almost nothing of the game now – a couple of locations from Fort Frolic, the characters of Ryan and Fontaine. And that’s it, pretty much.

    • Lord_Mordja says:

      Why hello my clone, how did you get all the way over there?

    • Xocrates says:

      Yes, Bioshock is a strange beast, isn’t it.

      Honestly, playing Bioshock feels like you’re a tourist in Rapture, with the game bits just being something to do between the main attractions. It’s perhaps notorious of this that the most celebrated sections of the game, those of the medical pavilion and fort frolic, are essentially irrelevant to the plot.
      I think that’s why the original game never really clicked with me, and why this one still hasn’t captured my interest, I never felt part of that world, not even as the “outsider”, I was a visitor passing through.

      Bioshock 2 may have been the “safe” sequel, but it was the game counterpart to Bioshock’s experience.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      It wasn’t bad, just obscenely overrated. A fairly dull shooter with very high production values and a decent story. OK. But. I want a game to be a good game, not merely an interesting experience.

    • woodsey says:

      That was essentially my experience. Grind-grind-grind until the 5 minutes for the twist, then some more grinding. Then there was the whole thing with the Little Sisters, which was incredibly black and white given the game’s themes.
      Speaking of which, the themes were good, but I always felt they were in place of an actual story. Back story’s fine, but audio tapes were used far too much, and I couldn’t have cared less about the twist because they seemed to want to attribute it to a non-character. I get that it was supposed to be a comment on the player’s role in a game, but your metaphor actually has to feel relevant to what I’ve been doing and the story if it is going to be a metaphor.
      The pacing was pretty atrocious too.
      (I’ll add that I am looking mightily forward to this though; looks fantastic.)

    • Alexander Norris says:

      BioShock’s pacing is infuriatingly flawed.

      The game should have ended with the Ryan reveal, followed by some kind of rush to leave a Rapture taken over by Fontaine. The residential area in which you’re forced to do the bullshit fetch-quest to get the idiotic cure to your conditioning is, despite this nonsense, actually the strongest part of BioShock – it gets closer to showing you the splicing and the civil war’s impact on people’s lives than any other part of the game, and should have occurred before Ryan.

      It’s a damn shame. :(

    • woodsey says:

      I was thinking more of those freaking “blue, red and green key” fetch quests.

      I nearly punched the monitor when I’d just gone through big build up to Ryan’s office, only to be told to f*ck off because, for no real reason, his door was locked by some electric thingy ma-bob.

      Cue another hour of running around and my interest rapidly waning.

    • Waltorious says:

      I had pretty much the same reaction as CMaster. Mechanically the game was System Shock 2 again, but done less well. This might have been OK, but unfortunately the writing did absolutely nothing to grab me, so I didn’t care about the story at all, and the level design was basically done as a corridor shooter rather than an open-ended environment like the System Shock games. This last flaw was the biggest for me… Rapture could have been such a great setting, but it just didn’t FEEL right. It wasn’t a city. It was a videogame level.

      Infinite looks like it might have more interesting writing, so maybe I’ll like it better. But I’ll definitely need to try it before buying it.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Oddly enough, the Bioshock DEMO is probably the most wondrous thing to happen on the Box of X.

    • DrGonzo says:

      It may be blasphemy around these parts, but going back to System Shock 2 after Bioshock was somewhat of a let down for me. The controls and combat felt very dated and awkward compared to Bioshock, and the setting less interesting and far more generic.

      However, it still scares the living shit out of me.

      In my memory System Shock 2 is better, but in reality when I go to replay either I can’t help but prefer Bioshock.

    • KenTWOu says:

      Waltorious says: Mechanically the game was System Shock 2 again, but done less well.

      It looks like you didn’t understand BioShock game mechanics.

    • Nick says:

      It didn’t play anything like System Shock 2 really. It was much more action oriented (which isn’t claiming SS2 was lacking in things to shoot). I found Bioshock to be ok, the shootiness I found very dull, the setting was generally pretty cool, the enemies were usually boring. Decent twist, terrible ending, a few really cool set pieces (I loved the papier mache bit for example).

  4. skinlo says:

    This game right up there on my most wanted lists. It does look pretty epic.

    • PaulOHara says:

      I’m right there with you Skinlo. This is one of my most-wanted games of next year and I hope they do a awesome collector’s edition.

  5. LazerBeast says:

    I am very excited for this.

  6. 4026 says:

    “Sadly, Elizabeth won’t leave the city until she understands her strange powers better, and De Witt is her unwilling guardian until she will.”

    Ooh, careful now. That’s a great way to make me really resent a character I’m meant to be protecting.

    • Zenicetus says:

      True, that sounded a little off to me too. Maybe it’s because we’re so used to “escape this Bad Place as soon as possible” scenarios in games.

      It’s good that she has powers though, because I’m not a big fan of escort missions in games, and this sounds like it could be one game-length escort mission. With active powers, she’s more of a companion through an adventure.

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      There’s also an implication of De Witt & Elizabeth falling in love, but I wasn’t sure enough about this to put in the preview.

    • 4026 says:

      Aye, I sort of figured that might be on the cards from the whole fingertip-brushing bit. And also, you know, it’s a masculine hero coming to the rescue of a female co-star. A romantic relationship is the only logical outcome.

      As a device to relieve the problem of a whiny ball-and-chain NPC that’s making clearly awful strategic decisions for the player, it’ll probably fail. If anything, it’ll probably exacerbate things.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      From all the other previews I’ve read, and from a very long (and fascinating) interview with Levine on Giantbomb, I rather gathered it’s quite the opposite of the usual damsell-in-distress scenario.

      Sure that’s what it seems like when you get the mission to go get her, but when you find her she turns out to be far more powerful than your character. You are a dude with guns and some temporary power-ups, she’s practically a superhero who hasn’t quite gotten control over her powers yet. She’s a strong, independent female character. She’s refusing to go because she doesn’t NEED rescue. Yes, she wants to leave, but not until she’s done whatever her agenda is first.

      And from what I gather, she’s more than capable of taking care of herself. No escort mission here. Take the zeppelin example. When it comes, you and her are both under attack from dozens of Vox Populi, but you are able to leave her to her own devices while you deal with the blimp.

      It’s a role-reversal, and it looks awesome.

    • MultiVaC says:

      That sounds just as bad, if not worse. It brings to mind something like Homefront, where the player is constantly treated as a weak, superfluous tag-along. Either way, unless Irrational has found some radically different way of handling her as a companion than anything else we’ve ever seen in a shooter, being stuck with her throughout the entire game sounds absolutely miserable.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Now you’re just TRYING to not like the game.

      Where do you get “like Homefront” out of “she can handle herself while you do your own thing, and is a useful ally in a fight”?

    • Bilbo says:

      HE PROBABLY GOT IT FROM
      “when you find her she turns out to be far more powerful than your character. You are a dude with guns and some temporary power-ups, she’s practically a superhero ”
      /THREAD

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Dis you miss the part where she’s still learning her powers? Or the part where you go off on your own and blow up a frickin zeppelin? Bioshock has always been about player agency. This is no different. The game doesn’t hold your hand, or take control away from you, or any of the other things Homefront did.

  7. Zenicetus says:

    I dunno… that rapturous (ahem) preview gives me the same impression as the trailers I’ve seen so far. It looks like a great semi-interactive movie to watch, but how much fun will it be as a game?

    How is there any room for free agent action in the description above? How many times will I have to repeat a segment like the sky rails to get the scripted moves exactly right instead of falling to my doom, so I can progress through the story? How much will I be pulled by the nose into that curio shop, so I can see those sequences with Elizabeth trying on masks? And the dialogue…. no player control, my player character is just saying stuff all the time at scripted trigger points?

    Bioshock was linear too, but it did a reasonably good job of masking it. There weren’t many scripted sequences, and you could approach each area as an explorer. This sounds like just a series of one scripted event after another. The setting, and the concept of Tears into other realities is fascinating! I want to experience that. But I want to feel like more of an actor on the other side of the screen, not a passive viewer sitting in the theater munching popcorn.

    • Griddle Octopus says:

      The talking was scripted, but happened as you moved around the shop – you didn’t seem to be locked down by it. The skyrails didn’t seem scripted either – you could jump between them at will.

  8. McDan says:

    Argh, stop telling me stuff about this game, I need it!

  9. Moni says:

    Tears for Fairs.

    There’s a funny pun in there somewhere.

  10. Iskariot says:

    I was a System Shock fan, but somehow I picked up on the Bioshock games rather late (3 months ago), and I was very impressed with both games. I am going to have a blast with Infinite.

  11. Kablooie says:

    I will confess right here, judge me as you will . . . . .

    . . . . if I’m a “fanboi” of anything, it’s Bioshock. I loved almost every aspect of the game. Even things others complained about, like the hacking minigame, I liked ( I seem to be one of the few that actually preferred it to B2’s). I’ve played it over and over, every year or so, it’s the game I always pick back up when I’m out of other games or tired of them.

    Yes, I adore this title and it is without fault (from my perspective).

    ( . . . . okay, maybe a few faults. The escort mission gets old after the 10th playthrough :P )

    I’m feeling very tingly about Bioshock:Infinite, oh yes. In the grips of that vaporware-hyperbole’-glow.

  12. Turin Turambar says:

    Bioshock 1 was a good game, but i always felt like it was a bit overhyped. All that “omg best game ever, 10/10!” always left me a bit perplexed.

  13. Rii says:

    Something I discovered whilst reading Emma Goldman recently: Comstock was actually a real guy.

  14. Gunsmith says:

    tbh the only thing Infinite is making me want is to play SS2 again

    • ziusudra says:

      same here brother. ken levine turned out to be a huge disappointment. no disrespect to bioshock its a fun fps. Human Evolution seems ready to save gaming for me this year however. WHICH me makes me a very happy taffer waiting for Thief 4 or Thi4f or wtv.

  15. kupocake says:

    Swift’s Laputa? I know we all like to think of Bioshock as the height of literary intertextuality, but “Magic girl on a floating island sought out by mysterious flight-capable robot” screams about a rather less high-brow Laputa. James Van Der Beek away.

    Also, Dewitt’s VA is Stephen Russell, right? If the premier PC gaming website can’t confirm this, whatever are we to do?

  16. Veracity says:

    I still can’t ever remember what your surname actually is, but you are now my favourite person for “sweetcheques”.

    The thing that’s sticking with me about this is still mostly that boobs lady is very odd looking. Does look good, but it’s still going to be a shooter, and I not only dislike those but am so preternaturally bad at them that I haven’t finished Half Life 2.

  17. Tacroy says:

    Am I the only one who read about the Tears and was immediately like “you guys stole that from Roger Zelazny! She’s a scion of Amber!

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that, really. I always like the idea of reaching out through the multiverses and snatching a sword when you need one.

  18. Bungle says:

    Bioshock 2 would have been a $20 expansion pack five years ago. Now our publishers are big corporations and Bioshock 2 was a full priced sequel instead. I don’t like paying more for the same thing.

    • Walsh says:

      Full length games should be expansion packs now?

      Zomg Wing Commander 2 should’ve been an expansion pack to Wing Commander! It didn’t really change anything! Same gameplay!

    • Bhazor says:

      Baldurs Gate 2 was the exact same engine!!! Rip-off

      I’d pay £5 maximum if I wasn’t going to pirate it. These developers owe me.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      You stick it to the Man, Bungle.

    • skinlo says:

      Then don’t.

      Whilst you aren’t doing that, I’ll be playing hopefully a great sequel to a game I enjoyed, and come away feeling the experience was worth the money.

    • Kablooie says:

      Bioshock2 wasn’t that close to just being expansion material. It was an entirely separate adventure, a ton of new assets and resources.
      Was it a cash-in? Yes. An expansion? Hardly. It had plenty of new material, characters, and depth.
      .

  19. paterah says:

    I haven’t played Bioshock 1 &2 but I hope they go on sale on steam so I can play them before I play this beast.

  20. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    Looks pretty. Won’t buy it.

  21. Sharkticon says:

    Bioshock was crap with an over-inflated sense of self-importance. I physically shudder each time I see someone proclaiming their love for it.

    When will modern FPS developers understand that setting, story, graphics etc. are all meaningless if the core FPS mechanics are bad.

    From all the materials released so far, it seems like Infinite is going to continue the trend of setting over gameplay. The game described above might as well be called Bioshock: Watch a Girl Do Cool Stuff.

    • JackShandy says:

      “When will modern FPS developers understand that setting, story, graphics etc. are all meaningless if the core FPS mechanics are bad.”

      Never, I hope.

    • John P says:

      Agreed Sharkticon. I had to force myself to finish the game, after giving up entirely the first time I tried. An interesting setting, but the actual plotting and progression is bad. I stopped playing when when I got to the quest to collect enzymes from beehives or whatever. An amazing setting like this and I’m forced to do a fetch quest to a beehive?

      And yes, I agree the actual shooting mechanics are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Hope they’re improved in Infinite.

    • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

      Bioshock was no System Shock or Deus Ex, I agree, but it was about all we can expect in today’s linear high-end-graphics world. And with 2K dumbing it down, we’re stuck with what they shovel at us. Luckily there’s GoG to sell us our nostalgia in modern-PC-compatible format. Giants: Citizen Kabuto for $3!!

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      I’m with JackShandy. Developers stretching for an unusual sense-of-place, or exploring ‘grown-up’ ethics, morality and philosophy are vital to the development of gaming as an art. Otherwise we’re stuck with technically perfect but vacuous grey US marine shooters.

      Of course, there’s room for both; I love Battlefield just as I love Vampire:Bloodlines. But it’s exciting to see games like Vampire, Bioshock, Deus Ex encroach on literature’s traditional site as the place to explore ideas.

    • Sharkticon says:

      @ JackShandy:
      Enjoy your turds disguised with icing and chocolate sprinkles.

      @ John P:
      Yes, the shooting mechanics were really bad. The only time they ever felt anywhere near decent was when the player was in big daddy mode which fits the sluggish and imprecise shooting.

      One thing I miss about the days of the Q3 and UT1/UT2 engine days is the smooth and accurate mouse and player movement. At very least, you could count on games made with those engines to have decent control, as long as the devs don’t mess with that bit of code.

      What makes it even more annoying is that Bioshock uses the U3 engine. Which means the devs had to have messed with the shooting and movement on purpose.

      @ gummybearsaliveonthemoon:
      Nostalgia has little to do with it. I regularly play 80s, 90s and early 2000s games and what was playable and excellent then is very much playable and excellent now. <3 GOG.

      @ Edgar the Peaceful:
      For 'technically perfect', see Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, Half-Life etc. Most modern 'realistic' (heh) shooters are far from technically perfect.

      Books and films can explore settings, ethics, morality, philosophy etc., games are for interaction. If the mode of interaction itself is crap, how can the game be 'art', let alone good art?

      I would argue that Quake 3 and its wonderful shooting and movement and the resulting deathmatch dances are art. Deus Ex provided an amazing sense of interacting with the world by the choices one can make in the story, by the choices one can make in developing the character and by the little details in interaction like typing in keypads manually or hacking computers. Deus Ex, by virtue of its interaction, is art.

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Off to bed now, but I completely agree that something as mechanically pleasing as Quake 3 is art, with or without backstory, morality etc. (Actually Quake 3 had quite a memorable aesthetic I think)

      Too tired to articulate now. Interesting discussion to be had, maybe on the forum.

      Edgar

  22. sabrage says:

    I got 3 words and a warnin for ya Levine: Deeper RPG elements… OR ELSE

  23. cjlr says:

    Bioshock wasn’t exactly rapturous, but that’s hardly a shock, now, is it? It was a competently assembled splice of a hatfull of old concepts long proven to hold water.

    Now: Infinite looks like some sort of cross of Crimson Skies and Last Exile. That’s a good thing, right? Bioshock 2 came across as a bit of a cash-grab, but they did have some good ideas. Here’s to another 4 star game.

  24. Elos says:

    Maybe I should finally finish the Bioshock game I started… holy shit, more than three years ago!

    Actually I have a tendency to start all these great games with great enthusiasm and just forget about them for months or years before picking them up again. It’s happened with Mass Effect, Witcher, Stalker, DAO, Bioshock…

  25. Muzman says:

    10/10 for Bioshock is most certainly beyond all reason.

  26. BeamSplashX says:

    If the banter is like His Girl Friday then we can expect about ten pages of dialogue to happen in a minute.

    For the uninitiated, one page is usually equal to one minute. Get ready for the witpocalypse.

  27. Melmoth says:

    Bioshock 2 was developed by a different team as far as I know, and it was just boring. Since it had this MS abomination of a game client, I had to play it in one turn.
    There was just no punishment for deaths – so why bother? And the story was an attempt to leech on the greatness the first one was, without adding a single nuance of own creativness.
    At least Infinite looks very promising. But I miss the darker look of Elisabeth from the first vids (was a news here a few days ago about that). She seemed to suffer severe side effects of her abilities in those previews and I thought the darker looks of her improved this effect.

    • Thants says:

      Well, if you try and play any game straight through all at once you’re going to get sick of it. And if you don’t like the vita-chambers you can just turn them off.

    • gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

      Also it was a bugfest made of dung filled with bug-maggots.