Ten Intrigues I Didn’t Mention About BioShock Infinite

By Alec Meer on March 26th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

4500 words, and I still feel I didn’t get anywhere near close to covering everthing I wanted to about BioShock: Infinite – that I made lengthy generalisations but not enough specification of the smaller, or at least subtler, details and events of a game which consistently barrages the player with imagery and ideas. Here are a few I missed, just to get them off my chest. Could maybe, possibly be said to contain some minor spoilers, depending on how absolute you are about these sorts of things.

  • Standing still, listening to complete renditions of songs from the late twentieth century, performed in an early twentieth century style. God Only Knows, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Tainted Love – all appearing unexpectedly, and sounding exactly like songs of 1912. It always takes a moment to realise that I’m listening to something that shouldn’t exist – the music of tomorrow, today. Infinite’s soundtrack is a wonderful one, but it goes beyond Rapture’s period scene-setting by also adding to the overall air of distorted reality in Columbia.
  • The option to watch flickering black and white, low frame rate cine film recordings of moments in Columbia’s history – part propaganda, part some unseen fellow’s early, amateurish experimentation with cinematography.
  • The moment with the baseball – a moment of acute, overwhelming horror as the NPCs around you treat it as one of of joy. What manner of person does what they ask? I couldn’t bring myself to, but I think I need to go back and do so in order to see (and feel) the consequences of it.
  • The beach early in the game, a moment of pure calm right after one of pure destruction, and now much I wanted to be there myself – the perfect picture it painted of harmony, of how Columbia could have been a paradise if only it didn’t have this dark, racist heart underneath its shining skin.

  • The interplay between the Lutece twins, the pair of amiably caustic British scientists whose experiments and discoveries are at the heart of Columbia. Their own tale is something only really discovered through the audio logs, and knowing it does add an extra layer of strangeness to their already-odd appearances. But it’s their wry disinterest in the events of the game which most shines. While their agenda – whether good or ill is for you to discover – is related to many of the plot’s events, it all seems a bit of a jolly old jape to them, especially when Booker and Elizabeth are being deadly serious. Indeed, in most of the twins’ appearances, they’ll barely address anyone other than each other, lending a sense that you’re eavesdropping even though they’re deliberately talking right in front of you. Ultimately, though, they’re the Chesire Cat.
  • The perversion of American presidential iconography, by both sides of Columbia’s escalating civil war. America’s founders are initially used as the creepily deified visages of giant statues, middle-aged men’s faces atop the bodies of Greek gods. Then we see a smiling death-mask of Washington’s face on top of one of the Iron Patriots, Columbia’s towering robot guards. Then we find paintings of Lincoln-as-Satan in one the headquarters of one of the city’s more fiercely anti-equality factions. And there’s more, which I won’t spoil, but the president-as-mask theme continues throughout, and it builds a response of discomfort or even fear towards images we’ve long been trained to revere. Quiet subversion, I think.
  • The affecting use of religious imagery, outside of Father Comstock’s overtly insidious dictatorship. In light, sound and tone, scenes of devotion manage to simultaneously both convey unsettling fanaticism and a sense of calm and joy – that maybe it could mean a better way of life. Maybe these guys, so calm and beautific with their candles and hushed songs, are onto something. The hard disconnect between this calm, collected reverence and fellowship is at odds with how fire and brimstone Comstock is – New Testament to his Old. I don’t know how deliberate that is, but my personal, atheistic interpretation was of it as a subtle comment on the fearmongering and intolerance which can lurk beneath the outwardly benign skin of some religious groups.

  • I don’t feel I found out anywhere near as much about the Songbird, Columbia’s most compelling, terrifying monster as I wanted to, but it’s entirely possible I missed a vital audiodiary or visual clue. Or perhaps that’s something to be covered in DLC. Indeed, there are a number of potentially fascinating avenues for DLC side-stories, but I can’t raise those without putting on my Cap Of Ultimate Spoilerosity.
  • The relationship between Booker and Elizabeth – carefully non-sexualised, but with a sense of instant connection simultaneous with mistrust, and ten growing fondness to the point of co-dependence. While I wrote and worried about how much she sucks up all the air in Columbia’s room, the drive to be near her and the reliance on her abilities – such as lock-picking doors as well as summoning Tears – was a powerful one. She does require rescuing of a number of times, which may well lead to concerned commentary in some places, but ultimately she is the one with power, both emotionally and science-fictionally.
  • The importance and recurrence of water – yet another thematic link to Rapture perhaps, but with a far greater meaning than that.

, , .

100 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Premium User Badge

    amateurviking says:

    I took the plunge after Alec’s WIT yesterday. The bastard thing is still preloading. Grr.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      30 gigabytes :O

      • joebucksvoice says:

        My download was only 18.7gb. I’ve been playing the game just fine. Am I missing something?

        • SuperNashwanPower says:

          Hmmm. Yes mine is about that too now I check. Weirdly, the Steam page shows minimum specs as hard drive space: 20GB, and Recommended as 30GB … WTF indeed.

          • MaXimillion says:

            Recommended specs tend to account for the free space you’ll need to still have remaining on the disk after you’ve installed the game.

            Also, the download is probably a bit more compressed than the game files will be after installation.

          • Taidan says:

            When you “preload”, as opposed to “download” the game, you need a lot more space for the install, as the “Preload” is a temporary file later gets installed to another location.

            I fell foul of this last night, after preloading onto a SSD with only 22gig left on it. Had to kill the preload and reinstall from scratch. Took about 30 minutes. *Epic internet connection ahoy*

          • MadTinkerer says:

            Also they are already planning some significant Mass Effect-style (as I call it) DLC. That’ll take up a few gigs.

        • EmirSc says:

          you are fine, the hard drive requirement is 30GB free space.

          • joebucksvoice says:

            Thanks.

            Good thing I cleared all that space on my ssd…

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            As above however, the download is actually about 19Gig, which covers the ‘minimum’ spec. 30 is the ‘recommended’. I am guessing that the extra 10GB is for DLC, as there does not seem to be an option for texture packs or anything like that.

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    A tad spoilerish.

    • megalosaurus says:

      The article is called “ten intrigues I didn’t mention about bioshock infinite.” That headline is a pretty big warning about the content of the article. It says; he is going to talk about the game, ergo he may cross some line you deem spoilerific.

      If you don’t want spoilers maybe you should not read articles like this?

      Personally there is nothing in this article which struck me as a spoiler. But that’s just my opinion.

    • MrPo0py says:

      If you consider any of that spoiler territory then I would stay away from RPS and any other gaming website. I fail to see how you can write about a game without at lease divulging a few small details here and there but I struggle to see how they can be viewed as spoilers.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        I scan-read the first few words of each bullet point and tbh there aren’t many spoilers which is why I said “tad” and “ish”. The baseball one and definitely the beach one. Why would there be a beach up there in Columbia? It would have certainly been a surprise to come across it. Surprise spoiled.

        • AngoraFish says:

          The beach was featured in several dev commentary videos and is very early on. The baseball is in the first 15 mins. The general approach in movie and game criticism is that the first 20-25% of content is pretty much fair game. But regardless, by your definition virtually any minor discussion is going to be a ‘spoiler’. Seriously, if you don’t want to read these kind of spoilers, don’t read any articles about the game.

          • FurryLippedSquid says:

            I haven’t read any other review of the game that mentioned either of those instances. Ok, this isn’t a review, more an addendum to a review, but I wouldn’t expect to read these things on a mainstream gaming site 13 hours after the release of the game. A week, maybe even a few days, when people have actually had a chance to play through the first 20% of it, perhaps.

            Take Eurogamer for instance, they’ve started streaming play throughs of games that haven’t even been released yet, or at best the same day as release. What kind of mentalist watches these?

    • randomgamer342 says:

      “Could maybe, possibly be said to contain some minor spoilers, depending on how absolute you are about these sorts of things.”

  3. DigitalSignalX says:

    Enjoyed the first one, however the second only lasted 30 minutes or so before landing in the fabled stack of “never to be played again.” If anyone else is in a similar situation, will we be covered by a quick read through the wiki to get all the lore or will there be lots of things we’ll be missing out on?

    • Boozebeard says:

      I was under the impression that this has no narrative connection to Rapture and the first two games.

    • deaomen says:

      I’m in the same situation. The first game was good, even it had some annoying game design flaws. But the second game… I just couldn’t get into it. It didn’t have same kind of atmosphere than the first game had. I was thinking about re-installing Bioshock 2 and give it a second change before starting playing Infinite, but the temptation is great.

      • cozmic0 says:

        Dude just skip Bioshock 2. It has no relation whatsoever to this game. nothing at all. And it’s best to pretend that game never exist. This is on par with the first Bioshock.

    • Premium User Badge

      welverin says:

      Do people really have so much trouble keeping track of who makes games?

      The second game was developed by 2K Marin, and others, and while that studio was founded by some people from Irrational it still isn’t the same as Bioshock and Bioshock Inifinite being developed there. More importantly the Irrational games are both Ken Levine games, along with System Shock 2.

      So, to sum up your feelings on Bioshock 2 as a game are not relevant to Bioshock Infinite.

    • elfbarf says:

      Bioshock 2’s main campaign was pretty mediocre (aside from Ryan Amusements), though I’d highly recommend trying Minerva’s Den.

    • Taidan says:

      It’s funny. For me, Bioshock 2 was an improvement over the first one in every possible way. The gameplay improved significantly for having the Plasmids available on the left hand, (as opposed to just being the gimmicky “flesh-guns” they were in the first one.) and the story resonated with me in a much stronger way.

      On the flipside, I found the first game really disappointing, the the point where I ignored the sequel entirely until I (luckily) picked it up on a whim a couple of years after release.

      • DrGonzo says:

        Well, you’re wrong. The second was just a cheap sequel, made in what seems to have been five minutes for some quick cash.

        • Taidan says:

          …another problem that the first Bioshock suffered from over its sequel was that it was severely critically overrated.

          For some reason games journalists were falling over themselves to talk about the art direction, but nobody at the time, apart from myself and a couple of the classier reviewers, seemed to notice that the actual gameplay sucked. The fact that the story suffered from extreme pacing problems was pretty common knowledge, at least.

          Luckily, the developers of Bioshock 2 seemed to learn some hard lessons from the first game’s failures, and improved where necessary. The combat was considerably more satisfying, and the story didn’t just fizzle out after “The Twist”, as the first one had, and ultimately led to a much more satisfying final act and conclusion. :p

        • MSJ says:

          “Well, you’re wrong”.

          Somehow I fail to notice anything in Taidan’s comment that contradict the contents of Bioshock 2, any support of any form of bigotry, any mention of support for any political party or ideology that might lead you to saying that, or any advocacy for heinous acts like rape and murder.

  4. SuffixTreeMonkey says:

    Now, I’ve written it today under the main WIT post, but I think it’s worth reiterating: while I enjoyed the WIT, I would like an additional, much more down-to-earth post about the game. Answering questions like:

    * Is the 1999 mode just enemies with a lot more health, to the point of it being grinding?
    * Is the plot actually as silly and the logic flawed as other reviewers claim it to be? How much, in that regard?
    * Graphics-wise: are there any dents in the textures? Posters maybe with blurred out details? Or is it all in HD glory?
    * Gameplay-wise: does the game feel samey throughout (my biggest criticism of Bioshock) or does it bundle some variations like HL2 (overpowered gravity gun combat, squad combat, survival horror in places)? How do you find the action compared to other shooters in the market, or to games with powers such as Dishonored or DX:HR, both of which can be played in a shooter way?
    * How long is it, compared to previous Bioshocks?

    Being a long time RPS reader, I find these answers are often contained in the discussion style “Verdict” posts, where the reviewers tend to actually discuss down to earth things. (Examples: DX:HR: Those bosses sure sucked, eh? Dishonored: Why did the plot had to be so simple and predictable?) Since some reviews mention the plot being silly and the gameplay being not too fun too at places, I’d love to see some variation of the Verdict post.

    Regardless, thank you.

    PS: Ha! Being sick in bed gives me the best place in the comments section.

    • Kobest says:

      I, too, would like to have answers to these questions. Also:

      *So in order to start with the 1999 mode, you have to input the Konami code on the main menu? If yes, does it go up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, [ESC], [ENTER] ?

      *Is the mouse still laggy even if you turn off mouse acceleration?

      Regarding the length, I was reading about 12-15 hours.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        I got the 1999 mode to work by doing the following:

        1) Start with the main (not in-game) menu that has ‘Play’ at the top
        2) Use arrow keys and the letters B and A, so go UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT B A

        You should get a message saying 1999 mode is now unlocked. And also a steam achievement **sigh**

        Other points: Posters are readable to the extent that they are meant to be, so if font is tiny you wont read it but otherwise fine. Graphics are beautifully designed, but certainly not high tech in the way say Crysis 3 is. Foliage is a weak point. It looks like an up-revved Bioshock really, except its outside – which I found feels exactly right. It feels Bioshocky!

        I havent played much yet, and am using a wireless mouse that I need to replace with something decent, so I cannot comment on gameplay or mouse reponsiveness. Incidentally, anyone got a view on the RAT 5 Cyborg?

        • tonyferrino says:

          I use a Rat 5, after using a Logitech MX518 for donkey’s years until the right click died. You definitely have to get used to it as it has such a weird shape in comparison to most other mice, but I like the adjustable…..arse(?) bit so it fits your palm how you want it to. The other thing you need to be careful about is the surface – mine was jumpy and jerky as hell at first with a Razer Goliathus, but I moved to a Sphex and it’s perfect now.

          Finally, it seems to be very sensitive to vibration – if I have a portable hard drive on my desk doing any real work, it starts to lose tracking.

          After all that, I do like it, but I’d try it first if you can.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Thanks very much. The ‘fit’ is quite important, and bloody PC World wont let me take one out of a box and try, so I have been putting it off. My mat is a razer vespula, do you know if thats at all similar to the Goliathus?

          • HothMonster says:

            Tony did you turn off all mouse smoothing and acceleration in windows? If not it might help with the jumpy/jerkiness you describe, though I guess your new pad makes that moot.

        • HothMonster says:

          I had the RAT 7 I loved the feel of it, and the ability to shape it how I wanted. The pinkey rest is what I miss the most. But overall physically it was the best mouse I have ever used. Perfect shape, perfect weight, great feel.

          However I had nothing but problems with it. Most times I rebooted my PC the mouse would only work on one axis (X or Y) and the other would be unresponsive. Plugging and unplugging it a bunch or shaking the shit out of it for 10 minutes and eventually it would work. It was so common I took a 5$ usb mouse from work that I would use when I started my PC until the rat decided to start working. Sometimes it wouldn’t start working till I uninstalled the software and drivers and reinstalled everything. Ignore the prompts to reboot when it finished or it would start all over again.

          I followed all the troubleshooting tips on the manufactures page, no change, I switched it for a new one at my retailer, same thing. I fresh installed windows, same thing.

          I contacted their customer support who ignored me for 2 weeks. Tried to close my ticket without answering me. I responded to keep the ticket open so they waited 5 days and tried to close it again. Then they did the same thing a third time. All this without so much as a “thanks for submitting your ticket we will be in touch.”

          Finally someone apologized for how things were handled then told me to read the faq (which I had stated twice I already read) then ignored me for 2 and half weeks again, then tried to close my ticket. Next they offered to send me a new one, IF I paid for shipping and was willing to have no mouse for ~8 weeks, but with their speed of service I expected it would be much longer. I told them this was my second one and I don’t think it’s a hardware issue and has anyone actually read anything I wrote them? They ignored me for a few weeks and then tried to close the ticket without responding again.

          I gave up and just dealt with it for awhile since I really only reboot a couple times a month anyway. But the mouse finally shit the bed after ~11 months and I returned it my retailer for something different.

          So, I can’t really recommend the RAT.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            Wow, that sucks. What a frustrating list of crappy things to happen. Getting a duff model is one thing, but poor customer service is another entirely. I have read some issues around RAT build quality, so to be honest I think I will steer clear and look for one with more overall glowing reviews. For £50-70 these things should really just work.

          • HothMonster says:

            From what I read they were fantastic until madcatz bought them :(

        • galaxion says:

          One thing to note about the RAT series, is the thumb buttons are very weak – I had to replace my mouse after 3 weeks and now two weeks later it has failed again (I use mine for push-to-talk), which is a real shame as I quite like the feel of this mouse, especially the middle mouse button/scroll wheel.
          …as mentioned it needs some kind of mat, it really didn’t like my table surface, unlike ANY other mouse i’ve used.

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            I just bought myself a Logitech 500 from PC World :) £40 and it has all the features of higher priced models – weights, programmable buttons, DPI settings etc. Am using it with Bioshock and it feels pretty good, though it HATES my razer mouse mat. Had to switch to just the table surface and now its fine.

            On the sludgy controls in game, I turned the graphics settings down and its now far more responsive and accurate, so I think this is one of those games that’s sensitive to your system specs. I have to say on movement though, that BI is certainly no half life or Doom, and Booker doesn’t feel very mobile. Maybe that changes with upgrades, I don’t know. Its got that “if you are running its hard to turn or aim” thing, which while realistic always feels a little annoying if you are trying to hit and run or shoot on the sprint.

    • RandomEsa says:

      What I have read the 1999 mode just makes you have less health and make enemies have more health. I also heard about 2 weapon limit and a regenerating health is still a thing in the 1999 mode?

    • Strabo says:

      - Yes, grindy
      – Not really silly, but not as clever or unique as Ken Levine wants you to think. It’s something seen a couple of times in games too.
      – There are some really sloppy textures (fruits!, bushes!) and some very simple models (like all the clone people Alec mentioned in the 4500-word-behemoth) that fit more in a 2001 game than 2013. On the other hand there are some incredibly art direction pieces. Overall the graphics are good, but not as incredibly as some reviews make them out to be (and I play it on Ultra details). Tomb Raider or Far Cry 3 were more impressive, but the art direction sells the mediocre tech pretty well.
      – It feels like Bioshock 1/2. Which makes the whole shooter/combat stuff feel really sluggish, weightless and without feedback if you just played Tomb Raider, which is simply excellent in this department (QTEs aside). Still fun though. Worse than Dishonored or Farcry 3 too of course. About as good/bad as Deus Ex: HR. Don’t expect much stealth though.
      – 12-15h depending if you discover some of the stuff not in the (very linear) main storyline.

      • Kobest says:

        “-Yes, grindy” and maybe the 1999 mode having regenerating health and two weapon system:

        Really? REALLY? And this supposed to bring back the design of games in the 20th century? (lacking original quote, but something along the lines)

        • Kobest says:

          Wait, so really, that’s it? 1999 mode is really just low amounts of HP coupled with bullet soaking enemies? So do I just have to stay behind cover with unfairly strong enemies then? Because that’s totally not what the design was back in the day.

          Any other input about this?

          • Trionx says:

            Game mechanic spoilers ahead maybe???

            The only bullet-soaking enemies are anything other than people (turrets, robot things etc.) People will go down pretty easily, but bullets, salts, and health are scarce, so you’re going to be eating anything you come across to gain health desperately. And when you die it costs $100 to respawn and if you die without the money you are kicked to the main menu to restart at the last checkpoint.

            I’m having a lot of fun with it, I feel like I’m not that far in yet, since I’ve only gotten 2 guns so far so I don’t know if the limit was lifted or not. The only regenerating thing is a shield that you get a little ways in but it does go down fast so it only buys like a couple seconds before you health is hit. I’d say its worth it if you want that kind of experience.

          • Kobest says:

            Thanks, I’m in for that kind of challenge! :)

        • elfbarf says:

          There isn’t regenerating health on any difficulty.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Graphics-wise, I have no complaints. I’m running it on a Radeon HD 7950 at 2560×1440, and nearly all the textures were crisp and high resolution. There were some loading screens that were noticeably pixelated, strangely. But in game it all looks very, very nice.

    • Uthred says:

      I completely agree, when I first saw a second article on B:I I was hoping Alec was going to address the nitty gritty details of gameplay (which one has to assume is the majority of the experience).

      To address one of your questions, and as others have mentioned, there’s lots of sloppy low res textures. This game seriously needs a hi-res texture pack

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      I’d recommend against playing 1999 mode at least as your first go round. I unlocked it using the code and jumped right into it, wanting the supposed mechanical features like permanence of choice and fewer resources.

      It has that, but it’s also just very punishingly difficult. You have far less health, enemies can soak a fair amount of bullets. They’ve managed to make dying a bigger punishment than simply being kicked back to previous checkpoint. I’m 7 hours into the game, so too far for me to be ok with replaying stuff I’ve already done, but otherwise I would have switched off 1999 mode awhile ago (you can’t change between 1999 and other modes mid-game).

      It’s a real shame, because I’m enjoying the game, the environment, the story, even the mechanics of combat the the arenas you’re fighting in seem like they’d be a whole lot of fun if it weren’t so punishing.

  5. Hoaxfish says:

    Not quite sure if its a mistake, but at one point you get hit by a book called Principles of Quantum Mechanics (the scene is in the trailers). A book written in 1930, but the game is set in 1912.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      The game includes a 1912 rendition of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Either they’re playing fast and loose with chronology, or they’ve made the sort of archaeo-musical discovery that could revolutionise pop as we know it.

      • Gandaf007 says:

        **SPOILERS AHEAD**

        When you’re trying to retrieve Lady Comstock’s hand, there’s a ruined house you can jump into where you can hear the modern version of Girls Just Want to Have Fun. If you open the rift then look around the room a bit more, you’ll find an audio log where Fink is telling an unnamed gentleman something about “I don’t know where you get these songs from, I just know they’re popular and you need to keep coming up with them”

        A bit earlier in the game as well, when you’re trying to help Mr. Lin, you can take a walk into the clock shop and there’s a tear there where you can hear Fortunate Son by CCR. A bit later during the whole revolution part, there’s a lady sitting on some gallows singing a 1912 version of it.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      And not only that, but they’ve got levitating cities in the sky, which weren’t invented until … until … urm …

    • Strabo says:

      All those anachronistic things are deliberate and not a mistake of course. They didn’t get an orchestra to play “Girls Wanna Have Fun” because they mistakenly thought Cindy Lauper was born in 1880.

    • Bacalou says:

      I’d venture to say that someone has used Elizabeth’s ability to do temporal rifts to pull some technology, art and information back to 1912.

  6. Totally heterosexual says:

    Shame that my computer is running on rat droppings right now since the PC version is apparently better.

    Welp

  7. thecommoncold says:

    To contrast with Alec’s atheist take on religion in the game with a Christian perspective: Not all people who wrap themselves in the mantle of faith are true representatives of that faith (wolves in sheep’s clothing, the devil quotes scripture, false prophets, etc.) Comstock’s insidious use of faith does not necessarily discredit faith, although it does discredit Comstock.

    I should know better than to open this can of worms on the internet, but after the article, I feel the topic is fair game.

    • DXN says:

      I’m not a libertarian, but I sort of felt the same way about Bioshock — in the end, it’s such a monstrous, cartoonishly exaggerated depiction that it doesn’t really bear any relation to its target, or at least, it doesn’t comprise a particularly meaningful attack on them.

      But maybe that’s deliberate! After all, they’re here to tell a story and make an enjoyable game, not make cutting and potentially alienating jabs at one group or another. On the other hand, there was a certain subtlety and ambiguity to the scientists in SS2 and the various groups in the Thief games that reflected interestingly on their real-life counterparts. I also felt like that subtlety was something that Dishonored failed to grasp.

    • Cockles says:

      Don’t fear opening that can of worms, in my opinion it’s one of the most humanistic and healthy approaches to religion. People can use religion for their own ends, it can be a tool for division and discrimination or for compassion, unification and making the world a better place, it depends what we choose to do with it and the type of people we are, people can pretty much interpret religious texts to justify anything they choose to do.

      I’m not a believer in god or any religion myself but I agree with your sentiment.

  8. omicron1 says:

    I’m afraid I may have to treat Bioshock Infinite like propaganda while playing – yes, it’s beautiful and plays great, but from the sound of it the message it conveys is hateful and spiteful and just plain wrong. Which is very sad, as I’d love to play a game like this WITHOUT being told that I’m an evil, racist intolerant person by the sanctimonious and opinionated author of said game.

    • Iamerror says:

      You should probably play the game before deciding it is “hateful and spiteful and just plain wrong”. Messages in any form of art [especially interactive] are extremely subjective…

    • DXN says:

      What message do you think it’s trying to convey? (serious question)

  9. Lagwolf says:

    The lionisation then warping of the image & memory of the Founding Fathers is quite common in the White Power/neo-Confederate movement. As is, of course, the vilification of Lincoln as a genocidal monster. Needless to say that racism, to them is “God endorsed” and that ending slavery was an affront to God.

    Unfortunately many extremely religious Americans also attempt to re-write early American history to paint the FF’s as fundamentalist Christians who wanted to create a Christian utopia in the former colonies (New Jerusalem). This is despite the fact that many of the architects and founders were Deists or even agnostics according to their OWN writing. I mean the lack of a state religion was by design and not accident.

    So the story of Comstock & Columbia seems to be a mash-up of these two warped views of early American history. A few days research on the internet could find quite a bit of information about the subject both from analysts and believers themselves.

    • Zerbin says:

      Well…
      Most of the founders and architects of the American Constitution were of the Christian faith (in some form or another) and some of them were very religious indeed. However, some of the most famous ( Jefferson, Franklin, et al) were not, some vociferously so. The importance of matters of faith in American history however, is fairly difficult to overstate. It can be found almost everywhere, and never seems to really go away. Of course, it can be found on both sides of several issues (slavery, expansion, immigration, etc. ad nauseam), but here, at least (I haven’t played the game in question) it seems to be an acknowledgment of a fundamental reality of American history and culture, looked at through the eyes of the development team.
      Fundamental! Ha!

  10. Grape says:

    I saw some gameplay-footage ages ago, and I remembered quite loathing Elisabeth from the impression I got of her in the video. For instance, there was this scene where the player, with Elizabeth in tow as always, were walking around what I recall being a curiosity-shop of some description. There were fireworks in boxes and masks of presidents and probably some other Americana, as well.

    Throughout the entire sequence, she acted like an attention-craving child. “Booker!” “Hey, Booker!” “Look at this!” “Look at me!” “Over here!” “I’m going to put on a mask and make a funny voice!”. She couldn’t be more like an eight-year-old if she had been tugging on your jacket every time she called for attention.

    The next sequence showed a wounded horse, with a hilariously despairing Elizabeth crouching by its head, trying to console it by talking to it in a baby-voice. She eventually gets the bright idea to use her set of batshit-insane reality-bending powers to magically whisk it away to a different universe, which would somehow heal it.

    The protagonist calmly and repeatedly tries to talk sense with her, informing her that she has demonstrably and repeatedly proven to have a complete lack of control of her powers, and would severely danger him, herself and even the damn horse by doing this. This of course has zero effect on her, who naturally proceeds to do it anyway in an ill-advised and infuriatingly immature attempt at asserting her “independence”, inevitably fucking the whole thing up and nearly getting them both killed.

    As she subsequently starts sobbing “you were right! I can’t control them!”, I found myself wondering how on Earth the developers sincerely expected us to root for her and want to assist her, as opposed to repeatedly pistol-whip her bug-eyed face until it stopped emitting annoying noises.

    So, my question is; is this in any way an accurate representation of Elizabeth, as she appears in the full game? If so, is there an actual reason for her to behave this way, perhaps? If I’ve understood the lore correctly, she’s apparently spending her life mostly imprisoned by a bizarre monster, somehow. Does this mean she’s been mostly isolated from human contact, leaving her quite immature and socially unintelligent as she’s effectively underdeveloped in that area? It’s not really fair of me to bitch about Elizabeth being obnoxious and punchable when she is actually supposed to be obnoxious and punchable at that point in the storyline, and if this is actually being lampshaded by the developers, I of course have zero issue with it, as it could actually be quite good storytelling if done right. The problem is; I quite got the impression that the viewers were supposed to look at the video and actually find this behaviour charming, appealing and likable. Which it certainly wasn’t.

    I’m sure Meer would have pointed it out in the WIT if she was as bad as I recall, though?

    • Kobest says:

      Exactly my worries as well. After that gameplay trailer, I thought “wait, so you have to protect this kid?!?” Then I recalled a Zero Punctuation episode of Resident Evil 5 where Yahtzee mentioned that “at least in Resi 4, you could put your companion into the trash.”

    • Strabo says:

      Elizabeth has never been outside her quarters (a golden cage without human contact under constant hidden surveillance by scientists/fundamentalists). Of course everything is new and wondrous to her, all the things she only knows out of books. Additionally she has some really powerful and dangerous abilities, she can’t really understand and barely control. And she gets a lot of revelations about herself and her role along the way.

      She’s a great companion, providing you with help without getting in the way or being annoying at all – rather the opposite. She isn’t some wide-eyed pixie girl either, if that’s what you afraid of.

      • Grape says:

        And she gets a lot of revelations about herself and her role along the way.

        Are you saying she “grows up” during the game and starts becoming more likable?

        • Strabo says:

          Well, running around with a guy killing people in rather gruesome ways, being pursued by other people and other spoilery stuff might have a bit of that effect, yes.

    • StashAugustine says:

      From my experience 4 or so hours in: YMMV on the personality, it’s similar but not that grating. Personally, I like it, but I can understand someone disliking it. In gameplay, she is not a liability at all. I’m fairly certain she’s invincible, or at least functionally so, she gets in cover at the first sign of trouble, and tosses you health and opens tears for additional resources.

  11. Emeraude says:

    This has spawned a weird, kinda heated, debate between the people I play with: a good half quite likes the artistic direction, the remaining people are at various stages of “this doesn’t do it for me”.

    Would need to play the game myself to have a definitive opinion, but what I see so far puts me with the later group. The whole thing looks – I don’t know, insipid isn’t the right word, but it’s the closest I can think of right now.

    • Grape says:

      The whole thing looks – I don’t know, insipid isn’t the right word, but it’s the closest I can think of right now.

      In fairness, I think pretty much every single game who try to make a good story ends up like that.

  12. AndreTheTinny_withagiantdick says:

    @SuffixTreeMonkey
    ” – * Is the plot actually as silly and the logic flawed as other reviewers claim it to be? How much, in that regard?”
    DAT ENDING IS JUST AWFUL AND ABRUPT. You gonna need to replay the game just to make a better understanding of the story.
    “If WTF is happening it makes no sence, where the hell is this story going” get out of jail techno-magic bullcrap your idea of brilliance in storytelling then you must think of Ken “Im doing the same game over and over again since System Shock” Levine as a literary genius.

  13. Zenicetus says:

    Since the WIT and this post are still heavy on meta-analysis and light on actual game mechanics and implementation on the PC (c’mon, RPS!)… I thought I’d mention that the FOV really sucks on a 4:3 monitor.

    There is a FOV slider on the options screen, but it only widens the view by 15%. I don’t know what that ends up as, but it feels like around 60 – 70 degrees? That isn’t nearly enough for either combat awareness or appreciating the eye candy in 4:3 ratio. The game feels cramped. I can get a wide enough FOV in other first-person view games like Skyrim or Dishonored, but not in this one.

    For now, I’m just setting it to 16:9 in the Options screen, which results in a letterboxed wider view so I can at least play the game. That setting is a bit fiddly — it auto-detected my 4:3 ratio and wouldn’t let me set anything else until I reloaded the game, but it does work if you need a wider view. I’m hoping there is a hack or a mod for widening the 4:3 FOV beyond the in-game FOV setting, out there somewhere.

    At least the mouse is working fine here, with the in-game settings at low sensitivity and acceleration turned off. I haven’t had to mess with Vsync (there is no in-game setting for this, so it would have to be done in the Nvidia driver).

    • Zenicetus says:

      Okay, this looks like an .ini file fix to expand FOV to 90 degrees max instead of the default lower range. This should work in 16:9 too, if you want it wider:

      http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/BioShock_Infinite#Field_of_view_.28FOV.29

      I’m still dithering about whether to go expanded 4:3 or just play the game letterboxed in 16:9. Expanded 4:3 is more immersive (and more like the original Bioshock) on my monitor. But since this is such a “cinematic” game, I might just leave it letterboxed and enjoy the movie, since that seems to be what the devs intended it to look like.

  14. Werthead says:

    Ten minutes into the game:

    “Mr. Rossignol! Mr. Rossignol!”

    RPS reference in the game? Has metageddon finally come?

    • StashAugustine says:

      Wikipedia informs me that the Rossignols are a family of French cryptographers whose name is slang for “skeleton key.” Unfortunately, I’d bet that’s where the reference goes.

      • Werthead says:

        Based on Twitter messages between the RPS team-members, it actually sounds like it was a genuine reference. An apparent reference to former PC Zone alumni Prezzer is actually someone who works at Irrational, sadly.

  15. Stupoider says:

    Sounds as packed with gameplay as the original.

  16. Skeith says:

    I haven’t started Infinite yet, so I probably shouldn’t be reading this. But I would like to point out that “middle-aged men’s faces atop the bodies of Greek gods” isn’t that crazy to Americans. We do have one of Washington http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_(Greenough)

  17. Sander Bos says:

    “Could maybe, possibly be said to contain some minor spoilers, depending on how absolute you are about these sorts of things.”

    Is this a reference to people complaining about spoilers in the Wot I Think. Because I thought those commenters were complete correct in their complaints. I am not talking about this article. But in the Wot I Think you start of by stating “Here’s what I thought, spoiler-free”, and then in the article you freely speak about things that don’t happen in the game (most notably the Songbird fight that does not occur). Telling that things won’t happen (e.g. secondary characters who won’t die in a movie) is also a spoiler.
    If you have problems with determining what is a spoiler or not, just think to yourself, would I mind it if somebody had told me this before I started playing the game.

    • Grape says:

      I for one can’t seem to understand the fact that there are people out there who genuinely gives a shit about this stuff to begin with.

  18. Kobest says:

    Is it just me or the Steam page of the game with the huge poster of UNPRECEDENTED PRAISE FOR BIOSHOCK INFINITE IN REVIEW SCORES HITTING TODAY is a bit too much?…

    I barely started the game, but so far, it’s Bioshock with a new skin, so let’s hope that there’s something new and fresh apart from the setting. Not sure if the new setting makes up for it, but I indeed dropped my jaws a couple of times. :)

    Also, is Booker plain stupid for not realizing who the Lamb of the Prophet is from the get go?

    • Leonard H. Martin says:

      Possibly. He’s even more stupid for not packing a couple of parachutes on the expedition, though.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      What did you expect from the reviews? Bioshock games have always been hyped to the point that reviewers can’t really do anything but praise them because they lack the critical faculties to do anything else. (Not referring to RPS’s review since it’s probably the most measured one so far.)

      Infinite looks like it will be one of the highest rated games of all time. And yet, just like the original Bioshock, in a few months, once the hype has died and people have actually played it, opinion will have changed to lukewarm. At best. The original Bioshock is also one of the highest rated games of all time, and I don’t think anyone could honestly defend that. But here we go again. This process happens again and again with hyped series like Bioshock and Elder Scrolls.

      Even in the reviews so far, a recurring theme seems to be that Infinite is not as special/memorable as the original Bioshock — but look at these review scores. It’s a joke.

      • Leonard H. Martin says:

        The problem is that these so called “reviews” have nothing to do with consumer advice; they are solely there to generate the funding that allow sites like RPS to exist.

        The RPS guys owe us nothing. Alec’s rubbishy wank about Infinite, Walker’s attacks on Sims whatever, Proctor’s weekly cheap game line-up… we’re not paying for any of this. We’re not their customers, the advertisers are.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          That somewhat misses the point about why advertising happens. If there are no eyes on the site, we don’t get the money. RPS works because we are a credible site that lots of people come to read about games. Advertisers are in no sense our customers, they are our advertisers.

          And how is John’s work on exposing SimCity’s awful mess not consumer advice?

          Also, do fuck off.

          • Leonard H. Martin says:

            You’re making my point for me there Jim. If I were your customer you wouldn’t be telling me to fuck off. If I were your customer, I wouldn’t question the advertising.

            Still, you’ve told me to fuck off and fuck off I shall. But not without a few passing shots:

            1) The quality of the journalism on this site has degenerated to such an extent that it doesn’t even qualify as such. Perhaps you should spend a bit more time editing, rather than working on other projects.

            2) If you can’t tell the difference between regurgitating second and third hand stories with no solid, referenced, first hand evidence (ala Walker) then yes, I suppose you could call that consumer advice. You might also think that the Daily Mail espouses reasonable opinions on race and immigration.

            3) Care to expose who paid for your recent jaunt to GDC? Out of your own pocket, was it?

            4) Unluckily for you I don’t appreciate being told to fuck off. By you or anyone. To that end I will be writing to every advertiser that appears on these “esteemed” pages to tell them I won’t be buying their products because the “head honcho” of said site told me to fuck off. I will also mention I won’t buy any products they advertise on Eurogamer – since you have a nice cosy relationship with them – for the same reasons.

            Toodle pip and best luck with the future,

            Leonard H. Martin.

          • Premium User Badge

            AndrewC says:

            What a strange man.

          • Premium User Badge

            AlwaysRight says:

            Has he fucked off yet?…

            Good! *does la cucaracha dance*

  19. SuperNashwanPower says:

    OK one major bugbear. The save system is awful – checkpoints are way too far apart for my liking. People have other things to do in life you know? At least give us a Save On Quit function – forcing you to lose your progress since last checkpoint, which could be 15 minutes prior, is just the most annoying thing. Hopefully this will be modded out because it is a real irritation. I get headaches sometimes when I play and need to stop, so if I do I have to lose all my progress.

    I know That Guy will be along shortly to tell me he thinks its fine, but how many times has the save game debate come down on the side of “give us the choice”?

    • StashAugustine says:

      I see absolutely no reason that it couldn’t have a save-on-quit feature. It’s probably my biggest gripe about the game, especially given how exploration-based it is.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      The save system is absolutely awful. It’s made even more ridiculous when you realize that the stuff found in containers is random on each load. I’m playing 1999 mode, so when you run out of cash for respawns it kicks you back to the menu (where you have to then hit play and continue manually, such nonsense) and I’ve had sections where the save is right before a room to scavenge before a tough enemy, and the amount of resources I got before the fight varied wildly, even to the point that I would get a different gear drop each time.

      The checkpoints are too far apart, and the “hard saves” (the ones you can jump back to, that don’t get overwritten if you load a new game) are even further apart.

      Checkpointing is only acceptable if a game is very strictly linear and the checkpoints are exceptionally well placed. This game is pretty linear, but not nearly enough, and they aren’t. A save anywhere should be patched in post haste.

      • Kobest says:

        Exactly. I’m playing on 1999 mode as well, and whenever I’m about to lose a fight, I go back to the menu to reload the checkpoint instead of losing 100 bucks. You know, instead of getting a game over and reloading the save state.

        Not to mention, I had no idea that, in a game’s mode where “it evokes the design in the 20th century,” I would be checking when the checkpoint was saved by hitting “exit to main menu” so it told me what time it saved the bloody thing. Moreover, that saving icon appears so quickly and in a flash that I barely had time to notice in many cases.

        • Premium User Badge

          Hidden_7 says:

          Ha, yes, exactly. My main thought all throughout playing in 1999 mode (apart from “I really shouldn’t be playing this, I wish I could turn it down to Hard or Medium”) is “Ken Levine and I remember 1999 VERY differently.”

          • sketchseven says:

            As I understand it, the 1999 thing is a direct reference to System Shock 2 (which, as memory serves, was a genuinely hard game) and not to the year itself specifically. That’s why the mechanics are toughened up to that degree.

            I think they stuck the Konami code in there simply as a nod to that particular geek meme (which has outgrown it’s humble origins as Konami’s standard ‘enable dev mode hacks’ code).

  20. Suits says:

    So many character model clones

  21. F3ck says:

    As “predictable” as the reviews for Infinite were going to be (holy shit, you mean glowing praise for genuinely fun and interesting games? How fucking dare they) the majority RPS reaction was practically etched in stone…

    …a collective bitterness at any/all praise for the game, non-stop searching for any flaw -no matter how small (and little circle-jerk celebrations of “this” whenever discovered), and ceaseless yammering about how wonderful System Shock was, how bad Bioshock was, and games are too easy and too pretty and should be ugly and super-difficult…

    Infinite is receiving this acclaim because it is, quite simply, a masterpiece. It is a blast to play, suspenseful, fascinating, completely unique and preposterously gorgeous…no wonder the League of Extraordinary Gamers claims to hate it (they don’t really, but appearances are paramount).