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EviLore
Expansive Ellipses
(03-28-2013, 11:12 PM)
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Bioshock Infinite is an ambitious, gorgeous, carefully crafted game, certainly, but it is still a linear cinematic hallway shooter with everything that entails. Upon completing it, I can't shake the notion that its intent would have been better served by operating within almost any other plausible framework than the one it actually uses.

At the onset, the player is thrust -- on more than one level -- into an exciting and wonderful place, but there is already some sense of awkwardness before the combat inevitably takes hold. The citizens of Columbia make eye contact with you and track your movements, from carefully realized stationary positions, mostly without ever communicating with you. They're equal parts wax museum specimen and carnival ride prop.

When the non-violent layer is stripped away after the initial hour, the rest of the game is spent with the city's forces running at you in endless waves. There are brief respites, but, again, despite sometimes being surrounded by civilians who stare and track you, your communication is mostly limited to back and forth quips with Elizabeth as you wander past.

Murdering the entire population of Columbia is touched upon by her, briefly, when you neutralize an entire room of people in self defense shortly after the two of you meet, and then later in the game when she briefly reflects upon everything that the two of you have accomplished -- mass slaughter in the service of self-preservation, mainly -- but so little emphasis is placed on tackling these elements overall that it can undermine the narrative's intent. Evoking a desire to protect her? She's feeding you ammo and medkits so that the you can more effectively murder everyone in your path, while she remains entirely invulnerable herself. Portraying Columbia as a fully realized city, despite its impressive backstory and scope and thousands of details? Good luck with that, when it boils down to a series of kill hallways. Those notes aren't hit.

Therein lies the problem, then. The storytelling is always going to be constrained by any attempts to appropriately tackle what the player is actually spending most of his time doing in a cinematic hallway shooter, unless it's Call of Duty or Battlefield's implicit understanding of, "hey, it's war, that's the point." So, on one hand we can welcome a departure from the military shooter premise, but on the other hand it leads to a new set of problems with pairing a believable narrative with the primary interaction consisting of walking forward for 10 hours murdering hundreds of people to a hand-wave and a shrug, surrounded by a pretty backdrop.

Of course, cinematic hallway shooters remain popular and it's a safe approach to funnel 200 million dollars into. Let's set aside the financial realities for a moment, though. It seems that Bioshock Infinite's intent would have been far more successful with a different gameplay framework entirely. Let the citizens of Columbia be more than eerie props and let combat be something other than a foregone conclusion. Bring the character development more front and center instead of continuing to shoehorn System Shock 2's audio logs into a far more cinematic style of game. Let us explore this beautiful fantasy city properly beyond sifting through thousands of trash bins and bookshelves for homogeneous loot in between walking forward and killing everything on sight.

Bioshock Infinite's narrative successes set it apart from the typical AAA release, but I'm left more frustrated than satisfied. We get a peek at what the bombastic cinematic carnival ride can be, paired with an overwhelming majority runtime of awkwardly paired Call of Duty shooter.

It's an appropriate swan song for this console generation, perhaps. Now let's do more.
Wanda/Wander
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:13 PM)
Naw
Snacks the sober sea lion
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(03-28-2013, 11:13 PM)
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I liked how there were non-combat sections for the first bit of the game. Then once the world-hopping started, it was just nonstop shootbang claw murder while the sky is perpetually thundery and on fire.
SnakeswithLasers
If I want to pay a black man $20 to suck him off in a public bathroom, by God and Country, I SHALL.
(03-28-2013, 11:14 PM)
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Originally Posted by EviLore

It's an appropriate swan song for this console generation, perhaps. Now let's do more.

This generation will henceforth be known as the 'left trigger, right trigger' generation.
Toki767
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:14 PM)
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I agree. I had no problems with the way they choose to put "gameplay" but it didn't need to be a shooter to tell the story it did.
TimeEffect
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(03-28-2013, 11:14 PM)
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I love how it's such a swan song, this gen started for many with Bioshock, sounds like it's ending that way too. Feels so appropriate.
MidnightCowboy
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:16 PM)
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I can't help but agree. I absolutely adore Columbia and wish I could just walk around for hours and talk to everyone, rather than having to shoot people and burn them alive.
Mesoian
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:16 PM)
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It's the uncharted problem. Nathan Drake is the most charismatic serial murderer you've ever met.

It's not that the FPS nature of the game is wrong or unfitting, it's just that those games are so focused around nothing but combat that it makes things hazy. A game more similar to Dues Ex which allows you to collaborate with the inhabitants in a more meaningful way would have helped bolster the narrative 10 fold.

That being said, I thought Bioshock Infinite was outstanding and had one of the best stories in gaming this generation.
Dantis
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:16 PM)
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Agree completely. I hadn't seen much of the game outside of one or two videos, so I was going in relatively cold, and it was a real shock when the shooting started and then proceeded not to stop.

I feel like there should have been more moments of downtime similar to the opening, where you get to interact with the world again. Any that are present in the final product are far too brief.
StuBurns
Banned
(03-28-2013, 11:16 PM)
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It's okay to 'set aside' the fiscal aspects for the point of making some abstract statement about where games are, but you have to bring it back into the conversation in terms of actual results of what we want.

Infinite is incredible, in many regards, and it's conventional too, but it's conventional design that is going to allow the incredible. Removing it just kills the financial prospects of the game.
Voice of Reason
Banned
(03-28-2013, 11:16 PM)
The vigors keep the game play refreshing and so do the major gunfights that involve skyrails. I think the game's pacing prevents it from being monotonous.
Muffdraul
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:17 PM)
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Bioshock Infinite shits on me from a great height.
chickdigger802
Banned
(03-28-2013, 11:17 PM)
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Just started... but it's kinda fucking weird that one second you won the lottery, the next second you stick a handsaw into a popo's head.

But don't worry Evilore, BF4 is the next step in this industry in terms of storytelling and emotions.
The Cartographer
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:18 PM)
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Isn't this game full of plotholes?
BearPawB
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:18 PM)
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The story is great.
The gameplay is fun (throwing guys in the air and blasting them with a shotgun will always be fun)

I don't want bioshock to be Dear Esther. I want it to be bioshock.

Also I think bioshock infinite does more than most games in terms of justifying your killing/talking about it as a plot point.
Vire
DancingJesus
(03-28-2013, 11:18 PM)
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I don't think Bioshock Infinite needs NOT to be a shooter.

But it would have benefited if there was LESS shooting.

Some areas got dragged down by the constant stream of endless waves (Finkton) and hurt the pacing of the game. Just cut down on the amount of enemies and keep each encounter special.

Nonetheless, incredible game.
LiK
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:18 PM)
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well, the shooting was a lot of fun. but yea, it could benefit if it was more RPGish like Elder Scrolls. Maybe Irrational should try that. they're able to create amazing atmosphere and story so it could work without a lot of shooting.
polyh3dron
Banned
(03-28-2013, 11:18 PM)
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Any idea of what gameplay would've served the storyline better?

The vigors and skyhook made the shooting fun as hell to me. Yeah you're committing mass murder, but it's a game, you need foes to defeat.

I could've done without the seemingly infinite rummaging through desks though.
Last edited by polyh3dron; 03-28-2013 at 11:21 PM.
Acorn
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:18 PM)
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I couldn't agree more, but then we come to the familiar problem of how to make it a game?

I mean, I would be happy with a David Cage (done right) or Dear Esther approach but we are still stuck in the nature of a game having to have goal and the easiest goal is Y is enemy kill Y to proceed to X objective which gives you a prompt to go kill Z. The cycle continues.

EDIT- Also we have very recently had a lot of people trying to box in what is a 'game' and isn't a 'game' which creates another problem.
Last edited by Acorn; 03-28-2013 at 11:21 PM.
JetBlackPanda
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:18 PM)
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Could a FPS adventure game work without any shooting? think Dear Esther. Would 2k see a return near what they spent on a game like that.

nope.

this is the problem right? Like Sessler said in his review, this game has an amazing story while still at its core being a decent "game" its an interesting questions either way.
Joba62x
Junior Member
(03-28-2013, 11:18 PM)
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Originally Posted by TimeEffect

I love how it's such a swan song, this gen started for many with Bioshock, sounds like it's ending that way too. Feels so appropriate.


I agree, fun ride.
disappeared
Junior Member
(03-28-2013, 11:18 PM)
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I thought the same way through most of the game. The gunplay was improved over B1, but at the end of the day I still didn't really enjoy shooting people. Infinite is the the first FPS I've completed since... I think Half-Life 2 in 2005. I gave up on B1 about halfway through. It could have worked as a first-person-adventure just as deliciously. Booker is apparently a detective, so throwing in some murder mystery instead of shooting hallways could have been cool also.

I still adore the game, but it's likely the last FPS I'll ever play and finish.
Last edited by disappeared; 03-28-2013 at 11:22 PM.
MormaPope
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:19 PM)
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That 200 million dollar budget estimate was from an anonymous analyst, I don't think that figure isn't really accurate for Infinite's budget.

Originally Posted by The Cartographer

Isn't this game full of plotholes?

No. Where'd you hear that?
Lakitu
st5fu
(03-28-2013, 11:19 PM)
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Yeah, it had more action than I actually wanted. Still feel the environments were expansive enough to require exploration and just looking for little details. Just wish they toned it down a bit.
ilnadmy
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(03-28-2013, 11:20 PM)
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Ken Levine touched upon this in an interview saying that yes there's tension between all the shooting you're doing in the game and the narrative that in a way tries to paint violence as a bad thing, but then he said that this is also true for action movies. At the end of the day you need some sort of basic gameplay mechanic to carry the game, and in this case it's the combat.

I'm only 3 hours into the game so I can't judge it yet, but I agree that I had the most fun in its non-combat areas just walking around absorbing the scenery.
Dog Problems
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:20 PM)
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It would have made a fantastic point-and-click adventure game or even an adventure game from a first-person perspective.
SmithnCo
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(03-28-2013, 11:20 PM)
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Originally Posted by Vire

I don't think Bioshock Infinite needs NOT to be a shooter.

But it would have benefited if there was LESS shooting.

Some areas got dragged down by the constant stream of endless waves (Finkton) and hurt the pacing of the game. Just cut down on the amount of enemies and keep each encounter special.

Nonetheless, incredible game.

Yeah, I like the shooting mechanics and the vigors keep it fresh, but some of the areas dragged a bit with the waves on hard mode. A little less would've served the pacing better, still an incredible game though.
SalsaShark
Trust no one!
Keep your laser handy!
(03-28-2013, 11:20 PM)
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I think it obviously has marketing reasons behind it being the way it is. It would never count with this much money to make if it wasnt a shooter at heart.

Thing is tho, im not sure if I agree with your quip about murdering the whole population of Columbia and whatnot. AFAIK the reason for that is very much present: everyone's a religious nut who thinks you're the false shepard, they wanna kill you and you dont want to die. Furthermore it gets even more hectic later on when you are basically in the midst of a war between factions going down.

I think it was better suited here than in Bioshock 1, for example. The idea of SUDDENLY SPLICERS fit way less, even if the whole thing was already decayed and broken.
Last edited by SalsaShark; 03-28-2013 at 11:22 PM.
daxgame
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(03-28-2013, 11:20 PM)
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great post there, OP.
Toki767
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(03-28-2013, 11:20 PM)
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Originally Posted by The Cartographer

Isn't this game full of plotholes?

Not as many as you would think considering the nature of the story.
Raitosaito
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:20 PM)
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It's hard to get something crafted at this level as a "non-shooter" in today's market.
We take what we can get.
Zeliard
(03-28-2013, 11:20 PM)
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As someone who has really enjoyed Bioshock Infinite's gameplay, I still really do agree with everything you said. There is a jarring contrast between the gameplay style and the thematic ambitions, and this sort of world with such emphasis on story and character would be much better-served in more of an RPG/adventure framework.
Lunar15
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(03-28-2013, 11:21 PM)
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It's weird. The narrative goals and gameplay goals just don't align all the time.

In Bioshock, encounters were less frequent, and the world was filled with genetically fried pshychopaths. It made more sense that you'd be fighting them. Here, it seems horribly implausible that I'm fighting an entire police force AND army.

Shame too, since I like both the story and the gameplay. I don't think that this is a critique of each element individually, but rather putting two different parts together.
The Cartographer
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(03-28-2013, 11:21 PM)
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Originally Posted by MormaPope

No. Where'd you hear that?

Two friends of mine told me so.
shinobi602
(03-28-2013, 11:21 PM)
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I'm about 7 hours in so far and I think the pacing and combat are both excellent.
Ace Harding
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(03-28-2013, 11:21 PM)
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This is what's holding me back from rushing out to buy and play it. On the one hand, I want to experience what everyone has been gushing over. On the other, I have zero interest in running through corridors in first-person perspective, shooting dudes.
Y2Kev
I win again.
(03-28-2013, 11:21 PM)
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The player seems to have decidedly more agency in ruining "Paradise" in Columbia compared to Rapture. When Jack arrives in Rapture, it's basically devastated and the people are completely insane. When Booker arrives in Infinite, at worst the people are xenophobes and racists (and not even really anachronisms for their time). Maybe that's too generous a description of them. I haven't fully processed everything yet.

But, geeze, I feel so much worse after having tore this place a new one...
Bururian
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:21 PM)
This is the problem I had with Uncharted. I love the atmosphere of the game, the detail put into the environment. I want to just explore and everything, but I keep getting pushed into oncoming waves of enemies for a mechanic I don't particularly care for. It only slightly spoiled the experience.
LiK
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(03-28-2013, 11:21 PM)
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Originally Posted by The Cartographer

Two friends of mine told me so.

tell them they're wrong.
polyh3dron
Banned
(03-28-2013, 11:21 PM)
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Originally Posted by The Cartographer

Isn't this game full of plotholes?

You can make up plotholes for any story.
Zefah
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:22 PM)
I totally agree. Or I should say, it needs a LOT less shooting.

Really, the combat arenas and scenarios just kill the immersion of the wonderful world they created. I wish the primary form of the gameplay was exploration and possibly even puzzle solving with combat being only a part of specific story segments. The first combat sequence is pretty well done. It was sudden, brutal, and quick. I wish the game just had a few of those spread out throughout the game.

The combat in Bioshock Infinite is not bad at all. It's actually pretty fun, but I just don't think it really meshes well with everything else the game is trying to show you. It wasn't as jarring in the original Bioshock, because you were wandering through a broken city full of drugged-up psycopaths. The people you're killing in this game are mostly just normal people in a city that is still alive and well.
daninthemix
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(03-28-2013, 11:22 PM)
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I agree that the world/story and gameplay are quite discordant. A Fallout style RPG with more non-hostile people (and quest givers) would've been a more satisfying experience than a largely by-the-numbers FPS that happens to be set in perhaps the most striking world since Rapture.
Lunar15
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(03-28-2013, 11:22 PM)
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Originally Posted by Ace Harding

This is what's holding me back from rushing out to buy and play it. On the one hand, I want to experience what everyone has been gushing over. On the other, I have zero interest in running through corridors in first-person perspective, shooting dudes.

But that's the thing. The gameplay IS fun. It just doesn't feel right against the context of the story.
Bururian
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:22 PM)

Originally Posted by polyh3dron

You can make up plotholes for any story.

Lots of people use "plotholes" without really knowing what that term means.
spandexmonkey
Member
(03-28-2013, 11:23 PM)
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Story wise, would have been a better as a first person point and click style adventure game with occasional bits of combat where necessary. The narrative suffers a bit from how quickly you go into rambo mode.
FartOfWar
Why so low?
(03-28-2013, 11:23 PM)
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I wear my bias on my sleeve, but I'm surprised by the Call of Duty comparison. I've played every COD, and COD combat and BI combat are completely different creatures. Edit: The 200 million figure was pulled from an unnamed analyst's anus.
Last edited by FartOfWar; 03-28-2013 at 11:27 PM.
Miles Quaritch
lemme stick dat Red Ring
(03-28-2013, 11:23 PM)
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I haven't finished the game yet, but I absolutely agree.

One point, Elizabeth actually does respond to you killing random soldiers. If you happen to kill one near her in a particularly gruesome way (headshot with the hand cannon or with a skyhook assassination), she makes an audible 'eurgh'.

Not a lot sure, but at least she's not a silent automaton outside of cut-scenes or trigger events.
SalsaShark
Trust no one!
Keep your laser handy!
(03-28-2013, 11:23 PM)
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This game doesnt have plot holes

I mean that. Without spoiling: the game's story purposefully works in a way that avoids that.
SmithnCo
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(03-28-2013, 11:23 PM)
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Originally Posted by The Cartographer

Isn't this game full of plotholes?

Not really. Especially for the kind of story it is.
Alchemy
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(03-28-2013, 11:24 PM)
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I don't really play through many FPS games, so I'm not terribly burnt out on the genre. About two hours into Infinite and it feels great to me. No gameplay complaints.

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