Posted 2:30pm

Hands-on with BioShock Infinite for PS3

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In a clever touch, the opening of BioShock Infinite subtly parallels the first moments of the original BioShock. In both games you find yourself adrift in an angry ocean, slowly making your way towards a lighthouse that juts proudly from the sullen sea. The key difference this time is that you don’t plunge into the frigid depths of the Atlantic, but soar far into the heavens above in search of Columbia, a rogue city-state that seceded from the US in an alternate-history version of 1912.

In both games, things are not as they first seem. BioShock’s undersea city of Rapture ran on ambiguous agendas cloaked in philosophy and punditry, but was clearly in its death throes from the first moment you set foot in its haunted hallways.

Columbia’s sickness is also terminal but lies deeper, eluding immediate detection. In fact, your first 30 minutes in Columbia are warm and peaceful, almost idyllic. The glow of countless candles lights your way into the city, while angelic choirs drone pleasantly in the background.

It pays to move slowly in order to better soak in the game’s dazzling eye for detail, whether it’s the throngs of citizens crowding the local carnival, hummingbirds buzzing busily from rosebush to rosebush, or children splashing in the spray of an opened fire hydrant. Columbia is alive.

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Of course, this being BioShock, you know there’s a snake lurking somewhere in this Garden of Eden. That snake may well come in the form of Father Comstock, the self-proclaimed prophet of Columbia who preaches racial purity and feuds endlessly with the Vox Populi, a diverse rebel force sporting different but perhaps equally questionable beliefs. As in BioShock, the battle between these two philosophically disparate forces is the impetus for much of the game’s plot.

If you haven’t followed the development of BioShock Infinite, know that you play the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, an experienced but haunted investigator. DeWitt has been pressured into infiltrating Columbia in order to evacuate Elizabeth, a teenage captive who possesses the astonishing power to open tears in space-time.

Elizabeth is a frequent companion, and Irrational Games has gone to considerable expense and effort to make her presence a welcome one. She’s smart enough to duck out of sight when the lead starts flying, and helpfully lobs healing items and ammo when you’re in danger. Better still, she adds a delightful glimmer of humour and innocence to a game that tackles some extremely dark and disturbing themes.

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Compared to 2006′s BioShock, Infinite’s shooting fundamentals feel more confident and satisfying. I played with a variety of weapons – pistol, SMG, carbine, sniper rifle, and RPG – and they all proved to be potent, versatile death dealers. Though the game has shifted to a two-weapon system, you’re still able to upgrade your weapons via vending machines scattered around Columbia, enhancing accuracy, damage, clip size and much more.

The revamped control scheme wisely re-assigns some key actions, including a dedicated melee attack via the Triangle button and a handy sprint activated via L3. Overall, the DualShock 3 controls feel solid, familiar, and reliable. While the final version of the game will support the PlayStation Move motion controller, we weren’t able to try it out this time – we’ll be looking to do so as soon as possible.

Vigors are Infinite’s answer to Plasmids, and they’ve also received greatly enhanced functionality. Each Vigor can be used in two different ways; tap Devil’s Kiss and you’ll lob an explosive fireball, charge it up and you’ll drop a fiery mine. Murder of Crows proved to be a particularly devastating but energy-intensive Vigor, while Bucking Bronco catapulted enemies out of cover and into the sights of my trusty Repeater.

My favorite was probably Possession, which enabled me to remotely hack enemy turrets and score extra coin at vending machines. As with BioShock’s Plasmids, you can upgrade Vigors to add additional effects and benefits, though the upgrade path here seemed more varied and flexible.

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Finally, it’s worth noting that the PS3 version of the game looks sharp and runs smoothly, even when the scenery soars past in the game’s vertigo-inducing Skyhook segments. Load times were infrequent, too.

Want to know more about BioShock Infinite? Drop me some questions in the comments and I’ll try to get you answers as quickly as possible.

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Comments

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Is it true that the US Version of the game comes with the addition of the Original Bioshock and the EU Version (UK, GER) does not include it?

 

Looking very much forward to this game.
I’ve got 3 questions for you:

1) There was talking about move intergration. How is it intergrate in this game?
2) In a eary preview we saw a short glimps at another time period (with the cinema). Will we go other places during this game and will we stay there longer than a glimps.
3) Fighting on the rails look very hectic. How does the gamer keeps track of what is going on? I’m worried I’m not able.

 
SoulChimera 7 December, 2012 @ 3:04 pm   3

@1 – Yes. At the moment it’s not going to be included in the EU release.

Bioshock Infinite has also slipped to the 26th March 2013.

 

Hi, looking very much forward to this. I have some questions regarding it…

1. Is there some sort of reward for having Bioshock 1/2 save. (hoping not, cause of so, it’ll be a 360 purchase of this game)

2. Any idea if there’ll be some sort of included content with the UK version of Bioshock infinite? Similar to how US get Bioshock 1 free with Bioshock infinite?

Thanks

 

not buying , i have al others
but u tread europe not same like usa = by by .

 
Stonesthrow 7 December, 2012 @ 4:55 pm   6

Can.not.wait. I hope everything is well with the studio on a side note.

 

US gets bonus game with purchase, we do not. We pay the same full price, why not recieve the same?

Going to rent this, will not support companies that favour certain regions over others.

 
dark_angel69 7 December, 2012 @ 5:14 pm   8

I was very excited for this game. When I 1st heard Bioshock 1 was coming with it I got even more excited but until i found out a few days ago that it was for americans only, I changed my mind about this game. Lost interest now. Was looking forward to playing Bioshock 1 again as I never got to play it on ps3. Will wait until this game drops in price now. No need to try changing my mind with your words as it wont work unless your words are that Bioeshock 1 will come with it to EU

 
SoulChimera 7 December, 2012 @ 6:23 pm   9

Looks like the Vita game is slipping further away from existence too.

 
Konrad512 7 December, 2012 @ 9:30 pm   10

Are these screens from the PS3 version? They look really good and crystal clear.

 
MitchZombie 7 December, 2012 @ 11:45 pm   11

Can’t wait for this game gonna be so epic , love BioShock , but sorry Sony I pre-ordered this on Steam ,PC FTW!

 

Why worry about not getting the first BioShock for free? It’s not much pre-owned and if you want it digitally it’s only £12 (I am waiting on a sale and then it’s mine)

I loved the first two. My girlfriend has yet to experience them so we are going to be going through them again in the near future. I am a little bid down about the release date being pushed back but I am sure it is worth the wait.

I have avoided reading the article because of potential spoilers. :D

 

I agree with KylieDog I’m going to rent this or buy a used copy and I encourage everyone to do the same. Why do the americans get an extra game for even most likely even less money. I’m not supporting a company making decisions like that.

Also what’s up with the price for Mass Effect 3 on PSN it’s 59£ while the WHOLE trilogy is 57£. On the US store the game is 39$ which is about 25£, thats less than half what it costs on the UK store, does that seem fair?