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(Slate)   Bad news, everybody. It turns out that BioShock Infinite is nothing more than an action-packed bullet-fest and doesn't have any of the deep philosophical musings we were hoping it would contain   (slate.com) divider line 134
    More: Sad, BioShock Infinite, BioShock, Irrational Games, De Witt, Four Loko, pinkerton, supernatural powers, Ken Levine  
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4560 clicks; posted to Geek » on 05 Apr 2013 at 3:11 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-05 03:13:49 PM
You know how I can tell that the reviewer didn't finish the game?

No mention of why these two powers are interchangeable.
 
2013-04-05 03:14:10 PM
You mean it doesn't have any commentary on early 20th century labor movements or the treatment of early American immigrants? Fark me sideways, I must have dreamed that.
 
2013-04-05 03:15:41 PM
I dunno, I'm a few hours in and it seems like it's both a bulletfest and a social commentary.
 
2013-04-05 03:16:00 PM
Apparently the reviewer doesn't consider a game to have depth and complexity unless it smacks you in the face every five minutes with a sign reading "THIS IS ALLEGORY FOR CAPITALISM".
 
2013-04-05 03:16:08 PM
Well at least it didn't have a boring "commies are bad" message that would only be news to fark politics tab posters.
 
2013-04-05 03:16:11 PM
Bioshock left me underwhelmed.

A moral choice system that doesn't really do anything.

Terrible map design.

And would you kindly listen to me when I say the lampshade that hid the fact the game is one giant fetch quest, isn't as amazing or deep as people made it out to be?

I was never impressed by the atmospheric bits either. Spaces begin filling with water to urge you onward with the promise of doom if you don't move your ass, but the water level never gets more then an inch high...

I guess that's why I never played the others.
 
2013-04-05 03:16:30 PM
Is this game worth $60? Or is it worth waiting a few months and getting it at $50 or less?
 
2013-04-05 03:20:23 PM

fluffy2097: Bioshock left me underwhelmed.

A moral choice system that doesn't really do anything.

Terrible map design.

And would you kindly listen to me when I say the lampshade that hid the fact the game is one giant fetch quest, isn't as amazing or deep as people made it out to be?

I was never impressed by the atmospheric bits either. Spaces begin filling with water to urge you onward with the promise of doom if you don't move your ass, but the water level never gets more then an inch high...

I guess that's why I never played the others.


It's like an amusement ride. When you're on it it's a lot of fun, but if you stop and look behind the scenes there's nothing there.
 
2013-04-05 03:22:13 PM
But, I can't enjoy playing a game or hearing a song or seeing a movie or reading a book unless I perceive that it validates my worldview!
 
2013-04-05 03:24:40 PM

fluffy2097: Bioshock left me underwhelmed.

A moral choice system that doesn't really do anything.

Terrible map design.

And would you kindly listen to me when I say the lampshade that hid the fact the game is one giant fetch quest, isn't as amazing or deep as people made it out to be?

I was never impressed by the atmospheric bits either. Spaces begin filling with water to urge you onward with the promise of doom if you don't move your ass, but the water level never gets more then an inch high...

I guess that's why I never played the others.


By and large I've never liked game's morality systems. I always find it way too gated. They try to boil things down to too black and white for my taste. I don't really know about anyone else but my decision making tends to be far broader in determining right/wrong/best/worst. A few had systems that weren't so tightly tied down as to make me feel like I'm on a railroad but not many and even those I had some issues with.
 
2013-04-05 03:25:44 PM
It has a 95/100 on Metacritic.  You don't see that everyday.
 
2013-04-05 03:27:12 PM
What? "Both sidez r bad" isn't deep enough for you?
 
2013-04-05 03:27:36 PM

nekulor: You mean it doesn't have any commentary on early 20th century labor movements or the treatment of early American immigrants? Fark me sideways, I must have dreamed that.


You begin your gorfestive butchery in utopia so soon that if the commentary wasn't grinding its crotch in your face it would almost seem ironic.

/I've played games with subtle and smart social messages.
/Bioshock was never that kind of product.
/Its just their means to justify your characters over the top actions.
 
2013-04-05 03:29:10 PM
"Ew, what's with all this shooting I have to do in this game I thought was going to play like a movie?"
 
2013-04-05 03:30:38 PM

Car_Ramrod: Is this game worth $60? Or is it worth waiting a few months and getting it at $50 or less?


I'm only three hours in, but I wish I had waited.  If you need something cheap to pass the time until it drops in price, Trials: Evolution is one of the most addictive games I've ever played.  Works best with a controller, though.
 
2013-04-05 03:31:44 PM

Tyrone Slothrop: It's like an amusement ride. When you're on it it's a lot of fun, but if you stop and look behind the scenes there's nothing there.


That pretty much nails it.  but I lost my suspension of disbelief very early on in the game while waiting to see if I drowned by staying in a flooding hallway, only to have absolutely nothing happen but water continuously pour into a sealed area without filling it for a good 5 minutes.

Oh, and pretty much all the plasmids but fire and shock sucked. I'm sure there were some good ones I don't remember, but they were by and large hopelessly underpowered except for fire and shock, which murders everything pretty damn well. Poor balance. Sure it's FUN to watch someone running around in a panic being attacked by bees, but why would I waste Eve doing that when I could just use incinerate and shock to accomplish the same thing with less Eve.
 
2013-04-05 03:32:29 PM
If it's pretty and fun, I don't really give a shiat about it's "deep philosophical musings".  I haven't played it yet, but it seems like those of you who have disagree with the reviewer's assessment anyway.
 
2013-04-05 03:33:03 PM
beat it
Ending was pretty good, kind of "supprise!" and wasn't hinted enough, if at all, but was enjoyable.
The review is complaining about the lack of stealth elements that were present in the other bioshock games I think, its primarily an easy, fun, shooter.
 
2013-04-05 03:33:33 PM
I lost the final battle like 20+ times in a row. I finally decided that no matter what the ending is, I would probably be disappointed after putting up with all that frustration. Sounds like I probably made the right decision.
 
2013-04-05 03:37:19 PM

fluffy2097: I lost my suspension of disbelief very early on in the game while waiting to see if I drowned by staying in a flooding hallway, only to have absolutely nothing happen but water continuously pour into a sealed area without filling it for a good 5 minutes


In a game where you can shoot bees out of your hands, THIS is what caused you to lose suspension of disbelief?
 
2013-04-05 03:37:41 PM

DemDave: I lost the final battle like 20+ times in a row. I finally decided that no matter what the ending is, I would probably be disappointed after putting up with all that frustration. Sounds like I probably made the right decision.


No, you didn't. Stick it out. It's worth it.


Hint: Swing around to the bow and use the element of surprise. Do the heavy lifting on ground yourself. Save your special for the bigger fish. There ya go. Takes about 5 minutes with Shock Jockey/ Bucking Bronco combo and a carbine.
 
2013-04-05 03:39:59 PM

Car_Ramrod: Is this game worth $60? Or is it worth waiting a few months and getting it at $50 or less?


To me, only strategy and 'sandbox' games have the replay value to be worth that much. Any single player romp is just a themepark you'll only go through once, maybe twice at the most, and be done with a week after buying it.
 
2013-04-05 03:40:11 PM

xaldin: By and large I've never liked game's morality systems. I always find it way too gated. They try to boil things down to too black and white for my taste. I don't really know about anyone else but my decision making tends to be far broader in determining right/wrong/best/worst. A few had systems that weren't so tightly tied down as to make me feel like I'm on a railroad but not many and even those I had some issues with.


I like the way Mass Effect handled morality. "Earning" the right to be a monster or a hero gives you a nice array of being able to chose what you want and still retain your alignment. Especially since it was possible to mostly max out both paragon AND renegade if you really tried for it.

I hated the way Mass Effect threw away all those choices as the games progressed.

Fallout3/New Vegas works pretty well, but it's to easy to be good. shiat, I'm trying to play a sociopath who just wants the NCR not to be on his ass after the Helios incident. I'm not a goddamn hero because I killed a bunch of fiends! They were just in my damn way!  At least Fallout doesn't tie dialog and choices to your current alignment, that would be intolerable.
 
2013-04-05 03:41:14 PM

xaldin: By and large I've never liked game's morality systems. I always find it way too gated. They try to boil things down to too black and white for my taste. I don't really know about anyone else but my decision making tends to be far broader in determining right/wrong/best/worst. A few had systems that weren't so tightly tied down as to make me feel like I'm on a railroad but not many and even those I had some issues with.


I don't think the issue is having a morality system, it's more of the attempt to distill it into a numeric system that I find bad.   For a bad example:The mass effect mission for A House Divided comes to mind.  Kill the group or wipe it's memory and rewrite it so they follow the other groups beliefs.  while, an interesting moral exercise, the impact is worse by assigning the brainwash option as the paragon path.  Personally, I don't think either option is really 'paragon'.
The best I've seen was in spec ops: the line.  There's a point where you are given a choice to kill a thief or a soldier who killed the thief's family trying to capture the thief.  On the surface you're led to choose one, but, there's a bunch of other options available.  Shoot both, neither, or even the sniper making the threat.  It was done well precisely because it's not just some choose a -or- b option.  But it's harder to design and takes a lot of resources to program these systems.  The game has other issues, but it's handling of a morality system is spot on.  There's always odd options in the game anytime it tries to force you into a choice.
 
2013-04-05 03:42:26 PM
So, I think the writer is confused about what Bioshock Infinite is. Maybe he didn't finish the game, or maybe he missed a chunk of the story (which is scattered throughout the game in the form of Voxaphones).

It's not some philosophical treatise that talks about power. And it's not meant to make you root either for or against Comstock or the Vox Populi.

Spoilers ahead. Stop reading if you haven't played.

Rather, it's a deconstruction of the idea of murdering your way to a resolution. Whereas Bioshock was about telling you that, as a player, you had very little choice and you'd do what the game told you to do, Bioshock Infinite is about using the allegory of a multiverse to explain how characters in a game are ultimately shaped by the events they partake in.

Booker DeWitt is a character who, much like anyone who's been in an FPS, murders a bunch of people (at Wounded Knee, in events that form the game's backstory). At some point in his life, he's given the choice to atone for his sins via baptism. One choice leads him to a reality in which he becomes evil and self-serving because the act of atonement means little and he now understands the way the world works. The other leads him into a reality in which he's broken and tortured and makes an increasingly poor set of decisions that lead him to the game's opening.

What the game argues is that the character can find enlightenment not by fighting his way through legions of bad guys, killing the villain and saving the girl, but rather by revisiting the moment where things went sour, taking the better path and then not allowing himself to be corrupted along the way.

The game's ending reveals that the events of Bioshock are just another take on Booker's reality. But you could extend it further than that and argue that most games are the same basic story -- you've been wronged, so you enter the "lighthouse", fight across the "city" and defeat the "man." Bioshock Infinite suggests that the solution to this problem lies at the beginning, not the end.

What makes the game so fascinating is not the story of Columbia or the conflict with the Vox Populi. It's the way the multiverse marginalizes all of that, makes it meaningless. It's the way that society will inevitably crumble because all sides are seeking power. It's the suggestion that even in a place of big ideas and impossible technologies, everything will fall into disarray when the balance of power shifts.

All of that is done in the trappings of one of the most popular genres in gaming without becoming something different (such as an RPG or an adventure game).

The writer of the Slate piece really missed the point. The original Bioshock was a heady experience, but Infinite is in a class of its own.
 
2013-04-05 03:44:13 PM
If it's on Slate I pretty much always disagree with it.
 
2013-04-05 03:45:31 PM

Car_Ramrod: fluffy2097: I lost my suspension of disbelief very early on in the game while waiting to see if I drowned by staying in a flooding hallway, only to have absolutely nothing happen but water continuously pour into a sealed area without filling it for a good 5 minutes

In a game where you can shoot bees out of your hands, THIS is what caused you to lose suspension of disbelief?


I didn't encounter the shooting bees out of your hands until later. At least that is handwaved away by the whole Plasmids thing, but tell me why water cannot fill a leaky room on the bottom of the Atlantic ocean?

No sense. If the player doesn't move their ass, kill them if you want to use the "flood a room with water" mechanic.

It's the same reason why it would be a complete farking letdown if the trash compactor on the death star in Star Wars stopped short of crushing the gang WITHOUT any intervention. <Han Solo> "Don't worry, you can tell by the tracks in the wall the compactor won't crush us."  <Luke> "I guess we just need to wait for 3PO to get us out then." *Elevator music ensues*
 
2013-04-05 03:45:41 PM

Car_Ramrod: Is this game worth $60? Or is it worth waiting a few months and getting it at $50 or less?


It was worth $60 with the pre-order bonuses. If you didn't pre-order, you probably don't have to have it as badly as some of us did (I've had my eye on this game ever since the announcement!), so you could safely wait for the inevitable price drop later this year. (Consider that you could pick up Spec Ops: The Line and The Darkness II for less than $5 on PC by the end of 2012 and you'll get an idea of how quickly the values of these games drop.)

If you're a console gamer, rent it. You can easily finish the game in 12-15 hours and it's well worth the trouble.
 
2013-04-05 03:47:39 PM

secularsage: So, I think the writer is confused about what Bioshock Infinite is.


I agree. The game was an inspired meta-experience that provokes thought on the purpose of the journey, not the journey itself.
 
2013-04-05 03:47:54 PM
I love Bioshock Infinite. I'm working on my second play-through right now and there are definitely a lot of A-ha moments. As far as plot goes, Bioshock Infinite has a higher arc and explores more complex topics. Somehow, though, its more superficial. Then again, not long into the game you realize Columbia is a giant theme park, a dimension I really liked. However, I wish the character lines were explored more deeply, especially with the Songbird and even ancillary characters.
Also, near the end it was late at night an I was compelled to finish, so I definitely missed a voxophone or two. The twist, which is apparently heavily alluded to, went over my head haha. That being said, the entire last 30 minutes blew my mind.
I don't really understand what the writer is criticizing. Shooters are fun. But then again, maybe I am a bit biased :D
 
2013-04-05 03:49:24 PM

secularsage: So, I think the writer is confused about what Bioshock Infinite is. Maybe he didn't finish the game, or maybe he missed a chunk of the story (which is scattered throughout the game in the form of Voxaphones).

It's not some philosophical treatise that talks about power. And it's not meant to make you root either for or against Comstock or the Vox Populi.

Spoilers ahead. Stop reading if you haven't played.

Rather, it's a deconstruction of the idea of murdering your way to a resolution. Whereas Bioshock was about telling you that, as a player, you had very little choice and you'd do what the game told you to do, Bioshock Infinite is about using the allegory of a multiverse to explain how characters in a game are ultimately shaped by the events they partake in.

Booker DeWitt is a character who, much like anyone who's been in an FPS, murders a bunch of people (at Wounded Knee, in events that form the game's backstory). At some point in his life, he's given the choice to atone for his sins via baptism. One choice leads him to a reality in which he becomes evil and self-serving because the act of atonement means little and he now understands the way the world works. The other leads him into a reality in which he's broken and tortured and makes an increasingly poor set of decisions that lead him to the game's opening.

What the game argues is that the character can find enlightenment not by fighting his way through legions of bad guys, killing the villain and saving the girl, but rather by revisiting the moment where things went sour, taking the better path and then not allowing himself to be corrupted along the way.

The game's ending reveals that the events of Bioshock are just another take on Booker's reality. But you could extend it further than that and argue that most games are the same basic story -- you've been wronged, so you enter the "lighthouse", fight across the "city" and defeat the "man." Bioshock Infinite suggests that the solution to this problem lies a ...



And Catcher in the Rye was really not at all about a young boy with emotional problems at all.
 
2013-04-05 03:49:34 PM

fluffy2097: Tyrone Slothrop: It's like an amusement ride. When you're on it it's a lot of fun, but if you stop and look behind the scenes there's nothing there.

That pretty much nails it.  but I lost my suspension of disbelief very early on in the game while waiting to see if I drowned by staying in a flooding hallway, only to have absolutely nothing happen but water continuously pour into a sealed area without filling it for a good 5 minutes.

Oh, and pretty much all the plasmids but fire and shock sucked. I'm sure there were some good ones I don't remember, but they were by and large hopelessly underpowered except for fire and shock, which murders everything pretty damn well. Poor balance. Sure it's FUN to watch someone running around in a panic being attacked by bees, but why would I waste Eve doing that when I could just use incinerate and shock to accomplish the same thing with less Eve.


Meh, quick time type deaths are friggin horrible. "You died because you didn't get to the door fast enough".

Bioshock was cool because it was very different from other games out there. Moral choice systems are always crap, but I think that's a technical limitation more than anything. Hard to program a lot of different choices.
 
2013-04-05 03:49:55 PM

secularsage: Car_Ramrod: Is this game worth $60? Or is it worth waiting a few months and getting it at $50 or less?

It was worth $60 with the pre-order bonuses.


The pre-order was definitely worth it for the art book alone.
 
2013-04-05 03:52:12 PM

kumanoki: No, you didn't. Stick it out. It's worth it.


I'll retackle it after I let the frustration wear off. I'm just not much of a FPS player (and suck that them), but was intrigued by this one. I blame those damn patriots in that level for ruining it.
 
2013-04-05 03:52:51 PM
So apparently I'm the only one who saw it as a cynical representation of American patriotism taken too far, like it has been lately?
 
2013-04-05 03:53:31 PM
FTFA: "...unwilling to abandon fun-centric gunplay in favor of deeper philosophic engagement ..."

Is this guy really knocking a  game for focusing on fun?
 
2013-04-05 03:54:03 PM

fluffy2097: Car_Ramrod: fluffy2097: I lost my suspension of disbelief very early on in the game while waiting to see if I drowned by staying in a flooding hallway, only to have absolutely nothing happen but water continuously pour into a sealed area without filling it for a good 5 minutes

In a game where you can shoot bees out of your hands, THIS is what caused you to lose suspension of disbelief?

I didn't encounter the shooting bees out of your hands until later. At least that is handwaved away by the whole Plasmids thing, but tell me why water cannot fill a leaky room on the bottom of the Atlantic ocean?

No sense. If the player doesn't move their ass, kill them if you want to use the "flood a room with water" mechanic.

It's the same reason why it would be a complete farking letdown if the trash compactor on the death star in Star Wars stopped short of crushing the gang WITHOUT any intervention. <Han Solo> "Don't worry, you can tell by the tracks in the wall the compactor won't crush us."  <Luke> "I guess we just need to wait for 3PO to get us out then." *Elevator music ensues*


It would be a pointless maneuver considering you'd respawn immediately back a few rooms and be unable to progress because said room was now flooded. Instead of giving you a game over because you decided to stand in a flooding chamber for 5 minutes (for no discernible reason other than to see what would happen), they just give you the cue to move along because there's nothing left to do there. Your analogy is a bit off, too. It would be as if the compactor scene had a vent labeled "exit" open on one side and they decided to stay in it like idiots to see what would occur if they didn't leave.
 
2013-04-05 03:54:09 PM

nocturnal001: Meh, quick time type deaths are friggin horrible. "You died because you didn't get to the door fast enough".


If you need to force a player to move forward through game mechanics, you can argue you are doing something wrong. The player should not need to be threatened with death to make them go through a doorway.

That said, The room filling with water and drowing you; the walls closing in and crushing you, is a wonderful way to build suspense and tension.

To let it all that tension fall by setting up the scenario and having it be completely devoid of all danger, was a real letdown.
 
2013-04-05 03:55:33 PM

efgeise: So apparently I'm the only one who saw it as a cynical representation of American patriotism taken too far, like it has been lately?


Nationalism was one of the themes of Columbia, but it's not what the game's about.
 
2013-04-05 03:55:46 PM

UrCa: It would be a pointless maneuver considering you'd respawn immediately back a few rooms and be unable to progress because said room was now flooded.


Because time is never rolled back when you reload a saved game...
 
2013-04-05 03:56:14 PM

secularsage: Car_Ramrod: Is this game worth $60? Or is it worth waiting a few months and getting it at $50 or less?

It was worth $60 with the pre-order bonuses.


This.  I jumped in because of the free copy of X-COM, which was also a game I wanted.  Hence, two new games for $30 apiece.

I haven't finished Infinite yet, but it's pretty much what I expected from playing Bioshock 1/2 -- about 10 hours of single-player gameplay in very linear levels; beautiful visuals; political commentary; etc.  I've enjoyed the game.  Haven't gotten to whatever surprise is at the end yet, and I've managed to avoid being spoiled thus far.  I'm assuming whatever is yet to come is what has made all the critics go mad, because while the game's pretty and decently fun, I don't feel like it's a world-beater.
 
2013-04-05 03:57:45 PM

DemDave: kumanoki: No, you didn't. Stick it out. It's worth it.

I'll retackle it after I let the frustration wear off. I'm just not much of a FPS player (and suck that them), but was intrigued by this one. I blame those damn patriots in that level for ruining it.


I'm the same way. [possible spoiler] Seems like that ship had a HUGE design flaw.
 
2013-04-05 03:59:19 PM

fluffy2097: UrCa: It would be a pointless maneuver considering you'd respawn immediately back a few rooms and be unable to progress because said room was now flooded.

Because time is never rolled back when you reload a saved game...


The point is you didn't have to reload saved games at any other point in the game when you died, you were sent to the nearest vita chamber because the game rationalized their existence. Needing to reload a saved game because your death made the next point impossible to proceed would break immersion to me at that point more so than a false threat.
 
2013-04-05 04:08:03 PM
www.freeimagehosting.net
 
2013-04-05 04:09:10 PM

Car_Ramrod: Is this game worth $60? Or is it worth waiting a few months and getting it at $50 or less?


Generally, I advocate waiting for a steamsale for just about any first person shooter.
 
2013-04-05 04:10:03 PM

fluffy2097: nocturnal001: Meh, quick time type deaths are friggin horrible. "You died because you didn't get to the door fast enough".

If you need to force a player to move forward through game mechanics, you can argue you are doing something wrong. The player should not need to be threatened with death to make them go through a doorway.

That said, The room filling with water and drowing you; the walls closing in and crushing you, is a wonderful way to build suspense and tension.

To let it all that tension fall by setting up the scenario and having it be completely devoid of all danger, was a real letdown.


That sounds backwards to me. The fact that it doesn't kill you instantly means you can jerk around in whatever area you currently inhabit before moving on. It's not like it played like a COD game or anything.
 
2013-04-05 04:10:51 PM

nekulor: You mean it doesn't have any commentary on early 20th century labor movements or the treatment of early American immigrants? Fark me sideways, I must have dreamed that.


Most of the reviews I've read say that largely drops away after the first 1/3-1/2 of the game, where the main plot starts to take over.  Is that not the case?
 
2013-04-05 04:11:42 PM

UrCa: The point is you didn't have to reload saved games at any other point in the game when you died, you were sent to the nearest vita chamber because the game rationalized their existence. Needing to reload a saved game because your death made the next point impossible to proceed would break immersion to me at that point more so than a false threat.


Then they shouldn't have used the gimmick if it's impossible to work.

Once you start realizing all these gimmicks, the game looks more like the small world ride with the house lights up, then any scary philosophical anything.
 
2013-04-05 04:13:04 PM

secularsage: Car_Ramrod: Is this game worth $60? Or is it worth waiting a few months and getting it at $50 or less?

It was worth $60 with the pre-order bonuses. If you didn't pre-order, you probably don't have to have it as badly as some of us did (I've had my eye on this game ever since the announcement!), so you could safely wait for the inevitable price drop later this year. (Consider that you could pick up Spec Ops: The Line and The Darkness II for less than $5 on PC by the end of 2012 and you'll get an idea of how quickly the values of these games drop.)

If you're a console gamer, rent it. You can easily finish the game in 12-15 hours and it's well worth the trouble.


This.  Redbox for 4 days = $8.
 
2013-04-05 04:14:41 PM

nocturnal001: That sounds backwards to me. The fact that it doesn't kill you instantly means you can jerk around in whatever area you currently inhabit before moving on. It's not like it played like a COD game or anything.


It is literally an empty corridor they want you out of, so they have it begin dramatically leaking and filling with water when hit by parts of a crashed airplane. Only it never fills past the soles of your shoes...  Some motivation factor.
 
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