Opinion// Bioshock Infinite: Let Games Be Games

Posted 4 Apr 2013 16:23 by
Elizabeth My Dear
From there you?re treated to some combat and discovery before meeting Elizabeth - your companion for the rest of the game.

When talking about Elizabeth to a friend recently I told him that I almost cared for her as much as I did Clementine from The Walking Dead. I cared for her, but in a completely different way.

Clementine was an innocent child. She was one that I asked nothing from, as I knew she couldn?t provide much. I knew I had to protect her, but also knew that protecting her too much could shield her from the nightmare that played out around us, leaving a child in a world where only adults could survive.

The amazing thing about Clem was that she made moral decisions for me. I never considered the character I was playing as when making choice, only how they would impact her.

Elizabeth isn?t like that. She?s more confident. She?s there to help you more than you are her. Elizabeth reminds me of a Disney princess. Not a classic one, but one from the last decade or so of their films. She?s more like Merida from Brave, or Rapunzel from Tangled. She talks back, she voices opinions, she?s never dominated.

Most of all, she?s honest.

This had a strange effect on me. Playing as a character as dishonest as Booker while running alongside Elizabeth made me more sympathetic towards her. I knew things that she didn?t and that Booker wouldn?t say. I felt more of an emotional connection with her than I did with him.

Because of this my time with Bioshock Infinite was an emotional one. The dialogue that played out between Elizabeth and Booker was realistic, revealing and extremely well acted. The relationship between the two felt genuine and as Booker slowly starts to care for Elizabeth you as a gamer start to feel more for Booker.

As the game progresses, the main narrative slows down. The time between the main narrative events is used to fill out the city that the game is set in. It never gets dull. As well as constantly introducing new gameplay elements, it introduces new characters and ideas behind the main theme of the game.

Although the audio logs aren?t the greatest tool that the game uses to reveal plot elements, they are important. It?s easy to hit play on one and go about your business, but you?d be robbing yourself on the insight that they provide beyond the theatre on the screen.

They?re important and if you decide to spend your time with them, you?ll benefit immensely from the many sub plots that the game has to offer.

All that is nice but means nothing if the main story doesn?t live up to the rest of the game. By the end, Bioshock Infinite felt so hot that my sofa caught on fire. Seriously, my wife was well pissed off.

Not only does this game have one of the greatest openings I?ve ever experienced, it has the greatest ending too. It?s half an hour of reveal after reveal. I constantly gasped in awe at how well it was handled.

It didn?t use cutscenes, or fake twists. It left me satisfied enough to be happy but left a few questions that I wanted answers to. It left me thinking. I didn?t rush to a forum and post about the ending like I usually do. I considered the plot for a few days and soaked it in.

I wanted tot talk to friends and family about it, but knew they could never understand. To experience this plot you had to play what I had played. You had to sit through 12 hours of what I had. You had to feel for Elizabeth and Booker in the same way as I did.

Many people compare games like this to a good book or film, but after completing it I wonder to myself how a book or film could ever do what this does.

How could it make me experience what I had in this game? How could a book or film have a sense of discovery, or a series of sub plots that can be missed by some? They can?t. We need to stop comparing to other media, because this sort of game proves that nothing can compare.

Whatever your favourite game story is, be it Half Life 2, Mass Effect, Bioshock Infinite or any other of the long list of narrative games, be proud of what they are. They?re not films, not books. They are videogames and this is what this medium can do to us.

So that?s why Bioshock Infinite means so much to me, and will continue to be a benchmark in my videogaming career. It goes beyond its good combat and impressive graphics. It evokes the sort of emotions that only a videogame can.

And I?d like to personally thank Irrational Games for that.

The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and does not reflect those of SPOnG.com except when it does.

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JamJamJamJamSausages 5 Apr 2013 07:23
Please for the love of god Spong get rid of the adverts from your pages...or at least reduce the number. Especially the dreadful Microsoft "in the corner of the picture" adverts.....eye stabbingly bad.
Tim Smith 5 Apr 2013 08:21
We would but we need to eat... honestly I apologise if they're damaging your experience, but unless we start a subscription only site or we starve and sell our children, we have to run ads.

I'm happy for new ideas for funding though, so hit me up at tim at spong.com
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