Hindsight : Bioshock Infinite
Cart: Bioshock Infinite
Cab: Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC / Mac
Coin: Irrational Games
I mean, yeah, OK: it’s useful to know what’s around the corner so that you can get excited about the next purchase – but when hype becomes so invasive and over-saturated that nothing could possibly live up to it, then you’ve got real problems.
Bioshock Infinite was a victim of such hype – and whilst it was impossible to deny its many qualities, there was the inescapable sense that it was hiding in plain sight; it’s true genius smothered in a barrage of Metacritic spunk and web-gushing. Every bit as wrong as it sounds. Yet how does Infinite hold-up now that all that noise has passed, leaving only the game to speak for itself?
Extremely well, if I’m to be honest. In fact, taken purely on its own merits as opposed to the recommendations of significant others, I’d say that it seems even more impressive now than it did at launch. That’s not to say that Infinite wasn’t a stunning game the first time around – it was – but the barrage of flashing lights from the gaming paparazzi meant that you caught yourself second guessing your judgement somewhat. Now, it just plain shines.
Every bit as stunning as you remember …
Having a sense of where the twisting plot is going is also a blessing – something that enables you to pick-up on the subtleties and breadcrumbs far more than you ever could have done the first time around. A layered tale by any measure; Infinite’s narrative develops and grows with your understanding of it – rather like watching Inception for the third or fourth time. It’s arguably an over-ambitious plot for an interactive, creative work that takes over ten hours to plough through, but one that absolutely embeds itself further into you with each successive attempt.
Similarly: combat feels more intuitive the second time around. Infinite is far more accomplished that its predecessors in this respect, yet its enhanced FPS credentials encouraged more of a traditional FPS approach at first. Stepping back from it now, I feel able to approach it in much more of a balanced way – a way that feels very intentional.
And given that the intriguing expansion pack ‘Burial at Sea’ launches in early 2014, I really can’t recommend revisiting Columbia enough – whichever alternate reality you’re from.
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