E3 2011: BioShock Infinite

E3 2011: BioShock Infinite

Before I rant on BioShock Infinite I would like to thank 2K for the pie and hospitality. I would also like to add that the food was a reasonable substitute for the Playboy bunnies you had last year. If you read this, I would like the name of your caterer. Anyway, enough about the pie and on to Infinite.

The term “high flying,” however fitting, is too cliché and very painful to type. The demo very rarely lets us forget that we are very high in the air. From sky lines to blimp battles and potentially one of the best video game villain birds, the theme this time around is air. As Pinkerton Booker DeWitt you are charged with finding and protecting Elizabeth from her captor, the Song Bird.

The demo starts out with Booker and Elizabeth collecting supplies on their way to find a Mr. Comstock, the leader of the ultra-nationalist movement “The Founders,” who will be their ticket out of Columbia.  After a brief hide and seek game with Elizabeth’s bodyguard and captor, we get to see a rather rough side of Elizabeth. She begs us to kill her before she can be taken back by the Song Bird. Admittedly, it did not have the same impact as it may in the game, seeing as we have only known her for a few minutes in the demo. But despite it all being a bit sappy it still leaves a sour note in the air knowing we will eventually have to face it.

As we continue our walk to Comstock, Columbia shows us something unseen in the previous BioShock games. The setting isn’t already flooded and destroyed like in the watery counterpart. The disaster is just getting started and we get to participate. Dead animals and people litter the torn up streets. Propaganda is torn down or painted up. Fires are just getting started and buildings fall out of the sky. This all happens before our eyes as opposed to just seeing the aftermath. To drive it home we see many muggings, executions, and even hear a brief domestic dispute turn quickly into homicide just out of sight before pressing on.

Unlike our previous encounters we aren’t fighting alone. Many times during the demo we get to see Elizabeth and her new found powers create boxcars and supplies from thin air and even open up a worm hole to the 1980s. As we round a corner Elizabeth spots a dead horse. Upset by this Elizabeth attempts to bring it back to life, in doing so she not only brings the horse back for a few seconds but opens a quantum window to our reality where we see a theatre displaying the movie Star Wars Return of the Jedi. If you are scratching your head right now you are not alone. I’m really not sure where they are going with that but all the same it had me scream “what?” in the quiet theater.

After our travels to the good ol’ days, we discover Booker has made a name for himself in Columbia when he attempts to stop the rebel group “Vox Populi” (voice of the people). The moment he speaks up the crowd goes into a frenzy, some running away in fear while others stay to fight.

Other than the obvious change in atmosphere BioShock Infinite offers something that the previous BioShock could not; things unavailable to us thanks to the narrow nature of the game. Now we have all new enemies and obstacles to deal with. Things like fighting your way onto a blimp, destroying the blimp, then making an uncalculated jump off said blimp adds a whole new axis to the game. Hopefully the hook splicers prepared us enough for this fight.

After fighting our way through, we get to Comstock’s castle in the sky and it looks like game over. That is until the Song Bird shows up. After a briefly getting our ass kicked by the giant metal bird, Booker watches as he takes Elizabeth to an unknown prison. Being a gentleman he leaps out the window after her.

To my dismay and the dismay of my fellow preview goers they didn’t hand out Demos. Looks like we will all have to wait until 2012 for that.

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