Enjoyed BioShock Infinite, but ending was too familiar

I finished playing the fun BioShock Infinite last week and am finally getting a change to post about it.

First of all, the game is fun, which isn’t a surprise, since almost every other reviewer said the same thing. The skyhook travel system is great fun, but don’t mistake this game for an open world. It is a very linear game in which the skyhook rails loop back to the area you are currently exploring/shooting to bits. The combat is satisfying, with both gunplay and magic powers called “vigors.”

Sadly, you only get 2 weapons at a time, so ammo management is very important. In the tower defense-like section near the end, I ran out of ammo for both my weapons and would have had to scramble to find another gun if the fight went on any longer.

The graphics are generally excellent, except for flower bushes and other plants. Take a look at this video and see how poorly done they are. Even LOTRO does better than that!

While we’re complaining, the checkpoint system stinks. Really badly! Unlike good PC games that let you save wherever you are so you can quit and go to dinner, BioShock Infinite’s checkpoints were often 10 or 15 minutes apart, so if you don’t want to lose all that progress, you’d better hoof it to the next unmarked checkpoint. Luckily, dying doesn’t set you back that far. In fact, dying costs you a bit of money and brings the enemies back to full health (though the dead ones stay dead), so it isn’t a bad mechanism.

Your companion throughout much of the game, Elizabeth, the girl you are sent to “rescue/capture,” is a delight. She never gets in the way, tends to have good things to say, always keeps up, and keeps giving you money, health potions, and salts (to power the vigors) as needed. She’s terrifically done and should be a model for future game companions.

So the game is linear, but we get to make choices, right? Like in BioShock where we could choose to harvest Adam from the Little Sisters or to save them, right? No, here we play things pretty straight, and the few choices we make don’t have a huge good vs. evil impact. In fact, as far as I can tell, the ending is the same, no matter what we did.

And that ending…

Spoiler alert. Stop reading right now if you don’t want to know the ending and what my thoughts were. Now! Stop!

The buildup to the ending is pretty cool and set the stage for what the eventual ending was. After a battle, Booker DeWitt was to be baptized to be absolved of his sins (and apparently he had lots of them from the battle against Indians). In one timeline, Booker didn’t accept the baptism and decided to live with his sins and became a Pinkerton guy and was eventually sent to the cloud city of Columbia to rescue Elizabeth (his daughter, it turned out). In another timeline, he took the baptism and became the Prophet Samuel Comstock and build the cloud city of Columbia, and, since he was sterile by then, kidnapped Elizabeth (Anna) from Booker in the other timeline with fancy machines that could bridge the two.

So the solution is that a bunch of Elizabeths from different timelines got together and killed DeWitt by drowning him, thus preventing him from becoming Comstock and causing all the evil.

My thought as my character was being drowned by his daughters was “haven’t I seen this before?” Yes, at the end of BioShock 2, the protagonist is killed by his daughter and other Little Sisters. C’mon, not that again! Do the developers feel some sort of guilt and think their daughters should kill them? What gives?

I was also disappointed that not much was done with the heavily publicized racism aspect in the game. Racism is very present and is obviously depicted as evil, yet Booker doesn’t seem to have any racist tendencies, and his views on racism, if any, don’t affect the outcome in any way. Things are a little too scripted, and it would have been interesting to have the racism affect the player more than just showing it to him.

So overall a fun game and well worth playing, but it isn’t quite as great as many reviewers say.


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