April 21, 2013
BioShock Infinite – First Hour (Part 2)
This post is a direct continuation of a previous post. You can read Part 1 here.
While BioShock games aren’t necessarily my series of choice, nobody can deny that they are well-designed games. My next experience with BioShock Infinite is a testament to this statement.
After making sure I had dug in every trashcan to rid it of its silver, I headed into the town fair & raffle, which had just opened after a massive parade of floating… floats. There, as an objective gamer I find a tutorial, rather than a bunch of carnival games.
I really liked the way that Irrational Games designed this tutorial, because it’s all optional, and you’re rewarded for learning how to play the game. There are three different mini-games and each of them teaches you a specific aspect of combat in the game.
The first one I came across is a game where you try to burn the costumed devils without hurting the moving cut-out of an innocent family in the booth. You man a mounted gun that shoots balls of fire to destroy the devil. This game teaches you about how the vigors in the game work. I’ll get to those later.
The second is a game where you try to shoot little flying men holding targets with a shotgun. Of course, it teaches you how to shoot the guns in the game. The third game has you shooting Vox Populi targets with a hunting rifle. The Vox Populi are rebels against the founders of the city, many of them are negros, as is their leader. This game teaches you how to aim down the sights with the thumbstick, rather than the left trigger like in most shooters.
I really appreciated these tutorials because it didn’t seem like it was just teaching you how to play the game. It felt like it was part of the game that was just thrown in to fit the atmosphere. Plus, you got a lot of money if you reached a certain score on each game.
So, I get to the gate to the raffle, which is closed because I don’t have a ticket. To my left there is a booth where a woman asks me to try something called a ‘vigor’. Seeing that there’s nothing else to do, I take the vigor, and I gain the power of Possession. This ability allows me to turn machines into my allies, or cause an enemy troop to attack other enemies, causing a distraction. Each time I use a vigor, I lose salt. If I don’t have enough salt, I can’t perform certain vigor abilities.
With my newfound ability, I possess the robotic ticket-taker to let me into the raffle. As I progress to the raffle site, Booker notices a sign that says to fight against the “False Shepherd” and report if you see anyone with the letters “AD” on the back of their hand. Booker looks down at his right hand, and of course, there’s the mark, tattooed on his skin.
I reach the raffle, and it turns out I pulled the baseball with the lucky winner on it. The man hosting the raffle turns my attention to the stage, where a white man and black woman are tied up, and I’m supposed to throw the baseball at them. The game gives me a choice here to throw the ball at them, or at the host. Being the good guy that I am, I throw it at the host, and before Booker can get the ball off, someone grabs his arm to reveal that he is the False Shepherd. Booker quickly retaliates by throwing the man holding him into the spinning blade of another guard. I take the blade and melee the guard with it, and pick up his pistol.
Now the game goes into open combat. You can melee enemies with Y, shoot with the right trigger, use vigors with the left, and aim down the sights by clicking in the left stick. Enemies that you have killed can be looted for ammo, health & salt items, and money.
Using my own gamer sense, I begin to headshot each enemy that comes in my way, feeling confident, until I come across my first turret. The turret detected me immediately and killed me. When I died, I woke up in a black-and-white detective’s office. When I opened the door, I found myself in the plaza right before the placement of the turret, allowing me to rethink my strategy before charging in like an idiot. This, of course, comes at a hefty price. A lot of my money was gone, and some of the enemies regenerated some health.
I proceeded by first possessing the turret to take out some of the other guards while I weakened the turret by shooting it. Once the turret reverted to normal I only shot it a few times before it blew up.
Surviving my first major conflict in the game, I felt a real sense of accomplishment. I was playing this game on the hardest difficulty, and died several times in certain situations. The respawn system and placement of items around the world are huge conveniences that Irrational Games has placed out for players, and is a really nice gesture.
I spent a total of about 10 hours on BioShock Infinite last Friday and Saturday, and I enjoyed every second of it. There comes a time in a man’s life where he stumbles across a game that changes his outlook on video game design forever. I believe I’ve reached that day. Or, it could just be my lack of sleep over this game making me delirious.
Image Credit: Irrational Games