Top 100 of 2012: 3 – BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite seems like a brave step to me. It’s the second BioShock game to make it into our top ten though, so perhaps Irrational know just what they’re doing. This third game in the franchise moves out of the dank, underwater setting of the first two and takes palce among the clouds with a bright and breezy backdrop.

Columbia, the floating city that now plays host to BioShock’s action, was launched by the US government in 1900 as a show of their exceptionalism. It was originally thought to be a kind of travelling showcase for the shining achievements of American technology, science and manufacturing but was soon discovered to be a disguised battleship. The US government soon cut all their ties with the city and its location was lost to all. Columbia became a kind of graceful menace that moved from place to place, oppressing the populations below.


And so it is, twelve years after Columbia’s launch, that you find yourself in the shoes of Booker DeWitt. You’re recovering from a murky past and trying to forge a future as a mercenary or private detective by taking a job searching for a young woman called Elizabeth. Throughout the course of the game you must use powers, acquired via vigors in much the same way as the previous BioShock’s plasmids granted supernatural powers. There will also be a healthy element of cooperative play.

In the past, BioShock games’ strongest point has been their fiction and their atmosphere. Infinite seems to have the fiction pinned down pretty well, with cue taken from real world social and literary movements and conspiracy theories. This time around, we also seem to have some sci fi elements at play. There are shimmering tears in the space time continuum that DeWitt will fall through. These areas use completely different assets, allegedly from a previous game Irrational were working on which was cancelled, and seemingly change the entire look of the environments at times.

Emblematic of Irrational’s exceptional ability to ground their fiction in subverted cultural references is the fact that DeWitt himself has a past with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, a kind of shadowy personal detective and security agency that functioned throughout the US civil war era and later became a high end security firm.

Infinite will also introduce new gameplay mechanics to the series, with an AI partner who can use complimentary powers to help you overcome foes – at the expense of taking damage. BioShock has never been a series that shies away from moral decision making either and it will be the player’s choice whether to risk hurting their vulnerable partner in exchange for the extra power wielded.

BioShock Infinite is shaping up to be one of the biggest videogaming events of 2012 and with the information flow from Irrational gaining momentum, we’re sure to hear a lot more about it as the year begins.



  1. I, particularly, am looking forward to this.

    Avoiding preordering it though, due to the fact that it’ll be £30 a week later.

  2. Played around 30 minutes of Bioshock and never understood what I was doing or what the story was. May have to pick it up and start it again if I want BI.

  3. Hm, I just don’t like bioshock, its just not for me. I played through 1&2 purely because of the hype, but the only thing I enjoyed about either was the twist at the end of 1. I find the gameplay rather bland for some reason. I will probably end up playing this and falling for the hype, but I highly doubt I’ll enjoy it.

    • The only thing I felt was clunky about the gameplay of the first (after admittedly only playing the demo) was the fact that although your left hand used a power, and your right wielded a weapon, you could only use one at a time, not dual wield like you can in skyrim. I understand that’s a newer game. But I hope you can do that or something similar in bioshock infinite. I think it would be better.

      • You should be able to as Bioshock 2 allowed you to dual wield. But was restricted to the one weapon and one power forumla. It would be a step back if it was restricted to one power/weapon only.

  4. My personal number 1 for 2012. Thoroughly enjoyed Bioshock, and to a lesser extent Bioshock 2, and really can’t wait for this.

  5. I haven’t really wared to the Bioshock franchise but i’m liking what i’ve see of Bioshock infinite, possibly the brighter exterior environments are more appealing to me.

  6. Very much looking forward to this. Only played Bioshock 2 which was great. Btw is Bioshock meant to be blurry in game?

    • I wouldn’t have thought so. Is it blurry all the way through the game or at specific parts? it could just be water effects distorting the picture slightly.

      • fully through the game. The whole game never seems to be crisp or clear, not quite HD. I thought it was a design choice to fit the dim and luminous Rapture setting – which is does. Maybe it’s just me…

      • Yes its quite shit-looking on PS3 frankly BioShock 2 isn’t as crisp either texture-wise. No reason to not enjoy this either way, especially when it has Survivor and the challenges.

      • So its not just me then :P There is something then can improve on, just making it a little bit clearer.

  7. Defo number 1 for me next year seriously Cant wait for this fingers crossed theres a nice collectors edition for this or even a couple would be brilliant

  8. i’d have thought the original game had some major sci fi elements as well, genetic engineering, underwater cities.
    and how that technology affects people, the splicing seemed to be what had the biggest impact on the people of rapture, not th fact it was an underwater city, though i’d imagine a claustrophobic environment like that would only speed up any social breakdown the splicing cased.

    i always found the story more interesting than the gameplay in the Bioshock games, but i still enjoyed them.

    i could see some hidden moon colony as the next destination for the series, after Columbia, it doesn’t need to be set in the future either, wells was writing about traveling to the moon at the turn of the century, the last century that is, so there could be some eccentric Ryan type inspired by the stories.
    the basic principals of rocketry have been known to certain nations for a millenia, so it’s not totally implausible.
    no less than floating a city with hot air balloons anyway.

    which brings me back to infinite.
    so yeah, i’m looking forward to Infinite. ^_^

  9. I’m going to wait for TSA to review it as i have too many games to catch up on. :S It looks good but it may end up losing the Bioshock feel. And i really hope that they haven’t ditched the dual wielding system from Bioshock 2. I can see the co-op working as AI partners are not as fun as human ones. ;) I suspect many TSAers will try to annoy other TSAers by freezing them then throwing something heavy at them.

    • i don’t know if Infinite will have a full co-op system, your ai partner is Elizabeth, and from what i’ve seen she doesn’t really take part in combat, she uses her powers to control the tears to bring stuff into the world.
      though it has been hinted that she can do much more.

      the tears certainly seem to be able to act as doorways into not other places but other times.

      who knows, we could visit rapture.

  10. Possibly my GOTY for next year. I wonder what content the special editions will have?

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