Holy crap! 2013 is starting up nicely for us gamers with great games like Tomb Raider, Heart of The Swarm, and now BioShock Infinite (there are many more games but these 3 are what I've heard the most about.) Infinite is, by far, the best of the 3 games that I have listed and I'll delve into why I prefer it over the other 2.
You play as Booker DeWitt, a former Pinkerton agent deep in alcohol and gambling debts. You are given an assignment to wipe away all your debts by searching for a girl named Elizabeth. Reasons why are unknown but as long as Booker gets rid of his debts, why should he care? What seems like a routine assignment turns into one hell of a roller coaster ride.
As with the other 2 BioShock games, Infinite has one hell of a story that is based around many of society's issues: race, religion, social class, politics, and more. Each issue intertwines with one another to create a deep, rich story that'll make you forget that you're playing a video game and more like reading a beautiful interactive book or interacting with a real work of art. To me, this game is like the Mona Lisa of video games for this year.
Being the first BioShock to utilize DirectX 11 features, the graphics are freaking gorgeous! The colors are very vibrant and give the environment a lot of life to it. Everything from the sun's rays to the water add so much to the environment. The only drawback that I can see is that the graphics are SO vibrant that it might look a bit cartoonish. But that's a personal thing for each person and I have no problems with Infinite's graphics. It's a damn gorgeous game no matter how vibrant it is.
The sounds of Infinite helps the graphics add the final layer to the environment and does it so well. The weapons have the usual deep boom to them and they don't ever sound weak as if you were holding a paintball gun or a pellet gun. However, more than the environmental sounds of the game, the voice acting is superb! The lines that are given to the characters are so well thought out and give them so much depth that you actually feel attached to them (I especially loved Elizabeth!) Most of the NPCs that you approach has something to say to you to help you understand the world of Infinite and what's going on. The mix of a great atmosphere and complex character interaction makes Infinite so much more than just a video game with a great story.
True to being a BioShock game, the gameplay is very similar to the previous games. You have a primary firearm (which you get to carry 2 of) and you have special powers called Vigors that have a distinct ability (1 Vigor will set your enemies on fire while another will lift and hold your enemies in the air.) A small addition to the Vigor system is that you can actually charge them up to give them new properties (An example would be the fire Vigor. Normally, it just shoots fire but if you charge it up, you can create mines that explode and deal fire in a radius.)
New to BioShock is the skyline system. If you noticed in the trailers, your character can hook onto the rails and move around on them. It adds a new way to fight your enemies by flanking and by landing on top of them with an aerial strike. While it is a unique system, I didn't really use it much in combat unless I had to. Nevertheless, it can be useful to access higher areas to snipe your enemies or to flank your enemies from behind or the sides.
And last but not least, Elizabeth acts as a helper for you during combat and DAMN is she ever competent compared to many other A.I.-based helpers. While she won't go on the offensive by killing enemies, she'll run around, always staying at your side to help look for ammunition, health packs, salts (fuel for your Vigor), and scouting for snipers. She also raises you up when you lose all your health. This one aspect in gameplay made me truly love Infinite and I give Irrational Games tons of kudos for getting NPC partners down right.
To conclude my little review, I can honestly say that Infinite deserves to be a nominee for GOTY status for 2013 (if not actually awarded GOTY.) Irrational Games did such an excellent job with Infinite that makes me happy that it was delayed a few times. Everything from the gameplay to the story to the characters (I truly fell in love with Elizabeth's character) was done absolutely brilliant and to be honest, I have no complaints with the game. Well, if I were to be very nitpicky, I'd say that this game truly isn't for the younger audience not for the violence but due to the complexity of the story. Even for the mature audience, it's a hard game to understand fully without replaying it a few times. Without a doubt, I give this game a 10/10 for everything it offers. Excellent and complex story, amazing characters that you actually feel attached to, gorgeous graphics, brilliant voice acting, sound effects that pack a punch, and intense combat. I highly recommend this game at its original price of $59.99. You won't regret paying $60 for this masterpiece.