The Necessity of Violence in Bioshock Infinite - Awesome out of Ten
^ above is an article that many of you who are into character and world building may find very interesting
On another note, I'm actually really surprised by the reactions I see here.
Maybe I'm a bit spoiled as the only discussions I've had with it have been with the other game designers at my university, but I really didn't except this sort of hostility to it.
I'll say right off, at no point am I trying or wanting to offend or demean anyone with this, its just my thoughts and opinions on it all, and maybe giving a different perspective to this.
As far as the mechanics, my two complaints can be easily explained away, even if that still means that they will stand out a little bit.
Ken Levine wanted the game to sell. Now of course you may think that's an incredibly broad statement as obviously every game studio wants that, but Ken wanted it more in a broad sense that he wanted the game to be accessible to more people so that they could experience the world of Columbia. Unfortunately due to marketing and the horrible stereotyped perceptions of gamers, shooters remain the best selling genre. He wanted the game to be a platform to lift games out of the CoD style of repetition and to show that innovation in story if nothing else can sell, and can be celebrated. So while it perhaps would have been nice to see it set in another genre or in slightly different controls or mechanics, I can understand the design goal and decision behind making that choice.
The other one is the Vigors. Vigors in the game made absolutely no sense at all. I will be the first to admit that. While the environment and situation was there for them, the lack of NPC's and characters using them greatly set them at odds. The fireman uses the Devils Kiss, but no other NPC does. If they did it would have made more sense, I also understand why they were included without that. It is a game in the Bioshock IP. It wouldn't be bioshock without Plasmids/Vigors. And really when you come down to the mechanical implementation, its just magic and a mana bar reskined. So while it doesnt fit, I do understand why it was included, and to be honest I loved the ones they did include and it made it more fun for me, despite the disconnect. Playing around with the Ocean one (forget what its called at this moment) was great.
Elizabeth was absolutely great, despite the one moment with no update for the lock picking after you save her, which when I played it pissed me off so much I had to walk away from the game for a moment, but that was the only time.
Did anyone else see in the area with all the shops, if you go into one room and just wait, Elizabeth will run over and grab some fairy floss (cotton candy) and start to eat it? That was amazing.
It was also nice to see the way they worked her into the mechanics. You can't hold health or salts so she would supply them to you, but only from what was around in the environment, and it was a limited thing. It was also nice to have an escort based game where you don't have to worry about them all the time.
My look at the plot is this: Its not about Booker and Elizabeth. Okay yeah thats the in your face focus of it, and while I saw some of the stuff coming there was a lot there that I NEVER could have guessed in a million years, but they aren't the core of the story
What its really about? Robert and Rosalind Lutece.
Those two made that story for me. When you think about it, leaving out the ending for the moment I'll get to that soon, none of this would have happened without them. Yes, I mean Booker still would have purged his skins at Wounded Knee and used that as an excuse for his racism and become Comstock at some stage, but without Rosalind and Robert, Columbia never would have been built, they would never have met, they wouldn't have found the tears, Comstock wouldn't have taken Anna and turned her into Elizabeth, and even if you get down to the small details, if Robert hadn't of hesitated at the tear, Anna never would have lost her finger and the story wouldn't have taken place anyway as she wouldn't have the power to jump between realities.
For me this isn't a story about Booker trying to get back his daughter. Its a story about the redemption of two people who knew they damaged lives by interfering.
Just looking at one of the first times you see them for example, when they get Booker to flip the coin. There is a total of 122 marks on the board by the time that the players game occurs. At any given time they could have just stopped bringing Booker back from his reality to do this. They set this up, ferried him across the ocean, helped him through 122 times to see if he would succeed. It wouldn't have happened without their persistence. They even are the ones who help Elizabeth control the tears etc.
(On a side note: Shooting either of the twins in The Blue Ribbon restaurant will result in Rosalind saying "You missed," several times before ultimately stating, "We can afford to do this all day, but the question is, can you?" That was absolutely brilliant and so very entertaining, not to mention a big hint that something was wrong with that)
Okay onto the ending:
I recommend as well that everyone who's only just finished it let it have time to sink in and for you to think about it too. The game plays such a mind game on you I know a few people that changed the way they thought of it just after letting it go for a while.
If you look at it from a solely narrative perspective in the format of a story, yes, they fucked up. But I personally don't see it like that. You play this whole game through Booker's eyes. So it makes sense to me that when he dies your perspective is removed. Your Booker doesn't get to see what happens after wards, and neither do you. The post ending scene kinda solidified that in my mind as you see your Booker returning to get his child back, you see what would have happened to your Booker (as you are the only one that succeeded) if Robert hadn't of taken Anna that day.
And you see that the twins succeeded.
Part of why I think that they did the ending like that as well is that its a game about thought. You have to think the whole way through on things and the ending is no different. With some thought and even I found playing through the game again (you'd be amazed all the things you didn't pick up on and all the references that suddenly make sense and bring up more revelations for you), you can think exactly what happened in the end.
Comstock never existed so neither did Columbia, and never will exist thanks to the powers that Elizabeth used to drown Comstock through Booker. Anna was never taken so Booker never became a drunk or a gambler, he remained a private detective able to care for his daughter. New York was never attacked and historical events around the Boxer rebellion and Wounded Knee were never distorted like they were in the Columbia world. And as Elizabeth said, there is always a man, a lighthouse, a city. So we know that sort of story is meant to repeat again.
But even in the details. The twins are still alive somewhere, floating around in space between realities however they want. But with the separated worlds alive twins are also out somewhere. The black woman and white man from the start of the game probably never found each other and fell in love, but were probably safe for that. Daisy probably was never driven insane by abuse of that sort of situation. Even the preacher from the start of the game, the one who baptizes you (and who is the same guy who did it at Wounded Knee as well, I loved that bit of symmetry) is probably still working in the Wounded Knee area, never having been taken by Comstock to serve Columbia.
But the bit I love is that you can't know for sure. Its not about knowing. The same as real life. We don't make a decision and see the joy or pain that unfolds after that, we just keep going, and that's what the game forces you to do.
I will say though, the start of the game was a stroke of genius. I was so pissed off when I started the game, I thought they'd just copy and pasted the start from bioshock 1 because it worked so damn well, just with reverse metrics, up instead of down etc. To the point where I even thought the game was going to be ruined because of it. But then the way that they tie it in at the end was great and really made me think 'well, I'm a fuck wit, and thats brillant.'
The idea that Songbird, made from Rapture technology by Fink after seeing through one of the tears, and then drowning in Rapture, in the area where you first see the splicers, where you encounter the Big Daddy and Little Sister (who are remade in Songbird and Elizabeth) was a great touch, especially with the dead Big Daddy and weeping Little Sister in the background of that scene.
Song birds death was heart breaking as well, that he knew he was dying but he didn't care as long as he had Elizabeth, even after she betrayed him.
And personally even above all of this, they achieved what they wanted to do story wise, they did it fairly, and they didn't back down and rewrite it for those who didn't agree, and that I love.
Just wondering? How much do people know about all the various Easter Eggs in the game?
Anyway I think I've rambled a bit much. Hopefully just given a bit of a difference perspective to it. And hopefully made sense.