BioShock Infinite

Bioshock Infinite is a masterpiece, both visually and in gameplay terms. I'm gutted it took me so long to get round to playing it as I would have been even more impressed on release.

I’m ashamed to say it, but it’s taken me six years to complete Bioshock Infinite. Not due to the games’ difficulty, but rather my tendency to be easily distracted. There was an arrival of a baby close to this time too, so the distraction in this case is entirely warranted!

Having decided that I’ll prioritise my backlog based on historic purchases as well as disk space, Bioshock is beating the competition hands down. It’s a whopping install, some 43Gb when you factor in the “Burial at Sea” DLC.

Bioshock Series

The Bioshock series started in 2007 by Irrational Games under 2K Games with a change of developer mid-way through for Bioshock 2. The original creative team developed the first game and Bioshock Infinite.

The original Bioshock, set around the underwater city of Rapture is a classic. Bioshock Infinite follows this trend, where the character develops super-human powers that are incredibly handy at fighting the multitude of baddies that the city has kindly provided for you.

The original Bioshock was entertaining and enjoyable, certainly worthy of all the positive reviews it received. Bioshock Infinite however, is much more. It’s an amazing game with a deep and rich narrative. Combine this with punchy, vivid graphics and an involving gameplay mechanics system which made the original such fun!

Steam Controller

Having played Bioshock on the XBox 360, it is a prime candidate for the steam controller, especially as it has controller support within Steam.

There’s been plenty of time for people to create and tweak a controller setting for this game and I found BLU3’s controller config rather good. I had a minor niggle with Right Pull not behaving as expected, but this can be tweaked. See the full post on the Bioshock Infinite Steam Controller Config post for a more detailed snapshot.

ReShade

I’ve used ReShade for a number of years, admittedly with mixed results and in some cases, serious flaws. Bioshock Infinite is a game that works brilliantly with ReShade, even on default settings. ReShade is one of those tools which if you spend time on the config, you’ll potentially see some amazing results.

I’m mostly lazy or go through bouts of wanting full-on config / benchmarking sessions, versus, just going with some defaults. The defaults here are pretty amazing, providing deep, rich and lush colours.

Sound Issues

The one major flaw encountered was the random crackle that would occur when using wireless headphones. It tends to happen after about an hour of gameplay, but renders the game unplayable when it occurs.

The sound distorts in such a way that ironically, sounds like it’s an underwater radio. Which for a game series based in the depths of the sea, is either a neat trick or just coincidence.

It also seemed to happen when going back to the steam overlay in big picture mode. The only fix was to restart the game which is highly annoying.

The downside of retro playing titles, even after 6 years is that bugs are likely here to stay!

Visually Stunning

Immediately as Bioshock Infinite starts, the scenery is lush with colour and highly detailed. The original Bioshock achieved a similar feat so it’s fantastic that Bioshock Infinite continues that trend of making the world look beautiful.

Set within 1912, the game features a stunning backdrop of scenery and characters, all beautifully rendered in that almost art-deco style. Its a genre that works well and Bioshock Infinite nails it perfectly.

Bioshock Infinite in 4K

Ultra HD up to 4K produced amazing results. With ReShade applied, the default colour contrast is maybe too high, but this depends on individual preference and can be tweaked.

UI scaling isn’t so great in 4K unfortunately. Whilst the 1080ti can handle the higher frame rates, my eyes cannot and reading such small text and ammo levels was too difficult!

Gameplay & Mechanics

The Steam Controller with plenty of customisation options ensure vigour, weapons and overall gameplay are catered for. It doesn’t take long to get things working as you’d like.

The gameplay mechanics are somewhat similar to Skyrim, with dual controls matched to regular weapons on the right and special “Vigor” moves on the left. It’s a simpler version but works well.

There’s a kind of levelling up in terms of weapons but these are purchased through various vending machines throughout the game. Thankfully, there’s no buy-to-win so all upgrades are earned through hard work, killing and some running away.

The story is nothing short of amazing and full credit to the creative team responsible as it hits all the notes to increase the immersion. Detailed characters, sub-plots and such vivid backdrops provide continuous awe-inspiring moments.

At times, it gets dark, very dark, but I absolutely loved it. The game provides many key moments, so thought provoking, or plain interesting in terms of player storyline or even just background info. The screengrab below being a prime example, what did he do, who is it, how did this happen?

I’m aware that this tells me more about my personality than I’d care to explore. Visiting the sight in the chair, I should have just acknowledged and carried on my (subdued) way. I didn’t, but being honest, I’d bet you would do the same. Pan around the body clicking all you can for any clues or inventory items before finally seeing if you can shoot / slash the character to review any additional effects.

Summary

Bioshock Infinite is a masterpiece, both visually and in gameplay terms. I’m gutted I took so long to get round to playing it as I would have been even more impressed on release. The storyline is immersive, engaging and highly detailed. I just hope after the disbanding of the development team this isn’t the last of the series. If they release a new Bioshock title, I’ll be all over it as close to release as possible.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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