BioShock Infinite is a great game. I'm only into the early chapters as of this writing, but I can already tell you that all the great things people have been writing are, as near as I can tell, absolutely true. We're working on a performance comparison and review that'll be up in the not-too-distant future, so look for them.
For all its gorgeous graphics and amazing attention to detail, BioShock Infinite has a really odd directional audio problem. I've created a video clip that demonstrates it below:
Color me confused on this one. In this case, the problem is worse if I turn left than if I turn right. Turning right merely deadens the sound, while turning left mutes it altogether in one spot. It's almost as though the act of rotating actually makes the game think Booker is standing somewhere else entirely.
I've uploaded another YouTube clip of the same effect in a different spot. This time, it's the background noise of wind blowing past that vanishes and reappears depending on my position.
The issue gets noticeably worse once you actually start moving. One of the ways game developers build immersion in a world is to let you listen in on idle NPC chit-chat. Thanks to this bug, conversations abruptly drop out as you pass near NPCs, only to blare at full volume again if you rotate the camera. Curiously, it doesn't crop up in every situation -- when a barbershop quartet flew by on an airship, I could hear their singing through the entire area.
There are two partial workarounds. Turn on subtitles and always point the camera directly at the NPCs whose dialog you want to pay attention to. I've yet to encounter a situation that couldn't be parsed through this combination, though it may not work if there are chapters where enemies approach for aural 'deaf' spots.
We've reached out to Irrational Games and will update this story if we hear more. I've also taken a look through the game's INF files, but haven't found any settings that had an impact on the problem. Updating the Realtek drivers on my motherboard didn't solve the problem, and it's an issue that's unique to this game.
Update: I've confirmed that it is possible for enemies to sneak up on you on your 'deaf' side. Depending on which way you face, you won't hear enemy challenges or attacks. Rotate the camera while being struck, and you'll hear snippets of the attack or bits of the challenge.