Definitive Bioshock Infinite Review with Benchmarks

5 thumbs up
We're not going to beat around the bush, here. BioShock Infinite is game-of-the-year material. The floating city of Columbia is one of the most evocative, intense, gorgeous environments I've ever seen -- but how much you like it may depend on what sort of visual wizardry you prefer. BioShock Infinite is built on Unreal Engine 3, and while it pushes that framework's capabilities into the stratosphere, there's a clear difference between BioShock Infinite and, say, Crysis 3.



It's a testament to Ken Levine and the artistic team at Irrational Games that the gap feels like a stylistic choice rather than a technological limitation. Crysis 3 is a triumph of texturing and structural detail. BioShock Infinite emphasizes light, color and motion.  


The early game presents one motif, the late game uses another

This is what visual poetry looks like. Columbia's palette shifts with the game's mood, environments, and enemies. Then, there's Elizabeth.



Compared to Crysis 3's realistic faces, Elizabeth looks a bit like Mr. Game-And-Watch, but taken as a whole, she evokes far more humanity than any character from Crytek.




You can read what Elizabeth is feeling from her body language as much as her voice. It's a portrayal that's vital to her status as an equal partner rather than simply a damsel in distress.


The tomb of Lady Comstock

The soundtrack is similarly brilliant -- from out-of-time modern hits (partially explained by Elizabeth's unique abilities) to the use of Mozart's Requiem inside the tomb of Lady Comstock, this game is a visual and auditory feast. There is, however, a flaw in the game's audio -- Irrational Games confirmed to me that the audio bug we documented last week is very real.


Having now beaten the game, I can say that yes, you can absolutely finish -- but you'll occasionally lose the thread of conversation or get jumped by bad guys from a deaf corner. The problem, from the player's perspective, is two-fold:

1)  Certain sounds are seemingly fired in a tight cone rather than spreading throughout an area as they would in real life.

2)  Booker DeWitt is deaf in his right ear.

What this means, in practice, is that turning your head slightly to the left eliminates certain directional audio cues. In the real world, enough sound still reaches a person's good ear to allow them to reorient. In BioShock Infinite, sounds that play loudly when you face them may drop out entirely if you turn slightly left.

The team at Irrational Games is working on it, but had no fixes to report yet. The reason you'll see subtitles in many of our screenshots is because I continue to recommend turning them on in order to play. At times it keeps the game intelligible.
 

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For some reason this game made all of my fans go nuts

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I couldn't agree more with your assessment. I was considering the 7790 and the 650TI as an upgrade for my sons aging 5670 in his computer. I run a pair of GTX 670 in my main computer and am very partial to Nvidia GPU's however after looking at the current AMD bundles it made sense for me to spend a little extra on an AMD GPU (2GB XFX DD 7850 for $179) and get a free copy of Bioshock and a free copy of Tomb Raider, (worth $120 together). While I may have been sitting on the fence regarding Tomb Raider I certainly would have spent the $60 on Bioshock, so doing the math I really only spent $119 on my sons GPU upgrade (less if you consider the cost of Tomb Raider too, I'll give this to my son.). Terrific deal IMO. And a better GPU than both the 7790 and 650TI Boost.

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While Bioshock and Tomb Raider are worth "$120" I wouldn't except to be able to sell them for that so call it $40 each which still makes AMD cards a deal and half since you can take money off after alittle work or keep them for yourself.

On to the game! I've heard alot about this game and I have not played the first 2 Bioshocks but after all the reviews I just might have to see if I can find them cheap and play this one. I hate playing games out of order so id have to play the first two but i like the how the benchmarks are going. Definitely is sounding like a must play game.

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BioShock Infinite takes place decades before Bioshock 1 & 2. You won't be spoiled by anything if you play it first.

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Joel H:

BioShock Infinite takes place decades before Bioshock 1 & 2. You won't be spoiled by anything if you play it first.

Yeah, I just hate playing games out of order even if they chronological.

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5 pages of unadulterated praise but the game isn't given the editor's choice award? I wish I had money to buy this game, but I need to wait for the price to drop unfortunately. I haven't been so excited to play a game for its story since God of War 3, and won't be again, most likely, until Half-Life Episode 3.

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If you haven't play this game , play it!!!!

Deff second best game i've ever play

First . Resident evil 4

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I'm pretty happy with this game so far after getting it and crysis 3 with my 7950 sapphire card last week. I am not finished with the game yet but i do intend to play bio shock 1 and 2 after i am finished.

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I just finished the game a few moments ago and wow that plot got confusing near the end but was still pretty impressive.

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Soo shiny I wish i had the game and a pc that could really make it shine like this. Regardless it looks amazing and I've heard nothing but good things about it.

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