Definitive Bioshock Infinite Review with Benchmarks

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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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Comments
YoanLessard one year ago

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

footman36 one year ago

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.

Clixxer one year ago

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.

Joel H one year ago

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

Clixxer one year ago

[quote user="Joel H"]

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

[/quote]

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

KOwen one year ago

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.

jonortiz one year ago

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

Deff second best game i've ever play

First . Resident evil 4

fat78 one year ago

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.

fat78 one year ago

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

DevinMorris one year ago

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.

Clixxer one year ago

Just keep posting and you might be a shiny new one from HotHardware! Well looks like my next paycheck I might be getting this. To many people have recommended it to me not to check out now.

karanm one year ago

Oh man this is tough, I did not like Bioshock 1 or 2. I tried the first one after people told me it was a good game and I only played maybe half. Tried the second one with an open mind because once again people told me it was good and once again I probably played it for 3-4 hours before I gave it up. Now the third one gets an amazing review and I really don't want to waste time or money on it but I am tempted.

CJ Powell one year ago

Running this game on an AMD gpu would be amazing! I have one and it is personally the best running one i have ever had (7950)

Kidbest100 one year ago

freaking AMAZING game! It looks great, feels great, and it also, works great!

It's a very respectable addition to the bioshock series, and definitely worthy of being one of the best games so far this year!

angry_smiley one year ago

this game is boring i sleep 30 minutes while playing this game every time

Just your typical FPS game with some twisty plot. nothing special. very overrated.

gameplay drags you from one boring gun fight to another very similar boring gun fight. enemies just run around ready to be shot.

resistance 3 have much more enemy and scenario variation than this game.

honestly i think they should made this a third person shooter, similar to uncharted. as it is very similar to uncharted only you can't see the main protagonist.

then go after a cinematic appeal, like your just playing an interactive movie, as there is nothing really anything that you do here that actually affects the games out come.

 

On the plus side the games aesthetics and design looks great (but not jaw dropping great) just a very typical steam-punk/diesel-punk art.

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