To Infinity and Beyond: What I Need from Bioshock Infinite
As someone who can put a date to his gaming beginnings to the wonderful world of Pong, I can only count four game series that truly surprised me and I would spend the sixty dollars to purchase without hesitation. When I purchased my PlayStation 2, I became enamored with this little ditty of game involving a little anime boy named Sora and his quest throughout the Disney universe. I loved the concept of playing through my childhood and have sought out every Kingdom Hearts game since (often to great disappointment). The second series came on a dark night freshman year of college. I picked up this game from the “discount box” at my local used game exchange. A murder has happened and it is my job to investigate it. The only weapon available to me was a “special” camera with some magical film. With this camera I explored an ancient Japanese mansion as I was attacked by ghosts of tormented individuals.
Fatal Frame is still one of the most unnerving and amazing games ever made and I sit in wait for a next generation sequel. The final two came in the wake of the death of my PlayStation 2. It was finally time to upgrade to one of the two next generation consoles, the PS3 in its shiny black Blu ray glory or the larger white system of the legendary Microsoft company. In the end the availability of the game, The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion swayed me. I spent more time playing Oblivion than I did working on my college papers. It was the first game I purchased add-ons for so I could continue my enjoyment and when Skyrim came out, I was in line to buy it at midnight. As much as I love these three game series, nothing created such an excitement and focus and interest in the entire game as the Bioshock series.
The steam-punk-meets-Jules Verne-meets FPS-RPG game was so engrossing that when the second installment of the series was announced, I gave up my 32” tube television and bought a 42” flat screen 1080p television so I could truly enjoy and experience the game in all of its glory. The absolute enjoyment I felt playing that game reminded me what video games are, and escape. The story, graphics and challenge combined with the twists and turns led to a complete game and in my opinion one of the truly undeniable 10 out 10 games ever made. Upon completing the game multiple times, both Bioshock and Bioshock 2 have found their way to the retirement shelf of my games, occasionally being pulled out to play through again as I go through withdrawal or need to be reminded that there are actually quality games out there.
Now, I will be 100% honest with you, I thought the Bioshock series was done. However, the announcement of the release of Bioshock: Infinite lit up my mind and perked up my gaming happiness beyond belief. We were given a great amount of teaser information notifying us that the game was to going to involve a new character, Civil War vet Booker DeWitt. Not only was it a new character guaranteeing us an entirely new story, this one would not take place underwater but on a floating city, named Columbia. While hesitant at first, the thought and little bits of information, pictures and gameplay videos had me ready to stand in line at midnight again. That was before the multiple delays the company kept announcing. It has gotten to the point where I want this game but I am so mad at the developers for their “we are trying to achieve perfection” excuses for delay that I will be going in to this game with my expectations and standards set so high that there can be no room for error with this game. While I am aware that my opinion means all of a rat’s fart in the Sahara desert to the developers over at Irrational Games, if this game is not flawless I will not take mercy on their game. I have such high expectations for the game that there has to be certain things in my opinion to make this game perfect.
1. It must be visually stunning beyond anything that has been done to this point on any next gen console. I do not want to see anything that resembles the same graphic level of the previous two games. You cannot delay a game multiple times and give us the same thing we are used to. I expect this game to pass every game that has every come out on the current system with ease. If it does not, I will deduct from the overall value of the game.
2. I want a solid story-line. We have been told that the game will center around DeWitt and the girl he has been assigned to rescue, Elizabeth. According the folks over at Irrational Games, DeWitt will be able to modify his abilities on a physical level much like the previous two installments in the series. Elizabeth’s abilities will pretty much focus on her ability to manipulate the environment in Columbia. The way that this game is being presented to me is that we can expect a multiple perspective story-line. I am okay with this as long as we are not given some Army of Two style crap where I have to control the other person’s movement and activities while I am playing. I need to feel connected to the first two games while developing an interested in both DeWitt and Elizabeth and the world in which they exist. This cannot be a completely separate game in its entirety. I want connections to the world that we have grown so used to in the prior two installments. Even simple mentions and artwork will be acceptable. I would just hate that we have built up a “relationship” with the Rapture and Elenore, only to just leave it and move on.
3.The game must take forever to beat. We have been told that there will be no multiplayer and no online so in exchange I expect this to have a solid thirty hours of gameplay, minimum. If a game is dependent on the online or multiplayer then the single player story often takes a backseat in terms of expected hours of gameplay. Take the Call of Duty franchise for instance. The latest installment, Black Ops 2, had a solid storyline, but very, very short solo gameplay in terms of hours. The reasoning is simple, 99.9% of the people who play the COD series play for the online multiplayer/zombies missions. I will not be satisfied if I get anything less than 1.5x the amount of gameplay hours presented in Bioshock 2.
4. I want to see a large choice of the meds and enhancements. One thing I have always loved about the Bioshock games have been the planning involving balancing your meds and mods with your weapons to create the most powerful you that you can be. I want the Infinite to create something just like that, Infinite possibilities and combinations to create some of the most amazing and dominating attacks imaginable. The biggest reason I am for this is because……
5. It Must be worth replaying at least 3 times. This one ties all of the previous ones together. I want a game that when I beat it, I cannot wait to go back to play through it again with a different approach to see how it changes the game and the playability. Elder Scrolls does this extremely well. By providing the numerous classes with great differences between them that changes the way you are seen as well as the way you play. I want to believe that spending sixty plus dollars (and the money for eventual DLC) will actually last a while.
While much of this will seem trivial and many people will say that I am going in to this game with too high of standards, the developers over at Irrational Games did this to themselves. It isn’t that I believe that the game will not live up to my standards, to the contrary I am expecting to be blown away. However, if they do not justify their reasons for delay after delay then they are deserving of all negative reviews and harsh critiques that come with it. You cannot promise your fans perfection, only to arrive with a product that rides its mystique to big sales and horrible reviews (I’m looking at you Rift and Rage)and expect everyone to just sit idle and say nothing. Here is hoping that what we have in Bioshock Infinite is everything and more that ways promised.