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Bioshock Infinite Pt2

In part two of FBT’s scathing Bioshock Infinite review, he basically rants for pages about how infuriating the game is. TLDR; FBT hates Infinite.

* Spoiler Alert – Plot-points and character fates are mentioned throughout *

Thus far Infinite has us shooting through a quantum physics-based plot murdering racist religious fanatics -and those who oppose them- while hop-scotching around multiverses to escape a floating city with a Disney Princess who can alter reality and pass through dimensions with her mind but not conjure an exit. While being chased by a giant mechanical crow.

Having reached Comstock’s airship, there’s nothing stopping us escaping so Songbird swoops down and swipes Liz. Then we’re in the future. 1984 to be clichéd exact. Without Booker to protect her, the years of conditioning turned Liz into the superweapon Comstock prophesied; Columbia is the Ark and Elizabeth the flood. We finally see what her potential really was … directing the Columbia airships to launch missiles. What? Comstock said she was God’s instrument, we’ve seen elements of her power and this is it? I wanted to see her tears pouring death from above, real fire and brimstone stuff, Sleeping Beauty become Maleficent. Nope. No Tear in sight. Just ‘drop a bomb there’. Not even Songbird!

Turns out Old Liz pulled us into this time to stop it happening. Okay, (deep breath) I thought she was on Comstock’s side now? She can’t be brain-washed and aware it’s wrong; Why not have a mini-boss battle with her? Save her, break the conditioning. Imagine that. And, she can time-tear? Oh and, because Old Liz sent us back with a clue to stop Comstock, that means not only can we affect the timeline but that this future won’t happen so we won’t get the clue which means … oh phew, here comes Levine waving his Quantum Theory for Dummies book, now with an all-new Grandfather Paradox Explained chapter!

Back to reality. We arrive just in time to see Young Liz’s super-charged powers open a tear to a tornado which wipes out everyone experimenting on her. THAT’S what I’m talking about! Go Liz! Then she NEVER does it again. So, with zero help from Tornado Liz, we storm Comstock’s airship. Comstock’s got to be impressive, charismatic, commanding, convincing to have pulled all this off; with the scene of Ryan playing golf while Rapture crumbles in mind, we wonder if we’ll meet the Devil or a con-man.

One good thing about this scene; I’ll never again be lost for an example of a game let-down. Comstock could have been one of the most complicated villains in gaming history; he seems to believe in his Old Testament sermons, but we also know he faked his Prophet-like status, using the Tears to gain knowledge. He was building an army to wipe clean the earth but because God told him to or a power-mad desire? And what of his segregation/slavery beliefs? We’ll never know because no sooner have we got past the pleasantries when Booker inexplicably kills him. Just like that. There’s only one reason why that happened. There’s a twist coming. Why is this entire game acting like it’s a ‘previously on’? Comstock, the Luteces, they all know but won’t let on – unless withholding the reveal is key to our final success, this game will be an unconscionable cheat. Before we have a chance to realise we got cheated, the game quickly spirals into an aggravating wave battle while Liz realises the clue from her future-self lets her control Songbird – that’s awesome cool! Sod Comstock, I wanna play Songbird! Wait … Why am I playing Serious Sam with the Vox while Songbird is relegated to background attacks in a hurried point and click? Why can’t we just fly Songbird about?! Massive Crow. Check. Remote control for Crow. Check. Tons of revolutionary, down with the racist and religious nut Vox soldiers to uncomfortably slaughter? Check. Instead I'm busy shooting like I've done throughout?

So, given Songbird was the thing stopping us leaving and we have control of it, there’s nothing stopping us leaving – Yes, there is. Booker DROPS the remote over the side. That's a moment of sickeningly bad, lazy storytelling. Songbird comes in for the kill and Liz opens a tear and transports us to … Rapture! The game already (desperately) justified the Vigors by showing they were Plasmids stolen through a tear so it seemed like we might visit. It’s nice, apart from watching Songbird die outside in the crushing water. It’s really quite sad; Songbird was such a tragic, disturbing creature and not just some automaton, it was a mix between Kong and a Big Daddy and it loved Liz, it’s only joy was looking after her. It’s a beautiful, heart-breaking, touching scene and completely out of place in the rest of this shitty, cheating story. God I hate this game.

So, Comstock dead, Songbird gone, free of Columbia; we’re all good, right? Roll the credits. Wrong. Liz’s full powers are unleashed and that gives her … the power to become a know-it-all. We float toward the surface catching a glimpse of Rapture as we go, but of course the moment is spoilt; Booker smirks ‘a city under the sea? Ridiculous’. You’ve just been on a floating … oh I’m done with you. Once by the lighthouse, Liz continues to ramble on; just like Comstock and the Luteces, she knows something she’s not telling me.

Remember that scene in the Matrix when the little kid explains reality; ‘There is no spoon’? and we understood; back to the bullet-time. If you ask Liz she’d talk about a bowl from the spoon’s perspective. Infinite has become Levine’s half-term paper on Quantum Theory and he’s just padding it to reach the word-count. There’s an apocryphal Feynman quote, "If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't really understand it." And here we are. Infinite isn’t hard to understand until they explain it, then you realise they don’t know either.