In yet another example of me being late to the party I have just finished Bioshock Infinite. I played on the XBOX 360. I’d known about it for some time but two things were putting me off.
A. It’s FPS. It may well be one of the biggest and most popular gaming genre’s on the planet (with the probable exceptions of MMORPG & MOBA’s) but I generally don’t play FPS. I don’t like em and therefore I suck real bad at em.
B. I can be (less so these days) a bit of a completionist and as a result was reluctant to play without having first played Bioshock’s 1 & 2.
In the end I figured that I knew enough about the Bioshock Universe, (including things some may consider spoilers for Infinite) to be able to play the game and “get” the story. The plan was to knuckle down and power through and hope the FPSishness wouldn’t ruin it for me.
I struggled. I found it really hard going. The combination of my lack of FPS ability and being used to playing games with the volume low due to the kids meant that I was dying all the time and not picking up on essential story based dialogue. I wouldn’t say I wasn’t enjoying it but the experience was hampered by these factors for sure. Pride was also an issue as I was determined to complete the game on normal difficulty. I reached a point where I had to cave on this point as the frequency of my death was too much to bear. At one point a prompt appeared on screen to remind me that bullets were not my only weapon. I constantly forgot about vigors and doubt I used them to their best effect when I did. It was clear that I suck at this game.
After changing to easy, turning the volume up and putting subtitles on I became more engaged in the world and the story of Colombia and it’s main players. I hadn’t hated the game prior to this, it had some real exciting moments. I actually held my breath in one of the games early scenes. It was after making these changes that the game really came together for me. I enjoyed the build up, the slow reveal of seemingly unrelated facts and pieces of information. Making the pay off at the end all the better.
Despite not playing Bioshock 1 or 2 I know how this game really opens up the universe and cements rules within it, rules that were not apparent in the first games. The issue with that being that any further games could appear formulaic. Although it appears that there may not be any further games. I’m happy with that though, TV is realising that shorter and fewer seasons can make for a better experience. Maybe gaming can do the same.