Having waited a very long time for its arrival, I finally finished Bioshock Infinite a few days back. It’s a bit late in the day for a review because it’s been out a few months now, and so you’ve most likely read a lot of reviews or even played it already, so you probably don’t need another one.
Long story short, it’s pretty spectacular; further expanding the body of evidence to support the “Video Games as Art” argument. While it lacks the claustrophobic sense of panic which pervaded the original and the gameplay mechanic is a little limited by comparison; (only 2 weapons at a time and somewhat limited plasmids, or “salts” as they are referred to this time around) it is nonetheless a huge and engaging story that’s often breathtaking to look at and be part of; so that’s all right then.
It’s no secret that the Bioshock universe struck a chord with me. Rapture in particular being somewhere I get a scary feeling I might find myself feeling very much at home (that may be indicative of some aspects of my character I would be happier not knowing too much about. On the other hand though, I put it to you that it is perfectly reasonable to want to go somewhere I can shoot lightning from my fingers.) But alas Rapture is not real; so I can’t go there. But what if there was some intrepid, irresponsible id that could go there in my stead?
So, say hello then, to Mr Penfold Namesley. A travel writer without boundaries, sense or understanding of the concept behind phrases like “That is enough! You’ll hurt yourself” or “I’m pretty sure that won’t bounce, Penfold…”
The only person to ever receive a lifetime ban from writing for lonely planet due to him being “fictional and offensive”; his mission is to go terrible places and behave badly there so you don’t have to. Here are the details of his time in Rapture:
Lesson learned. Those mushrooms Mario is so fond of are marvellous, and you would think that distilling them into a delicious beverage would bump them up to terrific; y’know, really turn your shindig into a hootenanny. Not so. From what I remember Luigi has gone all Lord-Sadler-from-Resident-Evil-4 and I’m pretty sure I have a memory of Mario shouting “Vendetta” in his little girl voice. Why is it that every time I go somewhere colourful without any sharply defined corners it always ends in a bloodbath?
After escaping on a pudgy dinosaur by the skin of my teeth (Godspeed, brave Yoshi. You delicious bastard) and experiencing a couple of my usual afternoon “Scene Missing” moments, I found myself in a dinky little submarine headed for the bottom of the sea. This alone was not unusual; and was indeed quite pleasant, considering I wasn’t tied to anything at all this time around. What was however, a bit jarring was the massive sprawling city that someone had put there. I’d like to point out that I do not know how to steer a submarine, so apparently I am to visit this city.
I am greeted upon arrival by a freakishly tall golden man with a very loud, sonorous voice who turns out to be a statue. That of a Mr Andrew Ryan, apparently; who I assume is one of the bigger cheeses down here. His recorded greeting, looped over the PA proclaims some kind of nutty-as-a-binful-of-clowns philosophy making him sound like both a hippy and a fascist at the same time; which to his credit I had not believed possible.
It quickly occurs that this ball-bag is trying to make me think about stuff. High concept stuff. While he is clearly a master of the art of making hairbrained ideas come to life on a colossal and absurd scale, I don’t think he and I will get along. Might be an idea for me to get back in the submarine and go away. At least it would if I knew how to start the submarine, and I don’t so I’m going to sleep under one of the seats and hope for the best.