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BioShock: Infinite Review

Using a combination of Vigors and gunfire is key to taking down heavy-hitting enemies like the Patriots.

BioShock: Infinite's game mechanics are quite similar to the other BioShock games, with minor control changes here and there. At its core the game is a traditional first-person shooter that features both an array of upgradeable firearms and powers that work in tandem to provide the chief offensive measures.

Players can mix and match any number of combination of Vigors–such as Bucking Bronco, Shock Jockey or Devil's Kiss–with the arsenal of weapons including Shotguns, Pistols, RPG's and even Sniper Rifles.

The game also makes use of a standard HUD (Heads-Up Display) that features a bar for both Health, Shields, and Salts, an aiming reticule, and an floating Objectives bar that directs players throughout their journey. The shield bar replenishes over time, and once its broken players will start to take damage unless they take cover behind nearby objects.

Skyhook executions can be quite grisly but they have lethal results.

To heal both Health and Salts (the blue bar that constitutes "mana" capacity that's used to power Vigor spells) players can make use of a huge variety of in-game foodstuffs like soda, candy bars, sandwiches and even cigarettes, each of which have their own replenishing properties.

Additionally players can also raise their Shield, Health or Salts capacity bar with Infusions, which are found in various areas throughout the game. These Infusions are a one-time use upgrade that raises the chosen bar, allowing players to adjust their affinities to their own distinct playing style.

The interface (accessed by pressing the Back button) is very basic and features its own stylish flair, featuring five tabs that allow players to review certain in-game objectives, assess their gear and Vigors, and even listen to found Voxophones at any time in the game.

BioShock: Infinite features an impressive array of weaponry with a dozen different guns, each with their own signature strengths, weaknesses, and in-combat utility. While the game does have a nice variety of guns, players can only have two firearms equipped at any one time, and often players will find new weapons throughout Columbia that make certain battles easier.

Booker uses a machine gun to dispatch of a pesky Columbian soldier.

All of the guns are balanced and have different stats including power, accuracy, reload rate and more, and players can look down the iron sights of each–and those with scopes–for additional accuracy. Each of the twelve weapons can also be upgraded with up to four upgrades a piece. Some of the upgrades will raise a particular weapon's damage or accuracy, and below you can find a few of the upgrades featured in the game:

  • Damage Boost
  • Clip Increase
  • Accuracy Boost
  • Reload Increase
  • Fire Rate Boost
  • Recoil Decrease

The other half of the game's combat is maintained with Vigors, which are attainable spells that have devastating affects on enemies. Every Vigor has its own properties and they all do different things–not all of them are offensive. While Devil's Kiss makes use of blazing flames and Shock Jockey uses volatile electric current, Vigors like Possession allow players to take control of nearby turrets and use them against enemies. Vigors are an important part of the game, and often the strategic use of them in combat can be the difference between life and death.

Vigors also have secondary functions: they can be used to generate lethal traps that unleash their effects when enemies step over them. The traps add a nice variety of tactics to the game's frenetic firefights and are extremely enjoyable when things go just right. Each Vigor can also be enhanced with two upgrades, and these upgrades are sold at Veni Vidi Vigor vending machines. The upgrades are often expensive, ranging from ~1,000 to 2,000 Silver Eagles apiece.

In addition to the powerful Vigors and firearms players can also use their Sky Hooks for deadly melee attacks, and when timed right, players can perform lethal executions that kill enemies. Using a combination of all three strategically can be the difference between life and death and is often more rewarding.

A diagram that gives an example of the "Loadouts" featured in BioShock: Infinite, from Vigors to guns and the equip-able Gear.

Gear is another important addition featured in BioShock: Infinite, allowing players to equip certain articles of clothing that have their own powerful and helpful mods. Players can wear four types of Gear in the game: a Vest, Hat, Pants and Shoes. Gear is found scattered randomly throughout all of Columbia, and can often be found behind locked doors or locked vaults.

The passive properties offered by different pieces of gear range from helpful additional damage to a percent chance to ignite enemies during a melee attack, or even raising the regeneration rate of shields. Utilizing gear to your particular playing style is another helpful bonus that can make all the difference during those tough battles and gives players an advantage.

Throughout Columbia gamers will collect Silver Eagle coins which act as the game's currency. These coins can be spent at many of the vending machines peppered throughout Columbia to purchase ammo, med kits, salts, Vigor upgrades and more.

Traveling in Columbia is usually done by floating gondolas or by walking across bridges that link a "docked" building. Many times, though, players will ride the rails that connect the city and act as the railway for industrial goods and shipping crates.


The Sky Hook allows players to not only ride the rails–which is extremely enjoyable and is definitely one of the most alluring features of the game–but also leap high and connect to magnetic hooks that hang throughout the game. Making use of the hooks both in and out of battle can help in varying degrees, and often you can find loot hidden on nearby buildings.

Oh, and you can also execute enemies by slinging off a rail and landing on them.

Elzabeth's abilities are also a noteworthy subject as she is quite powerful and can open temporal rifts–or "Tears"–in the fabric of reality, allowing her to bring items such as weapon and ammo caches, vending machines, and even friendly Patriots from the other world into this one. Additionally she opens a gateway to a parallel universe that both she and De Witt actually traverse, crossing over into the other dimension.

Daisy Fitzroy, the leader of the Vox Populi, is just one of the game's compelling characters.

The game has its fair share of enemies that break the mold of traditional "faceless" NPC's that are featured in many FPS games these days. Each enemy has their own signature style and there are varying classes to each. The baddies in BioShock: Infinite range from the ordinary Columbia police officers and soldiers to the deadly Flamebearers who use the Devil's Kiss Vigor, or even the Crows that teleport and use the deadly Murder of Crows Vigor to annihilate foes.

Then there's the iconic Motorized Patriots; mechanical George Washington who's hell-bent on destroying everything with its huge mini-gun; Balloon Sentries that float across the skies and fire a volley of bullets; and of course the Handymen, which are the most deadly of the bunch. These colossal baddies wreak havoc and destruction wherever they go, smashing and leaping in great bounds…but they have one weakness: their glowing orange heart.

The mechanized behemoths known as "Handymen" can pack a wallop! Be sure to aim for his orange heart for extra damage.

While BioShock: Infinite does make use of traditional FPS mechanics, it does keep true to the authentic feel of the series and makes use of its own signature blend of new features to bring an experience that's all its own. By no means is the game hindered by its array of upgrades and additional content–if anything these additions compliment gameplay and give players a variety of options so that they can handle situations in their own way.

This freedom affords for different play-throughs and adds replay-ability to the game–not to mention the ultra-hard "1999 Mode" which is unlocked when players input the Konami code during the game's main menu.

Derek Strickland
Derek is an avid fan of gaming and everything geeky, and is compelled to make his mark in the field of games journalism. When he's not gaming on a console (everything from SNES to X360) you can find him reading about ancient civilizations or enjoying a fantasy epic or two.

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