Why did Bioshock Infinite need to be a game?
I don't have an answer
to that question. I don't think anyone at Irrational has the answer to that
question - except maybe to say: "Well, we ARE a game developer...".
Ken Levine has shown many times that he is an excellent writer. I would read
his books. I would see his movies or plays. Bioshock Infinite is no
exception - the setting is evocative, the characters are interesting and
layered, the story pacing and dynamic is excellent!
Infinite: the game has multiple personalities. When it is the sweet,
entagled story told through the relationship of the two interesting
protagonists (Booker and Elizabeth) - it succeeds. When it is the barely
competent shooter, devoid of any meaning and only a passing correlation to
the story - it fails.
And you know, if that was the only problem - it
would still be fine. A lot of good games use their story as a means to drive
the player forward. But this is not the case.
Mr. Hyde's game cannot
help but exert its maniacal obsession with stereotypical game mechanics over
dr.Jekyll's story. It delays its progress while you kill waves and waves of
uninspired enemies, because that's what triggers the next story reveal. It
sends you on meaningless "The princess is in another castle" quests simply
to justify the stereotypical need for "8 to 10 hours of gameplay". It pits
you against nonsensical bosses because - you know - that's how games work.
This is not the natural progression in genre that Bioshock: The Original
deserved. In this game, everything resembles the greatness of the original,
except it has no reason to exist in this new world other than to just remind
us that it somehow shares the same "family" with it. Whereas the plasmids in
the original were tied to the principal setting and conflict of the game, in
this game they are just the thing that the other game had.
So is this
game not good?
The chronologically challenged story makes the bitter
taste of "oh-no-not-another-arena-encounter" a little sweeter at the end.
But it doesn't do enough to justify packaging itself in a clumsy game.
Bioshock Infinite didn't really need to be a game. It would still be as
good, and maybe better.