It’s been about several months since I last wrote a Weekend Writing post. Admittedly me playing games has slowed down considerably in 2021, due to a multitude of personal factors. Fed up with playing Bingo Story and Call of Duty: Black Ops – Cold War all the time, I decided to tackle a game in my backlog. One that has sort of an infamy among gaming circles. A game that’s particularly very polarizing, to a point where people who praised it as the “Game of the Forever” and considered its creator a genius now consider it the worst game in the entire franchise. And since I talked about BioShock 2 back in 2019, I feel it’s fitting to play the third – and as of 2021, the most recent – game in the BioShock series.
BioShock Infinite is one of those games that I heard had sort of a legacy behind it. When released in 2013, the game was unanimously praised for its storytelling and gameplay, and won a myriad of awards. As time goes on, though, the general consensus has taken a 180 – damning criticism and people calling creative director Ken Levine a talentless hack. Even when I wrote about replaying BioShock 2 a few years back, that sentiment seemed to still be true, with some people even re-evaluating BioShock 2 as probably the best game in the series.
But hey, I always believe in playing things for myself rather than blindly going with what others say, so let’s see if this is infinitely amazing or infinitely terrible.
(Content warning: Plot spoilers for BioShock Infinite follow. While the game is eight years old as of this writing, I always assume that someone who’s reading this might not have played the game yet, much like me.
In addition, this game does go into themes of racism and political movements, of which I’ll also talk about here.)
The plot of BioShock Infinite starts thusly: Booker DeWitt must go to Columbia – a magical city in the sky, via lighthouse – to rescue a girl by the name of Elizabeth, for a bounty. As the game goes on, it turns out the goal is not that simple as we think, partially due to Elizabeth’s magic ability to create “tears” in the world that go to alternate timelines and worlds. Thus Booker and Elizabeth must stop Zachary Comstock and the world of Columbia he’s made, while also figuring out the mystery of why Booker’s there in the first place.
As I went through the intro world of Columbia, there was a rather unsettling sense of christian white supremacy in the early story beats, which is a rather strong but somewhat upsetting start. Before Booker even gets the chance to visit Columbia, he must be baptized. Eventually Booker starts seeing the Vox Populi, the rival group of people demonized by the Founders that basically hate the cleanliness that Comstock’s Columbia brings. You would think that since there’s a clear hero/villain dynamic to the world that Booker would just be able to work with the Vox Populi and cause a revolution, right?
Well, technically no. Booker just wants to get out of Columbia with Elizabeth, being rather selfish. There’s a point in the plot where through a special ability that Elizabeth has brings the two of them into a timeline where Booker was the Vox Populi leader who became a martyr, but the rest of the plot tends to lean that both the Founders and Vox Populi are evil in their own distinct ways. I couldn’t roll my eyes any harder when they got to that point in the story.Continue reading…