Bioshock Infinite is Infinitely Frustrating

So I’m taking a break from my online gaming to pursue some offline gaming.  The other day at work while doing some remedial factory work and being bored out of my mind I had an inspiration.  I thought “Gee, it would be awesome to play some Bioshock Infinite right about now” and I started to daydream about doing so.  Well not more than a day later I fired it up again on my PC and started playing.  I had fun, but now it is becoming a chore to play.

I had gotten a download of the game free when I purchased my 7950 graphics card earlier in the year, and due to all the hype I decided to play it.  The game looked amazing and it was very beautiful and fun to play – until I got to the combat.  I wasn’t ready for how difficult the combat would be and how un-skilled I would be starting out.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, it turns out it was very easy to die from standing in one place and getting shot at.  I hadn’t unlocked any good weapons and had no HP/Shield/Vigor boosts.  I was limited in what I could do, and I was frustrated.  I played a bit longer, but then my interest slowly dwindled as the game didn’t seem to get better over time.

Since then I saw many reviews saying how great the game was, and I put in my own review saying how un-great the game was.  Sure it looked shiny and it was a cool idea to have a hot chick running around on screen to keep me company – but the game seemed too forced.  No I don’t want to be the “false shepherd” and start shooting everyone in this beautiful city.  Oh, I have to?  I don’t get a choice?  Everyone suddenly hates me and wants to kill me on a simple mission to pick someone up?  Ok, gee I guess i’ll have to start fighting.  No, I don’t want to go on a long and boring sidequest to pick up an item before I can use another item to open a door to get through to the next zone, I just want to continue on with the story.  No?  I can’t do that?  I have to go through this side mission?  Fine.  I’ll do it.  I guess I don’t have a choice.  No, I don’t want to say this thing that upsets that bad guy.  I want to reason with him.  Oh, I can’t reason with him?  Ok, guess I gotta fight his giant army.  That’s the problem with Bioshock Infinite – I don’t get to have a choice.  Everything seems a bit forced, which isn’t what I would expect in a modern game.

The battles are at best predictable, and at worst confusing and frustrating.  I know when a tough fight is coming due to the amount of resources available before hand, and every fight seems to cycle through the same format – easy mobs, then slightly tougher, then very tough.  The next area repeats the same battles.  There isn’t a lot of pressure to do the fights with any strategy either.  Mostly I just rush in and start shooting because I know very well if I do die, I’ll just be revived over and over and over and keep trying until I win.  There’s no sense of danger or fear of failure.  The battles that are fun are frustrating.  There are sky hooks that I can latch on to and fly around and shoot enemies, but while it is fun I can’t aim and I have no idea where I am going on these hooks or how to use them properly.  They are a great idea for travel in Bioshock Infinite, but as far as combat, I might as well be trying to fight from a roller coaster or a mine cart or a car chase.  It’s exciting, but it is frustrating to aim a shot when both myself and the enemy are on the move.

Weapons are not all that they should be in Bioshock Infinite.  There is a variety of weapons, but you can only ever carry two at a time.  It would be nice to have a sniper rifle for long-range sniping, a rocket launcher for boss monsters, a rifle for long-range combat, and a shotgun for close range.  But since I can only have two and there is no way of knowing when i’ll come across another weapon of that type I have to choose wisely.  I normally like to snipe, but when all mobs aggro at once and ammo is limited during combat, it becomes a choice on the two guns that will provide the most accurate shots.  And while weapons can be upgraded, it is too costly to upgrade all of them, thus the two guns you favor will be come the two you upgrade first, and the two you get used to and stick with.  I would love to use that RPG or the heater gun or the heavy machine gun, but when it means I have to give up my upgraded carbine riffle or my hand cannon that I am used to, I won’t do so.

Vigors are nice, but again there are too many to choose from and they can all be upgraded at an expensive cost.  I stick to one mostly because I don’t have the time or the patience to keep switching between them.  Combat is fast paced and I just want to eliminate the mobs as quickly as possible.  I don’t want to do tricks with them or set up traps and hope they walk into them or rush into battle with a vigor and then be surrounded by mobs that I can’t take care of.  Yeah, I know if I die I just come back and get to try again, but there is something shameful about hearing someone in the game say “Mr. Dewitt you are tougher than I expected” when I just died six times and had to keep being revived.  So as best I can I just stand back and keep casting fire explosions at the mobs and hope to kill them.

However as a sci-fi fan and a gaming fan – the uniqueness of this game, the graphics, and the story keep me coming back to continue playing.  I am truly interested in where the story is going and what I will learn from the characters and the world.  I really like the way the game looks and over time I feel submerged in the world and it is exciting.  The characters are interesting and the story always throws something surprising into the mix.  I don’t know how much further I have to go in the game until I have finished it, but I’m at the point now where I just want to push through to the end and see how the game ends up.  The game is frustrating, but also fun enough that I want to finish it.  I hope I can do so soon.

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