I picked up my copy of Infinite earlier today and have been playing it pretty much since. It's fantastic. Bioshock created a flooded cavern of love in my heart and I have to admit that I was a little worried the sequel wouldn't measure up. Great news, I was wrong!
Elizabeth is great. Hands-down the best AI partner I've ever seen in a game. If every AI tag-along could be as unobtrusive, handy, and touching I don't think I'd complain about an escort mission ever again. The number of things they got right with her is simply staggering. From the important story elements of being a character you care about and actually enjoy spending about 80% of your time with, to the neat game-mechanic stuff of her tossing you weapons or tonics when you run dry, to the little tiny details. There has never been a time I've noticed yet of Elizabeth blocking my path, or getting stuck on a rock, or pulling some creepy ass Watson teleporting shit.
- Seriously dude, you're creeping me out.
It's an amazing technical and artistic accomplishment, and you can feel it reverberate through the entire game. One thing I think Elizabeth allowed them to do was make the game MUCH harder. I'm playing through on the default difficulty and the enemies have not hesitated to mess me up. While the original Bioshock hesitated to send more than three goon at you at a time, that's the norm with Infinite, often times more. Mix in some nasty heavy dudes or one of those jerk-ass motor launching guys, add the much more expansive and complicated terrain that doesn't just funnel guys down a corridor at you but lets them intelligently move and take cover, and things get out of control fast. Despite that, I haven't died too often, a result that is largely due to Elizabeth pulling my ass out of the fire with a last-second med-pack or reload, time and time again. It's a pretty neat trick – the action gets crazy hairy, but you have a reliable helping hand to make sure you don't die too often.
To me, the slickest part of this new Bioshock adventure might be Levine's ability to resist the temptation to try for another "would you kindly" moment. Rather than betting the narrative on one big crazy plot twist that makes you reevaluate the entire concept of the game, Infinite starts weird and builds from there. From the opening quote to the frequent reappearance of a pair of character who clearly have no business showing up everywhere they do, down to the uncertain nature of Elizabeth's powers, it is very clear that not everything is as it seems from the get-go.
I think it was a very smart piece of writing. You just couldn't shock people again like the original Bioshock, it's expected now. People would be looking for it. Any big single twist would have been inseparably compared to Bioshock and probably unable to live up to the hype. Instead, Infinite has a very groovy story steeped in weirdness that lets its mysteries and twists unfold one at a time at their own pace.
Last week, in the quick posts of Destructoid's community, we saw the rise and fall of community manager Wesley J. Russow. He rose to prominence with his immutable power, only to see it come crashing down as the working class clambered beneath him and tore him down. Truly, the life and times of Westopher G. Raggamuffins was a lesson in live fast, burn hot, crash spectacularly.
Wes went from community darling to lovable despot over the course of a few days. It was a thing of beauty to behold. Truly, nothing is better to witness than a real-life heel turn. Wrestling is nothing without these terms after all. A "Face" is a good guy wrestler who fights the man, stands up for the little guy, and fights fairly while still winning. A "Heel", on the other hand, is a despicable, dastardly villain or even anti-hero. I loved Kurt Angle's antics as this gold medal Olympic winner turned wrestler who wasn't necessarily as likable as his gold medals imply. I loved hating that guy! A good heel is fun to hate, and there's nothing quite like the gasp of shock when watching the turn, when a face uses dirty tricks and turns into a heel.
Let me ask you this: is Kratos a hero? Before we see Kratos return in what I'd call Dad of War, let's not forget Kratosâ€™ sordid past as a hero. In the first game, it was a revenge tale. It was a story of a mythical Spartan warrior who wanted revenge on the God of War who betrayed him. But as the series went on, it became a story about the lengths Kratos would go to justify his vendetta against people who wronged him. He would literally destroy the world just to destroy his enemies. Sure, we played as him, and we were taken on a ride, but would you really put your bet behind him and say, "Yeah, look at that hero!"
This month's Bloggers Wanted is about your favorite heel-turns or anti-heroes (in case a heel turn is too specific). Do you like it when Ryu turns into Evil Ryu? Or maybe you like Injustice, with its built in heel-turn Superman? I won't claim to understand the time line of Revolver Ocelot between Snake Eater and Guns of the Patriots, but I love that knucklehead.
To participate, just start a blog in our community section and title it "Heel-turn: [your blog title here]." Write to your heart's content, and if its up to snuff, you'll see your stuff published on the front page! Just remember, you're telling us about your favorite heel-turns and anti-heroes, not becoming one yourself, like Wes. Rest in spaghetti, never forghetti.
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