Ken out of Ten
BioShock Infinite reviews finally went live across the board today, and while I’m sure we all expected a positive showing, we maybe were not quite prepared for the veritable outpouring of critical acclaim.
Of course, Destructoid’s own review was a 10/10, yours truly admitting the game had some faults, but ultimately presented a near perfect example of a tangible world with an impeccable narrative. As far as story-driven single-player experiences go, I feel this has become the game to beat. Seems I’m far from the only one.
A lot of tens were seen this day, and so far no review has dipped below an eight. At the time of writing, the game enjoys a 95 Metacritic score — quite the accomplishment, with games actually not hitting that high note so often as they did a few years back.
We’ve gathered the most notable reviews from around the Web. Check ’em out!
Eurogamer: Most of all, though, you’ll be amazed that Elizabeth works. To begin with, you imagine she will be someone who tags along behind you as you plunder Columbia for loot and scraps of bonus narrative, but her AI is such that you often find her running in front of you, anticipating where you want to go. It’s a great trick, but it’s also symbolic, because by the end of the game you realise that you are not the main character in any real sense. She is. She always has been. She always will be. It’s her journey. You’re just along for the ride. Still: what a ride. [10/10]
Polygon: I’m still thinking about BioShock Infinite now, days after finishing. Irrational built a believable, fantastic world rooted in dark pieces of American history. But for everything it has to say, for all the questions it asks — many of which have no easy answers — BioShock Infinite’s big thoughts and complicated narrative don’t obscure the brilliant action game that carries those messages through. It’s hard to know if Infinite will prove to be another major point of artistic discussion and development of the medium the way that BioShock was. But in every way, BioShock Infinite lives up to the promise of its legacy, and it looks poised to establish a new one. [10/10]
Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Infinite’s a triumph in terms of fantasy-architecture spectacle and bringing superb flexibility to the modern rollercoaster shooter, but in other respects it’s a small step down from the player agency and even the singular aesthetic of BioShock. Not that it necessarily needs to, as it is most certainly a high-aiming game in its own right rather than mere offspring, but I’m not convinced it will live quite as long in our collective memory as did/does its parent. It sure does make me want to use superlatives like ‘majestic’, ‘lavish’ and ‘spectacular’ over and over again, though. [N/A]
Edge: BioShock Infinite is a sequel, in short – more so than BioShock 2. Irrational has made a game in thematic dialogue with its predecessor, with the same interests but different tastes, and one that expands mechanically and technically on what came before. And it’s given us a city in the sky that reflects upon the one beneath the waves. [9/10]
The Escapist: Bioshock Infinite is both a breathtaking achievement in videogame storytelling and a marquee example of a game that will stick with you long after you see everything it has to offer. Calling it simply a first-person shooter is practically an insult. If you can make it through the game without being emotionally affected – or even experiencing a bit of an existential crisis – you need to check your pulse immediately. [5/5]
CVG: Columbia is one of the most intriguing, best-realised game settings of this generation, and the characters it houses are as captivating as the blimps and parades and artificial beaches that line the streets. [9.1/10]
GamesTM: So, when will gaming have its Citizen Kane moment? Forget that. When will anything else have its BioShock Infinite moment? [10/10]
Penny Arcade Report: This is a game about relationships, and how everything we do affects everyone around us. It’s about how trying to do the right thing can be as monstrous as starting with ill intentions. It’s about how we can hate those we love, and love those we hate. It’s about a man, a girl, and a lost finger. It’s about circles, and how you can go around them and end up in a completely new place. It’s a beautiful game. [N/A]
PC Gamer: In a sense, that beauty makes it even more of a shame that the writing doesn’t manage to put all this spectacular work to better use. But it also means that these moments end up being emotional anyway. It’s like a surreal arthouse movie where nothing really makes sense, but where each scene is strangely compelling nonetheless. 
GameSpot: BioShock Infinite isn’t afraid to magnify the way religious and racial extremism inform our culture and change lives. It isn’t afraid to depict a less-than-holy trinity diseased by power, deception, and manipulation. As the story circles back on itself, you’re left wondering whether redemption cleanses us of our atrocities, or simply invites us to commit greater ones. Once the finale comes, you will want to play again, watching each event and image through the lens of information you can never un-know. BioShock Infinite is more than just a quality game: it’s an important one. [9/10]
Videogamer: The finale is sure to be debated for years to come – in both positive and negative senses, but the end of the game is merely the beginning of a cycle: I wanted to play it all over again, despite its flaws. If that’s not a recommendation I don’t know what is. [8/10]
Game Informer: Replicating the achievements of the original BioShock is a challenging goal (as 2K Marin’s sequel demonstrated), but series creator Irrational Games returns with a fresh vision and redefines what the BioShock name means. Infinite is more than a new setting, story, and characters; those elements are seamlessly integrated with complex themes, a mysterious plot, and entertaining combat to create an amazing experience from beginning to end. [10/10]