Mountains out of molehills
What follows is an investigation into the not-so-perfect pieces of Irrational Games' latest hit. Not because we have it out for Booker's adventure, mind you, but because in a game as solid as this, the tiny flaws are easier to notice. So we put the game under our microscopes, and with tongues firmly implanted in our cheeks, we give you our tiniest big complaints about BioShock Infinite...
This goes without saying, but SPOILERS follow if you haven't beaten the game...
Songbird: The coolest boss you never fight
Come to think of it, the whole Songbird defence system was a pretty lame idea to begin with. Not only was Songbird incapable of handling interior spaces, but the dude didn't know how to finish a job. He had us helpless and cornered a number of times, but always turned tail to return to wherever big dumb machines go to sulk. We get that Songbird has to be summoned, but you'd think Comstock would've bothered putting one of those flute statues on every street corner. Even when we made Songbird our own personal hitman, he wasn't all that responsive. Oh? You have to recharge for a minute after flying into a blimp? No, no, you take a rest, you've earned it.
Vigors barely belong in Columbia
Don't get us wrong; playing with vigors is a trip. We were just the only ones enjoying them. Despite being readily available at the local carnival and mass produced at Fink's factory, it seemed Columbia's populace either didn't know how to buy them or could care less that they even existed. Here was a city where superpowers and salts were just lying around, and even Columbian's most well-to-do citizens were still lighting fires with matches. True, vigors were relatively new to Columbia, and yes, there's a throwaway line at the end that barely justifies their existence (different universe, same elements, blah, blah, blah), but they still feel out of place. Really, why would the Vox Populi go through all the trouble of securing guns if they could just nab a Devil's Kiss from a local carny?
Time travel is really confusing
Then there's the baptism. We get it: Future Elizabeth told past Booker how to control Songbird, thus breaking the loop of failure and allowing the duo to survive long enough to drown Booker before he could make his fated baptismal decision. That's great, but if every choice spawns an infinite number of realities, then Booker choosing to let his Elizabeth(s) dunk him under water was a monumental turning point in and of itself. The moment Elizabeth hinted at her plan, a trillion other realities were created--some where Booker fled like a sissy, some where he survived the drowning, and maybe some where Booker drowned Elizabeth instead. So is it really that big of a deal if just one of the infinite Bookers died before becoming a madman or a drunk? Ugh. Our heads hurt. In short: with infinite numbers of outcomes, heroes, and villains, we're not sure we made a lick of difference.
The air up there
We won't even get in to the science of living high above the clouds on buildings that bob up and down at unsettling speeds. That's a topic reserved for people more scientifically minded than us. Suffice to say, humans can live in some pretty harsh altitudes and conditions, but it usually takes time to get used to such climates. One theory is that Booker's initial baptism into Columbia was a scientific process meant to adjust his lungs to Columbia's air. But what about his initial visit to the Welcome Center? Booker should have been painting those pretty walls with his lunch and desperately scrounging for an antacid.
Columbians are boring
We're not saying every NPC needed Mass Effect levels of dialogue, but a little more humanity would have been nice. Send us on a fetch quest, give us an arbitrary trivia contest, sell us black market vigors...just do something besides stand there and read your one line. And then, maybe we're missing the point? Maybe Comstock killed off the real Columbians long ago, and what's left are Fink-made automatons that exist to lull The False Prophet into a false sense of security? Nah.
Today's forecast: Light drizzle and falling bodies
We can't remember how many Vox Populi and Founder henchmen we shoved off Columbia's rails, but if we had to take a guess, we'd say... oh... more than enough to get noticed by the world below. We'll accept that somehow an impossibly complex floating city was funded and built within a couple years, or that somehow it has the infrastructure to manufacture everything down to coffee beans and cigarettes. What we can't wrap our heads around the idea Columbia has remained undiscovered for so long. Booker tells us the world below forgot about Columbia long ago, but we'd think falling bodies and spillage from Battleship Bay's artificial beach would tip earthbound authorities to its presence eventually.
And another thing, what's with all the interdimensional freight hooks? Can we just play in that world instead? And another, another thing. Why is it tears only let us hear voices, and not actually see the people they belong to? And another, another, another, thing... Ah, nevermind; the tears were actually pretty cool.
1999 Mode is misleading
Look, if you're going to advertise a 1999 Mode, then you better be ready to deliver. Not once did we hear ragtime Eminem or an acappella version of Livin' la Vida Loca. Where were the posters for The Columbian Witch Project? Where were the trailers for Star Wars: The Siren Menace? At the very least, we expected to find Fink upgrading his automatons for Y2K. Alas, the 1999 in 1999 Mode was noticeably absent, and it left us feeling blue (dah bah dee dah bah die).
Who eats a whole cake?!
Even if DeWitt carried an unknown vigor that allowed him to unhinge his jaw and swallow a whole honest-to-goodness cake in less than a second, that's still 2500 calories in one sitting--more than the recommended daily caloric intake. That's a sugar coma at the very worst or a really long nap at the very least. And DeWitt never offers Elizabeth a single slice. Not only does our honorable "hero flirt with early onset diabetes, but he also denies sweets to a lady who hasn't had so much as a donut since escaping Monument Island. We can forgive some of DeWitt's character flaws, but this one takes the... you know.
Dimwit and Duke: Worst. Arcade. Ever.
Hold up. What's this? An robotic puppet show? Hmm. Maybe the next one will.... nope. How about these other games? Nope, nope, and about 25 more times nope. Not only were Dimwit and Duke's games the furthest thing from games, but there were only three different versions throughout the whole place. What was once a prime opportunity for diversions quickly turned into Columbia's lamest arcade. What's more, judging by the zero line-ups for any of them, we're guessing Columbians were just as uninterested as we were. Way to let us down, Dimwit.
Press X to be second guessed
Press X to leave area? How about 'Press the Power Button to stop being treated like an idiot child'. Guh!
Everyone is prone to mood swings, but Booker and Elizabeth had a habit of killing the tension every time they spotted a shiny lock. Elizabeth's response to lockpicking hovered between inappropriately eager and uncharacteristically cocky no matter how she was feeling the moment before. There was no I'm mad as hell, but I'll still pick this lock or I can't believe you skyhooked that dude's face, but I'll unlock this in quiet terror. Instead, whenever Booker pointed out a lock, Elizabeth was all too eager to show off her master unlocking skills. Granted, we're glad she found a hobby in that tower of hers, but would it have killed her to read the situation a little better?
Get a load of THESE apples!
Alright, maybe that's not totally true. Or even a little true. If we're being honest, we're running out of things to complain about. In our defense, those do look pretty lame, right? No? Okay, we're done.
We nitpick because we love
So those are our smallest-yet-most-important gripes about BioShock Infinite, but at the end of the day, they don't really change the quality of the game. Still, if you have any other small complaints you want to share, feel free to join us in making mountains out of molehills in the comments.
Want more? See how much we really loved this BioShock sequel in our BioShock Infinite review, listen in on the whole story with out BioShock Infinite voxophone locations guide, or max out your skills with our BioShock Infinite infusion locations guide.