While undoubtedly an evolution of the original Bioshock’s DNA, Bioshock Infinite’s combat is carefully spliced with highly diverse elements of this generation’s best action games. There’s no shame to be had in that, but nor does Bioshock Infinite cynically shout about these new additions as if they’re some kind of magical back-of-box checklist with which to conquer all demographics. Rather, Bioshock Infinite does what any smart work should in this medium of iteration. It remains open to design developments that have occurred since the last game, but it only takes inspiration from the ones which can genuinely improve what it’s already trying to do. And in the process, it makes those gameplay features entirely its own.
In BioShock Infinite’s combat, you’ll find elements of Halo, Half-Life, Batman: Arkham City, and Bulletstorm. But none of it feels like a rip-off. In fact none of it is even immediately apparent. Blended with the original BioShock core, all of this stuff just becomes the game design equivalent of a healthily varied gene pool. Strength through diversification, without dilution of identity.