Everything We Learned From Our BioShock Infinite PC Hands-On

Information about BioShock: Infinite has been somewhat hard to come by of late — until this week, when we got a chance to sit down with the opening three hours of the game ourselves. Having played a fair amount of BioShock: Infinite, we’ve learned a lot about the world, the game, the characters and the technical aspects.

Check out our big-ass hands-on preview of BioShock Infinite, and read on for the Cliff Notes version of every single piece of information we discovered from our playthrough.

Broad Strokes

  • It’s BioShock, through and through. In fact, one of the major elements (or perhaps themes) of BioShock: Infinite is alternate realities (hey, maybe that’s what “infinite” means?), and this game could be an alternate reality take on the original BioShock. There are many, many similarities between the two games and the way the story unfolds.

  • The city of Columbia is built on religion and institutionalized racism. Its leader, Father Comstock, is a religious prophet, and the city’s inhabitants take to the worshiping Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Ben Franklin alongside Comstock himself.

  • Religion plays a very major role in everything that goes on in the game, at least in the early going — Booker’s arrival into Columbia is, literally, a baptism at the hands of a strange priest. Expect to deal with intense beliefs related to American history and the Founding Fathers — and likely, comments on both as well as religion in general — throughout the game.

  • The city’s buildings are separated into pieces, so you’ll often find your way blocked when you try to move through Columbia because a particular island has floated off somewhere else when you arrive. This is the major reason for all the hiking and rail-riding you do.

  • Racism isn’t just present in Columbia, it’s rampant. The major trigger event that sets everything off is a raffle, the prize for winning being the chance to throw a baseball at a bound interracial couple on a stage.

  • The Vox Populi, a populist revolutionary movement fighting Comstock and his police force, seems to consist primarily of racial minorities — their drive may well be more about equality than economics.

  • The world is untrustworthy, or at least, Booker’s perception of it seems to be. There are flickering objects throughout Columbia that seem to be the city taking advantage of its alternate reality “tears,” but then again, there’s a lot going on that suggests what Booker sees might not be trustworthy.

  • Speaking of weirdness and alternate realities, when you do play the game, pay careful attention to the audio. A number of popular, well-known songs make their way into ambient noise of the game — suggesting, again, that either Booker’s point of view is suspect, or that Columbia’s world represents an alternate reality to our own.

  • In addition to the main quest, which will update with objectives over time, players will also have optional side quests that pop up occasionally. At one point, Booker finds a key with no nearby lock to open; the game advises you to backtrack to find its use.

  • The world isn’t open, but that isn’t to say that Columbia isn’t big. There were several areas in which I didn’t explore everything for time considerations, but there were definitely additional areas and buildings I could have visited.

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3 Comments on Everything We Learned From Our BioShock Infinite PC Hands-On

Craig

On December 7, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Did you forget the rest of the article? Your PC Considerations ends with “After spending a while with..”

Phil Hornshaw

On December 7, 2012 at 8:10 pm

@Craig Whoops, something’s screwy. Fixing.

psycros

On December 8, 2012 at 12:00 am

What is it with games these days? They have to throw everything at you – gunplay, magic, genetic engineering, time travel, zombies, whatever. Please, developers, pick a sub-genre and stick with it, OK? No matter how well crafted you think it is, too many concepts just makes for an unfocused and cheapened experience.