In Defense of BioShock Infinite’s Combat (VIDEO)

Now that the dust is settling a bit on BioShock Infinite, a number of players and others in the games media have gotten over their initial excitement over Irrational Games’ latest entry and come back a little more critical. One of the elements many are focusing on is the game’s combat — in fact, Phil Owen even wrote a piece suggesting BioShock Infinite’s storytelling is held back by its reliance on first-person shooter mechanics.

Mitchell Saltzman of the Game Front Video Team disagrees, however, and he’s made a video to illustrate his point. Mitch argues that Infinite’s combat is smooth and experimental, forcing players to improvise to stay alive and giving them plenty of resources with which to try new things, while keeping the punishment for failure with those experiments pretty low. Check out his argument below.

So what do you think — do you agree with Mitch’s assessment? Let us know where you stand below in the comments.

And don’t forget to like and comment on the video, and subscribe to the Game Front Walkthrough YouTube Channel, so we can keep making quality vids like this one.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

7 Comments on In Defense of BioShock Infinite’s Combat (VIDEO)


On April 9, 2013 at 1:06 pm

The problem with Infinite’s combat isn’t the actual shooting itself. As far as shooters go, it’s indeed pretty involving and dynamic. The problem is that alle those encounters feel meaningless in the context of the overall game. There’s no weight behind them. An army of clones pours at you around each corner in clearly defined battle arenas. It’s a recipe shooters used over 15 years ago and feels extremely dated. It doesn’t do anything to advance the plot, which is only developed between battles. It’s only in there because this is a shooter, and shooters need combat.


On April 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm

I’m in agreement with Mitch. Anybody trying to play bioshock infinite like a standard military shooter, meaning extensive use of cover, sticking with guns for the majority of combat, and clearing areas in a sequential manner is likely going to be annoyed. However, it’s not meant to be played that way. This game has much more in common with Unreal Tournament than, say, Far Cry in terms of combat mechanics. You have to keep moving, and vigors are not optional niceties. Not very big on the stealth mechanics, and that’s not a bad thing. I found it to be a refreshing change from the usual.

Dan Miller

On April 10, 2013 at 10:42 am

Only games with crappy gameplay elements spawn videos defending the existence of said elements.


On April 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm

It is a rather typical situation: A long awaited game gets hyped quite some time before it actually hits the shelves. When it is finally out, there are two possibilities.

One: the game sucks.
Two: the game does not suck.

In the first case all the webpages / magazines that were ALL involved in the hype will try to top themselves in bashing said game. Every nook and cranny will be analyzed to present each and every flaw the game can offer – people are dissappointed and people want to see blood (e.g. Aliens Colonial Marines)!

In the second case the webpages / magazines will continue the hype and praise the game to high heavens – no matter if it is mediocre (e.g. Starcraft II) or really good (e.g.Bioshock Infinite).
Flaws – and let’s be honest here, there is not one game without flaws – will be graciously overlooked or just grazed. People are euphorious and want to celebrate that the long hype had a reason.

Soon after, usually a week or so when the dust has settled, the first people will point out the flaws, which can be small (e.g. Bioshock Infinite’s combat) or rather big (e.g. Mass Effect 3′s ending).

So is this so bad? Are these few flaws that big an issue?
Maybe. Too many people follow the hyped reviews and buy the game on first day and if this flaw is a game breaker for them they will be mad that no one in the reviews cared to mention it.

Maybe the reviewers should try to keep a clearer head and point out the flaws – as insignificant as they might seem. In the long run this will make a lot of people happy.
Just saying.

Phil Hornshaw

On April 10, 2013 at 1:28 pm


Hey, that sounds like what we try to do with reviews.


On April 11, 2013 at 9:21 am

I agree with you in that the gameplay is solid, unlike what others would say.


On April 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm

@Phil Hornshaw:

True, and I must admit, I was surprised when I read it (I actually read it before I wrote that long rant). Especially the part referring to the combat was exactly what I felt about the game.

I really should have pointed out that there are sites / magazines that do get their reviews right. But let’s be honest: there are few that do.

One more reason to like Gamefront, I guess.