Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bioshock Infinite

BioShock Infinite is the follow up to BioShock, one of the most critically acclaimed games of this generation, and BioShock 2, which let you grind bad guys up with a big drill arm. Infinite follows the story of a former Pinkerton turned private detective named Booker DeWitt as he raids and pillages his way to find and return a girl, Elizabeth, so that he can wipe away his debt. This Scorecard goes light with the spoilers, but some plot points are revealed. You have been alerted, so read at your own risk!

  • Setting the game’s tone by featuring a tortured and bloody dead guy with a bag over his head within the first five minutes. = +5pts 
  • Begining an adventure by riding a rocket chair into the glorious sky-city of Columbia. = +7pts 
  • Booker’s jaunt through the watery church that is Columbia’s welcoming center that ends with him being baptized nearly to death by the creepiest preacher since Reverend Kane from Poltergeist II. = -4pts
  • The celestial hillbillies that dwell in Columbia see fit to worship America’s founding fathers, with saintly statues of George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson scattered throughout the city. = +6pts (Up yours, Alexander Hamilton!) 
  • The gorgeous land of wonderment that is Columbia! A place rife with hummingbirds, Kinetoscopes, and old-timey racism! = +5 points for the wonderment, -15 pts for the racism. Final score = -10pts 
  • A barbershop quartet appears on a sky barge and belts out “God Only Knows.” = +8 pts (For being infinitely more enjoyable than The Beach Boys.) 
  • Minor Victory – the only brand of cigarettes designed especially for kids! = +6 pts in 1912, -`12 pts in 2013. Final score = = -6pts 
  • Booker partakes in his first vigor (the BioShock Infinite equivalent to plasmids) and can now shoot little green ghost ladies out of his fingers to possess things like machines and police officers. Other vigors include fiery grenades, electrified crystals, and a murder of crows (that murder!). = +11pts 
  • When the possession wears off on an enemy, he or she commits suicide out of remorse. Watching a police officer blow his own head off or beat himself to death with his own baton isn’t as fun as it sounds. = -9pts 
  • Booker recovers the energy he needs to brandish his vigors with a blue substance called salt. It comes in little bottles and is extracted from coffee, cigarettes, and soda. Does he, like, what, rub it on his gums or something? = +6pts 
  • The spinning Sky Hook allows Booker to travel across Columbia’s rail system with the speed and grace of a rollercoaster. It also allows him to execute his enemies… in the extremely brutal ways rollercoaster’s do. = +15pts (Except for the first time we watched him kill a guy with it. It… it was horrifying.) 
  • The police try to stop Booker (who they believe to be The False Shepherd) from destroying their way of life, so they send a pyromaniac trapped in burning armor to drown him in flames. The streets are ablaze by the time Booker puts enough bullets in the Fireman to trigger his suicide bomb. Was it worth it, coppers? = -3pts 
  • The Lutece Twins, charming human equivalents to The Cheshire Cat who only appear to drop some significant and/or confusing plot on the player, give Booker a tonic that surrounds him in a magnetic field to help him not die. Only after Booker drinks it do they make mention that such a thing may kill him. = +12pts (Science!) 
  • Zachary Hale Comstock, the prophetic founder of Columbia, seems to feel very strongly about the white man being tasked with taking care of the other races (in every sense of the phrase). = -8pts 
  • Just as the Founding Fathers are worshiped as gods, so to is Abraham Lincoln portrayed as the Devil (complete with li’l horns). Why, there’s even a heroic statue of John Wilkes Booth to put even more of a bad taste in your mouth. = -13pts 
  • A Chinaman is torn apart by crows for shits and giggles at the behest of a hooded man with a coffin on his back. = -9pts (Yes, we know that Chinaman isn’t the preferred nomenclature, dude.) 
  • Comstock’s military believe Booker to be either a mulatto dwarf or a 4’9” Frenchman missing his left eye. The jokes write themselves! = +11pts 
  • The randomized items that Booker finds throughout Columbia tell of its citizens’ mental states. Police men carrying around pineapples? Cash and ammo in a trash can? A box of chocolates with a sandwich inside? Xenophobia does strange things to people. = -2pts 
  • On the subject of cash, Booker is only seen picking up coins. Does this mean that he’s dragging around sacks of money with him wherever he goes? Purchases from the friendly vending automatons are instantaneous, but how long does Booker have to pump coins into its slot like a grandma at a riverboat casino slot machine in order to get some shotgun shells and something cool to drink? = -5pts 
  • On the subject of finding items in trash cans, Booker isn’t above rummaging through refuse to find discarded cigarettes to smoke or bananas to eat. = +3pts (for the positive portrayal of the Freegan lifestyle.) 
  • Comstock has little difficulty justifying his desire to stop Booker from rescuing Elizabeth. “The Lord forgives everything, but I’m just a prophet. I don’t have to.” = +4pts 
  • In the tower where Elizabeth is held prisoner, Booker finds bottles labeled: “Blood,” “Nails,” and “Hair.” That’s for science, right? Science? = -6pts 
  • Elizabeth is congenial, attractive, and adorable. She’s like a Disney princess who can tear open the fabric of time and space. = +12pts 
  • Booker sort of saves Elizabeth from the tower, but really they are both just hurdled from it and land in the water of Columbia’s makeshift beach for rich white folks. = +7pts 
  • When Booker catches up with Elizabeth at the bay, she’s dancing like she’s never danced before. = +9pts (For genuinely warming the cockles of our black hearts with her uncorrupted exuberance.) 
  • Elizabeth’s uncorrupted exuberance is broken when she reacts, as most people would, to Booker violently gunning down her would-be kidnappers. Within moments, she’s coped with the bloodshed and starts tossing Booker ammo and summoning turrets from alternative timelines. = +6pts 
  • Five cents for a triple scoop of ice cream? Sky America is best America! = +4pts 
  • When Elizabeth sees a stuffed plushie of Songbird, her monstrous captor, she flips her wig. It’s a good thing that there’s a cute little choo-choo train nearby to cheer her up! Why, for a few moments it seems like Booker isn’t going to murder everyone after all! = +7pts 
  • No, we were wrong. ♫Murder! All aboard the murder train!♫ = -4pts 
  • No matter how many cops, racists, and cultists Booker has to kill to bring Elizabeth back to New York, he still finds time to ride a carousel. = +11pts 
  • Oh, no! There’s a bee in the elevator! Whatever will Elizabeth do to get rid of it? Why, open up a tear into another dimension of course! = -3pts 
  • The Hall of Heroes might as well have been dubbed the Hall of Hilariously Offensive Racial Caricatures with its exhibits on Wounded Knee and the Boxer Rebellion. = -16pts 
  • When Elizabeth finds out that she’s Comstock’s daughter and is prophesized to “drown in flames the mountains of man,” she says that she wants a puppy instead. = +9pts 
  • Booker finds himself staring down the barrels of a peppermill machine gun wielded by a robotic George Washington with American flags for wings. The Motorized Patriot can really only be damaged by being shot in the back, just like a true American. = +13pts 
  • Should Booker give a broken old war hero an honorable death by shooting him in the head, or should Booker spare his life so that Comstock’s men will imprison and torture him? Do not let your children play this game. = -6pts 
  • Booker’s nefarious plans to take Elizabeth to New York instead of her desired locale of Paris are foiled by Elizabeth’s ability to read latitude and longitude. Now there’s a young woman who paid attention during her geography lessons! = +7pts 
  • When infamous dissenter Daisy Fitzroy tasks Booker with finding guns for her rebellion, the Vox Populi, she seals the agreement by throwing him out of her already-in-flight airship. = -6pts 
  • Stereotypically evil industrialist Jeremiah Fink, who equates paid vacations to anarchy, forces his employees to work in Metropolis¬-inspired rhythm. = +5pts (For style, of course.) 
  • As Booker gives chase to Elizabeth, shouting that he just wants to talk, he doesn’t holster his gun. He’s a real smooth cat when it comes to the ladies. = -2pts 
  • As Elizabeth flees, she stalls Booker’s advances by opening up tears that have him stumble into a rain of party balloons, a marching band, and finally a speeding freight train. = +9pts (She only tried to kill him a little.) 
  • Elizabeth eventually forgives Booker after he sort of apologizes for being a gun-waving dicksneeze. She also saves him from a fatal plunge by cushioning his fall with a tiny blimp that she ripped into existence beneath him. = +4pts 
  • A Chinese prisoner calls Booker a gweilo. Racism is a pendulum that swings both ways and cuts just the same. = +2pts (For equality!) 
  • Despite the horrendous (and rhythmic) working conditions, Columbia’s poor are begging for, bidding on, and, in some cases, killing for jobs. Meanwhile, Fink has several solid gold statues of himself erected throughout the city. = -14pts 
  • Cameo appearance by Gautama Buddha! = +3pts 
  • While every other enemy single-mindedly wants to murder Booker and bring Elizabeth back to her tower, the Handyman just wants to be left to wallow alone in freakish misery. “Every step is like burning coal!” he shouts before coughing and clutching his chest. “Go away,” he roars, lashing at Booker with his gigundo hands. “Please, go away!” Booker responds by shooting him in his exposed heart until the Handyman falls over dead and drops a little treasure box. This game is depressing. = -7pts 
  • Chen-Lin, the gunsmith who Booker and Elizabeth were searching for, lies brutalized in a pool of his own blood (so much blood). Booker’s reaction: “Now we need someone else to make those guns.” = -9pts 
  • Elizabeth opens a tear into a dimension where Chen-Lin didn’t get his insides beaten into outsides. The guards killed by Booker in the other dimension are now alive in this new one… but their memories of being dead have driven them mad. = +6pts (For creeping us out with their twitchiness). 
  • Jazz cover of “Tainted Love.” = +10pts 
  • Booker takes a break from all the senseless killing to play guitar while Elizabeth sings a few bars of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” = +8pts 
  • Never too busy to contrast Booker’s asshole of a heart with her own bleeding one, Elizabeth pulls food in from another dimension to feed a pack of wild hobos. = +4pts 
  • Elizabeth opens up yet another tear, this time to a reality where the Vox Populi has the firepower to stick it to The Man. In addition to guns, they have devil costumes and mechanical Abe Lincolns. So, wait, who’re the bad guys now? = +7pts 
  • In this reality, Daisy wants to kill Booker because (spoiler redacted). Man, that’s pretty messed up! = +20pts 
  • It’s revealed that by peering through a dimensional tear, Fink learned how to create Songbird for Comstock. While we’d like to think that there’s a universe where the skies blacken from winged destroyers flocking together to unleash unholy agony on their enemies, Fink probably got the idea from watching The Herculoids on a TV in another time and space. = +8pts 
  • When Elizabeth finally gets blood on her own hands instead of steadily supplying Booker with a means to destroy on her behalf, she changes. Literally, she puts on a different outfit and cuts her hair. Symbolism! = +4pts 
  • After Songbird knocks Booker and Elizabeth’s airship out of the sky, the two awake to find the Luteces jamming on a piano. When they suddenly disappear, Booker reacts with his usual sarcasm; Elizabeth, however, maintains a slackjawed look of abject confusion for the next several minutes. = + 11pts 
  • Hell, let’s just give the game infinite points for the Luteces. = ∞pts 
  • As a ragtime version of “Shining Happy People” plays, Booker finds a pair of potatoes in the toilet of the ladies’ room. Yes, he eats them. = -18pts 
  • As Booker shoots and loots his way through Columbia’s market district, he and Elizabeth come across the Comstock House for the final showdown. The door’s security system thinks that Elizabeth is her mother, Lady Comstock, but comments on how it’s unusual considering how the lady has been dead for over a year. = +6pts 
  • Scary robot birds aren’t the only thing that Fink has stolen from alternative realities. He’s been making a profit off of music from the future that pipes out of tears. = +8pts (For exhibiting a capitalistic nefariousness that rivals C. Montgomery Burns.) 
  • When Elizabeth plots to cut off the hand from her mother’s corpse to bypass Comstock House’s security, stone-cold killer Booker thinks that she’s going too far. When a former Pinkerton and veteran of old-timey wars thinks that your plan is too grisly, your plan is too grisly. = -9pts 
  • Comstock manipulates Elizabeth’s quantum witchcraft to summon the ghost of her dead mother. The wraith of Lady Comstock raises the dead and sends a zombie army after Booker while a spine-chillingly distorted rendition of “Lacrimosa” plays. Booker’s reaction: “Elizabeth… why is your mother a ghost?” = +22pts 
  • As the heroes find ways to stop Ghost Mom, they come across some crazy plot revelations. For example, (spoiler redacted) is really (spoiler redacted) and (spoiler redacted). Who would have seen any of this coming?! = +14pts 
  • When Lady Comstock is sent back to the netherworld, or something, Comstock House is finally revealed. Is it possible to look past the fact that Comstock lives in a mansion sitting atop the grim heads of the founding fathers and surrounded by perpetual thunderstorms to see who he really is, deep inside? The fact that Songbird appears and immediately tries to kill Booker says no. = -6pts 
  • When Elizabeth tries to stop Songbird from slashing Booker into hard salami, the mechanical bird-giant just sort of nudges her out of the way. = +3pts 
  • Shit just got real. Elizabeth is screaming, there are twitchy guys in founding father masks, and there’s a guy with bullhorns for ears dressed like The Little Lad Who Loves Berries and Cream. = -3pts 
  • Sweet crap – a wheelchair just slowly crept across the room with nothing but Ben Franklin’s head in it. We’re starting to get real wistful for the rollercoaster shootouts in fluffy cloud land right about now. = -5pts 
  • Booker snuck his way past the twitchy guys and the Boys of Silence to open the security gate needed to save Elizabeth once again. Okay, Booker’s just going to turn around really slowly now. That’s it, he’s just going to run off and save Elizabeth without thinking that there’s anyone standing directly behind him. Yep, that’s exactly OH MY GOD IT’S RIGHT BEHIND HIM SHOOT ALL OF THE GUNS. = -8pts (For making us jump and spill our Mr. Pibb on the carpet.) 
  • Now it is 1984. Knock knock at your front door. It’s Columbia’s Airship Police! They’re setting fire to your uncool niece! = +9pts 
  • Elizabeth kills a bunch of scientists by letting a tornado whip its way through a tear. As awesome as it was to watch, it begs the question: Why didn’t she ever do anything that awesome before, like perhaps summon some jetpacks from the future so that she and Booker could just fly away to France or New York or anywhere but crazy racist sky Waco? = -4pts 
  • For being the only game in existence that prompts the player to press X to tie a corset. = +10pts 
  • When Elizabeth and Booker finally come face to face with Comstock, Booker gets a little overzealous with his intervention between father and daughter. Did we mention that this game is extremely, extremely violent? = +9pts 
  • Would you kindly like us to continue with the Scorecard? Too bad. = +100pts (For having one of the most magnificently satisfying yet heartbreaking endings a game could have).
Final Score = +244 +∞pts
Available: Redbox,, and an alternative universe Funcoland

BioShock Infinite is by far one of the most spectacular video games available in this and any other plane of reality. It’s sickeningly violent, darkly funny, and gorgeously stylish. Every scene is a delight for the senses (except for smell and taste, you have to fill in the blanks there) with characters that have you falling head over heels in love (or in hate). It tells a story that lives up to its predecessors and makes most modern game plots seem like creative writing fails from a middle-school English class. If you have two hands and a console/PC that will run the game, stop what you’re doing and buy it. If you don’t have any of the above, then find someone who does and watch them play it. Be sure to keep the Scorecard handy! Get it? Handy? Like the Handyman? STOP TORMENTING ME I’M SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD!

Score Technician: T.J. Geise

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