Archive for Columbia

Bioshock Infinite or Did They Really Say That?

Posted in Hands On with tags , , , on March 30, 2013 by Rabidgames

Unfortunately, Rabidgames is not even close to finishing Bioshock Infinite. Blame a social life, travelling and all this mundane stuff …

However, it is evident Irrational Games have made their boldest game from the beginning: Bioshock Infinite portrays America in the early 20th century – and where Red Dead Redemption chose to show glimpses of racism, Bioshock Infinite goes into all the ugly details. From everyday racism such as special toilets for “negroes and irish” and many propaganda posters to an unsettling meeting of some kind of Columbia Ku Klux clan, you’ll be exposed to many disconcerting details, some of them outright disgusting in their pure racism and hate and bile. But it doesn’t even stop there! Just watch this video (you can skip to around minute 12):

Not only does Bioshock Infinite portray the inhabitants of Columbia as massive freaking zealots who worship its founder as a new age Jesus, they don’t hesitate to blow themselves up for the greater good. Let’s count the hours until the FOX shitstorm sweeps in.

Then again, Bioshock Infinite does not just show us the twisted and dark side of religion, the inhumane effect of unchained capitalism and aforementioned rampant racism, the game also hits out a communism. Vox Populi, the communist opposition in Columbia, might have had noble motives in the beginning, but they have succumbed to power and violence, too.

Thankfully, Bioshock Infinite does not jump to any conclusions (yet). There is no obvious and guiding moral of the story, we only get shown how the world of Columbia works and is. While the topics are a feast for our self-proclaimed upholders of moral standards from all directions, it would be insane to call a game racist just because it shows racism in a fictional world. Well, at least it would be insanity for any sane person …

It really seems Take Two is the publisher to turn to if you want a mature narrative tackling sensitive issues; be it Rockstar and the American way (GTA IV), the advent of “civilisation” (Red Dead Redemption), post-war depression and racism (L.A. Noire), be it the whole Bioshock series highlighting the dangers of ideologies, or be it Spec Ops: The Line which depicts what war is like if you peel away the layers of glorification, patriotism and technology. Kudos, guys.

And then, there’s Elizabeth. This is probably the best job of creating a believable AI character so far. Of course, it is easy to have a character perform naturally in cutscenes or scripted scenes.  But if you pay attention to Elizabeth when exploring or fighting in Columbia, she almost always behaves in a way you would an actual person expect to behave – cowering, watching the world in amazed wonder or just throwing you some coins or telling you about a hidden item. Most of it feels beautifully random and like proper AI. It’s just a shame the enemies of Bioshock Infinite lack Elizabeth’s intelligence – instead of applying combat tactics their strategy consists of “fuck cover – let’s just run and shoot blindly”. But then again, Bioshock Infinite is more about the narrative anyway …

Rabidgames needs to pick up the controller: Talking and wiriting about it is one thing, but it’s about time to find the time to finish the game. Let’s just hope the ending of Bioshock Infinite is better than those of Assassin’s Creed 3 and Mass Effect 3 – which shouldn’t be hard to be honest!

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