"A video game comic and blog that would have been awesome and relevant 10 years ago. Maybe." -Famous Website
Pie and I got some time in with Bioshock Infinite recently thanks to the power of loaned games! As a series, we have always been very interested in Bioshock, mostly due to the strong art direction and intrigue of Rapture. We played about 20 hours in on the first one before getting distracted with something else, but everything we experienced was really interesting. The setting and ambiance of the world have a way of captivating you, and Infinite follows through exquisitely as Columbia draws you in with its grandeur. The lead up and arrival surrounds you with opulence that begs to be explored and actually reminds me of the wonderful feeling of exploring an amusement park as a kid, complete with the earth-shattering feeling that leaving is imminent, punctuating the good times.
Many people have complained about the level of violence presented in the game. Jim Sterling wrote a powerful article rebuking the idea of ludonarrative dissonance and the place of violence in the game. Extra Credits also does a wonderful job exploring and framing that very dissonance and what people may be experiencing as they discuss shoehorning in brand elements where they aren't quite appropriate.
While Pie and I can agree with the views presented, we feel that what was really jarring was the sheer level of violence. You are presented with some exceedingly gruesome takedowns as you start out that made us reel in a unanimous "Jeee-ZUS!" It's as if the game developers grab you by your ears, look you dead in the eyes and whisper: "You're not in Kansas anymore, fucker!" Indeed, their intent was clear and it was communicated quite succinctly!
We knew what we were getting into, but what really screams out as being heavy handed is the excessiveness of the display. In many other games, the villains are shrouded, demonized and/or have their humanity stripped away. Taking down a wild, deformed splicer feels a lot different that it does a police officer of Columbia. Do you think it's an accident that ALL human enemies in Borderlands wear masks, for instance? Perhaps if they were wearing cute bunny or clown masks, we wouldn't feel so bad? Hmmm...