You've Seen BioShock Infinite's Beginning. Here's Something Vague, Non-Spoilery and Encouraging About Its Ending

Illustration for article titled Youve Seen emBioShock Infinite/ems Beginning. Heres Something Vague, Non-Spoilery and Encouraging About Its Ending

You can now watch the first few minutes of March 2013's BioShock Infinite online or read about the game's first four hours in a preview we published a couple of weeks ago. But BioShock beginnings are not the kinds of things BioShock fans have precedent to fret over.

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BioShock endings? That's another story.

Ken Levine and his team at Irrational have long been open and frank about the awkwardness of the first BioShock's ending. Remember that boss battle? Not the game's finest moment. You'd hope that kind of thing won't happen in Irrational's Infinite.

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I recently asked one of the game's writers, Drew Holmes, about the new game's ending. He wasn't going to spoil it, of course, but he said this: "It's certainly going to be something that is going to be new and unique and that people will be talking about." He added, "This is an ending that I am proud of."

This alone is encouraging, because it makes it sound like the ending of BioShock Infinite won't be conventional, which the end of BioShock 1 was—more conventional than just about anything else in the game, in fact. And it makes it seem like it's not an afterthought.

Ultimately, players will judge how good an ending it is. "Our feeling about the ending is sort of irrelevant," Holmes said. "It's up to the players to decide. I think it's definitely not an ending that people are going to be expecting."

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UPDATE: Ken Levine speaks a little more about the new game's ending at 9:30 of this interview. No spoilers there, either.

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DISCUSSION

I finally got around to finishing up Bioshock 2 this weekend. I had avoided it for a while due to the consensus from the gaming community that it was terrible. It wasn't at all terrible, I dug it almost as much at the first. I'm now kind of perplexed at the level of hatred it got from the gaming community. I could only come up with two potential gripes. One, it's not innovative; it apes the first game in every way. But video games ain't movies, and while the Hangover 2 was unbearable for this reason, I still had tons of fun in Bioshock 2. (same goes for Darksiders 2, which stole every single gameplay mechanic from other series and was still incredibly enjoyable)

Two, I'll grant the plot isn't stellar - its takedown of Collectivism lacked the punch of 1's indictment of Objectivism, because Lamb was nothing more than a squatter who set up shop in Ryan's turf, whereas in 1 the building of Rapture itself was a colossal act of failed hubris, and brilliantly lampooned Atlas Shrugged's "Galting." (to paraphrase a diary from 1, in a city of the rich, who cleans the toilets?)

Those are the only gripes I can think of, and they didn't diminish how incredibly fun B2 was to play. The tweak to hacking to make it real-time and less ponderous were great; it keeps hacking from breaking up the flow of the game, while also forcing you to plan ahead since you're hacking while the bullets fly. The distance-hack tool was an interesting tactical addition as well, and the scarcity of ammunition for it make you really think about when you use it (For me: Rocket turrets and fast-moving neutral sentry bots). Basically, in the gameplay department it was a small, linear upgrade from the first.

So why the hate? It's hard to imagine that anyone who liked the first could hate the second. I can only see liking neither, or both.