Bold, brash, and brimming with more out-of-place Beach Boys records than a music store aimed at industrial rock fans [Bleurgh – Ed], it’s hardly surprising that BioShock Infinite soared to the summit of our Game of the Year poll speedier than protagonist Booker DeWitt when strapped into a bizarre lighthouse contraption. Irrational Games’ first-person shooter certainly had its flaws, but the PlayStation 3 escapade served up a storyline so outrageously ambitious that it rendered a number of editors here at Push Square towers mute for well over a week. The silence was bliss.
Still, with normal service resumed, we’ve called upon the aid of a number of staff writers to explain just why Ken Levine’s parallel universe leaping escapade was one of the best experiences released on any PlayStation platform this year. Bear in mind that all of the names you’re about to see below cast a vote towards 2K Games’ big-budget blockbuster in our end of year ballot, so you know who you need to send death threats if you don’t agree.
Jamie O'Neill, Retro Editor
The critical tide surrounding BioShock Infinite may be changing, and the glow of its lighthouse may have dimmed for some, but I vividly remember the title’s impact earlier this year. I have always enjoyed vibrant presentation, and this game applied colour to create the most inviting city in the sky. However, Irrational Games gradually pulled back the curtain to expose a rot beneath the surface of Columbia’s sunshine exterior. The shooter combat is criticised as being messily chaotic and repetitive, but the option of taking a sky-line to alter your height advantage, experimenting with Vigors, as well as the underappreciated addition of PlayStation Move controls made the gameplay gratifying to me. There were many clever additions, the music was excellent throughout – especially the incongruous use of modern songs in an early 20th century setting – and the narrative was captivating. I found myself trying to piece together the clues of an inevitable plot twist, but I uncovered a smorgasbord of mind boggling story threads, which stuck in my head long after the game’s completion.
Kell Andersen, News Reporter
There’s a lot to hate about BioShock Infinite. The Vigors are never really contextualised, the game’s plot can sometimes get a little lost in a mountain of metaphysics, and the gameplay does start to drag a little in the middle. But for all of these flaws, I can’t think of a single release this year that so totally wrapped me up in its story than Irrational Games’ epic. What’s more, it singlehandedly encouraged me to write about games in the first place. As a result, in many ways, I owe my tenure here at Push Square to its superbly crafted narrative. Oh, and the soundtrack is absolutely genius.
Ben Tarrant, Reviewer
The journey into the clouds of Columbia was one of 2013’s most magic gaming moments. On the outside BioShock Infinite is a compelling first-person shooter packed with hectic combat, but on the inside it’s a truly expansive tale conjured out of the mind of Ken Levine and his crew at Irrational Games. Although a little rough around the edges, this title’s originality and underlying intelligence made it stand out; Comstock and the gang had me pondering the meaning of life for weeks, and the ongoing online debates kept me entertained for just as long.
Graham Banas, Reviewer
Booting up BioShock Infinite for the first time, I knew that I was in for a treat. Ken Levine had never let me down previously, and he didn’t disappoint this time around either. Aside from one excruciating boss battle, and a couple of bland stretches of gun fire, this game delivered on almost every front. And as for the last 20 minutes of the adventure – well, that’s one of the most fascinatingly elaborate finales that I’ve seen in some time. To be honest, I don’t think that I’ll ever be able to forget just how incredible witnessing this game’s ending for the first time was.
You’ve heard our thoughts, but now we want your comments on BioShock Infinite. Do you agree that it was one of the best PlayStation games of the year, or do you think that it’s been totally overrated? Where does the game sit in your personal top three, and why? Give us your verdict on Irrational Games’ opus in the comments section below, and then don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see who’s taken our Silver Trophy.