BioShock   Columbia1 BioShock: Infinite Review

The sprawling sky-city of Columbia rises above the clouds and affords majestic views.

BioShock: Infinite has a myriad of unique features that set it apart from the other blockbusters of this year, including its distinct visual style that encapsulates the authentic vintage visuals of the early 1900's; a dynamic story arc that incorporates inter-dimensional travels and deep, multi-tiered plots that are full of mystery; and the authentic representation of cultural inequality that divided Columbia's society.

One of the principal unique features of the game is its amazing visuals. BioShock: Infinite takes us to the heavens where a new realm basks in the sun-lit clouds, to the city of Columbia that, despite its grandeur and pristine beauty, is home to anarchists, tyrants, and cruel religious fanatics who misuse their power.

Through their journey across Columbia players are taken not only to the most dazzling parts of the city–the wondrous Garden of Eden, the dizzying heights of Monument Island or the sand-littered beaches of Battleship Bay–but to the darker and more dismal side where Columbia's poor dwell in desperation.

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Behold the splendor of Columbia's many vistas.

Irrational Games has introduced gamers to a world that's rife with mystery and allure, one that shines in the light and burns wildly with its own fiery life. Everything about the sky-city of Columbia invokes a deep sense of awe and wonder within players, touching upon the majesty associated with religious and cultural symbolism that makes players feel as if they are in a fantasy world far from home.

Zeppelins float amongst the clouds and blimps traverse the heavens, and much of the gameplay is pronounced by breathtaking vistas of floating platforms and buildings. Although Columbia does inspire these feelings, there are also familiar elements to tether players to reality–the townsfolk of Columbia are normal people–even if they are racist and dangerously patriotic–who want to live their lives in peace and harmony.

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A typical scene in BioShock: Infinite, with a poster for Father Comstock seen up the upper left.

Along with the game's incredible visuals and graphics, BioShock: Infinite's storyline is another unique feature that deserves its own fair share of praise. Not only has Irrational create its own alternate history that explains the founding and succession of Columbia as its own nation, but they have brought that history to life before our eyes.

Players can explore the truth behind Comstock's mysterious past and how Annabelle–The First Lady and wife of Father Comstock–really died, along with other mysterious that the game presents us with.

Irrational has created a dynamic plot that features characters we actually care about and care for, which is a hallmark of any successful story. The characters themselves all have their own unique personas and realistic behaviors, bringing gamers even farther into the game.

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The poster above captures the sentiments of Columbia's society.

BioShock: Infinite also possesses a unique look at the racial inequality that fractured our own nation during this era. Columbia is deeply racist, and the society is divided with the poor separated from the rich, and the colored serving the whites. The game's story arc chronicles the eventual schism that takes place as the Vox Populi openly rebel against Comstock's tyrannical reign, allowing players to have a direct role in the course of events that change Columbia's history forever.

While many could deem the racial elements of the game offensive and insensitive, it is interesting to see Irrational adequately reflect the era in terms of cultural diversity, which is something that isn't always represented with such clarity.