SERIOUS MAJOR SPOILER-Y SPOILERS AHOY!
Seriously, if you don't want the game ruined for you stop reading right now, I'm going to go into detail about a few major plot points.
Ok, so...I will preface the following rant by saying that I am a huge fan of the BioShock series, as is my wife. The original Bioshock was what got me back into gaming after a very long hiatus, and introduced the whiff to story based FPS. I did (for the most part) enjoy the game. Keep that in mind the entire time reading this. I thought it was very well made, the attention to detail was mind blowing, and Elizabeth was easily one of the best parts of the game, as well as one of the best female leads I've seen in years. It's also relevant to note that my wife pre-ordered the game for back on 11/06/2011 after the original E3 debut trailer came out. Here's a refresher of that trailer:
That was the game we were expecting. That is also NOT what we (nor anyone else) received.
So needless to say, it really bothers me how disappointed I am with this game. The entire story felt rushed and disjointed, and there were plot holes big enough to fly Comstock's Zepplin through. I found out recently that Ken Levine and Irrational Games did a major re-write of the story line and had to tweak major issues to get the game out by March 2013. Ok, that's fine, delays happen, but some where along the lines everything fell apart. Ken Levine commented himself that they tossed out enough story line for 3 games. That's a major problem right there. To me that says too many ideas, not enough resolutions. They tried to pack twenty different storylines and sub plots into a game and resolved, what, three of them?
I'll get into the gripes with the story in a bit, but I'll focus on game play first. Infinite did not have the "feel" of a Bioshock game. Granted this is my opinion, but the eerie paranoia, and fear was absent for 95% of Infinite, and that is a key element in the franchise. The original Bioshock, as well as Bioshock 2 had you constantly on edge. Not just with jump scares, but with genuine horror. Cracking a safe to suddenly see a spider splicer behind you, a shadow cast across a wall of someone being eviscerated; to walking through a long, narrow corridor, and hearing nothing but the occasional laugh of someone you knew was watching and tracking you. There were excellent plays with shadows and lighting, and noise (or the complete lack there of) that really made you tense. The only time in Infinite that called back to this was when you were transported to the future near the end of the game and had to find Elizabeth in the destroyed psyche ward/rehab facility with in Comstock House. Between the quiet, the random rolling wheel chair, and the patients who didn't react to anything until you set off one of the Boys of Silence, I finally had a moment of "Yes, it's about time." - and then that entire feeling was gone.
Next, and I'll try to keep this quick. All but two (four if I'm being generous) of the vigors were unusable or unnecessary. I stuck with Shock Jockey (Electrobolt) and Murder of Crows for the majority of the game. Occasionally I'd use possession and incinerate, but those were very rare instances. What I missed was Telekinesis and Cyclone trap. Bucking Bronco and Return to Sender were not replacements/updates to these. Also, in the E3 demo, it was very clear that Elizabeth's power would be able to increase/charge your attacks - where did that feature go? I thought that was an amazing concept that COMPLETELY disappeared from the game.
Where did the ability to hack machines and turrets go? That was another of my favorite parts of the series.
Enemy AI. All the talk about this game, as well as the demos made it very clear that several enemies would not attach unless provoked. The only instance where this occurred for me was at the start of the Fink Manufacturing section. An NPC made a comment about not approaching the airship, once I did he attacked. In every other situation, I was attacked on site, unless it was clear these characters were non-fighters (battleship bay).
Heavy Hitters - Crow (houdini splicers) and firemen (nitro splicers): I liked these guys, they added a cool mix to different different combat types.
Motorized Patriots: Awesome. Great concept and great exocution, I just wished they had a little more variety in design.
Handymen: what the hell, I faced four of these the entire play through. I thought they would be much more common (essentially the Big Daddies and Rosies of Infinite)
The Siren, aka Elizabeth's "mom": No, just no. It made no sense that Elizabeth's anger and her power of tears would turn her mother into a Revenant. The concept was cool, but was completely out of place in the way they delivered it. It just felt so entirely forced and tacked on.
Boys of Silence: Awesome concept and truly bizarre. My only complaint is that they were hardly used.
which leads me to...
More importantly Songbird's tacked on, Dues Ex Machina, ending. If you create a character like this, there should be an amazing battle with it. Not three or four scenes, an epic ally battle and then a "well shit, how do we kill this character...I dunno, drown him?" death.
The entire "hey look we're in Rapture" scene to drown Songbird hit me twice. First, I thought it was cool to bring everything around. I honestly thought that Booker was going to end up being the NPC you see get ripped limb from limb at the very beginning of the original Bioshock before you step out of the Bathysphere.
Once that didn't happen, I got kind of pissed. It cheapened both games. It felt like completely unnecessary fan service. Rapture play no role in Infinite (save for a Fink voxophone), so why the cheese at the end. If they wanted to include Rapture in the Columbia universe, then show a younger version of Andrew Ryan, Frank Fontaine or Brigid Tenenbaum. Otherwise, don't do it at all.
Characters and villians.
Comstock/Booker DeWitt: I preferred the original concept of Comstock. A young political type, bent on taking his model of the world global. I did not like the Fry/Lars from Bender's Big Score scenario we got instead. It was too hamfisted, and you could see it coming a mile away. There were too many throwaway lines that essentially spelled everything out for you. If they wanted to make everything circular, make Booker the dead guy in the light house at the very beginning.
Daisy Fitzroy: Was she even necessary? I really don't think she was. If anything they should have played up her importance to the Vox Populi.
Fink: Could have been something so amazing - I assumed he would be some sort of fully realized Handyman when we finally met him, instead he was an unrealized character in an unnecessary subplot.
That crocodile Dundee hunter guy: I'm not talking about Slate. You only see where he's been and find his random voxophones. Maybe he'll be a DLC character? Unless I missed something.
Rosalind and Robert Lutece: Great characters, but they gave away too much of the story with their talking. The heads VS tails at the beginning clued me in to the idea that this isn't my first rodeo in Columbia.
Elizabeth: Amazing character, my only complaint - stop tossing me stuff in battles and actually help like you were shown to do. I want to rely on setting traps and using ammo wisely, not SHOOT, SHOOT, RUN, ELCTROBOLT (HERE YOU NEED THIS!). Also, the "Hey I found some money!" was almost as annoying as Navi from Ocarina of Time.
The random discussion in Finkton about Elizabeth's pinky finger thimble. It was out of place and unnecessary. It did nothing for the plot, and even at the end it made no sense. If the portal was closing as Comstock took her through...it would have taken her entire toddler hand...unless she had some freakishly long pinky finger.
The ambush scene and the random female guard calling Elizabeth, Anna. Again, why include this. Maybe I missed something here, but why would this guard call her by her real name?
Where were the all damn horses? They were a huge part of the demo/teasers/commercials and trailers, and were completely absent from the final game.
Stick with one storyline and base the subplots off of that: This is just basic writing. The story arc went from "It's all in your head" to "You say you want a revolution" to "Fuck it, Multiverse BITCHES!"
In any case, I've gone on way longer than I needed to, and more than half of you probably wont get all the way through this. So what did you guys think?