The discussion around BioShock Infinite‘s combat doesn’t just involve the question of whether its quantity of violence is essential to the story (yes), or whether telling a story where its quantity of violence is essential is interesting or worthwhile (no). Some of the discussion has centered around the question of whether the combat mechanics are any good. Eric Schwarz has written a fantastic post that describes most of the combat mechanics, and I want to expand on it a little. Even though I think violence helps to express the kind of character Booker is, I don’t think the combat systems of [Read more...]
“You’re a monster!” Elizabeth says, and Booker doesn’t refute her. What would be the point? She’s right. BioShock Infinite is a violent game, and it has to be. That’s a contrast to BioShock, an equally violent game where combat conveyed nothing about its main character and had little to do with the game’s themes other than spurring the player to engage in its various economies. Any stimulus — using plasmids to solve environmental puzzles, for instance — would have sufficed. That’s not so in Columbia. Violence is essential to who Booker DeWitt is, and what Columbia is. Their story cannot be told [Read more...]
One of the things I found most striking about BioShock Infinite is how sloppy it was. The ending, as I discussed yesterday, is a self-contradicting mess held together only by sharply-timed revelations and plonky piano music. The quantum morass of its final moments is only one of the game’s problems, though. BioShock Infinite has mechanics, world-building, and narrative elements that don’t work together, or simply don’t make sense. Often it feels like the team making it forgot what they were doing, or how all these elements were supposed to fit.
One of the problems with stories that use the concept of multiple universes is that the word “multiple” doesn’t even begin to describe the scale of existence. Consider, for instance, the universes in which I just reached through the internet and handed you a cookie (hope you like pistachio sandies!). Now, in the context of known physical laws, this is an extremely unlikely event, so much so that if you were to try to write out the probability by putting down a 1 and writing zeroes in front of it, you could go the whole lifetime of our universe without [Read more...]