10 Things That Would Have Made BioShock Infinite Perfect
The honeymoon is over, and while I still say that BioShock Infinite is not only the game of the year, but probably of several years to come, The Brother With One F and I sat down and honestly critiqued what could have made this amazing game unstoppable. Here are the ten items we came up with in no particular order.
Spoilers abound ahead.
1. Make It Less Violent: BioShock was incredibly violent and frightening, and it needed to be so. It was the story of ultra-Randians hopped up on genetic steroids that drove them mad being controlled to attack you by pheromones. It's like Doom, in a way. Infinite, however, takes place in this beautiful, functioning city full of perfectly normal people not overly intent on killing you. They really should have dialed the violence way down for the setting, but that also brings me to...
2. Up the NPC Interaction: People line the streets of Columbia, and will happily remark as you pass them by. Unfortunately, you can't really remark back most of the time. There's a scene in Finkton where you come across a weapon in a cop's office, and the policeman sitting there next to it just stares at you. You can't bribe him, distract him, convince him or otherwise interact with him. All you can do is get too close and make him start opening fire without preamble. A little choice in the matter would have given it some variety.
3. Make Our Choices Matter: Whether you throw a baseball at the interracial couple in the beginning or you throw it at the barker, it makes no real difference overall in the game. Black people don't treat you as a friend if you do the first, nor white people the second. If you spare Slate in the Ghost Dancer segment, you'll find him again in jail later, but he has no lines. All this makes what little choice you make rather arbitrary, and represents a step backwards from the previous two games, where they at least determined the endings. Too often I wanted to avoid confrontation and found that either there was no way to do so, or doing so didn't change a lick.
4. Remember That Booker Is a Detective: DeWitt is a gambler and a drunk who sold his daughter to erase a debt, but he is still a Pinkerton and a private eye. In the bright, sunny world of Columbia, something sinister lurks underneath, and it would have been invigorating to have him actually try to solve some mysteries instead of mindlessly walking from firefight to firefight. I went into BioShock Infinite hoping I was getting a FSP version of Ace Harding from Déjà Vu, but I got Duke Nukem with better writers.
5. Give Elizabeth More Powers: Elizabeth is the best video game sidekick since Tails and arguably the best of all time. She doesn't need to be protected, saves your ass constantly and can pull things from other dimensions. The trouble is, she pulls extremely mundane things. There's not much opportunity to really explore her powers. Let us lure big hitters into the path of an oncoming truck from another world, or just use the tears to solve side quests and mysteries. The sky hooks are nice, but it's not exactly mind-blowing.