No, BioShock Infinite's Ending Doesn't Suck

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No, BioShock Infinite's Ending Doesn't Suck

BioShock Infinite's ending isn't as bad as some of its plot holes and cartoonish villains.

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It's funny that Yahtzee's friend said that conservatives would view Bioshock infinite as a smear on them, because the Arch-Rightist, ultra-libertarian Glenn Beck (who would probably be right at home in rapture) did a review on Bioshock infinite, and he seemed somewhat mollified by the fact that it points out that the anarchists in Bioshock infinite are excessively violent too.

OT: Meh. I didn't really have a problem with the fact that Bioshock Infinite asked you to attack overblown charicatures instead of tragic horror figures. I don't see why it can't explore these kinds of ideas as an action game. The point about vigours is a good one though: having a few standard enemies use vigours towards the end of the game would help keep the difficulty curve balanced and make things more interesting [for reference: I think they sometimes bought back that Klansman Boss who uses murder of Crows in the later game]. This might even encourage players to use those two vigours you pick up right at the end: you know, the ones you cast a confused glance at for a second before returning to the vigours that you know and have spend the last few hours using.

The trouble is, the Bioshock series has to let you examine the society and I can't see how racism can be examined without it appearing cartoonish. I can see the intellectual basis for Objectivism, even though I thought it was idiotic, but not for racism. Racism strikes me as purely visceral and an evolutionary throwback to more tribal times. Not a brave new principle to form the foundation of an unprecedented utopia. Even the early Christian church declared Christianity meant for all, not just the Jews.

I felt the use of violence was appropriate because Booker is supposed to be a monster. Even in 'good' Booker we're supposed to see the sort of monster that could

.

Also, the grim, bloody insane violence juxtaposed against the bright blue skies and whitewashed veneer well enough that it was affecting. This was a beautiful place that you were bringing ugliness into.

I also object that the enemies are 'cartoons'. I think it would be rather easy to find places in this day and age on this real world we inhabit where people are unapologetically racist and destructive. Going back a hundred years or so would not shrink the pool of candidates.

"For starters, the "vigors", which are functionally plasmids. In BioShock, the plasmids were tied into the whole situation with a neat red ribbon. Andrew Ryan set up a city based around objectivism and self-interest, people found a way to improve their selves with gene splicing, they started fighting over the materials required to do so, then mutations, madness, and collapse. The vigors in Columbia are not there for any reason. Yes, I know, they were brought in from an alternate reality, but that's just an explanation for their presence, not a reason for them to be there."

It's possible that the vigors (which are obviously plasmids) are there as a bit of alternate reality foreshadowing, like the relatively modern music in the tears.

WaitWHAT:
This might even encourage players to use those two vigours you pick up right at the end: you know, the ones you cast a confused glance at for a second before returning to the vigours that you know and have spend the last few hours using.

I 'unno, Return to Sender and Undertow were probably the ones I used most towards the end of the game.

The cultists are pretty much exactly Nazis, they even have the equivalent of the Kraft durch Freude program ("Strength through Leisure" proclaims a sign on the beach). So if there's always a man and always a city, where's Adolf Hitler's crazy city?

As to the enemies being 'cartoonishly' regressive. Does it not make sense that things would develop to such extremes when this society has absolutely no outside influences? It's kind of like North Korea, only going even further in the sense that this city has quite literally stuck its head in the clouds to run away from outside influence. If you had grown up in Columbia, with everything you've ever learned about the world having been fed to you through Comstock's propaganda filter, then you probably would buy into it as fervently as most of the citizens of Columbia.

Also, the two enemy types you face in the game that do use vigors are the Fire Man (Devil's Kiss), and the Zealot (Murder of Crows), as well as Slate who uses Shock Jockey, and all of these enemies are portrayed as being very mentally unstable indeed, much like the Splicers, so the reason most people don't use them is probably because they're dangerous prototypes. Booker being Booker, pays no mind to this, and he's already angry and self-destructive enough that they are unlikely to make much of a difference to his behavior.

KDR_11k:
The cultists are pretty much exactly Nazis, they even have the equivalent of the Kraft durch Freude program ("Strength through Leisure" proclaims a sign on the beach). So if there's always a man and always a city, where's Adolf Hitler's crazy city?

Interesting idea. "Bioshock: Onwards", set in Germania, the overblown Minas Tirith-y mega city Hitler had planned to remake Berlin into once he had won the wars. The only problem would be to effectively isolate it, like Columbia or Rapture. Perhaps the surrounding area are just miles upon miles of fields with robotic/biopunky harvest machines?

Although trying to make the point that nazism is bad and stupid would probably be a bit too easy...

image

It would make a great backdrop, though.

Calling people "edgy" for having a different opinon is pretty tactless. Granted, there do exist people like that and I'm pretty sure you will also find them within the Bioshock community. Still, I'm sure that there are people out there who genuinely find Bioshock Infinite's ending to be "the worst ending ever" and lumping them in with the "edgy" crowd isn't very nice.

Also, I havent't played Bioshock Infinite yet, so I have no real opinion on the matter (yet).

I actually found Booker's violence to be a necessary part of the backstory and gameplay. If you yanked out the violent animations, all allusions to Booker's horrible history wouldn't line up with his actions or persona. It also makes Booker and Comstock two sides of the same coin,

Infinite also did a pretty good job of questioning Booker's approach over the course of the game.

.

Bioshock 1, meanwhile, didn't seem to connect Jack's in-game violence to the story/gameplay nearly as well, although maybe that's because violence wasn't as big a theme as free will.

I hear you about the vigors. Why would the Vox need guns when they could just steal crates of magic juice. That being said, I have a specific kind of suspension of disbelief built up for plot holes created by video game mechanics. The game would have been less fun to play without vigors, but they are too big and messy and powerful to really integrate into the plot.

I could have done without the metanarrative bit because I don't know if its really supposed to be tied to the events which follow it.

"What one generation does in moderation, the next does in excess."

Perhaps this explains the vigor/plasmid conundrum, rather, to answer the question of why everyone isn't going at it with them like Booker - because this is the generation before we start calling them "plasmids" and take them to the point of going mad, much like the difference between the golden generation and the baby boomers with smoking.

I have a friend who's convinced that American conservatives are going to denounce Infinite as a liberal smear upon the Republican south. Personally, I don't think they would, because of what is known in libel law as the "small penis defense". I wouldn't think that any group is going to say "Hey! You know these complete nutters who gleefully enslave the poor and stone interracial couples to death as a fun carnival game? I think they're supposed to represent us!"

Objection, your honor!

There are people like this. Trust me, they're in my "family". They exist, and they're more plentiful than you probably think.

The ending's fine. It's just classic scifi. I have seen people who haven't been exposed to this yet (and couldn't figure out Inception?) being horribly confused and thinking it's the worst thing ever because they can't make heads or tails of it. Or perhaps didn't bother to read the voxaphones, which provide most of the dots to connect.

castlewise:
I hear you about the vigors. Why would the Vox need guns when they could just steal crates of magic juice. That being said, I have a specific kind of suspension of disbelief built up for plot holes created by video game mechanics. The game would have been less fun to play without vigors, but they are too big and messy and powerful to really integrate into the plot.

I could have done without the metanarrative bit because I don't know if its really supposed to be tied to the events which follow it.

A lot of the point of the Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite stories has been exploring gameplay and story segregation, so ignoring Booker's heavy use of vigors when barely anybody else in Columbia uses them seems a bit off.

Bioshock Infinite's ending is just "bad", as it is when the same cop out is used in most mediums that decide to pull a giant time twisting paradox out to try and end things on a profound note when they otherwise write/design themselves into a corner. That said it's NOT as bad as the "Mass Effect 3" ending, nor does it come with the level of baggage (promises from the developers, etc...) that spawned "Retake Mass Effect" which continues to an extent until this day. "Worst Ever" doesn't fit it, since there have been far worse, again "Mass Effect 3" exists and it's going to take a really special kind of suck to ever outdo that one.

As far as the rest goes, picking on the right wing in Bioshock Infinite was both expected, just from the previews, and the apparent leanings of those doing the game. Anyone who was shocked by this probably should have paid more attention to the game they were buying. That said, in a nation largely polarized 50-50 on an idealistic level and arguably already headed towards a civil war by all accounts due to the time that deadlock has lasted, this was not the time or the place. What's more if your going to bring up these kinds of issues it's generally important to look at both sides of the equasion to an extent I don't think Bioshock does.

To put things into perspective, if your going to do a game looking at racism and want to have an "other side" at least do it right. Actually look at real racists for your inspiration, as opposed to creating cartoon characters based on stereotypes. Come up with fairly legitimate arguements behind it.

I'm going to play Devil's Advocate for a second here, so don't jump on me and try and argue the points I'm about to make because I don't agree with what I'm about to say. Though truthfully I'd argue down my own case a bit differant from most other people that would address it here.

If your going to defend racism, you can start with things like sociological arguements, showing how "white" societies and civilizations rose to dominance despite having literally everything stacked against them, where non-white societies and civilizations collapsed or decayed. Human civilization arguably started in "The Fertile Crescent" with dark skinned people enslaving whites for thousand of years. However when whites decided to get a leg up it started a trend that lead to the dominace of western powers which remained strong until the current era. Arguements about the destruction wrecked by white powers to keep the opposition down kind of fall flat when you consider how white civilization crawled out from under the wreckage of Rome. Not to mention how nations like Germany who for a time had the entire world against them managed to go from an artificially seperated, relatively weak and destitute society, back to being a world power, in relatively record time. Examining things globally you'll notice that non-whites outnumber whites greatly, but most of them wallow in poverty, backwards theocratic cultures that are deadlocked into themselves, and recovery or remaining where they are generally comes down to the morality and intervention of white powers. China, India, etc... rose up because White people let it happen and in many cases helped, despite a history of previous wars. Some places like Africa, The Middle East, etc.. are simply so barbaric that no amount of intervention, military or humanitarian, have managed to prevent them from being wastelands.

Outside of a sociological level, in looking at those nations, there is a more directly scientific arguement. Today you'll hear about studies saying there is no genetic differance between people of differant race, and that any claims to the contrary were debunked. In reality where you hear this, it's never really spelled out nor is the work of those who established the scientific rationales for racism ever truely debunked and indeed society continues to use their achievements, yet argueing they happened to be wrong about that. Guys like Mengele were maniacs, but very much believed in racism and inherant white superiority and was apparently able to prove it scientifically, engaging in things like Eugenic experimentation. Today we like to go off about how he chopped up thousands of still living people for his research and did all kinds of insane experiments, but we also save lives with information gained from the kind of research he did. The guys who pretty much discovered DNA, and whose work acts as the basis for all the DNA testing and such that we do now (proving crimes, etc...) were both also racists, I believe Watson (of Watson and Crick) was paticularly vocal about it and people try and gloss over that because it raises some uncomfortable questions while the guy is still alive and your using his work.

All of this can be counter-argued, but it can be more difficult than most people want to give it credit for. Instead liberals tends to like to simply leave it as "someone debunked it" or maintain a specific philsophy as an answer. In showing things that debunk a lot of this, it usually winds up avoiding direct confrontation because to say argue against Watson and Crick means you also have to argue against DNA and claim every criminal conviction obtained using it should be overturned, likewise you have to start saying guys like Mengele were wrong on a scientific level, which can be difficult because while the guy was a monster, we use information gathered by him (and other scientists of his ilk) to save lives every day.

If your going to build a hypothetical society based on a principle like racism, at least learn the dogma properly and look at what people are more likely to use. I suppose Bioshock gets a "pass" of sorts by being earlier down the time line than the examples I'm giving... but the point is that being cartoonish doesn't a point make. In general no matter how wrong someone or something might be, you have to understand that any major movement is going to have a lot behind it, and when the opposition simply dismisses that I think it leads to bigger problems down the road.

As I said, Devil's Advocate, I'm not going to argue any of this because I disagree with it myself so really couldn't push myself to "win" the arguement in any absolute sense and if I did it on an academic level I'd feel dirty afterwards. I'm just giving some examples.

Though to give a bit of "Nightmare Fuel" if your ever interested, take the points where "Infinite" touches on these issues (which it does, though it doesn't really follow through) but then extend it in the direction that Columbia actually works, as do the Vigors. It's far more advanced than anything else in that world except maybe Rapture, and apparently Comstock's guys know their genetics better than Ryan's guys did because as Yahtzee points out the "Vigors" seem to have dealt with most of the issues inherant in Ryan's technology. In the scope of the game I suppose it could be argued that your assumpsions are wrong and these "cartoonish" villains are right about a lot of things because they supposedly know DNA well enough where they are more qualified than anyone to make an uncontestable statement about racial inferiority/superiority going beyond anyone that really exists. On some levels there could arguably be seen as some validity to their arguements simply by the existance OF Columbia and it's attached technologies which they apparently understand as opposed to have just dimensionally scavenged. Definatly not intended, but on some odd levels it does present a slight example of bad writing/concept. Sort of like some science fiction where say the Nazis actually start eugentically producing supermen who have psionics and such due to their Aryan heritage as Hitler believed. The allies might fight them and win in the end but whe whole problem with "wierd world war II" and the Nazi stuff working is that it also implicitly involves an offhanded acknowlegement that Hitler was right... the writers don't even seem to realize that or follow through on it, but... well, that can get uncomfortable fast when you really think about it. :)

I think it's important to note that all the "cartoonish" evil is actually based on acual American history. It feels good to have riddiculously evil, based in reality antagonists that are not nazis for once.

Let me cite Elizabeth here on why Bioshock Infinite is so bloody: "Booker, if these people get guns, there's going to be a revolution just like in Les Miserables. They can have better lives."

The war element is at least in part about the French Revolution, and you simply cannot depict said revolution unless the rich are horrifically oblivious and exploitative (hell, they even mention how they tax black people more than white people, much in the way that pre-Revolutionary France only taxed the commoners but not the aristocracy), the poor are ridiculously impoverished and downtrodden, and when the poor get enough power to fight the rich it goes absolutely tits up.

As far as the ending? It's literally just Planescape: Torment's ending again. I didn't really like Planescape, but I'm suspicious that even if I did Bioshock Infinite's ending would still seem unoriginal for that very reason.

warmachine:
The trouble is, the Bioshock series has to let you examine the society and I can't see how racism can be examined without it appearing cartoonish. I can see the intellectual basis for Objectivism, even though I thought it was idiotic, but not for racism. Racism strikes me as purely visceral and an evolutionary throwback to more tribal times. Not a brave new principle to form the foundation of an unprecedented utopia. Even the early Christian church declared Christianity meant for all, not just the Jews.

I know this is going to sound random but are you British by any chance?

I rather enjoyed Bioshock Infinite's ending but then again I'm an easy mark for alternate reality stories, specifically ones that explore the idea of one universe inadvertently influencing the other.

The only real problem I had with this game is that because of it's reliance on alternate realities, the twists becomes entirely too easy to predict.

As for the argument that Bioshock isn't a horror game, I would say that's a matter of perspective.

Living in Utah the idea of a religious zealot leading his people to a promised land of delusional glory is...well it's an interesting parallel and one that I know some of my LDS friends have raised an eyebrow at.

Being an American Indian myself the entire wounded knee museum segment was hard to sit through and the idea that DeWitt was seen as a hero of that conflict precisely because of his savagery was hard to swallow.

As for the Racism. That's a hard argument to counter. I suppose to me it's only cartoonish and outlandish because it's also very out dated...that's not to say they are that far removed from reality. Good taste and the general message board rules forbid providing examples but a quick GIS for racism in advertising provides more than enough examples that mirror the presentation in Bioshock: Infinite too closely for the latter to be considered inaccurate.

So I guess my argument would be that it's not "scary" in that there's no big monsters or mutants coming after me but it's still horrifying in the subject matter being presented.

I got the impression that the vigors/plasmids were very new to Columbia, which is why they weren't so widespread among the populace. They hadn't had time to decay society yet. Notice how everything seemed kind of...Bioshock one-ish when Booker got teleported to the future? No real explanation is given for why or how everything got so screwed up. But given their track record, the vigors seem like a good suspect.

That's it. I'm calling it. Yahtzee is Spoony's long lost British twin.

Seriously.

This article is basically identical to what Noah said in his review.

I'm not calling ripoff, it's just interesting.

I think I'd have objected more to the violence if there hadn't been an in-game reaction to it. It didn't do what Tomb Raider did and have the protagonist murder by the dozens yet not get treated any differently by the other characters. The first time Booker is forced to defend himself in front of Elizabeth she runs away in terror and is wary of his history through the rest of the game. Hell even Booker himself is disgusted by some of the things he does

itsthesheppy:
I felt the use of violence was appropriate because Booker is supposed to be a monster. Even in 'good' Booker we're supposed to see the sort of monster that could

.

Also, the grim, bloody insane violence juxtaposed against the bright blue skies and whitewashed veneer well enough that it was affecting. This was a beautiful place that you were bringing ugliness into.

I also object that the enemies are 'cartoons'. I think it would be rather easy to find places in this day and age on this real world we inhabit where people are unapologetically racist and destructive. Going back a hundred years or so would not shrink the pool of candidates.

I thought that if the violence wouldn't have been so high it would have felt weird.

The entire "Hall of Heroes" section was a story of how bad Booker was. Him killing everyone in the city was no different than his past and it really highlighted it. If he would have gone from Wounded Knee to "oh, violence is icky" in Columbia would have been weird.

Firstly, the ending was awesome and I totally agree that saying it was the worst ending ever when glaring right in our faces is Bioshock's ending is pants on head yadayada.

As for the populace being too easily racist and clearly inherently evil and the weirdness of the vigors being unused etc, I disagree.

My mum often brings up the story of how she used to go over to the states when she was young in the 70s and stayed in a few of the southern states and couldn't understand how the perfectly lovely friend she had made didn't understand that parading with the KKK was a terrible terrible thing to do. People can easily be seemingly lovely whilst hiding incredible bigotry. It's not cartoonish, it's if anything more real. The suggestion that people have to be on some sort of horrific substance to do heinous things is just silly, I would cite basically the entire history of the human race as evidence. I would argue suggesting that they're drug addled lunatics, so THAT's why they spontaneously decide it's ok to eat babies is much more "easy" rather than realising that societies can easily get incredibly fucked up without any of that. Love and belief are plenty addictive and more useful in motivating people.

The vigors themselves are primarily designed as a tool for self-defense, as shown in the fair at the start. They're not addictive and terrible like plasmids, but they don't need them. This is a society predominantly at peace and they may as well just buy a gun so they don't have to experience all the flesh being burned away when they initially take it.

As for the giant statue of John Wilkes Booth being preposterous, surely the fact that Thatcher's funeral is tomorrow in St Paul's Cathedral is enough to show how plausible it really is.

Several posters have already pointed out the main contention with Yahtzee's Point here so I'll just re-state it briefly:
The racism, devout religiousness and xenophobia in Columbia only strike us as over the top and odd because we live in a completely different society. I have a few old Swedish school books from the 1880's at home and they don't mince the words about calling black people for the "Negro man-ape" or telling us that all "yellow people" are thieves, liars and completely lack morals and ethics. It strikes us as completely silly, yet this is exactly what the people of most of the USA and Europe thought was true around the turn of the Century.

As for Booker and his brutality it is an in-game statement (a blend of narrative and gameplay if you like) meant to tie the first ending reveal together. Booker is brutal and uncaring and that's something that doesn't change, no matter which identity he assumes. The only thing that changes is who he percieves as his enemies.

As far as the vigors not leading to mutations and insanity like the plasmids, I'd say the two (only) reoccuring vigor-using enemies (the flame guys and the crow guys) seem at least pushing into the realm of insanity. Doesn't really explain why none of the other vigors other than Shock Jockey and to a small extent Possession got any narrative focus despite how readily available most of them were.

WaitWHAT:
It's funny that Yahtzee's friend said that conservatives would view Bioshock infinite as a smear on them, because the Arch-Rightist, ultra-libertarian Glenn Beck (who would probably be right at home in rapture) did a review on Bioshock infinite, and he seemed somewhat mollified by the fact that it points out that the anarchists in Bioshock infinite are excessively violent too.

I don't think Glenn Beck can really be described as rigidly following any particular ideology. It's more that he's just an insane person with a very limited grasp on reality.

:/ I liked the ending and hated it. I would still give the game glaringly good reviews but i really don't like how everyone is talking about the ending as if it was sheer brilliance.

It was nice but it was FAR from original and magnificent: "YOU'RE THE BAD GUY THE WHOLE TIME!!!" :/ I mean really.

Now Elizabeth can life happily ever after with her dad who thanks to how this multiverse apparently works retains no memory of his experiences in Columbia, meaning he is still a drunken gambler who will sell his daughter first chance he gets.

Yay for happy parenting ending!!!

cricket chirps:

It was nice but it was FAR from original and magnificent: "YOU'RE THE BAD GUY THE WHOLE TIME!!!" :/ I mean really.

The only problem is that most plot twists or endings can be summarized to single generic sounding sentences. Bioshock's twists could be defined as "YOU WERE HYPNOTIZED/MIND CONTROLLED ALL ALONG!!!", "THE MAIN ANTAGONIST WAS YOU FATHER ALL ALONG!!!", "YOU'RE ONLY TRUSTED FRIEND WAS ACTUALLY A BAD GUY WHO BETRAYS YOU!!!". I don't mean offense with these, I am just saying many game plot twists can be easily summarized to sound generic.

More on topic, doesn't the ending technically remove the existence of vigors at least from that world? Since Booker dies before he can be the main character or bad guy, Columbia never get's founded and never makes the decision to take flight and cede from the union, the Letuce of that dimension (male for Booker, female for Combstock dimension) would never to Columbia and work on the dimensional travel stuff they mastered while in Columbia, and thus the dimension with vigors may never even collide with the one from Bioshock, so plasmids are the new thing there. Vigors could have even been brought from a dimension in the future.

Got a good laugh out of this:

http://www.cracked.com/video_18568_why-explaining-new-bioshock-isnt-worth-it.html

Bioshock Infinite: Kill them all because they love America too much!!

Love that he finds a pineapple and shotgun shells in a woman's purse. :-)

Have their endings really ever been any good? Even Yahtzee was complaining about Bioshock 1's angel-or-Hitler ending, and System Shock 2's ending was just insanely stupid. Hell, it even hit the divine-powers-out-of-thin-air notes I've heard people talking about in regards to Bioshock 2.

What I love about Bioshock Infinite's ending is how you can think about it for ever and still come to interesting conclusions. For instance, as I handed over the baby, it struck me how the male Lucete "twin" was the one to rack up Booker's gambling debt in bid to force the deal on him. It was a nice echo back to the beginning of the game, when the Lucetes are testing their coin-flip theory, but it does beg the question why they didn't just open a tear in Lizzie's room and steal her that way. Or maybe buying children through cheating at gambling is less morally corrupt in their eyes than simply kidnapping?
If anyone else has any interesting conclusions about the game's ending, I'd be happy to hear them. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for them on my next play-through. Also, if you liked Bioshock Infinite's ending, watch Cloud Atlas, you'll love it.

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