No, BioShock Infinite's Ending Doesn't Suck

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Farther than stars:

There's no two ways about it. Bioshock Infinite has the deepest story ever set in a video game. And I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

I've played Japanese porno games with deeper stories*. Bioshock Infinite's story is a lot of surface and pretension, but real story depth comes from what the story says about the human condition as embodied by the individual characters in the story. (For instance, Foucault's Pendulum is a book where three men make up a secret society and find that the fiction they created destroys their lives, that's what happens, but what it's about is the lure of hidden truths and the type of personality that is drawn to the romantic idea of secret societies and what they might actually be looking for) Bioshock fails on that because the character it's about isn't a character, we have no context for examining the ways other Bookers have addressed the sins of their past (glorification, martyrdom, whatever) when the one we are driving is an empty vessel.

* Kamidori Alchemy Meister springs to mind, at least the route I played is all about conflicts of love, duty and devided loyalty, the tension and stakes in the plot are all driven by people, not merely by events.

1337mokro:

--snip--

I said it had the deepest story ever. In no way did I say it was the best game ever. So considering that we're judging games based on depth of story:
I'll give you "Grim Fandango". "Psychonauts" too, probably. I honestly forgot about Tim Shafer. "Silent Hill 2" I would say is roughly on par, but only because it has multiple endings. In no way "Portal". That game really does great things with challenging your perspective of physical reality, but its actual story is relatively shallow. Don't get me wrong, the writing is phenomenal, but as far as depth goes, Bioshock Infinite simply has more layers. Moving on:
I can't think of any "Final Fantasy" games which are actually deep. It's not just enough that you create a large sprawling world, which merely touches on some issues. It also needs to fully make them part of that world (like any of the "Fallout" games). That critique also goes for some other games on your list. "System Shock 2" I never played. I figured playing "Bioshock" and Bioshock Infinite would absolve me from that sin. The debate of whether Bioshock or Bioshock Infinite is deeper will be going on for ages to come, but obviously I've picked my side. "Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem" I own, but I never gotten round to playing it.
But I have to admit. Part of the reason for writing a statement like that is, of course, to get a whole bunch of good games lobbed at you that you haven't tried yet. To that end, at least this has reminded me that I need to dust off Eternal Darkness and finally play it.

GloatingSwine:

Farther than stars:

There's no two ways about it. Bioshock Infinite has the deepest story ever set in a video game. And I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

I've played Japanese porno games with deeper stories*. Bioshock Infinite's story is a lot of surface and pretension, but real story depth comes from what the story says about the human condition as embodied by the individual characters in the story. (For instance, Foucault's Pendulum is a book where three men make up a secret society and find that the fiction they created destroys their lives, that's what happens, but what it's about is the lure of hidden truths and the type of personality that is drawn to the romantic idea of secret societies and what they might actually be looking for) Bioshock fails on that because the character it's about isn't a character, we have no context for examining the ways other Bookers have addressed the sins of their past (glorification, martyrdom, whatever) when the one we are driving is an empty vessel.

* Kamidori Alchemy Meister springs to mind, at least the route I played is all about conflicts of love, duty and devided loyalty, the tension and stakes in the plot are all driven by people, not merely by events.

Well, yes, but then part of Bioshock Infinite is about how people are constrained by events and ultimately there is no such choice because of how every eventuality will happen anyway. That's what all the fake choices in the game are about. The game kind of mirrors "Spec Ops: The Line" in that regard.
But wouldn't you agree that we wouldn't even be able to have a debate like this if the game didn't have any depth? Of course, you might just be one of those "edgy" people Yahtzee was talking about. You seem like the type for it. Let's not forget, the first thing you brought up was Japanese pornography, after all.

Farther than stars:
snip

And I just gave you a list of games with deeper and better stories.

What is even a deep story? Can you even explain that definition? You see depth has no actual meaning if you mean complex, that isn't depth. Convoluted with allot of twists =/= depth. Shadow of the Colossus has a deeper story and it is absolutely minimalist. It has almost no dialogue yet tells a tale of love, perseverance, betrayal, overcoming insurmountable challenges, adventure and does this all with NOTHING but combat and exploration.

Heck Planescape Torment is basically the Bioshock story done better YEARS ago.

I also don't agree with how you equate Bioshock to Spec Ops. Spec Ops is talking mostly to the player. Bioshock isn't talking directly to the player. Spec Ops is the exploration of the mind of a soldier that has gone mad, it is PTSD in game form.

If no choice matters then why is there a magical exception for when Booker drowns? Should that choice also not matter and not change a thing, ignoring that it is basically a giant paradox.

You see the story is actually not that great. What really is left if you strip it down is just a story about a man having to reconcile with his past to move on. That's not deep, the layers that it puts over that story is really nothing else but wrapping paper, pretending to be depth.

You also just basically admitted that there were about 2 games with deeper and better stories than Bioshock Infinite which makes your claim that it is the bestest deepestest story ever written completely mute.

Also do play Eternal Darkness it is awesome.

If I had to be cliched I'd say FF VI out does Bioshock Infinite.

1337mokro:
If no choice matters then why is there a magical exception for when Booker drowns? Should that choice also not matter and not change a thing, ignoring that it is basically a giant paradox.

Well, it is an open ending after all. The goal of an open ending is discussion, either through internal dialogue or such as we are doing now. Whether Booker's death had any meaning is then entirely up to your own conclusion.
As to your other question, depth is basically just the amount of themes that a piece explores, the extent to which it explores them and the amount of layers that that generates. And while it is definitely an intellectual exercise, it is by no means an objectifiable exercise. Also, it does indeed have nothing to do with complexity, as I already indicated when I said that creating a large sprawling world isn't enough to constitute depth.
And finally, Bioshock Infinite and Spec Ops: The Line both have themes about the insignificance of player agency in a framework which is entirely subjugate by variables. The choice between the bird and the cage is exactly the same as the choice between shooting the soldier or shooting the civilian. This specific theme is something which Spec Ops: The Line explores far more deeply, but funnily enough both games use opposite philosophies to illustrate the same point.
Whereas Spec Ops: The Line takes a Spinozian view of a clockwork universe wherein everything happens according to fate, Bioshock Infinite uses the vein of metaphysical liberalism which comes from quantum mechanics to explain how choice is an illusion in the face of an infinite number of universes. In one you don't have any choice because everything hinges on causality. In the other, you don't have any choice because nothing hinges on causality at all.

Farther than stars:

1337mokro:
If no choice matters then why is there a magical exception for when Booker drowns? Should that choice also not matter and not change a thing, ignoring that it is basically a giant paradox.

Well, it is an open ending after all. The goal of an open ending is discussion, either through internal dialogue or such as we are doing now. Whether Booker's death had any meaning is then entirely up to your own conclusion.
As to your other question, depth is basically just the amount of themes that a piece explores, the extent to which it explores them and the amount of layers that that generates. And while it is definitely an intellectual exercise, it is by no means an objectifiable exercise. Also, it does indeed have nothing to do with complexity, as I already indicated when I said that creating a large sprawling world isn't enough to constitute depth.
And finally, Bioshock Infinite and Spec Ops: The Line both have themes about the insignificance of player agency in a framework which is entirely subjugate by variables. The choice between the bird and the cage is exactly the same as the choice between shooting the soldier or shooting the civilian. This specific theme is something which Spec Ops: The Line explores far more deeply, but funnily enough both games use opposite philosophies to illustrate the same point.
Whereas Spec Ops: The Line takes a Spinozian view of a clockwork universe wherein everything happens according to fate, Bioshock Infinite uses the vein of metaphysical liberalism which comes from quantum mechanics to explain how choice is an illusion in the face of an infinite number of universes. In one you don't have any choice because everything hinges on causality. In the other, you don't have any choice because nothing hinges on causality at all.

Well no it really isn't an open ending. Booker got drowned by the inter-dimensional traveler that was his daughter. Would she drown him if it all it did was nothing, she must have gone back multiple times to attempt to kill Booker to prevent Comstock from being creased and arriving to the conclusion that the only way to stop it was to drown him at the Baptism. If not her then certainly the Luteces must have done several dozens of calculations to arrive at a single conclusion. Otherwise she is basically making a GIANT leap of faith possibly drowning her father for no reason. I don't know about you but the only time she killed someone she was horrified are you telling me she would risk doing that again? To her own father without actual logical back up.

We then run into another paradox/plothole if nothing changes. Why do they fade out of existence? Unless the events never happened there is no reason why after drowning Booker she would disappear. You see if it is an open end then there is no reason for her to disappear besides plot contrivance.

You also didn't answer what depth was for you. All you did was say world building is not depth. However when the large sprawling world IS part of the story then creating that large sprawling world is also adding to the depth of that story. See Demon Souls (or once again Bioshock), the world is a giant part of the game by the depressing hopeless atmosphere it creates. To discount the world as nothing but window dressing is to ignore the impact such a world can have on people.

Actually the Spinozian thing you just pulled out of your ass. There is nothing in Spec Ops to suggest that. The entire point of Spec ops like I said was talking to the player. There was never anyone being hanged because that was all in your imagination, even the character himself was imagining them. The game literally fabricates an entire conflict to illustrate the make belief of playing war games. There is nothing but tangential similarities with Bioshock which should tell you how generic the story actually is.

If the message is that no choice matters, then why does it suddenly matter when choosing to ask for a your tickets or pulling out your gun? That choice changes your character skin. It's pointless in the grand scheme but to say because it all arrives at the same end the journey doesn't matter is again ignoring the grander choice.

Just because I arrive in New York doesn't mean how I reached New York is pointless.

I could take a plane, swim across the Atlantic, take a rocket and reenter orbit off the coast of New York. I still arrive at New York, but how I arrived that changes based on my choice. Like another game teaches us the Journey (HINT HINT) is as important as the destination.

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.

And yet a lot of people who claimed to be very christian were also extremely racist. If you haven't seen Lincoln yet, you should. If nothing else to watch in awe at just under half of congress voting against making slavery illegal. Because black people just can't handle freedom, apparently.

Hell, just a couple of years ago, I remember hearing a bunch of people taking about how we should be looking suspiciously at all middle eastern people, because they're all terrorists, and how perhaps we should just nuke the middle east and take the oil. People who also considered themselves very christian and religious. It's amazing how people can use their religious beliefs to justify some pretty stupid and horrible things. I could go on but I really am not interested in starting a flame war.

So really, the Columbians didn't seem terribly unbelievable to me because I've met people like that.

teamcharlie:
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."

I do find it amusing that she used that particular example, because anyone who is at all familiar with Les Miserables knows that all the would be revolutionaries died and their revolution fizzled out after about a day(and it's based on a real event too, which is NOT the french revolution).

Sorry, just a random aside.

1337mokro:

--snip--

Spec Ops: The Line is also about player agency in games. That's what all the fake choices in that game are about. Ultimately the ending is just as destructive, because it was scripted to be that way. Then the player starts making excuses. "I didn't have a choice to kill those civilians, the game made me!" That's the classic excuse used by soldiers: "I didn't have a choice!" Ultimately what the game says about choice, it uses to delve deeper into the mind of a soldier, but because of the actions the player 'had' to take. And so it uses one theme to enforce the other - a story can have more than one theme after all.
And I did explain what depth is: "Depth is basically just the amount of themes that a piece explores, the extent to which it explores them and the amount of layers that that generates." I then amended that statement to say that the scale of the world doesn't matter. A large world can be deep, but only if other things make it that way. Bioshock isn't deep because of Rapture, but because it explores Objectivism, solitude and (again) player agency.
Also, the fact that you just used another philosophy to describe an interpretation of Bioshock Infinite's meaning is another testimony to the game's depth. There's a Gandhi quote about that philosophy: "Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." It's probably fitting that you should use New York in that metaphor.
But delving back into insignificant specifics again, I think it was easier for Elizabeth to kill Booker at the end because she wasn't the same person anymore. After the siphon was destroyed she seemed to become one with the universe. You could see that in the way her eyes were glazed over and how her voice became monotone (a cliche, I know, but effective at driving the point home).

Farther than stars:
snip

Sure... so she became the space god of time and reality...which means she must know that suddenly this one choice matters! Which goes against the theme you ascribe to the game about there being no choice... thank you for contradicting yourself. I no longer need to do anything really. Thanks to the game's own internally inconsistent reasoning and twisting you pointed out why your comparison to Spec Ops fails... but I am still going to outline it.

The player's agency is kind of subjective when there is a 50$ entry fee. You see I don't go to a restaurant order a meal then stand up as it is delivered and walk away. I am going to eat that meal. If it wanted actual player agency it should have released for free, then there is no money to get in the way of my agency. You see the game literally made me do it. I literally had no other choice it is hard wired into the game to have only one option, it is no Deus Ex in short where if you tried hard enough you MIGHT have done it.

Me as the gamer had several other options I COULD have taken but which are all programmed to end in failure or not be an option. Why could we not be allowed to rappel down and attempt a stealth run? You see the rappel points are just there but no matter what I do the character refuses to rappel down. The game is now officially forcing my hand by not even allowing me to risk certain death, dying, trying again, dying, trying again and then eventually succumbing to the gas. That is a failure of the very medium it is made in, the fact that the player eventually decides so much of what the game is or can be. It is not the reason why you are wrong though.

You see first off Spec Ops HAS actual multiple endings. It actually gives the player the agency. It has in it's narrative hints and twists to tip off the player. Seriously go watch the extra credits about this game over on penny arcade. What it also does is incorporate it's themes. In spec ops you are ALWAYS going down, never up. I think you never even take a single staircase to a higher floor, maybe once in a mall somewhere, but my memory is hazy. It is about the descent of one soldier into madness AND at the same time challenging the player on their actions and the reasons why they play the game.

At the end the player and the character is confronted with the realization that they are both mad. The player for wanting to experience the horrors of war in their living room and the soldier from fighting an enemy to give himself a cause. You are then given a choice, the agency is actually laid in your hands. So Spec Ops being about insignificance of choice? It's quite the opposite. It actually tells you constantly that this is YOUR choice. That you are here willingly. You made a CHOICE when you bought the game and now you continue making the CHOICE to play it. Spec Ops about player choice insignificance? Which version did you play, mine kept shaming me constantly for deciding to continue to play when I could end it all just by choosing to stop.

Bioshock Infinite does nothing of the sort. It is a popcorn shooter that has a half way decent story that ignores half of the themes it brings up. If you call that depth you will have your mind BLOWN by any of the games I listed before. I also have no idea which philosophy you are talking about? That the Journey is more important than the destination?

That's not really a philosophy. That's me arguing against the idea that no choice matters because we all end up at the same spot in the end and yes I picked New York because the game is about getting to New York. Hope you liked the reference.

I would define depth not as the number of themes in a story, but the number of stories told at the same time, in other words the number of themes that get explored. Anyone can cram a dozen themes into one story, but that does nothing for depth, you are basically saying that complexity equals depth which is just not true. Metal Gear Solid is complex as shit has dozens of different themes but I would not call it deep.

At the same time I would call Grim Fandango deep because it explores several themes at the same time whilst I call Bioshock Infinite shallow because it ignores half the ones it brings up.

Though I don't see any of my questions answered. I asked to outline how for example the Vox Populi betrayal changed Booker. I asked to explain to me why the vigours exist and if they do why they seem out of place in their own world. I asked why suddenly choice matters in this game whilst you apparently seem to hammer on the idea that "it's all meaningless man". I asked what the world it is set in adds to the story. I asked why the ONLY way to save the multiverse is to kill Booker when really there are maybe a half dozen different ways to stop him from being Comstock or reducing Comstock to nothing but a jabbering fool on the street corner, not mentioning the horrendous time paradoxes not having Comstock around creates.

You responded with lackluster answers, handwaving or just flat out ignoring whole sections of my comments in favour of metaphysical jammering about the last 20 minutes. You see I don't really care what those last 20 minutes had to say, most of it was bullshit poking holes in it's own story because guess what Ken Levine not a physicist is. What I care about is the time between that is spent in Columbia ignoring every possible piece of intrigue, several themes that could be explored and even the city itself gets shunned in favour of boring shooter action.

That is the real problem of Bioshock Infinite and quite frankly I am bored with this conversation. It feels like I am listening to someone more interested in spouting of how good his favourite game of the week was (forgetting about Grim Fandango how dare you sir!) rather than actually looking at how it fails in almost every single other area besides maybe on or two themes that it ACTUALLY explores, then has to ruin those themes by trying to be clever, I suspect Ken Levine and Shyamalan are BFF.

Heck let's take a theme right now!

The Songbird. Who is basically an overbearing abusive father figure in place of Booker and Comstock, both fathers of the same girl, we could have had a Triforce of fatherhood, Comstock wanting to use, the Songbird wanting to protect and Booker wanting to free. However he is wasted, FUCKING WASTED! I have never seen a character like that which has such a implied deep and long link with what is basically our co-star be relegated to a Deus Ex Machina. Need the plot to advance? Songbird to the kidnapping!

I almost suspect the thing existed solely because they constantly ran into dead ends where there was no logical reason for Booker and Elizabeth to separate so they made him. The most jarring portions in the game is where he attacks then suddenly disappears for no reason. Even after Battleship Bay it's not like he went to get repairs done, the eye lens is still cracked the same way later in the game. He just disappeared into magical plot contrivance smoke! POOF!

1337mokro:
You can't wave the fiction flag when you run head first into a plothole. That's LAZY and goes against the supposed high brow story of the game. If it wants to be cerebral it has to cement those holes shut, not tell the player to just ignore it. It can't have it's cake and eat it saying it's just a game for fun whenever the plotholes creep up and then at the same time want to be taken completely seriously all the rest.

With multi-verses and time travel stories, you will always run into plot holes. It's inevitable. Luckily, you can still be cerebral whilst not accounting for every detail, though I'd argue that the whole "blowing a man's head clean off with your hand grinder" does far more to disrupt the cerebral tone. I'm sure the reason for that particular period being picked is hand waved within the context of the story (you here the twins mumble something about "how far should you go back?"), and it is for the sake of irony that Booker should demand to "smother Comstock at birth", only to find that this would mean smothering himself the moment he was baptised.

As for Booker still being a terrible father and a drunken, guilty asshole in the new world...I don't think the game is trying to paint it as a happy ending as such (you did just get drowned, after all), and I think they were just going for the solace that Booker gets a second chance. The game ends before we can know if he'll squander it.

Sorry Yahtzee but you can't expect me to take your opinion seriously when you said yourself that Bioshock's 1 ending was bad, and then try to convince me that Infinite's 'doesn't suck'. It does suck. In fact the whole narrative sucks. It points at themes and undertones but says absolutely nothing about them. Instead it takes it's convoluted, nonsensical mix of time travel/multimate dimensions/string theory to heart and wastes a full half hour of my time trying to explain to me something that carries no meaning. It's boring, it's forgettable and quite frankly, it sucks.

But opinions, am I right?

The game isn't over-the-top violent because it shows that Booker is a monster. This should be clear to anyone who has played the game because the Booker we play is clearly not a monster. He kills people in self defense out of necessity, he's treats minorities fairly and he's disapproving of his past. Where exactly are seeing his slimy tendrils? He's more Han Solo and less Jabba the Hut.

I don't think 'Infinite' has the worst ending in a game by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a confusing, arbitrary nonsense resolution to a story which didn't pay respect to what it really had going for it, and for that I was pretty disappointed by it.

Farther than stars:

There's no two ways about it. Bioshock Infinite has the deepest story ever set in a video game. And I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

What's deep about it?

I donīt really mind the ending, i just think the entire storyline is kinda underwhelming. Itīs bloated with unresolved themes of all kinds and it never really seems coherent in that regard. So maybe itīs about the character? But thatīs barely even a part of the games 20 hour runtime. I just think it kinda fails to deliver a solid narrative, though it is entertaining, but it ends up feeling like a Shyamalan movie or something like that.

Maybe iīll change my mind when i see the rest, iīm still missing the last couple of hours of gameplay between the first half ot he game and the ending, but from what iīve heard and read, it doesnīt sound like things will improve. Itīs just a whole lot of nothing wrapped around in big ideas and a thematic overload. Iīm also a bit biased, since i donīt really think that games are that great at telling deep and emotional stories (such as character studies), i personally think they are better suited for humour and simple, yet fun action adventure stories, or horror stories. It just merges better with gameplay imo.

My opinion is that Bioshock Infinite's ending sucked because it was a bit long a bit self indulgent and it didn't solve the plot holes and cartoonish villains in a satisfying way. It didn't answer the questions I want answered.

So not great, but nowhere near as bad as Mass Effect 3 Fallout 3, Assassins Creed 3, Fable 3...

Huh, never noticed that pattern before.

Sniper Team 4:
People have said that Infinite's ending was the worst ending ever? Really? Okay, I miss my happy ending that I got from BioShock and BioShock 2, but I thought Infinite's ending was fine. It took me a second to wrap my head around, but I got it--once I started viewing it through a comic-book-reality pair of lenses. Like the multiverse that's always showing up in DC.

I'm glad Yahtzee pointed out the fact that no one else was using Vigors. I found that strange. What I found even stranger was the upgrade for the Possession vigor. After you posses a human, they kill themselves after a short time. Who...who thought that was a good idea? Think about that for a moment: You are walking down the street, someone hits you with a green mist, and a few moments later you are compelled to kill yourself. And it's not like this was a secret version of Possession. This upgrade was available at any Viny-Vigor machine. That's insane, because Possession now serves no purpose beyond murdering someone.

the posession-suicide thing is booker exclusive. they are either so updet at what they've done under possession, or distressed that they've been mindraped by the guy they see pretty much as the antichrist.

for the vigors, they ARE used around the city, shock jockey for instance,but lots of them are combat oriented, so you may as well be asking why the civilians aren't using shotguns for menial tasks, and they don't have side effects because they AREN'T PLASMIDS, they work in completely different ways, plasmids alter your genes to give you an ability, vigors are created by the siphon taking elizabeth's powers, condensing them to a liquid, and giving you a limited tear opening ability

Muspelheim:

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.

How's this for a way more interesting idea: the pre-Nazi Weinmar republic survived by going (literally) underground on the assumption that facism was going to be around for a long time in Germany, or that Hitler was going to win the war. Instead of exploring 'evil nazis' you're exploring a political system that is historically famed for being liberal, artistic and very modern for its time...except that the system was constantly perilously close to gridlock as it required parties to compromise with each other. You could make some interesting ideas out of other ways that could have gone wrong rather than Nazism.

1337mokro:

--snip--

The fact that you're not listening to me became fairly obvious a while ago. For the third time: "Depth is basically just the amount of themes that a piece explores, the extent to which it explores them and the amount of layers that that generates."

1337mokro:

Farther than stars:
snip

I would define depth not as the number of themes in a story, but the number of stories told at the same time, in other words the number of themes that get explored. Anyone can cram a dozen themes into one story, but that does nothing for depth, you are basically saying that complexity equals depth which is just not true. Metal Gear Solid is complex as shit has dozens of different themes but I would not call it deep.

So... my original definition depth contains contains "the amount of themes that get explored" and you feel the need to tell me "[I would define depth as] the number of themes that get explored". Moreover, I've been saying the entire time that depth does not equal complexity. But for some reason you feel the need to constantly remind me of that as well. See, if you had actually paid attention, we might not be going around in circles.
I will, however, leave you with one final thought (not about Bioshock Infinite, since you seem to have a very rigid idea of what my views are [not that your "brick wall" attitude is helping that much]): just because Extra Credits doesn't explore one of the themes of Spec Ops: The Line, doesn't mean it's not there.

maninahat:

1337mokro:
You can't wave the fiction flag when you run head first into a plothole. That's LAZY and goes against the supposed high brow story of the game. If it wants to be cerebral it has to cement those holes shut, not tell the player to just ignore it. It can't have it's cake and eat it saying it's just a game for fun whenever the plotholes creep up and then at the same time want to be taken completely seriously all the rest.

With multi-verses and time travel stories, you will always run into plot holes. It's inevitable. Luckily, you can still be cerebral whilst not accounting for every detail, though I'd argue that the whole "blowing a man's head clean off with your hand grinder" does far more to disrupt the cerebral tone. I'm sure the reason for that particular period being picked is hand waved within the context of the story (you here the twins mumble something about "how far should you go back?"), and it is for the sake of irony that Booker should demand to "smother Comstock at birth", only to find that this would mean smothering himself the moment he was baptised.

As for Booker still being a terrible father and a drunken, guilty asshole in the new world...I don't think the game is trying to paint it as a happy ending as such (you did just get drowned, after all), and I think they were just going for the solace that Booker gets a second chance. The game ends before we can know if he'll squander it.

Ah, thank you! It's good to know there is still someone on this Earth who is capable of post-modernist interpretation. Honestly, I think I'd run into a brick wall with him. Well, he basically said so. But I like the way you can extrapolate plot mechanics from their intentions. Tell me, have you ever read the New York trilogy by Paul Auster? If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, you should give that a go.

Astro:

Farther than stars:

There's no two ways about it. Bioshock Infinite has the deepest story ever set in a video game. And I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

What's deep about it?

Well, Maninahat, 1337mokro and myself have been having a fairly interesting discussion on this forum, to say the least. That might be worth reading.
But broadly speaking:

-The first layer of themes consists of racism, patriotism, poverty, technological progress and religious extremism.
-The second layer is multiple universes
-The third layer is guilt and redemption (through baptism)
-The fourth layer is what playing this game actually means to the player

So far variations on the fourth seem to be: "everything turned out OK", "nihilism", "the journey is more important than the destination" and "they killed characters I fucking cared about!".

I haven't played Infinite yet, but I must say, if you're going through all this trouble to defend the ending (however shitty/nonsensical/pretentious/all three it may turn out to be), that does not bode well.

Farther than stars:
"Grim Fandango"

The best game ever made.

"I have a friend who's convinced that American conservatives are going to denounce Infinite as a liberal smear upon the Republican south."

Except, before and during the time period the game portrays, the South was pretty solidly Democrat. The Democrats in Congress were pro-slavery, pro-segregation, and really very racist.

Go read a history book, Yahtzee and Yahtzee's friend.

Zero=Interrupt:
"I have a friend who's convinced that American conservatives are going to denounce Infinite as a liberal smear upon the Republican south."

Except, before and during the time period the game portrays, the South was pretty solidly Democrat. The Democrats in Congress were pro-slavery, pro-segregation, and really very racist.

Go read a history book, Yahtzee and Yahtzee's friend.

I believe Yahtzee's friend is referring to the modern day South. Some conservative pundits thought that Infinite was going to come across as an attack against the Tea Party, what with its Founding Father talk, religious overtones, and the Vox Populi, who they thought could become an Occupy Wall Street analogy. But now that the game is out, most of these people have changed their minds, since the Founders are waaaay more extreme than Tea Partiers, and the Vox Populi are portrayed as violent antagonists. Hell, Glenn Beck's website basically calls it an anti-communism game for some reason.

Classic Yahtzee. "Don't hate on this guys, hate on everything else!"

I like how the buzz has nearly died down and people are starting to realize that it's not necessarily the Game of The Year anymore. It's a bland game with a good twist and a somewhat interesting story.
They did a wonderful theme, then they put it in the background for the sake of mindfucks, with an interdimensional ghost in the middle of it all.

It's just... too silly and doesn't deserve the endless praise people have been throwing at it.

I feel like you didn't really explain why it's good, and focused more on other things..

I thought the ending was weird when I first got to it, but turned the game off to go back to gw. Later, someone told me that there was stuff after the credits, so I watched it and now thought the ending was actually bad. I don't think I would have thought so if it had been a movie or a book, but since it's an interactive medium I don't like it when everything I just did turns out to be pointless. And I think that's why it's bad, since it doesn't end. The loop they're in could just go on and on for all I know. There's nothing that says it all won't happen again.

I don't understand people who say things like "doesn't deserve the praise"/whatever, those people obviously enjoyed it and is that such a terrible thing?

There's little nuances that most people won't get such as the protagonist having the surname of a famous physicist, the luteces being the same person but from different worlds(very obvious) etc.

cricket chirps:
:/ 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.


I wouldn't call that unoriginal.

Pink Gregory:

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.

I didn't use Return to Sender near enough as I perhaps should have during the game, until a quick search on the internet for any kind of help during the games final conflict revealed a perfect use for it, namely

I had been floundering on that battle for a few days and then put down the vigor and got through it in the first try after that. On the subject of the ending

Farther than stars:

1337mokro:

--snip--

The fact that you're not listening to me became fairly obvious a while ago. For the third time: "Depth is basically just the amount of themes that a piece explores, the extent to which it explores them and the amount of layers that that generates."

1337mokro:

Farther than stars:
snip

I would define depth not as the number of themes in a story, but the number of stories told at the same time, in other words the number of themes that get explored. Anyone can cram a dozen themes into one story, but that does nothing for depth, you are basically saying that complexity equals depth which is just not true. Metal Gear Solid is complex as shit has dozens of different themes but I would not call it deep.

So... my original definition depth contains contains "the amount of themes that get explored" and you feel the need to tell me "[I would define depth as] the number of themes that get explored". Moreover, I've been saying the entire time that depth does not equal complexity. But for some reason you feel the need to constantly remind me of that as well. See, if you had actually paid attention, we might not be going around in circles.
I will, however, leave you with one final thought (not about Bioshock Infinite, since you seem to have a very rigid idea of what my views are [not that your "brick wall" attitude is helping that much]): just because Extra Credits doesn't explore one of the themes of Spec Ops: The Line, doesn't mean it's not there.

maninahat:

1337mokro:
You can't wave the fiction flag when you run head first into a plothole. That's LAZY and goes against the supposed high brow story of the game. If it wants to be cerebral it has to cement those holes shut, not tell the player to just ignore it. It can't have it's cake and eat it saying it's just a game for fun whenever the plotholes creep up and then at the same time want to be taken completely seriously all the rest.

With multi-verses and time travel stories, you will always run into plot holes. It's inevitable. Luckily, you can still be cerebral whilst not accounting for every detail, though I'd argue that the whole "blowing a man's head clean off with your hand grinder" does far more to disrupt the cerebral tone. I'm sure the reason for that particular period being picked is hand waved within the context of the story (you here the twins mumble something about "how far should you go back?"), and it is for the sake of irony that Booker should demand to "smother Comstock at birth", only to find that this would mean smothering himself the moment he was baptised.

As for Booker still being a terrible father and a drunken, guilty asshole in the new world...I don't think the game is trying to paint it as a happy ending as such (you did just get drowned, after all), and I think they were just going for the solace that Booker gets a second chance. The game ends before we can know if he'll squander it.

Ah, thank you! It's good to know there is still someone on this Earth who is capable of post-modernist interpretation. Honestly, I think I'd run into a brick wall with him. Well, he basically said so. But I like the way you can extrapolate plot mechanics from their intentions. Tell me, have you ever read the New York trilogy by Paul Auster? If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, you should give that a go.

Astro:

Farther than stars:

There's no two ways about it. Bioshock Infinite has the deepest story ever set in a video game. And I challenge anyone to prove me wrong.

What's deep about it?

Well, Maninahat, 1337mokro and myself have been having a fairly interesting discussion on this forum, to say the least. That might be worth reading.
But broadly speaking:

-The first layer of themes consists of racism, patriotism, poverty, technological progress and religious extremism.
-The second layer is multiple universes
-The third layer is guilt and redemption (through baptism)
-The fourth layer is what playing this game actually means to the player

So far variations on the fourth seem to be: "everything turned out OK", "nihilism", "the journey is more important than the destination" and "they killed characters I fucking cared about!".

Excuse me, I'll try to be more clear. How does depth manifest itself in BioShock: Infinite, e.g., in what way do the present themes achieve depth?

Before you answer, let's look at the etymology of the word 'deep':
"profound, awful, mysterious; serious, solemn; deepness, depth," deope (adv.), from Proto-Germanic *deupaz (cf. Old Saxon diop, Old Frisian diap, Dutch diep, Old High German tiof, German tief, Old Norse djupr, Danish dyb, Swedish djup, Gothic diups "deep"), from PIE *dheub- "deep, hollow" (cf. Lithuanian dubus "deep, hollow, Old Church Slavonic duno "bottom, foundation," Welsh dwfn "deep," Old Irish domun "world," via sense development from "bottom" to "foundation" to "earth" to "world").

So we're looking for a profound, mysterious sense of development from surface to foundation. Personally I would argue that themes in a vessel such as these: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Vt9vZOVC_oM#t=138s are not very deep.

Astro:
Excuse me, I'll try to be more clear. How does depth manifest itself in BioShock: Infinite, e.g., what is deep about the themes?

Nothing this guy just equates the fact Bioshock has those things TO depth. There is no depth in those subjects just that they have them and therefore it is deep according to what he thinks is depth.

It's really quite weird in my opinion that someone would call a story deep because it mentions and shows racism, then shows nothing regarding to the background, what the characters think about it or anything else really.

You are about to talk to someone that claims this story is the deepest ever made in a videogame, when it is essentially about one thing with a whole lot of window dressing around it.

Farther than stars:

SNIP

-The first layer of themes consists of racism, patriotism, poverty, technological progress and religious extremism.
-The second layer is multiple universes
-The third layer is guilt and redemption (through baptism)
-The fourth layer is what playing this game actually means to the player

So far variations on the fourth seem to be: "everything turned out OK", "nihilism", "the journey is more important than the destination" and "they killed characters I fucking cared about!".

You can repeat it how many times you want, but I am telling over and over just HAVING those themes is not depth when those themes are relegated to the side line.

The first layer is completely IGNORED, it has no effect on the plot or the characters, I have now asked you multiple times to answer how these themes affect the character... which you have failed to answer because I don't think you know. All it does is attempt to flesh out a world and failing at it. Not to forget that you have said multiple times that world building apparently has nothing to do with depth so I have no idea why you even consider that the first layer. You said so yourself. Yet now you do a 180 and include world building themes in the depth? Come on at least be consistent with yourself, I know you are defending a story full of plotholes (which good writers can reduce to a minimum) but that doesn't mean your defence of it has to be as well.

If you want to prove these are themes that actually get explored maybe when all the planets align will you actually attempt to tell me how your first layer affects the story and the characters.

Why does multiple universes give it depth? They don't explore what this means for the character. It just shows you, it is a means to an end, meaning the universe skipping is nothing but a plot engine. It's there to move the story forward, not to be a story in itself. The plot engine does not add to the depth, it just puff ahead and pushes the plot forward whenever it needs to.

This is also where the plot shits itself. Because it uses these explanations to justify it's ending. You can't do that when the entire THING is FULL of plotholes. If this is going to be the defining argument behind your actions then it better not be full of holes. You see everyone of that holes give us an alternate solution, meaning that the impact of the ending is nullified when someone raised the simple question... why not just stop Booker from going to wounded knee, which the answer is Because the story said so.

You can interpret that in any post-modern-neo-classisitical-hellenian-ming-ching style you fucking want, it won't change the fact the story just crapped itself. It offered you a single solution when there were half a dozen more because it's story demanded that one solution. This is a false ultimatum.

Thirdly correct, that is the only theme that gets explored. Nothing else. This story is about guilt and ACCEPTANCE of that guilt. Redemption doesn't so much factor in as the acceptance is basically the redemption.

Fourth I pointed out why the story fails. Not because there are multiple interpretations. But because it is not consistent with it's own rules. You see a story can have multiple interpretations because of the very plotholes you constantly try to handwave. When there are multiple solutions and the characters zero in on ONE solution for the sake of the story, that is bad writing. That is not depth.

Like I have already said depth is not the amount of themes, but the amount of explored themes. If we use your definition we arrive to the conclusion that Skyrim has the bestest story evar! Simply because it explores a numerically higher amount of themes that you laid out here.

I don't think I have to tell you Skyrim wasn't very deep. So in other words the amount of simultaneously told stories, the exploration of these themes is what gives a story depth not just having the theme on display.

But I think we are quite done here. We've talked to a point where we basically have you on one side of a tear and me on another. I say enjoy your game and I hope that you one day will actually re-examine this game once the adoration for it wears off. Maybe when you find your next Greatest Game Story Ever!

PS:

You forgot to add fatherhood to that first layer. If we are going to make a first layer of ignored themes might as well pile em all on there.

I'm glad I decided to wait on purchasing this game, and instead got Bioshock for $4 on Live; it's already a much better experience with actual philosophical themes and meaningful, thought provoking themes.

Astro:

Excuse me, I'll try to be more clear. How does depth manifest itself in BioShock: Infinite, e.g., in what way do the present themes achieve depth?

1337mokro:

Nothing this guy just equates the fact Bioshock has those things TO depth. There is no depth in those subjects just that they have them and therefore it is deep according to what he thinks is depth.

Or, well, the fact that those themes are represented serve as a basis for discussion on how they interact within themselves as well as with each other. Ultimately Breaking them down, piecing together underlying messages and applying them to real world influences and situations.

You are asking "what is deep about this" while nonchalantly disregarding all of the things being written and discussed all over the internet right now, so putting together an answer for you on that question would end up being an even bigger waste of time.

Zakarath:

Point one: You're drowned by Elizabeths who wouldn't have been around to drown you if you didn't become Comstock. Paradox.

This has many answers if you care to look for them and think a little outside the box.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=533205

Two: Silly M. Night. Shyamalan Plot Twists: The bad guy is evil you from another dimension; Elizabeth is your daughter. Really, guys? Is this really the best you can do?

This is essential, since Booker needs to experience his own past through a villain instead of through himself.

Three: All that I saw throughout the game disagrees with the hypothesis that Elizabeth is the sort of person to resolutely murder Brooker by drowning him.

She understands why it's necessary to murder people way before the final scene.
Also, she's now omniscient, and knows why it's necessary to murder him.

Agayek:
I followed it just fine, and it does what it sets out to do masterfully. I just fundamentally disagree with (some of) the messages and philosophy in it, and so I just really don't like it. My core problem boils directly down to the fact that the ending seems to be saying that a man must be held responsible for the choices he could make, not the choices he does make. And that bothers me on a fundamental level.

In that case, I don't think you followed the ending very well.
Booker had never been held responsible for anything he did in Wounded Knee, because he chose apathy instead. In some very obvious ways, all events taking place in Columbia is Booker being punished for what Booker did, not for what he could have done as Comstock.

Comstock let religion prove that he was right for those same sins. Among the many philosophies and themes in the game, a major one is that you can't simply escape from those sins and have all be well, and neither can you use past or others atrocities to justify new atrocities.

chikusho:
In that case, I don't think you followed the ending very well.
Booker had never been held responsible for anything he did in Wounded Knee, because he chose apathy instead.
Comstock let religion prove that he was right for those same sins. Among the many philosophies and themes in the game, a major one is that you can't simply escape from those sins and have all be well, and neither can you use past or others atrocities to justify new atrocities.

I have no problem with Booker being held accountable for Wounded Knee. I never have. I rather liked the whole "you can't escape your past" stuff that kept popping up.

The game explicitly holds Booker accountable for the actions of Comstock however, and that's the part I disagree with.

My problem is that Elizabeth tells you, straight out, that Booker needs to die at the Baptism so that the sins Comstock committed can never occur. There's all sorts of narrative reasons why this makes sense and works as well as it does, but that doesn't change the fact that, at its core, the message is "You have to die because you could potentially become a complete monster".

That's what the ending was all saying. If they were trying to prevent Booker's actions in Wounded Knee, you would have a point, but they weren't. They were explicitly trying to stop Comstock's actions. And their solution is that Booker must die because in some worlds, he chooses to become Comstock.

That right there is, pardon my French, complete fucking bullshit. The game is explicitly saying that a man must be held accountable for what he could potentially become. Not what he is.

And that's my only real problem with the ending. It was told quite well, and for what it is, it's really, really good, I just fundamentally disagree with its philosophy.

Agayek:

The game explicitly holds Booker accountable for the actions of Comstock however, and that's the part I disagree with.

My problem is that Elizabeth tells you, straight out, that Booker needs to die at the Baptism so that the sins Comstock committed can never occur. There's all sorts of narrative reasons why this makes sense and works as well as it does, but that doesn't change the fact that, at its core, the message is "You have to die because you could potentially become a complete monster".

That's what the ending was all saying. If they were trying to prevent Booker's actions in Wounded Knee, you would have a point, but they weren't. They were explicitly trying to stop Comstock's actions. And their solution is that Booker must die because in some worlds, he chooses to become Comstock.

That right there is, pardon my French, complete fucking bullshit. The game is explicitly saying that a man must be held accountable for what he could potentially become. Not what he is.

And that's my only real problem with the ending. It was told quite well, and for what it is, it's really, really good, I just fundamentally disagree with its philosophy.

There are a few theories that consider Elizabeth only drowning the Bookers that chose to get baptized.
Take a look at the explanation in this thread, for instance: http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=533205
(search for Paradox on the page and you should come right down to where the endings are accounted for)

But I disagree that he is punished for what he could become. There are a few things that spring to mind right now. Booker continued to be a very brutal, selfish person, and throughout the game you are really committing atrocities based on others atrocities for Bookers personal gain. Even when he's trying to do the "right thing", it's only to use the monster he has become (without any hope of personally ever changing) to make sure others don't have to become what he is.
In the end, he's even ended up taking Comstocks place, using Comstocks weapons against the Vox.
Also, Booker actually DID get baptized the very first thing when he got to Columbia, which thematically is the split for the where he goes bad in the first place. ;)

chikusho:
But I disagree that he is punished for what he could become. There are a few things that spring to mind right now. Booker continued to be a very brutal, selfish person, and throughout the game you are really committing atrocities based on others atrocities for Bookers personal gain. Even when he's trying to do the "right thing", it's only to use the monster he has become (without any hope of personally ever changing) to make sure others don't have to become what he is.
In the end, he's even ended up taking Comstocks place, using Comstocks weapons against the Vox.
Also, Booker actually DID get baptized the very first thing when he got to Columbia, which thematically is the split for the where he goes bad in the first place. ;)

Yes. Booker is a bad man. If they had drowned him for being a bad man, I would have had no problem with it (though the rest of the ending would have had to change to account for it).

It's not the fact that Booker died that is the problem here. There's nothing inherently wrong with the protagonist dying, and Infinite handled it really quite well.

Again, my problem is specifically that Elizabeth explicitly explains that Booker has to die to prevent the sins of Comstock. You would have a very good point if the exact reasoning was left vague, or they had explained it differently, but that's not what happens. Elizabeth explicitly says "You have to die, here at this Baptism, or Comstock's sins will be repeated infinitely."

She is not killing Booker because of his past. She is not killing him because he's a terrible human being. She is explicitly holding him responsible for Comstock's actions and killing him for it.

Like I said, it's masterfully executed and well done, but it espouses a fucking ridiculous philosophy that I just can't get behind. If you can look beyond the metanarrative and enjoy it, all the more power to you. I can't. It bothers me something fierce.

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