The Big Picture: Shock Treatment

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I guessed the twist fairly early on but the ending still surprised me with how brutal it was. Im more into artistic design when it comes to games, stuff like theming, music, visuals, etc and I can deal with a shaky narrative or boring mechanics as long as I can lose myself in the world. Bioshock Infinate isn't perfect, I found the combat system fairly dull until I got Undertow after which the game was bloody easy, but the world was damn awesome and the Lutece's are some of my new favourite God tier characters.
image
This will be an interesting video,
this is an interesting video,
this was an interesting video.

But what was the significance of those four gay blokes?

Piorn:
I also love how they literally ripped open the possibilities for a sequel. They can now do everything they want, including alternate history, fantasy, Sci-Fi, you name it, as long as it contains a "man", a "city" and a "lighthouse", in the loosest sense of the words.

*ahem* Bioshock 1 & System Shock 2, nod, nod, wink, wink. "There's always a man and a city".

OT: I loved the game to pieces, but personally what I got from it (aside from the wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff), is that it kinda/sorta breaks the 4th wall, practically screaming "Hey!, remember Bioshock 1?, that counts too, you should totally play it / replay it", kinda like, there's Infinite possibilities about the stuff we as gamers do and react and how the game itself can be made, I swear, I thought that Elizabeth at one point would literally take you to the Von Braun, just for the lulz.

Great analysis. I kinda like how different people seem to interpret the ending! I found the ending a bit baffling myself but the game has some fast and slow paces but somewhen just keeps accelerating and it all flips out at the end and comes crashing down so in retrospect it is not that bad ;)

There were some (trailer?) scenes like the attempted hanging of Elizabeth that never appeared in the game... where's that stuff. It seemed awesome!

Welp. Guess I'm not watching this show for another two years, until I can get it for fifteen bucks on Steam.

When Bob paraphrases the subtext the way he does, the game comes off as a perfect critique of the very essence of American society.

kailus13:
As someone who has never played the game, I am asking this out of ignorance. Wouldn't going back and stopping Booker from fighting in Wounded Knee make more sense than killing him?

In theory, but as MovieBob said, the game has that narrative about learning to deal with and accept your past. If he was able to go back and erase what he did, that wouldn't really be accepting it.

I'm happy that Bob shares an opinion with me on this. I've said it once and I'll say it again, Booker DeWitt was the stand-out character for me throughout the game, not everyone's favourite Elizabeth.

The unravelling of the story combined with the as always superb voice work from Troy Baker made me fully immersed in assuming the role of Booker. The drowning of Comstock, I felt his confusion and wild anger. When he realises he sacrificed caring for his only child, I broke down in tears. It goes to show that the silent protagonist is not always the best choice in games, and the player can succeed in being as expressive and emotive as those around him/her.

Storm Dragon:
But what was the significance of those four gay blokes?

They were singing a song they couldn't possibly have heard. It was foreshadowing the Alternate worlds.

No one ever seems to want to talk about how much worse the gameplay was from the first game.

The first game is just the better all around game.

Story, mechanics, aesthetics.

All of it.

Seriously, spoilerific.

Alternate interpretations abound. I personally think, due to the way multiverses work according to my understanding, that Elizabeth essentially can't cease to exist. She was capable of going anywhere she wanted after the siphon was destroyed. Because of her unleashed power, she can be anywhere any time. Even if she does something that would result in her never existing, it wouldn't matter because she can essentially always exist, even if she had the freedom to travel all dimensions for even a millisecond.

This is like the quantum physics version of "It was all a dream" the better thing is that they don't tell you it's all meaningless and you get to argue about it rather than just be pissed off.

I think this is a pretty good analysis of Bioshock Infinite. And an especially good analysis of what I dislike about it - I strongly felt that the dog was more interesting than the elephant, and dumping the dog in a ditch at the end of act 2 to examine the elephant for the rest of the game was a huge disappointment to me.

Just so that everyone knows this game revolves around the science of hypertime and not so much alternate demensions it's similar but not the same thing
Hyper revolves on the small stuff dementions are really the big stuff, like say, what happens if the Nazis won WWII big, what happens, if i go to the toilet now or wait to finish this sentence? Small. However Hypertime isn't completely continuous, if the small decision leads to more variations that are the most viable it keep going but if there a path where i stub my toe or not and nothing becomes of either it won't last.

Or something like that.

Anyway what i'd like to know is... is Elizabeth still screwed? I mean isn't the booker who still has his daughter still in debt and does that mean he could still very well sell her off if the option exists? Assuming Booker is in the same position as he was before.

I remain unphazed in my opinion that it is a mediocre mishmash of ideas given no due time or honest treatment. The game has constituent elements I like (visual aesthetics, sound), but the overall product is terribly average and intellectually disingenuous at best.

Also I take issue with Bob's statement that the focus on the Booker/Elizabeth relationship makes the story "darker and bleaker". Surely the fact that the game renders a righteous rebellion against racist oppression a heinous act of barbarism which 'never should've happened' and proceeds to assume moral stances *for* the player is the darkest and bleakest and most depressingly cynical aspect of the game.

Great analysis, and one that I think might be right on the money. Might. It's hard to tell with that ending (look, it's not a bad ending, I just feel that it is a bit rushed is all).

However, the greatest realization I had when watching the video, was about the choices that you make throughout the game, which leads you to believe that they will have some kind of great impact on the ending, but in the end are just there to mess with your expectations. Because for as much as the choices are being painted as black and white, there actually one choice which threw me for a loop, and made me ponder which decision was the "right" one.

The choice in question: whether you shoot Cornelius Slate or let him live. Normally, this would have been a cakewalk; killing is EVUL, and thus you let him live as an act of G00D (and instead leave the old coot to rot in a museum, which is just so nice of you). However, there were two things, two simple things, that made me question that decision.

1. Cornelius himself asks you to kill him.

2. The choice where you kill him is positioned where the "good" options normally are.

...

The simple act of placing one choice where it isn't expected to be in a dialouge option made me question what was the "right" choice.

Food for thought...

Or maybe they just crammed so many ideas together because they couldn't commit to a single thought. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Human Revolution doesn't have a central theme, and yet all the different perspectives on Augmentation help to expand the world itself.

I'm surprised he didn't mention the after-credits cutscene.

MonkeyPunch:
Bah can't watch. Haven't finished it yet. Not sure I will either.
Just couldn't get in to it. The world is beautiful and detailed and the style is really nice... but just like Bioshock I dunno... I just find the gameplay "meh" for lack of a better explanation.
I couldn't even say it's a bad game. It just doesn't keep me interested for some reason.

The fact that the weapons were bland, the vigors were spread out through the game so you couldn't mess with them from the beginning and that Booker's course of action was mostly stupid as hell throughout the game might have something to do with it.

Before anyone pins me down with accusations about how wrong I am, I'd just like to state that I didn't think the game was bad, just very average.
The story or at least the idea is great, so are the twists, but I felt distanced from it as well as most of the game, because of who I played(a person that I could not relate to in any way and was completely jaded from the beginning. I'm in a flying city and they have robots and magic drinks that give you superpowers. Big deal. I should go do my work now.).

Booker is suicidal, but he's taken the job because he doesn't want to die. So he goes not to suicide-by-cop, but suicide-by-army-robots-magic-and-monsters. You could say Elisabeth is what's keeping him alive, but there's a fair bit to where he starts giving a shit about her and sees her for more than his ticket out of debt.
Speaking of the debt, that makes no sense to me either, since he's too pussy to run away from his debt, but not engage a shitload of soldiers. I'm sure the vast armies of gangsters were far more deadly.
The whole introduction just comes crashing down about this supposedly deep character, nevermind the implications of the multi universes or the fact that they could've escaped much earlier on any smaller aircraft(something Booker himself suggests towards the end).

It's not the major loopholes(if there are any, since most have been debunked by now), it's the small things that, for me, don't make sense and rip me out of the story and gameplay. I'd rather have read a book with the same story and I kind of regret my purchase.

I'm somewhat surprised that no one is complaining about the weapon limit, something that Duke Nukem Forever was brutally hated for. I didn't much enjoy that here either and there were no weapons that I felt had something different or interesting to offer. You just picked up the occasional gatling gun and felt sort of awesome with it, but then relied on whatever you could scrounge up ammo for(at least on hard).
This might be nitpicking, I don't know. Maybe the intention was that you had to feel that you were in desperate need of ammunition or that Booker only took what he needed. But when the game is supposed to be a playground for you to cleverly use vigors and the skyhook, it's an awkward limitation.
Another thing.. while I constantly changed weapons the upgrades carried over and this was extremely annoying. It seemed hypocritical to have the player be able to only carry two weapons, but they'd magically upgrade with previous purchases.
The whole design is a bit of a mess, in regards to weapons.

Sorry for the rant, feel free to pick my post apart as usual. But only if you to it in a fit of rage :)

Well...

Anyway, those were my two cents about the game. I'm wondering what's going to happen with the Bioshock series. Are they going to make another sequel or is Ken Levine finally going to pull the System Shock license away from the greedy hands of EA? Well, time will tell.

It is still the Fringe in the end... and that stopped me to like this game. Also I wanted to get bigger things as an ending here and then ... nothing. For example a final epic bossbatle with the birdmachine on a falling city while the girl is opening new citywide portals to other dimensions to give me time to fight ... and such. No, I'm drowned and Fringe.

You know, that's actually the most acceptable interpretation of the ending that I've heard. Really want to thank you for this video because you reminded me that the Bioshock games are about anything other than what actually happens. It's all about symbolism and commentary. It's hard to describe, it's like the story that it's telling is bigger than the story thhat's actually experienced. This whole time I've been stewing over the ending because - quite honestly - I don't think their plan would have worked, I don't think there's any way they could perma-kill Comstock.

But really that's not what matters at all. The story is about the character, not what happens at the end.

In short: Thanks Bob, great video.

Now I can go back to loving Bioshock Infinite like I did before I got to the ending. :D

That was an awesome answer to everyone's confusion over the ending Bob. Well, not everyone was confused but a lot of theories have came up to summarize what the ending was all about.

I certainly liked the ending more now, knowing it's really about Booker just dealing with massive guilt and fixing everything then ending up as a drunk, who sells his daughter or a prophet that creates a society with racists in it. Seriously I never imagined Colombia in the sky to be a racist city. I didn't see that coming.

Abandon4093:
No one ever seems to want to talk about how much worse the gameplay was from the first game.

The first game is just the better all around game.

Story, mechanics, aesthetics.

All of it.

I'm confused, you're saying you prefer the first Bioshock, right?

If so, I completely agree. I have one example.
Big Daddies vs... uh, well, everything, but I'll take Handymen as the prime candidate.

Big daddies were a presence in the game, that if not scared you, made you nervous. They had a very specific role in the game, they were a deep part of the story and they were something you could completely avoid(as far as I remember, maybe apart from one or two instances) if you wished to, giving you a vital gameplay option.
Avoid the hassle or duke it out and gain significant rewards.

Handymen were yet another wonder of Columbia that was never really explored, explained or any big part of the story, but merely hinted at, when you weren't fighting them. Which was rare. I remember meeting them twice or so.
They were very hard to kill, very fast and didn't give you much room to hit their weak spot. They were by far the hardest single enemy in the game, but completely underexposed and unused as an idea for a powerful weapon.

This is one of the things that made Infinite feel rushed, along with the Boys of Silence that served as overglorified sentries.

Smilomaniac:

Abandon4093:
No one ever seems to want to talk about how much worse the gameplay was from the first game.

The first game is just the better all around game.

Story, mechanics, aesthetics.

All of it.

I'm confused, you're saying you prefer the first Bioshock, right?

If so, I completely agree. I have one example.
Big Daddies vs... uh, well, everything, but I'll take Handymen as the prime candidate.

Big daddies were a presence in the game, that if not scared you, made you nervous. They had a very specific role in the game, they were a deep part of the story and they were something you could completely avoid(as far as I remember, maybe apart from one or two instances) if you wished to, giving you a vital gameplay option.
Avoid the hassle or duke it out and gain significant rewards.

Handymen were yet another wonder of Columbia that was never really explored, explained or any big part of the story, but merely hinted at, when you weren't fighting them. Which was rare. I remember meeting them twice or so.
They were very hard to kill, very fast and didn't give you much room to hit their weak spot. They were by far the hardest single enemy in the game, but completely underexposed and unused as an idea for a powerful weapon.

This is one of the things that made Infinite feel rushed, along with the Boys of Silence that served as overglorified sentries.

Yea, I'm saying the first one was better.

They're not even in the same ball park in my opinion.

This was probably the best review of Bioshock Infinite I've seen.

One thing, though - a bunch of the clips show stuff that I've never seen in the game - and I've played it through twice. What's up with that?

I'm glad Bob liked it, just as I'm glad he liked the ME3 ending.

Can't say that I did, on either one. Although, to be fair, comparing the two is like comparing drinking acid to eating stale bread.

And no, I don't believe that BS:I's ending was a "sad" ending, it was positively joyous, esp if you stick around after the credits. However, to me the ending seemed pretentious and needlessly complicated (which is not the same as nonsensical).

Remember when Bob bagged on Tarantino for his show-boating in Inglourious Basterds? Yeah, that's how I felt here. I didn't care much for the twists either.

The world, however, was extremely engaging, the characters were compelling (even the ones you felt compelled to kill), and the game as a whole was a peerless experience (totally deserving of 8.5 or 9 out of 10).

Aardvaarkman:

One thing, though - a bunch of the clips use show stuff that I've never seen in the game - and I've played it through twice. What's up with that?

Cinematics and preview material from before the release. I get the impression they iterated a decent number of details between then and now. Like Elizabeth coming across as more of a telepath than dimension hopper.

MB202:
... it means Bob has to be more to the point and concise about what he's trying to get at here, given that he's on a time limit (why is that, again?)...

Exactly my question. It's the internet, there are an infinite number of bytes available. Why shouldn't Bob be able to make a half-hour episode? Who exactly is imposing this supposed time limit?

conanthegamer:
Notice how you barely mentioned the Fitzroy narrative of freedom fighter turns into a blood lusting gang. i.e. Che, Sandinista's, Russian Revolution, etc.

Or, perhaps significantly more relevant to the topic at hand, the American Revolution.

schwegburt:
Cinematics and preview material from before the release. I get the impression they iterated a decent number of details between then and now. Like Elizabeth coming across as more of a telepath than dimension hopper.

That's probably why I don't watch game trailers, or care very much about anything that's written or shown before the actual release of a game. The question is, why did Bob use this footage, when it's not actually representative of the game as it was released?

Such a pathetic character that steeps so low that he's a step away from suicidal.
Well, two games from last year made me realize full on suicidal characters. One of them is pretty obvious, it's subtle about it's under-themes, unlike BioInfinite, includes just as much killing and satisfying executions, and also somehow it fits in 'Twinkle twinkle little star' in all of it.
The other one is very simplistic in presentation and in gameplay, although the gameplay has just even more depth than BioInfinite. It preys on the player through its simplicity and presentation, until the player realizes what has happened, what will happen and what should happen.

Abandon4093:

Smilomaniac:

Abandon4093:
No one ever seems to want to talk about how much worse the gameplay was from the first game.

The first game is just the better all around game.

Story, mechanics, aesthetics.

All of it.

I'm confused, you're saying you prefer the first Bioshock, right?

If so, I completely agree. I have one example.
Big Daddies vs... uh, well, everything, but I'll take Handymen as the prime candidate.

Big daddies were a presence in the game, that if not scared you, made you nervous. They had a very specific role in the game, they were a deep part of the story and they were something you could completely avoid(as far as I remember, maybe apart from one or two instances) if you wished to, giving you a vital gameplay option.
Avoid the hassle or duke it out and gain significant rewards.

Handymen were yet another wonder of Columbia that was never really explored, explained or any big part of the story, but merely hinted at, when you weren't fighting them. Which was rare. I remember meeting them twice or so.
They were very hard to kill, very fast and didn't give you much room to hit their weak spot. They were by far the hardest single enemy in the game, but completely underexposed and unused as an idea for a powerful weapon.

This is one of the things that made Infinite feel rushed, along with the Boys of Silence that served as overglorified sentries.

Yea, I'm saying the first one was better.

They're not even in the same ball park in my opinion.

Completely agree.

They hyped up all these enemies, especially Songbird, and I expected a lot more explanation, as well as more depth in their relationship to Columbia.

What I got was "Yeah, robot dudes" "Yeah, magic powers" "Yeah, flying Big Daddy". I really felt underwhelmed overall, and the simplified gameplay (compared to Bioshock, which even itself wasn't that innovative in that department) didn't help my impressions. The 2-weapon limit, the re-skinned gun variants, the unsatisfying upgrade system, the removal of crafting/hacking/ etc.

Bioshock just felt like a much more complete game overall.

Both the game's 'end battles' sucked though.

The only thing that bothered be about Infinite was that it felt like a lot of bits were cut and stitched together, and thus it felt like a lot of the narrative was missing or hastily patched with quick explanations amounting too "Because multiverses!" I just didn't feel like I'd gotten the whole experience at the end.

This is also, roughly, my interpretation of the story, except I didn't even really dwell on the hows and whys, because I just viewed the whole story as a Jacob's Ladder-style personal hell that Booker has to undergo. The effect on the dead-but-not-really enemies also helped the comparison quite a bit.

Lived
Lives
Will Live

Died
Dies
Will Die

That actually makes me feel quite a bit better about the ending. Nice theory. :D
I'll be honest, a lot of my issues with it are the fact that it was spoiled for me and unanswered questions.

This is something I never/seldom do.
I play a game, (try to) understand the story, maybe think a bit about what's happened and that's it.
I very seldom try to deeper understanding about the game, like Bob has done here or the Majoras Mask reviews that were very popular here on Escapist.
It's interesting to listen to these kinds of reviews but I almost never do it myself.

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