Bioshock Infinite Catch-All

Renji wrote:

So is Corey Banks Demiurges evil twin?

I see no other logical explanation.

[edit]

So I just reached the 6-hour mark. Call me weird, but one of the things that sticks out to me is that people love to throw away money in Columbia. It seems like 90% of the trashcans have money in them.

MeatMan wrote:
Renji wrote:

So is Corey Banks Demiurges evil twin?

I see no other logical explanation.

[edit]

So I just reached the 6-hour mark. Call me weird, but one of the things that sticks out to me is that people love to throw away money in Columbia. It seems like 90% of the trashcans have money in them.

My question exactly. Who throws away money?

MeatMan wrote:

So I just reached the 6-hour mark. Call me weird, but one of the things that sticks out to me is that people love to throw away money in Columbia. It seems like 90% of the trashcans have money in them.

They also like to mail cake to each other.

Man, I hope I can finish this tomorrow. Avoiding most of the internet is surprisingly difficult.

BadKen wrote:

Elizabeth keeps saying "Hm" as if she wants to comment on things, but I can't find any way to get her to talk. I get the feeling I'm missing a whole bunch of dialogue. Is there any way to address her directly? I tried most of the buttons on the xbox controller, but nothing seems to work.

I'm almost certain when she goes "Hm", it means there is nothing in the environment (like money or lockpicks) that she can direct your attention to because you already picked it all up.

I'm about 6 hours in and having a great time. So far my only nitpicks are:

1) I really wish this game had the save anytime feature like earlier Bioshock titles.
2) A couple of times now Elizabeth had disappeared from my immediate surroundings and she'll magically reappear when I ask her to pick a lock. This seems to happen after I've used a skyline.

MacBrave wrote:

1) I really wish this game had the save anytime feature like earlier Bioshock titles.

I think for normal gameplay the autosaves and 'vitachambers'/revives work well enough, I find it a good thing not to worry about whether I've hit F5 recently. The lack of being able to walk away from the game at any point is a downside though, although they could improve that with more frequent autosaves.

I note that they got rid of the vita chamber exploiting where you would just keep on dying and coming back to defeat a hard opponent by regenerating them each time, a nice little tweak to get rid of that problem.

For those just getting started (on PC), it might be worth taking a look at the PC gaming wiki article: http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/BioShoc...

Of particular note is the FoV tweak, and the fact that Nvidia's and AMD's respective vertical sync options are more efficient than the one provided in-game. In addition, I read on another forum that the game's implementation of Ambient Occlusion is more optimized for AMD, so if you're on Nvidia, it might be worth disabling that and enabling the driver-level AO in the control panel.

Demosthenes wrote:

Not really a spoiler so much as a warning, but if you find images of early 1900s racism offensive... the first hour or two will be difficult for you. Like... bad. Like, I was kind of shocked. I get the era we're in and the mindset of the times when it comes to eugenics and such... but still. I suspect we may see some controversy over some of this... I'm actually kind of surprised that none of the reviews have mentioned it either.

I felt very uncomfortable with the images and scene right around the time of the raffle. It's one thing to be anti-racist but it's another thing entirely to be white, married to a black woman, have two young bi-racial children, and have this shoved in your face while partaking in the one past-time you know and love (gaming). I can't even imagine being a black gamer confronted by this. Oddly enough it was the monkey face images that bothered me more than the "stage event". I think because while I am aware of such violence being present in this country's history, it's really only been documented in writing whereas one can still come across those derogatory caricatures today. A few weeks ago I came across one on ebay while searching for baseball memorabilia.

After my first session with Infinite, I asked myself whether or not those things were a necessary part of the story. Could the story have been told sufficiently without that subject matter present? The answer was an unequivocal yes. The environment is already fictional enough with floating cities and vigors and whatnot. What purpose did injecting racial subject matter into the story serve? Did it serve no purpose other than to find a quick and direct route to the morality of the gamer in an effort to get them to vilify Columbia and it's society? It has to be. I can't think of any other reason. And if someone says, "Well that's the way things were back then."...yeah? Flying cities and all? Get real. It didn't need to be there.

I think I've played just about every WW2 shooter ever made and when I try to recall if any of them shoved any derogatory material about Jews in my face, I come up blank. Why then was it done in Infinite and not any of the dozens of WW2 shooters ever made? The only answer I can come up with is that everyone knows the Nazis were evil and the extent of their atrocities, whereas America likes to sugar coat our past regarding slavery if not completely brush it under the rug. The result are generations of Americans who are educated in schools that only scratch the surface of 350+ years of slavery. It's easy to vilify Nazis and give a relatively thorough instruction on their atrocities because it happened over there by those people. Much harder to come clean about atrocities that were committed over here by us.

That said, once I stopped going down that path of thinking and accepted that it was there and in the game I was currently playing I thought about Irrational's responsibility towards that subject matter since they made the decision to include it. On one hand, there is the capitalist ethos that says, "Make as much money as you can no matter the social ramifications." They put it in there, deal with it. On the other hand given this country's dishonesty with it's past, if such subject matter is breached should it be "all or nothing"? Rather than a few little glimpses, should they pull the curtain on old Oz, shove the player's face in it and say, "This is the depths of depravity that humans are capable of and it was all real."? Should it be so in your face that the gamer is uncomfortable enough to hit wikipedia and read up a bit to learn more?

I think there was just enough of the subject matter to be dangerously forgettable by most folks but not enough where the media had to address it. Just enough to make folks a little uncomfortable but not enough to compel those who aren't too familiar with the subject matter to look it up. Not enough where every game review, every mention of the game had to breach the topic. I guess that's what bothers me the most. I felt like since they decided to include it yet only gave a fleeting glimpse of it, a good opportunity was lost.

Trying not to spoil it, but there is payback/payoff for that, which I think is better for them having done the slavery bit earlier.

Scratched wrote:

Trying not to spoil it, but there is payback/payoff for that, which I think is better for them having done the slavery bit earlier.

You made me realize I didn't mention what part of the game I am at

Spoiler:

Trying to get on the Prophet's airship

so my perception on the issue is not coming from someone that has yet completed the game. I still think it's an interesting concept: Does an endgame payout heal the hurt of the initial encounter with the subject matter?

I haven't finished yet. I think I'm at the equivalent of just getting to Ryan's office in Bioshock, or at least that's what the sequence feels like.

While I understand that the material may make some uncomfortable, I think the game would have been tremendously lessened without the racial issues and disturbing materials. Part of what makes the Bioshock series so remarkable is the vivid and realized setting. These games are about fundamentally broken societies, whether the player arrives after those fractures have shattered any semblance of civility (Rapture) or whether that underlying instability and ugliness is still covered by a thin veneer of civilized and pleasant behavior. For my money, the second is a much more interesting examination. What happens when American exceptionalism, nationalism, and jingoism is allowed to run unchecked? What happens when fundamentalists are allowed to create their utopia? I don't think this game would be a tenth of what it is if it didn't let us peel back the sunny days with children in straw boaters and barbershop quartets singing while birds chirp in the background to show what that culture and society is built upon.

I get that it makes people uncomfortable. That's good. It's designed to make you uncomfortable. After that early baseball sequence, you see the same world, with the same people, but it's all now tainted with the knowledge of what is simmering underneath the surface. To me, it's reminiscent of the 1936 Olympic Games, where all the visitors to Berlin were presented a clean, shining version of a society. It's only when we realize what was happening in neighborhoods that weren't included on the tour that we really understand what was going on.

I definitely get what you're saying FSeven, as noted, and this is coming from a white guy with a white wife, but pretty big supporter of equal rights all around, and that couple coming out and the image popping up behind him (along with some comments from the barker) had me exclaim out loud (my wife's grandmother actually yelled up to ask if I was ok).

But, those were the images and beliefs of the time. Ignoring them does a disservice to history and to how far (or not, as the case may be) we've come as a society. It's actually been a question I've raised elsewhere with WWII games, for the example you use. Germany forbids display of the swastika. Hiding your history, to me, does not lead to learning from it effectively. Like it or not, this is the history of our country.

That said, some mention of that from some review sites or the game itself (thinking like Ubisoft's notes at the beginning of each Assassin's Creed, but with a specific, this game contains images of turn of the century racism, viewer discretion is advised) would have been a nice warning... though I guess I can see the argument that it would have taken away from the moment of reveal as well.

One little note I'd make while talking about the diverse cast in the game, I appreciate that I'm fighting against a mix of genders.

I can assure you I did NOTHING to contribute to the actual game (would have loved to, but don't want to take one iota of credit for sh*t I didn't do). I did a fair amount of editorial work for them over the past 18 months: podcast, marketing/PR text, website stuff, the art book, board game, which is why I've written so little directly about games this last year honestly. Felt weird to get paid as a journalist and a consultant. Now that the games out, I'll go back to writing *about* games more, I hope.

Separately, I had to quit last night after my hands cramped up, even with my awesome mouse and nostromo. Will try with a controller today.

Demosthenes wrote:

But, those were the images and beliefs of the time. Ignoring them does a disservice to history and to how far (or not, as the case may be) we've come as a society. It's actually been a question I've raised elsewhere with WWII games, for the example you use. Germany forbids display of the swastika. Hiding your history, to me, does not lead to learning from it effectively. Like it or not, this is the history of our country.

I agree with much of what you said however I just wonder about taking bits of real history in putting them in a completely fictional setting. It lends itself for the greater possibility of dismissal or indifference due to the fantastical environment those very real issues are being presented in. Let's be honest, GWJ is a mature, intelligent, well read, and well informed group which I'm sure will regard these issues with the sobriety they deserve. But what about the average gamer? "What's this? Why am I taking this baseball...OH SNAP! This is nuts...WHOAH, I slammed his face into that hand-machine thingie!"

I can play this game through to it's end and see the payoff that is being alluded to and I can feel a little bit better about it. However I won't show this game to my wife despite her interest in knowing about the games I play. I won't allow her to see those images or see that stage event. I won't even mention this game to her. As far as she knows, I'm just playing the original Bioshock or something. All the education I've received on the subject and all the books I've consumed written by those who have lived it will never make it as real to me as the pain and hurt I've seen on my wife's face when we happen to stumble upon things like this, which is an experience most people who play this game will never have. And that's my beef. This subject matter should not be used lightly just to evoke an emotion out of an audience. They have creative writers who have already come up with a vibrant and robust fictional environment. Can they really not come up with another way of coaxing emotion out of the audience without opening up old wounds? As with our WW2 game reference, those developers/writers managed to evoke anger and hatred out of the gamer who is fighting the nazi's without showing derogatory images of Jews or outright torture and abuse. So we all know it can be done.

I haven't gotten as far as FSeven (I just walked into the Raffle and Fair), but I have read about the nasty underside of Columbia. What struck me were the statues of Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson right by the gate after you enter the city. It made me think of how David Barton and a number of other conservative Christians try to demonstrate that the Constitution does not separate church and state, etc. (they're really distorting the evidence to force this reading). Am I off base?

I think the entire point of that scene is missed. You have a society that only lets certain people in and has gone out of their way to make everything into their perfect ideal. And even in that place there is nothing you can do to stop two people from falling in love regardless of any disparate traits they might have. I think the racist images are completely necessary to convey the reality and duality of the late Victorian period.

Scratched wrote:

The lack of being able to walk away from the game at any point is a downside though, although they could improve that with more frequent autosaves.

The bit that frustrated me was when I tried to quit it gave me a screen that said "Your last autosave was on X date at Y time. You will lose all progress since that time," but it didn't tell me how much time had passed since then or what time it currently was.

I had a chance to at least start wandering around for an hour or so. Well, my goodness, it sure looks nice, and the setting is very compelling. My system can't quite handle Ultra unfortunately but even on Very High it's really impressive. I can see why it cost so darned much.

I haven't even started killing things yet, and I do admire that restraint. But when the world looks so impressive and generally feels like a vibrant place, the weird video-gamey things stand out to me. I can wander around and listen in on conversations all over the place, but very few NPCs actually respond to me in a meaningful way. I'm rooting around in trashcans, finding coins all over the place, finding critical audio recordings just laying around, eating food from a vendor's stand without paying to instantly recover health, getting a free sample of a power that magically shoots ghosts to open doors in my way... it's some kind of uncanny valley where the silly video game things look even sillier.

I'll withhold more substantial judgment until I have a chance to play with the game systems, but my gut reaction is that it's an incredibly beautiful facade on a game that is at its core quite conventional. And that's just an observation; I don't think that's necessarily bad or unexpected.

gore wrote:

I'll withhold more substantial judgment until I have a chance to play with the game systems, but my gut reaction is that it's an incredibly beautiful facade on a game that is at its core quite conventional. And that's just an observation; I don't think that's necessarily bad or unexpected.

That's one thing I found myself thinking, that in some ways it's tied to being a Bioshock game and as much as a 4/5 year production can be, it's just rolling a shooter off a production line with a great setting and fiction. I wonder how flexible Irrational are, as I'd love to see them tackle something a little different next, perhaps a non-linear RPG.

concentric wrote:

I haven't gotten as far as FSeven (I just walked into the Raffle and Fair), but I have read about the nasty underside of Columbia. What struck me were the statues of Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson right by the gate after you enter the city. It made me think of how David Barton and a number of other conservative Christians try to demonstrate that the Constitution does not separate church and state, etc. (they're really distorting the evidence to force this reading). Am I off base?

I assumed having seen some of the worship of Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson that at least some of the thematic elements of this game's story was going to be a critique of the mystique of the Founding Fathers as somehow having the solutions to all things... in the same way that Bioshock 1 was thematically a critique of Ayn Rand and (amusingly, before they even popped up) the Tea Party ideals of free market and no government intervention/regulation.

FSeven wrote:

I agree with much of what you said however I just wonder about taking bits of real history in putting them in a completely fictional setting. It lends itself for the greater possibility of dismissal or indifference due to the fantastical environment those very real issues are being presented in. Let's be honest, GWJ is a mature, intelligent, well read, and well informed group which I'm sure will regard these issues with the sobriety they deserve. But what about the average gamer? "What's this? Why am I taking this baseball...OH SNAP! This is nuts...WHOAH, I slammed his face into that hand-machine thingie!"

Artistic expression is rarely, even when controversial, uniformly shocking for its audience. That artist who painted a young black woman as the second coming of Christ, to me, was perfectly normal and pretty in-keeping with the biblical philosophy of treating all strangers as Christ. Evangelicals were up at arms. I thought it was interesting, amusing, and a good point on a basic tenet of the bible. Others strongly disagreed. (Also, haven't there been quite a few studies of average ages for gamers being like in the mid 30s? Hopefully more mature than, heck yeah, I just smashed that guy's face. I was barely paying attention to the cops at that point and got smacked once or twice before I realized I needed to fight back because I was stunned by the scene.)

I get what you're saying about the topic being addressed in a fictional setting, but I don't agree there either. This city is supposed to be an expression of American Exceptionalism and Jingoism taken to a ridiculous degree, sure. But I think ignoring the rampant racism and ethnic bias of the times would really be sweeping this under the rug, which, as a former history major, I see as a pretty unacceptable course of action.

I am cursing Amazon every day for not getting release day shipping with my collector's edition. By the time I realized it was not comming it was too late to preorder it from Game Stop.

shoptroll wrote:

Some speculation (spoilered of course) after about an hour of play:

Spoiler:

- While I had a feeling this game was doing something funky with alternate realities/time travel, I was very surprised to see it be this blatant about it within the first hour.

I don't think they could not do some things like that after Bioshock.

MeatMan wrote:

Call me weird, but one of the things that sticks out to me is that people love to throw away money in Columbia. It seems like 90% of the trashcans have money in them.

I really hope that's not tied into any sort of morality system. I robbed the opening cathedral blind (I had $16 by the time I reached Columbia proper), so I'm fully expecting to be smited at some point.

Some speculation (spoilered of course) after about an hour of play:

EDIT: If this isn't ok, I'll move it to the spoiler thread. Just not sure where to put it and I'm scared to go in the spoiler thread this early.

Spoiler:

- While I had a feeling this game was doing something funky with alternate realities/time travel, I was very surprised to see it be this blatant about it within the first hour.
- Obvious parallel between Comstock, Comstock's Wife, Elizabeth and God, Mary, Jesus
- I will not be surprised if Booker and/or Comstock are from an alternate reality
- Or Comstock is a time traveler "prophet" a la Magus in Chrono Trigger
- Some funky stuff with prescience going on too: telegram boy finding you, knowing result of raffle and coin tosses, etc.
- Battle of Wounded Knee seems like it's going to come up in a couple more places. Both Booker and Comstock have some tie to it.

concentric wrote:

I haven't gotten as far as FSeven (I just walked into the Raffle and Fair), but I have read about the nasty underside of Columbia. What struck me were the statues of Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson right by the gate after you enter the city. It made me think of how David Barton and a number of other conservative Christians try to demonstrate that the Constitution does not separate church and state, etc. (they're really distorting the evidence to force this reading). Am I off base?

There's some palpable xenophobia going on if you listen to the NPCs as you walk around.

Don't know much about Barton, but I don't think you're terribly off base. It was a little bizarre to see those statues and the religious reverence towards the "Founders". I know Ken said previously one of the themes is "American exceptionalism" but there's also this strange marriage of patriotism and religion which I wasn't expecting. Very curious to see where they go with this.

EDIT: Oh, and this is definitely one of the best intros to a game I've seen in a while. I think by holding combat back they're really setting the expectation for narrative/worldbuilding to take center stage. I liked BioShock's scripted intro, but being immediately thrust into combat after you exit the bathysphere didn't let you take it all in (even though it set up an appropriate sense of dread). This feels a lot more open and relaxed which is allowing me to explore and marvel at the artistry on display.

I also like that the little fair is structured similarly to Chrono Trigger's Millenial Fair where they have some minigames that introduce the basic systems of the game. Plus both games didn't really push you onto the critical path if you dawdled.

Vargen wrote:
Scratched wrote:

The lack of being able to walk away from the game at any point is a downside though, although they could improve that with more frequent autosaves.

The bit that frustrated me was when I tried to quit it gave me a screen that said "Your last autosave was on X date at Y time. You will lose all progress since that time," but it didn't tell me how much time had passed since then or what time it currently was.

It is exact time, I just look up at my clock when seeing that screen. I also look for autosave icons in the corner of the screen to know if when I enter a new room or area that it is ok to quit.

shoptroll wrote:
MeatMan wrote:

Call me weird, but one of the things that sticks out to me is that people love to throw away money in Columbia. It seems like 90% of the trashcans have money in them.

I really hope that's not tied into any sort of morality system. I robbed the opening cathedral blind (I had $16 by the time I reached Columbia proper), so I'm fully expecting to be smited at some point.

Washington's Sword will smack you hard!

To those concerned about easy play on Normal difficulty. I am pretty bad at video games but felt like it was a good match for me at the start. The game was pretty easy and I was enjoying the narrative. Toward the end, I wished I had played on Easy since the challenge is not what I seek exactly. So Normal strikes a pretty good medium where I was challenged but not overly frustrated, but I was also not bored.