Saturday, March 30, 2013

Columbia! view thy Prince

I didn't write anything yesterday because I was playing BioShock Infinite 'til after midnight and spent another four or five hours on it this morning to finish off the story. By which point it was too late to go back and post-date my impressions of those first six hours and pretend I'd written them on Friday.

Borrowed a 360 copy from a friend at work, payed about six hours last night and finished it after another four this morning. I think this is the first time I've ever played a console shooter and wished I had a mouse for aiming instead. I just couldn't get the stick sensitivity into the right place. It wasn't a problem most of the time thanks to plentiful ammo and relatively small numbers of enemies, but a few late-stage set-pieces gave me a lot of trouble. Some minor aim assist would have made all the difference, at least snapping to nearby enemies when aiming down the sights.

I thought the combat was a bit weird overall, actually - none of the weapons ever felt particularly powerful, even after upgrading them. I don't know if my use of Vigors was unusual, but I only ever really got much use out of Bucking Bronco, which surprised the hell out of me as when I first used it I wondered what the point of it was. Considering how much Salt some of them used up (for not much effect duration), I avoided a lot. It also bugged me that, when pulling up the radial, it replaced your currently active Vigor with the new one, rather than putting it into the hot-swap slot.

I'm still decompressing the story, so I don't have much to say on that front. I do kind of regret rushing it; I didn't pick up as many audio diaries as I probably could have, and my exploration was fairly limited. I don't feel like the story was rushed as a result, though; it kept a fairly steady pace, but the atmosphere probably suffered.

Except when I got a few minor bugs; particular events wouldn't trigger and some of the signposting is atrocious (Elizabeth shouting "over there!" when I didn't know where she was doesn't really help when I'm under fire), so I ended up getting really frustrated in a couple of places. There were also multiple occasions where I'd be unable to proceed because I hadn't killed the last enemy in a wave but he'd be stuck, running a loop on a skyline or hiding on a difficult-to-reach rooftop, meaning I'd have to crawl the entire area listening for his repeated attack lines to find him before I could open the door to get out.

There's a lot to like in Infinite, but also a lot that didn't quite gel together. I'm not convinced it deserves the 10/10 accolades it's gotten from a lot of places, but it definitely deserves a 9 - for its ambition if nothing else.

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