A little over a year ago Bioshock Infinite launched to near-universal praise. I remember when I first got the game it was around midnight after work and I had a day off. I want to say I played it until well into the next day. The game pretty much blew me off my feet and when I finally beat it about a week later I remember the ending kind of had me reeling. We don’t get many powerful story-driven games like that.
That year we luckily had one more, Last of Us, but I had more love for Bioshock and despite really enjoying both games I could pick a clear favorite.
So when they announced the DLCs (Downloadable Content) I couldn’t have been more excited. Even after playing the first one which people complained was too short I still was in love with where the story was going.
And then I beat this last DLC last night and it all came crashing down. I won’t go into spoiler territory, but I didn’t like the direction the game was taking. The creator of the game, Ken Levine, called what he was making with the second half of the DLC “a love letter to the fans.”
It felt suspiciously like trampling all over everything we loved about something.
You know that strange thing that some prequels do, especially the ones that are made years after the original, where they spend a lot of time trying to make connections to the other work and tie up loose ends that no one really asked to be tied up? There was a lot of that in Burial At Sea Part II (That’s the title of the DLC).
Imagine if Rowling were to go back to the Harry Potter series and fill in all of the little divots in the plot and connect every small minor action to some meaningful action that came before. Hermione’s bed had actually belong to Harry’s mom at Hogwarts. And a whole bunch of other little things until there were so many little things connected to other little things and big things connected to little things that it just seemed too contrived and silly?
That’s the kind of thing that I’m talking about here. I love the world of Bioshock and I was all for the story in Infinite and even the second DLC, but this one seemed contrived and over thought out all for a reason that we had explained to us in the first game.
Now the game play and the mechanics in the game are wonderful, pretty much everything about the game is perfect except for the story. Even some of the call back moments are really well done, there’s just too many of them and the ending is unfulfilling.
It’s sad that Levine is letting the games rest in this position, but he’s closed the studio down that makes Bioshock, so at there won’t be anymore games for the property made by him and his team. I wish the guy the best of luck and I hope that he does well in whatever comes from here on out. I just wish I could feel good about this ending and this game, because I really, really wanted to.