Let me preface this review with my one, main point...if you're looking for a game with an intelligent & complex story, excellent, varied combat & a sense of freedom that few other games can offer you, look no further than Bioshock Infinite. Like the previous 2 in this series, you are offered a multitude of paths, weapons & abilities to complete your missions & dispatch your foes in stylish, gruesome and exciting ways that will be different for everyone who plays the game. If you've played Dishonored (a FANTASTIC game btw) you'll know what I mean by freedom of choice, though Dishonored was a bit more liberal with the incredible amount of play-it-your-way features it offered. This installment in the series is my favorite, and has BY FAR the best companion/escort character in any game PERIOD. Elizabeth is smart, witty, never gets in your way, and offers you things like ammo, money and salts (which power your "vigors" aka plasmids lol) whenever you are running low, and your relationship w/ her is moving & dramatic. The story, art design, combat (Skylines!) & voice-acting are all top-notch. No spoilers, but let me say, the last hour or so will BLOW YOUR MIND...you thought the twist in the acclaimed predecessor was intense, wait 'til the end of Infinite. It's a ride I'll be taking again soon. I hope you all go along for the great adventures of Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth. It's a well-rounded, exciting, fast-paced & downright fun FPS w/ a lot of adventure & role-playing elements mixed in to great effect. The vigors are better than the plasmids from the previous 2 games, as is the weaponry and upgrade system. My girlfriend actually chose to watch me play Infinite for 4hrs over watching one of her favorite TV shows. I didn't mention the plot at all because I don't want to give anything away. The only reason I didn't give Infinite a 10 is because I would've liked a map, though the objective arrow is fine for missions & I thought it was a bit short. Otherwise, FANTASTIC game!
This is kinda a tough one. Here's the thing... Bioshock is definitely a top notch game. No doubt up there with some of the best games in terms of production, art direction, story, etc. But, is it fun and does it all work? To varying degrees yes and to many degrees no.
In the first BioShock game the player got to explore the underwater city of Rapture. The graphics were excellent at the time (still hold up in 2013) and the story was fun. I believe the combat was weak and all the virogs, adam, eve, Gatherer's Gardens, etc, were kinda annoying. It was too much and a lot of it unnecessary. The game mechanic worked for many and allowed the player to play using a variety of approaches, but boy oh boy it could have been more satisfying if the combat mechanic was better.
The very same can be said about BioShock Infinite. Plasmids are replaced with salts, there's no adam or eve, but still too much "junk" going on. It's difficult to know exactly which weapons you have and what their upgrades are - and for the most part, you won't care. Just give me a damned gun! The upgrades for the weapons are ridiculously "expensive", but lots of "money" can be found laying around if you search every box, crate, desk, cabinet, etc. In fact, the game could be retitled "Search Desk Infinite" because that's what you'll spend most of your time doing. This seriously adds hours to the game play and not in a great way.
The art direction of all 3 Bioshock games is extraordinary and that's very evident here. The amount of attention that was made to create this whimsical world above the clouds is nothing short of exceptional. That said, the Unreal engine is really showing it's age and with the rather bright color palette used, and the age of the consoles, much of it came across and muddled and very low resolution textures. If I were showing someone Half-Life (the original from 1998) on a PC and this game on an XBox, you wouldn't know which was the more advanced game, technologically speaking