There were many amazing games released this year and more than a few were tied for first and second place in my overall thoughts but there was one game that managed to stand...or should I say "float" above the rest.
BioShock Infinite just blew me away. It was a stunning display of graphics, plot, characters and just plain enjoyable moments where you actually find yourself becoming lost in the world that Irrational Games/2K Games created.
I feel that I need to give a little background on my gaming history before I carry on. Although I am not new to gaming, growing up with a Commodore 64 and the original floppy discs before moving onto a Sega Master System 2, I never had the money for my own console until recently. I guess you could say that I was a dabbler until I finally decided to bite the bullet and shell out for a PS3. And, before you all start hating in the comments I think that both consoles are equal in their value and that's final.
Anyway, back to the important stuff. The game.
For those of you who don't really know anything about the game click here for the wikipedia page. It's as good as any place to start.
Basically, I don't need to tell you about the game I just need to tell you why I enjoyed it so much. I'm also going to limit myself so I don't scare people off or, worse, bore them.
Here go the four main reasons I loved this game:
Graphics/Visuals - this was a stunning game. Truly beautiful and creative. There was just something about the costume design and the actual floating city that made this game stand out. The colours alone leave impressions that make me want to return to drawing. Add to this the minute details that made the city of Columbia come alive. From the moment Booker arrives in the city to the very last scenes you are presented with a sensory overload of scenery porn. Plus, when Booker first gets his hands on one of the skyhooks - grizzly but awesome at the same time. (Add to this the cosplay of Elizabeth and Booker at SDCC was just stunning - Chris Hardwick as Booker presenting at panels - priceless)
Characters - Booker Dewitt and Elizabeth are engaging and complex. It is this very complexity that makes the game stand out. The only rival for both this and the above reason is definitely The Last of Us. In fact, if I'm being perfectly honest, Ellie eclipsed Elizabeth in this respect but it is only fair as Ellie is more of an integral part of TLOU. Don't get me wrong because BI is still the best game of this year but TLOU was so bloody close. The characters that cinched this for my number one has to be the Luteces. Robert and Rosalind. Honestly, those characters and their background are just amazing. Check out the BioShock Infinite subreddit (I am trying to get the link for you but my computer and reddit are just not co-operating at the present time) to find some great essays about all of the characters, not to mention the tears.
Music/Sound - As with every game it is not just the visual aspect that gets you but the score. BI is no different and all I will say is the listen for the Creedence Clearwater Revival cover of "Fortunate Son" sung by one of the Vox as she sits in front of the gallows...
Story - sure the gameplay is important but without a compelling story who cares. BI brings it all to create a powerful game that has so many levels (one of the reasons I am desperate to teach this game as a visual text next year.) Again there is nothing I can add to this that hasn't been said throughout the year. This game can cause controversy as it attacks various ideas/ideology that was present in the 1900s (pre then as post then as well). Many of the ideas (racism, religion, conversion, war, slavery and the list goes on) are still prevalent today, which only serves to make this game even more exciting.
It is the precise combination of these aspects that managed to propel BI to the number one slot in my favourite games this year. Let's face it, who wouldn't want to experience Columbia in it's hey day and give those skyhooks a bit of a trial. So, what games did you all enjoy this year? What games can you recommend? More importantly, which vigour would you choose? Me - I had fun with undertow and possession.