**BEWARE, THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS BIOSHOCK INFINITE SPOILERS**
As gamers, we beat games all the time, but rarely (if ever) do games beat us. I just recently encountered the first game that has ever beat me emotionally, spiritually, and physically – Bioshock Infinite.
I picked up Bioshock Infinite the day it came out, I’m a really big fan of Bioshock and Bioshock 2 so as you can imagine I was super excited for this game to be released. With many game critics giving the game so much praise and acclaim through high (and even perfect) scores I was thinking “what could go wrong?” Well, that question was answered soon and the answer was not quite to my liking. Don’t get me wrong – I love this game, I’m so glad that I played it and I look forward to playing it again in the future but there are some key issues that affected my experience.
My issues began when I decided to play the game for the first time on hard difficulty. I don’t usually have a problem with playing games on hard, in fact as of late I have been playing almost every game that way. As I have developed as a gamer, I have come to like the challenge and the rewards it presents. I played through both previous Bioshock games on Hard and had little to no difficulties so when it came to Infinite I thought “why not?” I found out “why not” soon enough.
This game is actually one of the most difficult games I have ever played on the standard “hard” difficulty. The biggest issue I had was that the difficulty spiked a great deal towards the end of the game. Most of the game was tough, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Then I got to the first fight against Lady Comstock, or The Siren, and it was like playing an entirely different game. There are plenty of tricks and combos that should be or are best used to fight her, but this was a day or two after the game’s release so I knew none of them. I’m also not one to look things up right away, I like to test everything out for myself.
That encounter made me realize that certain elements of the game’s combat system were flawed. I learned through discussions with other friends and gamers that if you do not focus primarily on Vigors throughout the game that you are going to have a hard time. That in itself is not necessarily bad, but it’s not like anyone tells you that you should do this and there is no way to go back or “re-spec” and chnage what you have done. I was focusing on gun use since there are achievements tied to each gun and I wanted to get them. I wasn’t really thinking about the fact that I could come back later for those achievements and that I should be focusing on other things, and while that is mostly my fault, I also pass some of the blame to the game for not making it more clear that Vigors mean way more than the guns. I always assumed they were a pair, use Shock Jockey and then shoot the guy, but I guess that wasn’t the best practice.
Another issue I had was that the game, which seemingly focuses primarily on story throughout most the game, gets outrageously difficult towards the end. It watered down the story with anger and resentment due to the tough boss fights and impossible scenarios. What irritated me most was that the story was great and I was really tied to the characters and plot, but felt like it was more trouble than it was worth at times because of the difficulty. The difficulty halted progression and soured some of the story, it made me wonder why I was putting myself through this kind of torment for a game. I just can’t wrap my head around that aspect. Why not make it super hard throughout the game? Why change it up when the story is at a crucial turning point? I may never know why, but I do know that it drove me mad.
Bioshock Infinite beat me by making the last portion of the game agonizingly difficult while making me really want to progress for the story, even though the gameplay didn’t want me to. It got to where I could only play it for a little while at a time. I couldn’t get over having to face Lady Comstock’s ghost three whole times. I felt so very accomplished after beating her once (it took me about 3 hours to finally beat her. Sad, I know) that when she popped up again I nearly broke into tears and she isn’t even the last boss fight. I felt defeated and towards the end of this game I even questioned myself as a gamer (which is pretty harsh).
I thought that I wouldn’t have much of a problem and it turned out I had more of a problem that I ever dreamed of having. You might be thinking “why didn’t you just change the difficulty?” and to answer that question, I did – well, I thought I did. You see, it got to the point where I said no achievement is worth this so I switched the game to normal difficulty. I then restarted the checkpoint for some reason which undid the difficulty switch. I beat the game on hard thinking it was on normal the entire time. I mean, it’s nice to know I will never have to beat it on Hard again (except for 1999 mode, which I might never get around to doing) but I wish that I had done it on normal so that I could enjoy the game more.
That’s my story about a game that beat me, and while it’s a little embarrassing to tell it, I felt you all should know it. Maybe in the future you can avoid being stuck in this type of scenario. I definitely learned my lesson about difficulty and how achievements don’t really matter as much as enjoying the game does. Has this ever happened to you? Be sure to share your stories below in the comment box!