I make it a policy to pay no more than $20 for a video game. It’s a good policy (highly recommended): it’s kept me from experiencing more than twenty dollars’ worth of disappointment — until now.
During the first two hours or so of Bioshock Infinite I was experiencing a rekindling of the love I had for the first two Bioshock games. Infinite’s “Columbia” — like “Rapture” — is a beguiling, immersive environment that pulls me in faster than do the environments of most other games. But as the game wore on, I noticed a growing torpor that I normally do not associate with Bioshock. I was getting bored. The action for all three games is moored to a rail, but this time the characters themselves seemed fixed (and utterly without interest). How was this possible — especially with a game that received a Metacritic rating of “94”?
Mike Barthel explores the disconnect I experienced, as do Leigh Alexander and Tevis Thompson — two reviews that are delicious reads (criticism at its finest, really). They all argue, persuasively, that Infinite’s failures don’t just make for a poor gaming experience, they in fact actually qualify it as a Bad Game (Thompson: “Not just the worst game of the year. It’s the worst game I’ve played this generation”).
|Meaningless mayhem: sometimes that's a bad thing.|