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Bioshock Infinite - Combat Mechanics Regression

by Myrthos, 2013-04-15 13:28:11

In his blog on Gamasutra Eric Schwarz explains why he feels that the combat of Bioshock Infinite is a step down from the previous Bioshock games.

One of the dangers in striving for "perfect balance" as BioShock Infinite does is that you can end up with a game that feels very flat and soulless.  Outside of the competitive multiplayer community, I'm of the opinion that balance is something which needs to be "good enough" but nothing more.  In trying to ensure every option is equally effective in most situations, BioShock Infinite runs into the unfortunate problem if no weapons being especially preferable to any others.

The two-weapon-max system is a tacit admission of this by Irrational Games - if you could carry all guns you would have virtually no weaknesses in combat, hence the limitation imposed on the player.  As there are no guns which are significantly better against certain enemies, or certain weapons which offer substantially different or interesting functionality, you end up sticking with the same guns throughout the whole game.  You've invested money into upgrading them, you can only carry two, and combat is only going to get harder as you go - so there is actually substantial disincentive to experiment.  And while there is a widely-held belief that two-weapon limits are more tactical, when you have so few enemy types and all guns are so effective in almost every situation, there's not much point to this limit.

The lack of interesting weapon upgrades and secondary capabilitie sis another big concern.  Customization of your guns in Infinite is nothing more than a slight boost in effectiveness, and while upgrades are limited by the money you have available, you really don't have to make significant choices about what weapons to upgrade since chances are you'll only be using a few weapons throughout the game anyway.  BioShock 2 had interesting capstone upgrades for its guns, like super-charging your Rivet Gun with bolts capable of setting enemies on fire.


Information about

Bioshock Infinite

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Historical
Genre: Shooter-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released