I'm near the end, i believe, and thoroughly enjoying it. I find the combat refreshing, reminiscent of doom's chaos, even. Good fun, though as Drae notes it's not like mulitplayer. The story is great, even if it's getting a little out there, and Elizabeth is amazing, best companion AI in a game i've ever some across. She's not linked with the plot, she is
the plot. She's not perfect, but she still makes the game an amazing experience.
the first two Bioshocks. Particularly the first. The plot was cliched, the mechanic made no sense and tried so desperately to, the set-pieces were nasty, the gameplay was on rails, the moral choices changed nothing, the weapons were unimaginiative, the enemies were boring, and the the puzzles ne plumbing were like those flash games they make for middle-aged women. The environments and setting alone were beautiful, but the designers failed to take advantage of either of these. Let me explain further:
In a game like the original resident evil, or it's inspiring remake on the gamecube, the environment was tight, and a little hemmed in, like the first bioshock. You felt slightly trapped - and you were meant to. However, where Bioshock was on rails, and kept running you through level after level in order, the mansion of resident evil allowed you to revisit locations, to plan ahead and store items. And not only that the enemy respawn, and set triggers made things more complex when balanced against your limited resources. I never felt trapped in Bioshock, i felt bored. Oh look, there's the plot trigger or item i'm trying to reach - cue the lights going out, maniacal laughter, and a swarm of enemies. Really, Bioshock? Again? (+1 Asmodai)
System Shock, the game to which Bioshock was a spiritual successor, for whatever that means, got it right. The space station is closed in, you have to revisit locations, the Shodan AI running the station is constantly breathing down your neck, and you never have time to forget it. Each piece of the plot you uncover was startling, the weapons were a joy to discover each one, the interface was interesting, the puzzles were just that - some you could go at like a bull at a gate, or think your way through for faster results. You actually have to think to complete the game too. And, when there are set triggers, you know they're coming but you're not roped into how you approach them. You can plan ahead, set actual traps, peek corners, take other routes - save when the game fools you because some things actually have timers, only you don't know what. It's great.
I also played System Shock 2 for the first time about two years ago, and loved it. This was after
i'd played Bioshock. Bioshock tried to replicate the same elements that worked in the first two games, esp. the plot, and came up with simplified, consolised porridge.
Bioshock Infinite works by not trying so hard. And simply because it has Elizabeth. There's nothing really new in it save her, but it doesn't feel like they've tried to shoehorn cliches in (save the racism/classism; sorry Drae
if you think the "original" Bioshock was good, go play System Shock and System Shock 2, in that order. They're older, but they're much better games. Kolya's System Shock Portable
is a good place to start.
(Note: the control system in the original system shock has been updated to include mlook. I never used it, so i'm not sure how well it works. But the right control method for the right game never hurts. You wouldn't try to play a fighter with mouse and keyboard, and so the slightly clunky FPS controls actually work with System Shock and it's environment