First off, I want to say something that should be self-explanatory but probably will not be. This will contain spoilers. It's in the name of the thread. I will be talking in depth about the story of Bioshock Infinite.
So where do I start? From the beginning I suppose. I want to make this clear to all that read this, the story is entertaining and literate. That much is true. What I have to get off of my chest though is how much of a mess the story becomes as you make your way through the city of Columbia. To start with, the city is a floating in the clouds, which is fine, except then the writer feels the need to explain how the city is floating. This was mark number one for me. One of the things that always irritates me is when too much is explained. The worst offender of this was the Star Wars franchise when the Clone Wars et al. came out. The force use to be some mystical power that only certain people had, but in these movies it was directly relational to the amount of midichlorians in a person’s body. Bioshock Infinite did not quite go so far as the aforementioned Star Wars movies, but I will say that bringing up quantum particles as a way to explain away the floating city was a bad narrative. If a writer does not fully understand the subject they are talking about they need to not bring it up within the narrative of the story they are writing, especially when it is a main plot point held within said story. As much as this was irritating I could forgive it though, there were other major problems that really distracted me from this one.
The next major problem I had with the story is that nothing really flows from one scene to the next. In the interest of making an action game, the creators just kind of shoved the story down our throats, and I mean everything about the story, not just a few points. Nothing was left to think about. Hate crimes and class warfare, here is the Cliff Notes version for you now keep shooting people in the face. Even power, influence, and corruption were pretty much a side note in the game when it should have been at the forefront. Comstock was a man that gained power and it corrupted his morals, but never is this even brought forth as more than a brief mention.
Here comes one of the biggest parts of the game that really got me in a rage, and I while there are many parts that may be worth mentioning, I will skip to the end so that this does not become a ranting diatribe of hate for the game. I do not hate the game after all; I just think they could have done a lot better with the story. The game did not get the story it deserved.
When you get to the end and find out that Booker is Comstock, this is whatever in my opinion. It is cliché, but acceptable. However, when you also find out that the reason for the split was a baptism that “removed” all of Booker’s regrets the story falls apart. The premise is that he fought at Wounded Knee and was full of regret for slaughtering the Native American population there, but what absolutely does not make sense is why getting rid of his regrets over the slaughter would cause Booker, now Comstock, to act the same way that previously gave him regrets in the first place. I guess there may be a point in that Comstock totally forgot he was Booker and in forgetting he was also able to forget his past memory of Wounded Knee. The problem is that he marks his time fighting there as a milestone in his life. As in Bookstock (I’m being lazy I know) did not forget his time there, he knows he slaughtered Native Americans. You know what was even worse about this part of the game, and I realize it was explained away with half-hearted exposition; it was the fact that suddenly Elizabeth becomes the all-knowing god that has all of the answers. That right there is How Not To Write a Good Story 101 boys in girls. Avoid deus ex machine and your story will be ten times better. There should never be a character in a story that has all of the answers, be it the main character or the supporting characters. That is just bad story telling.
In the end though, it was just too much story being force fed to me for me to even care about the story enough for a second play-through. The bad story combined with a few very minor bad gameplay mechanics just made me apathetic toward a game that should have been much better than it was. This did not feel like a Bioshock game. I was never emotionally invested enough to care that Booker had to die at the end, it was just whatever, close game, delete content. There are going to be those that disagree with me, I am aware of that, but I really had to get this off my chest because it has been bothering me with many games lately, namely big budget games to be exact, and I hate the fact that these games, as good as they are, could be so much better. They could be better, but the people that make them seem to be afraid to make them better, because there may be people that just do not get it. These companies are so afraid of losing customers that the game industry can not move forward.