This story is ten thousand years old. There’s always a girl and a tower. A dragon guarding a girl’s virginity. A brave knight trying to either rescue or steal a captive. Constants and variables. Constants and variables. We have heard this fairy tale many times before, but sometimes we want to hear it again.

BioShock Infinite
Genre first-person shooter
Platforms Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Languages English
Developers Irrational Games
Publisher 2K
Ghost Story Games


As I have already written, after reading Jason Schreier’s book Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry I installed eight of the games mentioned in it, which, of course, I had played before. It was interesting to see how these old projects are perceived now, after hearing about the difficult process of their creation. I was especially interested in BioShock Infinite because the lion’s share of the book is dedicated to this game and the studios that worked on it.

Well, knowing now what an asshole and self-righteous ass Ken Levine was during the development of BioShock Infinite, one can only respect his stubbornness and self-confidence, because it seems that these flaws are what gave us one of the best games of all time. Yes, Ken was a real asshole, but no one promised that working with geniuses was easy. Yes, many of the developers hated Levin for his attitude towards the team, but at the same time, they are grateful to have worked on such a game.

Ten years later

How is it to play BioShock Infinite ten years after its release? Great! Finally, you can set the graphics settings to maximum and enjoy a smooth game. On six-year-old hardware, BioShock Infinite simply flies, delivering 140+ fps and not sagging even in the most dynamic moments. At the same time, thanks to the stylized graphics, the game still looks great.

Maybe it’s a bit lacking in all these newfangled things like ray tracing and global lighting. On the other hand, the most common graphics card for PC gamers is still GeForce GTX 1650, so most people won’t see all these high-tech fads anyway.

But BioShock Infinite has a great story, charismatic characters, each of whom is a personality with their motivation, a well-designed and built world with a lot of interesting details, and a really good (especially compared to the first BioShock installments) shooter part.

A game that bites its tail

The second time you play the game, the story and end of which you are familiar with, you can not focus on the plot itself, but look for hints, references, and secrets that the developers have hidden in the game. Hints of what awaits Booker and Elizabeth ahead, hints of the first two parts of the game. Calculate the branching; the worlds the characters visit; the number of jumps they made; the number and origin of the girls in the ending, etc.

BioShock Infinite is a game that bites its tail. A game that, like Christopher Nolan’s movies, requires you to draw diagrams and charts (by the way, where is that Oppenheimer!). At one time, BioShock Infinite was criticized precisely because, after BioShock 1 and BioShock 2, with their endless possibilities, the third part is an almost linear shooter that has little in common with the immersive sim genre to which the first games belonged. But the truth is that Ken Levine needed a linear game, the last chain to close the circle, to complete the series.

He wanted to end this story exactly as he saw it, without giving the players much freedom so that they would not be detached from the story. If you look closely, many elements exist here only to push the player into the right mood by manipulating his emotions. In a true immersive sim, it would be harder to do this than in a pure shooter. Unnecessary role-playing elements would slow down the player, slowing down the pace of the story, which is extremely important here.

Burial at Sea

Earlier, I missed the DLC for BioShock Infinite, even though I bought the game in the maximum configuration. “I’ll wait for all the parts to come out and play it all together,” I told myself, and of course, I forgot about the game for 10 years, there were enough other interesting projects. Well, now nothing was stopping me from enjoying additional servings of Infinite.

I played maybe 30 minutes of Clash in the Clouds, because these battle arenas, assembled into something like a shooter roguelike, are not very interesting. Another thing is Burial at Sea. These two DLCs bring us back to Rapture a few days/hours before its fall, which we saw in BioShock 1/2. Burial at Sea creates another connection between the games, further looping the series. The snake bites its tail once again. Because… no, I’m not going to spoil the best part.

At the same time, these DLCs also differ in gameplay. If in Burial at Sea – Episode 1 you play as Booker and it’s almost a survival simulator, because there is very little ammo, then in Burial at Sea – Episode 2 you control Elizabeth and it’s a real immersive sim with an emphasis on stealth. It’s a completely different gameplay, without all these special powers.

In addition, Burial at Sea shows us not only the backstory of the events of BioShock 1/2 but also shows the events of BioShock Infinite from a completely different angle, making us look at some of the key characters of the main game differently. And yes, you will almost meet yourself.

Honestly, I would rate Burial at Sea – Episode 1/2 even higher than the main game. This is the highest point of the series, a catharsis.


If you’re going to play BioShock Infinite again, I strongly suggest that beforehand you read Jason Schreier’s book Press Reset: Ruin and Recovery in the Video Game Industry I have already mentioned. Then the game will be perceived completely differently. Think of it as a kind of director’s commentary on the game.

In addition, I advise you to pay attention to the art book The Art of BioShock Infinite (unfortunately, it was not published in Ukrainian). There you can see how many different design options and even some gameplay mechanics were thrown out of the game on the way to release. Yes, Ken Levine is a fucking genius, but I don’t understand how his subordinates didn’t kill him in the process.


Frankly speaking, I understand Ken Levine. After working on BioShock Infinite, he didn’t just burn out, he burned to the ground. It seems that he realized that he would never create anything more meaningful, more beautiful in his life. That’s why he decided to disband the studio and do something smaller. And for almost 10 years he was silent.

Ghost Story Games was officially created in 2017, but it was just a rebranding of the former Irrational Games, which Levine set free in 2014. This small team that remained was supposed to develop something Levin himself calls “narrative Lego,” a story builder that players create themselves as they progress through the game.

Since 2015, Levine has said that the studio’s first game will be “a sci-fi story with a first-person perspective.” It was only at the end of 2022 that we saw this game for the first time, Judas. And it seems that it would be more correct to call it BioShock: Judas. The game doesn’t have a release date yet, but I wouldn’t expect it to come out before 2025. Considering it’s Levine.

I don’t believe that Ken Levine will leapfrog himself and create something better than BioShock Infinite. Judas has a better chance of never being released at all. I’m happy to be wrong. After all, miracles do happen.

P.S. We’re well aware that this week the remake of the first immersive sim – System Shock (1994) was released. But… play BioShock Infinite instead, it seems that this game is not outdated at all.

Until June 14 BioShock Infinite costs only 97 UAH on Steam. Bioshock Infinite + Season Pass Bundle with all content DLC – only 162 UAH. It’s a real deal.