BioShock Infinite is a divisive video game. While some people declare it the masterpiece of the BioShock series, others proclaim that it wasn't nearly as good as the original. Regardless of your stance on the overall matter, we can safely say that it does some things better and some things worse. Yeah, that's a bit of a cop-out, but hey, not everything is in black and white! BioShock Infinite is not necessarily worse than BioShock. It's just... different.
These are five reasons why BioShock Infinite is better than BioShock, and five ways it's worse.
10 Better: Graphics
This should really go without saying; BioShock Infinite looks a heck of a lot better than BioShock in terms of general graphics. Character models are far more detailed and lifelike (remember BioShock's rubbery faces?), the textures are much richer, the lighting is more realistic, and the animations are FAR better.
But, as we said, this should go without saying, as Infinite is almost six years younger than its predecessor. Even if we expected it, it's nice to see the series make such an enormous leap in terms of its visual capabilities. Infinite is one gorgeous game to look at.
9 Worse: Atmosphere
We don't want to say that Infinite's atmosphere is worse, because it really isn't. It succeeds in what it attempts to do in creating a fantastical world reminiscent of utopic, early 20th century America.
That said, we think most people would agree that BioShock takes the crown when it comes to atmosphere. BioShock remains one of the most atmospheric video games ever made, and, even though it's over ten years old at this point, it still has the capability to wow us and scare us all at once. It's a masterclass in world-building and atmosphere, and Infinite simply can't compete.
8 Better: Story
We know everyone loves BioShock for its story, but really, they don't love it for its story. They love it for its world-building, atmosphere, and final twist. The story itself mainly consists of escaping from Rapture.
On the other hand, Infinite has a legitimate story, complete with dimensional characters, character arcs, relationship building, and tons of interesting story beats, including Elizabeth's brainwashing and time traveling. The script is much bigger, and it shows. It's far more intricate—and, yes, better—than BioShock's.
7 Worse: Twist
It's hard to compete with BioShock's iconic twist. Even to this day, "would you kindly" remains a popular piece of pop culture lore, and the scene with Andrew Ryan is fondly remembered as one of the greatest in gaming history. Infinite tried its absolute darnedest to one-up its predecessor, but it only resulted in mass confusion.
While BioShock's twist was simple and instantly understandable, Infinite wove a complex web of time travel that requires a Stephen King-sized novel to unravel. It's certainly shocking, but the more you look into it, the more confusing and outlandish it gets.
6 Better: Characters
BioShock does have some amazing characters. You've got Andrew Ryan, who delivers the greatest twist in gaming, Suchong, Sander Cohen, Steinman, and Frank Fontaine/Atlas. But, much like the script, the character writing only got better for Infinite, resulting in a more memorable and dimensional cast of characters.
You've got Booker, Comstock (a.k.a. old, crazy Booker), the Songbird, Elizabeth, Fink, Slate, Daisy Fitzroy, and best of all, the Lutece twins. They're all great, and they've all been cosplay-ed to death. Expectations are high for the next BioShock because it'll be tough to top this cast.
5 Worse: Vigors
One of the biggest criticisms of BioShock was the lack of fun vigors, especially when compared to BioShock. The original BioShock had a ton of interesting plasmids: cyclone, electro bolt, enrage, hypnotize, incinerate, insect swarm, security bullseye, sonic boom, target dummy, telekinesis, and winter blast. They were all fun, and they all added something interesting to the game.
Meanwhile, Infinite copied many of the plasmids for its vigors, leading to a sense of repetition, and the ones they added, including charge, bees, and murder of crows, were just straight-up boring and useless.
4 Better: Weapons
While the vigors were really lame, no one can deny that Infinite had a way better weapon selection. You had basically all the weapons from the first game—RPG, pistol, shotgun, and machine gun—but it also contained a ton of new interesting weapons. These include the sniper rifle, burst gun, Huntsman carbine, hand cannon, crank gun, and the volley gun/Hail Fire.
It seems like the game was pushing you more towards shooting because a lot more work went into the shooting mechanics than the vigors! Add in the great, "punchy" feeling of the weapons, and it's easy to see that they are way better than the ones found in BioShock.
3 Worse: Linear Shooting Gallery
Another major dock typically fired against Infinite is that it was essentially a linear shooting gallery. BioShock, and its obvious influence System Shock 2, contained open-ended areas that allowed for exploration and a certain freedom in gameplay.
However, Infinite was far less open, relying instead on more traditional first-person shooter mechanics and levels. Yeah, it wasn't as bad or as linear as Uncharted or anything, but it still inhibited exploration and player freedom to a certain degree, and die-hard BioShock fans were not about that.
2 Better: More Variety In The Setting
The good thing about Columbia's open design is that it allows for a far greater variety in the settings. While Rapture was absolutely fantastic, its underwater nature limited its own variety. You simply traveled from one dark, dreary room to another dark, dreary room, rinse and repeat for ten hours.
On the other hand, Infinite offered a much wider variety of settings, including the original hub, Elizabeth's tower, the beach/carnival, the manufacturing section, blimps, airships, the gritty streets hosting a revolution, the mental asylum, some type of multiverse hub, and even Rapture itself. It's a gorgeous game, and BioShock can't compete.
1 Worse: Two-Gun Limit
Seriously, what on Earth were they thinking with the two gun limit? Perhaps the biggest point docked against Infinite is its highly controversial two-gun limit, limiting you to just two weapons at any given time. Sure, this could add a sense of tension and strategy to the game, but when BioShock players were used to total weapon access, it came as a major, and not welcomed, surprise.
To this day, this faction of the game remains its most contentious, and many people call it an inferior game because of it. Hopefully, the next BioShock game goes back to the weapon wheel... if that ever comes to fruition.