While the first Bioshock titles took place under the ocean, Bioshock Infinite takes place in the skies of a floating city called Columbia. While the first two featured a silent protagonist, Infinite features an verbose and involved hero. The hands off demo that was shown impressed on many fronts. The first thing I noticed was the dramatic change in graphical style and direction.
The first two titles went for the realistic look, Infinite is slightly stylized. Characters resemble something that might have come from Lionhead Studios but by no means are they lighthearted. Colors are vibrant and almost seem to have a painted quality; almost like a slight cel-shaded look. However, the damsel in this Bioshock, Elizabeth, seems to have inter dimensional powers and at one point she opens a portal which changed the environment from the Bioshock Infinite world (which looks to be an alternate version of the 1800s) to a modern day city. The modern world had a much more realistic and grittier feel and was a stark contrast to the original Infinite world.
The gameplay looks intense as well as rather intimidating. The main character, as well as the enemies, are equipped with mechanical, rotating hooks on their arms which they use to travel along the rails that fill the skies of Columbia. Mind you, the rails look like roller coaster rails and propel the characters along them as such but they stretch much farther than any roller coaster I’ve ever seen. In fact, you will often see enemies launch themselves from one rail to another in mid air. The main character took a flying dive at one point during the gameplay shown where in any video game, had he not had that hook contraption to catch a rail, would have instantly been killed. I instantly thought, “We’re going to have to navigate through all this? This looks like it’s been made for super geniuses!” It filled me with dread as well as optimism. All intimidation aside, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Bioshock Infinite is expected to release on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC sometime in early 2012.