BioShock Infinite Mac Review
BioShock Infinite is a monument to gaming and the fact it reached the Mac only 6 months after the PC release is something to be extremely satisfied with (Mac gaming had a lot of catching up to do).
Developed by Irrational Games, Infinite was originally released on PC and consoles in March 2013. Aspyr was the one in charge of the Mac version, which was released on August 29th. I'm not going to tell you those months were easy, especially as Aspyr didn't give much information in-between, but given the result, the wait was definitely worthwhile. But the real question is not whether BioShock Infinite is a good game or not (scoring a 94 Metascore, it will be without a doubt one of the best games of the year) but: How good is the Mac version? Should you buy it?
Short answer? There's a reason why I consider it one of the Top 10 FPS games for Mac.
Enter BioShock Infinite
To be perfectly honest with you, I wanted to play BioShock Infinite on Mac really bad. I was obsessed with getting my hands on it the moment Aspyr announced it earlier this year. I even decided not to play it on any other platform so I could experience it for the first time on macOS.
With such high expectations, my first moments with the game were somewhat disappointing. I kept thinking "this is a good game but come on, what's the fuzz all about?". Boy, I was wrong... For every hour I kept playing, I liked the game more and more, until I got through the ending and just had to sit down and absorb everything that just had happened. The story is really that good. I will not get into the details to keep this review spoiler-free, but this game is a hell of a ride.
The Gameplay itself is top-notch too. This is an action-packed First-Person shooter with lots of guns and explosions but before you tell me you don't need another Call of Duty, rest assured, BioShock Infinite is a different beast. Like its predecessors, this game is authentic and unique. There are no grenades, fancy thermal weapons nor airstrikes. It only has a handful of different guns. Basic, yet full of personality (like a killer sniper rifle, a powerful shotgun or a kickass RPG).
The overall mechanics are polished and solid. The game will do what you ask it to do, making it the more satisfying when you mow down several bad guys with a sniper rifle on low-ammunitions and a small pistol. Some sequences did feel a little too crazy for me at times. To realize I could soak up that much damage without dying cheapened the experience once or twice during my play-time. This is only a small issue but is worth mentioning it.
Besides shooting people, you will get to explore one of the most fascinating cities I have ever seen in a video-game. Columbia is full of personality and authenticity, which combined create a strong atmosphere. Did I mention Columbia is a flying city? Well, it is, and you will have to use rails to go from flying island to flying island, making the whole experience even more unique. The rail mechanics work well and give you more options when facing bad guys.
All of the above would be enough to make a great game but Infinite goes above and beyond and introduces one of the most memorable Non-Playable Characters ever: Elizabeth. Elizabeth is the charming young woman you will have to save. She looks great, with lots of details giving her an identity of her own.
More than that, her facial expressions are so damn good they make her a human, believable character that you will care for. She is also one of the first NPCs ever that didn't annoy me at some point. She will not get stuck against a wall or just stand there blocking your way. On the contrary, she will help you (handing you valuable health packs, ammo and more), challenge you and really drive the whole story up to that magnificent climax at the end.
There's so much to say about BioShock Infinite's graphics. They are no breakthrough by any means but still manage to impress. The art-style and attention to detail go very far and help create one of the most beautiful cities ever seen in a video-game. Columbia is so beautiful that I promise you, more than once you will have to just stop and absorb the magnificent vistas it has to offer.
Everything in this game screams high production value, including the characters. The bad guys around you are well detailed and are easily distinguishable, even from afar. Elizabeth, however, is in another ballpark. Her facial expressions are spot on and make her human and vulnerable. She will definitely be one of the most memorable parts of the game.
The music and sound effects are high quality too and enhance the overall experience. You would be surprised how strong the effect of that stressful combat-music is.
BioShock Infinite Performance
Aspyr truly did a wonderful job bringing BioShock Infinite to macOS. I never encountered one single bug while playing this game and ran smoothly all the time, even during sequences packed with bad guys and explosions. Infinite was truly optimized, offering high frames per second (even while recording gameplay with every setting maxed out).
Compared to Borderlands 2 (which was a good port), BioShock Infinite is hands down better, offering better performance and more frames per second. This is Aspyr's finest port to date and I can only be grateful they did it on such an awesome game.
Minimum system requirements:
- Operating System: OS X 10.8.4 (Mountain Lion) or later
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2 GHz
- Memory: 4 GB
- Hard Disk Space: 30 GB
- Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 640M, Radeon HD 3870, Intel HD 4000, or better with 512 MB of Video Memory
- An amazing story
- Columbia is simply breathtaking
- Elizabeth is the most memorable NPC I have ever encountered
- Solid gameplay mechanics
- Some sequences felt a little too out of control
Overall, this was definitely an ambitious attempt on behalf of Irrational Games and I'm glad to confirm they pulled it off. They truly created an amazing universe you will want to discover. The story alone is one hell of a ride and the fact you experience it alongside Elizabeth makes it even better. Luckily, the gameplay mechanics, sound, and graphics managed to keep up, making this whole experience all the more immersive. Aspyr also deserves a word, as they managed to bring this experience to the Mac with no performance sacrifices. I can't wait to see what both Irrational Games and Aspyr will bring us next.