BioShock Infinite Review

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅02-04-13
Complementary Graphics

Test System

CPU: Intel Core i5 2300
Memory: 8GB (2 x 4GB) GSkill DDR3
GPU: ZOTAC GTX 480 @ Stock
OS: Windows 7
OS HDD: 64GB Kingston v100+ SSD
Steam Folder HDD: 500GB Samsung 7200RPM HDD
Monitor Resolution: 1680*1050

BioShock Infinite has been implemented through the use of Unreal Engine 3, the same engine at the heart of other industry-leading titles such as Arkham City, Dishonoured and Mass Effect 3. It’s well known for graphical capability – especially in Windows OS environments where it can take advantage of the benefits brought by DirectX 11 – but relies on the art direction to set a title ahead of the pack. It is in this regard that BioShock Infinite shines.

Every in-game frame is gorgeous: you could literally take a screenshot almost anywhere, print it out and have a poster-quality image. Where this most stands out is the city of Columbia itself, but we should also single out Elizabeth’s wonderfully animated character model which has fine attention to detail. Other character models, the Handyman for instance, are good too; however Elizabeth sets a gold standard which is difficult to see replicated elsewhere.

It’s not clear which platform the game was developed for, but one worry PC gamers often have with titles co-released on consoles is that their version will be poorly optimised or lack most of the options standard to PC first person shooters. It’s with some relief therefore that we can report of a pretty extensive set of graphical options which allows for fairly coarse performance refinement. Setting the Graphics Level to Custom in the Options Menu unlocks ten different graphical options including Texture Detail and Field of View adjustment; AA and AO settings are unfortunately simple on and off (although drivers often allow you to force levels of AA), and so configuring the game for both high IQ and high performance based on your own rig’s capabilities will be quite difficult.

The high quality graphics come at a cost however. Running the game on our test system saw a slowdown at the highest custom image quality during particularly intense combat scenarios. As a matter of course you'll want to run the game at close to 60FPS and should tailor settings to achieve that; reducing dynamic shadows will generally have the most impact on improving FPS without sacrificing too much image quality.

One oversight is the lack of a gun size control, which is especially disappointing given how much of the screen the gun can take up depending on your screen resolution and FoV. That said, give it time and there may be tweaks in the cards for those who really want to optimise their experience. Those running marginally underpowered NVIDIA systems will be able to take advantage of the GeForce Experience App for settings tweaks, whilst both AMD and NVIDIA card owners should ensure that they're running the latest drivers to gain the most from their graphics hardware.

BioShock Infinite isn't the most configurable title we've seen in the past year - both Tomb Raider and the Borderlands 2 easily surpass it - but there's just enough there to counter arguments that it's a poor console port.

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