Editor’s Note: John Koziol was unable to participate in last month’s roundtable discussion of BioShock Infinite’s story and ending because of an unfortunate mechanical failure. Personally, I’m impressed that he managed to reach the very last battle with a busted controller before he finally threw in the towel. Regardless, you should probably check out the article linked in the very first sentence of this editor’s note if you want to have any clue what the rest of this is about. If you’re too lazy to do that, we solicited opinions from the staff regarding the ending of BioShock Infinite, and this is John’s. Oh, and Spoiler Alert.
So, I finally picked up a controller that works and beat the game. I’m behind my fellow D Bags on this one, but I find myself disagreeing with all of them. I’m fine with the obvious duality of Comstock/Booker. I’m fine with there being an actual ending. The only complaint I have with those last few moments is the nature of the reveal. I agree that it is set up like the ending to a M Night movie and that if you’d been paying attention most of the reveal is obvious, but I’m bouncing around. I enjoyed the sea of doors. I enjoyed the fingercide scene. I even enjoyed the concept that a baptism can have two wildly different outcomes which impinge greatly on two parallel worlds. That’s a large part of the heart of the game. If those last few beats were set up more as an inevitability rather than as a capital “S” surprise, it would have been better. I’m generally not a fan of explicit versus implicit storytelling, but in this case something portraying the baptism and its outcomes as inevitable parts of the circle would have helped. Maybe when Booker goes for the baptism you see him accept it. Then, while under the water we see a tear where the now (soon to be/will be) holy Booker turns into Comstock. Then while under, you (as hero Booker) see (with fallen heart) all the Elizabeths gather and make it clear that the only way to prevent this whole mess is to force him (you) deep under the water forever. Glub glib. Just a couple beats.
The story, often, is obvious. The way you tell it matters.
P.S. I hadn’t actually seen the stinger until after I had written this, and Scott asked my opinion of how it fit with my vision of the story. And it doesn’t. It’s really stupid and just some stupid David Lynch fanboy bullshit.