A side effect of playing BioShock Infinite a couple of weeks after everyone else was that I knew a zomg-freak-out twist was waiting for me at the end. So even without meaning to, I found myself digging through every trash can hoping to uncover a clue to the mystery, or failing that, a tasty apple.
Major spoiler alerts, because, c’mon
It really only took one odd reference. When Booker is hacking his way through the Museum o’ Racism, Cornelius Slate rips into Comstock for lying about fighting at the Battle of Wounded Knee, while simultaneously massaging his man-crush on Booker for his heroics at that same battle. And just like that, the seed of the idea that Booker was Comstock was planted in my head.
And yet, I didn’t mind when my suspicion was later confirmed, because I still wanted to know what would happen to Elizabeth.
Booker, eh, not so much. I had long ago resigned myself to the realization that I was playing as a bitter, violent man with an amazing appetite for trash can food and an apparently equally amazing tush.
But whenever I paused to catch my breath, I kept finding myself glancing at Elizabeth. BioShock Infinite is a fine game, but Elizabeth is some kind of evolutionary step. She looks and acts like a real person. I smiled at her dancing and the way she poked at every item in stores. She looks like a Disney princess come to life. Later, I grew worried when she’d cross her arms and glare at me after our trip to Paris was derailed. Elizabeth’s body language set the tone of the game about as much as the actual events unfolding around me. When she yelled at me, I felt ashamed. When she screamed for my help, I was terrified.
Of course that didn’t stop me from rooting through cabinets while scientists jammed dagger-like needles into her spine. And boy did I feel like a stinker. Decades of gaming strategy has turned me into a callous jerk. Maybe that’s why slipping into Booker’s role was so easy. In the end, when Elizabeth pushed me underwater, it felt right that I stay there. As long as Elizabeth could save herself, then that would be a happy ending.