My gamer friends were crazy for first two games and couldn’t stop talking about the third game, which was scheduled to come out the following year.
They considered it one of the best FPS adventure games in recent memory and told me that I absolutely had to play the third game. Come March 26, 2013, and I was eagerly waiting in line to pick up my copy of BioShock Infinite.
BioShock Infinite takes place in the year 1912 and follows former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt as he is sent to the flying city of Columbia to “find the girl and wipe away the debt.” The game immediately throws religious themes at the player, referencing Sodom as soon as you enter the lighthouse. Heck, Booker is even baptized just before he wakes up in front of angelic statues of our founding fathers. Needless to say, I was absolutely enraptured by the game from the get-go. I’m a huge history buff, so games set in any historical era are fascinating to me. I loved the old timey feel of Columbia, as if it were a floating city encased in a snow globe that I could experience first-hand. The religious propaganda was a bit unsettling, but the city was fascinating nonetheless.
Of course, it all quickly turns racist and xenophobic, but I was about to enjoy in blissful ignorance for at least forty minutes.
But no matter how captivating the era may be, or how interesting to lore is, the one thing that keeps me from loving BioShock Infinite is the character that almost every single fan apparently adores: Elizabeth. From the moment I met Elizabeth, I was annoyed with her. She gives off a Disney princess vibe and is painfully naïve. I understand that it was all supposed to be a part of her character, and I honestly tried to give her a chance, but I couldn’t bring myself to. Her entire character arc is depressing and infuriating to me. She becomes more serious as the game progresses, and I would have enjoyed that if she weren’t so pessimistic. She begins innocent and ends up cynical and almost depressed, as if I was watching her go through every stage of puberty in ten or more hours. She was also super condescending whenever I asked her to pick locks for me, claiming it was “child’s play” as I tried to stop myself from getting physically angry about a game skill I just didn’t possess.
It also felt as though the developers wanted desperately to invoke emotion through Elizabeth. While I thoroughly enjoyed watching Elizabeth and Booker interact, I hated the scene where she asked Booker to kill her. It felt extreme and almost like the developers wanted me to feel for Elizabeth. Except that I couldn’t, because I never grew up in a tower alone or had the ability to manipulate time and space or was suddenly thrust into the situation Elizabeth suddenly found herself in. I couldn’t find any way, as a girl, to relate to Elizabeth, no matter how badly I wanted to. She was truly a helpful companion throughout the game. Whenever I was running out of ammo, she was there for me. Whenever I was low on salt or healthy, Elizabeth had the solution. Low on cash? Elizabeth had my back. She questioned Booker’s morality and made Booker into a better person by the time the credits rolled.
Despite all this, I just couldn’t bring myself to like her.
She wasn’t believable to me, not like, say, Ellie from The Last of Us. I was in love with Ellie from the moment I met her, and she was meant to be the same type of character as Elizabeth was. The difference between Ellie and Elizabeth is that Elizabeth was more likely to stand aside and let me fight while Ellie would actually join in – at least after she got the gun from Joel. I felt more of a connection with Ellie because I actually could put myself into her shoes. I could imagine what it might be like to grow up in a zombie infested world.
In the end, I wanted to like Elizabeth.
All of my friends loved her and sang endless praise for her, but Elizabeth just put a damper on my first BioShock experience. I couldn’t relate to her, I hated her condescending response to lock picking, and I would rather her help me out in a fight than find me items. At least I have Ellie.