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BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds (PlayStation 3) artwork

BioShock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds (PlayStation 3) review

"An exercise in frustration and... just awkward design decisions and pacing."

I think I've figured out even more why I didn't like Bioshock Infinite as much as the other Bioshock games. There just isn't any sense of ecosystem like there is in the other games. In the Rapture Bioshock games, everything that's in there makes sense. The splicers, the Big Daddy's, the Little Sisters... they all live and interact there. Conflicts always start when you enter their domain and interrupt what they were doing. In Infinite, there's just an army of dudes who attack you in each level, and you have no idea why firemen and handymen exist, they're just more dudes who want to kill you.

One more tangent, I always have a mixed audio-visual experience with Bioshock Infinite. It looks and sounds great a lot of the time, but can be way too dark in some areas in a way that makes me think it is unintentional. I get a bad feeling doing the gamma adjust option, as dark areas just never seem to look right. Also, sometimes the things I really need to hear are too low. I wonder if it is because the game is set up for surround sound and I'm just using my TV's speakers???

Anyway, Clash in the Clouds is a little DLC pack for Bioshock Infinite that lets you fight waves of dudes and dudettes in four arenas. You get money for killing them and can use the money to buy upgrades and also unlock items in a little museum, such as music, videos, concept art, and really nice 3D character models (looking at the Song Bird up close and in detail without it moving is pretty great, as is hearing the weird alternate dimension covers of songs like Tainted Love and Everybody Wants to Rule the World).

Almost everything about this DLC is set up weirdly. Each level consists of 15 waves, but you can't save between them and it will often take over an hour to beat all 15, meaning if something comes up and you need to leave your game, you will loose your progress, or if you just have 30 minutes to play, or even just an hour, you really shouldn't even start. The game is set to hard mode and you can't change it, and some waves are truly brutal, and even cheap, as sometimes a handyman will hit you the second the round starts and take you down to just a sliver of HP before you can even move. This makes it even more painful that the game kind of makes it seem like you failed if you die at all during the waves, but then it lets you continue anyway but resets your overall score. Then there are challenges in each wave, such as killing all the enemies in certain ways, and the game encourages you to collect 'em all, but then doesn't let you select an individual wave, so if you are missing one, you gotta' play through 'em all to get to the one you need. Then if you die at all, you automatically fail the challenge, which I guess means you have to repeat that whole process. Unless I'm missing something, you'd have to endlessly play stupid waves over and over to get the waves you need to complete challenges in. Obviously I didn't try as that is ridiculous.

All that negativity aside, all your old tricks from the main game are there for you to try again, and it is fun to get a great combination of vigors, weapons, and tears going. The tears here are especially cool as each level is absolutely loaded with them, giving you lots of options. I picked up a few new tricks along the way (mainly mastering using undertow to knock people off the city and taking out zealots like a champ with undertow tentacles and a shotgun to the face). There are a few waves that are especially clever and fun, such as some that take place entirely on multiple airships you have to jump between, and a few where you have to take out a huge zeppelin a la the main campaign.

But for every fun wave of enemies, there are probably 3 that are frustratingly hard or are way too easy. The difficulty balance is just weird too, with the last wave of level one being one of the hardest and the entirety of level 3 being pretty easy.

In general you'd just be better off playing the main game again, although this will do in a pinch if you just want a few hours of gameplay instead of the full campaign. The museum is neat, and a few of the levels are quite fun and interesting, but overall this is an exercise in frustration and... just awkward design decisions and pacing. It's a 2 out of 5.

Robotic_Attack's avatar
Community review by Robotic_Attack (June 25, 2016)

Robotic Attack reviews every game he plays... almost.

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