BioShock Infinite has been out for some time, and it's likely that you've already long-formed an opinion on it. However, assuming that assertion is true, it still may be worth watching Youtube user Satchbag's take on the game (even so far from its initial release) in a new episode of Anti-Semantics. While BioShock arguably was saddled with the weight of astronomical expectation – particular in terms of the series' reputation for lofty social commentary – Satchbag takes a step back from the would-be intellectualist fervor to examine what he feels the game is really saying (without any spoilers, to boot).

The video focuses on two large aspects of the game's overall experience: racism and ludonarrative dissonance. Contrary to a lot of reviewers, Satchbag points out that Infinite's tackling racism (and classism) the way that it does is more than a flirtation, pointing out that the often ironclad tropes of Hollywoodized fiction attempts to create dramatically "powerful" racial tension by essentially ratcheting up the situations and frequency of occurrences – not to mention adhering to a strict set of guidelines mainstream films use to govern interracial relationships on-screen. Interestingly by these standards Satchbag argues that Infinite is not so much big budget sound and fury, but rather a more realistic, i.e., perhaps not as ramped up, racially-charged experience, creating something more humanizing.

"It's much more engaging when tackling injustice seems less like a picket sign or a shock-jock performance piece," he says.

Maybe more to the point is Infinite's supposed ludo-narrative dissonance, which many complained ruined the game's sense of exploration and player's presence in the world of Columbia. It's refreshing to hear that Satchbag in so many words refutes Ken Levine's more pretentious artistic claims for the game, arguing that given Booker's character ("a murderer and a kidnapper," Satchbag says) the abundant violence made sense and, moreover, that the enjoyment of Infinite's experience perhaps should not be measured by a pretension yardstick, but rather just how absorbing the narrative is as a game.

"It's the difference between a Pollock and a Glaser piece," he says of Infinite. "Fine art is visualized to be interpreted in an infinite number of ways while the other is meant to be received the same way across the board." 

As Satchbag puts it, it would seem that most critics who played Infinite – perhaps almost desperately searching for its expected deeper meaning in a sea of relatively shallow competitors – maybe just forgot to play the approach the game at face value rather than as a guaranteed intellectual powerhouse; they "can't see the forest for the trees." Whether you agree with his assertions or not (not that a binary decision is the point here), it's very hard to argue that Satchbag doesn't bring up some salient ideas – the kind of discourse games should probably encourage as a medium in general. All in all, this second look at Infinite's perhaps more Glaser-like mentality is certainly worth your time.

[Via Youtube