Bioshock Infinite is problematic because, unlike the battle for Hyrule or Jacinto, the massacre at Wounded Knee actually happened, as did violence against interracial couples. It becomes extraordinarily uncomfortable for a game to treat enemies as obstacles to be removed with a gun in the context of actual, still relevant wars.
We follow that disembodied tutorial voice without ever asking why. And even when we don't, when we insist on attempting to ignore those prompts, we find that ultimately we are chained to the elements necessary to drive the plot of Bioshock Infinite (or any game) forward.
The critical consensus is that the main character in a game has to either be an extension of or a substitute for the player. The whole world must be at the player’s disposal, and the world has to be built around the player’s actions (or inaction). The more the player can play with, the better the game respects its medium. This “me-first” approach to video game storytelling is tragically limited.
Spec-Ops: The Line has been critically lauded as a game that takes a hard, self-aware look at the shooter genre. But all good shooters are self-aware. It's how they're able to distill conflict into something fun that matters.
Plot just provides us with a win condition, it is not necessary for the act of play. I can enjoy a game without plot, but I can’t enjoy a game without world building because that is a game without rules.
While we seemingly get lots of choices in a game about how we get from place to place, how to kill enemies (and with what weapon), and even how we make moral decisions, when the game prompts us we usually get down to doing what it tells us to do.
Baby Boomer films such as Star Wars taught us about the corruptible and corrupting influence of an authoritarian father; now games like Bioshock 2 and Red Dead Redemption explore Generation X's “daddy issues”.
Much like telling an erotic story within a Victorian backdrop seems ever so sexy, human depravity juxtaposed against a seemingly golden age of good, moral values is darkly comic and that much more disturbing.
“I wouldn't say that games are the ideal way to experience literature. I think literature has done that quite well. That being said, games offer the opportunity to ask interesting questions and allow the player to answer them in a way that transcends previous mediums.” -- Jordan Thomas, Creative Director, Bioshock 2