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BioShock Infinite
by yo go re

The girl in the tower, who can change reality with the wave of her hand...

Imprisoned since childhood, Elizabeth yearns to experience a world she has only read about in books. Freed from captivity by Booker Dewitt, she realizes the world outside is nothing like she dreamed... and the the people responsible for her imprisonment will stop at nothing to get her back.

NECA has abandoned their usual "wait for the sequel" strategy when it comes to BioShock Infinite: apparently the toys based on the first two games did well enough that they were ready to take a gamble on Infinite. And from what everybody's saying, it sounds like they made the right decision - now, I won't get to play the game for quite some time (hell, I just finished the first Assassin's Creed last week), but this game has looked awesome ever since the announce trailer. And when even Shocka is raving about a game, you know it's good. Beyond good. And this time, NECA had their toys out and ready to go the day the ads started playing. Nice.

Elizabeth is your sidekick in the game - more than that, she's your companion, a true partner. And yet she was almost cut from the game because no one on the dev team could make her work. They wanted her to be Alyx Vance, not Ashley Graham, and that's no easy thing to do. The face is slightly inhuman, which was a conscious choice on the part of the designers.

The figure was sculpted by Adrienne Smith, and it looks excellent. Her little bolero jacket is thick and wrinkled, with a fabricky texture all over. Her hair is just as chunky on the toy as it was in the game, and she's wearing appropriately turn-of-the-century shoes (the game is set in 1912). She's missing the pinky on her right hand, which Shocka says is an important detail, though she doesn't have the small metal cap that fits over the end - but it'll be easy to paint that on yourself. She's even got wrinkles on her knuckles! The most impressive detail, though, can be found on her unnaturally thin-waisted corset: the support ribs, the tiny wrinkles in the cloth sections, and even the laces up the back. It all comes together excellently.

One area of the figure where we can't praise the sculpt is her dress - not because it's done badly, but because it's not a sculpt. NECA opted to give her a softgoods dress, and we'll say this right now: that was the right call! Holy crap, this thing looks so good! The material is rather springy, so we're guessing it's a spandex blend. The material her dress is made of on the toy is rather thin; but the material it's supposed to look like is thicker, like crushed velvet or something. So on a 7" scale figure, it hangs and bunches just like it should. Love it! Stitched to the inside lower edge of the skirt is a ruffled white petticoat, creating a fake layered look. But don't worry, if you look up the dress, you're not going to see her "petticoat junction" - she's got sculpted bloomers that end just above the knee.

When I first lifted the skirt to check out what Elizabeth was packing, I thought her lower legs had been assembled wrong - the calf muscles pointed toward the outside rather than the center. Then I noticed that her knees seemed to have more "knee" sculpted on the back than the front - and since they're swivel/hinge joints, that means her shins can turn all the way around. So it's not that the legs were assembled incorrectly, it's that they're on backwards! Luckily her corset is pvc, so it doesn't get in the way of the waist swivel, and everything was fixed easily. The angle of the feet is better, too! If you're concerned that your Elizabeth might be twisted, just keep in mind that she does have buttocks, and they do belong in the back. In addition to all the joints mentioned already, she's got swivel boots, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, swivel wrists, swivel/hinge elbows and shoulders, and a balljointed head.

The paint is just as good as the sculpt. Her coat is nearly the same shade as her dress, with any difference attributable to the different ways plastic and cloth reflect light. Her skin is a very healthy pink, for someone who's lived in a tower her whole life, but then again, her tower's in the sky - with no cloud cover, maybe it's easier to tan. There's a black pattern applied to her shoes, even though 1) her shoes are dark grey to begin with, and 2) they're covered by her dress anyway. You'll want to examine her eyes, to make sure their spacing is even, but look at the faded little freckles painted on her cheeks! Outstanding! The corset gets a gray wash to catch all those wrinkles. Her choker has a silver bird painted on the center, and some truly precise linework on the edges, but it's missing the "circled infinity" pattern seen on the real thing. But that and the lack of silver on her fingertip are the only problems on an otherwise top-notch piece.

BioShock Infinite was originally scheduled for release in October 2012, but got pushed back thrice, finally coming out this past Tuesday. Judging by the reviews, the wait was worth it. Don't you wait, however, to pick up this Elizabeth figure. While you try to scrub the memory of that painfully awkward transition from your mind, consider the facts: she's got a great sculpt, great paint, and great fabrication. And while this review was being written, NECA confirmed that they want to do (main protagonist) Booker DeWitt this fall, so if you're planning to get him, you need Elizabeth to pair up with him. Get her. Go get her. Get her before everyone realizes how good she is and you can no longer find her.

-- 03/31/13

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