Published on November 15th, 2013 | by Alex Porter1
Review: Bioshock Infinite: Burial At Sea – Episode 1
Back when the first Bioshock was released, we were introduced to a fantastic new underwater world to explore, an intriguing new combat system, and a compelling story. Bioshock 2 brought more of what made the first game great albeit with a weaker storyline. Then along came Bioshock Infinite, the latest game in the series which brought with it another amazing story as well as introducing us to yet another crazy environment this time set in Columbia, a city in the sky. You can read our review of Bioshock Infinite here if you haven’t already!
Infinite has already seen its first piece of DLC with the release of Clash in the Clouds, an arena/challenge style portion of gameplay that was rather lacklustre and typical of arena style modes available in other games. As for Infinite’s second DLC offering, Irrational Games has decided to have Burial At Sea return gamers to the world from the first two Bioshock games, the underwater city of Rapture! Before reading on beware of potential spoilers for the main game and the first two Bioshock games!
Burial At Sea sees gamers return to Rapture but this time as Infinite’s Booker DeWitt. Booker is once again a private investigator but this time working in Rapture when Elizabeth shows up with a job for him. She tasks Booker with finding a missing girl named Sally and joins him on his search. The simplest answer as to why Booker and Elizabeth are in Rapture is that it is a different reality from the one that features in Infinite, something that those who have seen Infinite’s ending should understand… hopefully! I will avoid talking more about the story as not to give anything away but during the story there are a few clues as to what’s going on aside from finding the missing girl. The first episode ends with an interesting twist and one can only wonder as to where Irrational Games will take the second episode of Burial At Sea! The story’s only downfall seems to be the length of the DLC. Lasting only an hour or so, the DLC ends quickly and can feel very short. Hopefully the second episode will see the story continue forward and last longer than the first.
As for Rapture itself, the beautiful world that was created in the first game makes a return but this time the city has not fallen completely into disrepair. Burial At Sea allows us to see Rapture before it all went to hell with citizens going about their lives and shops open for business. The new Rapture also has references to the first Bioshock with posters, audio logs, and conversations featuring characters such as Atlas, Fontaine, and Andrew Ryan. You also get to meet a character from the first game but this time from the perspective that Rapture has not yet completely collapsed. It is great to see a part of Rapture intact with recognisable environmental features from the first game such as pneumo tubes and the classic Bioshock doors. This doesn’t last as before long you are thrown into the dreggs of Rapture filled with Splicers, turrets and water leaks of course! The final boss, while an obvious choice, is also great to see make a return. It wouldn’t be Rapture with out having to fight one of these guys!
While the return to Rapture is most welcome, the city presented in the DLC feels a little bland compared to the original Rapture and Infinite’s own Columbia. Unfortunately this version of Rapture simply fails to capture the beauty and magnificence that both the original and Columbia brought. That’s not to say that the DLC’s Rapture doesn’t look good, it just lacks some of the atmosphere that made the original so great.
While the DLC is set in Rapture, the gameplay features are much closer to that of Infinite’s Columbia with Elizabeth once again providing you with health, Eve and ammo as you play as well as opening tears to provide help such as turrets and weapons. Even the Plasmids that Booker begins with are simply Vigors from Infinite, they even retain their names from the main game. It would have been great if they had been named as they were in the original Bioshock; for instance having the Electro Bolt Plasmid rather than the Shock Jockey Vigor. The addition of the Skyhook, *ahem* I mean Air Grabber, also makes Rapture feel a little less like itself and a little more like Columbia. These may be minor things but they do feel as if they take away from the Rapture experience but they can potentially be explained through the whole multiple realities story line!
As for weaponry, you get the usual bunch of typical Bioshock weapons including the Hand Cannon and Shotgun but there are a few additions including the Tommy Gun and Radar Range. The Tommy Gun is as you would expect but the Radar Range is an interesting new weapon that fries Splicers and causes them to explode hurting other nearby enemies. Along with these weapons, you also receive a new Plasmid, Old Man Winter. It can be used to freeze enemies as well as for progressing by freezing flowing water. Apart from the fun that can be had with the Radar Range, the weapons and Plasmids don’t really provide anything new or interesting from a gameplay prospective.
Overall Burial At Sea feels like a cross-over between Rapture and Columbia, with the underwater city setting but with many of the gameplay features of Infinite. The best part of the DLC has to be the story. While not long, the story is interesting and enjoyable and will hopefully be expanded upon in the next episode! As for gameplay, it feels pretty much the same as Infinite’s with little to no difference which is disappointing as something new would have been nice to mix up the combat more. If you’re a fan of Bioshock Infinite then you will enjoy Burial At Sea. But if you’re only hoping for an interesting return to Rapture, then you may be left disappointed with the lack of atmosphere that the original Rapture captured so well. All-in-all though, Burial At Sea is a good piece of content for Bioshock Infinite and is still enjoyable despite some of the minor flaws.
Bioshock Infinite: Burial At Sea - Episode 1
Summary: A great piece of story DLC but without much in the line of gameplay additions or length, it doesn't feel as great as it could have been. A welcome return to Rapture but with a little less atmosphere than the original! Hopefully episode 2 will bring more for the story and some more gameplay improvements!