Review: Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode 1
Posted by Ben Harding
Return to Rapture
Burial at Sea - Episode 1 sees the return of Bioshock Infinite’s not-so-good-guy Booker DeWitt and his not-so-trusty-sidekick, Elizabeth, in the slightly more unfamiliar setting (for them at least!) of Rapture - the city under the sea that served as a home base for both Bioshock, and Bioshock 2.
While this is a separate narrative to that of Infinite and the original Bioshock, it borrows from both of the games, combining the setting from one with the playing style of the other. From the very outset you'll notice that the DLC takes on a much darker tone both visually and atmospherically, while the film noir-style makeover lends itself perfectly to the backdrop of a marvellously recreated pre-collapse Rapture. This melding of games sees the usual guns and Vigors come into play alongside two new additions, the "Radar Range" and the aptly named "Old Man Winter." Even the Skyhook makes an appearance as you make your way around the underwater metropolis in search of Booker’s daughter, which is hard enough to explain in itself, let alone without spoiling anything for anyone who hasn’t finished the main game yet.
The combat is nothing much to shout about if you weren't a fan of the way things played out first time around, given that it’s exactly what you’d expect from the series, given that nothing's changed all that much since the original. But it is a little tame, not requiring you to fight that hard to survive against the meagre amount of Splicers you encounter, especially after Elizabeth starts to open tears containing motorized patriots and the like. Burial at Sea is more of a heavily story-driven affair - even the Big-Daddy you face off against seems like a walk in the park compared to the all-out battle you faced in the original.
It does seem that the first instalment is nothing but an introduction to the second, and in places is just plain fan-service. But if you are indeed a fan, the final scene will leave you wanting more. It’s a perfect set-up to taking on the next episode as Elizabeth herself, something many people have been looking forward to since it was announced that she would be a playable character.
Unfortunately the £11.99 ($14.99) you pay doesn't buy you very long in Rapture, it is very short. If you want to collect everything you’ll probably be looking at a handful of hours of play, either in one go or over a couple of playthroughs. If you put your running legs on you can zip through in an hour and a half, or maybe less, depending on your skill level. If you haven’t already got the Season Pass and aren’t a die-hard fan (in which case, why would you have the Season Pass?) it’s hard to weigh up whether it’s worth the cash. Even as a fan, you might still be left wondering if you did the right thing.
In short, splitting Burial at Sea into two parts feels more like a money-making scheme than a necessity. It is a fantastic homage to everything Bioshock, but it appears that’s all it is for now. Episode two however, promises to be much more like what we're looking for and, after the ending in this first episode plays out, you’ll want to see what’s in store.