From the sky to the sea.
BioShock began its remarkable videogame life by introducing players to the enigmatic undersea world of Rapture, a utopia created by Andrew Ryan that went terribly wrong. The players only had the chance to glimpse the splendor that this city once had in the game and were left to explore, and survive, the post-calamity ruins.
BioShock Infinite, the latest BioShock title from Irrational Games, took players to a different world, taking them into the sky for a different type of adventure. While the floating city of Columbia would prove to be a wondrous setting for the adventure in Infinite, many players still yearned to return to Rapture.
And so it is that Irrational Games have released the first part of a two-part DLC offering for BioShock Infinite that returns players to the undersea city. This time, players will get to see Rapture in all of its glory, teaming with life as it was before the events that preceded the first BioShock game. They will also get to experience this world with alternate reality versions of the two heroes from BioShock Infinite, Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth.
This first half of a revisit to fan-favorite Rapture clocks in at only a couple of hours, but it is long enough for players to find themselves bitten by the return to Rapture bug. However, things are quite different this time around, despite the continuing existence of the enemies that we have come to know and fear from the previous BioShock games.
In Burial At Sea – Episode One, the alternative Booker DeWitt is still a private detective and is asked to find a young girl by this world’s version of Elizabeth. But Elizabeth is really quite different this time around, seeming more jaded and worldly-wise than the marvel-filled Elizabeth of Columbia.
Still, this short adventure does its best to combine the strengths of these two different worlds into almost an homage to the BioShock games. Fan service is frequently paid in references to known characters, and the weapon wheel makes a welcome comeback. But then we get the Skyhook from Infinite making an appearance, and Elizabeth is able to use the tears in reality once again.
The combat has always been a secondary consideration in the BioShock games, and that has not changed here, playing second fiddle to the story that Irrational Games are trying to tell. The combat is nothing too taxing in Burial At Sea and will be familiar to players of the main game, leaving the player to enjoy the journey. While this is good for the story, many will find themselves yearning for more of a challenge, something more akin to the original games.
Unfortunately, the story itself just doesn’t measure up in this first act of Burial At Sea. Without giving anything away where the story is concerned, especially as it is relatively short, this episode will finish leaving players wanting, and hoping for, more in the second part. Compared to the story in Infinite, Burial At Sea so far doesn’t quite hit the mark.
But this combination of the games is something that will certainly interest fans of the Rapture-based games and those who only jumped in BioShock with Infinite. It may not reach the dizzying heights of story telling that Infinite achieved, but Burial At Sea – Episode One will leave the player looking forward to returning in Episode Two.