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BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One

12 November 2013
BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One - cover art
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Private investigator Booker DeWitt is hired to investigate the disappearance of a little girl named Sally in the underwater dystopia of Rapture.
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By popular demand, BioShock Infinite’s DLC takes us back to good ol’ Rapture. What sense does it make to return to the franchise's original place of intrigue in a game set three decades prior to its inception? Well, with the new dimension hopping tear plot device, anything is possible, and I mean that quite literally. The plot of the base game was almost completely ruined by Ken Levine’s liberal use of manipulating the fabric of time and space and the structural foundation of Infinite’s story and characters by proxy. At this point, I’m taking the Burial at Sea DLC at face value and am trying to enjoy the ride. I’ve spent all this time asking why when the game obviously wishes for me to revel in the “why nots?” Therefore, I will try my best not to criticize Burial at Sea too harshly, unless something truly absurd occurs.

The first of two chapters in Burial at Sea is set entirely in an alternate timeline to the base game of Infinite, which is why both Booker and Elizabeth exist in 1959 at the same ages they were in 1912. Booker is still the gruff private dick he was in the former half of the 20th century, but Elizabeth is practically unrecognizable. Here, she’s a sultry femme fatale with that fierce, cunning sexuality associated with the role. Unlike her demure self in Columbia, she’s got experience with the outside world and then some. She sashays into Booker’s office in the typical film noir fashion with a job to rescue a little girl named Sally from Rapture’s Little Sister Program, and Booker is highly invested in this job on account of her being his adopted daughter in this reality. Just roll with it.

Given that Burial at Sea takes place a few years before the ultimate fall of Rapture, Booker and Elizabeth arrive at the tailend of the city’s prime. Seeing Rapture in its state of regal prosperity that we all only heard of through audio diaries and other lord pieces is a succulent treat for every fan of the first two games. If Rapture is a wondrous spectacle as a darkened ruin, imagine how it looks with the lights still on. Rapture resembles the swanky, elegant, mid-century aesthetic seen by the billboard advertisements and general furbishing of the city. From the looks of the plaza on High Street, Andrew Ryan’s actual goal for Rapture was to surpass the scope of the surface world’s gallant balls. Imagine the New Year’s Eve photo from the end of The Shining but located at the aquarium at night. Elizabeth distracting the various shopkeepers from Booker stealing a bunny mask as entrance to Sander Cohen’s ongoing exhibit subtly gives the player a chance to bask in Rapture’s refined form. Oh, and seeing Sander Cohen again before he was TOO far gone from sanity is also a nice piece of fan service as well.

As Sander Cohen sends Booker and Elizabeth on the bathysphere set to Sally’s location after a fit of impassioned artistic rage, we are reminded that Rapture’s downfall was a gradual outcome of persisting corruption. We are also reminded that we’re still playing BioShock Infinite with its FPS-intensive gameplay mechanics. However, in order to keep this DLC section from becoming a Splicer bloodbath, ammunition for every weapon is incredibly scant. Booker can only blow through a few bullets of a select few weapons from the base game before his defenses run dry. Hope you got well acquainted with the sky-hook melee strike attack in the base game because Booker will have to resort to using it in lieu of the now-scarce resources. I’m glad the developers chose to approach combat like this because it makes Booker feel less capable in the more claustrophobic setting of Rapture as opposed to the sprawling skies of Columbia, retaining the effectiveness of the setting. EVE is still abundant, but the number of plasmids has been reduced along with being forced to use some for means of traversal. It’s fairly interesting using “Old Man Winter”, a stronger version of the “Winter Blast” plasmid, to freeze running water to make it into solid platforms. Also, the explosive laser Radar Range weapon is a thrilling new addition, but its use is hindered by the fact that it is unlocked so late in the chapter.

I was having fun with all of Burial at Sea’s new stipulations until the ending, and it’s when I can no longer reserve my vocal critiques on Ken Levine’s convoluted tomfoolery. To Booker’s dismay, poor little Sally has transformed into a Little Sister and is hiding from him in the sinuous Little Sister vent network. Booker’s solution is to force her out by cranking up the heat in the pipes, but Sally is a stubborn one. She sics a Big Daddy on Booker who serves as this chapter’s final boss, and it’s where the parsimonious ammunition system does not bode well against a burlier enemy. When Booker finally defeats the brute, Sally still won’t emerge because of Elizabeth. In this timeline, Booker is an amnesiac Comstock who regains the memory that he transferred to Rapture after he couldn’t shake the guilt of losing Anna/Elizabeth. Elizabeth doesn’t forgive him, leaving the Big Daddy to eviscerate Booker’s torso with its drill and kill him. I chose to ignore the Booker is Comstock resolution because it still doesn’t make any fucking sense. “But have you seen Booker and Comstock in the same room together?” YES!! Now, the falling action of Burial at Sea forces me to digest it along with a new spree of nonsense plot points that make it even harder to swallow. What does Sally have to do with any of this? How is this reality’s Elizabeth still alive after we see her get decapitated through the tear instead of severing her pinky finger, and why is she especially vengeful here as opposed to in the base game? What does any of this matter if there are infinite Comstocks/Bookers? I’m supposed to be gut-wrenched by the result, but I’m even more pissed off at the throngs of twists and turns the game expects me to accept. I can’t believe this hacky writing came from the same guy who wrote the first game.
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Erockthestrange 2023-09-03T20:47:03Z
2023-09-03T20:47:03Z
5.5
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Sandwiched between the immaculately designed Bioshock infinite and the fantastic stealth game Burial At Sea: Part 2, this game feels like a very short prologue of sorts to Act 2 instead of feeling like its own game. It's not a bad slice of gameplay or anything like that, but it prevents itself from feeling fully fleshed out with how little of it you really get at full blast until it just rips you from the game and segues into Part 2. Like i said, not bad, a good continuation of the gameplay style of infinite so its a nice way to bridge the gap so to speak, but it just kinda... falls a teensy bit flat? i just wish it were longer, really, Part 2 mixes the gameplay up enough that it feels like a substantial portion of game and i enjoy it immensely, but this just kinda feels like half filler half really nice if sorta pedestrian-feeling bioshock game. i like the return to rapture at least, definetly. The story is encapsulating as usual and the locale is breathtaking and looks great, mixing the older bioshock style with the Infinite graphical fidelity to create some truly futuristic and breathtaking gameplay enviroments.
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Tytygigas 2021-11-03T10:51:07Z
2021-11-03T10:51:07Z
3.0
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This is sort of an awkward release. After Bioshock Infinite many fans were split, some loved the game and praised it as being the best Bioshock and having the best story others panned it saying it was a dumbed down FPS linear game with a convoluted story and wasted potential. So this DLC sort of attempted to appease both fans by having the characters and elements on the story people liked about Infinite while going back to Rapture and the slow, more atmospheric approach of the first game. But this first DLC is just awkward, the first 1/3 you are just exploring what rapture was before everything went bad and going to different shops, then you explore a small segment of rapture facing splicers and a big daddy. That's pretty much the DLC, its only about 3 hours long and the story is basically an alternate universe. The story isn't too great and the gameplay while better than Infinite is just facing off hordes of Splicers. Its over before you know it and the DLC doesn't really add anything. Its just sort of there, yeah it was kind of cool exploring what rapture was before the Splicers took control, but this does feel a bit too much like fan service at times. I like Sander Cohen, in fact he was my favorite part about the first game, but he really didn't need to be in this and almost felt forced in to say look we didn't forget about Cohen. At best its a competent DLC that had potential but it really just sets up the backstory and ground for the next DLC which is better.
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jweber14 2017-10-14T21:15:17Z
2017-10-14T21:15:17Z
3.5
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The smoky noir set-up might complement the story's ultimate direction, but it does no favours for the return to Rapture, turned from a meritocratic den of corruption to just another ritzy high society. To say nothing of the gameplay, a short and unimpressive mix of everything that's come before without a real hook of its own to remain truly involving, and a fast-paced ending that is just bizarre.
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Lowlander2 2017-08-22T20:57:13Z
2017-08-22T20:57:13Z
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CutieKome BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-04-07T13:28:57Z
2024-04-07T13:28:57Z
3.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
zyszko BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-03-29T19:41:56Z
2024-03-29T19:41:56Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Sam360r BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-03-13T20:52:39Z
2024-03-13T20:52:39Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Flagella BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-03-09T18:41:13Z
2024-03-09T18:41:13Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Relinquish BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-03-06T16:57:23Z
2024-03-06T16:57:23Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
standbytheseawall BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-03-03T19:36:06Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2024-03-03T19:36:06Z
6 /10
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Antipodean BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-03-02T06:40:37Z
2024-03-02T06:40:37Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Giann96 BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-02-25T23:34:55Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2024-02-25T23:34:55Z
4.0 /10
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
anms3 BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-02-11T09:47:50Z
2024-02-11T09:47:50Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
apomdoker BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-02-10T22:40:34Z
2024-02-10T22:40:34Z
2.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
rockyhorror666 BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-02-08T15:30:11Z
2024-02-08T15:30:11Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
neekafat BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One 2024-02-01T23:56:20Z
2024-02-01T23:56:20Z
2.5
2
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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