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BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two

BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two - cover art
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I’m starting to lose my patience with BioShock Infinite. I’m starting to think that Ken Levine is huffing the high praise he received from the outcome of the first BioShock game that he has become baked beyond belief and thinks that everything that passes through his cerebral cortex is a stroke of pure genius. I think if what I’ve stated throughout my review of the base game and the first episode of Burial at Sea holds any merit, Ken Levine needs to be humbled because the writing in both reeks of hubris. Now, Burial at Sea continues as the conclusion to the two-part DLC content, and I wasn’t at all confident that Ken Levine would redeem this disaster of a story. Surprisingly, I can at least say that the second Burial at Sea episode is more interesting and less overblown than its former half.

But how can Burial at Sea continue considering that Booker’s vital organs have been liquified and he lays still on the ground dead as a doorknob? In Burial at Sea’s second half, the primary protagonist viewpoint has been shifted to the smoking, seductive Elizabeth of this reality. Actually, that Elizabeth was also murdered by the Big Daddy and her body is propped up in the dank corner of the vicinity, so the game introduces an Elizabeth more akin to her personality from the base game. Isn’t that convenient? However, what totally isn’t convenient is that this Elizabeth possesses no extraordinary tear powers, rendering her as frail as a newborn puppy. Nevertheless, this Elizabeth persists on her quest to rescue Sally, now from the deranged mobs of Atlas’s goons who are holding her captive. Also, another version of Booker is here to play guitar in the background and to provoke Elizabeth’s guilty conscience every so often, because why not!

If you couldn’t infer the linear notes from the previous paragraph, playing as Elizabeth is a far cry from the physically adept swashbuckler Booker. As I stated before, Elizabeth must fend for herself in the drowned neon streets of Rapture’s deep sea ghetto, as the apparition of Booker is too ephemeral to switch her role and provide aid when needed. Elizabeth is one her lonesome in a dire situation, a terrifying prospect that fills her mission full of dread. Fortunately, just because Elizabeth can’t summon Patriots to mow down Splicers doesn’t mean the game leaves her as a stark naked sitting duck ready to be plucked by the malformed ghouls at a moment’s notice. Elizabeth’s offensive and defensive means have been reworked to fit the new context, as BioShock has been reconfigured as a stealth game. Elizabeth will lurk around the watchful eyes of the Splicers, who still give away their positions due to the effects of long-term ADAM usage causing them to think out loud. When a Splicer is in the line of sight, an overhead indicator signifies their alert level and if it’s a yellow or under, Elizabeth can subdue them with one hearty thwack of the sky-hook she “borrowed” from Booker. Failing to stealthily curb the Splicers by altering them to Elizabeth’s presence should result in Elizabeth running like the wind to regain her hidden position because ammo is still scarce and the dainty whacks with the sky-hook Elizabeth gives to them does little to no damage. Rapture has always exuded a creepy vibe but with the stealth gameplay as the focal point, Rapture has now become genuinely scary. The simplest of mistakes can lead to utter disaster for Elizabeth and working with this radical new mechanic never before seen in a BioShock game adds a fresh layer of difficulty.

Elizabeth eventually stumbles across an inactive machine devised by Rapture’s superwiz scientist Yi Suchong and has to recover all of its missing parts to activate it once again. Using a tear, the machine served as a portal that connected Rapture to 1912 Columbia, communicating ideas and passing down technology through both of the franchise's eminent dystopias. The general purpose for this machine might be the most excusable use of the time tear that has fucked Infinite’s narrative to oblivion. It explains why Columbia is as advanced as it is for existing in the prime of the industrial age when things like automobiles were still a revolutionary stride in technological advancement and why Rapture shares the same assets with Columbia like the vending machines and the inclusion of “vigors” that Suchong originally branded as plasmids. It’s a clever way of canonizing Infinite with the two previous BioShock games despite all the ways it deviates from it. By visiting both Columbia and Rapture in this Burial at Sea episode, we are treated to a dichotomy between the two civilizations, as seeing Columbia for the first time since the base game and then returning to Rapture feels surreal. Don’t get too prideful, Ken: you’re not out of the woods with this plot device just yet. However, I am somewhat impressed that you’ve finally made this work.

Returning to Rapture also reminds us that the notable people we’ve come to have a nostalgic wonderment for were/are right bastards. Throughout the episode, Elizabeth is collaborating with both Suchong and Atlas, two figures of interest from the first two games that up until now, the player has never had any intimate interactions with either of them (well, technically not for Atlas if you discount who he actually is). The second episode of Burial at Sea is going to make the player yearn for the times when they were voices in audio diaries and communication arrays respectively because they were both despicable people when they were still alive. Suchong is a total creep who physically and verbally abuses the Little Sisters he’s testing, and I’m not the least bit perturbed by his grizzly death scene at the hand of a Big Daddy because of it. Once Elizabeth helps Atlas return to Rapture’s metropolitan sector, he continues to probe Elizabeth more on a coveted “ace in the hole,” which turns to be his iconic catchphrase “would you kindly?” that he uses to manipulate Jack in the events of the first game. Before Elizabeth knows this, Atlas’s method of interrogation involves an ice pick lobotomy in one of the most uncomfortable torture sequences I’ve sat through in a video game. He disposes of Elizabeth once he gets what he desires in his mission to usurp Rapture from Ryan (who, by the way, unleashes hordes of his guards on Elizabeth after learning of her scavenging around Rapture while belittling her like Ryan would do) by bludgeoning her with a wrench, leaving her to die while Sally hold her in her arms. Cohen electrocuting his subjects while painting was charming compared to the actions of these scumbags. Then again, these are the kinds of people that Rapture attracts.

This conclusion would be a satisfying way to circle around to the beginning events of the first BioShock if not for one nagging bit of information. Killing the two protagonists from Infinite and thus ending their involvement with the overarching BioShock story could’ve been incredibly impactful if not for the fact that these are technically not the same Booker and Elizabeth from the base game. In fact, any emotional impact that the deaths of these characters would elicit is totally negated by the fact that there are infinite versions of them existing in this world and can evidently be swapped out at any given moment. You almost had me, Ken. Still, the stealth mechanics in the second episode of Burial at Sea prove to be a far more engaging way of retreading Rapture than what BioShock 2 offered.
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Erockthestrange 2023-09-07T08:21:46Z
2023-09-07T08:21:46Z
7.0
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This is often considered one of the best Bioshock DLCs and many say it fixed everything wrong with Infinite. Well I found this enjoyable to an extent but it still is lacking. First I didn't really like the story, I know this is an alternate universe but it implies the entire events of the first Bioshock were orchestrated by this alternate universe Elizabeth and shes the reason Fontaine was able to control Jack and how he crashed the plane. I liked the first Bioshock because of the mystery and because things were simple yet there was a weird mystery behind everything, this game takes away that mystery and explains it with a convoluted story about time travel and Elizabeth somehow helping Fontaine and Suchong. Speaking of which Suchong also just felt randomly thrown into this, I mean the audio diary of his death in the first game and seeing the Big Daddy drill through his corpse was enough and did a good job, but I feel this game gave more fan service by showing his death scene which of course was somehow unintentionally orchestrated by Elizabeth. That's pretty much the entire DLC sneaking around a section of rapture and setting up the events with the first game by working for Fontaine. Now the gameplay is the strong point, unlike Booker, Elizabeth can't really fight and dies faster so she has to sneak and silently knock out enemies or sedate them with darts. Its sort of a mix stealth and adventure game, and there are plenty of areas to explore and the game does give you free roam which is nice. Although the DLC is still fairly short and no longer than 4 or 5 hours at most. It feels like what a single chapter in the first Bioshock would have been. So its a mixed bag, the gameplay is alright but nothing special it did feel a little weird playing as Elizabeth and I didn't care much for her as a character, but it does show a new part of rapture we didn't explore in the first games and it is better than Infinite's main game so theres that too.
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jweber14 2017-10-15T02:47:34Z
2017-10-15T02:47:34Z
3.5
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Don't remember a whole lot about this, not a good sign for the franchise's final release. The atmosphere was, however, much more consistent this time, and the story's conclusion, while contentious for its overall message, felt gripping nonetheless. It was also a legitimately fresh perspective on the franchise.
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Lowlander2 2017-08-22T20:59:14Z
2017-08-22T20:59:14Z
3.0
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Catalog

Maxwellvv BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-12-04T04:50:07Z
Mac / Windows / Linux/Unix
2023-12-04T04:50:07Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
weather0 BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-11-19T12:25:18Z
2023-11-19T12:25:18Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
scuffed BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-11-05T00:35:19Z
2023-11-05T00:35:19Z
4.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
ChewyPtui BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-10-31T13:52:57Z
2023-10-31T13:52:57Z
2.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TobiG06 BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-10-27T18:01:07Z
2023-10-27T18:01:07Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
orange_cockroach69 BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-10-21T15:58:13Z
Mac / Windows / Linux/Unix
2023-10-21T15:58:13Z
4.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Steam
BenIsNot BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-10-08T05:56:02Z
2023-10-08T05:56:02Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
DomMazzetti BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-10-04T14:24:24Z
2023-10-04T14:24:24Z
0.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Muffinman444 BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-09-26T23:20:12Z
2023-09-26T23:20:12Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
FDLM BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-09-22T12:02:53Z
2023-09-22T12:02:53Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Rodrigo24 BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-09-20T15:46:20Z
2023-09-20T15:46:20Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Bengals BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two 2023-09-17T05:18:57Z
2023-09-17T05:18:57Z
8.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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  • AidanAlva 2022-12-09 22:16:01.518481+00
    I already thought the base game of Infinite was dogshit but I'll be damned if Burial At Sea doesn't lower that bar even further. I absolutely hated Elizabeth, Booker, and everything to do with their chronically stupid dimension-hopping antics, and trying to turn them into an essential part of the Rapture story was the WORST thing that could have ever happened to the series.

    If there are two things that never wpuld ha e fit the original two games, it's

    1. Nondescript Troy Baker dude #63

    And

    2. Troy Baker's self-righteous metaphysics-spouting teen Disney Princess of a daughter
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  • foiebump 2023-07-17 12:12:39.828135+00
    The story is absolute turd stew but I kinda like the gameplay lol. Slightly better than episode 1 just in that regard, both suck tho.
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  • Drug_Use 2023-10-04 09:11:20.877463+00
    3.66 witg 259 ratings? I'm surprised, I never hear any good things about this at all
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