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Bioshock Infinite: Burial at sea. Episode 2

April 7, 2014

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Yes I’m biased when it comes to Bioshock games due to the place they hold in my pixelated heart. This DLC had me worried before I played it. The previous DLC was good but short and felt rushed next to Bioshock Infinite. It felt like a throwaway instalment looking to put fan fiction writers out of business by placing Booker and Elizabeth in Rapture. Then came the news that Irrational games had been taken apart at the decision of studio head Ken Levine. I’d guessed that everything would have been finalised with the DLC before the announcement but there was always the fear that the final instalment of my favourite series would be awful
Episode 2 is an excellent DLC on a par if not better than Minerva’s Den from Bioshock 2. It serves as a game and an interactive museum of both Bioshock and Infinite as scenes are viewed from another angle. Time lines are merged to flesh out story lines and answer some questions many players had from the original games.
This final piece of Bioshock Infinite lore takes place after the first DLC and gives you the chance to play as Elizabeth, the charming non playable character/companion from infinite. Booker does play a part in this story but this is definitely Elizabeth’s show. This brings in a few changes and really offers many different options of how you can finish the game. I played through the whole game without fatally shooting any characters. Sneaking around with your brand new vigors made it feel completely different to the entire Bioshock universe and made the game feel fresh. All of the mechanics introduced worked solidly and made for some gratifying moments once you work out the potential for traps when using your crossbows different ammo options.
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Stealth is a necessity during this 5-6 hour story due to the change in protagonist. Elizabeth doesn’t have much health and isn’t going to get any more during your play through so keeping away from conflict is key. There is an option to play through the game without any lethal weapons and it is absolutely possible. In fact I performed this myself in the hope of picking up the achievement, only to find you need to select the 1998 mode first to make that trophy pop.
It is difficult to go through what makes this game special without spoiling it for anyone that reads this. I will say that the story is extremely well done from start to finish and if you have a deep understanding of the events in the other games you will get huge enjoyment from where it ends up. Maybe read up about the Bioshock story to refresh yourself before starting.
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You do find yourself in Rapture while playing as an underpowered Elizabeth for reasons that are quickly explained. You are working for Atlas as he tries to get back into Rapture having being banished by Andrew Ryan. You are given some fetch quests and left to explore this beautifully designed world and you will run into many splicers.
I hear people complain about fetch quests all the time in reviews but I’ve never seen why this is a problem. It’s a common trope and could be seen as lazy design but as long as it makes sense in the context of the game as it does here I don’t see the issue.
The bonus of these fetch quests comes when you get to look at the architecture around you. Some of the design concepts are high points compared to anything seen in a Bioshock game, which considering how well beautiful the designs of Rapture and Columbia are, is high praise indeed. You can and should take the time to look around and read every piece of artwork or scribble. Almost everything references something in a past game and all of it is interesting for a fan.
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I played this through in one long sitting while my wife was away for the night and I couldn’t put it down for the 5+ hours. I am a huge Bioshock mark but I am not someone to praise a game for no reason. Everything that you look for in a Bioshock game is present in Burial at Sea episode 2. Story, atmosphere, intrigue and action are all present and all done masterfully.
With irrational games handing off the Bioshock series to 2K I don’t know where the series will end up. I loved Bioshock 2 but it seems I was in the minority as even Levine doesn’t reference the game when talking about the series. I could stand to see a Bioshock game every few years. Nobody wants to see this game annualized and hopefully 2K realizes this before ruining what is right now a high point in everything that makes video games so special.

XBL, PSN and Twitter @Urbundave

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