DLC Review: Bioshock Infinite – ‘Burial At Sea’ Episode One [PC/PS3/Xbox360]
Burial at Sea Episode One marks the first release of story based DLC for the highly acclaimed Bioshock Infinite from Irrational Games. We join Elizabeth and Booker DeWitt once more, but this time it’s somewhat in an alternate reality and the characters we once knew, may not be as they once seemed. One factor that does remain a little familiar is the return of the underwater city of Rapture. Though this is a Rapture set before the first two games and everything is new, full of distinguished gentlemen and beautiful dames.
We must remember that this is Rapture and if there’s one thing that remains certain, behind any exterior and any mask hiding one’s face, things are never as they seem. There’s a famous old saying that goes “we should never judge a book by its cover”. Well I slightly adapt that quote by saying “Never judge Rapture by its Exterior”, though with that in mind, we could say the same about any of the lead characters. It’s been a long wait for the Burial at Sea, but will our patience pay off and will it be worth another venture into the submerged city of Rapture? Let’s find out.
Simply put, the new Rapture is a beautiful place to explore, but yet still manages to capture some of the eeriness that helped make the original game so iconic. If anything the fact that it looks so good, perhaps makes it even more so uncomfortable as you know from playing previous games what lies in wait. You see folk going about their business, innocently using plasmids to become an enhanced person (even if it is for selfish gain). Plasmids are Raptures equivalent to hard drugs, it may start with something a bit low end, but unfortunately it manifests into something far more deadly than one ever intended, as we can see with Rapture’s subsequent downfall within the first two games.
Bioshock Infinite was not only one of the best games in recent times on the console; it was also one of the better looking ones too. With the power of Infinite behind it and with it being converted into the world of Rapture, the improvement is somewhat noticeable and the results are very impressive indeed.
As you would expect, the gameplay in Burial at Sea is pretty much the same as in the main Bioshock Infinite game, with the setting being the biggest factor. You will have a host of Plasmids to utilise. All Plasmids won’t be available to you from the offset, however, and you will have to start from scratch in that respect. I suppose if all your Plasmids had carried over from the Infinite campaign, then Burial at Sea wouldn’t really offer that much of a challenge. So there will be Plasmids that you find as you progress naturally through the story and some will require a little exploration and going off-track to acquire them.
There is also a new Plasmid introduced into Burial at Sea, well it’s more than an evolution of the Winter Blast Plasmid if anything else. It’s called the Old Man Winter and unlike the Winter Blast, it allows you to set traps, similar to that of Vigors in Bioshock Infinite, as well as allowing you to access certain areas by freezing burst drain pipes. Interestingly this particular Plasmid was actually designed by a fan and Irrational Games Kevin Levine loved the design concept that much, they implemented it into Burial at Sea. The talented artist was Joe Trinder and his designs were first noticed on the Reddit forums.
In Infinite you could only carry two firearms at any one time, however in Burial at Sea and just like the first two original games; you can now carry all weapons at any one time. Keep in mind that you can only quick-cycle through two weapons at a time, but by holding down the Triangle or Y button, you will be able to open up the weapon select reel and switch between weapons as you run out of ammo or change your preference.
There is a new weapon introduced into Burial at Sea and it’s called the Radar Range. This weapon has a slow build-up, so it might not be wise to use when surrounded by enemies, but when you unleash its power, you will explode the unfortunate Splicer’s into teeny-tiny pieces. It is certainly a slightly grotesque, but fun weapon to unleash. It is also well worth noting that the Skyhook makes its return and that’s a unique experience and handy tool to take that gameplay element away from the floating city of Columbia, to the underwater city of Rapture.
While some gamers may not be too pleased with the revisited Rapture, I for one absolutely love it. Yes I know it’s all slightly familiar, but this is a brand new Rapture, before all hell broke loose. It also features areas that we have not ventured into before and I think that most fans will appreciate this alternative outlook. But the element that pleases me most of all is that the horror and suspense that made the original so darn creepy has returned. As much as I love Bioshock Infinite, I believe the horror factor was something that I very much missed. Columbia is a bright, beautiful world (with the occasional dark setting). Without going into too much detail, the eerie, chilling, on edge feel factor has returned with Rapture and that’s not the only fan favourite that will be making a return. There will be plenty of welcomed surprises for fans of the series when they dive into Burial at Sea.
During my first playthrough it probably took me around 3 to 3 and half hours to complete episode one. This, in my humble opinion, isn’t too bad for a piece of DLC, though I would say it may be a little too expensive as a standalone purchase. Which is why I would recommend buying the Bioshock Infinite Season Pass, as you will not only get Burial at Sea Episode One & Two, but you will also get the decent ‘Clash in the Clouds’ wave based mode. Not to mention that will save an added discount in buying the Season Pass, in comparison to purchasing all the DLC individually.
While Rapture may not be as big to explore as Bioshock Infinite or the Rapture that featured in the first two original games (and nor should it being an add-on), this Rapture does encourage you to explore, which is why it took me more than 3 hours to finish. The speed run type gamer will certainly finish episode one in a much shorter time. Though should you choose to explore, then you will be rewarded with extra Plasmids, Audio Logs and Kinetoscopes. The Kinetoscopes are especially worth seeking out, as they complement the sinister world of Rapture and almost remind me of something taken from the weird cult TV show; Twin Peaks with a unique Bioshock spin. You, of course, have the all-so-important Trophies and Achievements for all you hunters out there, too.
All in all, my opinion of Burial at Sea is that it’s more than worth the purchase for not only fans of Bioshock Infinite, but perhaps more so for the fans of the original game. It pays a great homage to the original that started it all, but this time you have arguably two of the most interesting video game characters in recent times leading the way with Elizabeth and Booker DeWitt. Burial at Sea was a game that I had high hopes for and it has received somewhat mixed opinions across the gaming world, but from my experience, much like all previous Bioshock games that stood before, this is a tale that I will not forget in a hurry and I cannot wait for Episode Two.
Simply put, if you are a fan of the series, grab the Season Pass, receive a discount and venture back into the sinister world that we all know and love. Once again, welcome back to Rapture.