The first installment of Burial at Sea was a good, albeit brief, reintroduction to the world of Rapture. With the promise of a much longer play time, in addition to getting to play as Elizabeth, the final piece of BioShock Infinite’s DLC made me very excited. Opening directly after the end of Burial at Sea: Episode 1, Episode 2 reintroduces us to a few characters from the original BioShock. In an attempt to save Sally, a Little Sister, Elizabeth promises Atlas that she can return him to Rapture.
Playing as Elizabeth immediately feels different, and it doesn’t just feel like a shorter version of Booker with a lady fingers. Elizabeth is a lot more calculating than Booker, and often talks quietly to herself, trying to figure out the best course of action for the current scenario. With a smaller health bar, stealth takes priority. Given the new ability to knock enemies out when you sneak up on them, I found myself surveying my surroundings much more than when I was playing the run and gun play style of Booker. New plasmid, Peeping Tom, allows you to see enemies through walls while standing still, with a secondary use of granting you brief invisibility when in trouble, it allows you to find somewhere to hide. For players that enjoy the challenge of stealth gameplay, Episode 2 added 1998 Mode, which requires the player to play through the entire episode using non-lethal means.
BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode Two (PC, PlayStation 3 [Reviewed], Xbox 360)
Developer: Irrational Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Released: March 25, 2013
MSRP: $14.99 (included in Season Pass)
Other new additions to the games arsenal include a crossbow and the Radar Range gun, which allows you to fry enemies and in turn blow them up with prolonged use. The crossbow aids the new stealthy gameplay by including a tranquilizer bolt that knocks the enemy unconscious, the noisemaker bolt that when shot causes enemies to be distracted, and a gas bolt that releases a cloud of gas that knocks out any enemies caught in its path.
With only a manifestation of Booker for guidance, traversing Rapture as Elizabeth feels a lot more intimidating. When encountering a Big Daddy, Elizabeth isn’t strong enough to defeat him, and instead must rely on the Possession plasmid to make him fight on your side and attack other enemies in the area. This can be incredibly frustrating with the effects of Possession lasting a short time, and this sometimes isn’t enough to cause any significant damage to the numbers of splicers that inhabit the room. I found myself hiding and waiting for the Big Daddy to pass so I could possess him, and pray that he causes enough of a distraction for me to run past using the invisibility of Peeping Tom.
The story starts throwing head-scratching moments at the player almost instantly, and had me very excited to see what the outcome was. With plenty of twists that players have come to expect from a BioShock game, I enjoyed every minute of my nearly 6 hour playthrough. Although this episode is a story set in the world of Rapture, the game answers questions about Infinite’s main story, and gives a new perspective on some of the events that transpired in Columbia. Although, not entirely important to the episodes plot, there are incredible moments that made me want to go back and play the original BioShock all over again. The story even gives us the origin story of Songbird that acted as an over protective guardian to Elizabeth while she was imprisoned in the tower in Columbia.
Alone, the first episode of Burial at Sea was an altogether uninteresting trip back to Rapture. Coupled with the second episode, Burial at Sea tells an incredible story that fits the BioShock universe perfectly and seems to tie up the entire series. With the recent closure of Irrational Games, the ending of this episode had me terrified that this was the end of the BioShock franchise altogether. I couldn’t help but feel that this was the last time I would play a new BioShock story. When the final credits had rolled, it was like I had experienced the entire series again in a new light. If this truly is the end of the series, it’s been incredible, and something I will cherish for years to come. Let’s just hope that there’ll always be a lighthouse, there’ll always be a man and there’ll always be a city.
[Written by Contributor Neil Scanlon]