In March, Irrational Studios released Bioshock Infinite. After it was received with near perfect ratings, Ken Levine announced that there would be some Downloadable Content that would be more intent on being a survival horror as opposed to Infinite. Levine called this DLC a type of “Love letter to fans” and it’s easy to see why. The first trailer revealed characters from Infinite in a rapture setting with a noire motif.
November finally arrived and I downloaded the episode almost immediately for my PS3. The following paragraphs may have light spoilers concerning certain characters but I’ll stay away from important plot points.
The story to Burial at Sea begins right where the trailer shows us. Booker awakes in his office and Elizabeth walks in with a request to find a little girl that was lost. Once you step outside of Booker’s office (which is extremely similar to his office in Infinite) you step into the world of rapture. The thing that lured me into buying this DLC is the fact that you get to see Rapture (the city from the first Bioshock) before the fall. Elizabeth guides you around a segment of the city as you explore a few shops/galleries in Rapture and observe its citizens.
The game really begins when, with the help of a familiar face, you are taken into a department store that Andrew Ryan has sunk and is using as a type of prison. True to the spirit of the original Bioshock, this segment features a lot of survival horror elements. The first thing that caught my eye is the limited amount of ammunition that you start off with. More alarming is the fact that despite the return of the gun wheel of the original Bioshock, the amount of ammo you can carry forces you to try and think of the best way to get past the groups of enemies that come your way.
Enemies in this game mode have also become harder to get past, but this may be due to the difficulty I played in. The AI seems to have improved a bit. Splicers usually come in mobs, they rush you and even try to dodge the projectiles that you shoot at them. Thankfully, there are several ways to take out enemies silently and quickly.
One of the things that I did miss from Bioshock 1 and 2 was the ability to hack turrets and other devices. In the first Bioshock, you had the ability to play a mini game in order to make a turret friendly towards you. Bioshock 2 also kept this ability to hack turrets and other devices. With all of this in mind, I don’t see a reason as to why this is not possible in Burial At Sea.
My next complaint has to do with another mechanic of the game. In this case, the use of tears and skyhooks really killed some of the experience for me. The use of skyhooks wasn’t too bad but it seemed like it was only added there to keep true to Infinite’s gameplay. Tears were what bothered me the most. As soon as they were added to the game, I felt as if some of the “survival” elements of the game died a bit.
Gameplay was definitely not a strong point for this game. Elizabeth’s AI seemed to have gotten worse in comparison to Infinite. She would get in the way and even trap you in rooms by standing right in front of the door once in a while (thankfully it didn’t happen too often). To top this all off, it really bothered me that she was constantly seen in the crossfire of splicers without any real consequence. I understand that this was also the case in Infinite but it didn’t seem as obvious.
Visually, I felt that the game seemed polished enough. All of the guns got a nice polish and looked a lot nicer than there Infinite counterparts.The environment of Rapture also looked incredibly nice. Seeing the underwater city before its fall was something that didn’t disappoint and the addition of a few familiar faces was also a nice touch to the narrative. The voice acting of Troy Baker, Courtnee Draper, and a few others did not fail to live up to expectations.
Overall, this DLC wasn’t too astounding and that’s to be expected. With the limited amount of time that Levine and his crew had to work with this, it’s actually understandable as to why this content doesn’t seem as polished as others. They had the task of not only making DLC but rebuilding rapture almost entirely from scratch. The real treat will come when part 2 comes out and the gameplay is changed. Part 1 of BaS was relatively short but it gave Bioshock fans enough of a tease to wait with anticipation for part 2. Although it has a very entertaining story, it is very hit-or-miss for people who loved the Infinite’s story.
TL;DR: A good DLC for fans of the Bioshock series. A little buggy and short but narrative makes up for it. Priced at $15, it gives a good incentive to buy the Season Pass ($20).
Rockit Raccoon Rating: 7.8/10
Game Informer: 8.00/10