X360A Review: BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode One DLC
Written Monday, November 11, 2013 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Somewhere beyond the sea, lies an idealistic utopian dream. A strange place you probably already know all too well. A familiar place where nobody knows your name and none of them particularly want to. Instead they'd rather shoot your face off with a tommy gun or crack your skull open with a monkey wrench while screaming bloody murder. Welcome back to Rapture. It's been a while.
The first in a two episode story expansion, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode One picks up with Booker DeWitt once more, this time working out of his own little office in Rapture as a private detective. In true film noir fashion, Elizabeth slinks through your door like a foxy femme fatale in Burial at Sea's opening, all legs, immaculate jet black hair and blood red lips, enlisting Booker's help in locating a girl named Sally. Booker lights Liz's cigarette with fiery plasmid power igniting from his fingertips, and from this spark a trail of metaphorical gunpowder is set alight as you embark upon a new journey into Rapture's dark heart.
BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea portrays a Rapture at the very peak of its heyday, teetering on the edge of disaster as its inhabitants show early signs of insanity and Splicers run amok in the darker recesses of the soon to be doomed underwater city. At its core, Booker and Elizabeth find themselves having to solve a mystery, and from the off it becomes apparent who and what Sally is, and what tracking her down will mean. What follows feels like a race to find her, but not before meeting a familiar face from the first BioShock.
Meeting this character just before their plunge into total madness is an interesting insight, and neatly ties back into the first BioShock. Playing the first game isn't an essential part in enjoying Burial at Sea, but it certainly helps enhance aspects of the add-on's intensely compelling story. To go into the nuts and bolts of Burial at Sea's narrative would of course be completely ruinous, so we're not going to reveal any details. What we will say is that Episode One ends on a truly head-spinning cliffhanger that succeeds in raising a whole slew of questions that you'll be pondering at least until Burial at Sea – Episode Two comes along.
BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea is not just worth snapping up because of its story though, as the game mechanics are every bit as sharp as they are in the main game, with Booker's new plasmids like Old Man Winter packing a punch, and the transposed skylines from Columbia providing the same aerial combat opportunities with the air grabber substituted in for the skyhook. Elizabeth can still open tears, and she's still as helpful as ever, throwing ammo and health your way should you need it.
The only real criticism to level at Burial at Sea – Episode One is its brevity, with a speed run to the end taking around 90 minutes or so. If you were to explore the entirely rebuilt Rapture thoroughly and collect all of the new audio logs however, you'd be looking at a completion time closer to three hours. Arguably however, it's not the length of the DLC that's important; it's the richness in detail and the depth of storytelling that really matters, and on that front, Burial at Sea – Episode One delivers in spades. It's worth the discounted price offered by the Season Pass, but for $14.99, it's asking a little too much.
Offering up yet more “constance and variables” to twist your brain into pretzel-like knots, familiar audio, haunting music lifted from the chilling Gold Room scene in The Shining and an ending that'll knock you sideways, BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea – Episode One is nigh-on essential stuff. “We're all buried at sea,” Booker muses in one of his conversations with Elizabeth, and to be perfectly honest, we can't think of a better place to be. Burial at Sea is a masterclass in how story-driven DLC should be done, expanding on BioShock Infinite in a meaningful and thought-provoking way, while retaining the same great gameplay mechanics.
Burial at Sea - Episode Two quite simply can't come soon enough...