XBA Review: BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea - Episode Two DLC
Written Thursday, March 27, 2014 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
You awaken to find yourself walking gleefully along an idyllic Parisian street, gentle music playing in the distance, the sun shining, birds singing, children play and dance with baguettes (no, really) and all seems right with the world. Everything is completely perfect. Or is it? Welcome to BioShock Infinite Burial at Sea - Episode Two, the grand finale to a story that started with BioShock back in 2007. This is what the series has been building up to, and let us assure you, it doesn't disappoint.
In this concluding episode, you assume the role of Elizabeth as she makes her way through Rapture on a mission to finish what Booker DeWitt started in attempting to rescue Sally. What follows is something of a shift from BioShock Infinite and Burial at Sea's first episode, as Elizabeth is hugely vulnerable and easily dispatched by marauding Splicers in just a few hits.
To help balance things out, Elizabeth will gradually acquire a few new tricks that she can deploy to help her out of a scrape. You'll quickly find that Peeping Tom - the first plasmid you acquire – becomes an utterly indispensable tool in evading enemies, aiding Elizabeth in keeping a low profile when sneaking up on unwary Splicers.
Burial at Sea - Episode Two is primarily stealth-oriented then, demanding slow crouched movement, avoiding noisy puddles of water or patches of broken glass that can alert enemies. New mechanics come into play to complement this shift towards stealth, with alertness icons floating over Splicers' heads when they grow suspicious, and your Peeping Tom plasmid enabling you to momentarily turn invisible and see enemies through walls, as long as you have enough Eve to power it, of course.
Helpfully, you'll find that most enemies – Splicers or otherwise – are fairly stupid, and won't be alerted to your presence unless they manage to fix you in their sights for an extended period of time. They'll frequently become suspicious and actively seek to expose your position, but more often than not you can run right up to them and club them over the head with your air grabber (Rapture's version of Columbia's sky hook), knocking them out cold.
Elizabeth also has a versatile crossbow with tranquilliser bolts, noisemakers gained exclusively by picking the blue tumblers in locks (lockpicking is now a simple single-button press mini-game that rewards careful timing) and gas rounds that can knock out several enemies in one fell swoop. You'll come to rely on the crossbow, as the rest of Infinite's weapons like the shotgun, radar range and hand cannon prove almost entirely ineffectual in Elizabeth's hands. It also makes the bullet absorbing Ironsides plasmid largely redundant.
Occasionally being essentially forced into playing stealthily can be a tad frustrating, especially when you've got about half a dozen Splicers stalking a relatively small area. With combat rendered an option that's positively discouraged, you'll sometimes find yourself retreating, carefully surveying your surroundings and picking off enemies one at a time with ambush attacks from the rear. A good strong clout from behind with your air grabber is all it takes, and to be fair, it's satisfying when a mouthy enemy bragging about finding and killing you falls to the floor like a sack of shit.
Burial at Sea - Episode Two and its sneakier approach clicks pretty quickly and the particular section of Rapture you're confined to is designed in a way that is conducive to the add-on's stealth gameplay, with nooks and crannies in which to hide and ventilation shafts to crawl through. That leaves you free to enjoy the ride, absorbing the narrative and its various twists and turns. It's absorbing stuff that unfolds at a perfectly pitched pace, pulling you right in and ensuring you remain hooked for the duration.
Rapture's atmosphere is as intoxicating as ever, and Episode Two takes you to some of the seamier and more depraved corners of the sunken dystopian city, offering up some upsetting sights at times. It's an insight into another side of Rapture that you always knew existed, but never got to see in quite as much detail as Burial at Sea - Episode Two conjures. It also answers a lot of questions and brings everything together in the most spectacular way imaginable. It makes that Season Pass more than worth the asking price.
From an achievements perspective, Burial at Sea - Episode Two is fairly standard fare, tasking you with once again collecting every one of the audio diaries and dispatching enemies in a variety of ways, while the rest are linked to your progress through the story. You'll also need to complete the expansion in the game's new 1998 mode that demands playing the DLC while dispatching enemies using only non-lethal means. That one will definitely put your skills to the test.
A perfect way to bid a fond farewell to BioShock, Burial at Sea - Episode Two concludes the series in a wholly satisfying manner, tying together a lot of the loose ends while leaving you with your jaw firmly connected to the floor. Filled with moments of tension and emotion, BioShock Infinite Burial at Sea – Episode Two's end is also tinged with sadness the moment you realise that this is the last piece of work Irrational Games will ever deliver. Burial at Sea - Episode Two isn't just the end of BioShock. It's the end of an era.