REVIEW: BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea Part 1

I’m going to do the ‘obligatory-spoiler-warning’ thing here, so if you haven’t played Bioshock Infinite yet, get on that, like, yesterday!

Let’s face it, those 30 seconds you spent in Rapture at the end of Bioshock Infinite left you with a figurative (or literal, I’m not here to judge) damp patch in your pants and an oh-so-enticing question: “What if?”

Well, the guys over at Irrational Games heard you and have delivered the ultimate fan-service by returning you to Rapture in Bioshock Infinite’s first story based DLC: Burial at Sea Part 1. The real question is though, does she sink or swim?

Its New Year’s Eve 1958 (mere days away from the fall of Rapture) and you’re popped back into the familiar pantaloons of this universe’s Booker Dewitt. After an awesome, albeit brief, noir themed introduction to an older, colder Elizabeth, you’re set free in Rapture in search of your (surprise, surprise) lost daughter.

Stepping out of your dark, tobacco filled office into the pristine beauty that is Rapture is just plain awe inspiring. A place we’ve only ever heard of in audio diaries and hinted at by decaying ruins, now fully realised and bustling with life! I spent a stupid amount of time just wandering around (ignoring the game’s persistent pleas to move on), eavesdropping on people’s Randist diatribes and soaking up all this fantastical and grandiose world had to offer! Alas, my tourist-like gleefulness ended all too abruptly as the game decided I’d spent enough time looking and that it was now time to start shooting. To achieve this, the game throws you into a sunken and dilapidated part of Rapture, one that we’ve become rather accustomed to.

Once the bullets start flying, combat handles the same as its predecessor with plasmids and fire arms being your primary offensive tools. Environmental hazards like puddles and barrels are, of course, available to be exploited to gain the upper hand. The fights have been scaled down from the literal armies you hurled bullets and obscenities at from Infinite, putting a bigger emphasis on ammo conservation and sneak attacks. This unfortunately comes off less organic and more deliberate, as the enemies act like they are suffering from severe cataracts, not able to notice me duck walking at them from a 90 degree angle.

There are a few new additions to combat, however only one really seems to shine. The new Plasmid ‘Old Man Winter’ is almost indistinguishable from ‘Winter Blast’ from previous Bioshocks and the inclusion of the Skyhook and conveniently placed rails to ride seems extraneous.

Radar Range, the new weapon, is a blast to use though! It acts like a souped-up, death-dealing microwave, which reduces its victims to clouds of irradiated blood. Thing is, you get it about 10 minutes before the end, leaving you not a whole lot of time to get your Martha Stewart on.

[img_big]center,58,2013-10-08/lizhallway_web.jpg,BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea Part 1[/img_big]

Burial at Sea Part 1 is by no means a bad DLC, if not a little short (clocking in at 90 mins). The combat is smooth and responsive and the abandoned hallways of Rapture still crawl with that familiar foreboding atmosphere. But therein lays the problem, we’ve done all this before! By the end I found myself wishing I could have spent more time exploring the uneasy decadence of Rapture, instead of splashing through puddles avoiding super-power junkies. Hopefully with Part 2, Irrational manages to create cohesion for the dichotomy of its two parts and put the Shock back into its namesake.

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