Burial at Sea, though only “Part 1” of a two-part series, has already impressed, entertained and left gamers hungry for more. The long awaited DLC brings with it a distinct feeling of nostalgia with an ending that, in true Bioshock form, stirs emotion and raises countless questions.
You start off in familiar territory, sitting in Booker DeWitt’s office. However, the familiarity is short lived, as Burial at Sea takes place in an alternate universe. Elizabeth comes to speak with you, but she looks…..different. With a cold calculating stare and a cigarette on her lips, she looks more like a character from a vintage film noir than the Elizabeth we know and love. She asks for assistance in investigating the whereabouts of a young girl named Sally, who Booker assumed dead. He agrees, and opens his office door to a whole new world.
Rapture…we meet again.
But this isn’t the dilapidated underwater city you know and love. This is Rapture in its prime, long before things went to hell. The aquatic Utopia has never looked better, and seeing the hustle and bustle of the busy city and the Big Daddies outside performing repairs is nothing short of surreal. The tranquility is brief, however, as your investigation ultimately brings you to a far less friendly side of Rapture. Before you know it, it’s time to start shooting.
The gameplay is tight as ever, with a couple of throwback features such as the return of the weapon wheel. You’re no longer limited to 2 weapons at a time, but the small amount of ammo you can carry still prevents you from getting too comfortable. “Salts” are now “Eve” once again, though they still come in those familiar salt bottles instead of hypos. Splicers are back as well, and crazy as ever. Ammo and Eve are scarce, and enemies can overwhelm you quickly if you don’t get the drop on them. So rather than run in guns blazing, sometimes it’s a better idea to hang back for a minute and listen to them argue with each other. Occasionally a fight will break out and they’ll kill each other for you.
While entertaining, Burial at Sea is not without its faults. There is only one new weapon, the “Radar Range”, which you don’t find until the very end. Its effects are amusing, but less than practical. The one new vigor/plasmid, “Old Man Winter”, is essentially Winter Blast from the original “Bioshock,” with the added functionality of creating bridges out of running water. Checkpoints are few and far between, and stubborn gamers who refuse to pay for resurrection may find themselves replaying long sections several times to reach the next checkpoint without dying, especially on higher difficulties. The DLC is also brief, with most able to complete it in three hours or less.
Despite its shortcomings, “Burial at Sea: Part 1” is a must for fans of both Infinite and the original games. The blend of new mechanics in an old setting is seamless, and the ending does a good job of tying in to the Infinite campaign, while remaining its own independent entity at the same time. The thought-provoking story alone is worth the price of admission.