Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea

Posted by ProgrammingAce on Sun 21 December 2014

With my recent unexpected vacation, I finally g0t around to clearing some games from my backlog. Now that I have a new gaming PC able to run the game, I played through Bioshock Infinite: Burial at sea. The game comes in two episodes, which were released 4 months apart. I had the benefit of playing them one after the other, which was probably a benefit considering the confusing clifhanger with which the first episode ended.

Overall I wasn’t a huge fan of Bioshock Infinite itself. I’ve always thought the FPS gameplay of the series was a ‘minimally-viable-product’, the bare minimum to move the plot along. Infinite’s plot was just too sparse for my taste. They spent the game setting up questions, but didn’t bother to answer any of them until the final sequence; and the ending opened up even more questions itself.

Episode 1 threw us back to the underwater world of Rapture, without any setup or explanation. This DLC doesn’t add anything new to the series in either gameplay or story. You’ve lost all of the powers you built up through the main game, and gameplay design leaves you starved for offensive capabilities from start to finish. Rather than being challenging, the gameplay is just frustrating. In the last 30 seconds of the DLC, the plot suddenly abandons everything it tried to setup. Instead of being an interesting twist, it’s just confusing. If this DLC wasn’t required as setup for the second episode, I’d recommend it as a pass.

Episode 2 succeeds where episode 1 failed. The plot is internally consistent, the gameplay is unique to the series, and the DLC is fun rather than frustrating. Abandoning the flawed run-and-gun gameplay of the rest of the series, this DLC pack emphasizes stealth and setting up traps for your enemies. By introducing an antagonist, episode 2 has a much more focused story. It also finally gives the fans what they want; not only did the developers link the plots from Bioshock 1 and Bioshock Infinite, but they finally gave a lot of background on how Rapture’s Big Daddy’s really function. Overall, I think episode 2 was better than Infinite itself.

Since you can regularly pick up both DLC packs for $5 on steam, I’d recommend giving them a playthrough.